AAN Names 2012 AltWeekly Awards Finalists

Out of 1,108 entries submitted to the AltWeekly Awards, the finalists below represent some of the finest work to appear in alternative publications across the U.S. and Canada in 2011.

AAN received entries from 90 of its member publications. Those entries were reviewed, picked apart, and ranked by a heroic gang of 87 judges from academia, national magazines, daily newspapers, and across the internet. We’ll be releasing a full list of judges in the coming days.

The finalists are listed in alphabetical order by publication within each category.

The winners will be announced on Friday, June 8, during an afternoon reception at the AAN Convention in Detroit.

  • Writing Categories
  • Online Categories
  • Design Categories
  • Outside-the-Box


    ARTS CRITICISM circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: That 70s Movie; Daydream Believers; and Baseball’s Bargain Basement by J.R. Jones

    Phoenix New Times: Weird-Looking Churches; Leave It to the Kids; and Refugee Community Training Garden by Robrt L. Pela

    Washington City Paper: No Russian Accent–but Plenty of Ennui; The Arena Rocker Who Fiddled; and Torture for Dummies by Chris Klimek

    ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 50,000

    Independent Weekly (NC): To the end of the world; Somewhere strips the glamour; and A West African colonial nightmare by Nathan Gelgud

    The Pitch: Young Adult; Melancholia; and Moneyball by Scott Wilson

    Style Weekly: Unparalleled Parking; Pleasure Garden; and Arrested Development by Edwin Slipek, Jr.

    ARTS FEATURE circulation 50,000 and over

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Life in the Belle Jar by Wyatt Williams

    Philadelphia Weekly: Made to Change by Tara Murtha

    SF Weekly: The Art of the Steal by Joe Eskenazi

    ARTS FEATURE circulation under 50,000

    Cleveland Scene: Dark Days for the Black Arts by Anastasia Pantsios

    Nashville Scene: The House that Jack Built by Adam Gold

    Weekly Alibi: Raising Hell in the Land of Enchantment by Sam Adams

    COLUMN circulation 50,000 and over

    Metro Times: Undercover Brothers; Mulenga’s Tinfoil Hat; and Crisis on the Corner by Larry Gabriel

    Pittsburgh City Paper: Bittersweet Lesson; Bank Statements; and False Choice by Chris Potter

    The Village Voice: Why I Hate Being Gay! 62 Reasons!; Help! Blandness Has Taken Over Our Culture!; and Fame Is Better Than Drugs And I Want To Mainline That Shitby Michael Musto

    COLUMN circulation under 50,000

    Maui Time: Kula Kid: Give A Buck; Love Is In The Fair; and Green Dumb by Anu Yagi

    San Antonio Current: Lone Star Green: Endangered Species Act; ‘Clean’ Coal; and Texas Cooks by Greg Harman

    San Luis Obispo New Times: Wild Christmas; Kids These Days; and Mood Music by Nick Powell

    COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation 50,000 and over

    Long Island Press: $4 Per Gallon: Beating The Oil Drum (PDF); The Dow Of Poo (PDF); and A Slippery Slope To Fascism (PDF) by Jed Morey

    Metro Times: Dems: Gutless Cowards; Granholm’s World; and Aiming at John Conyers by Jack Lessenberry

    Phoenix New Times: Recalling Russell Pearce;His Own Worst Enemy; and Kissing His Political Career Goodbye by Stephen Lemons

    COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation under 50,000

    East Bay Express: Cops Charging Overtime to Clubs; Marcie Hodge Loses, Again; and The Absent Police Chief by Robert Gammon

    Jackson Free Press: Hazardous Civility; Immigrants vs. Profit; and And the Good News Is… by Tom Head

    Monterey County Weekly: Reefer Madness; Shared Sins; and Shut ‘Em Down by Mary Duan

    Tucson Weekly: Tax the Rich; Greed; and Occupy and Economics by Renee Downing

    FEATURE STORY circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: The Price of Intolerance Part 1 and Part 2 by Steve Bogira

    Seattle Weekly: Lawrence Williams: No Romeo by Caleb Hannan

    The Village Voice: Guys Who Like Fat Chicks by Camille Dodero

    FEATURE STORY circulation under 50,000

    Missoula Independent: The Reckoning by Jamie Rogers

    San Diego CityBeat: Injustice Served by David Rolland

    Santa Fe Reporter: Undercover by Sharyn Jackson

    FOOD WRITING circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: Next Restaurant; The 23 Enigma; and No Jacket Required by Mike Sula

    L.A. Weekly: Red Medicine; Noodle Boy; and Cochon 555’s Traveling Pork and Wine Bacchanalia by Jonathan Gold

    SF Weekly: Shark’s Fin–Understanding the Political Soup; Tacko: The Nantucket Gringo Take on the Taco; and Leatherneck Steakhouse by Jonathan Kauffman

    FOOD WRITING circulation under 50,000

    Independent Weekly (NC): The man who designed the Oreo cookie and A brief history of pimento cheese by Emily Wallace

    Mountain Xpress: Mud Fish and Menudo; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; and Everything’s Better with Butter by Mackensy Lunsford

    Seven Days: Suddenly Sushi; The Spirits That Move Them; and Resurrecting Hops by Corin Hirsch

    INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: The Grass Gap; What is Pot Prosecution Good For?; The $78 Million Bag; and The Politics of Pot by Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke

    Miami New Times: McKay Scholarship Fraud: Scholarship Program Sparks a Cottage Industry of Fraud and Chaos; The Fraud Hall of Shame; Coach Bernard Wright’s Talent Trap; Notorious Miami Football Recruiter Has New Diploma Mill; Diploma Mill Gets More Taxpayer Dollars; Head of Fraud-Plagued Scholarship Program Talks; and Expose Prompts Reform; by Gus Garcia-Roberts

    Washington City Paper: Reports on D.C. Child-Welfare System: Outsourcing Troubled Kids (with supporting documents); The One City Official Who Understood; Is CFSA Fudging Stats (Part 1) and (Part 2)?; D.C. Youth Has Arm Broken by Staff at Treatment Facility; Child Welfare Director Responds; Is D.C. Neglecting Neglect?; and Cover Story Subject Arrested by Jason Cherkis

    INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation under 50,000

    Cleveland Scene: What the Boy Saw by Kyle Swenson

    North Coast Journal: Vulnerable: Part 1 and Part 2 by Carrie Peyton Dahlberg

    Texas Observer: Lifestyles of the Corrupt and Elected by Dave Mann and Abby Rapoport

    MEDIA REPORTING / CRITICISM circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): WCCO Duck Dog Story; WCCO Airs Video of Woman’s Suicide; and New York Times Quotes Anonymous City Pages Blog Commenter by Kevin Hoffman

    Dallas Observer: Dallas Morning News Tippy-Toes Away; How Not to Humiliate Yourself as a Journalist; and Picking Apart The Dallas Morning News’ Smug Sense by Jim Schutze

    Miami New Times: Jaime Bayly is Dying by Michael E. Miller

    MEDIA REPORTING/CRITICISM circulation under 50,000

    Fort Worth Weekly: The Incredible Shrinking Star-Telegram by Jeff Prince

    Nashville Scene: Guided by Voices and Super Size News by Matt Pulle

    Seven Days: Boxed In: Can Vermont Public Television Survive? by Megan James and Margot Harrison

    MUSIC REPORTING/CRITICISM circulation 50,000 and over

    L.A. Weekly: Falling James’ Gig of the Week: Buffalo Springfield at the Wiltern; The Go-Go’s and Girl in a Coma; and Morrissey & Kristeen Young by James Moreland

    Metro Times: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman; Anna Waronker; and Reviews for the Easily Distracted by Brian Smith

    Phoenix New Times: Premier Queensryche Tribute Band Lived the Dream; Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and The Walkmen; and Is Aaron Lewis the World’s Most Obnoxious Country-Western Wanna-Be? by Jason Woodbury

    MUSIC REPORTING / CRITICISM circulation under 50,000

    Independent Weekly (NC): The Trend of Reissues; Why Indie Rock Continues to Ignore the Drive-By Truckers; and The Triangle’s Top 10 albums of 2011 by Grayson Currin

    North Bay Bohemian: Morning Glory; gOoD-bAiT; and Lapse of Reason by Gabe Meline

    Pacific Northwest Inlander: Dream Catcher; Becoming Metallica; and K. Clifton by Leah Sottile

    NEWS STORY (LONG FORM) circulation 50,000 and over

    Dallas Observer: Rick Perry’s Manufactured Miracle by Jim Schutze

    L.A. Weekly: Wheelchair Hell in Men’s Central Jail andMen’s County Jail Visitor Viciously Beaten by Chris Vogel

    New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Pressing Charges Against a TSA Officer Over a $450 Penby Stefan Kamph

    Riverfront Times: Why Isn’t Reggie Allen Behind Bars? by Nicholas Phillips

    NEWS STORY (LONG FORM) circulation under 50,000

    Cleveland Scene: Call it Even by Vince Grzegorek

    Fort Worth Weekly: The Power of Alienation by Jeff Prince

    Missoula Independent: Orient Express by Matthew Frank

    Texas Observer: Intent to Harm by Saul Elbein

    NEWS STORY (SHORT FORM) circulation 50,000 and over

    Miami New Times: Santeria Stalker; Guns Online: No Permit Needed; The Fight to Bury Venezuelan President CAP in Miami by Tim Elfrink

    Philadelphia City Paper: Ackerman’s Message Machine; Avoiding the Subject; and Big East by Daniel Denvir

    The Village Voice: Life Under Occupation; Occupational Hazards; and To the Barricades, Variously by Rosie Gray

    NEWS STORY (SHORT FORM) circulation under 50,000

    Colorado Springs Independent: Benefit of the Doubt; Shaking the Foundation at AFA; and Wedding Bell Blues by Pam Zubeck

    East Bay Express: The Blair Park Project; Solar is Still Humming; and How Organic is Organic? by Nate Seltenrich

    San Diego CityBeat: Poor Returns; Greenhouse Effect; and Tribe Attempts to Evict Private Military Contractor by Dave Maass

    PUBLIC SERVICE circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): RNC Piggy Bank by Andy Mannix and Mike Mullen

    Metro Times: Ambassador Bridge Series: Taking a Toll; When Matty Wins, We All Lose; Lowering the Boom; Gateway: The Big Picture;A Statesman Emerges; Fenced Out; Delray Foray; Lies Before Your Eyes; Found in Contempt, Matty Strikes Back; and A Bogus Argument (Video) by Curt Guyette, Jack Lessenberry, and Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman

    Philadelphia Weekly: The Rape Issue by Philadelphia Weekly Staff

    PUBLIC SERVICE circulation under 50,000

    Jackson Free Press: Mississippi Defeats Personhood: Ready, Boots? Start Marching!; Danger Looming Large; Preparing for Battle; It’s About Women’s Rights; Where is the Line?; Personhood Supporters Shocked; A Pandora’s Box; Grassroots Mamas Tell All; Inside Yes on 26; and What the Mamas Taught Us by Valerie Wells, Elizabeth Waibel, Lacey McLaughlin, Donna Ladd, Lori Garrott, Shannon Barbour, Stacey Spiehler, and Funmi Franklin

    San Luis Obispo New Times: The Homeless Project by Ashley Schwellenbach, Colin Rigley, Nick Powell, Matt Fountain, Anna Weltner, Maeva Considine, Ryan Miller, Steve E. Miller, and Robert McDonald

    Santa Fe Reporter: Santa Fe Public Schools: A Teachable Moment; Left Behind; Add It Up; Bully Pulpit; Numbers Game; Specialized Ed; Zero Sum; Public Schools by the Numbers; School Board Violated Rights; and Baby on Board by Wren Abbott and Alexa Schirtzinger

    SPECIAL TOPIC: ECONOMIC INEQUALITY circulation 50,000 and over

    Baltimore City Paper: Hardly Working by Edward Ericson Jr.

    Metro Times: Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by “Detroitblogger” John Carlisle

    Philadelphia Weekly: Separation Anxiety by Daniel Denvir

    SPECIAL TOPIC: ECONOMIC INEQUALITY circulation under 50,000

    LEO Weekly: Hitting a Wall; Rise and Fall; and Hype or Hope? by Anne Marshall

    Orlando Weekly: Bare Minimum by Jeff Gore

    Pacific Northwest Inlander: Future Unknown (PDF) by Daniel Walters


    INDIVIDUAL BLOG All Publications

    Boston Phoenix: Talking Politics: Horseshit in the Legislature; Romney’s No-Lose Life; Linehan Whitening His District; Romney’s Ad; and Casinos, Trans, and Whatnot by David S. Bernstein

    San Antonio Current: The Wicked Stage: Rock of Ages; NYC Theater Weekend; and Osage County in Austin by Thomas E. Jenkins

    Washington City Paper: Housing Complex: More Disneyfication Coming to Chinatown; Vince Gray Enthusiastically Endorses Trade Center He Heard About Last Night; Two More Walmarts in D.C.; Supermarkets Getting Really Sweet Deals; and Walmart’s Alternative Reality by Lydia DePillis

    MULTIMEDIA All Publications

    Houston Press: Gulf Coast Sushi: The Fish That Got Away; The Art of Ike Jime; and The Roughest Catch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 by Katharine Shilcutt

    Long Island Press: Tunnelvision: Inside The East Side Access Project by Spencer Rumsey, Rashed Mian, and Jon Sasala

    NOW Magazine: Best of Toronto by Adam Foorde and Joshua Errett

    MUSIC BLOG All Publications

    City Pages (Twin Cities): Gimme Noise: Why We Didn’t Sign Foo Fighters Photo Waiver; fDeluxe’s St. Paul Peterson Talks About the Minneapolis Sound; 10 Superfan Factoids About Dave Grohl; ‘Rock for the Rules’ Compilation; and Minnesota Twins Phase Out Local Music Programming by Andrea Swensson

    North Bay Bohemian: City Sound Inertia: Who the Hell Made Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ Video? and 101.7 The Fox is Off the Air – What Happened? by Gabe Meline

    SF Weekly: All Shook Down: The Early Days of Metallica and the Bay Area Thrash Metal Scene; Metallica 30th Anniversary Party Continues; Five Resident DJs on Their Favorite New Tracks; 10 Most Opulent Parts of ‘Watch the Throne’ Show; and Second-by-Second Breakdown of the Worst Christmas Music Video Ever Made by SF Weekly Staff

    STAFF BLOG All Publications

    Nashville Scene: Pith in the Wind: Legislators Claim ‘Super Citizen’ Status; Night Court Magistrate Throws the Book at Troopers Over Occupy Nashville Arrests; Scene Reporter Captures Own Arrest on Video; State Concedes Defeat For Now in Occupy Nashville Battle; and Document Dump Shows Christian Right Scripted Anti-Gay Law by Staff

    Phoenix New Times: Chow Bella: Tucson’s Cafe 54 Serves the Mentally Ill;Horchata Bread Pudding; Kim Porter’s Ham Taco Christmas; Five Tips for Making the Perfect Eggnog; and Where’s the Last Great Restaurant You Dined? by Staff

    Portland Mercury: Blogtown: “Occupy! Multiply!”; WTF Happened Last Night?; Mercury Reporter Shoved Down by Cop; Police Break Out Pepper Spray; and Dance Party Occupies Bank of America Doorway by Sarah Mirk, Denis C. Theriault, Matt Bors, Georgia Perry, and Wm. Steven Humphrey


    COVER DESIGN circulation 50,000 and over

    Baltimore City Paper: Drawing a Line; Fiction & Poetry Contest Winners; and People Who Died by Joe MacLeod

    Las Vegas Weekly: The Facebook Cover; Missing: Ikea; and Driven to Cheat by Ryan Olbrysh

    SF Weekly: My Funny, Chewy Valentine; Your Rags to Their Riches; and Live & Let Kill by Andrew Nilsen

    The Village Voice: 10 Worst Tenants; The Comics Issue; and The Suckadelic Era by John Dixon

    COVER DESIGN circulation under 50,000

    Maui Time: Taste of Maui; The 2011 Fashion Issue; and The Bar Guide by Justin “Scrappers” Morrison, Chris Skiles, and Sean Michael Hower

    Portland Mercury: Japanese Tsunami; Miyamoto’s Diner; and The Tattoo by Justin “Scrappers” Morrison, Suji Allen, Bijijoo, and Liz Devine

    San Antonio Current: Cinefestival; Fall Survival Guide; and 25th Birthday Cake by Chuck Kerr

    Texas Observer: The Greatest Show in Texas; Rick Perry’s Army of God; Are the Pigs All Right? by Mario Zucca, EmDash, and Matt Wright-Steel

    EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 50,000 and over

    L.A. Weekly: There Goes the Neighborhood (PDF) by Darrick Rainey

    SF Weekly: Enter: A Superhero (PDF) by Andrew Nilsen

    SF Weekly: Free Based (PDF) by Andrew Nilsen

    EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 50,000

    Boston’s Weekly Dig: Barcade Games (PDF) by Scott Murry

    Independent Weekly (NC): A Monster of a Cookie (PDF) by J.P. Trostle and Jeremy M. Lange

    Nashville Scene: Welcome to Soundland (PDF) by Elizabeth Jones

    ILLUSTRATION circulation 50,000 and over

    Boston Phoenix: Night of the Living Newt by Steve Weigl

    Phoenix New Times: Hindsight by Kyle T. Webster

    SF Weekly: Explosive Issue by Edel Rodriguez

    SF Weekly: Live and Let Kill by Dale Stephanos

    The Village Voice: The Comics Issue by Ward Sutton

    ILLUSTRATION circulation under 50,000

    Boise Weekly: Who Are They Now? by Adam Rosenlund

    Independent Weekly (NC): Enemy Exposed by Nathan Golub

    San Luis Obispo New Times: 55 Fiction by Neal Breton

    Seven Days: The Real Estate Issue by Jeff Drew

    PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 50,000 and over

    Boston Phoenix: Best. Summer. Ever. by Mike Pecci

    Creative Loafing (Atlanta): Photography by Joeff Davis, Dustin Chambers, James Camp, and Evey Wilson

    Dallas Observer: Taco Suave by Danny Fulgencio

    PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 50,000

    Monday Magazine: Photography by Grant McKenzie, Nicky Nadeau, K.J. Dakin, Travis Bower, Derek Ford, Danielle Pope, and Shelley Lipke

    Seven Days: Photography by Matthew Thorsen and Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

    Style Weekly: Jail Yoga by Scott Elmquist


    CARTOON All Publications

    Failure by Karl Stevens (Boston Phoenix)

    Slowpoke by Jen Sorensen

    The HR Department by Ed Harrington (Style Weekly)

    INNOVATION / FORMAT BUSTER circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): Michele Bachmann Quote Generator by Hart van Denburg

    Phoenix New Times: Best of Phoenix Map by Staff

    Washington City Paper: Annotated Guide to 2011 by Staff

    Willamette Week: 2011 Restaurant Guide (PDF) and Video: Inside the Kitchen of WW’s Restaurant of the Year and Video: Inside the Runner-Up Kitchen by Ben Waterhouse, Emilee Booher, Jess Sword, Ruth Brown, Carolyn Richardson

    INNOVATION / FORMAT BUSTER circulation under 50,000

    Boise Weekly: Red Potatoes by Rachael Daigle, Deanna Darr, and Adam Rosenlund

    Colorado Springs Independent: WeBrand Colorado Springs: Community Contest; City Brand: Is That All?; Our Branding Escapade; Branding the Springs, Take 2; Slogans Wanted, Too; Logo and Behold; and Live Adventure by Staff

    Jackson Free Press: GOOD Ideas Issue (PDF) by Staff

    VUE Weekly: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Lonely Road (PDF) by Pete Nguyen, Eden Munro, Bryan Birtles, and Mike Siek

    SPECIAL SECTION circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: The Reader’s 40th Anniversary Issue by Staff

    NOW Magazine: The Beer Guide (PDF) by Troy Beyer, Susan G. Cole, Graham Duncan, and Andrew Sardone

    Willamette Week: Finder 2011 – 2012 by Staff

    SPECIAL SECTION circulation under 50,000

    LEO Weekly: The Fake Issue by Sarah Kelley, Sara Havens, Phillip M. Bailey, Jonathan Meador, Mat Herron, Britany Baker, Buddy Schneider, Ron Jasin, Jim Welp, and Kevin Gibson

    Nashville Scene: Best of Nashville by Staff

    VUE Weekly: Golden Fork Awards (PDF) by Eden Munro, Bryan Birtles, and Pete Nguyen

    Questions? Corrections? contests[at]aan.org

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