Gary Gordon, a brilliant musician-satirist who nails it every time he takes the stage, suggested we approach The Lowdown as sort of an updated version of The Dick Cavett Show with each of our events focusing on a particular topic that changes from show to show. Even though he had fed me half a Quaalude while groping me in a hot tub just prior to making that suggestion, I really think it’s a good idea. It’s so good, in fact, that I’ve decided not to press charges, although I have no control over what the DA or Swiss authorities might choose to do.
It just so happens that Peter Richardson’s book tour coincides with our timetable, so we invited him to be interviewed in our debut presentation on October 10 at The Warehouse Restaurant in Marina del Rey, and when he said yes, we decided to make the whole thing about the state and future of journalism. That’s because Peter’s book (A Bomb In Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America) tells not only a fascinating story about one particularly influential publication, but conveys how daunting it is to finance and market investigative journalism in general.
While many are lamenting the endangered species status of American newspapers, in a new essay Peter argues it’s “a historical fact” that “periods of vibrant muckraking are the exception, not the rule” anyway.
LA Weekly founder Jay Levin, who believes media reform should be society’s “first order of business, one as important as eating,” will join our discussion following a set by the always entertaining I See Hawks in L.A. Their unofficial anthem, “Humboldt,” was recently recognized as one of the all-time best pot songs. I imagine hanging out in a hot tub with the Hawks wouldn’t be dangerous at all.
There’ll be no hot tub at The Warehouse for The Lowdown, but there is a gorgeous view of the water. The show starts at 5 PM with enticing beverages and appetizers at happy hour prices. It’s also Gary Gordon’s birthday. Feel free to buy him a drink and slip something exotic into it.
UPDATE (10.6.09): Legendary journalist Robert Scheer, one of the central figures in Ramparts’ history, just confirmed he’ll be with us on Saturday.
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