'Bright Lights, Big City' Author Jay McInerney Talks Fame and Faking It


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The author famous for “Bright Lights Big City” talks about fame, Flannery and faking it – and what he thinks about most. 

New Yorker Jay McInerney cemented his fame with the cultural phenomenon of the 1980s, “Bright Lights, Big City”. Eleven books followed, including “Brightness Falls” and his latest, “Bright, Precious Days,” volume three in a series that chronicles the financial, social and marital ups and downs of Manhattan professionals Russell and Corrine Calloway. 

You continue mining the theme of happiness. Define happiness. It’s taken me many pages to even begin to address the question, like hundreds. For me happiness is kind of three-pronged – fulfillment in your work, your romantic life, and your family. I think if you’ve got 2 ½ half of those you’re doing well. That’s sort of what Russell and Corrine are struggling with.

Why do you keep writing about them?  I find it really intriguing in fiction as well as in life to follow people through time. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see them at least one more time.

Like you, they live in New York, which you’ve said is the only place you truly feel at home. Why? I moved constantly when I was growing up so I didn’t really have a hometown. But when I finally arrived in New York, in my 20s, it was IT. It was the most exciting place, the most dynamic, the most energetic, the most stimulating, and full of people like me who were young and ambitious and energetic who had come from all over the world to be together. This sort of tribe of restless strivers who are drawn to the lights of the City.  

Why are you a New Yorker? You didn’t grow up there. New York is a place where you don’t need to be born there to belong. I love the South, but either you’re a southerner or not. It’s not something you can adopt or become, whereas you can become a New Yorker if you sort of land there and stay until somebody asks you directions.

Ever been to Savannah? I have. It’s a wonderful city and has a lot of artistic energy. From what I’ve seen and heard it seems to be more welcoming and tolerant and diverse than other parts of the state and South.

You’ve written about Flannery O’Connor. Are you a fan? One of the greatest American writers. She took her slice of the world and made it representative of all human experience. Her vision was unclouded by sort of cheap emotions or sentimentality. She had a very clear vision of her faith which made her quite clear sighted about good and evil in the universe. And she was not an equivocator.

You’ve talked about faking it and trying on different selves to find your authentic self. Have you found yours? I’ve sort of created the persona and grown into it. I’m very secure in who I am because, you know, I’ve had an awful lot of years to practice.

Do you really go out every night in New York City? 

To find out why Jay McInerney goes out every night in New York City and more, subscribe now or pick up the February/March issue of South Magazine.

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Events Calendar

  • Charleston Cars & Coffee

    Jun 17, 2017
    7:30 AM - 10:00 AM @ Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

    7:30am - 10:00am  FREE ADMISSION  Mount Pleasant Towne Centre,1712 Towne Centre Way,Mt Pleasant, SC 29464,USA A bunch of car and...

  • Charleston Farmers Market

    Jun 17, 2017
    8:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Marion Square

    8:00am - 2:00pm  FREE ADMISSION  Marion Square,329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403,USA Join us every Saturday in beautiful Marion...

  • Amelia Adventures’ Endless Summer Daily Kayak Tours

    Jun 13, 2017
    9:00 AM @ Amelia's Adventures and Kayak

    9 am Amelia Adventures’ Endless Summer Daily Kayak Tours www.AmeliaAdventures.com CAll 904-500-TOUR for more information Repeats...

  • Kayaking and Canoeing at Hanna Park

    Jun 14, 2017
    10:00 AM @ Hanna Park

    10 am Kayaking and Canoeing at Hanna Park Wed, thurs, fri, sat, sun  Wed-Thu 10-6pm, Fri-Sat 10-8pm, Sun 10-6pm $5 park admission, $20 hr...

  • Gayle Miller’s Women Together, Feminine Expressions in Watercolor featured at Art League Gallery

    Aug 01, 2017
    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM @ Art League of Hilton Head Gallery

    Exhibition Dates: August 1 - 26, 2017 from 10 am - 4 pm and 90 minutes before all Arts Center performances.   Opening Reception: Wednesday,...

  • Jazz Brunch

    Jun 04, 2017
    11:30 AM - 2:00 PM @ The Westin

    The Westin's weekly Jazz Brunch is a treat for all, with spectacular views of Savannah, delicious food and beautiful music performed by the...

  • Chocolate Bar Your Way Class

    Jun 14, 2017
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Sweet Pete's Candy

    4 pm sweetpetescandy.com Learn the art of old fashioned candy making in one of Sweet Pete’s Candy’s most popular classes. Sweet...

  • Handmade for the Hungry

    Aug 23, 2017
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM @ Glynn Visual Arts

    GVA supports the local food bank, America's Second Harvest, through their pottery program in which they offer classes for students to come in...

  • ALJ Monday Night Ceramics

    Jun 12, 2017
    6:00 PM

    Students will learn how to build ceramic sculptures as well as hand crafting with various techniques in form and technique $60 for 4 sessions, $80...

  • ALJ Cartooning and Illustration Classes @ Balis Community center

    Jun 14, 2017
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Balls Community Center

    Cartooning Illustration Class with William McMahan Wednesdays 6:30pm-8:30pm and/or Saturdays Noon-2:30pm • Ages 12 - Adult • All...

  • HarbourFest (Every Monday - Friday)

    Jun 12, 2017
    6:30 PM @ Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina

    Two shows at 6:30 and 8:00pm Fireworks- Tuesdays, June 13, 20 & 27 Tuesdays, July 4, 11, 18 & 25 Tuesdays, August 1, 8 & 15...

  • Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise on the Carolina Queen

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Carolina Queen River Boat

    7:00pm-9:00pm Admission- $44.95 for adults/ $25 for children 4-11 Carolina Queen Riverboat,17 Lockwood Boulevard,Charleston, SC 29401,USA...

  • Free Movie Night on Folly Beach ( repeats every Wednesday until August 23rd)

    Jun 14, 2017
    7:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tides Folly Beach

    7:30-9:00pm Tides Folly Beach,1 Center St,Folly Beach, SC 29439,USA COST: Free From May 31st through August 23rd, Tides will play movies...

  • Hilton Head Island Bar Crawl

    Aug 01, 2017
    8:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Flatbread Grill

    Bar Crawl Itinerary: Flatbread Grill Crave By Daniel’s The Sand Bar Frosty Frog Cafe Big Bamboo Cafe – Group will...

  • BevCon Charleston

    Aug 20, 2017
    All Day @ Various Locations

    " ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S MOST EXCITING AND INSPIRING, INDUSTRY ONLY, BEVERAGE EVENTS.  PROFESSIONAL BARTENDERS, SOMMELIERS,...

  • Animal Instinct

    Jul 15, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    The diversity of animal imagery in Animal Instinct reveals the wide-ranging roles animals inhabit in an anthropocentric world. From wild...

  • "I'm Trying To Tell You" Artist Talk and Reception

    Jul 28, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Maggie Mullin O’Hara (American, b. 1991) is a multimedia artist from Pittsburgh currently based in Columbia, SC, and Savannah. Her exhibition...

  • Generation Exhibition Opens

    May 26, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Generation is an exhibition that brings together two generations of Iraqi-Canadian women artists—mother Sawsan AlSaraf and her daughters...

  • Her + Him Film

    May 26, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Akram Zaatari (Lebanese, b. 1966) is a filmmaker, photographer, archival artist, and curator who lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. Her + Him...

  • Hattie Saussy: Rediscovery of an Artist

    Jun 30, 2017
    All Day @ Telfair Academy

    Savannah artist Hattie Saussy (1890-1978) pursued her passion for painting from the time of her youth until near the end of her long productive...


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Scenes of the South

Leopold's 98th Anniversary Celebration

Hundreds of Savannah visitors, neighbors and long-time residents attended the 98th Birthday Celebration of famous, Leopold's Ice Cream Shop, closing down the block in front of the Broughton Street location for the afternoon. Attendees devoured the delicious ninety-eight cent scoops of the delicious ice cream while enjoying live music and performances throughout the event.

South Magazine's Power Party 2017

Attendees at the South Magazine Power Professionals Party 2017 arrived to the red carpet at the Hyatt Hotel in Downtown Savannah on August 3rd to strike their best pose before enjoying an interactive evening of networking and music by Danielle Hicks and the Resistance. Delicious food was provided by the Hyatt's new resturant, Moss & Oak Savannah Eatery! Before leaving, guests had the opportunity to take their photos with our amazing Scenes photographers and pick up the latest August/September issue of South magazine.

South Night at Savannah Bananas

South Magazine welcomed clients and friends to join them on the VIP deck where visitors could pick up a copy of the magazine and meet the staff at Thursday's Savannah Bananas game against the Redwolves. It was another sold out game at Grayson Stadium on their Budweiser Thirsty Thursday. Visit the Savannah Bananas online to see their remaining schedule for this year's season!

Love the Wine You're With July

South Magazine and 39 Rue de Jean Savannah host an evening of Power Networking and Fundraising on the third Wednesday of each month to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations. Free to attend, guests enjoyed $7 glasses of select regional wine and delicious passed appetizer's while networking and raising funds to benefit the featured charity of the month. Each month, a different local charity will offer a silent auction, raffle or fun game to help raise awareness and money. In addition, 39 Rue De Jean will donate $1 from each glass of select wine purchased during the event to benefit the non-profit.

Prohibition Museum Grand Opening

In December of 2015, a summit of Historic Tours of America management met together to discuss the potentiality of something new, something original for not only the city of Savannah, but for the nation as a whole- a museum dedicated to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The American Prohibition Museum is the first of its kind in the country and takes guests back into the 1900s as anti-alcohol rallies swept the U.S. and the booze problem was pushed into the forefront of American politics. Through immersive displays and state-of-the-art exhibits, guests learn how Prohibition and Temperance shaped thinking and culture for more than two hundred years of American history.

4th of July River St. Celebration 2017

Hundreds of residents and tourists came to celebrate American patriotism at the 2017 River Street Fourth of July Celebration. enjoying live music from 8-10pm with local favorites the Hynotocs on the WSAV Military Stage. Families were able to bring their children to the kids zone while waiting on the fireworks display! The Savannah Waterfront Association was excited to help WSAV celebrate their 60th Anniversary during the event and teamed up to host a military VIP seating area for viewing fireworks! VIP seating will be limited to first come first serve and a VIP pass must be presented to enter. VIP passes will be given away on air with Alpha Media and a limited number will be available the day of at the WSAV tent. Chairs, blankets, are welcome and make sure to get there early to grab a spot along the riverfront.

Grand Opening of Ghost Coast Distillery

Ghost Coast Distillery embraces Savannah's spirited and storied history - one of indulgence, light-hearted mischief, and jubilation. They honored The Spirit of Savannah by opening Ghost Coast Distillery, Savannah’s first distillery since just before the era of prohibition. Beginning in 2017, Ghost Coast Distillery will be open for tours and tastings at its home in vibrant Downtown Savannah. Come see how they make some of the South’s finest craft spirits, while learning about the history of spirits and revelry in our fine city.

Grand Opening of Edgar's Proof and Provision

In a town renowned for its spirited libations and tall tales, Edgar’s Proof & Provision offers lush libations and chef-inspired small plates on East Liberty St. in Savannah. With year-round front porch seating, Edgar’s P&P delivers southern hospitality at its best! Savannah's newest restaurant, Edgar's Proof and Provision, had its grand opening on Thursday June 22nd inside the Hilton DeSoto hotel on Liberty St. Edgar's Proof and Provision will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight with a perfect view of the historic district, spread out over three levels. "The service is always smiling and fun and friendly and everybody's saying how locally centered that we are here in Savannah, that we are here for the locals and we want everybody to come back and have a good time," says host Kolin Podell. Residents are encouraged to check out Proof and Provision soon because another new restaurant is in the works!

Horizons Savannah’s Summer Sizzler 5K

The Horizons Savannah’s Summer Sizzler 5K took place on June 24, 2017 at the J.C. Cannon Fields on Wilmington Island where dedicated runner came out to support Savannah's kids! Guests enjoyed a summer race and cool down with watermelon and summer fun, and 5K participants received a special gift. This race was organized in order to benefit Horizons Savannah, a transformative experience for youth in Kindergarten through the 8th grade focused on helping low income students close the achievement gap through academic support and confidence building. This 6 week summer program helps struggling students gain the academic skills and confidence needed to stay on track in school. Horizons Savannah serves over 200 students annually on three campuses: Savannah Country Day School, St. Andrew’s School and Bethesda Academy.

June Andaz Salon featuring Tiffani Taylor

Andaz Savannah's monthly salons are events that deliver cultural experiences for guests and neighbors, encouraging creative inspiration through evocative content and spirited discussions with local influencers. Each Salon event is designed to imaginatively impassion guests through a new experience, and to connect them with like-minded individuals, ultimately sparking creativity. The events reflect the passion and vibe of the local community while connecting travelers with kindred spirits and artistic minds. June's salon featured local artist Tiffani Taylor, an American painter who resides in Savannah, Georgia and Paris, France. She is best known for her rich, textured paintings and original pottery.