Thursday, April 26, 2007

Alt-Country: Notes from the Modern American Weekly

Come Again?
In Minneapolis, much has been made of the several infelicities busted recently by apple-cheeked editrix Kevin Hoffman of the City Pages. To wit: Hoff, in a mere 291 words, managed to 1.) write that new Minneapolis Star Tribune owner publisher Par Ridder had been “smacked around like a two-bit ho in a lawsuit”; 2.) refer to the Strib’s plan to outsource 25 jobs to New Delhi as “Operation: Sanjaya,” evincing both a steely grip of pop culture and the kind of delicate touch not seen outside of Flaubert and; and 3.) write that soon the paper’s ad designer “will be taking a rickshaw to work.” Oh, and the headline: “Local business, meet your new advertising partner: Habib.” (Habib, of course, is an Arabic name used by many Muslim Indians, but not exactly common to the subcontinent, and certainly not the predominantly Hindu New Delhi.) What’s more, the offending words – excepting the headline and the rickshaw crack -- were squeegeed from the City Pages’ web site, no explanation given. We really have nothing to add to the fine work done by Minnesota Monitor (not to mention the always-entertaining peanut gallery over at MNspeak), except to say that Hoffman continues to demonstrate why he’s the chain’s wonderboy.

The Hoff's Bust-A-Graf Counter (total grafs busted by Kevin Hoffman during his tenure at City Pages):

Ass. Editor Now On Top
We're pleased as spiked punch to relay news of a promotion at the Cleveland Scene, that seeming font of corporate teat suckers. "Associate Editor Erich Burnett [again with the names!] will assume a fulltime Corporate Editorial role and begin to work directly with all of the top editors at VVM," writes high-order brass polisher Christine Brennan (author, incidentally, of the most bloated and ridiculous New Times VVM feature not about whales). The email goes on to describe Mr. Burnett's new duties. We include them here, with additional explication.

1. "Overseeing corporate copy editing." The AP has yet to put forth a ruling on whether it's My Space, MySpace, or myspace. Regardless, this is where most of the alt-weekly readership has wandered off to. "Tom" is their friend now.

2. "Film syndication; editing of DVD reviews, Game On." Translation: examining the packaging of New Times VVM's Big Macs, Whoppers, Chicken Nuggets – the prefab "content" it ships out to its ostensibly local-focused papers for reheating and publishing. That's right: Neither Jordan Harper nor Robert Wilonsky live in your town.

3. "Fellowship recruiting." Wherein New Times VVM shills show up at college j-school programs, threaten hopeful graduates with news of the dearth of journo jobs out there, then open their arms like a Fagan character, offering them $400 a week to report on orgasm clinics and fight clubs. If they do not like this, they can, in the kind words of the New Times VVM brass, go fuck themselves.

4. "Qualitative oversight of online listings." I.e. take up the never-ending fight that is New Times vs. the Internet. This is so sad it's almost charming. As page counts dwindle and ad dollars go online, New Times VVM rushes to the Web in a covered wagon, arriving with its pan and shovel and china doll. There's gold in them thar online spaces!

Needless to say, we wish Mr. Burnett all the luck in the world, for he will most certainly need it. Should things not work out, rest assured he can go fuck himself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bury Those Leads

New Times Village Voice Media is known for its punchy lead writing. A VVM lead doesn't just set the scene -- it grabs your tits by their balls and hurls you into it. Here's a smattering of recent favorites.

With a 9mm Beretta strapped to his chest, Iztok Plevnik opened the passenger door of the bulletproof, black sedan and climbed in. (*)

The gray-haired professor cracks his whip in mid-air. "Wake up back there!" he commands the two dozen folks lounging around on plush cream couches. (*)

Paul and Cheryl Anderson were sinking into their king-size bed late one night in the fall of 2004 when they heard a loud, ominous thump. (*)

The 120 dutiful souls who'd answered their jury summons on January 9 had been sitting in the historic Waxahachie courthouse listening to lawyers drone on for hours. Then suddenly things got weird. (*)

Only a bad acid trip or real life in Orange County could conjure up this question: Is there a relationship between pudgy, polyester-clad U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, 59, and the “Wascally Wabbit Vibrator,” “Miracle Dick Pump,” “Paradise Pocket Pussy,” “Triple Clit Flicker,” “So Real 8-inch Dong,” “Aria’s Pussy and Ass Inflatable Doll” and such cinematic wonders as Sprachen ze Dick and Everybody Loves Big Boobies, Vol. 3?(*)

After nightfall, western Hollywood goes dark and an otherwise featureless horizon comes to be dominated, suddenly, by the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the phosphorescent glow of its turrets visible for miles in every direction. (*)

After he got sprayed with a face full blood while on the job last month, Minneapolis sewer work Ron Huebner—like a lot of the people who heard about the incident— responded with a mix of shock and repulsion. (*)

When Donna Dennis swung her legs over the side of her bed, planted her feet on the carpet, and took a few steps on New Year's Day 2004 — which just happened to be her birthday — she knew something was dreadfully awry. (*)

Shauntay Henderson sauntered past the TV cameras with a sly smile on her face just three days after she was arrested March 31 by Kansas City, Missouri, police. The 24-year-old had reason to gloat: She's among a very choice group of women criminals. (*)

Keith Hardine is a tall, fit African-American with a big smile; he looks not unlike a younger Ernie Hudson circa Ghostbusters, or Larry Elder if he hit the gym a little more. He shakes my hand and gives me some pepper spray. Hardine is about to teach me how to defend myself against Mexicans. (*)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm the Death Watch! I'm the Death Watch!

Today we draw your attention, somewhat belatedly, to a story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, in which your humble correspondents are namechecked (and impugned).

Monday, April 09, 2007

Caliente! VVM Sex Story of the Week

As is well established, New Times gobbled up Village Voice Media with the intention of spreading the seed of Great Journalism far and wide. And what constitutes Great Journalism? Well, duh -- it's boners! Yes, as followers of VVM's brand of Great Journalism are painfully aware, the chain is obsessed hookers, orgies, swingers, nudity, sexual malfeasance, etc. etc. Is a bowling club too retarded a subject for these steely eyed observers of the American Condition? Not if it's a naked bowling club. And so, as the aforementioned seed spreads like semen 'cross a porn star's mug, we present: Caliente! VVM Sex Story of the Week.

Runner Up No. 3: Nashville Scene, "The Bitch-Ho Problem: Vandy scholar explores the sexual politics of hip-hop."

Runner Up No. 2: Cleveland Scene, "Gutter Balls: Adventures in naked bowling."

And now... the VVM Sex Story of the Week goes to... SF Weekly, "Sex and Sensuality: Touchy-feely "researchers" want to build community through the the practice of orgasmic meditation -- one stroke at a time."

Line that swayed the judges: "A timer is set, and for the next 15 minutes, the stroking is on. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. After putting on latex gloves, Sam began massaging Jessica's inner thighs and lower stomach. He went in for the lube stroke. 'If you follow the inner lips, her clit will pop out,' Sam said."

Congratulations, journalists!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cover: You're Ass

A tipster writes: "Mary O'Regan is good looking, but to be on the cover of Seattle Weekly AND CP? That's just weird." No, that's synergy!

Cover feature, City Pages, April 4, 2007
"Catwalk Confessional: Jab me with pins! Feed me lettuce! Insult my ass! How I became a (not-so-super) model for Voltage, Minneapolis's rock 'n' roll fashion show," by Mary O'Regan

Cover feature, Seattle Weekly, April 4, 2007
"What You Like: Karla Starr searches for musical love online," by Karla Starr

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Philadelphia Story

As rumors circulate that Mike Lacey is at this very moment en route to Philly from his San Francisco bachelor pad, news breaks that New Times Village Voice Media is purchasing the Philadelphia Weekly! Early reports indicate that Weekly employees are mad as hell. We can't imagine why. Stay tuned for updates as they arrive. Disgruntled and soon-to-be disgruntled staffers should feel free to write in. While your job may not be protected, your anonymity will be.

UPDATE! Someone may have jumped the gun here. Still, any excuse to Photoshop Lacey's shit-eating grin over Katharine Hepburn, right?