Village Voice

Village Voice The Village Voice is the authoritative source on all that New York has to offer.
When it was founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer in October of 1955, the Village Voice introduced free-form, high-spirited and passionate journalism into the public discourse. As the nation's first and largest alternative newsweekly, the Voice maintains the same tradition of no-holds-barred reporting and criticism it first embraced when it began publishing fifty years ago. The recipient of three Pulitzer prizes, the National Press Foundation Award and the George Polk Award, the Voice has earned a reputation for its groundbreaking investigations of New York City politics, and as the premier expert on New York's cultural scene. Writing and reporting on local and national politics, with opinionated arts, culture, music, dance, film and theater reviews, daily web dispatches and comprehensive entertainment listings, the Voice is the authoritative source on all that New York has to offer. In addition, the Voice’s daily-updated Web site www.villagevoice.com has twice been recognized as one of the nation’s premier online sites for journalistic quality and local content. The site is a past winner of both the National Press Foundation's Online Journalism Award and the Editor and Publisher Eppy Award for Best Overall US Weekly Newspaper Online. Follow us on http://twitter.com/villagevoice and http://twitter.com/VoiceStreet and @villagevoice on Instagram!

"There is a certain kind of abdominal pain felt only when a catastrophe appears at the door of the world you know and pr...
06/02/2020
Stop Making Sense, or How to Write in the Age of Trump | The Village Voice

"There is a certain kind of abdominal pain felt only when a catastrophe appears at the door of the world you know and proceeds to bang on it. The sensation could be likened to a steel ball grinding your intestines. There is nothing like it: There were times when I thought I could hear it revolve. The feeling is simultaneously familiar and totally unfamiliar; it is unquestionably familiar as boilerplate fear, intensified though it may be, but it is also unfamiliar in its specificity: It is the fear of an unimaginable future as seen from this particular terrifying moment.

This is the feeling that possessed me during the time my daughter Isabel was sick and then died. This is the kind of fear that woke up, stretched and elbowed for more room in my stomach on November 8, 2016, as it became increasingly clear that Donald f**king Trump would win the presidential election. By two in the morning, drugged by my own adrenaline and disbelief, I was staring at the dumbfounded TV analysts groping for dumb things to cover up their earlier dumbness. The fear was settling in my stomach, kicking up its cloven feet."

— Alexandar Hemon, on the eve of Trump's inauguration, 2017

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/01/17/stop-making-sense-or-how-to-write-in-the-age-of-trump/

There is a certain kind of abdominal pain felt only when a catastrophe appears at the door of the world you know and proceeds to...

"... Malcolm will continue to try to wake Harlem. He will use a negative attack to produce a positive goal. To a white e...
06/01/2020
Malcolm X: The Complexity Of a Man in the Jungle | The Village Voice

"... Malcolm will continue to try to wake Harlem. He will use a negative attack to produce a positive goal. To a white ear the attacks will sound like the ranting of a racist.

To the man who leans casually against the wall at the Theresa, racism is a mask he dons when it will be effective. But even the mask is different from the way it is perceived. To himself he is a racist because he is concerned with the black race. He is a racist because he will attack all people who abuse that race. He is not a racist who hates all non-blacks.

'I care about all people,' he said, 'but especially about black people. I’m a Muslim. My religion teaches me brotherhood, but doesn’t make me a fool.'

The white world is not the only place that is concerned with his racism. In the parts of Harlem where white means devil, they are also testing him.

He was challenged at a Sunday meeting. A man stood, rocked back on his heels, and very slowly said, 'We heard you changed, Malcolm. Why don’t you tell us where you’re at with them white folks?'

Without dropping a syllable he gave a black nationalist speech on brotherhood... "

NOTE: The following article was written by Marlene Nadle for The Voice shortly prior to the assassination of Malcolm X. It is based on hours of interviewing Malcolm X at his Hotel Theresa office and attendance at rallies at the Audubon Ballroom and Manhattan Center.

The article is presented exactly as it was originally written. No attempt has been made to make it conform to the events of Sunday at the Audubon Ballroom.

The following article was written by Marlene Nadle for The Voice shortly prior to the assassination of Malcolm X. It is based on hours of interviewing Malcolm X at his Hotel Theresa office and attendance at rallies at the Audubon Ballroom and Manhattan Center.

"CHICAGO — Pigs. Until Wednes­day night this was just a Move­ment nickname for the police. A satisfying exaggeration. An...
05/31/2020
Chicago 1968: A Riot by the Cops | The Village Voice

"CHICAGO — Pigs. Until Wednes­day night this was just a Move­ment nickname for the police. A satisfying exaggeration. An example of in-group argot. A verbal gesture of solidarity with the Black Panthers. But Wednesday night on the streets of Daleyland, pigs became a precise descrip­tion. The Chicago police, with their thick heads, small eyes, and beery jowls, actually resemble pigs. And they surely behaved like animals in this city famous for its stockyards.

Wednesday at twilight the pigs rioted against the people. The police charged into about 5000 anti-war demonstrators; they did not try to arrest people, but tried to maim people. They gleefully used fists, nightsticks, and tear gas against unarmed students, girls, and photographers who did not offer any resistance... "

— Jack Newfield, September 5, 1968

https://www.villagevoice.com/2020/05/30/chicago-68-a-riot-by-the-cops/

“Wednesday at twilight the pigs rioted against the people. The police charged into about 5000 anti-war demonstrators; they did not try to arrest people, but tried to maim people”

"There are, in the world of publishing, certain conventions. Informed readers are not surprised to discover that cabinet...
05/28/2020
Jerzy Kosinski’s Tainted Words | The Village Voice

"There are, in the world of publishing, certain conventions. Informed readers are not surprised to discover that cabinet ministers or major league pitchers have re­ceived professional assistance in preparing their books. We assume, too, that even “literary” novelists — Updike, Barth, Tyler — are edited by the people who pub­lish their work. But no novelist with any claim to seriousness can hire people to do without acknowledgement, the sort of composition that we usually call writing. To purchase another’s words is to cheat the reader, to trash the tradition. For al­most 10 years now, Jerzy Kosinski has been treating his art as though it were just another commodity, a widgit to be as­sembled by anonymous hired hands...

The point here is not to question which (if either) version is true, but to note that Kosinski encourages the conflicting stories which surround him, that he denies the notion of truth. To some extent, this may be the almost reflexive desire of a Holocaust survivor for disguise — a habit of con­tinuous self-invention — but it may also be a sophisticated smokescreen laid down to obscure objective truths Kosinski would rather hide."

In 1982, Geoffrey Stokes and Edward Fremont-Smith looked behind the mask of writer Jerzy Kosinski

https://www.villagevoice.com/2020/05/28/jerzy-kosinskis-tainted-words/

“Though his work for human rights is unassailable, the books grow worse and worse, the tales of his derring-do more and more farfetched. Finally, without at all forgiving him his lies, one feels sorry for Kosinski.”

"Donald Trump likes to lecture about how Ed Koch is duping the public and how, under the mayor’s lead­ership, the city h...
05/27/2020
Donald Trump: All Talk, No Votes | The Village Voice

"Donald Trump likes to lecture about how Ed Koch is duping the public and how, under the mayor’s lead­ership, the city has begun to fall apart. The developer/civics instructor talks a good game — and he has the newspaper clips to prove it — but when it comes to stepping into a voting booth, Trump falls silent. Board of Elections records reveal that Trump, since registering as a Republican in October 1969, has voted a of 10 times. Since the 1976 presidential total elec­tion, Trump has only voted three times.

Since he registered to vote, Trump has had more than 40 separate opportunities to vote on Election Day. These elections involved more than 150 offices and hun­dreds of candidates.

Trump, 41, registers to vote out of his father’s home on Midland Parkway, Jamaica, but he has not lived there for years. His drivers license also carries the Queens address, but the developer actually splits his time between his pied-a-terre in Trump Tower and his mansion Greenwich, Connecticut.

State election law states that the ad­dress a voter registers from must be that voter’s legal residence."

In 1987, William Bastone reported on Donald Trump's shady voting record.

Since he registered to vote in 1969, Trump has had more than 40 separate opportunities to vote on Election Day. But when it comes to stepping into a voting booth, Trump falls silent.

"A Marvel Comics reader can get the impression that costumed superheroes form a sizable voting block in New York City. I...
05/20/2020
Spider-Man: Super-Anti-Hero In Forest Hills | The Village Voice

"A Marvel Comics reader can get the impression that costumed superheroes form a sizable voting block in New York City. In fact, one suspects that they are the real rulers of Manhattan. And they have the citizens quite bewildered.

A New York cop, exercising his stop-and-frisk prerogative, never knows when he may accidently rip the dark scales from the powerful eyes of Cyclops, a benign super-mutant whose refractive lenses hide an X-ray vision which will burn through the sidewalk if exposed. And, last year, New Yorkers awoke to find that their city had been taken over by the under­sea legions of Namor, the ruler of the sub-continent Atlantis. Washington was afraid to bomb the invaders lest the bombs in­jure innocent citizens. “Wait ’til the Fantastic Four get here!” murmured a bystander as the submariners marched through Central Park. He was right: the Fantastic Four ultimately drove the undersea legions back into the Hudson.

There are approximately 15 superheroes in the Marvel Group, and nearly all of them live in the New York area. Midtown Manhattan is full of full of their landmarks. On Madison Avenue the Baxter Building (“New York’s most famous skyscraper”) houses the Fantastic Four and their various self-protective devices. Further down Madison Avenue is the flagpole from which Spiderman swung the day he lost his spider powers. Somewhere in the east 60s the townhouse of playboy industrialist Tony Stark (alias Iron Man) is secret headquarters for the Avengers, a group of traditional fighters for justice which includes the thundergod Thor. Thor in his human identity is the lame doctor Don Blake (whose cane turns into a magic hammer when he puts on his Thor costume) who works surgical miracles in an uptown hospital."

Sally Kempton on Marvel Comics, 1965

“The most popular Marvel hero has a terrible identity problem, a marked inferiority complex, and a fear of women. He is anti-social, castration­-ridden, racked with Oedipal guilt, and accident-prone”

"Norman Morrison burned himself to death to protest the Viet­nam war, and when reporters visited his spare room they saw...
05/19/2020
Bob Dylan: Brecht of the Juke Box, Poet of the Electric Guitar | The Village Voice

"Norman Morrison burned himself to death to protest the Viet­nam war, and when reporters visited his spare room they saw quotes from Bob Dylan scrawled on the peeling walls. Students at the University of California have organized a non-credit seminar on Dylan’s poetry. Esquire Magazine quotes Stokely Carmich­ael singing to himself — not an Otis Redding blues — but Dylan. In a recent peace demonstration a teenybopper marched with a home-made placard that bore the crayoned motto, “The hypnotic splattered mist is slowly lifting,” a line from Dylan’s “The Chimes or Freedom.”

W. H. Auden, Howard Nemerov, and Norman Podhoretz say they have never heard of Dylan. Critic and poet John Ciardi says Dylan knows nothing about poetry. Even Norman Mailer, existentialist fight manager and white hope of the over-30 generation, says, “If Dylan is a poet, so is Cassius Clay.”

But 25-year-old Dylan, the Brecht of the juke box, has already won this generation of rebels, just as Kerouac and Camus have won earlier generations. Dylan’s words, values, imagery, even his eccentric life-style, are grooved into more under-30 brains than any other writer’s. And the miracle of it is that almost nobody over 30 in the literary and intellectual establishments even pays attention to his electronic guitar-coated nightmare visions of America"

Jack Newfield on Bob Dylan, 1967

25-year-old Dylan has already won this generation of rebels, just as Kerouac and Camus have won earlier generations: his words, values, imagery, even his eccentric life-style, are grooved into more under-30 brains than any other writer's.

"It’s not easy to offend. We’re so tolerant, the folks in the National Lampoon Show can’t even get a summons for burning...
05/18/2020
John Belushi: He Who Laughs First | The Village Voice

"It’s not easy to offend. We’re so tolerant, the folks in the National Lampoon Show can’t even get a summons for burning dollars on stage. They’ve got to go a long mile to pass the limits of acceptability where satire begins. But there al­ways are limits. Our ever-so-liberal consciences finally shudder at mockery of the blind, paraplegics, blacks, Jackie Onassis. We’re horror-struck by our laughing. The sane agree: they’ve gone too far.

Too far for the Lampooners means something different: when the audi­ence stops laughing. Laughter, according to the director-star co-au­thor of the National Lampoon Show, John Belushi, is good. If they’re laughing, even if they hate them­selves for laughing, they’re having a good time.

Belushi is a satirist not because he’s mean, he says, or neurotic, like many satirists, but because he likes to make people laugh. He likes to laugh himself. The touchstone for all his material is whether he and his friends think it’s funny. Unlike mass-market comics, who must gear their message to their audience. Be­lushi trusts his material to find its own audience of kindred spirits. He does not want to browbeat or abuse or humiliate his audience, merely to communicate with them via laugh­ter, not preach to them (although some of his skits bear a moral load), but share with them the way he is."

In 1975, we profiled a young, up-and-coming actor named John Belushi

“Belushi is a satirist not because he's mean or neurotic, he says, but because he likes to make people laugh”

"I am convinced that if Wilt Chamberlain appeared on the floor of Madison Square Garden with a supporting team of four a...
05/14/2020
Knicks-Lakers 1970: A Word For Wilt Chamberlain | The Village Voice

"I am convinced that if Wilt Chamberlain appeared on the floor of Madison Square Garden with a supporting team of four arthritic midgets against a team of NBA All-Stars, the All-Stars would be regarded as the sentimental underdogs, and when the game was over, the sportswriters would blame Chamberlain for clogging the middle so much that the arthritic midgets were unable to drive in for easy lay-ups on the give-and-go, a textbook maneuver that is sometimes good for as many as five showy baskets in a game. But Wilt is not a textbook player. He is a monster with extraordinary size and strength and stamina, a veritable anathema to paunchy sportswriters and commentators who haven’t had anybody to identify with since fat Freddy Scolari stopped throwing up his soft floaters for the Fort Wayne Pistons. Even athletes who have slugged sportswriters have received more favorable press and media coverage than Wilt has. He is never given credit for exceptional performances or generous impulses. He is taken for granted as a brutal fact of nature, rebuked for his presumptions of humanity and sensitivity. “Both teams have played well under adversity,” Chamberlain quipped after the sixth game. “We Americans emphasize winning too much.” The resident humanist in the Post sports department pounced on Wilt for making such a peaceful statement after having voted for Nixon. And so it goes. No blow is too low against Wilt, no herring too red. Every other center who has ever played with any distinction in the pivot has been treated with more consideration."

Fifty years ago, the New York Knicks won their first NBA Championship, and the Voice's Andrew Sarris jumped to the defense of Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain

I am convinced that if Wilt Chamberlain appeared on the floor of Madison Square Garden with a supporting team of four arthritic midgets against a team of NBA All-Stars, the All-Stars would be regarded as the sentimental underdogs, and when the game was over, the sportswriters would blame Chamberlain...

"Michael Jordan’s blend of middle-class dignity with Julius Erving’s high-intensity elegance, both funneled through a hi...
05/13/2020
Michael Jordan: B-Ball Buppie | The Village Voice

"Michael Jordan’s blend of middle-class dignity with Julius Erving’s high-intensity elegance, both funneled through a hi-tech marketing campaign, makes him the locker-­room peer of Mayo and Strickland. More than any other contemporary African-American athlete, his ability to thrive in the pressure cooker of corporate America (his off-season consists primarily of appearances at various company conferences, charitable events, and shooting commercial spots), while never making any embarrass­ing “I’m not black, I’m universal” comments or selling his soul rather than just his visage, makes him a role model. Professional black women, who tend to find athletes sexy but shallow, are attracted by his serious­ness (that Jordan married the mother of his son only made him larger in their eyes). His success embodies the equation all of us at Antigua are seeking: success, with maybe a bit of compromise, but without sellout. Spend­ing the night watching Jordan work wasn’t simply bas­ketball junkiedom, but paying respects to a peer. Mi­chael Jordan —commodity, pop star, all-African­-American guy — is the first true buppie b-ball star. And he did it all without a nose job."

— Nelson George on Michael Jordan, 1989

Alone with the tube in a hotel room in Antigua the night the NBA season starts. Most of the Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association conference attendees are on a Jolly Roger pseudo-­pirate ship circling the island, savoring seafood, dancing with the CPAs from L.A., or networking with the h...

"It seems we have under-rated Richard Nixon. Not only does he play the dummy admirably, but in the last week, he has sho...
05/12/2020
Hard Hat Riot: Working Class on Wall Street | The Village Voice

"It seems we have under-rated Richard Nixon. Not only does he play the dummy admirably, but in the last week, he has shown a flair for ventriloquism by finding a voice for his silent majority. But it’s a shame that it was the working men who were wooden-headed or hard-hatted enough to climb upon his knee.

At first glance it seems incongruous that the working class would gravitate toward Nilton. His style is not theirs. Wallace, yes. A face in the crowd, a small lonesome road that runs through dirt farmers’ country and pauses in the early morning hours at truck stops. But Nixon’s odyssey isn’t even on a working man’s map. The class debater, benchwarmer for the football team at good old Whittier College, a man who sees Knott’s Berry as America’s happy farm, the master of the cheap shot (or a 'shy rap artist' to use a laborer’s term), a whiner in defeat, and a paranoiac by profession.

Then why the recent alliance between Nixon and the workers? lt is a wedding of his pomposity and, sadly, their circumstances. The key word is 'majority.'

If you came out of a working-class family, you always wanted to belong. Only aristocratic politicians long for 'humble beginnings.' Anyone who was born there doesn’t want to go home again."

— Joe Flaherty, writing 50 years ago about the "Hard Hat Riot", when construction workers attacked anti-war protesters in Lower Manhattan

It seems we have under-rated Richard Nixon. Not only does he play the dummy admirably, but in the last week, he has shown a flair for ventriloquism by finding a voice for his silent majority. But it’s a shame that it was the working men who were wooden-headed or hard-hatted enough to climb upon hi...

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