While it feels strange to bestow a 'zine award upon glossier-than-thou Closer, it's indicative of the fact that those hand-typed, mimeographed, fly-by-night 'zines are pretty much gone for good. They have the Internet on computers now, you know, and that's where most 'zines exist these days. Sure, you half-expect a big honkin' whiff of expensive perfume to accost you when you open one up, and the dichotomy between upwardly mobile haute couture ads and far-left-wing editorials is a tad off-putting. But this pint-sized mag, which is available free at trendy locales and is published by West Palm Beach nightclub owner (and enemy of the mayor) Rodney Mayo, still tackles issues like terrorism, gun control, election fraud, and racism. One piece we particularly liked last year was Gabe Laszlo's feature about 2004 being the year in which George Orwell's prophecies truly blossomed. Those other glossy, fashion-spread magazines don't touch stuff like this. Closer's design is cutting-edge, its music coverage is generally spot-on, the models wearing the fancy threads are pretty fun to look at, and the whole enterprise is certainly a lot more "alternative" than a weekly competitor we could name. Plus, you have to give Closer props for hanging around so long. We even heard they named a movie after it!

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