Somewhere around the spring of 1993, your future editor-to-be was still just a teenage punk kid wandering the streets of New Orleans—especially the seedier parts of Magazine Street (and for you newer arrivals, that might be hard to picture but trust me, there were vast stretches devoid of anything you’d want to Yelp! about). Maybe it was the Crescent Wrench info shop, or the Abstract Cafe (my beloved halfway-house-cum-all-ages-venue) where I picked up a local street-level publication (printed in black and white), that featured everything from articles about the recent desegregation of Mardi Gras, factory farming, and the School of the Americas (a CIA torture academy based in Georgia), to event listings, music reviews, and comics—one of which showcased the surreal doodles of a young artist named Caesar Meadows.
That publication was DIALOGUE: New Orleans’ Progressive Community Journal and it changed my life forever. The cover of the dog-eared copy I hold in front of me as I write to you on the eve of publication features a stark, high-contrast image of the Liberty Monument and asks pointblank: “‘Liberty or Bigotry?’” Inside, the Publisher’s Comment goes into great detail about the monument’s history, including what was then its recent re-dedication, where white supremacists and civil rights activists clashed, culminating in State Representative Avery Alexander being choked out by NOPD during the melee—now a historical meme but printed then as a current event! Sobering to see that even 20+ years ago, the issue of this and every other monument of white supremacy in New Orleans was already at a boiling point.
Can you imagine a time devoid of social media, where information like this was not so readily available, but had to be discovered at tucked away places like the Crescent Wrench? I am so grateful to DIALOGUE— obviously put together by a small but dedicated team—for shedding light on issues that I would have otherwise remained oblivious to as a somewhat sheltered Uptown kid. As you can plainly see, the DNA and the general spirit of DIALOGUE runs throughout ANTIGRAVITY, as we strive to document stories that otherwise might fall by the wayside, or prove too “difficult” for more mainstream publications.
Of course, coming back into this moment, stroking the graying whiskers of my beard, I would hope to be honest with you, dear readers, and admit that I imagine somewhere, some punk kid of today is thumbing through these pages, having their mind quietly blown away by how big and diverse and crazy and complicated this old town is. Long after ANTIGRAVITY goes the way of Crescent Wrench, the Abstract, and even DIALOGUE, it is my not-so-humble wish that this future editor/ writer will be explaining (via whatever medium) how, long ago, in their salad days, the publication you hold in your hands now sparked their imagination and made them want to carry this torch. —Dan Fox