Ming the Mechanic:
Who is JT Leroy

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Who is JT Leroy2005-10-17 14:24
picture by Flemming Funch

I was just reading this long, fascinating exposée in New York Magazine about JT Leroy. He has been this sort of cult literary genius in the last few years. He's written several books, and the screenplay to the film "The Heart is Deceitful Above all Things", which Asia Argento currently is directing and starring in. He's supposedly a former child prostitute and junkie and mistreated child, who has a gift for writing about his experiences. And he has many celebrity supporters and great connections in the literary world. He's also in a rock band, and has a line of clothing, and various other ventures. The trouble is that hardly anybody has met him, including many of his friends. He's supposedly agoraphobic, so when, rarely, he shows up at one of his own book readings or some other event, it is in wig and sunglasses, and he seems to have nothing to say. So, some people are getting suspicious about whether he maybe doesn't really exist, and he's some kind of elaborate hoax.

Now, the main reason that I at all care, as I haven't read his books, is that I incidentally host his website and that of his band Thistle. And, you know, I normally only host websites for friends, for people I know. As to his website, I sort of took over somebody else's favor to a friend, as it was on some other server I managed, and when that was taken down, the easiest was just to put it on my own server.

And when I originally looked at the site, I didn't get much wiser as to who that really was for. I mean, JT Leroy sounds a little mysterious, or as somebody famous I'm supposed to know. And the website mainly contained listings of mentions, publicity, articles about or by JT Leroy, sightings, etc. And I gathered as much as that he was writing something, and that he had something to do with a band, even though he wasn't really in it. But mainly that he was some kind of cult figure, without it being clear why.

He's always been friendly, albeit a little brief, in e-mails. Although I've mostly dealt with a string of different supporting people who have worked on his website. And not much really, as I didn't have anything to do with it other than to provide the server space. Which is no big deal.

But now, the article mentioned makes a pretty strong case for him not even existing. That he's an invention of Laura Albert, who's the singer in Thistle, who apparently have somewhat of a gift for impersonating different people. And that's quite a feat, since many people have spent hours on the phone with him, and developed a great trust and respect for him. And he has after all showed up and met people once in a while, even though he didn't always look the same, and that the person who showed up often seemed to be remarkably ignorant of what he just had talked with people about on the phone.

Anyway, what do I know. He seems like an intriguing character, whether he exists or not.

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17 Oct 2005 @ 15:56 by dempstress : Postmodern
or what?  

17 Oct 2005 @ 16:27 by judih : comment...
i'd say virtual is a reasonable adjective.


17 Oct 2005 @ 18:45 by jstarrs : virtual...
...kinda like jesus, then?
Only he had VERY good publicists...I mean I doubt JT Leroy will be around in 2000 years, even virtually.
Mind you, jesus had a really good band...
But my best jesus is the one in The Big Lebowski, he always makes me larf.  

23 Jun 2007 @ 06:17 by dewf @ : some new info on that...
{link:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070622/ap_en_ot/literary_lawsuit |http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070622/ap_en_ot/literary_lawsuit}  

23 Jun 2007 @ 10:52 by ming : JT Leroy
Ah yes. Since then the cat is officially out of the bag. I now talk to Laura rather than JT. Which, I guess, is more simple. And I guess it is to be expected that some people are a bit pissed off and want to sue her. Most of those who were fooled for a while, like Asia Argento, seemed to just smile and brush it off. Nobody's perfect, you know.  

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