December 7, 2023

The approach to life journalist George Wayne finds himself in an odd place. Due to cash troubles, he says he takes out not more than $20 at a time from A.T.M.s. And but he’s a daily at high-end eating places like Cucina 8 ½ in Midtown Manhattan, the place he was sipping a martini on the bar on a September night towards the tip of New York Vogue Week.

“Everybody lunches right here,” he mentioned. “It’s mainly a cafeteria for hedge fund managers and large pictures. It’s very undercover.”

He was sporting tinted Oliver Peoples glasses, a Charvet gown shirt, customized pants, a pair of socks adorned with what he known as a “bingo” sample and Gucci loafers. He was at Cucina 8 ½ to attend a vogue present by the designer Cesar Galindo.

Mr. Wayne, who refers to himself as “G.W.,” rose to prominence in sure Manhattan circles within the Eighties, when he began R.O.M.E., a photocopied publication crammed with gossip and piquant commentary on celebrities, close to celebrities, vogue individuals and nightlife creatures.

With its punky structure and snappy editorial voice, the zine grabbed the eye of media insiders and led him to roles at Interview, Paper Magazine, Attract and Self-importance Honest, jobs that sustained him for roughly three many years.

However shiny journal journalism fell on hard times, and so did he. Now, in a bid to show issues round, Mr. Wayne, 62, is placing the ending touches on a brand new challenge of R.O.M.E., which he mentioned could be obtainable this fall.

The brand new challenge shall be a sort of greatest-hits package deal meant to convey again the feel and appear of pre-internet New York, with some new materials thrown in. Mr. Wayne mentioned he deliberate to print 200 copies and promote them at Left Financial institution Books within the West Village.

He additionally spoke of a possible particular collector’s version of R.O.M.E., wrapped in cellophane, that might be proven on the Georges Bergès Gallery in SoHo. However on Tuesday he mentioned that a part of the plan was in jeopardy due to a dispute with the gallery’s proprietor.

Mr. Bergès, who offered the debut solo exhibition of Hunter Biden’s paintings in 2021, mentioned on Tuesday that he supposed to undergo with displaying R.O.M.E. at his gallery. “We may have one correctly displayed on the wall as artwork,” he mentioned.

In an earlier interview, Mr. Bergès famous that his disagreements with Mr. Wayne have been nothing new. “We get in fights and we block one another for a month after which unblock one another,” he mentioned. “He’ll ship me big texts in the course of the evening about how I’m in opposition to him and I’m going to destroy him.” He added: “Fact be advised, he’s considered one of my greatest buddies. I like the man.”

Variations apart, Mr. Bergès described R.O.M.E. as an necessary a part of New York media historical past. “In the event you wished to actually get a really feel of what was occurring culturally or in vogue or with individuals, R.O.M.E. gave you that,” he mentioned. “I believe, in some ways, magazines modified the best way they have been doing issues due to R.O.M.E., whether or not individuals knew it or not.”

Within the almost completed model shared by Mr. Wayne, the brand new R.O.M.E. is a blast of nostalgia, a scrapbook crammed with classic boldface names: Cindy Adams, Warren Beatty, Barbara Bush, Keith Haring, Rock Hudson, Madonna, Lee Majors, Tennessee Williams, Ed Koch and on and on. It additionally consists of an imaginary dialog with Truman Capote and appreciations of Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell. At press time, Mr. Wayne was going backwards and forwards on whether or not to incorporate a function on the 1999 film “Black and White,” through which he and Mike Tyson had cameo roles.

R.O.M.E. had a cult readership in its heyday, and Mr. Wayne might be greatest identified for his former function as a cheeky interviewer for Self-importance Honest. From the mid-Nineteen Nineties till 2015, he sparred his method via interviews with a hodgepodge of celebrities together with Milton Berle, Jackie Collins, Fabio, Geraldo Rivera, Donatella Versace and Anna Wintour. His work for Self-importance Honest and different magazines was collected within the 2018 guide “Anybody Who’s Anybody: The Astonishing Movie star Interviews, 1987-2017.”

Today, he’s an editor at massive for Park, a luxurious quarterly journal despatched free to the properties of individuals in Manhattan with “annual family incomes over $500,000,” in accordance with its media equipment. “That’s how I’m surviving,” Mr. Wayne mentioned. “Not solely do you need to write, you need to exit and try to get advertisements.”

“I’m nonetheless hustling at my age,” he continued. “If you don’t have a Condé Nast contract, it’s sink or swim, child. There are days once I reside on $1 pizza. And there are days when I’ve a pal who has a restaurant I can go to and say, ‘You bought to feed me tonight.’ And they’ll.”

Mr. Wayne grew up in Jamaica and attended Munro School, a boarding faculty in St. Elizabeth. He discovered his calling at 15, he mentioned, when a faculty nurse launched him to Folks and Interview magazines. “I knew then that I wished to maneuver to New York Metropolis,” he mentioned. “I simply cherished it, studying about Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol at Studio 54. That was it.”

He made it to Manhattan in 1984, shortly after he obtained a level in journalism from the College of Georgia. He mentioned he nonetheless lived in the identical studio house close to Washington Sq. that he started renting shortly after his arrival within the metropolis.

“My little hovel is nothing,” he mentioned. “I name it Lilliput. There’s a bunk mattress and submitting cupboards full of my archives. That’s it.”

He got here up with the thought for R.O.M.E. throughout his senior 12 months of school. “I mentioned to my greatest pal, ‘After I go to New York Metropolis, I’m going to begin my journal, R.O.M.E., and I’m going to place durations in between the letters,’” he recalled. “It doesn’t imply something. I simply thought, ‘Make it an acronym.’ And I like the phrase Rome. I’ve by no means been to Rome, however I like all it connotes.”

He has been assembling the brand new version partly at SoHo Works, a members-only work house in Decrease Manhattan. He mentioned he was not a member however had managed to speak his method in.

“I would like Era Z to grasp what they missed,” he mentioned of his enterprise, between sips of his martini. “I simply assume these present children are fascinated by the analog period.”

Close to the bar, the mannequin Carol Alt was chatting with the proprietor of Cucina 8 ½, August Ceradini, whom Mr. Wayne known as his “primary god-daddy consigliere.” Mr. Wayne took out his telephone and snapped an image of the pair.

“How are you, Carol?” he mentioned as she walked by. “You look superb.”

“Thanks,” she replied. “You doing good?”

“I’m hanging in there,” he mentioned.

Ms. Alt moved with a gaggle of individuals heading towards a big again room, the place the style present was about to happen. Andre Landeros Michel, a clothier who was additionally on his solution to the present, paused to recall discovering R.O.M.E. in 1992.

“I used to be like, That is so genius, such a genius concept, and created by Xerox,” he mentioned, including that he appreciated that Mr. Wayne made up for a scarcity of advertisers by photocopying advertisements from different magazines and pasting them into R.O.M.E. “In the event you didn’t have the advertisers, simply Xerox them anyway,” Mr. Landeros Michel mentioned. “He was so forward of the curve.”

Earlier than becoming a member of the others on the vogue present, Mr. Wayne polished off his martini and received the eye of the bartender.

“So, Jordan, I’m going to order some meals, OK?” he mentioned. “However you’re simply going to maintain it right here. I’m going to take it dwelling — to-go. August mentioned I might get something I wished, so I’m going to take him at his phrase.”

He requested for the New York strip steak medium-rare, Tuscan potatoes, broccoli rabe and focaccia. When he tacked on an order for spaghetti, the bartender mentioned it in all probability wouldn’t journey properly and steered tortellini or cavatelli instead.

“Cavatelli,” Mr. Wayne mentioned. “I like you, Jordan. You’re the most effective.”

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