BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The Village Voice, New York City’s once-iconic alt-weekly newspaper, is back in print after a three-year hiatus.
However, the print version is only quarterly not weekly as in the groundbreaking countercultural paper’s heyday.
The new Voice’s spring issue hit the streets this past weekend. The relaunch features former Voice mainstays, like Michael Musto, giving his Oscar predictions, and an interview with photographer Nan Goldin. There is a “New York City’s Worst Landlord” feature article, plus pieces on how musicians and music club owners are rebounding from the pandemic. In addition, there is a “From the Archives” article by Peter Noel from 1998, “Driving While Black,” about racial profiling on the Jersey Turnpike, which is relevant today amid the country’s focus on police and race. Although the paper’s previous ownership had dropped sports coverage, the rebooted Voice in print has a sports page.
The Village Voice was founded in Greenwich Village in 1955, taking direct aim at the more staid existing community paper, The Villager. It printed its last issue in September 2017, featuring a classic photo of Bob Dylan giving a salute, by Fred McDarrah, on the cover. The following year, the paper ceased its digital operations.
At the end of last year, Brian Calle, the owner of LA Weekly, bought the Voice from Peter Barbey, announcing he would revive its print version, though limited to only four issues per year.
The spring issue of the tabloid is light on advertising, with eight pages out of its 40 being full-page ads and the rest all editorial content.
According to the publisher, the paper is being distributed to “select boxes around town, retailers, eateries, bookstores and apartment buildings.”
There is also an online edition with more content, heavy on arts and entertainment, along with articles from the Voice’s archives, plus sections, including “Cannabis Scene,” offering news about weed legalization and the business of pot, and “Dispatches From the Divide,” featuring reports on militias, gun nuts and the like.
The Voice is Back In Town.
That’s what I would have tweeted if I wasn’t suspended over B.S.
As someone who illustrated the original Village Voice, I wish them success, and hope that this is not merely a rebranding, like the cheap LED lights that are advertised with the brand name of a formerly great American company, Bell & Howell.
I wish my old friend John Wilcock, the British journalist who was one of the original founders, was here to see it. John went on to help create the East Village Other, and the Underground Press Syndicate, and even ran a great party line, that I happily participated in. Whenever I heard of an opening or a party, I would report it to Wilcock, and on any given Saturday evening, he could usually supply the addresses of at least three or four other parties that were well worth crashing. On New Year’s Eve, this underground party service expanded into at least 30 addresses!
Wilcock was even kind enough to make a little flip book of my illustrations for me, and when I handed it to my future wife at a party, she thought I was a Communist. Fortunately, she was nice to me anyway.
The Voice was thick as a brick in those days, and loaded with extremely talented contributors who will be impossible to replicate. Walter Gurbo, Mark Alan Stamaty and Stan Mack were regulars, and I was particularly honored a few years ago, when the great Nat Hentoff displayed my illustration of Hitler wearing a “We The People” T-shirt during a NY 1 interview.
The Village Voice served as a post for poetry readings, rock concerts, free performances and the kind of reasonably priced rental apartments that no longer exist.
Above all, the Voice meant community, just as The Village Sun does today.
If it wasn’t for the Voice, my politics and my cognizance of civic affairs in NYC would have never evolved. I would love to get the print edition again, but since it’s a quarterly, I really don’t see the point. At least the website is back though.