"So, I see here that Summer Guideis coming up," I said to the assembled staff at one of my earlier meetings as the Weekly's editor. "You're all smart, creative people, brimming with scintillating ideas. Tell me, what should we do for the cover?"
People looked around at one another. "Uh, well," one veteran staffer began with a shrug. "We've usually just kinda, you know, traditionally? Gone with a pretty girl in a bikini. Kind of thing."
I glowered. "I don't care what we've done traditionally!" I snapped. "I want a new direction, something unexpected, something bold. A pretty girl in a bikini? Is that all you got?"
Wheeling on our new art director, Joey Santos, I declared, "Don't listen to these people. Come up with something fresh and exciting—and it better not be a pretty girl in a goddamn bikini."
Joey nodded and stroked his beard contemplatively. (He does that a lot.)
Well, as you can see from the issue you're looking at, Joey did, in fact, come up with a fresh, exciting new direction for the cover. Jason Levesque's luminous illustration is of a pretty girl in a tankini. Totally different.
Of course, this issue still has everything Orange County has come to expect from the Weekly's Summer Guides: surfin' stories; barbecue tips; retro summer fashion; and rundowns of the season's best movies (and their attendant action figures), video games, indoor and outdoor theatrical productions, music festivals, club openings, books, and art fests. It also holds a few surprises: tales of both summer love and the Summer of Love gone wrong, an activist Vietnamese American pageant contestant, the county's newest drive-in, and the most up-to-date count of Mexicans on the grass in Corona del Mar.
Some of the names on these stories are very familiar to Weekly readers, others less so. But every one of them has helped put together a collection of stories as exhilarating, maddening, thought-provoking and intoxicating as the OC summer itself. Enjoy.