Friday, January 16, 2015

Gary Custer, R.I.P.

Gary Custer, founder and editor of East Village Magazine, died yesterday. Flint has lost one of its finest.

Jan Worth-Nelson writes: "We are putting together a 'tribute page' remembering Gary Custer for the Feb. 14 East Village Magazine — our first without him. We're hoping to use this page not just to help us honor and remember Gary, but also to raise a bit of money toward the future sustenance of the magazine. For each person who donates $25 or more to East Village Magazine, we will list your name and (if you wish) up to 20 words of remembrance. If this is something you would like to do, please send your tax-deductible check, made out to East Village Magazine, along with your words of remembrance, to EVM, 720 E. Second Street, Flint MI 48503. Please write "Tribute Page" on the envelope and on your check memo line. We need to receive your donation by Feb. 1 at the latest."


  1. Obscure Cornices of East Fork DriveJanuary 17, 2015 at 6:00 PM

    A true Flint giant. East Village was and is an anomaly- a neighborhood newsletter that was also a work of art. If you showed somebody a copy of East Village and told them it was from NYC or Boston they would have believed you. Funny thing is it was from the City Where Pity Runs Low.

    Custer's aesthetic was consistent and cool as hell. Minute black and white details of Court St. houses rule. I collected virtually every issue I ran across over the years. EV helped make me feel like I lived in a real city... maybe his brother was the photographer? I dunno... EV was and is a force of nature.

    620 issues according to their website. A retrospective is certainly in order.

    1. Agreed. Learned people like Gary and publications like East Village Magazine are the sort of elements left out of the more superficial coverage of Flint. It was always more than a factory town, or, a former factory town.

  2. That office by John's Mini-Mart and Rizzo's Pizza had a virtual tropical rain forest of house plants in it.

  3. I've spent some real quality time in that impossibly chaotic office on Second Street over the past eight years since I started writing the back page column for East Village Magazine, and I can't tell you how heartbreaking it has been since Gary died to go in there and he's not there. I miss him like crazy already. I used to go in one Sunday afternoon a month to proof my column, and Gary and I would talk about everything. It was especially enjoyable to talk about Flint -- history, gossip, politics, architecture -- and as "Obscure Cornices" comments above, those conversations always made me feel better about living in Flint. And Gary's aesthetic was indeed very cool -- yes, those are Ed Custer's photos -- but Gary always chose them from what Ed provided. Those of us who are going to try to keep the magazine going are pretty committed to that same design. I keep telling Ed Custer he needs to do a show of those 600+ beautiful cover photos at Buckham Gallery.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at