Commies, Hippies, Pinkos, Queers!: An Uncensored Oral History of the Village Voice—the Newsweekly that Changed the World
Since September 2017, I have been working on an oral history of the Village Voice, the greatest weekly newspaper that ever existed. I was a columnist there for eight years, writing about nightlife, music, and culture for my two columns, “Club Crawl,” and “Fly Life.” I’ve been interviewing the paper’s founding editors and writers, as well as its last living founder, publisher Ed Fancher. I have spoken to over 90 people and accumulated over 200 hours of interview material.
The book will cover a span of 50-plus years, from the founding in the 1950s, its rise in New York media and its downfall. At the same time, it will track the evolution of American counterculture—as the culture shifted from beatnik to hippie, as the civil rights movement gave way to identity politics, as Stonewall and the AIDS crisis morphed into the gay marriage battle. It will trace the rise of hip-hop, rock criticism, punk rock, and the death of nightlife, the advent of off-Broadway and the off-off-Broadway theater scene. I hope to tell the story of American journalism, American culture, and the Internet killing a newspaper star.
As I wrote in the New York Times:
“The death of The Voice isn’t just about the end of a newspaper. To some of us at least, it’s about the end of New York as a cultural and political center, as the place that the world turned to for art, for music, for leadership in new and uncomfortable ideas, often perceived by the mainstream to be dangerous or weird. Fred McDarrah, the paper’s photographer for the much of its first three decades, and who remained a part of the paper until his death in 2007, liked to affectionately call it “the commie, hippie, pinko rag.”
Because the book is comprised of nothing but quotes, transcription costs are very high, I have started a Patreon, which has links to some excerpts of the videos I’ve been doing. Please support me or donate to Go Fund Me for one-time donations or give directly to my Paypal.