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More About the People Who Brought You "The Austin Chronicle" 20th Anniversary Issue

The <i>Chronicle</i> staff, sort of, 3pm Wednesday, September  5
The Chronicle staff, sort of, 3pm Wednesday, September 5 (Photo By John Anderson)

Roseana Auten began writing for the Chronicle in 1987, writing book reviews and "whatever Louis asked for," then whatever she asked to do. She wrote about schools and school-district politics for five years. Currently, she is a freelancer writing for publications such as Parents and raising her 3-year-old daughter. She still contributes to the Chronicle occasionally.

Shawn Badgley joined the Chronicle in 1999 as a proofreader. He proofreads, writes about books, assembles the occasional desk, and commandeers the occasional bake sale.

Suzy Banks started writing for the Chronicle in 1991 and sent in her last "Hearth and Soul" column in 1998. During those seven years, she wrote about everything from her frequent adventures at the dump to not having a sense of smell. She now writes a travel column for Texas Monthly and is building a chicken coop.

Nick Barbaro co-founded the Chronicle in 1981 and has presided over every aspect of the paper for the past 20 years, often at a level of detail excruciating to mortal colleagues. When not editing stories or laying out flats, he can be found patching the roof, swabbing up floods by the atrium, polishing off leftovers from the last office party (hey, that hairy stuff just adds flavor), spiking a mean volleyball, or lumbering in with a platter of his famous home-smoked brisket. A workaholic in shorts, he's passed on his love of the paper to his and Chron contributor Susan (S. Emerson) Moffat's son Zeke, who can't wait to take over the old man's job. Work is life, life is the Chron, the Chron is Nick.

Marjorie Baumgarten is, in many ways, the moral gyroscope of the Chronicle, never cutting her conscience to fit any year's fashion. Baumgarten goes back to the CinemaTexas days and was a graduate student in the RTF Department at UT with Barbaro, Louis Black, and Ed Lowry. Throughout the decades, she has hung with Black, Barbaro, Joe Dishner, and many other guilty parties from that period. An admired and nationally known film critic/ writer, she has done what needs doing at the Chronicle since 1982. Since 1991 she has been Film editor and chief reviewer. She has always contributed to the Chronicle's sense of itself and its place in the community. We mention here that she is good friends with indie-film legend John Pierson because he reads the Chronicle almost obsesssively and will enjoy seeing his name in print next to Marge's.

Greg Beets has written for the Chronicle since 1992, as a contributing writer for the Music, Features, and Cuisines sections. Presently, he's doing the same thing -- plus 20 pounds!

Louis Black was a graduate student in the English Department at UT when his old friend Len Maltin talked him into looking up Professor George Wead in the RTF Department. This led Black to transfer to RTF, join CinemaTexas, write for The Daily Texan, hang out at Raul's, help start the Chronicle, hang on, and help start SXSW. He is currently the editor of the Chronicle and married to Anne S. Lewis, a freelance writer (The Wall Street Journal) and regular contributor to the Chronicle.

Winston Bode moderated Capital Eye on local television 1969-86. Author of A Portrait of Pancho, about J. Frank Dobie, he was most recently seen as a News 8 commentator. He wrote his contribution on a manual typewriter.

Sidney Brammer wrote about theatre and dance for The Austin Chronicle 1981-83. She is a filmmaker/screenwriter, screenwriting/directing instructor, and book editor.

Louisa C. Brinsmade worked at the Chronicle from September 1992 to September 1996, as assistant Politics editor and Politics editor. She is currently a freelance writer.

Robert Bryce began working for the Chronicle in 1988 as a theatre and dance critic and also served as the paper's distribution manager. He joined the Politics department, where he launched the "Environs" column and wrote on environmental issues until 2001. He now writes about business and technology for Interactive Week magazine.

Michael Chamy started as a proofreader in September 1999. He still does that, along with writing about music and occasionally about books, video games, sine waves, and other stuff.

*Bobby Cheatham has been an advertising account executive since 2000.

Kevin Connor volunteered for The Austin Chronicle in 1982 and later worked for SXSW. He is co-host of 107.1 KGSR's The Kevin & Kevin Show and is chairman of the Austin Music Commission.

*Jerald Corder joined the Chronicle as an advertising rep over a decade ago. He has survived and thrived despite many changes, including a five-year stint as sales manager, in which he planted a garden in the wilderness. Corder knows more about music than much of the music staff does, but he is very polite about it.

For a biography on Andy "Coach" Cotton, read his weekly column in the Chronicle.

In real life a successful lawyer, Steve Davis still writes film reviews for the Chronicle.

Alex de Marban covered local politics for the Chronicle 1995-97 before moving to Alaska in the summer of 1997. Now the editor in chief for Alaska Newspapers Inc., a media empire that publishes seven weekly newspapers across half-a-million square miles of godforsaken terrain, he still has yet to lose a lawsuit.

Jody Denberg co-wrote a Daily Texan column with Louis Black, was hired at KLBJ-FM after writing a critical article about the station while at the Texan, is now program manager of KGSR-FM, is a national music industry legend, and has written for the Chronicle throughout the past 20 years.

Joe Dishner was an original co-publisher of The Austin Chronicle and wisely departed very early. He now works extensively in film as a unit production manager; his credits include such films as A Simple Plan and Road Trip.

Robert Draper worked on staff at the Chronicle 1983-84 as "Live Shots" editor and occasional critic/feature writer. He continued to make sporadic contributions 1985-88. Currently, he is writer-at-large for GQ magazine, and a novelist.

Audrey Duff, a very good kisser, worked at the Chronicle 1994-98. After first contributing as a reporter, she became assistant Politics editor, and then Politics editor in 1996. She now works as a principal at Public Strategies Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Robert Faires So understated, he is often underrated, Faires has been with the Chronicle on and off (mostly on) since almost the beginning. His importance to the voyage cannot be, as he is, understated. He has always made sure the Chronicle kept a focus on the Arts community, contributing his own superb criticism and writing. As was written about him when, for the second time, he took second place in the Arts Criticism category of the Association of Alternative Newspapers Editorial Awards: "Austin, Texas is exceptionally lucky to have Robert Faires minding the local theater scene: enthusiasm, lucidity, and sound judgment continuously grace reviews ... that celebrate performers and exhort audiences without descending into mindless boosterism."

Hugh Forrest worked at the Chronicle 1986-97 as the columnist for "Media Clips" and "The Sports Page," as well as compiling music and writing occasional feature stories. He is now director of the SXSW Interactive Conference.

Laxman Gani worked at the Chronicle from September 1993 through August 1997, starting as a graphic designer in the production department and ending as online services director. He's now information architect for NewHome Source.com, launched by Builder Homesite (a homebuilding-industry consortium).

Spike Gillespie has been writing for the Chronicle since September 1991, eliciting touching responses like, "Wow you remind me of Marion Winik ..." She still shows up at Chronicle parties for the free food, which has always been good but has improved vastly over the years (note: the ceviche at last year's Christmas party). She currently writes a regular freelance column for The Dallas Morning News.

Olive Graham wrote for The Austin Chronicle in 1981 and 1982. She is the public affairs producer for KUT 90.5 FM.

Christopher Gray has written about music for the Chronicle since 1994. He currently ducks phone calls, drowns in press releases, and writes the Music "Recommended" column.

Martha Grenon was art director for the Chronicle 1985-91. She is currently a photographer documenting the Albanian war.

*Tim Grisham has worked in the Chronicle production department for 15 years. When he started in 1986, the paper was two-color, 40 pages, every other week. Type was set in galley strips, and photos were halftoned on a stat camera. All type and photos were chemically processed. These days, the Chronicle is full-color, about eight times larger, and on the verge of electronic pagination.

Michael Hall wrote his first cover story on Cardi's nightclub in 1982 and followed that with the Chronicle's first cover story on Stevie Ray Vaughan. In 1988 he started working as a typesetter and copy editor and was managing editor at the time he left in 1991. At present, Hall is a senior editor at Texas Monthly.

Anne Harris is the Chronicle's newest intern.

Sarah Hepola came to the Chronicle after a stint as The Daily Texan's Entertainment editor. She became an intern the summer of 1997, then left for a year to teach high school. She returned to the Chronicle a year later as a proofreader, then head of the proofreading department, and finally Screens editor. She left us to travel South America, where she is learning Spanish and teaching English. Even down there she is a karaoke monster.

Raoul Hernandez first saw a Chronicle in the computer lab at Stanford University in the spring of 1992. By fall, he was living in Central Texas and had had his first piece published in the Chronicle. He became Music "Recommended" editor February 1993, then assistant Music editor, and in 1994, Music editor.

Volleyball Captain (Trees, Six Pak) Taylor Holland began at the Chronicle in production on August 25, 1994. He is our art director.

*Karen Hurley was the Chronicle's first and founding art director. She worked in this capacity until 1983. She is semiretired and tending to family matters.

Kimberley Jones started as a proofreader in September 2000. These days, she's writing about film and co-editing the Screens section.

Bryan Kight joined the staff in July 1999 as an advertising assistant. He is currently a graphic designer in the production department.

Michael King joined the Chronicle as a senior editor in November 2000. He is currently the senior Politics/news editor.

A journalism major at Emerson College in Boston, Eli Kooris began as an intern at the Chronicle in 1997; he's been a contributing freelancer since, and still comes in to work for free during his college breaks.

Lindsey Lane wrote features for the Chronicle steadily 1988-94, and intermittently after that. She's now a children's book author.

Andy Langer began writing about music for the Chronicle in 1991. He is now a contributing writer for the Chronicle, Revolver, Guitar World, The Dallas Morning News, and occasionally Texas Monthly and Rolling Stone. He also hosts The Next Big Thing on 101X and covers music as a reporter for News 8 Austin.

Anne S. Lewis has been with the Chronicle since 1986. In addition to extensive coverage of the documentary film scene for the Chronicle, she freelances at a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal. She's married to Chronicle Editor Louis Black, who points out, "I've been living off her ideas for years."

Ken Lieck is blah blah blah "Dancing About Architecture."

Kathleen Maher worked for the Chronicle from the beginning until 1989. She started as the typesetter (and the only person who knew how to work the typesetter) and had become assistant editor by the time she left. She was one of the core group that produced the paper, she started the "Public Notice" column, wrote innumerable articles on subjects as varied as water issues in the Hill Country to Austin's gang community to an interview with Susie Sexpert (Bright). She also worked as one of the movie reviewing team. " ... it was probably work I enjoyed the most. I say that as one of the sole surviving humans who has seen Hunk and remembers it or will admit it."

*Sylvia Bravo Martindale was the earth mother of the group at The Daily Texan before the Chronicle. She rose to associate publisher and worked at the Chronicle 1983-86. She is now an administrative assistant at UT's Child Care Center.

*Samantha McClellan started as a Chronicle receptionist this year.

Mark McKinnon was editor of The Daily Texan, a famed Democratic consultant and key member of the team that elected George W. Bush president. He works for Public Strategies Inc.

Gerald McLeod started at the Chronicle in November 1984, with an X-acto in hand, doing paste-up. Today, 17 years later, "Captain Day Trips" just had his 534th excursion published in the Chronicle. Collect them all.

After a year of full-time studenting and part-time Chronicle-ing. Timeline editor Kim Mellen left her promising graduate-school career in linguistics in 1998 to pursue her true passion: listings. She is known on the volleyball court as "Sweet Serving Sensation" or, alternately, "Death From Above."

During the summer of 1994, Kate X Messer (the "X" is silent) ran into the radiant Margaret Moser at Europa Books and begged her for a job -- anything. She began answering phones and proofreading. She has worn the hats of "Public Notice" columnist and Features editor and would be very happy to stick with the two jobs she has now: senior editor, special issues and internships, for a while.

Susan Emerson Moffat has written for the Chronicle since 1984, serving as contributing editor (Cuisines, "Public Notice"), 1986-94. Now married to Publisher Nick Barbaro, she's a full-time mom and community activist.

Casey Monahan volunteered for The Austin Chronicle in 1982. He is the director of the Texas Music Office, Governor's Office.

Margaret Moser was the first real Chronicle celebrity writer. Margaret was a personality who wrote, a larger-than-life groupie with a record geek's knowledge of the music. She headed up the Texas Blondes, a gang of young ladies who liked to spend time with musicians. She used to hold regular meetings where she would play the albums of groups coming to town. She would point out the hits but highlight the really great songs so the girls would know the music. She began writing for the Chronicle in the prototype issue. Currently she is a senior editor and staff writer.

Stephen MacMillan Moser, Margaret's little brother, is the Chronicle's fashion columnist.

Lee Nichols began writing record reviews for the Chronicle in 1988 while a UT student. He became a proofreader in 1996, penned the "Media Clips" column from 1997 to 2000, and became an assistant editor in the Politics department just last month.

Jeff Nightbyrd was known as Jeff Shero in the Sixties, when he was an SDS organizer and editor of the legendary New York underground paper The Rat. He moved to Austin, became Jeff Nightbyrd, and edited the early Seventies alternative publication The Austin Sun. He currently runs Acclaim Talent, and also responds to the moniker "the Urine King" (www.nodrugwar.com).

Petaluma Pete wrote about food for the Chronicle almost continuously from its first issue until August 1993. He was a fictional character created by Ed Ward, who unfortunately does not live in Italy, but, rather, in Berlin, where the food could be much, much better.

Ben Plimpton served as art director from November 1995 until May or June 1997. He's been to D.C., back to Austin, and then New York City ... but he still can't find another job where he gets to play volleyball.

Michael Reynolds wrote for The Austin Chronicle 1981-83. His jobs included harassing people and loading copies of the Chronicle into the delivery van after being promised things by Margaret Moser. Reynolds is the author of a book on serial killer Aileen Wournos.

*Lois Richwine worked for the Chronicle ad staff 1984-87 and 1994 to the present. She is married to frequent Chronicle contributor Jesse Sublett and is the proud mother of Dashiell.

Marc Savlov has been writing for the Chronicle for exactly 12 years. That's 84 years to old Spot here. Quality indie filmmaking keeps both their coats luxurious and smooth.

Jennifer Scoville Strickland, now a freelance writer, worked at the Chronicle 1990-97. See chart for that particular résumé.

Jim Shahin was Politics editor at the Chronicle 1984-89. He is currently a columnist for American Way magazine, has been syndicated by The New York Times Syndicate, and is a freelance writer.

In August 1998, high school student Elizabeth Skadden's first assignment for the Chronicle was the South Austin Guide, for which she was required to ride in another intern's car, about one inch away from the other car's bumpers, which really freaked her out. She is currently at UT and remains a faithful intern.

Mary Sledd began as an intern in October of 1997, back when she worked on her high school paper, The McCallum Shield. Photographer, intern, and freelance writer, she is currently a Plan II student at UT and interns for us when she has time.

*Doug St. Ament has worked in the production department since 1986. He provides the soundtrack that makes the production machine hum.

Tim Stegall wrote about music for the Chronicle 1991-97. Today he writes the occasional feature or record review, gets fired from a lot of jobs, and sleeps on some of Manhattan's finer couches. "I also lead a punk band with lipstick called Napalm Stars that's the revenge of the Hormones" (www.napalmstars.com).

R.U. Steinberg's first contributions for the Chronicle were photos. From 1982 to 1986, he worked on the production staff and became a contributing editor in 1988. Steinberg is Mr. Smarty Pants and still writes articles for the Chronicle; his favorite is a 1988 cover story titled "A Day in the Life of Barton Springs."

Herb Steiner worked for the Chronicle from June 1988 to February 1998 as manager of the classified advertising department. A legendary musician, he got his first steel guitar from Michael Nesmith, backed Linda Ronstadt, and wrote "Nyquil Blues." Steiner is now a full-time professional musician, recording artist, teacher, and publisher of steel guitar instructional materials. "I fish far less frequently than what I feel is appropriate for a man my age."

Roland Swenson has worked in most aspects of the music business as well as performing many different jobs at the Chronicle. A founder of SXSW, he is the executive director and the managing partner; his partners are Nick Barbaro and Louis Black. Over the years, he has often contributed his ideas and insight to the Chronicle. Swenson is married to Chronicle contributor Roseana Auten.

Patrick Taggart wrote features and the "Awake in the Dark" film column for the Chronicle 1990-96. He's now doing "as little as possible. Some freelance writing, managing faltering investments, and enjoying the medium-good life in southeastern PA."

Lisa Tozzi worked at the Chronicle 1997-99, first as an intern, then as a freelance contributor, assistant Politics editor, and captain of the best darn laser-tag team ever. Currently, she is special projects producer of The New York Times on the Web.

Jay Trachtenberg began writing about music for the Chronicle in issue No. 4 and continues to this day. "I'm still a music writer who pays the bills by pushing papers at UT and masquerading as a mild-mannered radio personality."

*Deborah Valencia joined the Chronicle ad staff in 1984 and has worked for it nonstop ever since.

Ed Ward has written for The Austin Chronicle since 1981. He writes, from Berlin, for a number of publications and can be heard on NPR's Fresh Air.

Cindy Widner worked as a proofreader, writer, and associate food and miscellaneous editor at the Chronicle for nine months in 1995, returned to proofread in 1999, and is currently the managing editor. As such, she brought order out of chaos and calm to hysteria.

Ramsey Wiggins sold advertising 1981-82 and currently does as little as possible with God as his employer.

Marion Winik began writing for the Chronicle in 1987, contributing book reviews, "Live Shots," features, profiles, restaurant reviews, Music recommendeds, and the personal essay, for which she is best known. She is the author of First Comes Love and other books. She currently lives in rural Pennsylvania, where she rears five kids and teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Longtime Austin caterer and pastry cook Virginia B. Wood started contributing restaurant reviews to the Chronicle in 1993, became a regular columnist in the fall of 1995, and was made Cuisines editor in 1997. She no longer sells Chocolate Orgasms.


*Contributions excerpted from interviews by R.U. Steinberg. Full interviews can be read online at austinchronicle.com.

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