Tricia Romano's Village Voice book

This summer, I was in New York City working on my book about the Village Voice, when my boyfriend was killed in a motorcycle accident. 

I was there to interview people about the storied alt-weekly started by Norman Mailer, Ed Fancher, and Dan Wolf. Everything stopped.  Three days after Skyler died, the contract came through. As is common in publishing, the advance is really not enough to live on, and would need to buffered by freelance income. The freelance hustle is already hard; it’s even harder in the midst of grief and my finances have taken a significant hit. Adding insult to injury, my car was stolen on Labor Day. (Woo, 2018!)

I was a Village Voice columnist for eight years, covering New York nightlife. I wrote about the new burlesque movement, underground techno, and the cabaret law. It was the best job I ever had, and being able to write about the newspaper’s vaunted history—especially now that the publication no longer exists—is a dream come true.

My personal tragedy notwithstanding, the economic reality remains that I can't I do justice to the Voice without financial assistance, and the Voice’s story needs to be told, now more than ever before. In the age of Trump’s very dangerous admonishment of journalism as “fake news,” the Voice's perspective is a terrible thing to be missing from the conversation. As I wrote in anop-ed for the New York Times when the paper shuttered forever in September, the Village Voice “established the alternative-weekly template: a mix of opinionated, first-person screeds; advocacy journalism; rock criticism; experimental writing; and political comic art…To read The Voice was to read the progenitor of Craigslist and blogging, and of America’s underground cultural and political landscape in the second half of the last century and into this one.”

I have already spoken at length with many of the paper's biggest figures, including Ed Fancher, Jonas Mekas, and Richard Goldstein, among many others. They’ve already told me hours of stories—how Goldstein, for his second assignment, interviewed the Rolling Stones on a barge, and how Susan Brownmiller wrote about this then-little-known singer, James Brown.  

Everything was going so well, and my life was changed forever. But now, I have to move forward, and the book really needs to have my full-time focus. I need interns to help with the huge volume of material, so that I can make my two-year deadline. I need to pay for transcription services, recording equipment to capture audio and video; I will also need travel and lodging funds to come to New York periodically.

Your contributions will help me get back on my feet, and they will help me focus on the book and nothing but the book. They will help with other expenses freelancers have to pay for themselves—including health insurance. But most importantly, your funds will help me chronicle the story of the Village Voice as one of the most important newspapers of the 20th century. 

In a way, this is also a book about loss; I am not just grieving my boyfriend, but the end of a great paper that covered a once-great city. This history must live on. And arguably it does, in every review in Pitchfork, every first-person blog post, every piece of advocacy journalism directed at the Trump administration (thanks, Wayne Barrett). As I wrote in the Times, “The Voice — and New York — was a beacon for misfits, and I was one of them. The Voice was once a lodestar to freaks and geeks everywhere. Now the lodestar is both nowhere and everywhere.”

Whether you love me personally, know my byline, or just love the Village Voice, you will be helping carry me forward as I work on a worthwhile and difficult project about an irreplaceable newspaper. 

I thank you for any help you can give.

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Tricia Romano
Seattle, WA

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