Getting to Yes, And

The Freaks Came Out to Write


Tricia Romano

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Kelly speaks to journalist Tricia Romano who has published a vast oral history of the Village Voice newspaper called “The Freaks Came Out to Write: The Definitive History of The Village Voice, the Radical Paper that Changed American Culture.”

The guys who started the Village Voice were building a journalistic voice that was outside of the mainstream media.

“One thing for them is that the New York Times and all the other dailies in New York just didn't reflect the life that they were leading in the Greenwich Village area at that time. There were so many amazing artists and poets and musicians running around the village in the late fifties and early sixties, and they didn't see that reflected anywhere. And they knew all these writers. You know, The Lion's Head - which is a famous hub - they would all hang out there, and they were like, ‘Ee can do this.’”

There is so much gold you get out of these people, so many unforgettable lines.

"That's why I chose to do an oral history, because I figured whatever the collection of these people would be on the page would have to be hysterical and smart and funny and better than anything I could just write out of my brain. You know, they're all writers, and they're all storytellers, and they're all pretty sharp, and funny and sardonic and sarcastic. That was my favorite part, just interviewing everybody.”

I didn’t realize that their amazing coverage of the Stonewall riots was because the office was literally upstairs.

“So, they just walk down. They were looking out their windows when it all happened, because the way it was described to me is that the office is so small that the Ad people had the desks during the day, and all the writers would come in at night. So, the Ad people would leave at 5 o'clock, or whatever, and the writers would come in and take over the desk. And so, they were watching Stonewall happen underneath them. And you know, at first it didn't seem like it was much of anything, but then it kept going on and on and on, and that's when I think people were like, ‘Oh, this is a thing.’ And they walked downstairs to cover it firsthand.”

Photo Credit: Morgan Bell


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