LA Weekly

LA Weekly is a free weekly alternative newspaper in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1978 by Jay Levin, who served as president and editor until 1991. Voice Media Group sold the paper in late 2017 to Semanal Media LLC.

According to its website, LA Weekly has been the premier source for award-winning coverage of Los Angeles music, arts, film, theater, culture, concerts, [and] events." The LA Weekly also recognizes outstanding small theatre productions (99 seats or less) in Los Angeles, with their annual LA Weekly Theater Awards, established in 1979.[2] Starting in 2006, LA Weekly has hosted the LA Weekly Detour Music Festival every October. The entire block surrounding Los Angeles City Hall is closed off to accommodate the festival's three stages.[3]

Some of its best known writers were Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, who left in early 2012, and Nikki Finke, who blogged about the film industry through the Weekly's website and published a print column in the paper each week, leaving in June 2009 after the blog she founded, Deadline Hollywood Daily, was acquired by an online firm.[4]

LA Weekly
LA Weekly (front page)
TypeAlternative weekly
Owner(s)Semanal Media LLC
PublisherBrian Calle
EditorDarrick Rainey
Headquarters724 S Spring Street
Los Angeles, California, 90014
CountryUnited States


The paper was founded in 1978 by Jay Levin, who served as its editor from 1978 to 1991 and its president from 1978 to 1992. Levin put together an investment group that included actor Michael Douglas, Burt Kleiner, Joe Benadon and Pete Kameron.[5] The majority of its core of initial staff members[6] came from the Austin Sun, a similar-natured bi-weekly, which had recently ceased publication.[5]

Although some former employees have complained about personnel moves since the Weekly's parent company's acquisition by New Times Media in 2004[7] (which assumed the Village Voice Media name in 2005),[8][9] the paper has won a Pulitzer Prize,[10] and broke the story of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer.[11] Some of those disgruntled ex-employees complained when New Times replaced news editor Alan Mittelstaedt with New Times editor Jill Stewart. But in the 2009 LA Press Club Awards, the Weekly won six first-place awards, including three by staff writer Christine Pelisek, who was honored as the city's best reporter in investigative reporting, hard news, and news feature.

Harold Meyerson, once the Weekly's political editor, charged in a departing email to Weekly staffers in 2006 that the new owners had grafted a cookie-cutter template for editorial content onto the publication.[12]

Writers once closely associated with the Weekly but let go by the paper's current management include Meyerson,[13] classical music critic Alan Rich,[14] theater critic Steven Leigh Morris,[15] film critic Ella Taylor,[16] and columnist Marc Cooper.[17] Internal cutbacks have resulted in the paper eliminating the position of managing editor, letting go several staff writers and other editorial department positions, as well as cutting the entire fact checking department.[18] On June 1, 2009, the paper announced that Editor-in-Chief Laurie Ochoa, who began helming the paper in 2001 (before the New Times acquisition), was "parting ways" with the Weekly.[19] On that same day, ads for her replacement appeared on Craigslist and Though some speculated that Stewart was a shoo-in for the position,[20] the job quickly went to Drex Heikes, formerly of the Los Angeles Times. When Heikes left in 2011, he was replaced by Sarah Fenske.[21]

The management of LA Weekly said staff cuts were necessary owing to poor economic conditions.[22] However, some of the cuts are likely attributable to philosophical differences with the paper's then-owners, who have since sold the chain.[23] Former staff writer Matthew Fleischer said at the time that "as part of the company's 'plug-and-play' management strategy, editors, writers and ad directors were moved from city to city within the chain, without regard for local knowledge. Any old-school Village Voice Media manager who resisted the metamorphosis was denounced as a 'lefty,' a 'throwback,' and worse. They were fired or simply fled."[22]

Since 2008, LA Weekly has hosted a food and wine festival,[24] now dubbed The Essentials, that draws sizable crowds. In 2009, former Los Angeles Times food writer Amy Scattergood became food blogger at LA Weekly's Squid Ink,[25] and was later promoted to food editor. In late 2009, the paper hired Dennis Romero,[26] formerly of Ciudad magazine, as a full-time news blogger. Following the recession, in 2012 the paper added food critic Besha Rodell, a James Beard nominee and former food editor of Atlanta's Creative Loafing.[27] Then in 2013, LA Weekly named Amy Nicholson as its lead film critic.[28] In 2016, LA Weekly named multimedia journalist and Emmy-winning producer Drew Tewksbury as managing editor.[29]

2012 sale

In September 2012, Village Voice Media executives Scott Tobias, Christine Brennan and Jeff Mars bought Village Voice Meda's papers and associated web properties from its founders and formed Voice Media Group.[30] The paper won journalism awards before and after this transition, with two of its news writers, Patrick Range McDonald and Gene Maddaus, winning the Los Angeles Press Club's nod for Journalist of the Year.[31][32]

For a time in the Los Angeles market, LA Weekly competed against two now-defunct publications, including Brand X (a weekly published by the Los Angeles Times and produced by a crew that included former LA Weekly staffers) and LA CityBeat, a smaller alternative weekly newspaper owned by Southland Publishing, which ceased publication in March 2009.[33] Southland also owns the Pasadena Weekly, (helmed by veteran LA-area newsman Kevin Uhrich) and The Argonaut on the Westside of Los Angeles, and other print products in Southern California.[34]

2017 sale

In November 2017, the publication was sold to Semanal Media LLC. In December 2017, it was revealed that the new owners of Semanal Media LLC include "David Welch, a Los Angeles-based attorney with ties to the cannabis industry; philanthropist Kevin Xu, an investor with biotech firm Mebo International; attorney Steve Mehr; boutique hotelier Paul Makarechian; real estate developer Mike Mugel; and Southern California investor Andy Bequer", all residents of Orange County, California. The new operation manager is Brian Calle.[35]

In August 2018, David Welch sued the other co-owners, alleging "they've pillaged the company."[36][37]


  1. ^ "AAM: Total Circ for Consumer Magazines". Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  2. ^ "Theatre Awards Listings". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  3. ^ "LA WEEKLY DETOUR". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "MAIL.COM MEDIA CORPORATION ACQUIRES DEADLINEHOLLYWOODDAILY.COM". Deadline Hollywood Daily. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  5. ^ a b L.A. Weekly Founder Jay Levin on the vision that started it all. L.A. Weekly, December 4, 2008;
  6. ^ Jay Levin, Joie Davidow, Michael Ventura, Ginger Varney, Bill Bentley and Big Boy Medlin, "supported in the early days by Tracy Johnston and then Phil Tracy and a host of freelancers." See L.A. Weekly Founder Jay Levin on the vision that started it all. L.A. Weekly, December 4, 2008; Ventura, Varney, Bentley and Medlin had all previously been associated with the Austin Sun. See Michael Ventura, Report From L.A. Austin Chronicle, October 2, 1998;
  7. ^ Vane, Sharyn (November 1998). "Consider the Alternative". American Journalism Review. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Richard Siklos (October 24, 2005). "The Village Voice, Pushing 50, Prepares to Be Sold to a Chain of Weeklies". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "...Stewart openly despised the Weekly. And let's be honest: the Weekly staff openly despised her. I don't think that is much of a secret to anyone in L.A. media circles. Putting her in the News Editor chair was like dropping a glowing load of Kryptonite onto the Weekly lunch table." "L.A. Weekly: The Autopsy Report". Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  10. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q.; Barron, James (April 17, 2007). "Wall Street Journal Wins 2 Pulitzer Prizes; History of Civil Rights Reporting Also Wins". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Police, Press Hunt for an L.A. Serial Killer". August 1, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  12. ^ "Lacey's Wednesday night massacre". Bruce Blog. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  13. ^ "MLacey's Wednesday night massacre". Bruce Blog. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  14. ^ "Parting Shots". LA Weekly. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  15. ^ "After almost 30 years, the Theater Editor position in a city with 2,000 professional plays opening every year was determined by Phoenix to be a fiscal extravagance" "Goodbye Hello, A Memo to the L.A. Theater Community". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  16. ^ Thompson, Anne. "LA Weekly Axes Critic Taylor". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  17. ^ "Marc Cooper, managing editor cut at LA Weekly". LA Observed. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  18. ^ "Marc Cooper, managing editor cut at LA Weekly". LA Observed. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  19. ^ "For Immediate Release: LA Weekly, Editor to Part Ways". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  20. ^ "L.A. Weekly Editor Gone Now *Updated". Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  21. ^ Benjamin Gottlieb (October 31, 2011). "LA Weekly Owner Names Ex-Girlfriend As Editor-in-Chief". Neon Tommy. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  22. ^ a b "New Times: Once the best alt-weekly in the nation, 'L.A. Weekly' tightens its belt". LA City Beat. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  23. ^ During that period, Rick Barrs, editor of the Weekly's sister paper Phoenix New Times, left comments on Cooper's blog stating that "your old, hippy-dippy paper has gone the way of the dinosaur. extinct. bye, bye.""L.A. Weekly: The Autopsy Report". Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  24. ^ Scattergood, Amy (January 24, 2014). "The Essentials: LA Weekly's 6th Annual Food and Wine Event". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  25. ^ "Portrait of a Gourmand - Amy Scattergood - Food Editor - White on Rice Couple". August 13, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  26. ^ "Dennis Romero: Bio". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  27. ^ "L.A. Weekly hires Besha Rodell as food critic". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  28. ^ Team, The Deadline (July 1, 2013). "LA Weekly Hires Amy Nicholson As Film Critic". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  29. ^ "Drew Tewksbury named LA Weekly managing editor". LA Observed. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  30. ^ "Village Voice Media Execs Acquire The Company's Famed Alt Weeklies, Form New Holding Company". Tech Crunch. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  31. ^ Wilson, Simone (June 27, 2011). "Patrick Range McDonald Named Best Print Journalist of the Year by L.A. Press Club; LA Weekly Takes Home 6 More Awards". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  32. ^ Fenske, Sarah (June 30, 2014). "Gene Maddaus Named L.A. Press Club Journalist of the Year - Again". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  33. ^ "LA Observed". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  34. ^ "About". September 24, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  35. ^ Haring, Bruce (December 7, 2017). "LA Weekly's New Ownership Responds To Boycott Threats, Promises Improvements".
  36. ^ Raab, Lauren. "One LA Weekly owner sues the rest, alleging they've pillaged the company". Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  37. ^ Redford, Patrick. "L.A. Weekly Co-Owner Sues Other Owners, Alleges Wild Ethics Violations". The Concourse. Retrieved August 30, 2018.

External links

2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike

From November 5, 2007, to February 12, 2008, all 12,000 film and television screenwriters of the American labor unions Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), and Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) went on strike.The strike sought increased funding for the writers in comparison to the profits of the larger studios. It was targeted at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a trade organization representing the interests of 397 American film and television producers. The most influential of these are eleven corporations: CBS (headed by Les Moonves), MGM (Harry E. Sloan), NBCUniversal (Jeffrey Zucker), The Weinstein Company (Harvey and Bob Weinstein), Lionsgate (Jon Feltheimer), News Corp/Fox (Peter Chernin), Paramount Pictures (Brad Grey), Anchor Bay/Liberty Media/Starz (Chris McGurk), Sony Pictures (Michael Lynton), the Walt Disney Company (Robert Iger), and Warner Bros. (Barry Meyer).Negotiators for the striking writers reached a tentative agreement on February 8, 2008, and the boards of both guilds unanimously approved the deal on February 10, 2008. Striking writers voted on February 12, 2008 on whether to lift the restraining order, with 92.5% voting to end the strike. On February 26, the WGA announced that the contract had been ratified with a 93.6% approval among WGA members. The Writers Guild later requested a court order seeking that the agreement be honored and implemented.

The guilds were on strike for 14 weeks and 2 days (100 days). In contrast, the previous strike in 1988, the longest in the history of the Guild, lasted 21 weeks and 6 days (153 days), costing the American entertainment industry an estimated $500 million in opportunity costs. According to a National Public Radio (NPR) report filed on February 12, 2008, the strike cost the economy of Los Angeles an estimated $1.5 billion. A report from the UCLA Anderson School of Management put the loss at $380 million, while economist Jack Kyser put the loss at $2.1 billion.The resolution of the strike was unclear: while they lost out on short-term deals, they received a new percentage payment on the distributor's gross for digital distribution based on the deal that the DGA made during the strike.

Alpha Pup Records

Alpha Pup Records is an independent record label and digital distributor based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 2004 by Daddy Kev and Danyell Jariel. LA Weekly placed it at number 2 on the "Top 10 Most Exciting L.A. Indie Labels of 2010" list.

Alternative newspaper

An alternative newspaper is a type of newspaper that eschews comprehensive coverage of general news in favor of stylized reporting, opinionated reviews and columns, investigations into edgy topics and magazine-style feature stories highlighting local people and culture. Its news coverage is more locally focused, and their target audiences are younger than those of daily newspapers. Typically, alternative newspapers are published in tabloid format and printed on newsprint. Other names for such publications include alternative weekly, alternative newsweekly, and alt weekly, as the majority circulate on a weekly schedule.

Most metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada are home to at least one alternative paper. These papers are generally found in such urban areas, although a few publish in smaller cities, in rural areas or exurban areas where they may be referred to as an alt monthly due to the less frequent publication schedule.

Bother! The Brain of Pooh

Bother! The Brain of Pooh is a one-man show created and performed by the English actor Peter Dennis with selections from the works about Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. It premiered on October 14, 1976 at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge University, and premiered in America at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in December 1986. The show received eight Critics' Choice Awards, the LA Weekly Theater Award, and the Drama-Logue Award. Bother! has been performed at over eighty major venues throughout the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The performance of Peter Dennis was acclaimed by Milne's son, Christopher Robin Milne, who said "Peter Dennis has made himself Pooh's Ambassador Extraordinary and no bear has ever had a more devoted friend. So if you want to meet the real Pooh, the bear I knew, the bear my father wrote about, listen to Peter. You will not be disappointed."Dennis died in April, 2009. Recordings of his reading the Pooh stories and poems are available.

Clint Catalyst

Clint Catalyst (born April 8, 1971) is the nom de plume of Clinton Green, an American author, actor, spoken word performer, and stylist.Catalyst has covered music, fashion, LGBT issues, and popular culture for magazines including LA Weekly, Frontiers, Out, Surface and Swindle.

Heaven's Gate (religious group)

Heaven's Gate was an American UFO religious millenarian cult based near San Diego, California. It was founded in 1974 and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985). On March 26, 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group in a house in the suburb of Rancho Santa Fe. They apparently had participated in a mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an extraterrestrial spacecraft following Comet Hale–Bopp.Just before the suicide, the group's website was updated with the message: "Hale-Bopp brings closure to Heaven's Gate ... Our 22 years of classroom here on planet Earth is finally coming to conclusion – 'graduation' from the Human Evolutionary Level. We are happily prepared to leave 'this world' and go with Ti's crew."

Indie folk

Indie folk is a music genre that arose in the 1990s among musicians from indie rock scenes influenced by folk music. Indie folk hybridizes the acoustic guitar melodies of traditional folk music with contemporary instrumentation. The genre has its earliest origins in 1990s folk artists who displayed alternative rock influences in their music, such as Ani DiFranco and Dan Bern, and acoustic artists such as Elliott Smith and Will Oldham. In the following decade, labels such as Saddle Creek, Barsuk, Ramseur, and Sub Pop helped to provide support to indie folk. Artists of note include the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, the Cave Singers, Loch Lomond, Bon Iver, Or, The Whale, Great Lake Swimmers, and Blind Pilot.

Janet Weiss

Janet Lee Weiss (born September 24, 1965) is a rock drummer, best known as a member of Sleater-Kinney and currently also a member of Quasi. She was the drummer for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, leaving after the album Mirror Traffic, and contributed to The Shins' fourth studio album, Port of Morrow (2012). She was also the drummer for Wild Flag. Weiss is highly regarded as a drummer; Stylus Magazine listed her as one of rock's fifty greatest drummers, while LA Weekly places her in the top twenty.

Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold (July 28, 1960 – July 21, 2018) was an American food and music critic. He wrote for the Los Angeles Times and had previously written for LA Weekly and Gourmet, as well as being a regular on KCRW's Good Food radio program. Gold often chose small, traditional immigrant restaurants for his reviews, although he covered all types of cuisine. In 2007, he became the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.


KXLU (88.9 FM) is an FM radio station broadcasting out of Loyola Marymount University in southwest Los Angeles, California. It was first on the air in 1957, and in 2007, celebrated its 50th anniversary. It is a non-commercial college radio station that plays many styles of music broadly classified under rock, specialty, fine arts, alternative music and Latin jazz. KXLU has a small, cult following among music fans in the general Los Ángeles metropolitan area. The station's rock programming runs between 2am and 6pm on weekdays and the hosts during this time are predominantly college students. Specialty shows include "Stray Pop" hosted by Stella, "Music For Nimrods" hosted by Reverend Dan, "She Rocks" hosted by McAllister, Biancadonk and Cass Monster, "In a Dream" hosted by Mystic Pete, "The Bomb Shelter" hosted by Uncle Tim, "Livation" hosted by Robert Douglas and Hilary Russell, "The Molotov Cocktail Hour" hosted by Cyrano & Señor Amor, "The Windmills of Your Mind" hosted by Taylor 2000, "Neuz Pollution" hosted by Chris Candy and Maki, "Demolisten" hosted by Fred and Sean Carnage, and "A Fistful Of Vinyl" hosted by Alec & John, "Center Stage" hosted by Mark Gordon, among other programs. There is also a public affairs program called "Echo in the Sense". Their weekend Latin jazz programming "Alma del Barrio" has been on the air since 1973.

The current General Manager is Ricky Barocio, the current Program Director is Flor Amezquita, the current Music Director is Braden Wells, and the current Media Director is Nate Rynaski.

LA Weekly Theater Award

LA Weekly Theater Award was an annual critics' award system established in 1979, organized by the LA Weekly for outstanding achievements in small theatre productions in Southern California. Nominees were typically announced in January for Equity 99-seat productions from the previous year, with awards handed out in March or April. The 35th annual awards ceremony was held in April 2014. In December 2014, the LA Weekly announced that it was discontinuing the awards, citing the publication's desire to focus on events that would promote its profitability.

Living Legends (group)

Living Legends is an American hip hop supergroup consisting of six indie hip hop artists from California. Beginning in the early 1990s, the crew garnered a following by recording, promoting and performing their music independently through Legendary Music.

The crew is considered by LA Weekly to be "one of the biggest success stories of the indie-rap movement, having sold close to 300,000 units of their various solo and group efforts — all by them-damn-selves."

Nancy Updike

Nancy Updike is an American public radio producer and writer. Her work has been featured on radio programs including This American Life and All Things Considered, and has been published in The New York Times Magazine, LA Weekly, The Boston Globe, and


ReganBooks was an American bestselling imprint or division of HarperCollins book publishing house (parent company is News Corporation), headed by editor and publisher Judith Regan, started in 1994 and ended in late 2006. During its existence, Regan was called, by LA Weekly, "the world's most successful publisher". The division reportedly earned $120 million a year. ReganBooks focused on celebrity authors and controversial topics, sometimes from recent tabloids.


Sadcore is a subgenre occasionally identified by music journalists to describe examples of alternative rock characterised by bleak lyrics, downbeat melodies and slower tempos, or alternatively, songs with deceivingly upbeat melodies that are simultaneously characterised by depressive lyrical undertones or imagery. It is a loose definition and does not describe a specific movement or scene. It is categorised by AllMusic's reference guide as music "by and for the depressed". Sadcore is synonymous with the term slowcore, and both share the distinction of often being dismissed as a label by the bands they would describe.

LA Weekly called Charlyn Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) the "Queen of Sadcore". In 2006, The News Record used the term to refer to Arab Strap, describing their sound as "a lot like the band's native Scotland: dark, cold, rainy and depressing" as well as "aggressive and somber." Coming from the hardcore punk scene, solo artist Harm Wülf put out his album "Hijrah" August 26, 2016 on Deathwish Inc and has been referenced as being within the genre.

The term is still current in pop culture. Lana Del Rey's musical style has been described as "Hollywood sadcore". In regard to her song, "Blue Jeans", MTV journalist Nicole James noted the neologism is a "music buzz word" floating around the music blogosphere.

Stones Throw Records

Stones Throw Records is an American independent record label based in Los Angeles, California. Under the direction of founder Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw has released music ranging from hip-hop to experimental psych-rock since its inception. LA Weekly deemed the label an "eternally evolving experiment" in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

The Odd Future Tape

The Odd Future Tape is the debut mixtape by Odd Future. It was released independently on November 16, 2008. In 2008, Odd Future consisted of Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Jasper Dolphin, The Super 3 (Matt Martians and Hal Williams) and Casey Veggies, the latter of which left after the mixtape's release. The songs were recorded on a computer camera microphone. The mixtape was made available for free download in 2008 – LA Weekly dates the release as November 2008.

Third wave of coffee

The third wave of coffee is a movement to produce high-quality coffee. It considers coffee an artisanal food, like wine, rather than a commodity. This involves improvements at all stages of production, from improving coffee plant growing, harvesting, and processing, to stronger relationships between coffee growers, traders, and roasters, to higher quality and fresh roasting, at times called "microroasting" (by analogy with microbrew beer), to skilled brewing.

Third wave coffee aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, varietal, and growing region – similar to other complex consumable plant-derived products such as wine, tea, and chocolate. Distinctive features of third wave coffee include direct trade coffee, high-quality beans (see specialty coffee for scale), single-origin coffee (as opposed to blends), lighter roasts, and latte art. It also includes revivals of alternative methods of coffee preparation, such as vacuum coffee and pour-over brewing devices such as the Chemex and Hario V60.

The term "Third Wave" was coined in 1999 by Timothy Castle referring to a focus on quality and refers chiefly to the American phenomenon, particularly from the 1990s and continuing today, but with some effects from prior decades. Similar movements exist in India, Taiwan, Japan and broader Asia, and Canada, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Scandinavia. More broadly, third wave coffee can be seen as part of the specialty coffee movement.

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