RIP Tybie Kirtman, Advertising Chief of the notorious Daily Nexus

Tybie Kirtman

She sold the ads, smoked the Camels, and stayed out of our way, which had to be hard.

How hard? Once I produced a 12-page special section in the paper, just on where to get fucked up on campus and in IV. It was mostly about shrooms and LSD. Fryday Magazine. She didn’t bat an eye. She sold the ads for it.

And that was just me! There were literally hundreds of us who passed through those doors during her decades there trying to push the limits to see if the sky would fall. It never fell.

Just the opposite.

Only once did Tybie, pictured, take me aside. I used the phrase “sorority tart” once in a column and she said, “you’re better than that Tony.”

I asked “’tart’ bothers you? I began a piece ‘Fuck fuck fuck’ the other day and ‘tart’ bothers you?”

She said, “that other piece was art. It was poetry. ‘Tart’ is something any Bozo would type. You’re special.”

I’m misting up thinking about her. She gave us all the freedom. The most valuable gift you could bestow a young person.

Without her finding creative ways to finance our paper – a freaking daily paper with no adult supervision – we would have had to study or some shit.

St Peter is hearing some great stories tonight.


a rival stern group suspended me

i deserved it

do i come right out and bash the people who bash the king of all media?

no, but you don’t have to be a genius to see what im up to when i debunk nonsense online.

why do i waste so much time doing it?

at the world famous Daily Nexus, I had very few bosses. mostly because they made me an editor of different desks pretty quickly, which is normal in college since theres so much turnover and so few people willing to dedicate their lives to the paper

but one of my bosses was Dougie Gyro

i reached out to him the other day about the design of the Hear in LA website that has gotten me to stop my momentum

i am really struggling with it because i am no design expert and i am desperately trying to make it look like something i am not: elegantly professional.

doug gave me the best advice which is actually something he told me he learned from Apple’s Guy Kawasaki

don’t worry, be crappy.

which basically means, whoever it is youre trying to impress so hard either

does not care about you one but


can see through the facade and only cares about the content youre actually creating

warts and all

so make your Drudge Report design if you’re Drudge, it’s the You that matters

and thats why i am so grateful that the Lord put me in Santa Barbara when he did because so many of my friends are that wise

and one day i hope to be too.

ive been doing this thing on IG

where every day i am writing about a job i had.

i started with my first job at McDonalds and yesterday i wrote about working at the Daily Nexus in college.

this is a picture of me and former EIC pat whalen reading Friday’s paper that morning.

nobody’s there because we didn’t have papers on Saturday but somehow we both ended up there

as did Joel Brand who took this picture.

back then it was rare to take pictures but Joel was/is rich so he not only had a camera but a damn good one, and knew how to use it.

so pat and i were reading the paper, going over every story. writing, design, humor, killer lines.

i remember one day we did this he totally insulted the arts section i had done that previous night.

i was like, youre kidding, right?

he spoke slurry like hunter s thompson, and whispery

“i dont kid this early in the day.”

then he started red penning things.

i was stunned.

a several months later we were on that same couch, and like in this picture, nobody was in the newsroom.

not even joel.

i had been fired by pat’s best friend larry for telling him he couldnt submit his dumbass pre-write about Sinbad at the Pub because it was late. Larry said, but im the EIC. i said dont you understand, if everyone sees that even the rules apply to you, then i’ll never have a story submitted late again.

i was running something crazy like 20 pieces a week in our 8 page section.

he said, if you dont run this you’re fired.

i said, you cant fire me, the section isn’t put to bed.

so Larry watched me work all night and when we were done he said yah fired.

a few months later he hired me back because the Gulf War was starting and the paper needed a few more writers.

pat negotiated a summit where larry would leave me alone, i would be a co-news editor but i had to stick it out.

well, that war was a bummer. and i was writing stupid stories like people getting flag poles to show their support to the troops. i hated everything, so i quit.

so larry told pat, see i told you he’d quit. screw you tony, youre banned.

i was a senior, i had a girlfriend, i lived a 10 minute walk from the beach, fine, some time off so i could live like a normal student for my last few months in college. works for me.

but then the california collegiate awards deadline was approaching. no one had called me to see which of my arts sections should be submitted for state.

which is how i ended up on that couch with pat, like i was telling you.

i said, pat, which ones are they submitting.

he said, none, they’re going to submit the Video Guys’ sections. i said, dude, let video guy have three issues and i have three issues. and we went through the ones that should be mine.

and during spring break we all went up to sacramento

and for the first time ever the daily nexus won best arts section in state

and it was mine.

and i won it in a dress

and as i was walking up to get my little plaque i could hear pat

with his elongated delivery

irony of ironieeeeeeeees!

so yes, i love this picture.

and mr w. patrick whalen.

my man todd francis is in the weekly this week

he was the illustrator of the Daily Nexus.

he was so good i made him my assistant arts editor because i wanted his art on the cover of our section every week.

he always delivered.

after college when i was transferred up to Frisco i needed a place to live and he had a spare room in his apartment on 22nd and Folsom.

we had a mice problem. there was a hole in the apartment somewhere. but he had these giant snakes in a fish tank.

he let them out to roam. they ate all the mice and slithered back into their tanks.

todd was the first person i met who said its ok to have dinner consisting of nothing but vegetables.

we even tried it a few times.

those were the days of AOL. id sit in my room on a 14.4 modem writing poems in the poetry rooms and sexting the girls who i hope were women. it was pretty easy to tell the fakers, but you never know. i probably said something to some dudes without knowing it.

ah frisco.

todd and i saw the OJ chase together because he loved hoops even more than i did, especially anthony mason and patrick ewing.

so as we were watching the game they broke in with the slow Bronco chase and we got to see parts of LA that we missed.

little did i know that Todd would slowly become one of the biggest names of skateboard design.

i didnt know how far his fame had reached until i was back home in ILL a year ago and in our crappy mall there was a skate shop and i asked the kid if he knew about Todd and among 100 boards he quickly picked out the 5-6 that he designed.

he said he drove to the city to get Todds autograph back when he was doing a book signing.

so many talented friends at the Daily Nexus.

we were all so lucky to have had each other.

because if you are the only one with weird ideas, gross pictures, or stupid plots to change the world:

it’s nice to have a room full of others who, instead of vetoing you, say,

“you think that’s weird, check this shit out.”

and when the planet hit the sun, i saw the face of allison

 mose allison
The Pixies‘ album “Bossanova” came out when I was at UCSB. At the time I was the entertainment editor of the world famous Daily Nexus so I assigned myself an interview with Pixies bassist Kim Deal. She was the sweetest, funniest, most open person I ever interviewed (next to Mojo Nixon – but he was kind of a cartoon). Kim was right there with me. AKA hyper and down for whatever.
Among many many things, I asked her about the barely one-minute long song “Allison” from the new record.
I told her I loved the music but I had zero idea what the lyrics meant. Who was this Allison? And what maniac writes a pop song about a girl named Allison after Elvis Costello pretty much wrote the greatest tune ever about a girl named Allison.
And Kim was all, “yes he did. But ah-ha! Ours is not about a girl. Ours is sorta about this jazz pianist Mose Allison.” I was like Kim Deal you’re blowing my damn mind. She said, you’re welcome.
Today Mose Allison died.

Here’s the Pixies song that’s sorta about him:

mentally preparing for meeting the nexus tomorrow

fuck fuck fuckbecause the world is bizarre, about once a year i end up speaking to large groups.

my favorite place to speak is the daily nexus. and yet i still get nervous.

i worry im going to be boring

i worry they wont think im “cool”

i worry im gonna waste their time.

as i drove to work today i thought about a rough outline in my mind

  1. when you are in your teens and 20s you are bubbling with creativity. based on almost every other writer and musician in history (and of course there are exceptions) the best stuff you will make is before youre 30. so write it all down now. the more you write now the better off you’ll be after youre 30.
  2. kiss all the girls
  3. i know facebook and the twitter arent cool, but use them anyway, every day, because the jobs you will get out of college will be web production and social media and they will expect you to be experts. the good news is the college grads you will be competing with wouldnt have heard this advice and will suck at the twitter and the facebook and you will be amazing.
  4. read all the books
  5. when it’s light out study, when its dark out party.
  6. ask questions like you know they are dying for you ask them. and follow up like you cant believe the bullshit they just answered you with.
  7. have courage. if you get nervous, fake your courage.
  8. get some damn breaking news going via periscope and/or facebook live
  9. read the bible
  10. put something from every paycheck you get into your retirement fund and never touch it.

And then I’m going to pass out a copy of my favorite opinion column from my college days and tell them that anything is possible at the Nexus. It is your job to push the envelope, not retract it.

tony are you proud of TONY?

game of thronesa mysterious stranger at ask lana asks this mysterious question.

Are you proud of TONY? Notice, I didn’t ask: are you proud of your ACCOMPLISHMENTS, but asked if you’re proud of YOU! Mothers and gods aside; I’m not asking if you are WORTHY of someone’s respect or love or admiration; I’m asking if what you think and feel and believe and how you behave and shit makes YOU proud. Pride doesn’t just come from actions; a lot of it comes from how we THINK; our attitudes, not just our personalities. You can have a great PERSONALITY because you have restraint and know enough not to step on any toes or ruffle any feathers; but!!!!! Attitude is that feeling you have about shit on the INSIDE! Are you proud of THAT? Why or why not?

no. none.

pride, like jealousy, is foreign to me and always has been. probably since school when i would write or do something that i thought was spectacular and the teacher would say “meh”. at that point i learned whatever alleged “pride” i had didn’t matter in the formula.

also theres this: the few times i have achieved great success it was always a team effort. thus the feeling i had was Fortunate, not Pride. i was lucky to have been on the lake park high school marching band drum line. i was sooooo lucky to write at the daily nexus. and likewise i was so lucky to get hired and then get to run LAist with all the great people i got to work with. all of those so called individual awards or stories or poems or actions were learned from my surroundings or inspired by the spirit. my input was minimal other than staying out of the way of imminent greatness.

when i went to the Times and we were hugely successful, that was a variety of things: an interesting math theory regarding (frequency of posts By talented reporters Plus SEO plus great editing plus timing multiplied by Digg/Reddit). but none of it would have happened if i was not allowed the green light to try it on all of the desks at the paper (luck times patience). the theories derived not from my head but from the total feedback from the Technorati Top 100: boingboing did it, so lets try it. it had little to do with me.

even when i blog something good on this blog or think about this blog as a whole, pride does not factor in because this is merely an evolution of keeping a diary in school in a wired notebook to creating a web site to then using blogger and now wordpress.

is the farmer proud when the seed and water and dirt makes a fruit? no, he thanks God and moves on.

of course there are exceptions. this is the only one i can think of.

while at UCSB, at the Nexus, i was given an internal award from my peers. they voted me the best arts and entertainment writer of the paper my junior year. i was proud because there were probably 10 other people who could have won that. our paper was stacked. we’d win best in state for that section that next year and the next couple of years.

so to be voted positively by the people i respected the most meant more to me than when i won state the next year for the whole section.

because duh we were better than everyone else, but how were we viewed internally: that always fascinated me.

interview with Drew Martin

drew in front of a painting he created

Of the Murderers Row at the Daily Nexus in the late ’80s, early ’90s, our secret weapon was the Art Desk.

Led by your boy Todd Francis, no fewer than a dozen artists could be seen in the award winning college newspaper’s pages during any given week. Any one of them would have been stars on their own on any other paper, but at the Nexus they were just another great reason to smile.

color blind boyDrew Martin was tall, quiet, sensitive, insightful, with a spirituality of an Indian shaman mixed with the cool disposition of a 747 pilot.

While his peers donned thrift store chic and mismatched socks, Drew was impeccably dapper: fitted ironed shirts and all around GQ style.

He was clearly a cop. But his cartoons were out of this world.

The one I remember most was a series about a tall skinny young man who had many questions for the universe.

Obviously autobiographical, but not at all narcissistic, in one episode the hero strips down nude and climbs the Career Resource Building on campus at night and stares into the stars and eventually falls asleep, fragile, innocent, and open to answers.

I believe some watercolors were involved, lots of lines, and some backwards lettering. Not at all the type of juvenile frat boy nonsense you’d see in college papers around the country, this was deep, inspiring heavy shit.

And like I said before, it was just one of the long line of illustrative genius within the pages that many took for granted from the Nexus because it came at you every damn day. Each day beefier than the next. Each page more fascinating. Each week a cacophony of creativity.

Because Drew was sent from another planet to keep an eye on our friends, he accepted Matt Welch and Ben Sullivan’s invitation to join English language newspaper in Prague they’d started after we were all done at UCSB, Prognosis. Beers were fifty cents and rent was $50 and instead of being another forgotten intern at a dumb dusty daily, these revolutionaries got to continue to blaze new journalistic paths on their own terms with the spirit of the world’s greatest college rag as their compass.

While many of the staff dressed and looked like this:

layne and whalen

Drew looked like this:

drew martin in prague
photos by Karen Broome

I only remember working personally with Drew one time at the Daily Nexus. (A nod to the saying about Woodstock: if you remember it, you weren’t there)

I was putting together Friday Magazine which had always been a comedy publication but because I didn’t think I could pull off 8 pages of yucks, I turned it into a druggie thing called Fryday Magazine in hopes of quickly being relieved of my duties. What i really wanted was to run the Arts section.

So the plan was to fill every page with different ways to do drugs on campus and in neighboring Isla Vista. And who better to exploit than our huge stable of artists. Instead of page numbers I had the talented Moish draw a variety of mushrooms. So on page two there would be two mushrooms, page three would have three… On the cover was a drawing of a student reading the issue they were holding in their hand while his mind was exploding with all sorts of psychedelia and clip art. Inside there was a map with tips on where to do what and where not to do the other.

Of course I wanted Drew to contribute and I’m not sure if he did or not but I do remember one moment of clarity. After I explained the theme, Drew said a friend of his was going to try LSD for the first time and he asked if I had any advice. That question inspired me to ask a different artist to create some art that we would put in squares on the paper and deem “do it yourself blotter: just add acid” so the readers could literally get high off their school’s newspaper.

I looked Drew right in the eye and very slowly said, “before you takes any hallucinogens, clean yr  room.”

Yesterday, a million years after we ruled the world beneath Storke Tower, Drew asked for and received an interview with me and I was very honored to participate. You can read it here on his long running blog The Museum of Peripheral Art.

millions of years ago dinosaurs rocked the earth

daily nexusi was recently told that things are different for the kids today who get to put out the news at what once was the greatest party school in america.

and it’s true things are different than when i was there.

first of all there was no internet.

imagine that. imagine having to communicate, research, write, record, and arrange


pretty much by hand

with the help of some very slow and expensive computers and photography equipment.

the phones were landlines and i dont recall there even being an answering machine in the office.

all the lines you see on that page were pasted up by hand. each one has a size.

we used rulers and pens and pencils and paper and we always got the paper out. on time. the photographers used film that they had to develop and then print, and yet if there was a large gathering on DP after a big basketball game, where couches were lit on fire and the fire was lit on fire, the story was reported, edited, and published, and the photos were too.

you bet your ass things are different today.

today, if they worked together, the college community along with the paper could take the pictures and report and opine and review and video and sneak over some tips and share it on facebook and and and

but just like the 100th monkey said, you gotta lead by example

if i was back in IV writing for the paper, id set up IV Hall Monitors. a few people on each block whose “job” it was to do simple things like take pictures of the block each week, and be available when and if anything went down of note. id have them all share a group twitter account. you wouldnt have to pay these kind souls.

if you love IV it should be an honor to simply report back on your magical block.

id also be all over periscope in a huge way.

not to mention snapchat.