Tricia Romano presents The Freaks Came Out to Write: The Definitive History of the Village Voice, the Radical Paper That Changed American Culture, in conversation with Gillian McCain

February 28th
McNally Jackson Seaport
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A rollicking history of America's most iconic weekly newspaper told through the voices of its legendary writers, editors, and photographers. 

“An uncensored look at the freewheeling, kaleidoscope lives of the people who wrote for the Voice. This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about politics, culture, history, or democracy. Romano makes me wish I was twenty again, reading the Voice while trying to score a futon.”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Our Country Friends

You either were there or you wanted to be. A defining New York City institution co-founded by Norman Mailer, The Village Voice was the first newspaper to cover hip-hop, the avant-garde art scene, and Off-Broadway with gravitas. It reported on the AIDS crisis with urgency and seriousness when other papers dismissed it as a gay disease. In 1979, the Voice’s Wayne Barrett uncovered Donald Trump as a corrupt con artist before anyone else was paying attention. It invented new forms of criticism and storytelling and revolutionized journalism, spawning hundreds of copycats. 

With more than 200 interviews, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Colson Whitehead, cultural critic Greg Tate, gossip columnist Michael Musto, and feminist writers Vivian Gornick and Susan Brownmiller, former Voice writer Tricia Romano pays homage to the paper that saved NYC landmarks from destruction and exposed corrupt landlords and judges. With interviews featuring post-punk band, Blondie, sportscaster Bob Costas, and drummer Max Weinberg, of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, in this definitive oral history, Romano tells the story of journalism, New York City and American culture—and the most famous alt-weekly of all time.

“A brilliant oral history that chronicles not only the Village Voice, the most important alt-weekly of our time, but also the history of New York City during the latter half of the 20th Century. One of the best narrative oral histories I have ever read—seamlessly edited, with anarchy on almost every page.”—Gillian McCain, co-author of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

“Some writers give voice to the voiceless. Romano gives voice to the Voice. For more than six decades, the Village Voice not only had its finger on the pulse of New York, but quickened that pulse with its cultural criticism, investigative reporting, columns, cartoons, and more. I love this book!”—Questlove

“Romano debuts with a phenomenal oral history….Brimming with riveting anecdotes and capturing its subject’s rollicking spirit, this is a remarkable portrait of the “nation’s first alternative newspaper.”—Publishers Weekly

Tricia Romano began her eight-year career at the Village Voice as an intern. As a contributing writer she wrote features and award-winning cover stories about culture and music. Her reported column, Fly Life, gave a glimpse into the underbelly of New York nightlife. She has been a staff writer at the Seattle Times and served as the editor in chief of the Stranger, Seattle’s alternative newsweekly. A fellow at MacDowell, Ucross and Millay artist residencies, her work has been published in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Men’s Journal, Elle, Alta Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. She lives in Seattle, Washington. This is her first book.



Gillian McCain is the co-author (with Legs McNeil) of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose. She also wrote three books of poetry: Tilt, Religion, and (with Jeffery Conway and David Trinidad) Descent of the Dolls. She is the former Program Coordinator of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.




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