Who is jt leroy?Read about him here.
Fall Out Boy:
"Later, back at the family house, Wentz and I retreat to the over grown yard just off the kitchen and talk about writers (Bukowski, Hemingway, JT LeRoy), the perils of MySpace membership, and how Jay-Z has reached a level of fame that makes him like the cable guy: You get a five-hour window during which he might call you back. After a time Mrs. Wentz brings out cold drinks and a box of cookies. Soon our chat is interrupted for good by a trio of fans who have set up camp just on the other side of the front gate.
Wentz gives me a slight eye-roll, then steels himself. He knows what he has to do. It's something that Jay-Z - with all his street hustling and international fame - has surely never done. With a giant smile, Wentz walks over and opens the gate. The girls look like they're about to faint. And then, Pete wentz, their new hero, says, "You guys want a cookie?"
Read an Interview with Panio Gianopoulos, JT's friend and former editor
Asia Argento, daughter of horror director Dario, was undressed and traumatised on screen for her father's films. Now she's turning her back on Hollywood to make her own shocking cinema. By Steve Rose
July 8, 2005
'I didn't realise how hard it would be' ... Asia Argento
It's difficult to spend a long time with Asia Argento without getting onto the subject of families. First of all there's her surname, which her director father, Dario, has made synonymous with a certain brand of gruesome Italian horror movie through films such as Suspiria, Profondo Rosso and Tenebrae. Asia's mother, Daria Nicolodi, was the star of many of Dario's films (which were produced by his father and his brother) and Asia starred in three of Dario's later ones.
Replacing your mother as your father's leading lady cannot have been without its complications, but then neither can having a father who deals in horrific violence for a living. The only stories Dario would read Asia as a child were scripts for his latest projects, apparently, and under his direction, Asia has been undressed, raped and generally psychologically traumatised on screen. She ran away from home at 14, and now has her own four-year-old daughter, Anna, named after her half-sister who died in a motorcycle accident a few years ago.
Argento has spent the past three years directing her second movie, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, which also deals with family, but not her own. It is adapted from a novel by cult writer JT Leroy that is a loose fictionalisation of Leroy's own traumatic childhood. In the course of the story, Leroy's alter ego Jeremiah (played by twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse) is dragged across the US by his junkie prostitute mother, regularly abandoned, sexually abused by his mother's boyfriends and submitted to an equally brutal spell of indoctrination by his Bible-bashing grandparents.
As well as directing, Asia plays Leroy's mother, Sarah, in the film, thus setting up another complex Argento-style family dynamic. Leroy collaborated with her on the film, and they became close friends in the process. "I was very scared when he came to the set," she says. "I was scared every time I gave him a draft and scared every time he gave me notes; scared of his judgment and scared of betraying him. We had to get as much as we could right, and a lot of it was to do with the fact that I love JT truly as a friend. He's somebody who will be in my life for ever. It wouldn't have been the same film if we didn't trust each other."
Argento is not the first celebrity to fall under the spell of the frail, mysterious Leroy, who is rarely seen in public without a hat, dark glasses and a blond wig, and makes public appearances at which he nervously speaks in a barely audible mumble. With their disparate, but similarly unorthodox upbringings, they're quite a team - and between them, they've managed to assemble quite a cast, including Winona Ryder (an avid Leroy fan), Marilyn Manson (Asia starred in one of his videos) and Peter Fonda (who works for an association that helps abused children). It may sound like a bit of a celebrity love-in - a sleazy trawl through the landscape of white-trash America in general, and Leroy's painful memories in particular - but Argento doesn't see it that way. "He has written the book, so he has dealt with it over and over for years I guess. And he's been in therapy for years. In a way, when you talk so much about something, it does not belong to you any more. It's happened to me and my bad memories. I've manipulated them and now they could be parts of Gone With the Wind."
It would be easy to paint 29-year-old Argento as a privileged
dilettante who's manipulated her own life story with an unhealthy degree of fascination. Before The Heart Is Deceitful, she was building a reputation as something of a gothic wild child. The "bad memories" she refers to point to a childhood she characterises as lonely, bookish and depressed. She has dabbled in photography, fiction, singing, painting, and glamour modelling, and her first movie, Scarlet
Diva, was a semi-autobiographical portrait of a jaded young
international starlet. On top of that, she has had a string of famous lovers (Italian actor Sergio Rubini, Vincent Gallo, Michael Pitt, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and been a regular fixture of Italian gossip pages. But The Heart Is Deceitful was evidently more than a vanity project. "I thought, being the director and working with children, it would make it easier for them to trust me if I was playing Sarah myself," she says. "Having been a child actor, I remember how directors would trick me to get good performances out of me. I don't think you need to do that."
Directing children through such difficult material was not without its challenges. In one key scene in the book, Jeremiah dresses up as his mother, and seduces her boyfriend. Even Asia's friend Gaspar Noé, director of shock-movie Irréversible, suggested she leave the scene out. Instead, Argento cleverly shifts the scene into fantasy, thus enabling her to play Jeremiah (fantasising he is Sarah), instead of the child actor. "I didn't realise how hard it would be," she says. "I was in the bubble of this character, but I also had to direct and be myself. I tend to be a lazy actress, unless I'm pushed. Most of the time nothing much is required of directors, which is a pity. I've worked with very few directors who've asked of me what I asked of myself."
Argento has more than 20 years acting experience to draw on, during which time she has worked with some useful directors, including Nanni Moretti (she played his daughter), Patrice Chéreau (she had a small part in La Reine Margot), and Abel Ferrara (while she was on set, she made a documentary about him). In her early 20s she won two Donatello awards (Italy's equivalent of Oscars) for best actress, playing a young paraplegic in Carlo Verdone's Let's Not Keep in Touch and a self-discovering teen in Travelling Companions. More recently, however, she seems to have veered towards playing goth-horror sex symbols. Many of her grown-up roles have called for softcore eroticism, dark brooding and heavy eyeliner, and Argento appears to have been all too willing to oblige.
"I always saw myself as really ugly," she explains. "My father even told me I was ugly because I would shave my head and look like a boy. Then when I was 21 I was offered this part in a movie where I was supposed to be really sexy [Michael Radford's B Monkey, which was never released in the UK]. It was strange for me to have to research femininity, but I found out these tricks for getting attention that I didn't know before. It was a kind of revenge, I guess, on all the kids who said I was ugly at school."
When she landed a part opposite Vin Diesel in the big-budget action thriller xXx, Argento seemed destined for a future of action-babe parts and respectable placings in men's magazine polls of "sexiest stars": "After xXx came out, because of all the publicity, I was wearing Prada and going to the gym, and I had an agent in LA and all this shit that I've avoided for years. I felt that was expected of me, that I had to be a sexy bombshell. I started receiving all these offers for these kick-ass chick sort of roles. But it didn't make me very happy, to tell the truth, and after giving birth, it all felt different. I don't mean to sound like a bourgeois moralist, but it's true - I started thinking, 'What is Anna going to think?'"
So now she's back in her "boy uniform", she says - jeans and sweatshirts rather than Prada. She lives in Paris with her daughter and boyfriend in the same apartment she has had since she was 20. She doesn't have an agent in LA any more, but the acting work seems to be better than ever. She plays the Courtney Love figure to Michael Pitt's Kurt Cobain imitation in Gus van Sant's Last Days; she has a part in horror maestro George Romero's comeback movie; and she has been working with Sofia Coppola on her Marie Antoinette movie.
The Heart Is Deceitful is unlikely to earn Argento unanimous respect as a director, but it is another learning experience in what has already been an enviably brave and varied life. More importantly, perhaps, the movie represents another step further out of her father's lengthy shadow. It is something of a tribute that we barely get on to talking about Dario until it's nearly time for her to leave. "The questions about my father get less and less, and I'm relieved about that," she says. "No, I wasn't upset by the things he did to me in his films. I never thought of it like it was me doing it, because he would say, 'It's only a movie,' and I thought the same."
Did she seek his advice on directing? "Well, we had a fight and he didn't talk to me for two years because I didn't do his last movie. So I felt very resentful about that. I really respect him, though. I've studied his work more than anyone, and I thought of him a lot when I was shooting this movie. He would have been the perfect person to call, so it was a pity not to have him as my ally. But I felt I had to prove something to him. To prove I could do something else."
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things is released on July 15.
Bleed Like Me,"which namechecks her old San Francisco buddy, acclaimed "Sarah" author J.T. LeRoy.
Catching up with Shirley Manson and her bandmates
By Tom Lanham, CONTRIBUTOR
Inside Bay Area
SHIRLEY MANSON is on a roll.
"I was watching the Golden Globes recently, and there was a female TV presenter interviewing all these stars," snarls the flame-haired Scottish siren, pounding a pale fist into the couch of her Hollywood hotel room.
"And she told each woman she saw how beautiful they were ... as if to not say to a woman that she's beautiful is the biggest insult. I think it's become so silly — who cares if you're beautiful or not?
"We're back to the '50s again, and it's difficult for every female," Manson continues, agitated.
"I think there's a great con pulled by the media over women, to lull them into believing that sexual liberation is about taking your clothes off and showing your titties to whoever happens to want to see 'em. And they've sold that to women as freedom. And I'm absolutely behind porn; I think it serves a function. But don't sell it to me under a different guise, professing it to be about female empowerment. It's only empowerment if you know you're doing it for those reasons."
If you haven't guessed by now, Garbage — the alterna-pop combo Manson fronts for producers/multi-instrumentalists Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson — is back, after several years spent lost in the sonic wilderness. (The band plays the Warfield in San Francisco on Sunday.)
With "Bleed Like Me," a new album on Geffen, the band's as feisty as ever.
Manson, especially, is itching for a feminist fight. She's been studying the racy covers of music and men's magazines, and she doesn't like what she's seen.
Female musicians, the singer believes, are feeling threatened in the new millennium. Take Sheryl Crow, for instance, she says. "She's a great musician, a really smart girl, and someone who I admire immensely."
But seeing her stripped down for a photo shoot made it obvious to Manson: "I think she's felt the pressure, like her career would suffer if she didn't comply. Fear particularly affects women who are trying to forge a career, because record companies and moneymaking people want the easiest way possible to make a lot of money. So they pressure these girls to use their sexuality to enhance the message that they're trying to get across to the general public.
"But you can't fake what really makes up a real artist. You can't buy it, you can't have a stylist come in and give it to you. It's a combination of being creative and the struggle of being an artist, I think, that makes a career interesting. A woman will not last in the music business unless she has her own private cachet, and that usually comes from songwriting."
Exhausted, Manson slumps back into her seat. Her bandmates let out the long breaths they've been holding. They know their chum well enough to let her buzz away when she's wound up.
They also knew each other well enough to simply let go, period. A couple of years ago, after a poorly-received third outing ('01's "Beautiful Garbage"), the band actually called it quits. Vig admits that it was his decision, one he labored over for several sleepless nights before holding individual farewell meetings with each member.
The reasons, he says, are almost too numerous to mention. But he, Marker and Erikson run most of them down.
During a traumatic post-9/11 world tour, Vig (who achieved notoriety in 1991 as the producer of Nirvana's "Nevermind") contracted hepatitis and was forced to fly home to Wisconsin to recuperate. Twice.
Then Manson's voice started giving out. In Russia, she received the diagnosis: a vocal cyst, which might spell doom for her crooning career. One successful operation later, the Garbage lyricist was hit with another whammy: a writer's block she just couldn't shake.
Forcing themselves into Vig's studio for a fourth effort, the group struggled in the face of the truth. The ideas weren't flowing; Garbage was creatively bankrupt. Maybe it was time to pull the plug.
Vig was the first to have guts enough to say it. But he presented it as a sabbatical, with the concept of reconvening at a later date.
A few months later, Garbage did just that, with stunning results. After watching the teen-angst flick "Thirteen," Manson penned the poignant poetry for "Bleed Like Me,"which namechecks her old San Francisco buddy, acclaimed "Sarah" author J.T. LeRoy.
The words kept coming, until she had a whole album's worth of diatribes like "Right Between the Eyes," "Why Do You Love Me" and "Sex Is Not the Enemy."
Guitars crash likes waves on a tropical beach throughout "Bleed," with hooks that feel as exotic. It's the best thing the band has done since its eponymous '95 debut, right after the restless Vig discovered the voluptuous Manson on an MTV video, fronting her old quasi-Goth combo Angelfish.
Manson is still the vibrant vixen. Heads turn as the singer, dressed down in a hoodie, gaucho pants and high-heeled boots, clacks through the hotel lobby.
Ironically, for all her brassy confidence, Manson is afflicted with mild body dysmorphia, a dissatisfaction with her own appearance. But she's overcoming it via a personal trainer in her temporary home base of Los Angeles, and a workout regimen that includes boxing.
"The training has helped me take a little more control of my own body, and it's made me stronger and given me more stamina," she says.
Training, Manson adds, that shouldn't be confused with the dubious self-help culture that tells womem they're worthless if they don't have therapy or boob jobs.
She says, "I think that's absolutely despicable — the pressure on young girls from the age of 8 onwards is just a mortal sin in my book. Steve's little daughter who's 4 years old is cognizant of whether she has straight or curly hair." (Marker nods.) "She worries, and she's 4 ... years ... old! It's disgraceful."
Manson says the Peter Pan thing is overrated.
"I don't want to be in a band because I don't want to grow up. I want to grow up — that's why I'm in a band, because music is what's helping me learn to grow. I don't want to stay like a child; I don't want to be a teenager; I don't want to go back there at all. I like being one of rock's old guard now, I'm perfectly happy with that.
"I'm O.G., baby. And I love it!"
From: THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN
Mar. 30 - Apr. 5, 2005• Vol. 39, No. 26
'THERE'S A LOT of stuff that falls between the cracks," muses Bucky Sinister, publisher's assistant/project manager/editor at Last Gasp of San Francisco. (Full disclosure: Last Gasp published my most recent book, Rent Girl.) Long a contributor to San Francisco's literary scene, Sinister has done some of his most noble work at the lowbrow arts publisher and counterculture distributor. Searching for an overlooked piece of literature for the press to turn out, he became stuck on a short story by local enigma JT Leroy. Originally published in McSweeney's, Harold's End is traditional Leroy fare: Oliver, a young hustler, is picked from his gang of lost boys by a trick named Larry. Oliver is spirited back to Larry's Castro mansion and lulled with the familial luxury of food and television, gifted with a pet snail (Harold), and eventually put to mundanely gruesome work.
"That McSweeney's got snapped up by collectors right away," Sinister recalls. "No one saw that issue. I knew a lot of JT fans didn't get to see it." Correctly assuming the author had the rights to the piece, Sinister suggested Last Gasp publish it as an illustrated gift book.
"Gift books are usually really bad," Sinister gripes. "They're not usually literature. It's like, the bachelorette-party books, these really dumb gag books. We just wanted to make a nice edition."
In fact, the Last Gasp edition is beautiful. Bound in a severe cloth cover and filled with watercolor illustrations by Australian painter Cherry Hood – her portraits of Leroy's characters melt, bruise-colored, across the page, their faces centered on enormous eyes and chapped lips – it even includes a bright green bookmarking ribbon. The volume's decadent design compensates for the text's brevity. It's also very much the vision of the author.
"JT was really into the ribbon," Sinister recounts. "He was really into Cherry Hood, he really wanted to meet her. He said, 'It has to be Cherry Hood, she's perfect for me.' " Sinister views Last Gasp's ability to creatively collaborate with authors as a bonus of being an independent press. "This is where we can do something that the larger publishers can't or won't do," he says. "We're more about adding to the overall aesthetic of the book." And the chances they can take are not simply visual. "I think a lot of fiction from the bigger publishers is easily categorized," he continues. "Anything that doesn't fit into their boxes, they won't touch. That's where small presses can swoop in and publish some really good books."
Aside from this foray into literary gift books – a line Sinister would like to grow – Last Gasp makes its dollars publishing lowbrow art books. I haven't just lobbed an insult at the press; for lack of a better term, "lowbrow" is the default category artists like Mark Ryden, Winston Smith, Isabel Samaras, and anyone featured in Juxtapose magazine wind up in. The hallucinatory work of Todd Schorr and billboard pirate Ron English, the cute monsters of Gama-Go, the sad and colorful paintings of the Clayton Brothers, Joe Coleman's detailed apocalypses – these are what make up the Last Gasp lowbrow canon. The common themes are shock and decay, and the publisher is constantly pushing the boundaries of what, and who, gets shocked.
"Our most mainstream – and offensive to our normal customers – book was Thomas Kincaide's," says Colin Turner, foreign rights-credit manager-sales-editing-and-acquisitions man for Last Gasp.
Sinister bursts into laughter. "People were like, 'Is this a prank?" Thomas Kincaide is the insanely successful "Painter of Light." The subliminally Christian worlds Kincaide creates are saturated with beams of God-light from the heavens, light that shines down on tender lambs and abundant, blossoming shrubbery, and homey, lit-from-within cottages that appear to be where the children who populate the Precious Moments pantheon sleep at night.
"He sort of fit in with the lowbrow art, in an odd way," Turner muses. "The highbrow art world looks down on him." With a catalog featuring compendiums of carnival sideshow art, guides to Elvis shrines, and cookbooks featuring the lurid cuisine of the 1950s, Kincaide and his romantic fantasy world fit in nicely – an ironic yin to the yang of such books as 100 Artists See Satan, in which Beelzebub is interpreted by a real who's-who of lowbrow art.
Last Gasp is celebrating the success of its recent publications Pop Surrealism, a sort of lowbrow Bible, and The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, a swear-to-God coloring book featuring illustrations by Eazy E, the Geto Boys, and other playas, plus an afterword by genius music critic Sacha Jenkins. They're gearing up to publish a gargantuan new hardcover Robert Williams collection, as well as first books from pirate queen Camille Rose Garcia and teddy bear taxidermist Elizabeth McGrath. They're keeping an eye out for overlooked literary gems, and they'll continue to give the people what they want.
"There's an aesthetic that's hard to find," Sinister says, "but we know it when we see it. You keep making books for the same group of people. For a small press it's really important that you know who your audience is, 'cause you can't afford to put out any stinkers."
May 6, 2005
Link to: http://www.sfgate.com article
"JT Leroy's "Harold's End,'' not to be confused with E.M. Forster's "Howards
End,'' is No. 1 on the hardcover fiction list at Foyle's bookstore in
London. Ron Turner, whose Last Gasp published the book, says it will be made
into a movie. Turner's hosting a party for Cherry Hood, the artist whose
watercolors are featured in the book, at Varnish gallery on Saturday."
Tuesday, 31 May 2005
After a blip, the mighty Zembla returns to the newsstands.
An essay by Will Self on why not everyone has a novel inside them, fiction from Hanif Kureishi and Tibor Fischer, as well as Homage: Twenty-four fifty-word stories by David Swann. Hunter S Thompson goes fishing and David Mitchell interviews Samuel Johnston ("It was easy, and he bought all the drinks."). Italian film-director and actress Asia Argento graces the cover and JT LeRoy appears inside in Manolo Blahnik's, Rusell Hoban reviews his own book and there's a a blues song from Harold Pinter. Oh, and Little Z (you know, for kids) is previewed.
There is little mention of why the break in publishing, except in a response to a reader in the letters page where editor Dan Crowe says:
Sometimes publishing is a very stressful business, even for small magazines like Zembla. Sometimes you wake up with a headache you took to bed the night before. Sometimes you just need to take some time out and read books. Books don't call you every ten minutes to chase up an invoice.
If you only take out one magazine subscription this year, you should be ashamed of yourself. Buy Zembla, you won't be disappointed.
need another hero
With all the advancements being made in regard to GLBT equality, we still don’t have any openly gay showbiz heroes By Neal Broverman
An Advocate.com exclusive posted January 24, 2005
As a teen who was coming of age in the mid ’90s, I had no reason to believe that being a gay male was a reasonable, normal way to live your life. I just had no frame of reference; no adult I knew was doing it. I felt like an alien, and I didn’t tell a soul about the turmoil raging inside my head. What a difference it would have made if someone I identified with started telling the truth about their sexuality. Now it’s 10 years later, and many things have changed for the GLBT community. But having a universal gay male hero is not one of them.
In the game of “Our Team Has More Out Celebrities,” the lesbians are kicking the gay guys’ collective butts. With the hardships of Melissa, the days of Ellen’s life, and Rosie’s other world covered by the media and all those who consume their magazines, books, and newspapers, it’s easy for a gay man to develop a complex. Where are the faces making us more human? We love our out gals, but where are the guys?
As of late, the most famous lesbians broke the pink ceiling, finding their breakups and diagnoses reported alongside straight counterparts’ with nary an eyelash batted. It’s their struggles and triumphs, not necessarily their homosexuality, that makes headlines. These women are now covered as people, folks with foibles and problems that any human can relate to. Famous lesbians have been partly welcomed into the club of acceptance by mainstream America. Gay men, on the other hand, have yet to find the secret password for entry, or anyone who will even knock on the door.
Sure, there are Elton, George Michael, and Rupert Everett. But they’re all British. Excluding our amazing but less visible writers, including Augusten Burroughs, J.T. LeRoy, and David Sedaris, American gays have no high-profile showbiz boy-heroes. No doubt there are gay men in the ranks of all the movie and TV stars, musicians and singers. The fact that not one of these people will come out of the closet is not only embarrassing, it confirms the fact that being a gay male in America is so terrible it remains the malady that dare not speak its name.
Being gay certainly seemed to be a liability, rather than a character trait, for poor ol’ Jim McGreevey. He was certainly not the out celebrity the gay community was searching for. After he comes out as a “gay American,” the former New Jersey governor resigns from his post and, soon after, exits his position in shame. Mr. McG didn’t come out because he was sick of lying and hiding; he was being blackmailed and run out of office. And he cheated on his wife. This is not the proud coming-out tale I envisioned our cause relishing.
Coming out is always hard. The notion that doing it on the world stage is monumentally difficult is not lost on us. Most of us who manage to escape the closet have battle scars from the journey. It is staggering to imagine this endeavor being broadcast around the globe at the possible expense of career and family; that’s why the act is so incredibly courageous and elevating. Melissa, Ellen, Rosie, Martina, and k.d. made the biggest of all gambles. They’re better off now because they’re free to live truthfully, and we as a community are uplifted because we have larger-than-life examples of how it’s done.
But the disparity between the sexes persists. Is our society more comfortable with gay women than gay men? I, at least, believe the thought is pervasive that an out gay female celeb could survive but her male equivalent would not. We have no evidence either way. Maybe it seems easier for celebrity lesbians because they’re the only ones who have pushed open the closet door en masse. The silence of visible gay males is a serpent eating its tail--it continues the fear, homophobia, and self-hatred without end.
The lack of visible gay men in our culture is a devastating blow to our morale. It isn’t just a pissing match in some stupid Us Weekly battle of dominance. By having high-profile people who are unquestionably on our team, we are given someone to identify with, to admire--someone to hang our hopes and struggles on. For a confused, scared 16-year-old, that means the world.
Friday, January 28, 2005
ARTS + FEATURES
The give-me generation
By Heather Kristin
SPECIAL TO THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
He whispered the songs in my ear like poems. And it felt good, safe, like being in a bomb shelter," writes Irina Denezhkina in her intriguing collection of short stories "Give Me" to be published in the U.S. in February. Already an acclaimed international bestselling author at just 23 years old, Denezhkina latest book chronicles contemporary Russian adolescent life.
Before Denezhkina, a native of Yekaterinburg, was nominated for Russia's National Bestseller prize, she shared her stories with fellow journalism students at Urals Region State University. Her stories were discovered by Stanislav Zelvensky, an art critic in St. Petersburg, on the literary web site www.prosa.ru, and later picked up for publication in English by publishing giant Simon and Schuster.
The semi-autobiographical stories are set in Russia and are about the hedonistic lifestyles of the country's urban youth. Her complex characters include punks, rappers, drunken hooligans, and students. They attend parties, listen to hip hop, use drugs, have random sex, and are violent. The confessional prose of this post-Socialist, capitalist, MTV-craving society is immaculately stylized. Slang turns into poetry; chat-room abbreviations become romantic; and lines taken from lyrics of popular songs prove the resilience of youth.
Denezhkina's teenage characters' troubles revolve around their sexual desires, describing their everyday lives with no judgment, and employing a language all their own.
Rabbit pulled his raincoat tighter around him and looked up. He knew he would never forgive his girl. That was why he was crying. He couldn't help himself. He was a romantic idiot and a man with principles," says the narrator in "My Beautiful Ann.
The first story in the collection, "Give Me," is told in the first person and chronicles a female university student's romantic adventure. She dates a punk rocker who wants to be on MTV and a rapper who calls himself "Nigger." Only one young man stands out: a young Chechen war veteran who is haunted by the deaths of his friends. Men are washed up or drift close to shore as the main character sits on the beach never quite certain of what she truly wants.
"Vasya and the Green Men" is a darkly humored, grim, and violent exercise in magical realism. It is about Vasya, a young boy with a shaved head (due to lice, teeth knocked out, and a tennis ball for one eye, who challenges the evil green men. They live out by the rubbish tip, eating tramps and raping tramp-women. Vasya, dressed in his father's baggy trousers and a pair of Nazi underpants, takes on the green monsters. It is a tale of abuse from the green men and a reminder of a bleak, oppressive world.
"Lyoka the Rottweiler" is about a suicidal teenager on New Year's Eve. She is interrupted from jumping out the window by a security guard and his dog who spot her from downstairs. It is a wry tale of fate, secret crushes, and life affirming parties.
In "Remote Feelings" the author changes point of view toward the end. This adds a unique mood to the piece which deals with unrequited feelings. The shift serves to distance the audience.
The best and longest story in the collection is "Song for Lovers." The yearning, romantic characters are quite believable with all their faults. The author captures the attitudes of various characters by switching perspective and jumping between different characters. This style is perhaps used to evoke the abrupt cuts and fragmentary story lines of music videos.
Denezhkina's narrative ends with an awkward self- awareness of modern post-Marxist courtship dances and heartbreaks. Perspective shifts among so many different characters throughout the collection leaves the reader wanting more from the ambitious young writer.
Denezhkina's meteoric rise to fame mirrors young American novelist J.T. Leroy. Both novelists choose to ally themselves with a subset of their audience by their unconventional styles and universal themes of desperate longing.
Denezhkina's liberating reflections, enthusiastic prose, and cynical humor is thoroughly engaging. Despite having no central theme to connect the stories, "Give Me" leaves no doubt that Denezhikina is a talent to be taken seriously. Her stories tell it like it is for Russia's new give me generation.
Heather Kristin is a writer based in New York.
- Great article about the The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things: FilmStew.com • Straight from the Heart
- "Heart Is Deceitful" listed among best unseen indies
- The Advocate
- sfweekly.com article: The JT Show
- Interview with JT in "Poets & Writers"
- Harold's End review in Trigger Magazine
- Publisher's Weekly's review of Harold's End:
Originally published in McSweeney's in 2002, Leroy's beautifully written and heartbreaking story of Oliver, a heroin-addicted street kid, and Harold, his pet snail, gets repackaged in a small and gorgeous edition illustrated by Australian artist Hood. Hood's watercolor portraits of Oliver's fellow teenage hustlers (Serenity, Gotti, Crayon) and their pets (a snake, a dog, a rat) reveal their toughness and frailty; the paint, lightly, caressingly applied, drips down the page in delicate streaks. "In the eyes of her subjects," Leroy writes in his acknowledgements, "she mines the unspoken, unguarded moments, what lays sic beyond their layers of fortification." Dave Eggers contributes an admiring foreword, and editor Michael Ray delivers an ecstatic afterword. For Leroy fans--and there are many--this is an essential volume.
- The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things Kicks off the San Francisco IndieFest. Read all about it!
- What's on Jenna's nightstand?
- JT Speaks on "The Scheme of Things" to Beatrice...
- City Pages has a few things to say about THIDAAT
- JT Fashion mention in NY Times
- JT named of the OUT 100 of 2004!
100 Most Influential Gays
It truly shows progress when we are able to celebrate the achievements of not a few, but 100 gay individuals and their allies, who through their everyday lives, talents, causes and campaigns pave the way for the gay community. They prove to the rest of the world that gays are significant contributors to all of society and their accomplishments deserve recognition.
- From Shirley Manson's On-line Diary (the band, Garbage):
"NYC was good fun.Managed to check in with the Italian Stallion and get a great new hair cut and colour.Don't worry.......I'm still pulling all my power from the red.
JT's evening was very successful I think although he seemed a little overwhelmed by it all which always makes me feel very concerned and motherly towards him and his well-being.Nevertheless the evening was very kind in nature and I was honoured to be invited to be a part of it.
Hearing people like Lou Reed and Nancy Sinatra read was pretty cool too.I kept thinking the whole time whilst Nancy S was reading; This is the closest I'm ever going to get to Frank Sinatra and his DNA."
- An interview with Georgia Zaris, JT's new muse
- From an interview with Drew Barrymore in Harper's Bazaar; 9/1/2002; Jacobs, Alexandra:
"Eggs benedict, please!" says Drew Barrymore, beaming. It's a sunny Sunday afternoon in SoHo and the 27-year-old actress, producer, and fallen vegan is wedged behind a corner table in the basement restaurant of the Mercer hotel, exuding equal parts pedigree and patchouli oil. She's in New York for a rare weeklong vacation, blithely eschewing several red-carpet events to "chill" with friends, listen to rock & roll, and read--most recently JT LeRoy's book of short stories, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.
- JT on Morrissey
- JENKINS WOOED CARLTON WITH A RACCOON PENIS NECKLACE
THIRD EYE BLIND frontman wooed pop star VANESSA CARLTON by giving her a dried raccoon's penis necklace and JT LEROY's novel SARAH.
The A THOUSAND MILES singer, 24, fell for the 40-year-old rocker, who once dated CHARLIZE THERON, two years ago when they toured together - but she admits she was wary of him at first.
Carlton says, "He was always really nice. He bought me flowers and welcomed me to the tour, but I just felt suspicious of men in general at that point. He was trying, but it wasn't happening.
"He came into my dressing room once, like weeks into the tour. He handed me this white, ivory necklace with a black cord, and I was like, 'What is this? Now you're giving me gifts?'
"He was like, 'It's a raccoon penis bone...' and then he gave me SARAH (Leroy's book), and it immediately made me curious and comforted that he wanted to share things with me.
"I just thought that was so rare for the frontman of a band to do. They just tend to be really one-dimensional."
- JT works with Aftelier on a fragrance! Read the Story Here
- From Roddy Schrock's blog:
overheard last night at City Light's celebration for J.T. Leroy's new novella Harold's End
"He has a really good instinct for loneliness."
- JT wears A Streetkid Named Desire's clothing
- JT LeRoy on the cover of the Style section of the New York Times
- From Vanity Fair's Hot Type, December 2004: "Blessed with haunting watercolor portraits by Cherry Hood, JT LeRoy's Harold's End (Last Gasp), 'a street hustler power ballad,' slices deep into a world of unbearable sadness and beauty.
- Bookslut interviews JT!
- The film of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things now has its own Official Web Site! Check it out for more articles and info!
- JT featured in The Sunday Times.
- Kerrang Magazine names JT among the 100 most influntial people in Rock and Roll!
- Also from The Advocate: "Producer Mary Jane Skalski...is developing a screen version of out author J.T. LeRoy's Sarah, to be directed by Steven Shainberg (Secretary)."
- The Advocate talks about JT's involvement with Elephant.
- Movieline's Hollywood Life says JT is one of the hottest writers to hit the scene.
- Premiere Magazine calls JT a Hot Hollywood Property!
- USA Today says not to miss JT's story in The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2003.
- UK Vanity Fair's article is "The Divine JT Sisterhood."
- Variety discusses the "Tyro Scribe" and his storied past.
- W Magazine calls JT "a marketable wreck."
- NYT identifies the cult of the young writer.