Steve Ditlea

Stories

Article IconWhy David shot himself

A college newspaper movie review launched a half-century freelance career sans journalism degree — also friendship with Dallas cineaste, later Hollywood star consort and sire to Oscar nominee.

Columbia Spectator November 18, 1968

Article IconBrian De Palma is a revolutionary

Robert De Niro’s first big role in Sarah Lawrence pal DePalma’s feature film debut — before finding their genres in crime dramas and thrillers. Comedy was neither’s forte, though review spotted talent early.

Columbia Spectator April 28, 1969

Article IconThe Trauma and Triumph of Fleetwood Mac

Years before Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac nearly disbanded as the group's co-founder became a gardener and their prime mover joined a Jesus cult. How the survivors pulled the band together for its future success.

CIRCUS February 1, 1972

Article IconJohn Wayne: The Giant of the West

New Journalism-style portrait of the iconic American film star on location in New Mexico, battling the effects of cancer during one of his last cowboy movies — among the few in which he died.

SHOW March 1, 1972

Article IconPink Floyd's Aztec Airways

North American premiere of the full multi-media production of "Dark Side of the Moon" on St. Patrick’s Day 1973 — a memorable event in pop culture, long after the acid had worn off.

PENTHOUSE August 1, 1973

Article IconShotgun Willie

After seeing still obscure TX singer-songwriter record an album in NYC, prescient to write “At the age of 39, Nelson finally seems destined for the stardom he deserves.”

Rolling Stone August 30, 1973

Article IconIt’s Super Cooper

On the “Billion Dollar Babies” tour with Alice Cooper, at the height of the shock rocker’s fame. After a near-descent into death above Dodge City, the violent-as-American-pie Detroit boy-next-door delivered.

New Ingenue September 1, 1973

Article IconRock Press: Up From The Underground

Less than a decade after their beginning, the “safe” rock music papers were about to turn outrageous and explode and die and be reborn for decades. For those there then, what a long strange trip…

PENTHOUSE February 1, 1975

Article IconPython Passion

First Yank article about Brit multimedia comedy stars Monty Python’s Flying Circus, before big-budget movie and Broadway musical when still a thrill on vinyl among nerds. SPAM on, chaps!

PENTHOUSE July 1, 1975

Article IconAural Sex

Pardon our French: “une histoire de fesse” as told in a pornographic magazine created by an Italian-American Londoner, whose New York-born son with a British accent was to be a sexy music maven!

PENTHOUSE September 1, 1975

Article IconHarlem’s one and only Apollo

The legendary showplace for Black culture at a historic moment, when threatened with shutdown by economic and social forces while at a peak time for talent and style. Be there now, a half-century later.

PENTHOUSE October 1, 1975

Article IconCollecting Rock Oldies - Records That Go Jingle

Old 45s were worth their weight in gold to collectors in specialty shops. This first byline in The New York Times included appearances by writer/collector Lenny Kaye and unique Philadelphia dealer Val Shively.

The New York Times November 14, 1976

Article IconThe TV Show That Became A Movie

Hi Mr. Mike, aka Michael O’Donoghue, National Lampoon sadist and Saturday Night Live TV head rebel. He tested boundaries, turning excruciating pain into laughter — before death by brain hemorrhage.

SoHo Weekly News September 29, 1979

Article IconAn Apple on Every Desk

The first national magazine to feature a Steve Jobs cover story. Compelled to wear ‘business garb’ instead of the janitor style he preferred, Apple’s co-founder bought cheap velour and poly at Sears for his photo pose.

Inc. Magazine October 1, 1981

Article IconThe Birth of an Industry

About a dozen entrepreneurs working in attics, basements, and garages pioneered a totally new industry made up of 0’s and 1’s for personal computer software. Today only Bill Gates and Paul Allen are remembered.

Inc. Magazine January 1, 1982

Article IconThe Public Troth: Getting Hitched At New York City’s Chapels of Love

Municipal wedding venues in five Big Apple boroughs reflected local terms of endearment. Reporting this story resulted in a personal ceremony rudely delayed by a police riot, incited by future Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

New York Daily News December 6, 1992

Article IconManage-mentor

At 92, legendary economist W. Edwards Deming was New York’s oldest active professor. Following him as he taught at three universities in a day was exhausting to someone half his age. It was his last full semester.

New York Daily News February 19, 1993

Article IconThey Seized the Days: Columbia’s ‘60s Protests Are Recalled

We did start the fire. Students occupied classrooms and offices to protest war and inequality, sparking media circuses for years to come; 25 years after classmates’ memories were still vivid, though mellowed with age.

New York Daily News April 26, 1993

Article IconNew Threads in Batman Yarn

Catching up with old friend Denny O’Neil, considered second only to Stan Lee in creating Marvel/DC comics universe. Subject to demon alcohol, he was an OG justice advocate and Joycean knot.

New York Daily News May 6, 1993

Article IconLeary's Final Trip, the Web, Realized Multimedia Vision

A friend’s personal memorial on CyberTimes, NY Times’ online-only publication, reveals how fading digital immortality can be. Today Dr. Tim’s leary.com site loops sad video of him at his desk.

CyberTimes June 1, 1996

Article Icon"Virtual Humans" Raise Legal Issues and Primal Fears

Long before AI-generated thespians would be an issue in strike talks between the Screen Actors’ Guild and movie producers, computer graphics pioneers created eye-catching synthetic stars.

CyberTimes June 19, 1996

Article IconWeb Inventor’s Home Page Is a Welcome Mat to The World

Tim Berners-Lee, who single-handedly invented the universal knowledge interface he called the World Wide Web, was a far happier chap before social media changed everything for the worse.

CyberTimes July 24, 1996

Article IconLove or Loath Him, Gates Is a Web-Wide Obsession

Having found him 20 years earlier, realizing the impact of the soon-to-be world’s richest man paled by comparison to his later rounds of philanthropy and misogyny as Jeffrey Epstein’s guest.

CyberTimes January 7, 1997

Article IconThe Write Stuff — In Which The Writer Wonders: Can I Be Replaced?

At the turn of the century when it was still called artificial intelligence, the threat of bot-induced obsolescence caused a journalist to ponder how much longer he could earn an honest living.

MIT Technology Review March 1, 1999

Article IconHey Mr. MP3 Man: Ex-Byrd Flies High On MP3

Early adopter of music compression online, most innovative rock star ever! Jolly Roger pioneered folk-rock, country rock; first put rock and star in same sentence (“So you want to be...”).

MIT Technology Review March 1, 2000

Article IconConfessions of a Nielsen Family

Good stories require digging. Rarely, one falls into your lap. One day the doorbell rang. We had won a 1-in-13,660 shot at having our entertainment and news viewing make a difference, though sworn to secrecy!

New York Daily News March 21, 2004

Article IconPlugged In to the Scene

In pro video gaming’s early days when it was called E-sports: teams were local, venues cramped playrooms and basements. Winning prizes were in the hundreds of dollars, not the six figures for international competitors to come.

New York Daily News October 10, 2004

Article IconBipartisan Pig Takes a Red State Powder

Every week for over a year, the Daily News’ anonymous guinea pig tested over-the-counter remedies, avoiding the politicization of medicine except this once — comparing headache treatments of North and South.

New York Daily News January 26, 2005

Article IconCool Cats — Saving the world’s rarest felines

Around the world with mathematician turned animal conservationist Jim Sanderson, seeking elusive wild cats in their habitat — to save them from extinction and help keep our domestic felines healthy.

Reader’s Digest March 1, 2005

Article IconRetraining the Brain

A friend’s spouse recovering from a devastating stroke was featured in this story bringing hope to many for full restoration of capabilities. Unfortunately, for her this would mark the peak of her comeback.

New York Daily News July 20, 2005

Article IconUp and Running

Operating with the surgeon who invented minimally invasive knee replacement when still reserved for health-care workers and professional athletes — now the most over-prescribed Medicare procedure.

New York Daily News May 11, 2006

Article IconBiochester

How three med school classmates became founders of world-class biotech enterprises in New York’s Westchester county — including Regeneron the area’s biggest employer and maker of anti-COVID ‘cocktail’.

914 Inc. January 1, 2011

Article IconCan The ‘Tom Brady Diet’ Help With Orthopedic Woes?

When anti-inflammation went from fooderati fad to total way of life. Soon after the Greatest Of All Time National Football League QB lost it all, including G.O.A.T. model-wife. Ate a tomato?

The Journal News September 14, 2014

Article Icon100-Year-Old Thrives, Decades After Bypass

Why local news matters: this human-interest story would have gone unreported without a budget for freelancers. After a four-pack-a-day smoking habit, exercise kept him healthy ‘til 102.

The Journal News March 8, 2017

Article IconTai Chi Exercise may Help Seniors Avoid Falls

The flow and centeredness of the gentlest of Chinese martial arts saved an aging reporter from injury many times. The combat side of the practice provided confidence, best punch unthrown.

Poughkeepsie Journal April 11, 2017

Article IconTech for the Body — and Soul

Quarterly “Plugged In” column covered the latest in high-tech gizmos, gear, and gadgetry. This time it featured a digital fitness mirror that became a hit when Peloton bought it for use by its avid followers.

914 Inc. April 1, 2019

Article IconThe Vinyl Countdown

Mention in NY Times piece on collecting oldies blossomed decades later into full-length feature on odd Val Shively’s disk shop outside the capital of strange, Philadelphia. Visitors unwelcome.

SPIN February 11, 2022

Article IconThe Man Who Made Austin Weird

Texas artist Jim Franklin was Austin’s ambassador to the universe. Drew armadillos, made Willie Nelson famous, presided over a legendary American local scene — only to be nearly forgotten.

SPIN March 14, 2022

Article IconOf Course Rock Stars Make Bourbon… But Are They Any Good?

Ace New York Times obituarist Clay Risen’s prior experience as a bourbon journalist resulted in a tequila drinker’s immersion in whiskey culture and good taste. Sit down, relax, imbibe.

SPIN October 24, 2022

Article IconI Sat Out The Elections. Why? Herd Journalism.

A first published opinion piece and commentary on political reporting. Shows there’s always time to think different, to challenge the common wisdom, and have a few laughs along the way.

USA TODAY Network November 30, 2022

Article IconRemembering Ted Richards

This web site’s designer, San Francisco underground comix artist turned Silicon Valley interactive pioneer and friend, died at age 76. His passing was commemorated in online comics publications. He is missed by many.

The Comics Journal May 9, 2023

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