I was a fan of Steve Perry
before I lived in Minneapolis, reading his articles on Prince in Musician as a teenager in Madison, Wisconsin, and his slow-boil of an essay on Motown and black nationalism in the book Facing the Music
as a college student in D.C. When I moved here in the early '90s, and noticed his name next to amazing editorials in City Pages, I put two and two together, and counted yet another reason to feel lucky I moved here. My career at the paper began after his departure in 1997, but he was very much an influence (and a generous source) even without his central, biting, clarion voice in the paper. When he came back in 2002, my first hope was that he would bring political essays back to City Pages--which he did. He also, right off the bat, put together one of the more heartening overnight group efforts the paper had ever undertaken, the Wellstone tribute issue
. When Steve pulled off something similar post-Katrina with "New Orleans: Survivor Stories
," I considered it one of our proudest moments. His accompanying essay
is an example of what he can do that so few newspaper editors even try. I've had my sharp disagreements with Steve, and I know I've caused him headaches. But he's never wavered in supporting my work, which I consider a great gift.
On Monday, Steve announced that he'd be leaving City Pages (more here). Within a day, we heard he'd been replaced by Kevin Hoffman of the Cleveland Scene (more here). Steve's departure follows that of many other City Pages staff (including arts editor Dylan Hicks, music editor Lindsey Thomas, staff writer Molly Priesmeyer, and web designer Karl Pearson-Cater) since the takeover of Village Voice Media by New Times, and echoes similar partings at Village Voice papers around the country (more background on pre-merger rumbles, the announcement, the merger, one firing, another, another, the Idolator flap, and another resignation). What I hope lives on at City Pages as part of Steve's legacy is the idea that thinking is as important as reporting. I hope these blogs live on as well--the page you're reading is part of his legacy, too. See you later, Steve, hope to see you and Cecily soon, and stop by to post once in a while. Update: See comments for more links. Britt's goodbye.