In late 1979 I was a Production Manager for the “alternative” newspaper New Times Weekly in Phoenix. I’d just done a stint at the Santa Barbara News and Review as a production artist, so this was a step up for me plus my gang was running wild in Phoenix and I didn’t want to miss out on that.
While the Art Director took a vacation I got to step into the role for a special issue on Disco. I remember that it was a real big deal for me at 22. While putting the editorial together, I worked with a creative gang of freelance photographers, stylists, models, and other creative types. They were a few years older than me and took me under their wings.
There was symbiosis from the start.
The most gregarious was Jimi, a photographer that was making a name for himself in the dusty old cow town. He persisted and ended up in New York managing photo studios and expanding his portfolio.
There was Carole who traveled the world modeling and joining in the theatrical antics of “art band” The Tubes. Her brother was the synthesizer player and did some very cool airbrushed pieces for the performances.
Then there was Ed who I knew informally from his vintage shop “Sunset Boulevard.” He had a keen eye as an art director and stylist. He also dressed me since I was mostly wearing wrinkled army fatigues in those days. I was nearly stripped of my gay badge, but Ed quickly remedied that.
Ed’s business partner was Lee who had east coast sensibilities and also weighed in on my disheveled look. To this day he’s one of the smoothest dressers I’ve ever met.
For a minute I am reminded that I have known these people for 40 years. They are still in my life and more creative than ever.
It was a burst of creative energy in this group. We all wanted to do something a little more experimental and publishing was a natural.
We were devotees of Stuff Magazine coming out of the scene on Melrose Avenue and other evolving trends in Los Angeles. What was unique about Stuff was that the pages were filled with ads. Only ads. Also the graphic design was exciting and followed the art direction we saw coming out of underground punk bands, and more kitch-centric like The B-52s, DEVO, and the PeeWee Herman show,
From that came UVA Magazine, with Jimi and I stumbling our way into being publishers. It was a great experiment for the six months we were able to keep it going..