As a teenager growing up in Greenwich Village in the late 1960s, Steven Heller improbably became the art director of pioneering alternative publications such as The New York Free Press, the pioneering porn magazine Screw, and The East Village Other before eventually moving on to work at The New York Times and teaching at the School of Visual Arts for decades.
He chronicles his youthful misadventures in Growing Up Underground: A Memoir of Counterculture New York. In November, Heller spoke at the Reason Speakeasy, a monthly, unscripted conversation with outspoken defenders of free thinking and heterodoxy in an age of cancel culture and thought police. In a wide-ranging conversation with me, he regaled the Manhattan audience with tales of arrests on obscenity charges, how design and aesthetics can supercharge the meaning of words and pictures, and why so many in the counterculture adopted exactly the same "uniform of alienation" in the name of individualism.
- The Reason Speakeasy. The Reason Speakeasy is a live, monthly, unscripted conversation with outspoken defenders of free thinking and heterodoxy in an age of cancel culture and thought police. The next one takes place in New York City on Thursday, December 1, with Nick Gillespie interviewing Kaytlin Bailey, the founder of Old Pros, a sex worker rights group, host of The Oldest Profession Podcast, and the writer and performer of Whore's Eye View, a one-woman show about 10,000 years of prostitution, female emancipation, and sexual freedom. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include beer, wine, soft drinks, and appetizers. For more details and to buy tickets, go here now.