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Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 10.25.07

BEST OF EUGENE 2007: Tightrope Walkers and Trapeze Artists | Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll |Eat Freaks | The Incredible Shrinking Wallet | Sights, Sounds, Scribbles Everything Else Under the Big Top | Trap Door | We're So Vain | Staff Picks | Best of the Ballots


Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll


1. DJ Tekneek

2. DJ Jimbo

3. The Audio Schizophrenic



1. Eleven Eyes

2. Reeble Jar

3. Deb Cleveland

The Eyes have it, again. It doesn't take special spectacles to see — make that hear — why Eleven Eyes has appeared in this category for the past two years. (Best of Eugene didn't have this category in 2004, or they might have turned up then, too.) There's nothing traditional about this band's approach; they take the path less traveled through a strange soundscape intersected by jazz, fusion, funk, hip-hop, jam, improv and found noises. This band's latest CD, Scope, takes listeners on a journey through the experimental dance of "Tintinnabulation" to the "drum 'n bass/avant big-band hybrid" of "Full Lotus" to the Afrobeat-inspired "Rogue Convoy" to the "Henry Mancini-meets-John Zorn spy jazz" of "The Man From E.L.E.V.E.N." In other words, once Eleven Eyes finishes with you, you'll be seeing quadruple times three minus one.


Animal Farm


1. Animal Farm

2. Marv Ellis

3. Medium Troy



1. I-chèle and the Circle of Light

2. TIE: Norma Fraser / Medium Troy

3. Reeble Jar


Once you've seen I-chèle on stage you can't forget her. A petite woman with waist-length dreads and a long, leopard-print dress, she struts like a creature from the wild. Her band is made up of some of the best reggae musicians on the West Coast, and they captivate audiences with smooth playing and irie style. With a voice that alternates between a whisper and a wail, I-chèle imbues her own unique spirit into the reggae music that moves her. Inspired by Bob Marley's one-love vision and social consciousness and the musical ethos of roots rock, I-chèle and the Circle of Light generate a soul-searching, soul-grooving dance revolution.



1. Ingredients

2. TIE: Reeble Jar / SpunHoney

3. The Sawyer Family



1. Sam Bond's Garage

2. The Horsehead

3. Diablo's Downtown Lounge

Best bar was one of a handful of categories to offer absolutely no surprises: These are the same winners, in the same order, as last year. Clearly, Eugeneans know what they like when it comes to bars; in the case of two-time winner Sam Bond's, we're betting it has something to do with cheap PBR, sweet outdoor seating, patient bartenders, varied entertainment and fantastic slices of pizza. Also? We heartily approve of the cat.



Ty Connor

1. Ty Connor, The Horsehead

2. Jeffrey Morgenthaler, El Vaquero

3. Joey Morales, Diablo's Downtown Lounge

A few blurbs from Eugene's premier barkeep:

First bartending gig: "I was 20 … and the bartender had to study for an accounting final and asked me to get behind the bar to help him out. I had no idea what I was doing, but the customers seemed to like that, and I made a bunch of money. And that was that."

Best conversation: "A customer asked my coworker if the alligator we use for our gatorburger is kosher. The image of a Rabbi blessing an alligator is still stuck in my head."

Best tip: "This past summer I saw an older homeless woman sit at an outside table and I went outside to ask her if she was OK and she said that she just wanted a beer. She gave me her $1.25 and I went and got her a beer and she said 'Oh, thank you so much — you're like a son to me.' So, best tip ever — a new mom!"

Describe the Ty Connor cocktail (available at Horsehead and Jameson's): "In a pint glass, squeeze in fresh lime juice, add a generous amount of potato vodka (Monopolova, preferably), shake and top with soda water. I also invented a drink called a Dick Cheney; it's a shot of Wild Turkey that I throw in your face, and you apologize to me."



1. Brail's

2. The Glenwood

3. Keystone Café



1. The Horsehead

2. TIE: Bel Ami Lounge / Sam Bond's Garage

3. McMenamins



The Ninkasi Crew

1. Total Domination IPA, Ninkasi Brewing Company

2. Believer, Ninkasi Brewing Company

3. Terminator Stout, McMenamins High Street Brewery & Café

Could there be a more appropriately named winner for this brand new category? We created it in response to the opening of two new breweries in the last few years, and one of those newbies took home the prize: Ninkasi's Total Domination IPA. (For those of you who didn't follow instructions and just voted for a brewery, not a specific style? Ninkasi would have won in your poll also.) Ninkasi cofounder Nikos Ridge says, "Total Domination is a force in nature that manifested itself as a beer through Ninkasi. We wanted people to be aware of its intention, so the name is really a warning more than anything else." Of the brewery's second-place beer, he adds, "Believer, on the other hand, was created and named to thank our supporters, and give them something back in the form of a deliciously complex and drinkable beer." Cheers!



1. Chili Margarita, Lava Lounge

2. PVK, Café Soriah

3. TIE: Richmond Gimlet, El Vaquero / Lucifer's Lemonade, Diablo's Downtown Lounge

Another repeat winner here; the chili margarita simply can't be beat. But what's this? Soriah's luscious PVK, a no-show last year, is creeping up in the polls, and Diablo's devilishly named lemonade has cropped up to share third with last year's third place finisher, the tart and tangy Richmond gimlet. Such a yummy-looking variety of drinks came in for this category that we might have to broaden our horizons a little in terms of where we step out for cocktails …



1. King Estate Winery

2. Sweet Cheeks Winery

3. Secret House Vineyards



1. The Bier Stein

2. Good Times Café and Bar

3. Highlands Brew Pub



1. The Broadway

2. TIE: Lavelle Wine Bar & Bistro / Midtown Wine Bar & Bottle Shop

3. King Estate Winery

A loaf of bread, a bottle of wine and … you've got dinner! If the simple things in life are your pleasure, a stop downtown at the Broadway is sure to satisfy. With their extensive deli case, cheese selection, espresso and delicious snacky things, you won't starve or go uncaffeinated. But the wine … oh, the wine. Walls of it, and a nice classy bar at which to sit while you ponder which one you'd like to try. Whether you're tasting on Friday (a popular destination for many Eugeneans, so be patient!) or stopping in for an after work aperitif, the people have chosen this centrally located hot spot as the primo place to sample the bounties of the world's vintners.



1. WOW Hall

2. McDonald Theatre

3. The Cuthbert Amphitheater



1. John Henry's

2. Diablo's Downtown Lounge

3. Taylor's Bar & Grille



1. At home

2. Diablo's Downtown Lounge

3. Via MySpace

Dear girl who wrote "This category is shallow. Sorry!" on her ballot: Sweetie, you aren't exactly wrong. But we try to mix things up a bit now and then, sometimes with, um, mixed results. The winner here is pretty self-explanatory, but we're intrigued by second-place finisher Diablo's Downtown Lounge, which is also the second-best place to meet a one-night stand. In which order do these two things occur? Perhaps we ought to set ourselves up in the corner with a drink some night and observe. Or maybe we'll stay home and read bitter bulletins on MySpace. Our category might be shallow, but those of you doing your dumping online? Have a heart!



Trike Races at McShanes

1. McShane's Bar and Grill

2. Jackalope Lounge

3. Highlands Brew Pub

Ah, 'tis a spacious Irish pub that offers an array of video poker, free pool, live music and good beer on tap — and you love it. Non-smokers and asthmatics probably didn't vote for this smoking-still-allowed bar, but the rest of you did. This three-level funhouse offers its clients a variety of spectacles including (but not limited to): an antique cigarette machine that works, 1,897,904 hour-long Phish songs and Trike Tuesdays. Get your homies to come down and participate in tricycle tournaments for pride and PBRs. They close down the second level and things get ca-razy on three wheels. You get the picture.



John Henry's Broadway Revue

1. John Henry's Broadway Revue

2. Allure

3. Black Rose Burlesque

Somewhere in the hazy mist between strip club and vaudeville act lies the delicious reality of John Henry's Broadway Revue. No one-trick ponies here (no ponies at all — get your mind out of the gutter); a Sunday night at John Henry's might include entertainment in the form of hula hoops, sword play, table dancing (watch your drink!), straight-up striptease or anything else cooked up by the women and men of this long-running, revolving burlesque troupe. In addition to the feathers, garters, bare breasts and strong drinks, the Broadway Revue also offers the best T-shirt tag line in town. They're "classy as fuck" and don't you forget it.