This week's issue is a little off our normal format, with basically two features instead of the Currents/cover story combo we usually run with. We had previously scheduled Eric Swedlund's great profile of author Justin St. Germain as his memoir, Son of a Gun, hits bookshelves this week for the cover this week, but as we received the news of legendary Southern Arizona journalist Jeff Smith's passing as we were on deadline last week, I knew we needed to put together something to pay tribute to both his legacy and legend. While I didn't know Smith personally, I hope those who did feel like we managed to capture what made him one of Arizona's most interesting and compelling personalities for decades.
Jeff Smith wrote for the Weekly when I came back to Tucson after a failed attempt to attend college and while I couldn't quite always get my head around his gun-totin' style, I loved how quickly his words seemed to move, that he didn't seem to be concerned with who he upset and that there was a publication where he had the opportunity to yell at readers each week. I'm not sure I even knew what an alt-weekly was back then, other than seeing the Village Voice on newsstands sometimes, but it just seemed cool that writers like Smith were out there. Now, as the editor, the gig can be a bit exhausting at times, but the opportunity to give another generation of smart, opinionated and sometimes infuriating writers a venue to do their best work is a real honor.
If you're interested in celebrating Jeff's life, his wake/memorial will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24 in Patagonia at their town gazebo (with air-conditioned overflow at the senior center) at 1 p.m. The email I received mentioned that "food and story-telling and so forth" would be involved, which sounds like a pretty good time.
In happier news, congratulations and best wishes to Jim Nintzel and his wife, Jennifer, on the birth of their daughter. As someone who has tried to answer the series of occasionally confusing questions about children that Nintzel has posed over the last few months, this journey into parenthood should be a fascinating adventure for everyone involved.