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The evolution of YES! Weekly: it’s all good

by Brian Clarey

Last Monday afternoon a full quorum of the YES! Weekly staff gathered in the front office for a mental jam session. Our goal: to come up with a list of things every college student in Greensboro should know, our gift this week to the 35,000 or so college kids who, for most of the year, call the Gate City home.

It was the first attempt in a while to put the entire staff in the same room ‘— the last was way back in the beginning, a warm December day when the YES! Weekly staff got together for the very first time in our offices at Adams Farm and put together the blueprint for this thing that you hold in your hands.

That first meeting encompassed a moment rife with possibility and potential, leaking at the seams with creative energy and zeal.

This second meeting was very similar to the first in that way.

It was also very different. On that day in December there weren’t enough people in the room to field a regulation volleyball team. Last Monday we pulled in chairs from all the other offices to accommodate our burgeoning staff.

Ogi Overman and his Omnibus column came to us in the early part of the year ‘— I believe we called him on the very day the story broke about the demise of his Greater Greensboro Observer. The move on our part would have been worth it if all he did around here was regale us with stories from his days at ECU (when he claims to have started the nationwide phenomenon of ‘streaking’ in 1974 on a cross-state road trip to WCU). We found film critic Glen Baity ‘— where else? ‘— in a coffee shop and now he devotes his caffeinated energy to the page, penning movie reviews with a wit and style that helped him blend seamlessly into our ranks, enough so that we imbedded him with a guerilla film crew for a cover story on the 48 Hour Film Festival a couple of weeks ago (a great story, available online at yesweekly.com).

You can find the fingerprints of both these men all over the cover story this week.

On hand, too, was Kevin Dickey, our new marketing executive (read: ‘ad rep,’ or the somewhat less dignified ‘coin monkey’). Kevin, a UNCG grad, worked at The Independent Weekly back in the day and thusly is the custodian of many, many fine tales himself. Another chair was filled by Meredith Newlin, a freelance writer new to YES! Weekly’s pages and one, I predict, from whom you’ll be hearing a lot.

We also hired on another graphic designer, Lisa Ellisor, who was unable to make the meeting but I’m pretty sure she’ll be pissed if I don’t mention her name.

And I don’t want to leave out Kenny Lindsay, our new intern, who will die by my own hands if he ever cooks up a man-on-the-street story and gets me fired. You hear me, Kenny? Talkin’ to you.

I would also be remiss to leave out our dynamite longtime staffers Lee Adams, Jordan Green, Lauren Cartwright, Mary Ann Curry and John Upsal. And if we’re dishing out kudos, an Elton John-sized portion goes to publisher Charles Womack who put this monster together and gave it life. These are the folks who make it happen every damn day, and for them I am immeasurably thankful and grateful.

As our staff has grown, so has our page count. The first issue of YES! Weekly came in at 40 pages; we made the jump to 48 pages a few months later. The issue you hold in your hands today tips the scales at 56. And we’re not stopping here.

In the coming weeks you’re going to be seeing more of YES! Weekly. We’re looking at new writers, fattening sections and adding features to make it an even stronger, better and more comprehensive alternative to the same old song and dance.

Don’t get all weird on us’… we’re not taking anything away from your favorite alt-weekly. But in the weeks to come we will be beefing it up like Anna Nicole Smith on a three-day rib bender, and it all starts today.

If you’ve read through the issue, you may have noticed that we picked up ‘“News of the Weird’” (p. 46), Chuck Shepherd’s brilliant compilation of strangeness that I used to read in The Gambit when I was in college.

We’ve also given Ogi a new neighbor in the Voices section, and I suspect it won’t be long before he’s leaving flaming bags of dog poop on her doorstep. Her name is Ann Coulter (p. 22), and for those of you unfamiliar with her work I’ll describe her as a bit to the right of Rush Limbaugh, with much better legs.

And speaking of legs: did you check out our Page Three model this week? Tera frigging Williams? I can’t believe she went for it, but I guess in the end it’s hard to say ‘no’ to YES!

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