When I was a full-time staffer at Creative Loafing, I loved working on Best of the Bay — not just the endless hours spent swapping ideas in meetings, but also the sense of excitement about celebrating local action, and getting out, staying plugged in and seeing all the shit we knew about, heard about or might've missed.
This year, due to my current job, I wasn't able to contribute to the BOTB issue as I used to. But in keeping with the tradition, I'm devoting this week's column to some shout-outs of my own.
BEST HAIR OF THE DOG
And the Blowie Goes to: Red Mesa Cantina's Michelada
The Michelada is not for the faint of heart, nor the conservative of taste buds — your choice of Mexican beer, blended with the Cantina's unique take on the traditional south-of-the-border sangrita: a concoction of citrus, herbs, salt, pepper and hot chiles. I'm not even sure I find it tasty, exactly. But the restorative powers of this remarkable refreshment are undeniable, and even those who finish the first one unsure whether or not they enjoyed it will find themselves craving its one-of-a-kind mix of flavors the next time they awaken with a throbbing skull and a mouth that feels like it was swabbed dry with a dragon turd. Red Mesa Cantina, 128 Third St. S, St. Petersburg, 727-896-8226, redmesacantina.com.
BEST LOCAL PURVEYOR OF ENTERTAINING TWITTER NONSENSE
And the Blowie Goes to: @betthearm
Sure, we all tweet a bit of uninformed minutiae, and retweet cool stuff, and occasionally fire off something insightful or meaningful or truly funny. I see a lot of the same info being passed around by the locals — that's good, don't get me wrong, it shows a real sense of community — and Tim Asher definitely travels in the same online circles many of us do. But whenever I'm just about ready to submit to a Twitter detox due to sameness overload, he comes along with something so left-field and bizarrely hilarious that he renews my faith in the network. I don't know Mr. Asher well personally, and I'm kind of fine with that; many of his funniest posts have a dark edge to them. I'm glad he's out there, though, and crossing the line to express an admirable amount of bile. www.twitter.com/betthearm.
BEST REASON TO BUY A TINY DIGITAL CAMERA IN THE NEXT 10 MONTHS
And the Blowie Goes to: The 2012 Republican National Convention
It's already a hot-button local issue, and I'll leave most of the coverage in Mitch's capable hands, but please allow me a bit of a commercial advocating smart, reasonable activism here. The controversy surrounding citizens filming peace officers in action is only going to become more intense between now and the RNC. If you value your civil rights, you don't need organized looting, or a bunch of look-at-me yahoo bullshit — you need to be able to point your phone or your handheld at somebody in riot gear knowing there are two or three or a dozen lenses watching you watching them. My respect for cops is well-documented, but overkill will be a problem across the board next August; we need as many cameras on ground as possible, for the sake of vulnerable local businesses and the cops as well as the safety of protesters.
BEST YAHOO-FREE KARAOKE
And the Blowie Goes to: Detour
I've loved gay-friendly bars most of my adult life, mostly because I love the idea of a place where people who can't always be themselves can always be themselves, but also because too many straight bars are full of folks whose idea of a good time deviates sharply from my own. Not a lot of gay bars do karaoke on a Saturday night, but Detour does; it's also got great prices, nice clean spaces, a friendly staff and a clientele that doesn't seem to mind too much when a hammered straight guy decides it's time to try to lead the room through the wrong lyrics for "Sweet Caroline." 2612 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-327-4204, detourbar.com.
BEST PLACE TO FEEL MURDEROUS ABOUT JACKHOLES WHO CAN'T DRIVE
And the Blowie Goes to: Going into That Roundabout on Adamo by the Florida Aquarium, Headed West
If fucking says it right there — the right lane is RIGHT TURN ONLY. What, do you think veering right into the roundabout is the same as turning right? Are the solid white lines painted on the goddamn asphalt not explicit enough?! Did your parents have any children who lived?! I WILL KILL YOU, DIPSHIT ASSHAT!
Scott Harrell's "Life As Blow It" won first place in the Blog (Individual) category in the 2011 Altweekly Awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.