This year's Charleston City Paper Best of Charleston is hitching its wagons and hitting the trail for the West. No, not West Ashley.
Greetings, knights and fair maidens. You made your nominations.
This year’s Charleston City Paper Best of Charleston boldly goes where no other Best Of has ever gone before — into outer space. Joining us on our nearly 200-page journey into the outer reaches of the galaxy — and by the outer reaches of the galaxy, we mean Johns Island and, um, Hanahan — will be a team of Jedis, Trekkies, and little green men, who may or may not want to probe you. So go ahead and turn the page to see who City Paper readers selected as their faves. Beam us up!
Rock’s in a bad spot these days. The simple truth is, we just don’t have rock stars anymore. Those real-life disciples of Dionysus through which we once lived a vicarious life of trashed hotel rooms, drug-fueled orgies, and the occasional bat biting are now a distant memory.
Welcome to the Charleston City Paper’s annual Best of Charleston issue. But before we get to the winners, please give us a chance to apologize. We realize that some of you out there are scared to death of clowns.
The past few years have been very kind to Charleston. We’ve been showered with praise and honored with so many awards it’s getting kind of hard not to get a big head. It seems like everyone loves us. But when the folks at Condé Nast Traveler declared that Charleston was the Best City in the World, the news still managed to come as a complete shock. What about New York City, we asked? Or London? Or Paris? Or Rome? Surely we’re not as great as those places? We’re just teeny, tiny Charleston, S.C. But apparently, we’re as good as those places. And frankly, we’re absolutely thrilled and completely humbled.
We here at the City Paper are as gung-ho for local businesses as unicorns are for rainbows, sunbeams, and happy thoughts. Now, don't get us wrong. We don't have anything against the national chains and the big-boxes. We can't resist a good deal. But the mom-and-pop shops are risking it all to make our lives just a little bit better. And when you buy local, well, that money, more or less, stays local, unlike in the case of the corporate giants, where a good portion of that money goes somewhere else. Heaven forbid it's Ohio. As with previous Best of Charleston issues, when a national chain beats out a local competitor in the Readers' Picks, we have also noted a local runner up. No disrespect is intended to the nationals. This year we've also added a few new categories, like Best Food Truck and Best Johns Island Restaurant and Bar.
Once again, it’s time for the City Paper’s annual Best of Charleston issue, the one issue of the year where you, our loyal readers, tell us what you like best about the Holy City — the best new restaurant, the best jewelry store, the best local legislator, even the best local actor, who, in this case, happens to be the one and only Bill Murray. And it’s in honor of Mr. Murray, who has chosen to make Chucktown his home, that we dedicate this issue. Heck, we even designed Shepard Fairey-inspired stickers, each one featuring Murray’s iconic mug, to mark the occasion. So get to reading, and start searching for the Bill Murray stickers hidden in every photograph. Enjoy.
The number 13 gets a bad rap. It’s a perfectly fine number, but for whatever reason, 13 freaks some people out. But not us at the City Paper. Especially this year, our 13th year as Charleston’s premier weekly. So call us crazy, but we think the number 13 is, well, lucky. And we want to spread that luck around. Which brings us to this year’s Best of Charleston issue. As usual, it’s packed with readers’ and critics’ picks, spotlighting the best of the Holy City, from restaurants and bars, to music makers and public servants, and everything in between. They’re all lucky bastards.
See Also: Intro Archives
Geographically and comfort-wise, the Old West seems about as distant from the sunny coasts of Charleston as the moon and the stars. Yet, when taking into account the many charms of the Holy City, it's easy to see that modern-day Charleston and frontier life share much in common.
A pair of couches blocked the entrance to West Ashley's Pixel Studios like awkwardly stacked tiles in a game of Tetris. The space was ample enough, and the white backdrop where the actual photos would be taken blurred the physical proportions of the room. Still, two of the night's subjects were unusual ones for a furnished photography studio in the middle of a bustling suburb.
We couldn't believe our luck when we found local artist Bob Graham, a.k.a. the Saltwater Cowboy.
The moment I entered into the dimly lit Honkytonk Saloon situated right off of I-26, exit 203 to Ladson, it was all Bud Light wishes and rhinestone dreams. I could feel the beer chasing my blues away, the whiskey drowning my worries ... I knew I'd be okay. I thought to myself, grinning ear to ear, "Damn, those were some good directions."
Before the United States, before the Carolinas, before the Americas, thousands of years before our European and African ancestors landed, willingly and not, on the shores of this vast country, there was a woman kneeling on the bank of the Catawba River.
While it had its moment in pop culture from the mid '60s to the mid '70s, the spaghetti western recently re-emerged from the dusty, sandy streets that it commonly rested in when Quentin Tarantino released his hyper violent western Django Unchained, a film that proudly owed many a debt to the sub genre.
In 1941, a traveling salesman changed John Spell's life. The man, from Stars of Tomorrow Studio, was out recruiting new students. A week from his sixth birthday, Spell was awestruck with the guitar, thumb pick, and metal bar before him in his Charleston living room.
Here's a fun fact for you: If you are one of the handful of lucky folks to get tickets to Thursday's big, Wild West themed Best of Charleston bash at the Charleston Area Convention Center, you'll have to leave the toy guns at home.
Listen cow people, mounting your ponies and hitting the prairie was no Sunday stroll.
Once upon a time, Jack — a young man of humble birth whose ancestors had never quite saved up enough to warrant a family name worth remembering — found himself before the Constable. Sworn to uphold the law in this quaint seaside town, the Constable twisted the corner of his mustache as Jack stood before him, dressed in tattered sackcloth barely fit for a worn-out mare put to pasture, no less a man.
If there is one character that is essential to all sci-fi, it's the robot. In fact, if one were to call Mary Shelley's Frankenstein a sci-fi novel — which it is, albeit with gothic trimmings — the Creature himself is more or less the first robot, a humanoid-esque beast pieced together and brought to life by his creator.
Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best sci-fi film of all time. It's better than Star Wars. Better than The Empire Strikes Back, Planet of the Apes, The Matrix, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Alien, Blade Runner, The Road Warrior, Akira, Close Encounters, Gattaca, Soylent Green, District 9, The Thing, West World, The Terminator, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Wall-E, and Star Trek II and IV and VI.
I'm going to preface this article with a warning: I don't know a lot about Star Trek. I respect it, I do the Vulcan salute more than I'd like to admit, and I'm a big fan of the Family Guy spoof episode. But other than that, well, I had to Google U.S.S. Enterprise, to give you some idea of my ignorance.
On March 18, 1978, at approximately 1:15 a.m., Deputy Pike Limehouse with the Dorchester Sheriff's Office was called out to a remote area near Summerville to investigate something that could not be explained. Speaking to a film crew later that year, the officer said that once he arrived on scene he was approached by a North Charleston resident by the name of Bill Herrmann, who told the deputy he would not believe what had happened.
We don’t know about you, but at last night’s Best of Charleston Party we partied like rock stars. Unfortunately, we’re paying for it today. No matter what we do, we can’t get Poison’s “Nothin’ but a Good Time” out of our heads.
See Also: Features Archives