In the way that some things come back stronger once before they go away for good, that sentinel of downtown New York bohemian life, the Village Voice, has published its last printed edition, with a heyday cover shot of Bob Dylan.
Photographed in a salute, the image of Dylan was taken in January 1965, near the old offices of the Voice.
The 176-page issue features a 50-page portfolio of journalistic luminaries who helped define the publication, including Voice co-founder Ed Fancher, theater critic Michael Feingold, and film critics J Hoberman and Amy Taubin.
Michael Musto, the longtime nightlife columnist, marked the occasion with a return of his “La Dulce Musto” column.
By mid-morning on Thursday, many of the publication’s distinctive red distribution boxes were empty, copies collected up by souvenir hunters. In severing the Voice from its physical existence, owner and publisher Peter Barbey said the 62-year old print publication had been “a public forum for ideas and a cultural touchstone for the progressive thought and envelope-pushing aesthetics that defined New York”.
In the final edition, a photo section celebrated the photographers and writers who “looked out at the rest of the world from south of 14th Street”.
The images include the infamous denizens of the downtown realm – William Burroughs (with sword), the Beastie Boys, Madonna, Jack Kerouac – while cartoonist Steve Brodner reminisced: “This is journalism – authentic, fearless, two-fisted, pure.”
While many mourn the Voice’s physical passing, others have been less charitable.
Contrarian New York Post columnist Maureen Callahan wrote that the changes at the Voice and the sale of Rolling Stone meant post-war baby boomers were finally releasing their “chokehold on American culture”.
“So enough with the eulogies for Rolling Stone and the Village Voice, two relics demolished not by the internet but their own narcissistic, congenital nostalgia,” Callahan crowed.
What happens next for the Village Voice could represent a bellwether for the rest of the publishing industry looking toward an all-digital future. Editor Stephen Mooallem said the roughly 500,000 pages of Voice archives would remain for the time-being “a state-of-the-art analog experience.
“The Voice may be bigger than print and ink or any owner, editor, medium, or era, but this paper belonged to New York, and the people who have worked for it have served both the Voice and the city in exemplary fashion.”