It's a busy time here at CityBeat. New columns, awards (both to and from us), an anniversary. Plus we're trying to unload our Reds-Braves playoff tickets. Need any green seats?
We're picking up two national columns that readers have been clamoring for for a while — "Savage Love," which debuts this week, and "News of the Weird," which comes on board in a couple of weeks. I hope you're happy.
"Savage Love," penned by Seattle writer Dan Savage, is a frank, practical approach to sexuality and relationships that runs in The Village Voice, Chicago Reader, SF Weekly, The Stranger and two dozen other alternative newsweeklies around the country. Dan also is a regular contributor to NPR's This American Life (see our cover story on the show, issue of July 22-28) and writes a regular advice column on the ABC News Web site.
I've been considering adding "Savage Love" for a long time but, frankly, have wondered how Dan's sex advice would go over here. But when we ran his feature story on the Littleton, Colo., massacre ("Beware the Geek," issue of June 10-16) and received a bunch of positive feedback from readers, I knew Dan's writing would be a breath of fresh air in Cincinnati.
"Savage Love," as Dan likes to say, has everything readers crave in a column — it's funny, controversial, addictive, interactive, useful, and it's about sex. Read by 4 million alternative paper aficionados each week, he's sparked debate on cultural topics from women's orgasms, safe sex and abusive boyfriends to Christians, Hollywood blockbusters and gerbils.
"News of the Weird" is, well, news of weird people doing weird stuff. You know it, you love it, you can't live without it.
Michael Blankenship's "Power of One" column assumes its new position this week with a profile of little-known Cincinnati activists throughout history. A noted activist and rabble-rouser himself, Michael believes passionately that one person can still make a difference in this community.
Keep an eye open for other future column debuts in the News section.
This issue also features the 1999 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Nominating Guide, a look at the local musicians and theater performers nominated by the CEA's panel of expert judges. This is the third annual CEA project, which once again benefits LINKS (Lonely Instruments for Needs Kids). And, once again, Cinergy and Buddy Roger's Music are the main sponsors.
The awards are a great way to recognize Cincinnati's hard-working and underappreciated performing artists, and you get to do the appreciating. Vote for CEA winners in the Nominating Guide and online at www.citybeat.com. Look for details in coming weeks about musician showcases at area clubs and about the awards show itself.
Speaking of details to come, we're putting the finishing touches on plans to celebrate CityBeat's fifth anniversary. They involve a week's worth of public events — centered around music, film, theater, art and books — that culminate in the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards on Nov. 22.
Stay tuned for specifics.
Some nice recognition came our way recently when CityBeat picked up seven awards in the 1999 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists contest, including first place nods for our 1999 Annual Manual (Best Stand-Alone Publication), the 1998 Best of Cincinnati issue (Best Special Section) and our coverage of the Enquirer/Chiquita debacle (Best Media Criticism). We competed with magazines, daily newspapers and weekly newspapers across Ohio under 100,000 circulation — and did pretty well.
One of those magazines, Cincinnati Magazine, threw a compliment our way in their current "Best of the City" issue, naming Steve Ramos a "Best of the Best" for his arts reporting and film criticism. Of course, we heartily agree — but we're going to have to redo all the doors in our office to get Steve's head through them.
My head might be a tight fit, too, after MediaGossip.com, the hottest place on the Web for inside media dirt, picked up last week's cover story on The Enquirer's stalemate with its pressmen's union ("Don't Tread on Me").
That's it for now. Enjoy Savage. Get Weird. Vote for your favorite local musicians and actors. And pick up CityBeat next week and do it again. ©