JAMES WOLCOTT is the longtime culture critic for "Vanity Fair" and a blogger for the magazine. He is the author of a novel, "The Catsitters," and the non-fiction work "Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants." He lives in New York.
"Lucking Out" is one of "Slate"'s Best Books of 2011! Praise for "Lucking Out" "Compared with James Wolcott, most literary journalists write like Amish farmers, their sentences plain as bib overalls.... [S]urrender to rush of this swooping carnival ride of a book [and] you'll have a wonderful time with "Lucking Out." Memoirs don't come more entertaining than this.... Really, Wolcott seems incapable of writing a tired sentence."--Michael Dirda, "Washington Post" "Very sharp and very funny."--David Kelly, "New York Times" "The subject matter was enough to suck me into these pages "The Village Voice" in the 1970s, Patti Smith and the punk scene, porno theaters in Times Square, Pauline Kael and her acolytes--New York City journalism at its gossipy best. But Wolcott's sometimes almost crazy style is what kept me reading."--David Haglund, "Slate" "Wolcott's memories of CBGB, while free of nostalgia...are suffused with elegiac ardency.... Ascritic-stylists go, Wolcott is up there with John Leonard and Wilfrid Sheed.... [But] what ultimately makes this book so vital is its documentation of one writer's beginnings. Beneath the scrapbook of memories lies a sneaky defense of a scrappy literary life that is in danger of fading into the same oblivion as Mohawk haircuts and black leather jackets adorned with safety pins."--Charles McNulty, "Los Angeles Times" "Wolcott captures the sense of outlaw possibility and physical menace in a city that has 'gone to hell, ' [but] his book is also something else: a tale of survival in one of the city's more peculiar tribes.... [He] is a heavyweight sketch artist, dropping metaphors that pin a fellow writer, a downtown celebrity, or an institution such as "The Village Voice." His memoir also has the sweetness and occasional awe of an outsider to the city. All that separated the young Wolcott from an inglorious return to Frostburg State in western Maryland was the whim of an editor