For the first few years of CityBeat's existence, I couldn't be bothered with the paper's online presence. Publishing a startup newspaper with a small staff and very little money was hard enough-I didn't want my attention diverted from the printed product. Besides, we had a website, which we inherited from SLAMM, the magazine we gobbled up. It wasn't the greatest website in the world, I reasoned, but at least it put us on the Internet. And that would have to do.
My thinking on that changed probably about a year and a half ago. It's not that I suddenly became aware of the importance of a good, attractive, functional website-I've always known that. It's more a case of finally feeling secure enough about the printed paper to start focusing on the online version. We've long been pestering the suits at Southland Publishing Inc., our parent company, for a website overhaul. The company, which published only one newspaper when I started working for it in 1999, now puts out five alternative weeklies and four monthly magazines. The beast is bigger now, so, naturally, it moves a little slower. We're told a companywide web overhaul is in the works.
But we're not waiting around for that to happen before launching our first-ever CityBeat blog. (Yes, yes, we know-it's about time. Some of us are also thinking about getting cable television. Maybe.) You can check out CityBeat's newfangledest feature by going to our website (www.sdcitybeat.com) and clicking on the blog button we hope is there by the time you read this, or you can go there directly (sdcitybeat.wordpress.com). Our goal is to post a few times a day about news, culture, arts and entertainment, among other random spewage. We can't guarantee we won't post strange and terrifying details about our personal lives (after all, we alt-journalists are truly fascinating creatures-*gag*), but we'll try to keep that sort of thing to a minimum.
Speaking of fascinating creatures, we're absolutely euphoric about our newest columnist, Aaryn Belfer, whose “Backwards & in High Heels”-legend has it Ginger Rogers could do anything Fred Astaire could do, but “backwards and in high heels"-appears for the first time ever in this issue (on Page 8) and will rotate with Tony Phillips' “Because I Said So.”
Much like Tony, Aaryn is a CityBeat columnist because she was first an extraordinarily talented blogger. Check out rubysohoadventures.blogspot.com, and prepare to be impressed. Aaryn's a wonderfully intense human being who's lived in San Diego for 14 years, who counts when she jogs, whose feet are always cold, and who cries-a lot. She's also a bad-ass photographer, so, maybe if we're nice to her, maybe she'll let us publish some of her photos.
Speaking of bad-ass photography, the photo of Eileen Myles on our cover this week might be the coolest image we've ever published. It was shot by Angela Carone, who in real life is the art and culture producer for KPBS' These Days radio program. Some of you might remember that-for way too short a duration-Angela wrote thoughtful film reviews for us a while back. You'll be seeing more of her photography in CityBeat in the very near future.
And speaking of the very near future, that's when you'll be able to read “Political Lunacy,” Carl Luna's insightful take on politics, at its new home: right here in CityBeat. Carl, a political science professor at Mesa College who's used frequently as a pundit by various local media, has been opining about politics for the Union-Tribune for years, but he'll soon be ours, and we couldn't be prouder about that. It's a real feather in the ol' cap. Carl will write occasional in-depth news analyses in our “Front Lines” section, and we'll host his blog (politicallunacy.wordpress.com), which he'll start posting to later this week.
So: Start a blog-check. Bring in a columnist who can appeal to readers with a certain chromosome configuration-check. Find a kick-ass cover shooter-check. Hire a well-known politics writer away from the daily-check. OK, that leaves precisely 1,762,948 items on our to-do list.
We can't wait to be bigger and more successful-we want it all right now. All we need is more pages. We just have to keep telling ourselves that these things take time. Lots of time. Patience doesn't come easy to us, but we're trying to be patient. We're really, really trying.