Now that the holidays are upon us, and a new year is about to begin, we wanted to share this video with you. In the face of pandemic and loss, this brief moment from a recent Zoom gathering reminds us all once again of the healing power of shared artistic expression – and of what Dante called “the Love that moves the Sun and the other stars.”
The celebrated Scottish author Irvine Welsh, whose novels include Trainspotting and Porno, has launched Offended by Irvine Welsh, a new series on Sky Arts, which explores the artist’s capacity to offend – and the different forms of blowback from the offended. Speaking to Daisy Buchanan on the You’re Booked podcast, Welsh responded to a question about JT LeRoy with an eloquent defense of the right of artists to create in the ways they see fit. Check out this video:
We are honored to say that Laura Albert was invited to speak as part of Encuentro Internacional de Escritores: Tiempo de Literatura 2020: “The Narrative Universe of Laura Albert” was a wide-ranging ZOOM conversation (in English!) between Laura and Fernanda Melchor, International Booker Prize Shortlist author for her acclaimed new novel, Hurricane Season; the moderator was Karla Michelle Canett. If you missed the live stream, you can watch their lively and heartfelt talk HERE.
We are overjoyed to announce the release of Laura Albert’s classic novel SARAH as an audiobook from Blackstone Publishing!
The Obie-winning actor Winsome Brown breathes life into this unforgettable tale with her enchanting and powerful reading. Order your copy HERE and have the SARAH audiobook to take with you and listen, anywhere and any time! Along with the complete text of the novel, this recording also includes artist Leigh Ledare reading Billy Corgan’s Foreword to SARAH. Get your copy now!
“It was a singular honor and a privilege to be chosen to narrate this amazing, funny, heartbreaking, life-changing novel. I hope you’ll check out this beautiful book — a bestseller and world changer for so many people.” – Winsome Brown
From Laura Albert:
We were looking for our SARAH reader / actor / narrator for a loooong time. It seemed near impossible to get the right fit – someone who could get underneath all of what is there, what is so very complex to convey. I sure did all I could to avoid it – but that’s another story… Once I met Winsome Brown – which felt very much of being guided – it was clear. A writer can have no greater wish than to have their words brought forth with all the compassion, humor, wit, and emotional depth Winsome Brown can transmit. And in that transmitting, she performs a sort of transmigration of spirit, allowing you to savor the joy in all the darkness. I am profoundly honored and grateful to Winsome for bringing SARAH alive.
Thank you so very much to Jayme Mattler and Bryan Barney and everyone at Blackstone Publishing, BIG LUVS Bill Clegg Agency-family! Nicole Gagné-for birthing SARAH.
And wait till you all hear all the folks on The Heart is Deceitful Above All Thing audiobook coming THIS FALL! WHOOT!
We deeply respect the work of the people at the Ali Forney Center in New York City, who serve every day to rescue LGBTQ youth from homelessness and to support their safety and independence. For every copy of Harold’s End, sold through our website HERE, $5 will be donated to the Ali Forney Center. Laura’s JT LeRoy novella about homeless queer youth is being offered in the illustrated limited-edition hardcover and will be personally inscribed by her. Thank you friends!
Laura Desiree, writer extraordinaire, Naked News anchor & pure LUV fest, & me wish y’all a VDay of doin somethin sweet, with or 4 someone! Get dat Oxytocin Try poetry podcast 2 kickstart with beloved Pádraig Ó Tuama – audio, poetry and writing
Zwan – Ride A Black Swan / William Patrick Corgan
We love this charming JT LeRoy video made by Fotis Tzanakis, using audio and art by Hannah Tutor/2Zorru!
Find out for yourself how well JT did on Day 1 working at Dairy Queen….
I had the privilege of covering one of Daniel Johnston‘s songs for the compilation The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered. We recorded as the band Thistle LLC, I sang (as Speedie), it was produced by the wonderful Jerry Harrison and rad Matt Cohen on bass, engineer Geoff Knoop (Astor) on guitar, Karl Derfler engineer & legendary Prairie Prince (who already had his own Mountain Man Toothpick from TX) on drums at Sausalito Sound. We worked to make the song something I could sing, I had to climb inside Johnston, then make his song an expression that was true for me. I was later told he said that our cover of his song Love Not Dead was his favorite. Little did I know that, years later, I’d end up working with Jeff Feuerzeig, the same filmmaker who created the phenomenal documentary “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.” Because of the compassionate way he had handled mental illness and its impact on Daniel as an artist (and vice-versa), I trusted Jeff to make Author: The JT LeRoy Story and turned over all my archives so he could make a documentary about me.
I have felt a kinship with Daniel, I know what it is like to feel that creating is the way to make sense of reality. One commonality Daniel and I shared – which almost no one caught – was that Daniel recorded his conversations, and so did I. Sensing that you might have a tenuous hold on reality is like being given a broken compass, you cannot identify what is true north. The part that is still grounded, or “sane,” needs to have an accurate record of what IS. Daniel taped his family in conversations, he taped phone calls – and I did the same thing. I did it as a kid, in a fight with my mom – I needed to hold on to which way up was, it would sometimes change. But it was also to hold on to Story. My mom had a tape recorder and she’d set me up to sing my songs. I could hear myself tell stories and create characters. Later, with her encouragement, I was documenting others and taping interviews, which also allowed me to escape into another reality.
I do not record calls any more. It’s funny, sometimes someone will say to me during a phone conversation, I hope yer not taping this, and my reaction is, You should be so lucky to become part of my archive…. But yeah Radio Shack is gone, and so is my drive to document and escape into other worlds – just like I do not call hotlines as a boy. My compass works, for the most part now.
I don’t know if Daniel’s did. For me, working with Jeff Feuerzeig was very healing, it integrated all the parts that I had kept frozen and disassociated. Writing again, which his film made possible for me, effected the greatest healing for me. I know that, after Devil, the public gained a new awareness of Daniel, a deeper appreciation and understanding of his work. He was able to go around the world and perform. I have no doubt that’s what prolonged his life: being able to share his work.
That’s what Author: The JT LeRoy Story did for me as well. My books were re-released under MY NAME, and I have been able to go around the world and be present with people and talk as honestly as I can about mental illness, trauma, sexual abuse, complex PTSD, and the creative ways we find to survive.
I feel like I lost a shadow self with Daniel’s passing. Our diagnoses might be very different, but we are compatriots. Daniel was five years older than I am. Surviving with metal illness seriously impacts one’s life span. That’s why it is critical for us to move past the stigma of mental illness and the criminalization of the mentally ill. As we know, that was the preferred treatment of artists, locking them up, because our “distorted” way of seeing and representing the world is the most honest and can be spooky to behold.
Here is the link to me singing Daniel Johnston‘s Love Not Dead. https://open.spotify.
Here’s a message that Laura wants to share with you:
My favorite part of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is when Father Christmas visits to give gifts – which are tools for Lucy, Susan and Peter, to help them survive what they are going to face. Lucy gets a horn to blow if she needs help; if she sounds it, help will arrive. When you feel powerless, knowing who to call for help makes all the difference in surviving what feels like a doomed battle. I first moved to SF not long after living in placement as a ward of the state and, and when I was referred to the Independent Living Resource Center, I felt that relief of the arrival of Father Christmas, bringing tools that are life saving. I am so very proud to be joining the board of ILRCSF, as they are deeply committed to assisting people with disabilities to keep their independence. (More about that below…)
ILRCSF is having their 40th anniversary on June 21st. Please come join us in our celebration fundraiser! Tickets are $35 and tax deductible!
For every person who buys a ticket, I will send you a personalized note, special care of gratitude! (Dealers’ choice – ya want it signed: Laura Albert, JT LeRoy, Speedie or Laura Dern, you got it!) If you buy two, you get the note AND a signed raccoon penis bone (that’s JT’s domain).
I have never posted a fundraising thing, as there are so many worthy causes that desperately need support. But this one really does help people stay in the world, in life, by bringing you the tools so you can do it. That is core to me.
Please consider donating any amount if cannot buy a ticket. Let me know, and I’ll find a way to express my gratitude.
Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF) is a disability rights advocacy and support organization. Our mission is to ensure that people with disabilities are full social and economic partners, within their families and within a fully accessible community. ILRCSF’s mission is achieved by systems change, community education, partnerships with business, community organizations and government, and consumer directed services. We work to empower individuals and community, so that all people with disabilities have as full, productive and independent lives as they so choose.