When we started talking about the Best of Tucson® 2015, we realized—like every year—we needed a theme. Sometimes it seems like we've done them all, from the zombie apocalypse to superheroes. Look, I admit we're often sentimental as of late, with Tucson, family, friends and love meaning more to us than ever before. Thinking about the work we do and the challenges media faces across the country, the line Our Ink-Stained Heart came up—for those of us who write about this town and love it. Surely the ink from our newspaper has stained our hearts. How could it not? Tucson itself is like that too—it leaves an impression.
Our Web Editor Chelo Grubb put it best when she wrote that, "It doesn't matter if you grew up picking cholla out of your shins or if you just stopped by for few years at the UA, Tucson pens itself on everyone. And, like the tattoos so many of us desert rats bear, we carry our Tucson with us—through the holes in the road, the sweaty summers and that gentrification our commenters love to complain about." Voila, we had our theme. Tucson and ink, and people with some big heart—those are the people you see inside on our pages who happen to make life better for many of us in Tucson. We're grateful for them, their ink and, as always, Tucson. As always, you.
As managing editor of this alternative news weekly, I've found much to be grateful for as I strike a balance between the loves of my life at home and the loves of my life at work (sans cats of course). Our paper and this issue of Best of Tucson® doesn't come out without some amazing folks. First, it would be daft of me to forget to call attention to Chelo Grubb. Her work on Best of Tucson® this year was integral and the issue wouldn't have happened without her. Our production manager Brandon Hays needs thanks too, for his talent at the details, look and feel, and listening to Chelo talk about what we want and then figuring out how to give it to us. He's amazing. Our intern Tanner Clinch did an outstanding job taking that vision even further by taking all of the issue's photographs—and working with all the beautiful (and tattooed!) people we asked to be in the pictures. How lucky we are that they all said a huge yes.
But this also cannot happen without the support of the Tucson Weekly staff who give a bit of their soul every year; writing the blurbs you're about to read, reinterpreting the reader choices and then sharing a bit of their own in our staff picks. Thank you Heather Hoch, Jim Nintzel and María Inés Taracena. More thanks to freelancers Linda Ray, Anna Mirocha and Jamie Verwys for their time and words. And thanks, of course, to the whole Tucson Local Media team for all the work they put in behind the scenes to make sure this issue would be one of the best Best Of's we've produced.
This is a Best of Tucson® with heart, but it also broke some wonderful records that surprised us—we broke voting records. Thank you readers, we really appreciate the time and support. We broke ad revenue records this year, too, and we thank our advertisers. Per usual, we will close with some sentimental words for you: treat this as your city road map for what makes Tucson special and the places we all love and support.
It never hurts to remind ourselves to take care of our ink-stained hearts—keep them tender, keep focused on celebrating our Moldy Pueblo and let's keep working at making things better for everyone.
—Mari Herreras, managing editor, ink stained through and through