IN TWEET: THE ICONIC BOSTON PHOENIX CEASES PUBLICATION. ANOTHER NAIL IN THE PRINT MEDIA COFFIN AND THE END OF AN ERA FOR THE ALTERNATIVE PRESS.
If you grew up in Boston, you know THE PHOENIX. If you spent any time in college or graduate school here, chances are it was your “what to do on the weekend” bible. What started as an alternative arts weekly, gradually grew into a local media powerhouse with print, radio and online platforms. THE PHOENIX gained clout as a tastemaker, political muckraker and local source of everything cool. Many writers got their start there, including Owen Gleiberman from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, one of my long-time favorite film critics.
Before there were blogs, social networks, instant messages, smart phones an internet or, in my case, cable television, THE PHOENIX was a window to a world that would have been completely alien to a kid growing up in sub-suburban Boston (go, Boxers). It’s also the first place I saw personal ads with abbreviations like “M4M” and “F4F.” When you’re struggling with your sexuality in a pre-ELLEN America, publications like THE PHOENIX were as much of a lifeline as they were a source of movie reviews and band interviews. Though I never responded to a personal ad in THE PHOENIX, just the knowledge that I wasn’t alone was enough to keep me from doing anything self-destructive or stupid.
During my college years in Boston, THE PHOENIX became a welcome antidote to the conservative campus culture that permeated Boston College. I have THE PHOENIX (along with Kathy Adams and Derek Lam) to thank for shaping my taste in movies, music and the arts. There was hardly a weekend I wouldn’t take The Green Line into Boston (B train, Boston College to Copley station) to pick up THE PHOENIX, NUMBER ONE and SMASH HITS at Newbury Comics (the original one, on Newbury Street). They were my EW.COM, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in an era when none of these outlets were even a glimmer in anyone’s imagination.
As much as I love technology and fully embrace the power and potential of the internet, writing posts like this give me pause. They make me nostalgic for a slice of life that is now forever gone but, more important, eternally grateful for having been there to experience it for myself.