"Every community needs a Creative Loafing an alternative voice to help keep it honest. For 20 years now, the Loaf has worked hard to play that role. It hasn't always been successful, but it has honestly tried, and that is a record to be proud of. You guys keep it up."
-- Frye Gaillard, author and former CL columnist
Twenty years of Creative Loafing. My, how time flies. While I have often sparred with the socialist writings of CL's editorial board (and have some 40 or so Jim Hunt cartoons to prove it), democracy requires both sides to be represented. Charlotte would be a lot duller without CL (or me, for that matter). While I am the most outspoken yang to CL's yin, it is clear that alternative points of view (or weekly papers) have little relevance without their counterparts. Without me, you would have no windmills to tilt at and paint as the evil bogeyman. Without you, Charlotte's news scene would be forfeited to the Observer and the Rhino. Thomas Jefferson said it best: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." We are both "inconvenient" in some quarters, but it is better to have more media than less, more political dialog than only one voice at the table.
-- Bill James, Mecklenburg County Commissioner, District 6
"When I was a writer still new to Charlotte in the early '90s, I learned a lot about my new hometown by reading -- and writing for -- Creative Loafing. Then several years later, a group of writers envisioned a small press that would publish the work of Carolina authors. That project became the public library's Novello Festival Press -- and from the start, Creative Loafing supported us with news coverage, book reviews and author profiles. We'll always be grateful, and we look forward to "Loafing" through the next 20 years. Happy anniversary!"
-- Amy Rogers, executive editor, Novello Festival Press
"Creative Loafing has been the mirror, the conscience and the touchstone for the arts scene in Charlotte. None have been more responsible for promoting and encouraging the potential of the city's artists on such a sustained and passionate level than the Loaf. I am very sure that without Creative Loafing (and the seemingly inexhaustible Perry Tannenbaum), live performance in Charlotte would not have been half as prolific or innovative as it has been. Thanks, CL, and congratulations on 20 extraordinary years. They simply would not have happened without you."
-- Steve Umberger, founder of Charlotte Repertory Theatre
"Bongo (the late Don Swan) was the photographer and a really good friend of mine. He was instrumental about putting the word out about us. He brought a lot of interesting people through. At one point, I was told we distributed more (Creative Loafing's) than anyone in town. My customers love it. I get the paper on Tuesday -- early sometimes. Mr. Roy, a neighborhood guy who I've known longer than anyone in Charlotte, picks it up every Tuesday night. The first year the paper opened, a bunch of them, including Don and (regular CL photographer Chris) Radok, used to meet here every Monday night."
-- Guadalupe Duran (or Lupie, as she is known to most of Charlotte), restaurateur, Lupie's Cafe
"I did my first show in the Charlotte area in 1992. New to the area, I thought, "How cool that this city has a free paper like Creative Loafing." Then the show I was in hit the list of Perry's "Da Bombs," and I thought, "Fuck you, Perry." A lot has changed around Charlotte and at Actor's Theatre, and the Loaf has covered most of it at one time or another. The theater crowd is extraordinarily fortunate to have a publication that not only supports live theater but celebrates it and, occasionally, mourns it as well. At one time or another, all of us in the theater world have either praised or cursed Perry (sometimes both at the same time!), but all of us also realize it's great to have a champion for this craft and great to have a paper that agrees. Thanks, Perry, thanks, Loaf, and here's to 20 more great years."
-- Chip Decker, artistic director at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte
"I've been in the music industry here in Charlotte for over 33 years via DJing in the clubs, and on the radio for around 28 years, being a buyer for Camelot Music for 13 years, and running my record pool for DJs and music promotions and marketing business for over 17 years. So your publication has been a positive force in this region since the beginning. I actually won your Best DJ in the area back in the day. Over the years, the respect of your publication has grown around the area and is one of the key places to plan out your week's entertainment, from finding out about new restaurants to which club has the best (shows) -- one-stop shopping for fun in the area."
-- Ronnie Matthews, Starfleet Music Pool and Enterprises
"When the paper first showed up, there wasn't any food or restaurant news in it. It only had music and even television schedules. Things changed, though. When I opened my first restaurant, Sonoma Bistro in the Charlotte Plaza Building in 1993, we were awarded Best New Restaurant by Peggy Porter, then the restaurant critic for Creative Loafing."
-- Pierre Bader, Charlotte restaurateur
More from CL's past