From 17 December 1965 to 19 March 1966, Michael Smith maintained a detailed, continuous record of whom he saw and everything he did as he pursued a vigorous, peripatetic life in the arts in New York’s Greenwich Village. At age thirty, he was principal theatre critic of The Village Voice and active as an award-winning director and playwright in the thriving downtown theatre scene. The diary is factual rather than subjective. Reflecting a subculture astonishingly dense with incidents and personal interactions, it is a uniquely intimate artifact of an exceptionally intense historical place and time. For this edition, the author has provided footnotes that identify the many people who pass through and provide additional information and context.
“I’ve just had my first scan of your wonderful slight tome, and the thing that sounds in it is your clear cadence, unmixed with fruity notes, but definitely uncorked. The thing that is missing from your memoir is any suggestion of thumbs in the lapels, though your unique vantage point in those times put you in the very Shangri-la, but then comes the hour, comes the man, and there you were, poetaster and sipping hummingbird, observing tornadoes and sea wrack at a given focal length, where we look back through the lens and see clearly the man we know and love. Now that’s honesty. What could be done was not left unexplored, it seems, and yet the arc of the story doesn’t look like another spiral into poignant regret, as stories often go. Terrific.” —Paul McNulty
Names and Events is available by mail-order direct from the publisher, Fast Books, P.O. Box 1268, Silverton, OR 97381. Please add $4 for packaging and postage.