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Gay Pride

By Margaret Hicks in Arts & Entertainment on May 9, 2006 1:51PM

Among the things we wish for at night, besides Heath Ledger telling us we are his only one, is the wish that we have changed the world, that we have had an impact, that we have taken our art to a higher form, and that we are appreciated for it.

In our dreams, we are Gay Talese (who isn’t?). Talese was one of the first to follow the New Journalism movement of the 1960’s, along with such journalists as Joan Didion, P.J. O’Rourke and even the spin-off Gonzo Journalism of Hunter S. Thompson.

New Journalism borrowed devices from fiction writing and applied them to journalism. Here are the differences, detailed by Tom Wolfe:

*Telling the story using scenes rather than historical narrative as much as possible
*Dialogue in full (Conversational speech rather than quotations and statements)
*Third-person point of view (from inside the head of a character)
*Recording everyday details (which indicates the status of character's lives)

Gay Talese, married to publisher Nan Talese (now known for the Frey debacle), became a master of the New Journalism style; his most famous pieces are “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” and “The Silent Season of A Hero” about Joe Dimaggio.

Now Talese has written a cross between a memoir and his life on writing, called “A Writer’s Life”. The book has received mixed reviews, the New York Times calling it “more hodgepodge than collage”, and asked that Talese “maybe stew a little less, and write a little faster.” But there’s no denying that Talese is a force to be reckoned with and has some great stories and advice for all aspiring writers.

Talese will be interviewed by Alex Kotlowitz, adopted Chicagoan and author of “There Are No Children Here” and “Never a City So Real”.

You can see Gay Talese and Alex Kotlowitz, sponsored by the Chicago Humanities Festival on Wed., May 10, 6:00PM, at The Harold Washington Library Center; the program is free, but reservations are required. 312.494.9509