This is a sad day for great, voicey writing and raw, emerging talent: The Black Table, staple of the downtown writing scene and wry, witty, and outspoken web prescence, is ending its three-year run. Started by four scrappy young freelancers-with-day-jobs who craved an outlet — Maxim‘s Eric Gillin, Deadspin’s Will Leitch, Oddjack’s A.J. Daulerio and MB’s own Aileen Gallagher — the Black Table (or “B.T.” as the cool kids might say) provided a forum for a whole host of writers with great ideas, offering space for anything from 3,000 word investigative pieces to a 100-word blurb with a kicky punchline. In between there were the mainstays: the ladies of the BT “Waxing Off” on all sorts of uniquely personal things; “Incoming!” assessing the week head; “Believe The Hype?” (from Arcade Fire to “Prep” to Sufjan Stevens); “The Week in Craig,” nuggets from Craigslist as interpreted hilariously by Amy Blair; “Rock and a Hard Place,” Daulerio’s incredibly profane interview series; “Life as a Loser,” Leitch’s thoughtful, revelatory columns that culminated in a book; and my favorite BT feature, “The Black List,” where people from all walks could sound off about what they loved, hated, or were moved by that week.
If you want to see what kind of talent was incubated by the Black Table, take a gander here: EW‘s Whitney Pastorek, Salon’s Lynn Harris, authors James Frey, Jonathan Ames and Tom Perotta, ESPN’s Dan Shanoff, Lindsayism’s Lindsay Robertson, Paper/The Corsair’s Ron Mwangaguhunga, Glamour‘s Melissa Walker, Gawker’s Jessica Coen, plus MB’s own Claire Zulkey, Jamie Frevele, Greg Lindsay, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and, yes, your hardy fishblogger Rachel Sklar. (P.S. That’s not an exhaustive list.)
Here’s my ridiciulously biased pronouncement: it was a great read, a great opportunity, and a great venture. It will be greatly missed. Thanks on behalf of everyone to whom it gave an outlet, and a boost.
Oh yeah, they’re having a goodbye party. Now you TOTALLY want to go, don’t you.