While was working on an English major and grinding out 10-hour shifts at Tower Records, I'd spend my free time pitching features and concert reviews to dozens of local publications around Los Angeles.
After getting enough "Thanks, but no thanks" responses from enough managing editors, I gave up on pitching and decided to publish something on my own. In order to raise the $750 is was going to take to launch a legitimate 'zine, I sold a big chunk of my record collection to Rhino Records, the one in Claremont. (Selling my vinyl copy of Prince's Black Album for a mere $150 tells you how desperate I was, but in retrospect, it paid off.)
Initially the 'zine was a quarterly with a run of about 1,000 copies per issue. I wrote it, designed it, printed it, and distributed it to over 50 bookstores and record shops in Los Angeles and Orange County out of the back of my trunk.
About 18 months in, the publication grew to 10,000 copies per issue. I was able to convince legit record companies like Sub Pop and Matador to buy full-page ads. I eventually got an overseas distribution deal and was able to hire a few freelance writers.
Around this time, the founding editor of the OC Weekly mailed me a letter. It was actually an index card. It read, "Would you like to write for the Weekly?"
Get paid to write? Yes, please.
A couple weeks later, I got hired on as one of his staff editors. I managed the calendar section, I wrote cover stories & features, and I was given a weekly full-page column -- Boy About Town. It was a cross between Michael Musto's La Dolce Musto and the journal entries in Henry Rollins' Get in the Van.
Once I started writing for the Weekly, my 'zine went from a quarterly to a bi-annual, to an annual. That said, I haven't published an issue since '98, but I'm always flirting with the idea of bringing it back for one last issue. Maybe once paper costs ease up.
After the Weekly, I wrote for a few more newspapers and magazines before I got my first web about a year before the the great dot.com crash of '99 at a website called Synge.com. (I wrote a cover story in the OC Weekly about the experience -- scroll down on my features page.)
Since the crash, I’ve written and edited copy for IAC (InterActiveCorp), Demand Media (now Leaf Group), TV Time, WarnerMedia, and a bunch of magazines, newspapers, startups, and "lifestyle brands." Sometime during all of that, I co-founded OUTSIDELEFT in 2004.
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