Monday, January 5, 2009


I have been a reader of the Village Voice since college. It awakened the primal scream I'd been craving in my rural upbringing amongst the cows and corn. Ah juxtaposition! I don't remember my first Voice or how or where I discovered the paper. It is a part of my NYC experience, along with coffee addiction, Mamoun's falafels (my version of the Gray's Papaya recession special, and secret bathrooms on clumsy afternoons.

When a Wednesday would appear and I would escape between classes to 72nd and 2nd Avenue to the lone red paper kiosk in the hood (on the beloved Upper East Side) for my copy. I loved the bootleg reporting and as a fledgling I would take its headline as pertinent news for the week. Many concerts and exhibits were seen based on the Voice Choices section.

Louis Menand's piece for the New Yorker can be read, here. Registration may be required to read the full article.

The Village Voice emerged as a provocative and aggressive response to the post war "mentality" and downtown routine of 1950's New York. Norman Mailer was a writer and semi-founder, contributing to its raucous and fringes based opinion. It was a structured beat thang, giving cause to the "howl"ing inhabitants, who expounded on politics, art, and daily activities.

"Journalism is a profession entirely by self-description. You do not need a degree, license, or credential of any kind to be a journalist."


Beat critics will argue that the discombulated text of Kerouac and his delightful friends is annoying and overrated. I am connected simply based on the push to turn myself inside out and make noise. I love Kerouac's glum lumberjack list-making self and appreciate the Voice's projected interpretation. I think that my connection is based on the escape.

I have noticed the change in the aggression and omniscient presence that I loved in the Voice. Perhaps, the four or five people that have experienced the revolving editor door at the Voice HQ off Lafayette have something to do with it. Nonetheless, I still run to the newsstand on Wednesdays. Even if it is for Rob Breszny's, Free Will Astrology.

"You're going to turn me animal." - Lover's Day, TV ON THE RADIO

1 comment:

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Kerouac rocks! Perhaps you'd enjoy my Kerouac-obsessed blog at