Some Justice 

Trailblazers City Weekly and local bars didn't need DOJ bailout

AUSTEN DIAMOND/13 PERCENT SALT
  • Austen Diamond/13 Percent Salt

City Weekly turned 30 on June 2. We weren’t called City Weekly back then, but on June 2, 1984—or maybe it was June 4—the first issue of the Private Eye came off the presses. Private Eye was a monthly newsletter for private clubs, mailed to the members of certain local private clubs. Then it became a biweekly, with free distribution in even more clubs. Then we started distributing in beer taverns, cafes and bookstores, finally becoming Private Eye Weekly in 1992. A few years later, we changed our name to Salt Lake City Weekly, and now we’re generically known as City Weekly.

And that’s all I remember.

I’ve forgotten nearly everything else that’s happened over these past three decades—it’s been one very long bar fight. It’s even longer since I didn’t even start this newspaper until I was 30, so half of my life has been consumed with trying to sort out other people’s problems while adding considerably to my own. It’s not lost on me that 30 is also the approximate number of years I’ve shaved from my life expectancy. This is not an easy business, you know—if it were, we would not be the only newspaper of significance to start and then survive this long since, oh, somewhere in the late 1800s. Hard as it’s been, it’s been mostly worth it—my options were to be a copper miner or a bartender otherwise. Yippee!

Well, aren’t we all happy now? We have a Salt Lake Tribune and a Deseret News, plus a City Weekly! Three voices!! And all the monthlies too, like Catalyst and SLUG and Utah Stories and so on. So, why are all those people bitching on the Tribune website comment boards only about possibly losing the Salt Lake Tribune? I don’t get it. I see and read all this stuff about The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News and it makes me want to throw up. Go back in time and think of how the Red Scare of Communism scared the bejesus out of everyone. Remember what was sometimes referred to as the Commie Department of Disinformation (or maybe that was Nixon)? Well, that’s the Tribune comment boards when it comes to what’s going on regarding print media in this city.

If you want to read lots of emotion with little fact, then read the Tribune comments anytime a story is printed about the possible fate of that newspaper. It hasn’t helped that the Tribune itself adds to that disinformation. I think a lot of Paul Rolly. I think he’s a great political insider and one of the finest political reporters this town has ever seen. But Paul also wrote a little incendiary piece a couple weeks ago about how the Deseret News circulation numbers are a bunch of hooey. Maybe so. But if Paul wants to see a pile of hooey, he might also analyze the circulation numbers for his own newspaper—or, must we wait until the other “voice” of this city, the Deseret News, writes a similar story to rebut the incomplete information Paul’s story contains? Is that what it means to have two “voices”—that either or both can produce only part of a story, then we can turn to the other for the rest of it? Well, I guess so, and it’s only a factor of which bull you like seeing gored that determined which daily newspaper you’ve subscribed to.

Actually, hold on to your britches, because we’re planning to do the story on the Tribune and Deseret News circulation in the near future. I suspect the disinformation department on the Tribune comment boards will not be too pleased. Oh, well. We’ve never made tons of friends around here anyway.

I take that back—we’ve made lots of friends, just not the ones that you hear and read about in the Salt Lake City daily editions. Did you ever hear of Mike Kampros? Nope, because he never tried to stuff a ballot or fix an election. Mike ran Club 90 in Sandy until his death several years ago. Club 90 was one of the clubs in the inaugural editions of Private Eye, and Club 90 has advertised in every issue we ever published for those 30 years. Mike was a dear friend. Same for Judy Foote of Widow McCoy’s (now A Bar Named Sue on Highland Drive), George Boutsis and Reed James of the Sage Supper Club (now A Bar Named Sue on State Street), Randy Snyder (at Club 90 and Sandy’s Station), Bob Reeves of Sandy’s Station. All of them are dead and gone now. Thirty years takes a toll on one, you know.

But there remain Bill and Jody Carter at Habits. I worked for Bill at the One More Time Club and Oscar’s, and worked with Jody at the Sage, both before this paper ever started. Kent and Janette Knowley sold Port O’ Call and moved to Hawaii. Otto Mileti and Sam Callis were my good buddies at the Zephyr Club, as was the special John Paul Brophy at the Dead Goat Saloon. George Aggie and Guy Thomas at Aggies & Bogarts were important early supporters of this paper. George—the best doorman ever—is gone, too, as every woman over 50 knows. There are so many more—please forgive me for missing any of you.

They were the trailblazers, who dared advertise and support this paper when few others would. They and others paid the price with all kinds of stupid DABC advertising violations, but they stuck with this paper, they supported our “voice” and helped it survive, and what you’re reading 30 years on is thanks to them—not the Department of Justice.

Twitter: @JohnSaltas

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