We have a weakness for nostalgia, which is why we approach anniversary issues of Newcity with trepidation. We know how easy it is to fall into the black hole of memories. To avoid this, we’ve adopted the custom of looking forward, rather than backward, with our annual anniversary issues.
But we do have lessons we can learn from our history, so since this is something of a milestone anniversary, our thirty-fifth, we decided to combine the two. Taking as our premise “Mirror to the Future,” we tasked our writers with looking to the past to help us understand where we are today and where we might go from here. We hope you find the work as fulfilling and fun to read as we did to edit it.
One of the joys of an issue like this is reconnecting with your past. In 1986, Frank Luby, a recently graduated editor of the University of Chicago Maroon, helped us get this crazy idea off the ground, and served as our first editor for ten issues over those first months. His piece in this issue, which revisits a lifelong obsession with the blues that he introduced to Newcity readers back then, is one of a very few he’s contributed since. Other writers have stayed connected throughout, like Ted Fishman, who’s not only continued to write for us off and on as his career has soared, but has become a dear personal friend outside of work. Robert Rodi has taken the unlikely path of meeting us long ago as a cover-story subject, and serving now as our music editor. And Ray Pride is our longest-serving editor, still helming the film section.
This is the 1,411th issue we’ve published. Needless to say, we have thousands of folks, past and present, to thank for getting us here. And for the memories of moments we’ve shared in our journey. It hasn’t been easy—our chosen field has seen its business model thoroughly disrupted since we started. But the joys of publishing great work, of seeing our “kids” soar in their careers, keeps us going.
As do the little things. We got this card in the mail the other day, on an otherwise bleak day in both weather and in business. It came from a subscriber in Boulder, Colorado, who was renewing. “Here’s $130—two years sub money,” he wrote, “plus a tenspot to get an Italian beef at Al’s #1 on Taylor Street.”
For a brief moment, the sun started shining.
BRIAN & JAN HIEGGELKE
Look for Newcity’s February 2021 print edition at over 300 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.