This, the final Best Of Baltimore issue, sure does make the death of the Baltimore City Paper more palpable, doesn't it?
Our last big-deal issue—the one that even the people who really, really hate us pick up.
That said, one of my many flaws as an editor—and as a human being, probably—is a profound lack of sentimentality, a vehement dislike of nostalgia. I just can't with that, I'm sorry. And so, rather than fill this issue with tributes and remembrances of the past 40 years or whatever, this is like all other Best Of issues over the years: a passionate, oft-sincere, sometimes snarky snapshot of Baltimore over the past 12 months.
This issue, ideally, represents Baltimore right now, and that's what the Baltimore City Paper does best anyways. We tell you what matters and let you know what it feels like to be in the city and leave the boring "what happened" all-facts side of the news to the wet sandwiches at the other bigger deal newspapers.
I hope you enjoy this Best Of issue and, as always, tell us what we got wrong.
And please celebrate and mourn with us at our Best Of Baltimore Party (and if you like, a free after-party at the Crown) and process your imminent media-desert sadness with a whole bunch of other people. Also: Pour one out or cry a little for us for a hot minute, because as the editor-in-chief of this soon-dead paper, I'd be remiss if I didn't also remind readers that BCP's death also means a dozen or so people won't have jobs very soon. The dedicated staff, in particular the hard-working, endlessly brilliant, and very thoughtful editorial staff that I work with and argue with and hang out with every day?
Hire them, please.
That said, there's no reason to be bitter—in this issue, at least—and we've done plenty of that elsewhere, though know that most of us will gladly tell you how we feel in great detail if you run into us at a bar or a show because, well, that's another thing we do that other publications don't do: We show the hell up. The BCP's staff is out there, for real. We're accessible, popping up at breaking news, immersing ourselves in events such as the Baltimore Uprising or Baltimore Ceasefire, standing back at art exhibitions thinking real hard, and getting drunk and sweaty at shows right there with the rest of y'all.
And my resistance to nostalgia aside, readers should totally mourn the end of BCP as an institution especially because it totally still had a lot of potential and was figuring out a new direction amid getting shut down but hey, that's how shit works sometimes.
We did our best.
I truly hope something steps in and fills this void, because without Baltimore City Paper, the landscape here for news and reporting is very grim and more PR-ish, and the cops and developers and art scene cornballs and corrupt politicians and other clowns with power get to run even freer than they already do. We should try and not let the assholes win, even though I suspect they're going to win anyways, fucking hell. (Brandon Soderberg)
City Paper's Best Of Baltimore 2017 was written by Brandon Block, Kenneth Stone Breckenridge, Maura Callahan, Edward Ericson Jr., J.M. Giordano, Rebekah Kirkman, Marie Machin, Lisa Snowden-McCray, Brandon Soderberg, Reginald Thomas II, Athena Towery, Brandon Weigel, and Baynard Woods. Photographs by J.M. Giordano and Reginald Thomas II.