As the only alternative newsweekly in the entire Inland Empire, it has become a fit of passion to every year unearth all that is cultural, relevant, seminal, beautiful, obvious, oddly misshapen, heroic, sexy, historic, vexing, and familiar in this impossible sprawl. We call it our Best of IE—our biggest, most opinionated issue of the year; an issue we take liberty to name anything and everything that can be considered the best in our area. It has been great fun compiling the content for this book, and it’s been a real pleasure to speak with the many winners in every category. Everyone here enjoyed the process, with the exception of our art director, who suffered three documented apoplectoid episodes this week; a small gang of unpaid interns; the sales representatives; the publisher; and Waleed Rashidi—who never smiles anyway.
At any rate, it’s been fun for me.
This year for our Editor’s choices we ransacked plenty of almanacs, visited tundra, dipped a toe in the murky water of gonorrheal strains, went regimental in kilts and got lost in the frond-friendly world of Acąi. We even ate pickled eggs. Such lengths we go to appease you, dear reader.
But this year is even more special. This year we yielded our fetishes and let you—the readers—chime in and tell us who’s best, having invited all four million of you to send us your favorites on topics ranging from Best Pizza to Best Gay Bar to Best Radio Personality. And the response was enormous, well beyond our expectations. We received hundreds of ballots, each one a little biography into how a random Inlander thinks—each one a little tip-off as to how you read, how you write, how you think and how you respond. Some of these were doodled on, which was additional fun.
For everyone who wrote in, both literate and illiterate, cyberly and physically . . . we thank you for your input. What we learned is that next year we’ll be doubly adamant that Famous Dave’s BBQ is not a home-grown institution. Other than that, we’ve very few quibbles with your choices.
And with that, we hope you enjoy the Best of IE!
–Chuck Mindenhall, October 2008
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