Jonathan Gold was awarded this year's prize for criticism, becoming the first food critic ever to win a Pulitzer. The judges praised Gold's "zestful, wide ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater." Gold finished in first place for Food Writing in 2005's AltWeekly Awards and is a four-time James Beard winner. This marks the sixth Pulitzer awarded to an AAN member: The Village Voice's Teresa Carpenter won for feature writing (1981); the Voice's Jules Feiffer won for cartooning (1986); the Boston Phoenix's Lloyd Schwartz won for criticism (1994); the Voice's Mark Schoofs won for international reporting (2000); and Willamette Week's Nigel Jaquiss won for investigative reporting (2005). UPDATE: See scenes from LA Weekly's celebration of Gold's win. Read AAN News' Feb. 2006 interview with Gold.

Continue ReadingLA Weekly Food Critic Wins the Pulitzer Prize

Last week, L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed 16 counts against Meruelo Maddux Properties as a result of the firm's allegedly improper demolition of several buildings in 2005. The charges, which stem from an investigation by L.A. Weekly, include illegal disposal of hazardous waste, improper handling and disposal of asbestos and failure to provide documentation of its removal. The Weekly notes that the firm's chairman, Richard Meruelo, is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's largest campaign supporter and was not named in the complaint.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Investigation Leads to Criminal Charges Against Developer

All the finalists in the "Newspapers: Local Circulation Weeklies" category were AAN members, but Todd Spivak came out on top for "Run Over By Metro." The prestigious awards, given by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. Judges said Spivak's "compelling and vivid narrative writing gives extraordinary power to the victims' stories and fuels the outrage over the agency's misconduct." The other finalists were Sarah Fenske of Phoenix New Times (for "Cracked Houses"), Dan Frosch of the Santa Fe Reporter (for "The Wexford Files"), and Matthew Fleischer of LA Weekly (for "Navahoax").

Continue ReadingHouston Press Reporter Wins IRE Award

Jay Levin, who started the Weekly in 1978, says that RealTALK LA magazine, a monthly free glossy to debut in May, will "re-invent the concept of a city magazine." Its sister publication,, "is intended to create a new Los Angeles online community," and will be live in late April. Karen Fund, former chair and associate publisher of the Weekly, joins Levin's team as publisher and executive vice president of RealTALK Media Group, the publications' parent company.

Continue ReadingL.A. Weekly Founder Launches Free Magazine and Web Site

Doug Harvey doesn't just sit around thinking about art; he also creates it. The alt-weekly critic will exhibit his paintings and sculptures in "Great Expectorations" this month and next at a gallery in L.A.’s Chinatown district. The gallery describes the exhibit as "a multi-faceted serial piece ... simultaneously disturbing and therapeutic." It's the artist-writer’s first solo show in almost a decade. ANOTHER ALT-WEEKLY WRITER-ARTIST: Austin Chronicle arts editor Robert Faires stars in "In on It," which returns this month after being "the Austin theater hit of the summer," says the Austin American-Statesman.

Continue ReadingL.A. Weekly Art Critic Paints, Sculpts, Too

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has purchased full-page ads in this week's editions of The Village Voice and LA Weekly, alleging that Pfizer's marketing of Viagra encourages unsafe sex. The ads, which highlight the dangers of mixing the erectile-dysfunction treatment with methamphetamine, will also eventually be placed in publications in South Florida and San Francisco, according to the Associated Press.

Continue ReadingAIDS Org Critiques Pfizer in Alt-Weekly Ads

Nikki Finke's "long-awaited biography" of Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz was picked up by The Martell Agency only days after the LA Weekly columnist's book deal was canceled by a Warner/Hachette imprint, reports Authorlink. "The Man Who Wanted Everything," which was originally due to be published in July 2007, has been in the works for 15 years, according to the site.

Continue ReadingFinke Signs New Agent After Ovitz Bio Canceled

Mark Hunter is among a handful of local photographers who have managed to attract some attention with "party photography," reports the student newspaper of Virginia Commonwealth University. After making a name for himself with a Web site that "has risen as a sort of unofficial underground archive of the L.A. scene," Hunter now contributes a weekly half-page of color, club-scene photos to the VVM paper. "LA Weekly is my favorite," Hunter says. "They embraced me to the utmost."

Continue Reading‘Party Photographer’ Finds a Home in LA Weekly

LA Observed broke the news this week that Jill Stewart had been hired as the news editor at LA Weekly and surmised, "With Stewart around you have to wonder about [LA Weekly Editor Laurie] Ochoa's authority (and how much of her survival under New Times is connected to her marriage to award-winning Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold.)" Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey answers: "Frankly, this is the sort of conspiratorial brilliance I’d expect from someone pushing a shopping cart loaded with all their worldly possessions … Ochoa is my editor." Lacey also praises David Zahniser's investigation of the death of labor leader Miguel Contreras, and savages columnist Harold Meyerson, who resigned from the paper earlier this week after unloading a few parting shots of his own.

Continue ReadingSpeculation About VVM’s L.A. Moves ‘Simply Silly,’ Lacey Says