Back in 2005, when senior editor Mary Cashiola proposed that we do a "Hotties" issue for Valentine's Day, little did we know what we were getting ourselves into. Or, better said, little did Ms. Cashiola know what she was getting herself into. (I believe my response to her suggestion was along the lines of, "Great idea, Mary. Go for it.") And go for it, she did.
That first year, we kind of winged it, asking around for suggestions for candidates from friends and fellow staffers. "Hotness" was sort of vaguely defined, but we were confident we'd know it when we saw it.
Now? Well, from little acorns etc. etc. The Hotties issue is a highly anticipated annual event. It even has its own party. Readers submit dozens of nominations via e-mail and the Flyer website, so we aren't scrambling around for Hotties, to say the least. My favorite aspect of this year's process was the one-man Twitter campaign waged by WREG "watchdog" Mike Matthews. Sadly, Mike didn't make the final cut, but it wasn't for lack of trying. And, we admit, he does have his own unique brand of hot-dogginess.
All the preparation, editing, and photography for this year's Hotties feature happened while I was away in Los Angeles last week, accompanying my son as he and his band MGMT attended the Grammy Awards. They didn't win Best New Artist, but I think they had fun. I know his family and friends did. We even got to go to a couple of "hot" after-parties as part of the entourage.
I'm not one for name-dropping, but I'm fixin' to start dropping 'em hard and fast, so hang on. At one point, I looked around the room at the Sony-Columbia party and saw Tony Bennett, Usher, John Legend, Rosanna Arquette, and, most impressively, Weird Al Yankovic (who was quite charming to my wife). Jay-Z and Beyoncé and their entourage breezed in as we were leaving — to go to the Kings of Leon party. Yep, we were hot stuff. Not Beyoncé hot, but not bad.
At the KOL party, Lindsey Lohan herself hovered in a corner. I didn't get close enough to see her, but I heard she looked hot. Not Mike Matthews hot, but not bad for Hollywood.
Now, life is back to normal, and my thanks go to managing editor Susan Ellis for ably steering the ship in my absence. Also, congratulations to music and film editor Chris Herrington and his wife Joanna on the birth of their son, Ben. No doubt, he'll be a Hotties candidate in 2030 or so.
Oh would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us. — Robert Burns
Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the line above in response to seeing a louse on a high-born lady's bonnet at church. The point being, of course, that while we might think we're looking pretty good, someone else might be noticing a flaw we've overlooked.
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."