Sunday, May 25, 2003

Good lord

I just found out that New Times journalist Marnye Oppenheim died last week. She was my age, 32. Nobody reads my blog, but I'd still like to send my deepest condolences to Marnye's loved ones, especially Rick Barrs, former NTLA editor in chief.

The LA Examiner comments section has become a sort of online memorial for Marnye, with fond memories and wishes from many people who knew her.

I don't want to sound like one of those phonies who acts like they were best friends with a deceased person when really they only onetime were standing behind them at a show and got their hair up their nose. Basically, that was the extent of my relationship with Marnye. We met once, at dinner with Rick, after I got hired at the New Times. Marnye was grabbing a drink with us before her photog showed up for their weekly Bite Me jaunt. Of course, like everyone I read her column when I could stand it (most times it just made me terribly jealous of her freewheeling unpretentious snazz. She had snazz. And I mean that in the best way.) Marnye had a big drink, a margarita I think, and talked a mile a minute about everything. She thought I was a lot younger and treated me kind of maternally. When she asked who I wrote for and I answered, she said, "Oh, you're fancy." I knew exactly what she meant by this, and it was both a slight diss and a compliment, but mostly it was just the best use of the best word that no one ever uses anymore. Every time I use "fancy," which is a lot, I am copying Marnye.

Shortly after our dinner the New Times LA was killed. She went to the Phoenix New Times and kicked ass.

I guess Marnye really loved her last column, and felt it was her best ever. (The site is screwed: go here and then click on "Wing Ding.") What I love about it is its subtext, like all her columns: everyday people really matter. My favorite lines are:

"You oughta have much more beer by this time of night."

And the last line of the piece:

"It's like anything. If you say you rock, you're gonna suck."

Like I said, I barely knew her, but even from this distance I can see that Marnye's life was lived with passion and purpose, and that she had a potty mouth like crazy that made everyone around her happy.

"You glide with pride, man. Go on with your bad self."


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