This week's award for most amusing disclosure goes to former Village Voice music critic and section editor (and DEAN OF AMERICAN ROCK CRITICS) Robert Christgau, reviewing a novel by former Ed Park. "I VOLUNTEERED TO REVIEW THIS novel by my former Village Voice co-worker Ed Park because I assumed the conflicts of interest would be so blatant they'd implode—a roman à clef, in which I myself might play a minor role, about the alt-weekly where I got fired the same day young Ed did." Sadly, everything is very fictionalized. Doesn't Ed get the point of these books? Score-settling, not literature! [NYO]
The film-critic deathwatch we launched here way back in January (and continued yesterday) hit The New York Times this morning, when part-time Oscar gadfly and inveterate media observer David Carr surveyed the carnage from the sidelines. It's not a story we haven't been hearing for years, but Carr's essential access to insiders from Scott Rudin to Michael Lacey — the bloodthirsty boss of the New Times chain currently decimating New York's Village Voice — hints that conventional wisdom among film and publishing types won't be reconciled any time soon:
All charges against Village Voice Media executives Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin were dropped over the weekend, and the special prosecutor running the case against their paper, the Phoenix New Times, has been fired. (The paper was exploring misconduct by a local law official.) The Arizona State Bar is now investigating the prosecutor's conduct in the case, in which there were "serious missteps," according to the county D.A., who... is now also being investigated by the bar!
Village Voice Managing Editor Deborah Kolben has been let go; Ward Harkavy will be taking over the number two spot at the paper. With the recent resignation of Deputy Managing Editor Adamma Ince and the earlier dismissal of Executive Editor Laura Conaway, this means that the top of the Voice masthead now consists of four white guys and Film Editor Allison Benedikt. Attempts to reach Editor in Chief Tony Ortega were unsuccessful. Probably because it was some chick calling.
Recently Village Voice editor Tony Ortega was pitched a relationship/dating/sex column by someone who'd pitched him when he was an editor at one of New Times' papers in Florida and had received an encouraging response. And this writer probably thought that since one sex column at the Voice is about cybersex (what is this, 1999?) and the other is the syndicated column Savage Love , it might be good to get a local lady up in that piece—especially since the Lusty Lady column had been so unceremoniously canned by Ortega's predecessor David Blum. But Ortega wasn't interested. And he sent her back a truly snippy rejection note—and in it, we discover the conditions under which he might shoot himself!
This week's Boston Phoenix has a must-read piece on the fallout from the New Times-Village Voice merger. We've seen some of the effects locally, but the Phoenix's Adam Reilly takes the pulse throughout the country and, guess what? The news is not so good. Again, you should really read the whole thing, but here are a couple of highlights.
Late yesterday evening, the New Times (the alt-weekly megaplex that now owns the Village Voice) gave Voice publisher Judy Miszner her pink slip. Miszner had spent the past seven years at the paper but, given the New Times "merger," she probably saw this coming. (Editor Don Forst likely saw the same fate for himself, leading to him to resign before they had a chance to formally can him.) Her replacement with be Miami New Times publisher Michael Cohen. We look forward to seeing what sort of magic his pastel suits and speedboats will work on the alt-weekly.
Alas, alack, and so on. We all have this ideal in the back of our minds, some general conception that once upon a time the Voice was something interesting and vital and, well, worth the mild irritation of walking to the box on the corner to pick up. (It is now none of these things.) We know that it allegedly has a hallowed history, that it was once something you had to read to be one of the cool kids, and that at some point in the past people were even willing to pay for it. Today, of course, it's barely even worth not paying for (although it does serve an important purpose when you have a long subway ride to Brooklyn ahead of you and realize you left this week's New Yorker in the apartment). Even despite all that, it seemed sad when the anti-globalization, anti-conglomeration, anti-just-about-everything-that's-a-reality-today Voice — of all places — just the other week was swallowed up by the big chain of so-called "alternative papers." It seemed to be the John-is-killed nail in the coffin that would ensure the glorious past would never be relived.
• Justin Timberlake comes to ex-girlfriend Britney Spears's defense: "It's, like, leave the girl alone." Powerful words there, homeskillet. [Yahoo!]
• Paris Hilton faces a $10M lawsuit from model Zeta Graff, who claims the heiress planted lies about Graff in the venerable pages of Page Six. [CourtTV]
• When pressed about a possible tryst with lady-beating actor Tom Sizemore, Paris Hilton claims to have never met him. Photographs, however, seem to suggest otherwise. [Gossiplist]
• Heartbreaking staggerer Dave Eggers, with the help of director Spike Jonze, draws pornographic pictures. Someday, he'll show them to his newborn daughter, October. And yet another celebrity child is doomed! [NYT]
• Seattle Stranger pervy genius Dan Savage saw the Village Voice-New Times union coming, but wonders whether this is a merger or a buy-out. We hate it when we're reliant on semantics to tell us how to feel about these things. [The Stranger]
• We can't imagine anything called Chilifest requiring tailored pants. [Craigslist]