1. The regatta is actually a sailboat race and ends up on a rather barren little island called Elliott Key — it’s about 60 miles south of Miami. When the regatta first began, after the race, all the crews and the owners and every[one] would get together and have a party. Well these parties began to get wilder and wilder, and people on the mainland began hearing about these Columbus Day Regatta parties. And so when I got there, there were easily more than 1,000 boats … congregated around Elliott Key. I mean, 1,000 boats is a massive lot of structures in humanity, and they’re waiting for the evening. And the police, until recently, didn’t try to control things, so people would lash together boats, 12 in a row, which created one gigantic deck — you had to go up and down on the deck. And it became wilder and wilder and wilder, until finally they would be showing pornographic films on the sails of schooners, and they would in essence have orgies right there on the decks. I couldn’t believe this …

    I saw it personally. I stayed at this thing for a very long time. It has cooled down a little bit ‘cause there is a police presence now. But nevertheless — oh, for example, I don’t want to go into too graphic detail, the bare breasts began [at] about 5:30, and then we go on from there.

    — Tom Wolfe on the graphic real-life scene on which he bases his portrayal of Miami’s Columbus Day Regatta

  2. Tom Wolfe

    Miami

    Columbus Day Regatta

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  1. Tom Wolfe on choosing Miami as the setting for his new novel:

I wanted to do [a] book on immigration. I was thinking of it even when I was doing my last book. At first, I was interested in the Vietnamese in California because they were spreading rapidly, at first around Los Angeles. Then one day I discovered they were up in San Jose, which is Northern California, to the extent that they were now publishing not only the San Jose Mercury [News] but the Viet Mercury. And I said, ‘Hey, there must be a few people around here.’ But unfortunately, I couldn’t speak the language and it was just one group of immigrants. Then I heard about Florida. The first thing that caught my ear is that Miami is the only city — the only one I can find — in which people from a foreign country with a different language and a different culture have taken over a metropolitan area politically at the voting machine in slightly over one generation. Of course that’s the Cubans.

    Tom Wolfe on choosing Miami as the setting for his new novel:

    I wanted to do [a] book on immigration. I was thinking of it even when I was doing my last book. At first, I was interested in the Vietnamese in California because they were spreading rapidly, at first around Los Angeles. Then one day I discovered they were up in San Jose, which is Northern California, to the extent that they were now publishing not only the San Jose Mercury [News] but the Viet Mercury. And I said, ‘Hey, there must be a few people around here.’ But unfortunately, I couldn’t speak the language and it was just one group of immigrants. Then I heard about Florida. The first thing that caught my ear is that Miami is the only city — the only one I can find — in which people from a foreign country with a different language and a different culture have taken over a metropolitan area politically at the voting machine in slightly over one generation. Of course that’s the Cubans.

  2. Tom Wolfe

    Back to Blood

    Miami

    Fresh Air