Vice and Virtue

Shortly after this issue of Q Monthly hits the streets, several of the magazine's contributors will be flying to Las Vegas to accept a host of awards. In addition to appreciating Sin City's finest--all-you-can-eat buffets, fab entertainers in feathered headdress, and architecture indigenous to every place except Nevada--these representatives will attend the annual conference of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. They'll also take part in a ceremony for the 1997-98 Vice Versa Awards.

Now in their second year, the Vice Versa Awards recognize excellence in the GLBT press. The awards are named after a pioneering queer publication established in 1947 by Lisa Ben (the guest of honor at this year's awards ceremony) and serve to honor fine editorial work in publications ranging from Out and Genre to the Rehobeth Beach Gazette. This year's panel of judges--which included such household names as columnist Deb Price, personal-finance maven Andrew Tobias, and former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan--sifted through entries from more than 80 publications.

A few weeks ago, a phone call from California alerted our staff that Q was among the 17 publications that would be presented with Vice Versa Awards at this year's banquet. In fact, every one of the pieces Q submitted had garnered praise and a prize. Susan Raffo's November 1997 cover story on immigration and the problems encountered by queers, titled "Shut Out!", won a prize for "best comprehensive coverage." Melodie Bahan made judges laugh with her humorous essay on the complexities of having a baby with her lesbian partner, published as "The Paternity Problem" last December: "I loved the part about sperm banks in the yellow pages between speedometers and spices," gushed one judge. Likewise a profile I wrote a year ago about Minneapolis mystery writer R.D. Zimmerman also caught judges' attention.

Additionally, the compendium of local queer talent, and power brokers we produced in June, our "Out with Clout" issue, won a nomination for best special issue among regional publications with less than 24 issues per year. The winner of that award category has yet to be chosen, as does the winner of the Best Publication Trophy--another honor that Q stands a chance of winning.

Any publication, of course, is only as good as its writers, and I'm pleased to work with a talented stable of freelancers. Though I'm delighted with the recognition the Vice Versa Awards brings to Melodie, Susan, and the writers who contributed to our "Out with Clout" issue, I'm also obliged to point to the talents of more than a dozen other writers who have contributed to the quality and success of this publication. Thanks to all of you.


Among the most visible of Q's talented writers has long been Ken Darling. Enthusiastic, opinionated, and savvy, Darling has served as a Q columnist for more than two years, earning the respect and vitriol of readers along the way. With this month's issue, Darling relinquishes his duties as a conscientious community gadfly. Although we hope he'll continue to contribute to these pages on an occasional basis, he'll be giving up his monthly column in order to, as they say, "pursue other interests"--namely, decorating his new northeast Minneapolis home and working long hours as a partner in an up-and-coming business.

But just as we say adieu to Darling, we also welcome Jim Foti. A professional copy editor and occasional contributor to the Star Tribune's Single Life column, Foti makes his debut this month as a Q columnist on p. 22. Though Foti has no intention of trying to fill Darling's shoes--"Oh please, my size 13 feet would never fit"--he does plan to delve into subjects that weigh just as heavily on the minds of modern homosexuals: dating, discrimination, drag. We're pleased to have him aboard.

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