Paper Magazine: The Oral History of a Downtown Institution

Maggie McCormick, Office Manager, 1985-1993: There were many moments at Paper that made me realize that the world was changing. I saw LL Cool J’s first performance.

Fenton Bailey, producer and former Paper columnist: It was like, “Hip-hop is trendy.” it will come and go. ’ And it wasn’t Paper’s attitude.

Dennis Darmody, Film Critic, 1986-2017: I got a call from David Hershkowitz. He said, “Look, I need a film critic. I hear you go to the movies all the time. We don’t pay.” Well, that makes for an interesting story.” But who else would let me post an article on how to make and eat a Macaulay Culkin?

Christine Muhlke, Editor-in-Chief, 1994-2000: I had to ask Bellhook to write a column. I said, “I can only pay you $100 a month, but I promise you I won’t change a word.” She said, “Baby, that’s the nicest, sweetest word I’ve ever heard in my life. Yes!”

Eileen Miles, Poet and Activist: I had just run for president, so I had an overabundance of who I was and didn’t know where to go next. And they offered me this opportunity to appear on their web. I wrote about the millennial cult, the labor movement, being queer in the countryside, whatever I was thinking. They were wide open.

Denise Darmody: In 1995, when Disney was releasing “Pocahontas,” we were doing an April Fool’s issue. So I jokingly wrote that I had seen a screening of this film and that it was so depraved and filthy that it received an NC-17 rating. Rome’s La Stampa ran a big article titled “Scandal rocks Disney!” Disney held a press conference and said it was just a joke. David called me and said, “Your article is an international affair, so I have to get down here.” I couldn’t stop laughing.

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