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Special Issues '09: A Critical Overview

A look back at the year in City Weekly covers.


“Special Issues”: Good for the bottom line (we sell more ads), less so for the editorial line (we write more stuff). City Weekly produces about one themed Special Issue per month every year—some more “special” than others. Let’s rate the Special Issue covers of the past 12 months:
Jan. 15, 2009: The Sundance 2009 issue marked the last known sighting of Napoleon Dynamite, or actor Jon Heder, as well as City Weekly’s old logo (unless you count hundreds of street boxes, racks and the 15-foot neon sign on the front of our office building—rebranding doesn’t happen overnight, people). As our first Special Issue of the year, this rated a cinematic 6.
Feb. 12, 2009: We generously gave the brand name of “SLAMMys” to the WWE and began a new local-music-recognition tradition with this, the City Weekly Music Awards issue. The cover featured SLC musicians from pollwinners The Furs and Neon Trees in appropriately hipster-cool repose, as though modeling for the fall/winter edition of the Urban (Lounge) Outfitters catalogue. Nice colors, but an un-dynamic 5.
March 5, 2009: Somehow, City Weekly survived March without a Special Issue—but we did have this, an overnight idea from CW poobah John Saltas: While most Utahns would like to be identified with LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson (moral, upstanding leader), outsiders pretty much only see Sen. Chris Buttars (quasi-racist, homophobic assclown). A simple, yet effective 7.
April 2, 2009: The beginning of the end for Jon Huntsman Jr., most likely Utah’s last cool governor: One too many times on the cover of City Weekly gets you either fired or promoted (or, best case, out of jail). Before Barack Obama shipped him off to China, however, Huntsman reformed Utah’s liquor laws, so he was a natural for our Best of Utah 2009 cover, a modified vintage Budweiser ad (though, ironically, tap beer remains 3.2). A cold, frothy 10.
May 7, 2009: City Weekly’s first-ever Green Issue. Sure, an authentic Green Issue would have been a strictly online, paperless affair, but this lovely grassy-haired lady sold the print pretty well—c’mon, you noticed it and exclaimed, “What the hell is this? I must pick it up! And then recycle it!” Any resemblance to City Weekly’s ill-fated, one-anddone Spring Issue of the ´90s is purely coincidental. A biodegradable 7.
June 4, 2009: Aside from hot babes in bikinis, nothing says “Summer!” like a fruity alcoholic drink. Why we couldn’t have had a hot babe in a bikini holding a fruity alcoholic drink, however, is beyond me. Summer Guide was the second of a mere three(!) boozethemed City Weekly covers for ’09 (next one comin’ up), and easily the most obnoxiously bright of them all. Bad for hangovers; good for pick-ups—a sunny 9.
July 2, 2009: To celebrate the death of the Private Club For Members, City Weekly did exactly what you expected us to do: Drank up and chartered buses. “Liquor & Liberty: Utah’s Guide to Liquor Independence” coincided with the Fourth of July weekend, so the Statue of Liberty kinda made sense—though some of us in the office (OK, just me) lamented a seventh straight month of no cover bikini babes. A chaste 6.
Aug. 13, 2009: An instant classic—and a departure from the college-movie-inspired covers of years past. Back to School 2009’s old-school yearbook quad featured four of City Weekly’s more photogenic employees (no professional models means no extra payout—smart, huh?), including media-star-onthe-rise Derek Jones (bottom right). He’s the picture of heterosexual American values, no? A scholastic 9.
Sept. 10, 2009: The Artys 2009 issue … uh, not really sure what happened here. A gorilla’s head on a ballerina’s body, with a partially obscured tiara to complete the look— apparently, some of us hadn’t fully sobered up from the “Liquor & Liberty” party just yet. On the upside, this cover did inspire many a “What is art?” discussion; on the downside, they usually ended with “You’re still drunk, aren’t you?” A WTF? 3.
Oct. 15, 2009: Now this is more like it—no bikini, but a roller derby connection will always do. This year’s Dining Guide cover featured Salt City Derby Girls skater Dirty Pirate Hooker in a retro carhop mode, balancing a burger & fries plate from Gracie’s. Inside note: Upon learning there was food in the office that went uneaten, City Weekly reporter Eric Peterson cried himself to sleep. A tasty 10.
Nov. 19, 2009: It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, and City Weekly was already prodding you to get out there and Buy! Stuff! The Gift Guide 2009 cover starred yet another City Weekly employee; wholesome-looking ones are rare here, so this was a real coup. Why sales exec Melisa Hemond is holding a wooden spoon over a basket of gifts is anyone’s guess, but at least no animal masks were involved. A nondenominational, consumer-driven 8.
Dec. 31, 2009: Fox 13 reporter Nineveh Dinha, shot by photog John Taylor and arranged by art director Susan Kruithof, “interviews” the newsmakers featured or at least mentioned in the Year In Review 2009 issue. YIR isn't so much a “special issue” as it is “holiday filler,” but since the cover concept was my idea, I'm giving it a year-round 12.
Extra: Interview with Dec. 31 cover model Nineveh Dinha, from Assyrian magazine MyOomta.