Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online

Hotstuff: Our anniversary photo shoots are always an adventure

Hotstuff: Our anniversary photo shoots are always an adventure

Every five years or so we do something rash just for fun

Entertainment Fort Smith magazine marks its 15th anniversary this

month – thanks to you, our readers, who now number 80,000 plus,

and also thanks to our hundreds of appreciated advertisers who

continue to make this magazine possible and free for readers.

We've never run out of fun and interesting events, people and businesses

to write about. But, sending this magazine to press every four weeks keeps

our small but mighty staff so busy we rarely have time to enjoy a fraction of

the thousands of fun events we write about.

When we can celebrate a milestone anniversary or a special issue – like

the photo shoot for winners of our annual Favorites contest, which always

becomes an all day party, we tend to get a little carried away.

Take our fifth anniversary issue cover, for instance. In 2005, we decided

that showing as many of our 54 favorite covers so far would be a “simple” (I

believe that was Lynn's word) idea. She was right about it being a great

looking “cover of covers,” but I dare you to ask her and Donna Payne if

creating it really was simple. Now, they’ve done it again in this issue.

Just to make celebrating that anniversary a little more fun (and not simple),

we decided it would be cool to arrange an Annie Leibowitz-style group photo

with some of our long-time friends and supporters.

We invited about 50 guests to join us for coffee, sweet rolls and an 8 a.m.

photo shoot at the Fort Smith Convention Center. To our delight, all 60 –

counting ourselves and photographer Glenn Gilley – accepted.

Glenn rarely complains out loud when he hears our photo ideas, but often

rolls his eyes toward heaven. Nevertheless, he really delivered the goods and

even managed to get into the photo, too, as planned.

Our friends Katy Boulden and Polly Crews came, in spite of their strong

disapproval of early morning appointments. We were also pleasantly surprised

when others arrived with props. Jim Spears brought a life-size cut-out of

deputy U.S. marshal Bass Reeves. Carolyn Joyce appeared as Miss Laura.

Claude Legris donned the chef's hat he had worn for his 2002 cover photo

of the magazine featuring his famous pecan pie recipe.

Realtor Gray Johnson appropriately carried a “sold” sign. Dinah McCord,

also a Realtor and the first person ever to buy an ad in this magazine, brought

a pair of sequin-covered designer tennis shoes she had made for her

daughter's wedding. They had just been pictured in our wedding issue.

Mayor C. Ray Baker, who favored early morning appointments but rarely

stayed for an entire event, may have made one of his longest personal

appearances with us that day. And we welcomed Kelly Newton, who also

advertised in our first issue and continues as a sustaining advertiser.

Ten years later, we still miss Mayor Baker, Polly, our blues buddy Jim

McCormick – better known to his radio fans as Chef Eddy, and one of our

favorite artists and human beings, John Bell.

Some people in that photo have moved on to other jobs or cities. Flannery

Wasson and Emory Holland, our cover models for the first issue, are now

college graduates working in Washington, D.C. and New York, respectively. But

15 years later, the same core staff of Lynn and me, Donna Payne and Mary

Jane Hennig endures, along with current staff including Julie Berch

Hamilton, Karrie Stewart, Charles Hubbard, Calvin Evans and Glenn

Gilley. We have talented freelance contributers Reba Mize, Kristan Roland,

Brittany Ransom, Candise Montemayor and Beth Revelle frequently

writing. We rely on our delivery captain, Roger Carter, and a loyal crew who

get the 30,000 magazines to you in a little more than one day.

In 2010, we did something even more ambitious

Considering the positive attention the cover and stories our fiveyear

anniversary issue received, you might think we would come

up with an easier way to execute the cover and content for our

10th anniversary. But we don’t “do” easy. We made an even more

ambitious plan for our 2010 anniversary issue.

We invited any readers, friends, writers, fans and advertisers who

wanted to appear on the cover to be photographed at our office.

Lynn had found a spot at the edge of the lovely outdoor patio of the

Bonneville House next-door where we could stand every person and

shoot them from our building’s second-story window. Guess what,

Glenn? This time, we want you to hang out a window! (Eye roll.)

When the number of volunteers exceeded our guesstimate of how

many folks it would take to compose the cover's big number 10, we had

to change our layout idea and put the people outside the numeral. But

the result was impressive, and talk about a monumental photo shoot! It

was also a monumental Photoshop compilation to get them all in.

The crazy shoot for the 10th anniversary cover went on for days at

the same time our staff was writing and laying out our pages. But staff

members who got to talk to the little army of photo subjects said those

congenial visitors made our office seem like an ongoing celebration.

Getting to visit even briefly with both friends and fans we knew well

and those we had never met was so much fun, it's a wonder we were

able to meet the magazine's press deadline. But that's one appointment

we never miss.

We added in a photo of one person especially important to us – our

earliest business mentor, Agnes Stouffer, who now lives in Santa

Barbara, Calif. While she couldn’t join us in Fort Smith, her son Mark

shot her picture there and emailed it to us. Mark is a professional

filmmaker, producer/director, writer and photographer whose work

frequently has been published in National Geographic magazine,

televised documentaries and in other prominent media.

Our cover photo for the September 2001 issue was his: a full face

close-up of a ferocious Siberian tiger he encountered while filming the

dangerous predators on location in Siberia for an award-winning

National Geographic TV special “Tigers of the Snow.” After

photographing tigers (and almost every other kind of wild animal), it

was no problem for him to send us a photo of Agnes and himself that

blended seamlessly into our cover.

Once again, we were delighted when some people brought their own

props. Bedford Camera's Jeff Beauchamp came with his own camera

and posed with it pointing at our camera. A magazine delivery dolly was

in the portrait of Joe Wasson, Lynn’s husband/contributing

writer/delivery helper. A big fish (not real!) was proudly hoisted over his

head by Leonard Cernak of Catfish Cove. Garden writer Reba Mize

carried a bouquet of hydrangeas. And four service dogs posed with their

trainers. We hung Glenn in the “e”on the cover in tribute to his upstairs

window photography work.

We may, perhaps for our 20th anniversary, try another “cast of

thousands” cover photo. Lynn used to dream of a crane shot but now,

camera drones have been invented. Hmmm. It’s possible!

Actually, it was a melee just to wrangle our own staff together for a

group portrait in front of Bonneville House. It’s such an independently

working crew, we realize we almost never get together. Turns out we,

ourselves, are harder to corral than 60 or 100 people!

Since I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, I've been working from

home. I have multiple myeloma. But after months of intensive treatment

and a stem cell transplant at UAMS in Little Rock, my health has been

steadily improving as I've continued monthly checkups and treatments

in Fort Smith and/or Little Rock.

Through all that, I have remained passionate about, and active in, the

magazine that Lynn and I continue to see growing in readership and

popularity. We are thrilled and grateful for the readership and advertising

support that allows us to distribute more than 30,000 free magazines

each month all over town and throughout our four-county, two-state

readership base.

Our readers use this magazine to follow a month's worth of

information about some of the most interesting people and places in the

Fort Smith area and the best local and area places to shop, eat, enjoy

music, art, theater and all sorts of fun and educational activities for

themselves and their families.

– Linda Seubold

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