Thoroughly enjoyed Widener's cartoon "Long Arm Of The Library" in the May 3rd issue. It was edgy, creative and FUNNY! I'm glad he stopped grinding the political axe for a week. We like a good laugh once in a while out here. Looking forward to more.
When you see somebody who's got a complaining personality, it usually means that they had some vision of what things could be, and they're constantly disappointed by that. I think that would be the camp that I would fall into - constantly horrified by the things people do.
-Daniel Clowes (cartoonist, 8 Ball, etc...)
And they said it would never work...
They said it about the New Coke.
They said it about the Edsel.
They said it about Ishtar.
Well, ok, sometimes "they've" got a point.
But that's definitely NOT what we wanted to hear when we made the decision, this time last year, to go to a weekly schedule.
The most common misgiving we heard was that Lexington wasn't BIG enough for a weekly - that there wouldn't even be enough material or events or news or programming to sustain one.
We had faith though.
Everyone at Ace believes in this town. We wouldn't be here, doing what we're doing, if we didn't. There are times that we're really, really hard on Lexington - but that's only because our expectations are so high.
We knew that Lexington needed a weekly paper - because weeklies are the lifeblood of any real city - and we had high hopes.
Imagine Chicago without the Reader. New York without the Village Voice. San Francisco without the Bay Guardian. Atlanta without Creative Loafing. What's Boston without the Phoenix? Those papers are all behemoths (as are those cities), but we all have to start somewhere.
It's not just the big cities though. Weeklies have enjoyed long, illustrious histories everywhere from Bloomington, Indiana to Columbia, South Carolina to Henderson, Nevada and Boise, Idaho.
We weren't re-inventing the wheel here.
And we didn't exactly buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Even the Wall Street Journal has taken notice of weeklies - citing both their growth in readership, and their growth in revenue - at a time when much of the media industry skews flat (or "dead," depending on who you talk to).
Our last year has been a steep learning curve, and the past three months - under new and local ownership again - even steeper.
During their brief tenure of ownership, Village Voice Media provided us with a very valuable set of training wheels. We benefited from the value of their expertise in everything from circulation to editorial. But we were ready for those wheels to come off.
The bottom line is, the people who've been bringing you Ace for most of the 90s are the same people who are bringing it to you in the new millennium. For over five years, Jim Shambhu has been the architect of this paper's artistic vision - and just when I think he must be getting tired or burned out, he and his staff continue to amaze me with their new ideas. On the editorial side, I've been involved with the paper since my first days as a freelancer in the early 90s, and by the mid 90s as music editor, A&E editor, managing editor, editor, and most recently, editor/publisher.
When I wrote an optimistic editorial a few weeks ago, about a weekend that kicked off with Gallery Hop and a Pajama Party, and ended with Larry Brown and Alejandro Escovedo, my pal John emailed me this from Savannah: "I'm encouraged to hear about your renewed faith in Lexington.... As a matter of fact, after reading your latest op-ed I became violently homesick. After you've seen all the pretty gardens and houses, and after you've been to the beach a dozen times in a week, there's not a damn thing to do down here!"
I emailed him back last night to tell him about a weekend that kicked off with a Derby party, followed by a U2 concert, followed by more Derby parties the next day, Derby brunches on Sunday.... and then as I drove downtown last night, an odd costumed figure carrying a sign that said "Zombie Planet filmed here." Once again, I felt good about our prospects. Sure I was tired. Sure I was remembering why I hate mint juleps. But I felt good.
This week, we'll be celebrating our 1st anniversary as a weekly on Friday night at Victorian Square with the second annual Taste of Ace (ticket demand forced us to expand to a larger venue) at 7 pm.
The next morning we'll all be at Farmers' Market to meet and greet our readers (from 10 to noon) and to hand out our anniversary issue.
MayFest will make Gratz Park the place to be on Saturday and Sunday. Dave Alvin (former x-er) will be at Lynagh's on Saturday.
And you can wrap up your big weekend on Mother's Day by tuning in to Who Wants to be a Millionaire Sunday night at 9 pm, May 13. (Don't worry: we're taping Sopranos for you.) We don't NORMALLY promote game shows in this space, but WATCH THIS SHOW.
Beginning with the purchase in January, our primary goal has been to expand our role in this community.
We're not content to be JUST the paper you pick up every Thursday so you can plan your weekend.
We don't just want to report about downtown, we want to help revitalize it.
We don't want to just write about suburban sprawl, we want to FIGHT it.
along the way, we want to fight for our right to party (remember, without the Austin Chronicle, there'd be no South by Southwest).
Weekly works. And it does it on so many levels.
Sure we have miles to go before we sleep, but we love what we're doing; we're grateful for the opportunity; and we're doing our best to reward you all with a newspaper the entire town can be proud of.
See you Friday!