OC Weekly, your favorite Orange County newsweekly publication and daily website seeking new ownership, won 17 awards and six honorable mentions for writing, design and photography at the Orange County Press Club Gala in Newport Beach Monday night.
The haul for work published in calendar year 2014 included 11 first-place awards, five second places and a third. Three tables full of Weeklings lapped up the lovun at a Balboa Bay Club ceremony that was capped by Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano boozily accepting the 2015 Sky Dunlap Award for Lifetime Achievement and Community Involvement.
We did not know who Sky Dunlap was either, but fortunately Press Club President and former Orange County Register staffer Dennis Foley explained the namesake was a dogged reporter in these parts awarded the "Sky" nickname because he stood 6-foot-6 or somesuch. So Gustavo was a shoo-in based on height alone!
Wait ... if this happened two nights ago, wouldn't our Mexican-In-Self-Promoting-Chief have crowed about it already?
What follows is a break down of the awards, the winners, the winning work (with links!) and comments from judges we pray are scraping together nickels and dimes to buy this infernal rag.
Best Public Affairs Story Second place: Andrew Galvin, OC Weekly United We Tramp: How Santa Ana's Homeless Rose Up Comments: Galvin examines a national issue not limited to California. An excellent and well-documented examination of a real problem with actual marginalized people behind the abstract numbers in the course of battle for a year-'round center--not just a seasonal one--for homeless people and their belongings. The story raises and asks the important questions.
Best Feature Story Second place: Nate Jackson, OC Weekly Punk Rock Pastor Joe Furey's Life of Addiction, Loss and Recovery Makes Him the Perfect Man to Preach to the Imperfect Comments: This is a great story of recovery and revival, it's as inspirational as it is interesting with tremendous detail and color.
Honorable Mention: Charles Lam, OC Weekly The Very Merry Un-Gangs of Disneyland Comments: Loved the topic--truly a NEWS feature. The writer tells a great story--interesting and original story about a place we can all identify. Great read throughout.
Best Round-up or "Best Of" Feature First place: OC Weekly Staff, OC Weekly Classiest Summer Ever! Comments: Lots of fun information here with good variety. Every town write up is a gem and well written. Cypress is especially hilarious. Great layout and gorgeous, tongue-in-check photos add a lot to the whole reader experience. Best Business Story Third place: Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly Aaron Kushner's Wrecking Ball Comments: This article speaks from the heart about a topic that affects everyone, journalists and readers alike. It digs into the reasons behind why this specific business model to expand local news did not succeed, painting the pictures to show readers rather than tell them. Best Sports Story Second place: Matt Coker, OC Weekly The Slugger: Mark Trumbo Comments: Terrific profile of a hometown baseball star getting traded from the team he rooted for as a boy. Overall a fluid read.
Best Arts or Culture Story First place: Charles Lam, OC Weekly Little Saigon's Café Queen Comments: Phenomenal article. Expertly written, descriptive to the point that I felt as if I were sitting in the cafe, and insightful. Lam captured and illustrated this topic beautifully.
Second place: LP Hastings, OC Weekly Fullerton's Magoski Arts Colony Is Orange County's Last, Best Hope for an Artist Shangri-La Comments: Outstanding writing, remarkably descriptive. A joy to read.
Best Arts or Culture Review First place: Dave Barton, OC Weekly Satyr Motorcycle Club's Road Warriors Comments: Fantastic writing. I felt as if I took a step back in time. Thank you for highlighting such an important part of history and acknowledging those who dealt with society's attitudes when it was difficult to come out. Bravo!
Best Music or Entertainment Review First place: Matt Coker, OC Weekly Gary Webb never said no to the truth Comments: Interesting and original because the writer did an effective job of inserting his own voice as a critic into the review. Beyond simply issuing a summary of the plot points and cinematic hits and misses, Coker uses the film as a springboard to offer commentary on moviemaking, the mainstream media and the state of journalism.
Best Food or Restaurant Story Honorable Mention: Gustavo Arellano, Edwin Goei, Charles Lam and Dave Lieberman, OC Weekly "OC Food Issue 2014: Wrap-tastic!" Comments: Lively writing, good useful tips, great description
Best Food/Restaurant Review Honorable Mention: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly "Go Dutch to the Dutch Club AVIO"
Best Profile Honorable Mention: Matt Coker, OC Weekly An Inconvenient Thirst: Rain Can't Save Us From This Drought
David McQuay Award for Best Columnist Honorable Mention: R. Scott Moxley, Moxley Confidential, OC Weekly 1) How OC Law Enforcement Locked Up an Innocent 14-Year-Old Boy for Two Years 2) Larry Agran Spent $200 Million At Great Park, But His Adviser Scores New York Times Story 3) Is Orange County Jail a Pleasure Palace? Prosecutor: Bribed deputy let killer enjoy weekly sex dates, marijuana and porn
Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story First place: OC Weekly Staff, OC Weekly OC's Scariest People 2014! Comments: Irreverent and grinding the edge of good taste, this wrapup sets the épée to public figures with text as a political cartoonist does with a pen. And it shows why you can't spell "touché" without "ouch." Honorable Mention: Matt Coker, OC Weekly An Open Letter of Apology to Angels "El Hombre" Pujols Comments: Tonight's entrée is crow with a side of chuckles.
Best Food Blog Gustavo Arellano, Dave Lieberman, Edwin Goei and Charles Lam, Stick a Fork In It, OC Weekly 1) Vietnamese Food is Hip Now (And I Hate That) 2) Chipotle Now Says It Tried to Invite Latino Authors for Its "Cultivating Thought" Bag-and-Cup Series 3) Five Things Downtown Santa Ana Needs 4) At Din Tai Fung, the Waiting is the Hardest Part 5) "Watered-Down Ketchup Broth and Tomato Skins": A Foodie Reviews the Food in the OC Jail! Comments: A wonderful collection of writings: memories of the best food of our past becoming cool, convincing arguments for Latin writers, and a description of a dumpling that still has my mouth watering. This blog is a winner because of such fine talent.
Best News or Political Blog First place: Matt Coker, Navel Gazing, OC Weekly 1) Huntington Beach Investigates Elephant Being Used in Resort Wedding Ceremony Despite Ban 2) Kent Wycliffe Easter's Monumental Drug Planting Retrial: Now with More Bombshells! 3) Lyna Warden Finally Gets to Tell Weekly Readers What the Man She Loved Did to Her 4) Transgender Activist Zoraida Reyes Was Choked to Death by Randy Lee Parkerson: Prosecutors 5) Jesse Jackson and Fellow UCI Ebola Panelists Agree All We Have to Fear is Fear Itself Comments: Fascinating collection of writings. Timely stories that are well told.
SPECIAL The Real O.C. Award First place: Joel Beers, OC Weekly "The Santa Ana River Is Ready for Its Renaissance" Comments: "The Santa Ana River Is Ready for Its Renaissance" paints a beautiful picture of this historic river. Well researched and filled with details, Beers explains how this river defined Orange County in many ways.
And now for the winners in design and graphics ...
DESIGN AND GRAPHICS Best Cover Design
First place: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly "The Very Merry Un-Gangs of Disneyland" Comments: Nicely contrasts the World of Disney and the underworld of gangs. Good job on the details like the use of the Disney font. This cover probably sparked a lot of conversations.
Best Graphic or Illustration
First place: Bob Aul, OC Weekly Comments: Wow! This certainly must have generated some local controversy. However, the graphic itself is detailed and extremely clever. The artist obviously is a forward-thinker who is comfortable taking a risk to make his point. Great job!
Second place: John Gilhooley, OC Weekly Joe Furey Comments: Nice lighting. It's a portrait that captures my attention. Best Slideshow
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First place: Eric Hood, OC Weekly 21st Annual Civil War Days Living History & Reenactment Comments: These photos made me want to be there. The challenge of covering staged events is to make them feel real and to find the humanity. This slide show did both and through in humor as well. Good job!