Friday, April 29, 2011

Governor on marijuana storefronts: "July 1, they're out of business"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Gov. Brian Schweitzer told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle editorial board this afternoon that he will let the medical marijuana reform bill become law. Schweitzer has been critical of the Legislature's work, but says he cannot let the current law continue.

"With the structure we have in place now, we have people using Montana law to smoke marijuana just to smoke it. That's what I believe," Schweitzer told the Chronicle.

The new bill allows caregivers to serve no more than three patients and bars people from accepting money for medical marijuana. Schweitzer said he expects more patients to grow marijuana, but that storefront businesses will be out of business by July 1.

The AP has filed a report, and the Chronicle has the full story from its interview.

Happiest Hour: The Elbow Room

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Crappy weather got you down? You need a "Power Tower" from the Elbow Room, the subject of this week's Happiest Hour.

Claim to fame: “It’s a trailer,” bartender Bo Hiskey says with a laugh. The Elbow Room claims to be the only bar around housed in a doublewide trailer. That’s a matter of pride—the bar’s website and merchandise is peppered with slogans like “In Trailer We Trust” and “Built Trailer Tough.”

The Power Tower

Atmosphere: For being in a trailer, the bar has a surprising amount of space. Poker machines line both sidewalls, and standard domestic beer décor covers most available wall space. One corner of the bar is designated for DJs and bands, and the linoleum is worn off the dance floor from years of stomping feet.

Happy Hour: The Elbow Room has more drink specials than can be counted on one hand, at least until they have you seeing double. Two-for-one prices on everything happen daily from 5-6 p.m., as well as $1.50 wells from 6-7 p.m.. Thursday is quarter beer night starting at 8:30 p.m., raising in price by a quarter every half hour until 11. On Friday and Saturday, there’s a $10 special on the “Power Tower,” a tall cylinder full of beer fitted with its own tap. “It holds about two and a half pitchers,” Hiskey says.

Who you’re drinking with: According to Hiskey, who’s worked at the bar for seven years, the bar attracts blue-collar workers during the day and a totally different crowd at night. Thursday night’s DJ packs the place with a college crowd, and weekend patrons vary with the kind of music the bar hosts.

Where to find it: 1025 Strand Ave, just down the road from the Sunrise Saloon. Look for the trailer with neon beer signs in the window.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facing the Storm on PBS tonight

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 1:34 PM

If you missed it then, you shouldn't miss it now. Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison screened at the Wilma Theatre in October to a solid crowd, but if you didn't show up then, you can catch it tonight on Montana PBS at 7 p.m. The film, created by the Montana-based High Plains Films, explores the underbelly of Yellowstone National Park bison management with striking cinematography and a look into the history and future of bison in North America.

When it first screened, our reviewer, Dave Loos, wrote in a review that it "may be the most comprehensively concise examination of how and why we managed to nearly eradicate 30 million animals from the Great Plains and what's being done today to ensure their survival." Here's that review in full.


Relive last weekend's Gourds shows, one clip at a time

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

YouTube has been saturated in the last few days with clips of the Gourds two shows at the Top Hat last weekend. I count at least 10, with five courtesy of "polaris47."

If you had a prior commitment that made it impossible for you to attend, no matter how desperately you tried to rearrange your schedule and duck your responsibilities in hopes of catching just a little of either show (not that I'm bitter or anything), these clips provide a little bit of everything you need to feel like you were there—high quality visuals, descent sound, a shoutout to JR, yelps from the crowd, beers being passed in front of your view, etc.

Here are three of the best:

Continue reading »

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Badlander bars get a four-day shutdown

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Be prepared to be extra thirsty in early June. Or, be prepared to have less watering holes to choose from, anyway. The owners of the Badlander complex, which includes the Badlander, Palace, the Golden Rose, the Savoy and the Central, will close its doors for four days, from June 6-9, after failing an under-age drinking sting. The complex's five bars all share one liquor license, but the sheer size of the place makes it a little more vulnerable to error. Here's the owners' statement on the situation:

Continue reading »

John Engen, Jim Nugent and a Bobcat foam finger

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Missoula Mayor John Engen lost a bet to Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss over last year's Griz-Cat game. The loser had to dress in the opposite team's gear and appear in an online video. Engen settled the bet, with a humorous assist from City Attorney Jim Nugent.

Here's the video:

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): To convey my vision of how best to proceed in the coming week, I’ll offer the following metaphorical scenario: Imagine that you are not a professional chef, but you do have a modicum of cooking skills. Your task is to create a hearty, tasty soup from scratch without the benefit of a recipe. You will need a variety of ingredients, but on the other hand you don’t want to just throw in a welter of mismatched ingredients without regard for how they will all work together. To some degree you will have to use a trial-and-error approach, sampling the concoction as it brews. You will also want to keep an open mind about the possibility of adding new ingredients in the latter stages of the process. One more thing: The final product must not just appeal to you. You should keep in mind what others would like, too.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Introducing Robert Meyerowitz, the Indy's new editor

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 5:15 PM

You may have spotted a change near the top of the Indy's masthead. Or perhaps you've noticed over the past couple of weeks a drastic reduction in the number of grammatical errors and inaccuracies in the paper. (Just kidding, though we were without an editor for a bit there.) In any case, we're pleased to introduce Robert Meyerowitz as the Indy's new editor.

The Indys new editor, Robert Meyerowitz, who drinks too much coffee. Click image to enlarge.
  • Chad Harder
  • The Indy's new editor, Robert Meyerowitz, who drinks too much coffee. Click image to enlarge.

A few weeks ago Robert and his collie Sally saddled up in his Subaru and trekked from St. Louis to Missoula to take over the reins here in the newsroom. He brings with him with an impressive resume. Robert started his career as a music critic at an alt-weekly paper, then went to public radio (where his beat was “weird stuff,” according to the newsroom whiteboard), and eventually became a foreign correspondent for AP radio and NPR, in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. He also wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Toronto Star and the Anchorage Daily News, before becoming the editor of the Anchorage Press. Since leaving the Press in 2007, Meyerowitz edited New Times Broward-Palm Beach, was the Snedden Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was a senior editor at St. Louis Magazine.

Being new to Missoula, we've had to bring Robert up to speed on a few things—like what the deal is with wolves, medical marijuana, the wacky legislature, and the weather, and where to find the best coffee, veterinarian, haircut, and cheap lunch—but, with a couple weeks under his belt, he's settling in nicely, and he and Sally appear to be happy campers here in the Garden City.

Robert's got some great ideas for how to improve the paper, so be on the lookout for some subtle and not-so-subtle changes. In the meantime, feel free to send any questions, comments, letters, words of warning and party evites to, or call him at 543-6609 ext. 107. Also, you can stalk Robert on his public Facebook page, where he's been documenting his Missoula firsts, like spotting a mountain bluebird on Sunday.

Happiest Hour: Poor Henry's

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 2:41 PM

The bartenders at Poor Henry's said they'd long wanted an Indy writer to make it in for a whiskey. Happy to oblige.

Why you’re here: Because on a recent late afternoon, while driving along Interstate 90, you realize it’s high time you visited that lonely bar with the tall, vintage sign that beckons from the frontage road near Clinton.


Claim to fame: Bartender Lindsey Seelig says Poor Henry’s has “the coldest beer on the trap line.” But you soon learn that that—whatever it means—is the least of the bar’s attractions.

When to come: Morning’s a good time, actually. Owner Todd Hughes cooks up made-to-order breakfast sandwiches that are, Seelig says, “overflowing with breakfasty goodness,” i.e., bacon, egg, sausage, ham, and cheese.

And when to come back: Late August, when Poor Henry’s hosts its annual Redneck Games, with live music. Compete in carburetor shot put, mud wrestling, and tug-of-war, and bob for pigs’ feet and chicken wings.

What you’re drinking: A Bud Light bottle, please, with a shot of Fireball cinnamon whisky.

Atmosphere: Two flat-screens hang above the bar, one blaring Great American Country TV and the other tuned to SportsCenter on mute. There are a couple pool tables, a few dinging video poker machines, and a sizzle wafts from the kitchen. Asked how long the bar’s been around, the regulars grumble. “Since it’s been here,” one says. Then they agree on 1951, roughly.

How to find it: Take exit 126, Clinton, and head west on the frontage road.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail

Monday, April 25, 2011

Evel on the eve of his biggest jump

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Few sports writers are as talented as Leigh Montville, and few subjects as compelling as Butte native Evel Knievel.

The two collide in Montville's new biography of the daredevil, titled Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel: American Showman, Daredevil, and Legend.

The book hits shelves tomorrow, but Sports Illustrated has posted an excerpt that details Knievel's outlandish 1974 launch over Idaho's Snake River — in a "rocket" that was actually just a bucket seat attached to a steam-powered thrust engine. Knievel spent the days before the jump in Montana, and Montville recounts Knievel's strangely sentimental mood as he reconnected with friends and family. He also explains the probable reason for his demeanor — nobody expected Knievel to survive, including Sports Illustrated photographer Heinz Kleutmeier.

"You're going back to the bottom of the canyon," the photographer told his assistant when they arrived at the site. "That's where I want you for the jump."

The assistant objected. The sun was brutal. The bottom of the canyon would be hot, dirty, and totally without merit. Nothing would happen there.

"No, that's where the story is going to be," Kleutmeier said, thinking about the test shot he had witnessed. "I saw the test. That's where this guy is going to land."

In addition to the excerpt, Sports Illustrated also posted a slideshow of classic Knievel images.

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