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

    Back to Blood

    Fresh Air

  1. Tom Wolfe on his sociological approach to writing:

This attention to status … started when I was in graduate school and I was in a program called American Studies, which was a mixture of different disciplines but one [in which] you were forced to take sociology. I had always looked down on sociology as this arriviste discipline that didn’t have the noble history of English and history as a subject. But once I had a little exposure to it, I said, ‘Hey, here’s the key. Here’s the key to understanding life and all its forms.’ And the great theorist or status theorist was a German named Max Weber. And from that time on, I said this obviously is the way to analyze people in all of their manifestations. I mean, my theory is that every moment — even when you’re by yourself in the bathroom, you are trying to live up to certain status requirements as if someone were watching … It’s only when your life is in danger that you drop all that.
View in High-Res

    Tom Wolfe on his sociological approach to writing:

    This attention to status … started when I was in graduate school and I was in a program called American Studies, which was a mixture of different disciplines but one [in which] you were forced to take sociology. I had always looked down on sociology as this arriviste discipline that didn’t have the noble history of English and history as a subject. But once I had a little exposure to it, I said, ‘Hey, here’s the key. Here’s the key to understanding life and all its forms.’ And the great theorist or status theorist was a German named Max Weber. And from that time on, I said this obviously is the way to analyze people in all of their manifestations. I mean, my theory is that every moment — even when you’re by yourself in the bathroom, you are trying to live up to certain status requirements as if someone were watching … It’s only when your life is in danger that you drop all that.

  2. Tom Wolfe

    writing

    sociology

  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

  1. Today’s show: Stephen Colbert not only sings a few bars of songs that have influenced him, he also plays a few recordings he loves and tells us why.

    Also… we talk to Tom Wolfe about his new novel, Back to Blood.

  2. Stephen Colbert

    Tom Wolfe

    Fresh Air

  1. Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut, along with other great authors hanging out together.
Tom Wolfe on Fresh Air.
Kurt Vonnegut on Fresh Air. View in High-Res

    Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut, along with other great authors hanging out together.

    Tom Wolfe on Fresh Air.

    Kurt Vonnegut on Fresh Air.

  2. Tom Wolfe

    Kurt Vonnegut

  1. I have discovered that for me, it is much more effective to arrive in any situation as a man from Mars than to try and fit in. When I first started out in journalism, I used to try and fit in. … I tried to fit into the scene. … I was depriving myself of the ability of some very obvious questions if I fit in. … After that, I gave it up. I would turn up always in a suit and just be the village information gatherer.

    — Writer Tom Wolfe, on his trademark three-piece suit.

  2. tom wolfe

    journalism

    writing

  1. Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test: Sorry I was late posting today. I got lost in the haze of these three interviews on today’s show: Robert Stone, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe

    Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test: Sorry I was late posting today. I got lost in the haze of these three interviews on today’s show: Robert Stone, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe

  2. Tom Wolfe

    ken kesey

    robert stone

    counterculture

    1960s

    magic trip

    neal cassady

  1. onebookonechicago:

Tom Wolfe on Flickr.
We’ll say it… Tom Wolfe is adorable!

Tomorrow: interviews (from the archives) with three writers who shaped the 1960s: Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey, and Robert Stone

    onebookonechicago:

    Tom Wolfe on Flickr.

    We’ll say it… Tom Wolfe is adorable!

    Tomorrow: interviews (from the archives) with three writers who shaped the 1960s: Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey, and Robert Stone

  2. tom wolfe

    ken kesey

    robert stone

  1. Tomorrow we take a trip back in time with the Merry Pranksters. Vintage interviews with author Tom Wolfe, counterculture leader and writer Ken Kesey and writer Robert Stone. Peace out.

  2. tom wolfe

    ken kesey

    robert stone

    merry pranksters

    magic trip

    the electric kool-aid acid test