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Kathleen O'Connell

The Village Voice, R.I.P.

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The storied Village Voice is no more

It's been on life support for an age, but its current owner, Peter Barbey, finally pulled the plug.

The Voice was the home of dance historian and critic Deborah Jowitt, who remains one of the greats. (Jowitt chose to resign from the Voice in 2011 rather than change her style and write the kind of sharply negative reviews her editor preferred. She began writing for the Voice in 1967.)

The list of great writers, reporters, critics, and cartoonists who were published in its pages is, as they say, long and distinguished.

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And very much also Jill Johnston reviewing the dance scene of the 60s and 70s.

James Wolcott, who early on in his career wrote for the Voice, in an NPR interview, says:


The Village Voice was incredibly important then. It was not only a countercultural paper, it was a political paper. It had a rough texture to it. It had real reporters. Also it had a lot of critics. The Village Voice had one of the great cultural sections and, you know, the coverage was amazing they did, of theater and dance and movies. I mean Andrew Sarris was their movie critic and Jill Johnston and Deborah Jowitt were their dance critics. So it was an incredibly exciting place. It was also a place that took on nobodies. So you didn't have to be a by-liner. You didn't have to be a name to make its pages. It wasn't about that.

And of course in the pre Craigslist days it was the source of downtown apartment rental listings. You'd line up Tuesday or Wednesday evening at an Astor Place newsstand for the first copies of week's copies of the VV.

Edited by Quiggin

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As I said elsewhere, the Voice was the mothership of the alternative weeklies, and created the model for that kind of smart, local coverage. 

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