These days, we take for granted that if we need a new restaurant recommendation, or some pointers about what live music event to attend, we just pick up a copy of the Village Voice on our nearest corner. The free paper has become a New York institution and a must-have for long subway rides. Here are ten things about the Voice that you might not know:
1. One of the co-founders of the Village Voice was two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and political activist, Norman Mailer.
2. When it was launched in 1955, the Voice was based out of a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village. The paper’s clearly-marked offices are now in the East Village at 36 Cooper Square.
3. The Village Voice has only been free since 1996 – before that, it carried a cover charge.
4. The man who invented The Simpsons, Matt Groening, used to contribute cartoons to the Voice. As did other well-known cartoonists including R. Crumb and Lynda Barry.
5. Alongside Norman Mailer, the paper’s co-founders were Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf and British underground press enthusiast, John Wilcock — who later went on to establish Interview magazine with his friend Andy Warhol. Wilcock also wrote Warhol’s biography in 1971.
6. In NYC-based musical Rent, the paper is mentioned in the song “La Vie Boheme”, with the lyrics: “”To riding your bike midday, past the three-piece suits, to fruits, to no absolutes, to Absolut, to choice, to the Village Voice.”
7. By 2005, Village Voice Media owned and published alt-weeklies all over the country, including LA Weekly, Seattle Weekly and Nashville Scene.
8. Since the paper was acquired by New Times Media in 2005, critics have argued that the Voice has become too mainstream – but it continues to publish political exposés that cause controversy.
9. When the Village Voice first started the majority of its writers worked for free, their motivation was an open forum to express their opinions.
10. Many prestigious and important writers have contributed to the Voice over the years, including the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, E.E. Cummings, Ezra Pound and Tom Stoppard.
Image courtesy of: Bernt Rostad
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