Here at Listen! Watch! Eat! we’re so excited for the end of the year roundup that we can hardly type. Thanks to all our audience for being around for the roller coaster ride of 2012, and we know you love the list as much as we do, so let’s get right to it.
Real talk: Pig Leg owned this year. Topher T.’s rich, growling vocals never sounded tougher, and the twin-guitar assault of the Laughlin Twins dropped a Television-quality buzzsaw all over Leggsy and Bags’ rolling unguent beat. No one could have predicted than an offal joke band could go from food truck to headliner in such a short time, but the ‘Leg won our hearts long after they’d left the giblets behind. We’ve heard an advance copy of their upcoming “Uncured” album and you already love it. Trust us.
Anyone who spent as much time as we did at the Rusty Rooster knows how much Garry Turgenev ruled this year. If we said “it’s just slap bass and spoken word” there wouldn’t be many takers, but anyone who goes just once understands. Garry’s branching out, too. The few of us who caught him jamming with Uncle Aloha at the Sausage Festival know he’s got a few more tricks up his sleeve. Stay tuned closely to this station—and to Garry—for a kick-ass year.
This isn’t a big Krautrock town, but we have a treasure. You know who we mean. It’s Leverkühn, who ripped us all a new one this year when we least expected it. Thursday nights at Balder’s was a pop-up temple of the Teutonic. Hissing backbeats and unexpectedly laminated malignancy oiled the groove for some Faustian noodling and snapped-down wrenching worthy of Neu! Don’t be intimidated by Euro-styled hair and apparent ennui. Grab this schnitzel next year.
And by film we mean indie film, and by indie we mean local. You know what that means: Gazpacho. The single-named soup-named auteur made his usual 24 short films this year, each one a lapidary gem. “Thirty Minutes at the Drive Through” rocked our world the hardest, with an intense focus on commerce and boredom that hit us right here. Nobody didn’t like the Egg Cycle, either: four films d’oeuf in four locations in four days is a record even within the highly competitive Alimentary School. Not every town has a film scene, much less a powerhouse savant like the G-Man. Honor that shit!
The Elephant Leg Collective continues to hold it down with their film happenings at Sammy Peep’s. A late Tuesday night means two things: Irish Coffee and the Elephant’s Leg Collage on the wall outside. Despite the heavy hand of the law, the proud pachyderms screened four films at once eight times this year, to the delight of a well-warmed crowd. Our personal vote goes to the “Four Die Hards of Christmas.” Let’s hope for a less litigious year for the trunksters.
When it comes to local and sustainable, there’s no tastier activists than the Food Bike Posse. Going where trucks cannot, these intense but charming young men have powered the Bunny Bacon BLT, Big Balut Burger, Boston Baked Bones, and everyone’s favorite Bat Balls dessert all over town. They won’t admit who the top chef is in their strictly egalitarian collective, but those in the know point to the guy they call Big Nacho. We hear with sympathy the controversy about their “No Dames” policy, but maybe the kerfuffle will give us a posse of Grrl Pastry Cyclists or even a Lunch Lady ride!
Boy, what a storm we had this year over Konys! Owner/chef Topher Ian is the first to admit his concept invites controversy. His international humanitarian focus has a laser-like intensity that shows in everything from the décor to the award-winning menu. You don’t know food in this town until you’ve had his small plates under photographic documentation of ethnic cleansing. The contrast makes a tremendous point, and the tofu/pretzel “hot wings” compete with the artisanal walnut-wrapped pork fat for piquant, energizing snap. Word has it that the atrocities video loop over the bar may give way to soul-searching documentaries, but the barberry Old Fashioned will keep flowing.
Gackers! We all say it at once after a long day or a long night. There’s no better restorative than Manny T.’s nouveau churrascaria, and since he went 24-hour it’s the only place in town past midnight. Our favorites include the toasted snout wrap, “deviled egg” of shaved kidney, and the Tuesdays-only Maw Pie Skewer. Word has it Manny is planning a Pan European Smoked Meat drive-through that might just get us over to the East Side after all.
Be sure and share your year-end favorites and opinions on ours! Hit up that comments section and join the conversation. Here’s to a great 2013 from Topher L. and the whole gang!