Washington Post on Arthur’s return to life

Arthur magazine, a counterculture favorite, returns to print

By Chris Richards

December 25, 2012

When the aughties weren’t horrifying, they were tough. Wars raged, SARS spiked, economies crumbled and America decided that its pop singers would be elected to fame via reality television, which, while pseudo-democratic, remains humiliating for all parties involved.

We needed a friend. Someone who could tell a weird joke, hip us to unheard music, teach us how to forage for food in the wild, or give us crash courses in magic. We needed Arthur.

A decade ago, free stacks of the counterculture magazine began materializing at coffee shops, bookstores, nightclubs and galleries across the country. These unsuspecting little newspapers were packed with fantastic reads — articles for, by and/or about rockers, radicals, astrologists, herbalists, poets, punks, believers, debunkers, cooks, comedians, cartoonists and Dolly Parton. But in 2008, as the great recession sent so many indie publications into death spasms, the magazine went kaput.

Four years later, Arthur has risen. “It’s good to be alive again, doing something that we love,” writes editor and co-publisher Jay Babcock in the magazine’s new issue, which features a definitive interview with late outsider guitarist Jack Rose and an almost hallucinogenic appreciation of Waylon Jennings’s finest album, “Dreaming My Dreams,” by Stewart Voegtlin.

And then there’s the biggest surprise: You can actually hold this thing — a beautiful, 16-page broadsheet — in your hands…

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.

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