Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My First Job Goes Under

Crosswinds Weekly ceased publishing with its late January issue. I worked at Crosswinds for a year in 1998, serving as its arts and entertainment editor and pretty much its main writer for a year. That job led to the job I have now and Steve Lawrence, the editor and publisher of Crosswinds hired me when nobody else would, so I owe him, and Crosswinds, a lot.

It was one of two alternative news weeklies in Albuquerque and one of two in Santa Fe as well. It was progressive without apologizing for it and it was New Agey as well, though the New Age stuff was never quite as prevalent as people said. I'll never forget that Steve once had a very grizzled ad salesmen who seemed straight out of an audition for a production of Glengarry Glen Ross but who supplemented his income by selling "essential oils" with miraculous healing powers. Only in New Mexico.

Steve's wife and co-publisher, Vera, had her own herbal healing business and she wrote a column on the topic for the paper. But such notions hardly hurt the paper. There's a lot of people in New Mexico who like to see New Age stuff printed alongside some hard news analysis, after all. Nobody moves to New Mexico because they want to think like everybody else. If you're an accomplished experimental composer, the guy who discovered the freaking quark, or somebody who beat the stock market for years despite the machinations of the corporate raiders and bond traders of the 1980s AND you think you saw La Virgen in a tortilla... New Mexico is a good place to build a house in the foothills of one mountain or another.

Crosswinds did some great stories and had some great features. Sharon Kayne's humor column was very popular. Hal Rhodes wrote about New Mexico politics with the kind of insight and attention to detail that you'll never see from a nationally syndicated columnist writing about Washington, Steve's weekly column always challenged one bit of conventional wisdom or another and the movie ratings ranged from road-kill to howling coyote, instead of stars.

But, this post is more of a roast for Crosswinds. I'll never forget, back in that first weekly year, Steve putting a picture of a dripping faucet on the cover, with the ominous headline: "What's in your water?" Anyone who read the story would quickly be confronted by the blunt truth -- nothing too bad, really. It's pretty clean. I could see NBC's Dateline stealing that one some day.


At 4:55 PM , Blogger tifanie said...

Well, it was a respectable run, and I'm glad I got to write for you for a time. RIP, Crosswinds...*sigh*


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