from the April 26, 2007 L.A. City Beat:
Arthur Lives Again: Issue 25 won’t be the last!
This particular Arthur saga has a few chapters left in it.
Despite being declared dead by co-founder and editor Jay Babcock back in February, the much-mourned Arthur magazine announced its return earlier this month to the already too-small world of long-form counterculture journalism. Babcock’s negotiations with publisher Laris Kreslins to buy out Kreslins’ half of the mag had reached a seemingly hopeless impasse, but a recent breakthrough finally pushed the deal through.
“The main thing is that he came back to the table and we reached a deal, and I got loans from friends and family which allowed me to buy him out,” says Babcock, who has run the magazine from his home in Atwater Village since its inception in 2002. “I have now gained 100 percent control of Arthur, and I intend to resume publishing the magazine as soon as all the financing is in order.”
Babcock denied rumors that Arthur had received last-minute financial help from some of its high-profile friends, among them Rick Rubin, Dave Eggers, and Matt Groening. “When I reached out, it was to a close circle of family and long, longtime friends,” he says. “We probably will do a benefit or two or auction off one-of-a-kind items to help me pay back all the people who loaned me money.”
Founded in 2002, Arthur found success as a haven for long-form journalism and criticism that covered music, art, and politics with underground sensibilities. Editorial contributors have included Alan Moore, Byron Coley, and Thurston Moore. The magazine also spun off into a series of well-attended festivals, such as ArthurFest, which drew major acts such as Sonic Youth, Yoko Ono, and Sleater-Kinney.
Babcock is currently trying to get the publication’s momentum rolling again before he can set a date for the next issue. “It’s not time yet. All the ducks are getting in order, and then we’ll go for a swim,” he explains. Issue 26, which was all but completed before the negotiations breakdown, will never be published, and most of its features have either found homes at other publications or been posted on the magazine’s website. Nevertheless, his outlook remains optimistic.
“We’ll be back, bolder, brighter, bigger, and freer,” he jokes. “It’ll probably be a little more aggressive. We’ll name names. I think we’ve been pulling our punches to this point and we’re not gonna have to do that anymore.”(Alfred Lee)