Tag Archives: Disjecta

Catching Up with JT LeRoy

I was totally into it. I had the signed raccoon penis bone. I read the books. I was a big JT LeRoy fan. Still am.

racoonp

I wrote “him” emails. I even tried to call him once to clarify something for an interview I did for Rain Taxi. I remember having this funny feeling when someone answered the phone that JT was being hidden away somewhere, protected from nosy interviewers. For some reason, I always pictured him living in a squat with a bunch of other young punks. Someone else answered the phone and I got an annoyed vibe from them so I ended up running the interview as is.

Well, thirteen later, I’m getting another chance. And a LOT has happened since then. It was found out that the author of the books was actually Laura Albert (who also went by the names Emily and Speedy). It’s a pretty crazy. Fair warning: A quick google search will send you down a fascinating wormhole for hours.

This Thursday night, I am hosting a night to illuminate and investigate what exactly happened. Writer friends Monica Drake and Arthur Bradford will read a little from the JT LeRoy books and then Laura will actually read some new work, followed by an interview on stage that I’ll conduct, including questions from the audience.

This event is a fundraiser for p:ear, an organization that mentors homeless youth. Many of themes in the JT LeRoy books are directly about the issues that at-risk youth face. So, despite the controversy about the identity of the author and whether people felt “duped” or whatever, the books (Sarah, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and Harold’s End) are all powerful and ultimately artful literary gems. I hope to see you there. (and if you need your tickets at a discount, type in 2for1 in the discount code window)

Also: Laura is doing a similar event in Seattle Tuesday night.

Post-Party Regrets

Last Friday’s 20th birthday party was a great night full of drinking, cake, and friends (not to mention Mike Daily’s cool bike stunt/toast).

B. Frayn Masters parades one of the cakes around.

We packed over 150 people into Disjecta and had a lot of fun showing off our history of books and artifacts on two big tables.

One of two tables of stuff on display.

But of course, as is sometimes the case, I realized later I made a few goofs and should have given some more shout-outs from the stage. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to figure out a working order for a dozen readers.

There were two people who didn’t make it to the stage. Suzanne Burns made the drive all the way up from Bend, Oregon but dropped out of the line-up later in the night when she started to not feel well. I regret that she didn’t get on stage. A couple of days ago, she posted a note on her Facebook page with a copy of the story/Future Tense tribute she was going to read. Go check it out if you’re friends with her there. Thanks for being there, Suzanne.

Michael Walsh was the other person at the event who didn’t make it on stage. I published two of Michael’s poetry chapbooks in the mid 90s and was always a big fan of his work. It was great to see him at the party and he was even wearing one of the very first Future Tense T-shirts ever produced. It was one that I made, also in the mid 90s, that said: “Corporate Poetry Still Sucks.” But even though Michael didn’t make it on stage, at least we got to see our old pal, Richard Meltzer (Richard wrote an intro to Michael’s chapbook, Paper or Plastic) .

Richard Meltzer's reading from his chapbook, Holes, was a highlight.

Of course, there are a lot of other people that I want to thank for my twenty years of publishing though I neglected to at the party. People like former Powell’s small press mavens Vanessa Renwick and Marty Kruse–two people whose supportive value can not be measured. As well as Chloe Eudaly from Reading Frenzy (I gave the shop a plug but not her by name like I should have).

Future Tense authors Brandon Freels and Kurt Eisenlohr were also there, and while they’re both too shy to get on a stage with a microphone, I want to say thank you to them now. They’ve both been a big help with many Future Tense projects. Also, my interns, past and present, especially Jenn Lawrence and current wonderboy, Bryan Coffelt. And of course, my lovely fiance, B. Frayn Masters, has been a huge contributor to the press for eight years now.

Popping some champagne with Disjecta's main man, Bryan Suereth.

Again–many thanks to everyone. You can see some a lot more pics of the party on Mykle Hansen’s Flickr page. The photos on this post were by the great Leann O’Rourke.

And if you missed out on the fun, we’ll probably do it again in five more years, and I’ll remember to thank everyone that night.

How many staples have I stapled in twenty years?

See you tomorrow night at Disjecta. 8pm. It’s free. But the memories will be priceless. There will be cake, drinking, music, readings, bike tricks, and a lot of famous sexy writers.

Also, there will be T-shirts for sale, with our new mascot, The Beavegator (use your imagination). I would post it here but it’s too scary. Actually, the file is too big and I can’t figure out how to make it smaller right now.

Anyway, see everyone at the party!

*poster by Riley Michael Parker