of lasting insignificance:
May 25, 2013
—by John Wilcock
SOME PEOPLE THINK that when you write and publish a popular book, that might bring you lots of money, but I'm here to tell you that is not necessarily the case. In fact, you might, like me, make virtually nothing at all.
My well-received Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol first appeared in 1971, printed by a New York firm that never paid me any money on the spurious grounds that it never made any profit. It was a collection of interviews of Andy's friends and associates that I had conducted during my seven years around the Factory scene. Launched at the Whitney Museum retrospective for Warhol, the book cost $5, soon sold out but could be found listed as a rare book by the Strand Bookstore, which offered copies for $100. By the turn of the century it was fetching prices of up to $800 a copy on Amazon. Needless to say, none of this money came to me.
THE BRILLIANT ARTIST of light, James Turrell, 70, who for 35 years has been working in the Arizona desert on his volcanic Roden Crater, moves into town next month with a spectacular show in the rotunda of New York's Guggenheim Museum. The collection will also appear at LACMA in Los Angeles and Houston's Museum of Fine Arts. Turrell's captivating art has always been hard to describe—“spatially disorienting ambient light” says Art News—but has an unforgettable impact on viewers. “Until you experience it in person” explains curator Nat Trotman, “you don't really get it. It's pretty anti-conceptual—it's about the feelings it creates for you”.
THE WORLD'S BIGGEST seller of wines surprisingly turns out to be Costco, which has sold one million cars in the past five years and just before Thanksgiving unloads more than 8 million dollars worth of pumpkin pies. The $2.5bn chain, which has shown a profit every year since it was launched in 1999, earns a nod from Stores editor Susan Reda who commends its generosity to employees, most of whom have health care, earn $21 per hour and register a turnover rate of 11%, well below the industry average. Stocking about 4,000 items, says Reda, “Costco practices operating efficiency and cost containment at every turn”.
MAYBE IRAN'S NUCLEAR ambitions really are peaceful, contrary to what Americans are continually taught, suggests British author Peter Oborne in his book with a self-explanatory title: A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong About Nuclear Iran. The author claims that Britain has been brainwashed into accepting “the bellicose proposition that Iran is an aggressive power ruled by irrational clerics, hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons…
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Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook
(download Burma right now! (PDF))
also in the News...
Now on Boing-Boing!
May 2, 2013
October 22, 2011
An authorized comic book biography of John Wilcock,
This IS a book length comic series on John Wilcock. People who enjoy focusing on underground and alternative media are occasionally familiar with John's work, but most often the response is "who's that?" Outside of small press historians and collectors, John remains very unknown. Which makes no sense, the more you learn about him. We're very excited about the opportunity to tell his story. Art for THE STORY OF JOHN WILCOCK is by me and co-conspirator Scott Marshall. Story comes from an extended and ongoing year-long interview with Wilcock, himself. The focus is John's years in New York, roughly 1954-1971.
January 2, 2011
A way with Andy Warhol : John Wilcock recalls life in iconic pop artist's inner circle
During a journalism career that began when he was 16, John Wilcock has interviewed celebrities — Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Bob Dylan, to name a few — was part of enigmatic pop artist Andy Warhol's intimate circle in the 1960s, traveled to exotic locations all over the globe, has written dozens of books ranging from frugal travel to magic, was one of five founders (Norman Mailer was one of them) of the Village Voice and co-founded Interview magazine (still in circulation) with Mr. Warhol.
“The Return of the World's Worst Businessman”
John Wilcock is not what you would call a household name, and yet, he has had a measurable impact on art, journalism and culture-at-large over the last century. He co-founded Interview with Andy Warhol. He also was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He has written for countless print and online publications: Frommer’s, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, The East Village Other, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Ojai Orange, etc. So why, one feels inclined to ask, is he relatively unknown? The answer seems simple: Wilcock has called himself “the world’s worst businessman.” This self-description makes sense because listening to him one hears the voice of a writer and a traveler and an enthusiast, not at all the voice of a businessman. In an age when it seems like everyone is all about business—art as a business, fashion as a business, everything as a business—it is refreshing to hear someone self-identify as “the world’s worst businessman.” It seems less like he has failed as a businessman and more like he has refused to become one. In addition to all his other accomplishments,...
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Jewcy Top 10 Art Books of 2010
This brilliant remake of a pop primary document is brought to you by John Wilcock, probably the Most Interesting Man in the World in the realm of writers. The Village Voice cofounder had also edited Warhol’s seminal mag Interview in the 70s. The fruit of the book is in the genius of its redesign. After 40 years out-of-print, the newly edited edition is “beautifully redesigned in a bright, Warholian palette” that surrounds a trail of Harry Shunk’s internationally Pop-art-informed camera as well as transcribed interviews with those closest to Warhol that ultimately make up an oral history of the artist’s Factory period. By looking at him through the scope of his peers, this book is the equivalent of Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum in illuminating qualities of Warhol’s warped mirror on which our American culture was briefly reflected.
Monday, November 15, 2010
A Reader Comment from the recent New York Times Frugal Traveler post
Not only did John Wilcock shake up staid publishing in the USA, from the Village Voice to the East Village Other, his influence extended to several continents, including Australia & the UK, where - in his mild mannered way - he pushed the boundaries of image and speech. The counter culture was nothing but a dull puddle, until John kicked out the jams and ignited the Underground Press, which attracted absurd prosecutions, that of course boosted circulations. An unsung hero of the sixties,
It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my Săo Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."
The Autobiography and Sex Life of AndyWarhol