by Dan Gibson
I was never all that into magic.
Even as a kid, I was a grumpy realist, reading books like William Poundstone's Big Secrets which gave away how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. I remember being dragged to a magic store once and openly discussing how some of the tricks worked. In fact, I grew up attending a Southern Baptist church (yes, I recognize the incongruence of demanding realism and attending a faith-based institution) where the very idea of magic was frowned upon as a symbol of the occult.
Over time, as I grew up some, I realized that an insistence on understanding everything was a little overrated. While professionally, it's sort of my job to try to understand what's happening behind the curtain, in the rest of my life, I've been trying to, as the songwriter Iris Dement put it, "let the mystery be."
Tucson really can be a magical place at times, whether it's the fact that anyone ever decided to set up camp here in the middle of the desert or that counter to the draw of bigger cities, creative, interesting people decide to stay.
In fact, there's a bit of magic involved in Best of Tucson® coming together in the first place. People like you take the time to vote each year, our staff and freelancers come together to write all the blurbs, we somehow convince a talented artist like Jeff Drew to illustrate the whole thing, the sales staff gets together the money to pay for the extra pages, we get great photos from Katie Branson and Kristen Brockel, Andrew Arthur designs the issue, and like most things around here, Irene Messina manages to keep things organized and well-edited. Getting this issue done is, frankly, a real challenge considering we still need to get an issue out every week, and I deeply appreciate all the work everyone put into the first one of these under my watch as editor.
This is my third Best of Tucson® issue I've been a part of in some way or another and while I was reading the copy as it came in, it struck me how fortunate I am to get to share great places, people and things about this city with everyone from long-time residents looking for somewhere new to visitors making a list of what they must visit while in town.
So (and this is where it gets a little hokey in pursuit of connecting all of this together with the theme, so forgive me), hang on to this issue (if you're reading this in print) or check it out online over the course of the year and discover a bit of the magic around you in Tucson. At the Weekly, we're proud to get to pull this particular rabbit out of the hat.
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