Liz Tracy's Greatest Hits and Farewell to New Times

I was fortunate to have been photographed by the very cool Lucky Cole in the heart of the Everglades. For the record, I am not naked up there in that photo.
I was fortunate to have been photographed by the very cool Lucky Cole in the heart of the Everglades. For the record, I am not naked up there in that photo.
Photo by Lucky Cole

When I was 31, I decided to do something different with my time. I waved my middle finger at the nonprofit world and embraced a thankless career in full-time freelance writing. It was a good fit for me since I love working slavishly for very little pay and a lot of criticism. 

The former arts and culture editor, Amanda McCorquodale, brought me into the New Times fold and provided me with plenty of guidance, support, and, very importantly, work. By the end of that year, I found myself spending a lot of time writing for Miami's music editor, Sean Pajot. I also passed hours complaining to web editor Jose Duran about the extremely cruel comments I received (stuff like, "u re so fugly n fat, liz tracey, i want to shit in your mouth"). He said, "These people must know you personally. There's no other explanation."

He's a wise man. 

Working with Sean and Amanda, I uncovered a whole new kind of relationship, that of writer and editor. Sean was truly a trustworthy source of inspiration and encouragement, and it was thanks to him that I felt sort of prepared to apply for the job of Broward and Palm Beach music editor.

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The music editor then, another wonderful and gifted colleague, Reed Fischer, was moving to our sister paper City Pages in Minneapolis, leaving behind a legacy of excellent scene coverage. So naturally, I was nervous about taking the job. Plus, I hadn't slept in over a year, and my bed now officially belonged to my cat. For all of 2011, I was either at an art opening or concert at night, then up reviewing it by the 9 a.m. deadline. I was also scared of managing and editing people and publishing shit I wrote before anyone else had looked it over (like this long-ass goodbye, for instance). 

Here we are, though, three years and three months later, and I did it. Many of my early articles as editor were gibberish, and it took a while to learn how to confidently edit others. But I have done some surprising things here.

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I boarded and enjoyed a cruise ship, the first (and last) ever S.S. Coachella, something I swore I'd never do because cruise ships are floating petri dishes with Danny DeVito-sized bathrooms. I was called some terrible names along the way ("Liz Tracy is a fucking perceptionless cunt" is my reigning favorite). I worked with the excellent Jacob Katel making the viral videos, like the one that bitch-slapped the internet for a few weeks, affectionately known as the Butt Hole Tattoo Girl video. It was featured on MTV and Comedy Central shows and Real Time With Bill Maher and was named BuzzFeed's number-one most insane thing to happen in Florida in 2012. In all of Florida. Think about that.

I was lucky enough to work with incredibly intelligent scribes who taught me about music, about myself, and this job. I'm not going to name names, because there are too many. I'd hate myself forever if I didn't mention one, though, my friend Alex Rendon. He passed away last week. I feel like for three years, our time together — brainstorming, writing, editing, and chatting about our personal dramas late into the night — made me a better human being. It was definitely a shock to hear about his death, to know that in his last weeks of life, I was busy interviewing for another job, and that he didn't get my final texts.

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When I started, I thought I knew the Broward and Palm Beach County scenes well enough; that they were similar to Miami's. I remember my first week, Alex called and pitched an interview with a local, popular reggae act. I was totally not into it and encouraged him to maybe write a list: "Top 10 White Guy Reggae Bands in Palm Beach County."

I remember his incredulity at my ignorance but also his reserve. I realized later I was a little clueless about the whole new world of BroCo and PBC. He didn't hold it against me, though, and a few weeks later did the coolest, pain-in-the-ass project for me. I wanted local artists to cover their favorite 4/20 songs (Chronic Cover Songs for 4/20). He took care of it all, for not a lot of pay, with such enthusiasm, talent, and a sense of humor. I'll always cherish my time with him and all of the other truly fabulous characters I've worked with here (you know who you are).  

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But yes, I'm leaving. I'm moving on to work at the stunning, world-class arts institution the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). I'm heading back into a museum setting, and this time, it looks bright and beautiful. If anyone's actually made it this far, thanks for reading. Thank you for being my audience and for supporting me and the whole New Times Broward-Palm Beach music section (known just last week as County Grind).

Thank you for your criticisms and reposts. For crying with me when we thought Churchill's was going to close, for mourning the loss of the Green Room, for coming out to those three incredible "County Grind Live" nights Reed established and I threw with the help of Revolution Live's Jeff John. Everyone has been so wonderful to me. I have to say it: People really are nicer in Broward and Palm Beach counties. 

My Favorite Reviews
Jimmy Cliff Made Me Cry at SunFest
Dave Matthews Band at Cruzan Amphitheatre 
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Fulfilled in Every Way

My Most Hated Reviews
Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia's Debut Show at Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
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I'm also happy to announce that my good friend and coworker Ryan Pfeffer will be replacing me at this post. I know that his humor and dedication will do this scene justice. We have a music community that deserves his sensitive and keen eye, and I can sleep easy knowing that this is his job now.  

This hopefully isn't the last time I write an article for New Times, but this is my last day as music editor. So, again if you made it this far, watch some videos I did and read some of my finest moments, which I've peppered throughout this very lengthy goodbye. 

Farewell, my friends. 

Follow Liz Tracy on Twitter.

Favorite Interviews
Yoko Ono on John Lennon: "We Understood Each Other" 
Cyndi Lauper Acted Like a Big Bully During Our Interview and Onstage
Steve Martin on the Banjo's Popularity, Martin Short, and the Loss of Robin Williams
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Finally, More Me
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