September 10, 2018

Word: The death of the Village Voice

Tricia Romano, NY Times -The death of The Voice isn’t just about the end of a newspaper. To some of us at least, it’s about the end of New York as a cultural and political center, as the place that the world turned to for art, for music, for leadership in new and uncomfortable ideas, often perceived by the mainstream to be dangerous or weird. Fred McDarrah, the paper’s photographer for the much of its first three decades, and who remained a part of the paper until his death in 2007, liked to affectionately call it “the commie, hippie, pinko rag.”

The Voice was started in 1955 by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf and Norman Mailer as an alternative to The Villager, a weekly that covered mainly Greenwich Village. Over time, it established the alternative-weekly template: a mix of opinionated, first-person screeds; advocacy journalism; rock criticism; experimental writing; and political comic art...

To read The Voice was to read the progenitor of Craigslist and blogging, and of America’s underground cultural and political landscape in the second half of the last century and into this one. It was America’s story, but it was also New York’s: Donald Trump, the Obies and Off Broadway theater, rap and hip-hop, break dancing, civil rights, gay rights, Andy Warhol, post-punk, new wave, the Worst Landlords list, weird sports writing, outsider art, foodie culture, performance art, jazz, techno, the mob, Rudy Giuliani — all of it was covered by The Voice....             

The paper was populated with eccentric geniuses and people who had changed journalism, including people who had worked on the first stories about the Stonewall Riots and the gay rights movement, and a number of cultural writers and icons.

I spent eight years at The Voice..... But with every passing year, the New York I knew and loved was changing, and eventually, like many others, I left. The city had ceased to be affordable — and more important, interesting. The night life I had come there to partake in became sanitized

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