I have a story about Harvey Weinstein, the Buffalo News and me. When I started writing about popular music, Harvey Weinstein was a concert promoter who ran an old theater in Buffalo called The Century. People my age loved that theater and we went there to see everyone from Patti Smith to Genesis. When he and his partner sold it - it would be torn down and the word was it would be made into a parking lot - I was an editor at the local college newspaper. I wrote a scathing editorial saying that Harvey didn't care about pop music artistry, just money. Harvey called me into his office for a meeting and yelled at me. It was violent. I was used to violent words, but this was over the top. I felt that at any moment, this could turn from mental abuse to physical abuse. My heart was beating hard - from fear.
I was also contributing to the Buffalo News at the time, a freelance feature writer and concert reviewer. Harvey called my editor and lied to him. He said I had been trying to get into concerts for free by stating I was writing a Buffalo News review. He asked for me to be fired. When the editor called me and said I would no longer be working with the paper, I said, "Why would you believe him and not me? I write for you. I've been writing for you for $35 a review for some time. You've never had an issue with me."
He said, "Harvey's word carries a lot of weight in this town." And so, that was it for my work with my hometown paper. Of course, I was devastated. It felt so unfair to someone who was young and idealistic, who just wanted to write.
I tried to turn that into something positive. I kept going because I simply needed to write. It was in my blood, like it's in the blood of so many. Some time later, Adam Moss, then at Esquire magazine, ran a long story I wrote about a band from Buffalo. It even made it to the cover. And not long after that, I left Buffalo for New York City. I like to tell myself I really have never looked back.
But a couple of years ago when I was consulting for the Tribeca Film Festival and we were having lunch at The Tribeca Grill, one of the festival honchos saw Harvey sitting alone at a nearby table. He introduced me to Harvey, who looked at me with a brief flash of recognition but not full recognition. My heart was beating in the same way again. But that was just for a few minutes. And those moments passed. And now, well, I'm still here, typing away. And Harvey is where he deserves to be. It will get even worse for him, I have no doubt.