Today's topic: staff picks. Five years ago the Indy started to sprinkle its own irreverent selections among the reader-selected winners from the standard Best of Missoula ballot. Here are five favorites:
Best Flashback (2008)
Last year’s Total Fest saw 43 nationwide bands play over three nights. Johnny No Moniker from the Fleshies sang from a Badlander bathroom stall. The Vile Blue Shades—with their 15 or so band members—made the stage their personal party. All crazy stuff, sure. But buried in the line-up of one early evening set was a band called Kled whose frontman, Pat Phlymm, is an ex-local notorious for his 1990s Missoula bands, The Banned and Poop. For those who saw Phlymm back in the day, this show was a time warp experience: The stocky, cheshire-grinning singer (who, it should be mentioned, is a trained ballet dancer) wore a pair of tight shorts with the word “juicy” on the butt, and did his hair in little pig tails as he sang in a creepy little kid’s voice falsetto. A man named “Miss America,” another staple of Missoula’s 1990s music scene and now an anonymous UM professional, slunk around the stage wearing a drawn-on moustache and a yellow banana hammock so small that you could see, well, everything. For some it was a horrifying experience. For the rest of us, it was 1992 all over again—in all its weirdness
Best Prediction (2009)
We've seen some clever bathroom quotes in Charlie B's over the years. "I'm so ugly a female fly isn't attracted to me," and, on the condom machine, "For full refund, return baby." But the one that stands out the most—literally—is the prescient one-liner, "Just wait 'til the whole bathroom's painted BLACK!!!" which is surrounded by, you guessed it, black paint.
Restroom quotes usually appeal to our darker sense of humor, but this is ridiculous. Charlie's has always maintained a sense of tradition, and while the bar chose to do away with most of the bathroom's words of wisdom, it kept this bit from a local Nostradamus. More recently, someone else added the following in white ink: "Graffitti [sic] endures." If history holds true, we can only expect the Charlie's restroom to someday surround this statement with a fresh coat of white paint.
Best Pickup Line (2010)
A 25-year prison sentence for numerous felonies may have taken away Michael Murphy’s freedom, but it didn’t take his mojo. It was revealed earlier this year that Murphy, while serving at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, had seduced at least five female employees—including his therapist—into having sex with him. Whatever the hell the notorious “Incarcinova” said must’ve been James Bond smooth. And a tad creepy. A lengthy investigation by the prison had women officers describing Murphy as a cunning aggressor, yet Murphy was considered the victim because inmates cannot legally consent to sex.
Best Place to Medicate (2010)
Since we don’t have the slightest idea about where best to use this so-called “medical marijuana” everyone’s fussing about, we’ll defer to our police chief, who seems to believe, based on a recent quote in the Missoulian, that it’s Montana Snowbowl. “I don’t think there are enough restrictions in the law, but I think if your place has ‘bowl’ in the name, people ought to be able to smoke one,” Mark Muir said. We suppose that would mean people should be able to also medicate at China Bowl and Five Valleys Bowling Center. Huh. Interesting. Muir’s theory actually seems to hold up.
Best Time to Be Put on Hold (2011)
Turns out few places in Missoula offer tunes to keep you entertained while you’re waiting to talk to muckety-mucks. We sampled some of the heavier hitters, hoping to find a good phone line to hold on. Maybe it’s just the allure of ’80s-style techno, but the City of Missoula won this one hands-down. The hold on Mayor John Engen’s phone offers some wicked electronic slap beat, lots of echo, and—if your call goes unanswered for more than 20 seconds—a dash of vibes. A bold choice, going with something so akin to the Blade Runner soundtrack. It’s scores better than the University of Montana, where being put on hold means being subjected to lengthy seconds of UM advertising. The Missoula County Commission’s office came close, if only for assuring us our call is important, but its lounge music seemed better suited to a department store.
Honorable mention: A few from the inaugural year, including Best Evidence the Bitterroot has a Meth Problem, would've made this list, except the 2007 Best of Missoula issue is strangely missing from our online archives.