One of Brad Armstrong's arch rivals, a forefather of Richmond's blogging community, is moving back to his roots in the Washington, D.C., area.
Andrew Beaujon, co-founder of "Save Richmond," has been named managing editor of The Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly with a circulation of about 88,000. He started Jan. 24, but has been working there only two days a week for now, commuting on the redeye Chinatown bus.
Beaujon and his wife, Ewa, moved from New York to Richmond in August 2002. They'd wanted a less expensive way of life a place to buy a house and start a family, and where Beaujon could freelance full time.
"And we achieved all that," Beaujon says. Locally he wrote about television for Style. His book on the Christian rock community, "Body Piercing Saved My Life," is set to be published in June, and he and his wife had a son, Cameron, in August.
But he may be remembered most for the ripple effect he had on local blogs with www.saverichmond.com, which he started in July 2003 with former 64 magazine editor and freelance writer Don Harrison. The easygoing, smooth-pated Beaujon used his acerbic wit to comment on the area's arts and culture community.
When he and Harrison criticized the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, Beaujon says, "We didn't realize what a can of worms we had opened."
He and Harrison were "summoned" to a meeting in a back room at Ukrop's in Carytown, he says, with Jim Ukrop, Richmond Renaissance's Jack Berry, former 64 publisher (and Style founder) Lorna Wyckoff, and the Greater Richmond Partnership's Greg Wingfield.
The group presented them with research intended to show a need for a performing arts center, Beaujon says. "And it was terrible!" Their skepticism about the foundation's use of public money grew, and they continued pecking away at the foundation, seeking answers, research and records.
Last year they were recognized for their work. The Virginia Coalition for Open Government awarded them the Laurence E. Richardson award for open-government contributions by individual citizens.
Eventually Mayor L. Douglas Wilder took the reins in criticizing the foundation, and the arts center plans halted. Brad Armstrong, the foundation's chief executive, resigned. The mayor and Ukrop are now pursuing the project with a joint committee.
Beaujon, a 1991 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, is a native of Arlington. He says once his family moves, he plans to keep ties to the Richmond area. And he'll keep blogging "about life and the importance of Rod Stewart" at www.beaujon.org.
And yes, Save Richmond will continue. Harrison and his anonymous colleague, "Eagle Eyes," will see to that. S
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