The New "Harry" (May 1991)
20 Years Later: Same Town, Same Needs
Volume 1, Issue 1, May 1991
Going through the bottomless piles of papers, magazines, and assorted rubbish/detritus in the firetrap I like to call Tom's Toxic Townhouse (see picture below)...
Tom's Toxic Townhouse
...I ran across the May 1991 premiere issue of the "new" Harry. Harry was Baltimore's "underground paper" of record from 1969-1972 that was rebooted by Tom D'Antoni in 1991, probably because he didn't feel Baltimore's putative alternative press (i.e., the City Paper) was up to snuff.
As he wrote in the masthead of this debut new Harry, "This newspaper exists because a lot of people want it to...This is the first issue. It's a start. It's the first attempt at realizing the ideals set on the page before this one..." (see below):
It's Time: The "Harry" Mission Statement
Along for Harry's brief reemergence on the scene were writers like Tom Nugent, Skeeter Snyder, and future Creative Alliance honcho Megan Hamilton; poets Tom DiVenti, David Franks, and Sandie Castle, and illustrator George Wilcox (artist brother of musician David "Steptoe T. Magnificent" Wilcox). These names, and countless more, appear in the May 1991 Harry masthead, as shown below:
Harry's editorial tone is typically combative and confrontational, with D'Antoni getting right to it on the first page, reprinting his January 17, 1991 letter to the City Paper - "We don't need you...We're sick of you. There were a lot of people who went to jail (I'm one of them) for the freedom you squander every week. Go somewhere else and play it safe. This town is in big trouble. You treat it like you're making a John Waters movie. This town has a lot of great talents. You haven't found them. This town has thousands of great stories waiting to be told. You missed them. This town cries for a paper that speaks by and for the people who live here. You act like your bags are packed and you're waiting for the phone call from something better" - right next to former City Paper founder-editor Russ Smith's reply, Both pieces are shown below:
D'Antoni and Russ Smith square off!
Below Smith's letter, D'Antoni adds: "When the City Paper published this letter, the neglected to inform their readers that it was written by their founder, and former publisher, who sold the paper to a company from Scranton, Pennsylvania and skipped town the next day. He currently publishes a similarly mean-spirited paper in New York City."
Here's poet-musician Tom DiVenti's article "Confessions of a Freak":
Tom DiVenti: "Confessions of a Freak"
The paper notes that DiVenti sold copies of Harry when he was a 13-year-old back in the '70s!
For film fanatics, here's Keith Tishkin's review of the East Coast Independent Film Festival, curated by George Figgs and screened at his old Orpheum Cinema theater in Fells Point:
George Figgs' "East Coast Independent Film Festival" at The Orpheum Cinema
From May 6 to May 12, Figgs screened new local works by Dan Bailey, Alan Price, Phil Davis, Steve Estes, Rebecca Barton, and tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE, as well as older local films by Steve Weiss, Chris Mosner, Peter Walsh, Jill Johnson. A third program screened the "funky, futuristic" films of New York director Alyce Wittenstein. Many of these local films are only available as 16mm prints at the Enoch Pratt Central Library. Tishkin's review gave a lot of ink to Chris Mosner's award-winning Towson State University student film project, Home Movie (1990). Home Movie is a 45-minute documentary about Mosner's drug-addicted brother and the effect his self-destructive 20-year habit has had on his Lutherville family. It screened at the 1990 Baltimore Film Forum (honoring winners of the Baltimore Independent Film/Video Makers Competition) and I recall Skizz Cyzyk screened it in 1995 as part of his Mansion Theatre Film & Video Screening series. (Home Movie is available in both video and 16mm formats from the Enoch Pratt Central Library.)
The new May 1991 Harry included an eight-page insert called "Old Harry" which reprinted some of the best pieces and comics from vintage issues past. I like the photo of the 1971 Harry staffers:
"Old Harry" insert section
The 1971 Harry staff depicted in the photo are (left to right): Unknown neighborhood kid, Christianne Cottrell, Glen Ehasz, Alan Rose, Thomas V. D'Antoni, Michael Klahr, Anita Monique (Dolores Deluxe), Patrick Jake O'Rourke, and Emily Jenkins. "Dolores Deluxe" is, of course, the designer wife of John Waters artist/production set-designer Vince Peranio.
OK, back to digging through my trash, er, archives!