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The end of the world began sometime after the sun rose on March 5, just as the first copies of Charleston City Paper‘s Best of Charleston 2008 hit the streets. The living dead suddenly appeared on Holy City streets, and they seemed to be following the City Paper‘s drivers, from distribution spot to distribution spot. And before long, the zombies were everywhere. No place was safe. Not the readers’ pick for Best Neighborhood Bar. Not the Best Tattoo Shop. Not the Best Florist. And everyone was in danger, including the Best Local Legislator, the Best Local TV Sports Anchor, the Best Local Actress, and the Best Sommelier. But in time, most Charlestonians came to a simple realization — being a zombie ain’t half bad. There’s something to be said for stumbling down King Street at midnight with a group of your moaning and groaning zombie brethren. Join us if you dare in our search for brains and booze.
We’re so predictable. Year in and year out, we grumble about City Council member John, State Senator Doe, and all our other elected officials, vowing to vote them all out next time. But when next time comes, what do we do? More often than not, we vote the same old folks right back into office. You’d think we were brain-dead zombies or something. That said, there are some good eggs out there, real servants to the community. If you’re interested in learning who Charleston City Paper readers chose as their favorite politicians and civic-minded folks, read on.
Each year about this time, they begin to descend upon our town, like an army of dumbstruck, digital camera clickin’ zombies. Of course, we’re talking about tourists. And there’s a reason they come here — we’ve got attractions galore. But our city is about more than entertaining ghouls from Ohio. It’s a place where folks work and play. Most importantly, it’s a place where people live. And that’s precisely why the living dead envy us. Especially Yankees.
If there’s one thing that the local media is good at, it’s scaring the living bejeezus out of folks. And unlike zombies, which are pretty doggone frightening in their own right, journalists seem to do it on purpose. Of course, not every reporter wants to make you wet your pants. Most really are trying to help us out. They let us know when the weather’s going to be bad. They tell us who won last night’s game. They bring a smile to our faces with their corny on-screen banter. Admit it. You love the local media as much as zombies love brains.
If a group of zombies had penned all the great classics of literature — from The Canterbury Tales to A Tale of Two Cities, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — the plot to each and every one of these works would be the same — BRAAAAINS. (And yes, you could try to argue with them that “braaaains” isn’t exactly a plot, but they wouldn’t listen. They would only groan and bite.) Speaking of artistic pursuits, Charleston’s something of a hot bed of entertainment, both high- and lowbrow. On the one hand, there’s Spoleto Festival USA, the CSO, and Bob Snead. On the other, there’s Theatre 99, Heavy Metal Karaoke, and Bob Snead. If you’re like us — and judging by your readers’ picks, we’re guessing you are — you like a bit of both.
The living dead aren’t exactly known for their fashion sense. They couldn’t care less if they were wearing Zac Posen or Baby Phat. For them, it’s all rags, all the time. Bor-ring. We need to round up all the zombies and send them to the folks at What Not to Wear. Those guys can do wonders for folks who routinely commit crimes against fashion. Judging by this year’s Readers’ Picks, you’re not that kind of person. Heck, you know exactly where to shop in this town. And your good sense isn’t limited to clothes either. Musical instruments, gourmet groceries, hardware, comic books, and a lot more.
With all the brain-eating and flesh-chomping that zombies do, you’d think the undead would pack on the pounds pretty quickly. Not so. Why? Let us point out the obvious: They’re always on their feet, and they’re always on the go. They don’t stop, and they never sleep. They burn calories 24/7. You, on the other hand, are probably shackled like a Microserf for eight or more hours out of the day to a computer and you sleep another six or so hours. But you still find ways to get your arms and legs moving and your heart beating if your readers’ picks are any indication. And that’s a good thing. You’ll need to be in tip-top shape when the zombie apocalypse finally happens.
Listen up, zombies. It can’t be red meat all the time. Actually, we’d rather it not be red meat any of the time, that is if eating red meat means you’re chomping on people parts. (Cow’s fine, the madder the better.) But seriously, you’ve got to get out there and experience other foods, like the oysters at Pearlz. Or the shrimp and grits at Hominy Grill. Or the she-crab soup at 82 Queen. All readers’ picks in the 2008 Best of Charleston poll.
Here’s the funny thing about zombies: Up until that moment that a ghoul actually tries to take a bite out of your neck, well, you may have a right difficult time determining whether or not that body is undead or simply drunk. The moaning, the stumbling, the need to eat fatty foods. It’s tough. Which is why it’s probably a good idea not to get completely smashed and go wandering about town — you’re bound to lose your head. Of course, we love a good drink as much as anybody — some of us more than others. And not surprisingly some of our favorite watering holes are yours too, according to the 2008 Best of Charleston Readers’ Picks.