Monday, May 28, 2012

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, May 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment, 11 ways to pass the time during long Greyhound layovers.

Curses, Foiled Again
A witness told police responding to a report of shots fired in North Charleston, S.C., that a man with a gun had gone into a house, but when officers questioned the occupant, she insisted no one else was there but her children. The officers asked the children if that was true, and they said no, that two men were in a back room watching television. Officers found Nathaniel Whack and Pierre Pete, as well as partially smoked joints, three loaded handguns, two semi-automatic weapons and a revolver. According to the police report, during a strip search, a spent .38 shell casing fell out of Whack’s anus and was logged into evidence. (Charleston’s WCIV-TV)

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Happiest Hour: The Moscow Mule trend

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 2:35 PM

It's Memorial Day Weekend, and with the fickle weather you might be sticking around town. In that case, we have a special drink idea for you. It's Moscow Mule time.

What it is: A Moscow Mule is vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, plus lime garnish. It’s an old-fashioned sort of drink, but one that connoisseurs have typically been able to get in most bars around town. The new trend? Bars are now serving the drink in a traditional copper cup, giving it a higher profile.


Why it’s a hit: The copper cups have an old-world mug allure. Besides the aesthetic, they conduct cold instantly when filled with ice, which makes the drink perfectly refreshing for warm weather. People insist the copper reacts with the lime to give it a metallic taste, which also seems to make the spicy ginger-taste pop. We found no science to back it up, but after doing a taste test, we swear it’s true. They’re also often served with a straw, but it’s better straight from the mug.

What’s the history: The Moscow Mule was invented in 1941 to promote Smirnoff. The interest in Moscow Mules tapered in the 1960s. Now they’re back.

What the bartenders are saying: Joe Hammond, bar manager for down-to-earth watering hole Al’s and Vic’s, says all kinds of old-fashioned drinks are coming back. The copper cups, however, generate a lot of attention: one person drinking from a copper mug inevitably leads to other curious patrons ordering them. Hammond says Al’s deals out its dozen or so copper mugs quickly once the college kids shows up in the late evening. With the copper mugs costing $25 each, many bars now ask for a credit card for security, due to patrons stealing cups.

Where to find them: Al’s and Vic’s, The James Bar, Sean Kelly’s, The Montana Club and probably other places around town.

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

New bands, old baseball, nude pictures (and other alternative news links)

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Every so often we pull together some recommended stories from other alternative news media. Here are six — plus a whole lot of bonus links — for your weekend reading pleasure.

Beware "Gary Jones"
Village Voice does some excellent reporting on a creepy revenge website that would post nude pictures of unsuspecting men and women, and link them to the people's personal Facebook pages. The scumbag responsible for the site, Hunter Moore, always claimed he was within the law because "users" submitted the material. The VV finds that may not have been the case, with a hacker by the name of "Gary Jones" linked to many who ended up shamed on the site. The FBI is now involved and the site has been taken down, but that comes too late to save many reputations. Moore, by the way, threatened to burn down the Voice's offices when he heard about this story.

Old-school baseball
As in, really old-school baseball. Houston Press reports on a group of geezers who gather to play the national pastime circa 1860. The rules are different, the ball is bigger, there are no gloves or batting helmets, and the uniforms are amazing.

"I had to find this out by Twitter"
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has been around for 175 years, surviving both the Civil War and Katrina. But it may not survive the digital media revolution. Gambit Weekly follows up on the story broken by David Carr (a former alt weekly writer) and the New York Times about the NOLA daily ceasing daily publication and moving to an online format. From Gambit:

The level of disrespect for T-P employees by upper management was the main topic of conversation tonight. All employees with whom Gambit spoke — even longtime senior writers and editors — said they learned of their fates from The New York Times report.

"My supervisor didn't even fucking know," said one reporter. "My supervisor."

"I had to find this out by Twitter," said another. "Do I go in to the office tomorrow? Do I even have a job to go in to tomorrow? I don't know. No one has called me. No one has said anything."

Here's how the T-P announced the news to readers this morning.

Coming to the Top Hat or Palace soon
A couple weeks ago Willamette Week put out its annual Best New Band feature, which does more than just crown one skinny jeans-wearing winner. Read about all 10 finalists, listen to audio clips, watch music videos or live concert footage, and discover who will surely be touring our way sometime soon. If history is any indication, 2012 winner Radiation City ("Jetsons-era doo-wop") is bound for big things.

Ready for anything
If you believe in the coming apocalypse, chances are you're not nearly as prepared as Paul Range and Gloria Haswell. San Antonio Current goes deep into the couple's compound.

There's a lot of good writing from alternative weeklies, and every year AAN honors the best of the best. This year's finalists were just announced and we're proud to say the Indy received two nods: one for Jamie Rogers' feature on a man convicted of drunk driving, and Matthew Frank's story on Montana coal getting shipped to China. Both of those are great, but you can find tons of other weekend reads by perusing the whole list of finalists.

The Rockies Today, May 25

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

GAO report tracks pollution from West's power plants
Government Accountability Office report says power plants in the West have some of the highest nitrous oxide emissions in the nation, with power plants in Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana all in the top 11 for such emissions.
Salt Lake Tribune; May 25

Algae blooms early on the Bighorn River in Montana, Wyoming
The Bighorn River, which flows from northern Wyoming into south-central Montana, usually experiences an algae bloom in the summer, but this year, the green goo is making life difficult for irrigators and anglers much earlier.
Billings Gazette; May 25

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Total Fest Lineup

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

It's that wonderful time again: The period between now and August wherein you get totally stoked about the lineup for Total Fest. While not a complete list yet, Wantage USA's Total Fest blog started trickling the confirmed bands playing the eleventh annual weekend of rawk. The twelve (of 45) bands listed so far hail from disparate corners of the country and represent the large scope that includes punk, metal, noise and everything in between.


The Austin, Tex., via Missoula garage duo the Be Helds are back in town, as are the strange sensations of No-Fi Soul Rebellion, currently tearing up Bellingham, Wash.

From Baltimore, California, Minneapolis and beyond they come, the freight trains of fuzz, the gnarly lords of noise, all good reasons to have ringing ears all the way 'til Christmas.

Stay tuned as more bands are unleashed in the coming weeks, and don't forget to be in town August 16-18.

The Rockies Today, May 24

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana Chamber of Commerce urges Helena to avoid coal controversy
The Helena City Commission voted 4-1 to consider at its meeting on June 4 writing the Army Corps of Engineers to request that it add the Capital City to any analysis it does about running coal trains through Montana to ports on the West Coast, but the Montana Chamber of Commerce is opposing such actions, saying that the opposition to shipping coal overseas is more about ending coal production entirely in the state.
Helena Independent Record; May 24

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And We Were Young trailer

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Missoula artist and longtime Indy contributor Andy Smetanka is on a mission to make one of his signature silhouette films—this one called And We Were Young, about World War I.

On the website it says:

"Always something of a Great War buff, animator Andy Smetanka got his first taste of animating it while working on Guy Maddin's 2007 hometown "docufantasia," My Winnipeg. Further moved by a new history of the Meuse-Argonne campaign—still the bloodiest battle in American history—Smetanka set about to create an original vision of America in the fight with an animated documentary combining silhouettes and cut paper with the words of soldiers who were there."

You can check out the teaser trailer here, but there are some other entertaining videos to view on the film's kickstarter page.

Happiest Hour: The Kettlehouse Community Unite Pint Night

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

What it is: Leave it to Missoula to combine charity and beer-drinking. The Northside Kettlehouse tapped that idea years ago. Their weekly event supports a local organization with 50 cents donated for every pint sold between 5 and 8 p.m. That’s no small number, based on how many pints were poured between my first and second Cold Smoke.

Who you’re supporting: On a chalkboard behind the taps, the group of the week reads “Missoula Butterfly House,” which had a table set up near the patio door. The organization is building a tropical butterfly house and insectarium. Future featured locals include the Garden City Gondola, Missoula Aging Services and the Clay Studio.


Who you’re drinking with: Families, regulars, youngsters and oldsters gathered in the wood-laden warehouse to give where the giving’s good. It was busy but not quite packed. Children were coloring on the patio, old friends met up at the bar and dozens checked out this week’s table full of beautiful butterflies. Wednesdays can get crazy, Walker Scarborough tells me between pouring refills of Eddy Out and Lake Missoula Amber. Some come for a specific group, he says, but total volume can be chalked up to weather and timing just the same. In general, people know when to come out and support the community. “We always have a good time Wednesdays at the Northside,” he says.

Show me the money: It’s an easy, open application process to get your group on that chalkboard, but you’d better plan ahead. As of now, they’re booked through Christmas. Scarborough could’'t say exactly how much gets raised on average, but it can be substantial. When it was the Max Wave’s turn, the place was overflowing and their coffers were, too.

Where to find: Christmas comes early at the Northside Kettlehouse, 313 N. First St. W., Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

This Wednesday, May 23, Pint Night benefits the Missoula Senior Center.

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

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The Rockies Today, May 23

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Study ties conservation of public lands to Western counties' economic health
A study done by Southwick Associates at the request of Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development found that economic activity was more diverse and vibrant in counties in the Rocky Mountain West where public lands were managed more for recreation and conservation than in counties where such lands were managed for natural resource development.
Billings Gazette; May 23

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A rookie's guide to MisCon 26

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM


The thing I most remember about last year's MisCon was when the sci-fi crowd at the drag show — yes, drag show — joined the lip-syncing, high-heeled performer in an impromptu sing-along of P!nk's emotional pop anthem, "F**kin' Perfect." It was surreal and pure and joyous, with queens of fantastical other worlds and queens from the former AmVets sharing the spotlight in unbridled celebration. Never seen anything like it.

Maybe you had to be there.

Oh, and look at this: You can be there for this year's festivities.

MisCon 26 kicks off on Friday. While the majority of attention is getting deservedly heaped on a certain celebrity guest of honor, there's plenty of other stuff to geek out on. And, as this handy guide explains, you don't even need to be a geek to have fun.

Pick your poison
When I printed out the schedule it took up more than 20 pages. There's a ton to do, and there's something for everyone: gaming, costumes, writers workshops, vendors, film screenings, readings, meet-and-greets, parties, and so on. I recommend narrowing your initial focus to what interests you, picking one or two sessions to plan around, and explore from there. If you arrive without at least some sort of game plan it can be overwhelming.

Want a recommendation on what to do? Needless to say, Saturday night's costume contest and drag show are ridiculous fun. This year it starts at 8.

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