We’re happy to have the work of Pegge Hopper on the cover this week in celebration of our anniversary. When our publisher approached Hopper about a piece, Pegge immediately offered a reimagining of a bright, earthy image she’d put together years ago. The harmony between Hopper’s work and the occasion of the Hawaii State Farm Fair (the subject of a special promotional feature in the center of this week’s issue) was just about perfect. Mahalo, Pegge.
This week we mark 18 years of Honolulu Weekly. Surprising as it seems to be to many readers, I am not related–no, really–to Publisher Laurie V. Carlson, but I know I speak for thousands of islands residents when I say that I’m very grateful to her, and to Julia Steele and the rest of the crew from back in the day. They put out the first issue of this paper, and all the issues that followed, with not much more than a big idea and an even bigger helping of chutzpah. Their hard work, in concert with the response of readers, businesses and community groups hungry for a different kind of newspaper in Honolulu, made the Weekly possible.
All of that is still true, perhaps as much now as at any time since the first issue hit the streets on July 17, 1991. Like many other newspapers, both locally and throughout the United States, the Weekly is smaller today than it has been in a long time. Not long ago a caller wondered if I would be willing to send “one of [my] reporters” out to an event. I allowed myself to drift into a momentary reverie and imagine a world in which I could sit at my desk and dream up assignments for the paper’s staff of a dozen reporters. There’s so much going on on Oahu, every day of every week, that’s worth talking about, and if we had even five full-time reporters at our disposal, they’d be a busy team indeed. Then I looked to my left, and to my right, and remembered that there are three of us, total, in the editorial department. The sales, production, distribution and finance departments are similarly taxed. Including our eight dedicated interns in various departments, fewer than 30 people are involved in getting the paper out each week–and that’s including 10 drivers.
It’s a privilege to be able to do this kind of work. I mention it only as a reminder of the precarious state in which nearly all newspapers find themselves these days, and to stress just how reliant we are on our readers and supporters to keep putting this paper out every Wednesday, and by way of acknowledging that for every great story that makes it into these pages, there are many, many stories unfolding out there that we simply don’t have the resources to address. Forgive us for those we couldn’t quite get to, and thank you for reading the ones we do. Thank you for reading the Weekly–now more than ever.
As we approached this 18th anniversary issue, we laughed at the realization that the paper is finally old enough to vote. In celebration thereof, we offer a couple of stories this week about activism and community involvement, beginning with the story of a Kahuku librarian whose outreach in a recent neighborhood board election made a big difference in participation. We also take a look at a new Web site trying to build community in a concrete jungle.
And speaking–aren’t we always?–of community, the LGBTQ community has its annual blowout this weekend at McCoy Pavilion. The Honolulu Pride Festival goes down all weekend, but Saturday is the main event, with an all-day celebration featuring all the (un)usual attractions, plus an evening concert by ’80s teen icon Tiffany. The rest of us let the gay community down this year when we failed to convince our lawmakers to extend civil unions benefits to everyone–showing up Saturday, even just to say hello and spend a few bucks, would be a great way to make amends. Plus: Tiffany!