Today, a look back at the long-lost categories that, somewhere along the line, fell off the ballot.
While you're strolling along memory lane, remember that Thursday night the Indy hosts its annual Best of Missoula party at Caras Park. There'll be music by Reverend Slanky and Secret Powers, drinks, food, and a mechanical surfboard. Things get started at 5:30, and it's free.
Now, some winners from yesteryear.
Best Internet Provider: Internet Connect Services, 2700 Radio Way
Best Official to Vote Out of Office Barbara Evans, Missoula County Commissioner
Note: This category had a long run after Evans' "win" with Conrad Burns taking top honors.
Best Juke Box The Silver Dollar and Al & Vic's battled it out in this category, but "Alcoholics" finally won out, probably due to sheer variety. If you want to boogie to "Shakedown Street," head to the Dollar. But if you're in a hard livin' Johnny Cash kind of mood, Al & Vic's is your place.
Best Tobacconist Nonsmokers be damned. Missoulians overwhelmingly sided with Bell Pipe & Tobacco Shoppe when it came to taking a bit o' smoke, with Worden's Market and the minimally named Cigarette Store pulling up the rear. I can hear them mewling for help already, them little clean-air advocates.
Best Place to Hear Jazz The Old Post triumphs, and you really can't beat its cozy atmosphere and friendly personnel. Sean Kelly's is gaining on them, though, so let the "O.P.P" be warned. Montana's Lounge also made a decent showing, thanks to their swingin' house band the Jodi Marshall Quartet.
Best Tailor Heading up the Blowout Department this year was Custom Fashions, which tore ahead of other nominees and left their bobbins spinning, much like last year. Angelo's, for the record, was one of the few viable competitors.
Best Place to Read the Independent Okay, listing "in the crapper" and less appropriate euphemisms as the bomb spot to clock the Independent ceased to be even the scantest bit clever at least five years ago. Granted, the cozily non-committal home comes in a distant second, but for all we know "home" is just another nice way of saying the water closet. Third most popular place to read us was Friends, followed by a slew of coffeehouses and eateries.
Best Local Cop: Lt. Shawn Paul Nobody can deny this man’s service to the community, or the insatiable hotness of his reggae dancehall hit “We Be Burnin’.” Oh, wait, we’re thinking of musician Sean Paul, not this year’s favorite man in uniform. Our Lt. Paul probably earned this vote for being one of the most accessible officers on the force—a regular source for civic leaders and the media on issues ranging from downtown panhandling to underage drinking.
Best Head Shop: Down Under Like a wafting cloud of, um, tobacco smoke, Down Under has drifted into the ether. The venerable glass shop once located under Rainbow’s End closed late last year and was replaced with a high-end women’s clothing store. While fans of this category’s long-time winner are surely mourning by lighting, um, altar candles, the store is honored posthumously here.
And (sigh) from last year:
Best Video Rental: Crystal Video Oh, Crystal Video, how we shall miss thee. The little video store with shelves full of specialty-and mainstream-DVDs and VHS tapes is gone for good. Missoula voters loved this Hip Strip shop because of its staff of personable and/or quirky video clerks, neighborly appeal and bizarre collection. Now, it’s gone-as this category may be-as we usher in a new era of Netflix, movies-on-demand and Redbox.