Thursday, March 19, 1998
First Night Monterey
Dozens of performers and thousands of audience members flood downtown Monterey on New Year's Eve for a one-night celebration of the arts. And, try as he might, Captain Best-Of is hard pressed to find even a shred of mediocrity during this alcohol-free night. With the low cost of tickets, the huge variety of offerings and the laid-back atmosphere, First Night definitely qualifies as the biggest, best community party of the year.
Runner Up: Monterey Jazz Festival
Best Free Thing to Do In Monterey County, Ongoing
Well, duh...Of course it's the beach. Whether it's surfing, picnicking, strolling, running, watching sunsets, walking dogs or sharing romantic moments, CW readers say the beach is the place to do it. But, with all that love showered on our sandy shores, Captain Best-Of wonders why people leave so much trash behind them.
Runner Up: Farmers' Markets
Best New Club/Bar
LALLApalooza474 Alvarado St., Monterey, 645-9036
Captain Best Of knows when it's time to move on and he's found the best new place to show his face, LALLApalooza. The name means "a big experience." You'll find big martinis, enormous portions of food, and lots of people. "We're all about having a good time," says David Haney, general manager. "People know that and sense that and come back. It's a good social experience." With only three months in business, word of mouth has certainly traveled fast.
Runner Up: Sidelines
Best Local Band/Musician, Tie:
Jonah and the Whalewatchers
Red Beans and Rice
Longevity breeds familiarity and so go the polls. Both Jonah and Red Beans have become a staple in the musical diet of this area over the years. Quality and consistency count when it comes to loyalty. Jonah's reggae beat calls to the faithful almost weekly at Doc's Nightclub's Reggae nights, and although Red Beans and Rice play less and less around town, their clean-cut style of blues can be enjoyed now on two full-length CDs. Look for their just released Can't Get Enough.
Runner Up: Lovers and Strangers
Best New Band of 1997
Storm Nilson (of Storm Warning)
When Captain Best-Of heard that young blues guitarist Storm Nilson had won for Best New Band he felt it necessary to consult with the Tooth Fairy, a close friend of his, to see how such magic had been worked. He found this was no mere act of luck or magic. Talent, perseverance and publicity are the building blocks of young Storm's success.
Runner Up: Karma Band (no longer in action)
Best Music Festival of 1997
Monterey Jazz Festival
The grand daddy of festivals in MoCo wins again. And for good reason. Each year General Manager Tim Jackson outdoes himself in the booking department, and last year's big 40th Anniversary blowout proved to be the biggest and best yet. The longest-running jazz festival in existence now has five stages to choose from; an embarrassment of riches that takes stamina and a little help from Captain Best-Of to see all the diverse elements that jazz has to offer. We can only ask, "What's next Tim?"
Runner Up: Monterey Bay Blues Festival
Best Club DJ
DJ Bobby with Good Vibrations393-1580
Captain Best-Of used to be a DJ when he was young, but he now devotes himself to maintaining excellence everywhere. In his free time, he frequents Characters on the ground floor of the Marriott Hotel in Monterey where DJ Bobby (Jackson) spins a variety of discs, from 1940s swing to current hits every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30pm-1:30am. Bobby is part of the mobile DJ team at Good Vibrations, which has been in business for nine years, servicing local hotels, weddings and private parties.
Runner Up: DJ Donna, McGarrett's, Monterey
Best Club For Alternative Music
After Dark214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 373-7828
If Alternative means out of the mainstream, then that's exactly what you get at After Dark, a club that has made this address home for 22 years. The club's reputation as a place where everyone can have a good time continues to build legions of regulars out of a sometimes anemic nightclub scene in MoCo. DJs, both local and guests from out of town, spin music not found on Top 40 radio, and there are two bars and a patio to choose from when looking for a new angle.or new person.
Runner Up: Doc's Nightclub, Monterey
Best Club for Blues/Best Club for Rock
Doc's NightclubCannery Row and Prescott Ave.,Monterey, 649-4241
Down the stairs, around the corner and you enter a place that's become a tradition in Monterey County. For years, Doc's has been the undisputed leader in booking blues acts from around town and around the country. And since Dino and Carolyn Pulgarin took over Doc's ownership about a year and a half ago, the joint has buzzed with renewed energy. Blues and rock dominate Doc's weekend schedule, with names like The Uninvited, Tommy Castro, The Tories and Coco Montoya.
Runner Up Blues: Blue Fin Billiards, Monterey
Runner Up Rock: Whitey's Place, Pacific Grove
Best Venue for Jazz
Cibo Ristorante Italiano301 Alvarado St., Monterey, 649-8151
Contemporary jazz wins again this year in the popularity polls. The stream of patrons at Cibo have a variety of music offered to them throughout the week, so it may be more than jazz they are thinking of when they place their votes. R&B, reggae and salsa make for a happening scene at the downtown eatery with the classic Venetian style decor. Dennis Murphy, Joe Lucido, Neil Banks, Tony Miles, Al James, all names that should be familiar to music lovers at Cibo and throughout MoCo.
Runner Up: The Jazz Store
Best Venue for Folk Music/Best Coffeehouse
Morgan's Coffee and Tea498 Washington St., Monterey, 655-6868
Let's see: Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Christine Lavin, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Ellis Paul and Odetta are just a few of the better-known names that have played Morgan's over the last year. And, in addition to those, owner Morgan Christopher has found time in his busy rabble-rousing schedule to book lesser-known names that have delivered equally intriguing performances. And if you're looking for a cup of coffee to wake you up or to fuel a political discussion, Morgan's can provide that, too. Sip outside on the sidewalk and watch Monterey walk by, drink inside and listen to the chatter of amped brains, or guzzle while some of the best singer/songwriter/folk musicians perform.
Runner Up Folk: Portofino Presents
Runner Up Coffeehouse: Starbucks, Monterey
Best Dance Club
McGarrett's321 Alvarado St., Monterey, 646-9244
The best just got better. With the addition of a new $10,000 sound system in the back room of the spacious upstairs club, in essence, making it two clubs in one, McGarrett's can claim this local distinction without a doubt. Club owner Brooke Lewis has put a lot of time and energy into researching the latest trends in dance music and brings them here for all to enjoy. Techno, ambient, house, whatever, you can find it here. When Captain Best-Of feels the need for a meditative dance trance, he can be at McGarrett's where there's no need for a partner, he just jumps in and dances.
Runner Up: Planet Gemini, Monterey
Best Place to Shoot Pool
Blue Fin Cafe and Billiards685 Cannery Row, Monterey, 375-7000
Blue Fin's open, airy, upstairs location is a big weekend draw for the 20-something crowd where they can rack 'em up at the same time they're listening to up-tempo rock 'n' blues bands from around the county and state. With its Cannery Row address, Blue Fin is the ideal place to see and be seen while shooting a few and knocking back a couple of beers before venturing forth on other nighttime adventures on and around The Row.
Runner Up: Bow Tie Billiards, Monterey
Best Sports Bar
Characters Sports Bar&GrillMarriott Hotel, 350 Calle Principal, Monterey, 647-4023
When not on the dance floor, Captain Best-Of hangs out with the guys (and gals) watching a game on one of Characters' 12 television sets or big-screen TV which are serviced by two satellites at the popular sports bar which has won this award now for the fifth straight year. (Sometimes Captain Best-Of even uses his Best-Of Vision to catch the best plays on all of the TV's at the same time--it's sort of like stereo for the eyes.) Characters is a locals' spot as well as a stopover for those staying at the hotel, so you'll find a variety of folks and fans of all sports hunkered down around the glowing screens. Add to that a menu with delectable taste treats and it's sports heaven.
Runner Up: Knuckles at The Hyatt Regency, Monterey
Best Art Gallery
Carmel Art AssociationDolores Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel, 624-6176
One of the oldest galleries in Carmel, the Carmel Art Association shows the works of local and regional artists who are members of the association. The works range from Eleen Auvil's always-challenging sculptures to Michie Long's dreamlike figures to Dick Crispo's intellectually aggressive abstracts. In addition to specific shows that change monthly, a treasure trove of artists' works are housed in the back rooms waiting to be discovered by interested art lovers. This is a respected gallery that even non-gallery lovers can appreciate.
Runner Up: Thomas Kincade Galleries, Multiple Locations throughout Monterey County
Best Local Artist
Will Bullas(Shown at) New Masters Gallery, Dolores Street and Ocean Ave., Carmel, 625-1511
Will Bullas' whimsical paintings of animals have delighted adults and children for decades. Often depicting animals doing things normally associated with human activities, Bullas mixes wordplay with his watercolor to create works that poke good-natured fun at us two-legged type animals. Although Bullas is best-known for these animals, his talents run deeper than these artifacts of whimsy, as his most recent exhibit at the New Masters Gallery demonstrated.
Runner Up: Andrew Jackson
Best Local Play
Monterey Peninsula College This little-known musical was a surprise hit last summer at MPC thanks in part to John Newkirk's passionate portrayal of a man who sees his family and his ideals ripped apart by the Civil War. Although Newkirk (who stepped into the role at the last minute to cover for another ailing actor) was the indisputable star, he received admirable help from the supporting cast (particularly Lyn Whiting) and the singing, dancing, marching, fighting ensemble.
Runners Up: Tie
A Couple of White Chicks, Magic Circle Theater
Guy Things, Unicorn Theater
Best Local Theater Company
Western Stage of Hartnell College156 Homestead Ave., Salinas 755-6816, 375-2111
Monterey County's longest-running regional theater company, The Western Stage, undeniably offers the most exciting blend of theater on any of the county's major stages. Although there are the unavoidable chestnuts on the schedule (like last year's The Music Man), they also mount shows that attempt to achieve a higher degree of significance (from last year's schedule, remember The House on Mango Street and Song of Survival)? With generally reliable production values and top-notch casts, The Western Stage is a perennial contender for this honor.
Runner Up: Unicorn Theater
Best Radio Station
Playing the top offerings in contemporary pop and rock, and boasting this year's best-DJ winner, CD93 is the station Captain Best-Of plugs into his listening nodes when he needs a jolt of today's music. The station's play list includes Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Chumbawumba, Alanis Morissette, Savage Garden and more. KCDU is one of five local radio stations owned by New Wave Broadcasting as are KCDU's top two competitors for best honors--KPIG and KBOQ.
Runner Up: KPIG, 107.5FM
Best Radio Personality
Sandy Shore, KCDU, 93.5FM&KXDC, 101.7FM
Maybe it's something about the way she laughs on the air. Or maybe it's the depth of her musical knowledge. Or maybe it's the fact that Sandy Shore has done air time on so many local stations that her voice is instantly recognizable. Whatever the reasons behind it, Shore is this year's choice as CW readers' favorite DJ.
Runner Up: Jack and Debbie, KWAV, 96.9FM
Best Bar/Best Selection of Beers on Tap/ Best Bar for Singles/Best Bar for Smokers Who Drink
Mucky Duck479 Alvarado St., Monterey, 655-3031
Popping someplace for a pint? Go to The Duck. Looking for love on a Saturday night? Go to The Duck. Need a smoke to go with that Double Diamond? The Duck's the place. Although on some week nights the Mucky Duck seems like a mellow-enough place for a leisurely plate of fish and chips, on the weekends, the joint is hopping, particularly on the back patio where a crowd of the young and restless mingle. Inside, Mucky Duckers can enjoy the open-hearth fireplace, darts, regularly scheduled game nights, and occasional live entertainment.
Runner Up Bar: Duffy's Tavern, Monterey
Runner Up Beers: LALLApalooza, Monterey
Runner Up Singles: Blue Fin Caf and Billiards, Monterey
Runner Up Smokers: Alfredo's Cantina, Monterey
Best Happy Hour
The TinneryOcean View Boulevard at 17th Street, Pacific Grove, 646-1040
Longtimers in MoCo know the Tinnery has one of the best views available in a community that boasts plenty of good views. What was less well-known until this year was the quality of The Tinnery's happy hour. Any given night of the week, evening nibblers get to choose from a host of changing options. In addition to the chips and fresh salsa, the offerings often include fresh vegetables and fruit, pasta, pizza, Chinese chicken, fish and potato skins.Whoa! What happened to Captain Best-Of? He must have gone to The Tinnery to reserve his seat for tonight's nosh.
Runner Up: O'Kanes Irish Pub, Monterey
Best Mixed Drinks
Clock Garden565 Abrego St., Monterey, 375-6100
"We just make a good drink," says Kathleen Lowe, co-owner of The Clock. "We're known for our Ramos Fizzes and Bloody Marys. Jack [McKelvey] has been making Ramos Fizzes for 30 years." When asked the secret for making a good drink, Lowe says, "We pour a healthy drink and charge a good price."
Runner Up: The Fish Hopper, Cannery Row
Best Wine List
Sardine Factory701 Wave St., Monterey, 373-3775
"Wine is art in a bottle," says Andrea Fulton, cellarmaster at the Sardine Factory for the last nine years. With 1,000 labels as her palette, Fulton has created a masterpiece in quality, selection and information. She and three sommeliers are ambassadors for the wineries and love to tell stories, so there's no reason for anyone to be intimidated by any lack of knowledge. "The whole point is, wine makes food taste better," she adds, "and food makes wine change. It's an ongoing artistic experimentation. I work hard to keep wine fun, not elitist."
Runner Up: Casanova, Carmel