For the monumental, yet totally arbitrary marker of time that is a ten year anniversary, I set out to re-read every issue of AG to this point. Not every word, of course, but I spent the better part of last month tearing through old and yellowing newsprint to see just what the hell we’ve accomplished this past decade. Let me tell you: it’s been mesmerizing, agonizing, embarrassing, and revealing. (Read any part of our 12 page spread, and you’ll see for yourself ).
Antigravity was started by Leo McGovern in the spring of 2004. For anyone who grew up in the ‘90s and early 2000s in New Orleans’ anemic underground scenes, this magazine was a long time coming, a wake-up call for what defined New Orleans culture. At the time, Offbeat was the only music magazine in town, save for the years when WTUL’s The Vox was run by serious people, and the occasional upstart, which never made it past a couple of issues. At the time of AG’s birth, it was easy to be frustrated by Offbeat’s coverage (or lack thereof ) of anything that fell too far from the Jazz Fest orbit. But rather than complain about it or expect Offbeat to do everything for us, some of us decided to do something about it.
To be clear, one thing that 10 years of publishing teaches you is that this endeavour is not for the weak of heart or easily rattled, and I’ve come to appreciate Offbeat for sticking around, covering what they can and—like all good magazines—what they choose to. It’s a testament to the cultural health of New Orleans and a benefit to her citizens that not any one publication can or should speak for everyone.
In combing through our old issues, The most “whoa” moment of all belongs to the Katrina era. For those of us just out of college and hungry to prove something, pre-Katrina was a time of great promise and inspiration. Then Katrina hit, and afterwards a time of garbage, paperwork, bad news, worse politics, and extreme crime (remember Addie Hall, Dinerral Shavers, and Helen Hill?). New Orleans had its teeth knocked out. I always contend that no one needed Katrina to kick their ass into gear. We were already getting there. But the hurricane did happen and the spine of this young publication was tested. Leo lost everything in his Mid-city apartment, and yet made a firm commitment to get AG up and running as soon as possible. I wrote one of my earliest pieces—an interview with King Louie of course—from a cramped storage room-cum-office in Chicago. I think that era ultimately fused me to this magazine.
There were points—still are— where I would yank at fistfuls of hair and wonder why the hell I was doing this. I contemplated quitting for years. My 20s were so confused and unfocused (I want to be in a band. And direct videos. And write for a magazine. And have a domestic life…) and Antigravity always seemed like the most stressful and least fun activity. But I never could quit, instead taking on more responsibility, as if I had no choice in the matter and fate had already dictated it. Over these last ten years, Antigravity has taken over my life. It has outlasted addresses, bands, pets, and more than a few relationships. Through it all, the AG family continues to grow and that’s really the best part of the job, to see the stories and images we publish reflect a city full of life and wonder.
So forgive us if we take a few victory laps on this issue. It’s been a hell of a decade and we needed a moment to really stop and meditate on it. There’s plenty more memories in these pages, so I’ll leave you with it for now and simply quote former editor Patrick Strange, who signed off February 2006’s issue with these immortal words, setting this magazine’s mission in stone: “Antigravity is for lovers.”