This issue marks the debut of a monthly comic strip by Peter Bagge, who's been dubbed "the grandpappy of post-punk pop culture scribblings." (See "That's Entertainment!" on page 29.) Bagge is best known as the creator of the critically acclaimed and hugely popular Hate Comics, which chronicles the misadventures of the unforgettable Buddy Bradley. Set in Seattle, where the 43-year-old Bagge lives, and debuting in 1990, Hate quickly became an integral part of the same trendsetting scene that made the world safe for grunge, good coffee, and online retail. His work has appeared widely both in print and on the Web; check out his site for full details. Bagge has witnessed the topic of this month's comic—Hollywood's often-asinine politics—up close and personal while discussing development deals with studio honchos. "The most annoying thing is the presumption of political agreement," says the libertarian Bagge. "Before a meeting can commence, everyone makes a show of Democratic partisan solidarity, even to the point of ripping into Ralph Nader for his sins against Al Gore."
"My favorite measure of the original Beatlemania involves A Hard Day's Night," recalls REASON Senior Editor Charles Paul Freund, the author of this month's cover story. (See "Still Fab" on page 56.) "I saw it in a huge old Washington movie palace that was jammed with girl fans. The house lights went down, their anticipation went up, and at the first screen image, they exploded into hysteria. That image was the United Artists corporate logo." Freund, who helped edit the Washington Post's Outlook section before joining REASON in 1996, has long had an interest in the often-suppressed relationship between commerce and culture. "If the literary establishment can accept the fact that Romantic visionary poetry was built on commercial Gothic sludge," says Freund, "rock can deal with the fact that the Beatles were built on pop treacle."
Bill Steigerwald, who interviews legendary urban theorist Jane Jacobs on page 48, has called more than a few cities home over the years. He's done stints in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, where he worked for the Los Angeles Times for the better part of a decade. In 1989, he moved back to his hometown of Pittsburgh and a job at the Post-Gazette. Last June, he moved over to the Steel Town's other paper, the Tribune-Review, where he edits and writes a column. Interviewing the 84-year-old Jacobs capped a long appreciation for her work, says Steigerwald. Certainly her influence can be felt in "Death by Wrecking Ball," the story he wrote for the June 2000 issue of REASON that detailed a redevelopment plan preparing to run roughshod over a vibrant local community.