Friday, April 27, 2012

Twin Cities Reader lives again

I wish this had been the last issue, but it
was the second to last issue. Of course, Carl
ultimately got Minnesota to build a stadium
for his Twins baseball team.

Artwork by the great Jack Mhyervold.
He sent this in unsolicited. Depicting Carl Pohlad as
The Godfather, it was a perfect illustration
for John Yewell's Twins stadium story.

How is it possible that it's been 15 years since the last issue of the Twin Cities Reader was published? 

I was the art director of the TCReader when it went out of business in March of 1997. I'd been there for a little over two years. It was a fun job. I had the trust of the editor and could pretty much do what I wanted. I was able to hire great artists and photographers. And then it was gone.

Burl Gilyard, a writer for the Reader, emailed former staffers noting 15th anniversary of the dissolution on March 12, 1997. This sent me to Google to snoop around to see if there was any electronic evidence of the Reader. I was mostly looking for older versions of the paper -- before my time -- but there was almost nothing in image search. I found only one version of the logo from the '90s. But not a single cover.

And then I got an email out of the blue from another former coworker, Jesper Goransson, who was a Reader production intern, wondering why there weren't any Reader visuals on the Internet. Probably the reason is that the Reader went out of business before the Internet revved up.

So, I'm going to post some Twin Cities Reader covers here. And why not! 

The last issue. Photo by Jeffrey Rabkin.
My first issue. White space!
I changed the logo after a couple months.
Stunning John Noltner photo.

A sweet Merle Nacht illustration.

The first appearance of my
TC Reader logo in December 1995
Photo by Ann Marsden.

The Winter Guide, 1996.
Photo by Robyn McDaniels and Gordon Stettinius,
model: Penny Reinwand, stylist: Ellen French.
Robyn and Gordon shared a weekly
photo feature in the Reader.

I redrew the classic Reader logo for the
big 20th anniversary issue. The original
artwork was long gone.

My direct inspiration
for the upside down
20th anniversary cover.
A 1988 Village Voice
cover designed by
Michael Grossman.
Prince and [symbol] through the years.
Fantastic art by Erik Johnson
made this cover idea work.
And the flip side.

Note: The Twin Cities Reader is now owned by City Pages (or Village Voice Media, if you want to be technical) in Minneapolis and they use the name every once in a while for stuff. It was on a book section in City Pages for a few years. And it was also used for a City Pages news aggregator that ran for a short time. I imagine the name will turn up again.


Mark Simonson said...

It still amazes me that City Pages outlasted The Reader. The Reader always felt like the incumbent to me, probably because of my history with one of its other much earlier competitors, Metropolis.

Daughter Number Three said...

Love to see these here, David. There is a big hole in the internet for media from this time period.

D. R. Martin said...

Fun to see this little tribute to the Reader, David. I'm pretty sure that all I have left from my days there (first editor of "The Entertainer"/Reader in '76-'78, starting in Hopp's house on Garfield) are a few clips of my own articles. I don't think I have a single complete issue left. Nonetheless, Mark Hopp (whatever you may have thought of him personally) made something worthwhile by creating our own version of the Chi. Reader/Bay Guardian/Boston Phoenix. And the pub did produce a few prominent names, such as Carr and Rybak. D.R. Martin

David Steinlicht said...

Mark, when Metropolis started, I was certain the Twin Cities Reader was doomed. Metropolis was superior to the Reader in all ways -- except in business sense (in my opinion). So, sadly, Metropolis stopped and the Reader continued.

But the Reader's focus shifted over the years. For a while in the late 80s it wanted to be known as "The civilized alternative." Whatever alternative papers are or were, they weren't civilized. The shambling, rough and ready City Pages snuck up on the civilized Reader and surpassed it, both on the editorial side and, most importantly, on the business side.

D#3, yup, this little collection of Reader covers is just a tiny drop in a big bucket.

D.R., I was a fan of The Entertainer! And I followed along as it turned into the Reader. As a matter of fact, I was turned down for a job at the Reader in the late 70s.

My post only covers a bit of the two years I worked there. I regret it doesn't include Twin Cities Reader covers from the Scott Anderson years or the Marcia Roepke years. Perhaps they -- and other former TC Reader art directors -- will manufacture some pixels on the topic.

JohnYewell said...

Burl just passed this along.... Thanks so much for posting this! I've often been frustrated by the lack of links to the Reader. Now I have one. I'm having a nostalgia attack.

Jaye B said...

you wouldn't happen to have a copy of the TCR featuring an article called ANALapolis w/ Dr. Sphincter on the cover. It was the Jan 26th 1996 issue. I'm the author of the piece and have been looking for it to digitize.


Jaye Beldo