Alt-weeklies regularly outperform the local mainstream media on many beats—politics, the environment, homelessness, etc.—but they seem to do so most obviously and consistently when it comes to arts and entertainment. While the MSM largely ignores talented musicians, writers, painters and actors, alts own the turf. In this week’s Featured Five, which is A&E heavy, we let the chosen alts illustrate this point for us.
Both alts and MSM outlets are currently inundated with Coronavirus coverage, but California’s Metro Silicon Valley offers a refreshing variation, with its cover story, “Verse Chorus: Bay Area Poets on How the Pandemic Has Changed and Reinvigorated the Art Form.”
On America’s other coast, New York State’s Chronogram also deftly connects the arts and the lives of its community in its lengthy feature “Woodstock: Room for Growth? A Town Famous for its Struggling Artists Struggles with Affordable Housing.”
A more somber tone is struck some 1,100 miles south on I-95.
The Orlando Weekly’s “Remembering Legendary Orlando Musician and Scene Mainstay Jim O’Rourke” memorializes one of the city’s own whose presence still permeates many of the local stages. “Going back to the 1970s — as part of a young, loud and snotty punk project dubbed the Mess — Jim O’Rourke was seemingly never far from an Orlando stage,” local music editor Matthew Moyer remembers.
There is sports coverage this week, as well. The Salt Lake City Weekly, in its sprawling cover story “Going for the Gold … Again: Utah’s Olympic Organizers Say It’s a Matter of When, Not If, Salt Lake City Hosts Another Winter Games,” shifts our focus away from melancholy and the arts as it examines the city’s chances of hosting another Winter Olympics. This feature seems particularly timely with the 2020 Olympics (yeah, throws us off, too) taking place in Tokyo, though, sadly, with near-empty stands.
Finally, snark is arguably what alt-weeklies do best, as the Arkansas Times proves this week. The paper offers some short but feisty final thoughts on a recent special session of the state legislature, giving us our favorite headline and subhead of the week: “Having Stuck It to Both Poor People and Vulnerable Children, Arkansas Lawmakers Adjourn: The Legislature’s Extraordinary 3-day Reign of Terror Is Over. At Least There’s That.”