glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

Bookmark and Share
Wenner, Jann (b. 1946)  
page: 1  2  

Jann Wenner, founder, publisher, and editor of the influential music and culture magazine Rolling Stone, is the editor in chief and chairman of Wenner Media, which also publishes the celebrity gossip magazine Us Weekly and the active lifestyle monthly Men's Journal. An emblematic baby boomer, Wenner is one of the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an ardent defender of free speech.

In 1995, Wenner found himself in the middle of a media storm when it was revealed that he was leaving his wife Jane after more than 25 years of marriage and had become involved in a relationship with Matt Nye, a former male model turned fashion designer.

Wenner's outing, which may or may not have been at his own instigation, seems to have had little effect on his business empire, but it inspired a number of accusations regarding an alleged "Velvet Mafia" of powerful closeted gay men.

Early Life

Born Jan S. Wenner in New York City on January 7, 1946, but raised in Marin County, California, he is the eldest of three children. His parents' marriage was not a happy one, and in 1958, while they were in the midst of an acrimonious divorce, the twelve-year-old Wenner was sent away to the Chadwick School (known, unofficially, as an "orphanage for rich kids") in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County.

Wenner has asserted that neither parent ever visited him at Chadwick, and that a heated custody battle ensued because neither parent wanted him. It was around this time that he added the second "n" to his birth name.

Wenner attended, but later dropped out of, the University of California, Berkeley. An intense young man, passionate about music, he moved to San Francisco in the mid-1960s and began promoting rock performances and ingratiating himself with musicians.

Rolling Stone

In 1967, Wenner married Jane Schindelheim. That same year, at the age of 21, after borrowing $7,500 (about $43,000 in today's currency) mainly from his wife's parents, he launched Rolling Stone in a rundown printer's loft south of Market Street in San Francisco.

His idea for the magazine was unique for its time: to treat rock music as a powerful cultural and political force. He made clear that Rolling Stone would not be just about music, but "also about the things and attitudes that music embraces," as he wrote in the first issue, published on November 9, 1967.

In the years that followed, Rolling Stone became known as the voice of a generation. According to the New York Times, the magazine became "both the reflection and interpreter of its times." Its early success can be attributed in part to its serious musical criticism, incisive artist profiles, and innovative, long-form, investigative journalism.

Wenner himself wrote articles, columns, and reviews for the magazine, and conducted interviews with subjects ranging from rock legends John Lennon and Bob Dylan to political figures such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Nearly 40 years after its founding, Rolling Stone remains one of the preeminent pop-culture periodicals.

Media Empire

Deciding he had outgrown San Francisco, Wenner relocated the magazine to New York City in 1977 and began actively courting movie and television stars, socialites, and political bigwigs. Wenner's infatuation with celebrities led him to buy a stake in the gossip magazine Us Weekly in 1985 and acquire it outright four years later.

He further expanded his media empire by launching such publications as Outside, Record, and Men's Journal, and publishing a multitude of books on music and other subjects through his Rolling Stone Press.

The advertising industry publication Adweek named Wenner "Publishing Executive of the Year" in 1994. Three years later, at the age of 50, he became the youngest inductee into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame.

Wenner helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983 and later became the vice-chairman of its board. He was himself inducted into the Hall of Fame for "lifetime achievement in the non-performer category" in 2004.

Wenner has also made several brief forays into acting, playing himself in the 1985 James Bridges-directed movie Perfect, featuring John Travolta as a Rolling Stone reporter, and in a small role as a sports agent in the 1996 Cameron Crowe-directed film Jerry Maguire. He also appeared as a recurring character in four episodes of the television series Crime Story (1987 and 1988). His legs were featured in Up Your Legs Forever (1970), a 70-minute film by John Lennon and Yoko Ono comprised of continuous panning shots up a series of 367 human legs.

    page: 1  2   next page>  
Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about The Arts
Popular Topics:


Williams, Tennessee
Williams, Tennessee

Literary Theory: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer

The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance

Romantic Friendship: Female
Romantic Friendship: Female

Feminist Literary Theory

American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969
American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969

Erotica and Pornography
Erotica and Pornography

Mishima, Yukio
Mishima, Yukio

Sadomasochistic Literature

Beat Generation
Beat Generation




This Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.