About a year and a half ago, some of us Weekly folks were in a meeting when Best of Tucson™ art ideas came up.
We were brainstorming, just in case an art-theme contest we were having didn't work out. (It worked out beautifully, leading to last year's Roaring '20s theme, illustrated with Ruben Moreno's elegant art.) Someone threw out the idea of a pirate theme, probably as a lark. I chimed in something to the effect of, "Yeah! They can be desert pirates!" Another staff member, who shall remain nameless, thought that idea sounded--literally--gay, leading to a joke theme of gay desert pirates! (Stunningly, there was no alcohol at this meeting. God only knows the ideas we would have come up with had there been.)
Eventually, we moved on to other ideas, and the meeting ended. But the pirate idea stuck in our minds, and as we were wrapping up last year's Best of Tucson™ and started to look toward this year's, we asked Wes Hargis to do some rough sketches, just for fun. We loved what he came up with, and the pirate theme--the gay part (mostly) excepted--moved from joke theme to real theme.
And that's how this year's art and theme came about.
The rest of the issue ... well, it came about through a lot of hard work by a lot of very talented people. There's the aforementioned Wes Hargis, whose art exceeded our rather high expectations. There's Annie Holub, who counted the print-version ballots, which is an enormously time-consuming task. Then there are our two photographers, Jason Swift and Kelly Rashka, who put in long hours to get just the right shots. There's our fantastic design staff--Duane Hollis, Brendan O'Rourke, Arek Sarkissian II and former staffer Joshua Swift--led by the effervescent Hugh Dougherty. I'd be an idiot not to recognize Irene Messina and Saxon Burns, who ably assisted in the editing and proofing of this issue. Then there are the 32 men, women and (people who act like) children who wrote all the blurbs and features. Finally, we must thank the ad staff, led by Joann Hardy Carranza, Jill A'Hearn, Sean Ardry and Veronica Bonfiglio, for bringing in the booty.
But the biggest thanks goes to two groups. First, props go to the 1,251 of you who took the time to fill out proper, rules-abiding ballots. Without you, we couldn't do this issue. And second, thanks to all the businesses, individuals, groups and organizations who are being spotlighted in the Best of Tucson™. Without you, Tucson wouldn't be worth a fictional raid by cartoonish, occasionally cross-dressing desert pirates.
Welcome to Best of Tucson™ 20. Enjoy!