First—if you’re reading this, I owe you an immense debt of gratitude. Whether you’ve been following for 20 years or are picking up this newsprint celebration of our local music and culture for the first time, you’ve bestowed upon me the greatest gift a local guy can hope to receive: You proved me right about New Orleans. Twenty years ago, I was 25 and frustrated that the live music I was seeing and the alternative media I was consuming were represented lightly, if at all, in the local media available to me. The fact that this thing has not just endured as a voice for musicians and artists, but evolved to become a vehicle for change via the Voter’s Guide and election coverage is immensely gratifying. I’m not taking credit, that all goes to Dan and his crew—I mean, I was busy doing beard jokes, trying to do an alternative take on sports coverage, and probably more worried about entertaining than educating. At 45, people casting votes based on information they learned in ANTIGRAVITY is a mind-blowing and humbling concept. I can’t thank Dan enough for taking AG from where it was to where it is, but he’d likely join me in saying it’s you we have to thank—you proved that this city is capable of supporting music and media that doesn’t (or at least didn’t) align with local traditions. This was very much up for debate in 2004. Thank you.

As the 20th anniversary approached it was, of course, a reason to reflect. Here are a few of my personal favorite moments from my run of ANTIGRAVITY, in no particular order.

Tiger Bear Wolf @ TwiRoPa (Saturday, July 16, 2005)
Sadie Sartini Garner1This has been updated from the print version which originally credits “Marty Garner” was a big fan of this band and we let her run with a cover story (July 2005 #14) because, in those early days when the budget was super-duper-tight, enthusiasm ruled all. The final head count on that show was 80, which thrilled the band because their attendance was typically under a dozen. That was a great moment, to learn at the start of our second year we could draw an audience, especially during the summer. The band’s now defunct, but I still listen to that album from time to time!

Homefield Advantage column (August 2009 #61)
Remember when I wrote a Saints column? It started because I was already generating Saints takes via trading near-daily emails with my friend Dereck, and one of my rules at the time was if whatever I was doing entertained him, you might like it too. This was after my misguided attempt in 2008 to do a sports section in AG—it turned out that previewing Saints games a month in advance wasn’t a viable idea, though I’m very proud of interviews I did during that time with Gerry V. (then-voice of the then-Hornets) and Jim Henderson (then-radio voice of the Saints). The section morphed into a much more manageable column, and my most memorable moment was calling the Saints’ Super Bowl ascendance from the summer cheap seats—I didn’t feel so froggy as to predict a win, just an appearance, but I’m proud of it nonetheless.

Alternative Media Expo @ the Howlin’ Wolf (August 19th, 2006)
I was determined to host this event on the one-year anniversary of the party we held at our short-lived office space above Handsome Willy’s in the CBD. Short-lived because, you know, August 2005. The Wolf was packed with comic artists, crafters, ‘zinesters, musicians, and writers like Mat Schwarzman and the late, great Deborah Cotton—all folk as determined to rebuild what we lost the year before. Probably the most exhausting yet rewarding show I’ve ever had the pleasure to put on. And it was hot!

Also—I don’t remember the exact day in 2004, but Michelle was there when this thing was imagined and for nigh 22 years has supported my penchant for chasing these weird dreams of mine, whether it’s publishing a monthly magazine, working at a comic shop, or lettering comics. I love you.

Top image: detail from the 8 year anniversary issue (June 2012 #95) by Adem Vant Hull
Bottom image: detail from the 2 year anniversary issue (June 2006 #23) by Keith Knight

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