You know your publication is doing right when you become the talk of the local press club awards ceremony not just for all the awards you won, but also all the awards you didn't win--and also for the people in your paper who couldn't be in attendance, and for getting the keynote speaker to fuck up his own retrospective with his loathing of your writers.
That's exactly what happened on Tuesday at the annual Orange County Press Club Awards. As usual, your favorite infernal rag slaughtered the Special Olympics--18 awards in total, and 9 first-placers, our largest haul since 2010's 22, back in the days when we had three more staff writers, and meself and managing editor Nick Schou had more time to write. But that wasn't good enough for host (and Orange County Register magazine editor) Kedric Francis, who had to point out this was the first time in years we didn't win more awards than anyone else because Aaron Kushner's happy tribe now held that honor. HA!
Sure, Kedric, ustedes got more awards total than us--even more if you include your fine OC Register Magazine's tally, which I don't because your big winner there Jim Washburn, who's OC Weekly POR VIDA. But if you want to play that game, we still beat the Reg in the first-place winners (your 7 to our 9) despite the Register being at least 20 times larger than our paper. Tee-hee!
All of our winners can be found at the Press Club's Facebook page, but special shout-outs to the first-placers: art director Dustin Ames for Best Headline for our "Where's the Black People At?" special report, Gabriel San Román and others in Public Affairs for the same story; Dave Lieberman for Best Food Blog and Dave Barton for Best Arts criticism; former staffer Michelle Woo for Best Personality Profile for her piece on import-car pioneer Ken Miyoshi; Nate Jackson for Best Music/Entertainment Story for his profile of our late, great photographer Andrew Youssef; and Matt Coker with THREE golds: Best Sports Story (profile on Mickey Thompson's son), Best Music/Entertainment review (for Newport Beach Film Festival coverage) and Best News blog (for his Navel Gazing desmadre).
Congrats, of course, to the rest of us who placed: Me, web editor Taylor Hamby, R. Scott Moxley, Nick for helping me edit all the pieces, and Patty Marsters, who didn't enter anything but copy edited it all. But back to the Register.
Sources tell me Kusher and his management made an extra-hard push to get awards this year, specifically to beat us--cool! Their win total brought a lot of smirks to its writers that night, so I hear--and I say "so I hear" because I wasn't there, called to a higher service. Yet that didn't stop me from making former Reg columnist Frank Mickadeit the ass of the night anew.
Mickadeit--who now fancies himself a curious mix of Atticus Finch and Don Draper--was in attendance to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Folks tell me he couldn't help but to brag about his new job--something about being in an office where the plants were as big as secretaries? Um, okay...but even more pathetic was his comments about me. In a time where he should've concentrated on his career and thanking those who helped him, Mickadeit couldn't help but to take slams at me--twice. One was about how he noticed myself and Moxley not in attendance...and he respected Scott (that's a big lie: Frank despises Mox). The other one was about how he saw that someone bid $20 for a book of mine I offered at the charity auction...and he bid $15. BURN...
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The swipes would be funny if it didn't offer insight into Mickadeit's psyche, because being a petty pendejo is what Frank does best. Readers will recall how he also took a swipe at me during his farewell column, ruining what was otherwise a truly touching piece. Hey, Frank: may the next time we see each other...oh wait, that won't happen because I hang out with the Poverty Row freaks and geeks of the Weekly, and you hang out with the insufferable millionaire douchebags you so desperately want to become. Congrats: you're already at 2 out of 3!
And finally, a note to OC Register food critic Brad A. Johnson: wearing a clown mask to hide your identity? After appearing on a national food show? Beneath you.