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Steve Oney's piece from last June about Iraq war casualty Chris Leon is a National Magazine Awards finalist in profile writing. He shares the category with stories in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair. Winners are announced May 1.

Voting continues: Los Angeles' contest that began as the 64 greatest things about L.A. is down to 32 -- you can vote online until Monday for the next cut. Close to 10,000 votes were cast in round one, with some unexpected results: Amoeba Music beat out Disneyland by a huge margin and McCabe’s Guitar Shop trounced the Hollywood Bowl — editors thought the Bowl might even make the Final Four. KCRW got past Indie 103.1, the Arclight beat the Watts Towers and Pink’s beat out the Bradbury Building by less than 100 votes. "We were also surprised that Dodger-ites didn’t help push Vin Scully, the only person on the list, over Central Library, but apparently the librarians have banded together on that one," says an editor. Pink’s, Amoeba and Langer’s are all ballot stuffing on their websites.

In the April issue: Oh yeah, the magazine. Former LAT writer Mark Arax debuts in Los Angeles with a piece on the murders that destroyed the family behind Zankou Chicken and have been the talk of the Armenian colony from Glendale to Fresno. There's also a new list of the 75 best restaurants, a tribute to the gumshoe fiction of Ross Macdonald and a Steve Erickson piece on "The Wire."

Even better: Mark Lacter of LA Biz Observed has a piece in April on Charles Cohen's expansion plans for the Pacific Design Center. And there's a nice item on LA Observed contributor David Rensin's forthcoming bio, "All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora."


More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Magazines stories on LA Observed:
Balboa Island has to decide if it believes in global warming
Q&A with Griffith Observatory curator Laura Danly
Campaign 2012: The view from over there
Los Angeles mag a finalist for two Ellies
Architecture critic Paul Goldberger jumps to Vanity Fair

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