I called Skip Ascheim this afternoon.
I knew he was no longer reviewing for The GLOBE, and I got to thinking. You see, some thirty years ago when I worked for Boston After Dark I asked for a raise and didn't get it, and that and some other editorial differences made me quit. Several years of therapy and a lot of living later, I realize that some of the depression that followed was because I missed practicing my profession. And I hadn't heard that Skip was working elsewhere, so I called.
When I started by saying I'd heard he'd been fired, he shot back "You were misinformed, that's not true. Bill [Marx] and I asked for more money, the GLOBE refused, and so we quit." He explained that the paper pays its freelancers $150 per review, "which is just about what I got at The Phoenix fifteen years ago." In fairness, he said if they'd gotten raises the GLOBE would have had to pay everyone else a living wage as well, and rather than restructure their pay-scales, they accepted the two reviewers' resignations. "Bill, as you know, is still reviewing for WBUR, but I've decided to do some directing again, and coaching of actors."
I mumbled that something like that had happened to me, and I told him I thought the GLOBE had made a mistake letting him go. We may have disagreed occasionally, but I have always thought Skip knew what reviewing was all about and I've liked his work. I said I didn't think Boston should lose his voice and, although I had no money, if he still wanted to see plays he could send me reviews that I would put into The Mirror. His answer was "Obviously, I'm not about to review for anyone who pays me less than The GLOBE." I told him I was looking forward to reviewing anything he directed, and he thanked me for my comments on his work.
So, whatever I have heard, from several sources, and whatever you may have heard about The Boston GLOBE firing Bill Marx and Skip Ascheim is simply Not True. Their request for more money was refused, and they quit.
Since I have assumed that what everyone was telling me was correct, I thought it a good idea to set the record straight. Rumors become "facts" much too often, don't they?