By R.U. Sirius
Artist Jasmin Lim has created an installation about the JT Leroy affair at ATA (Artists Television Access).
The right to pseudonymityÂ â€” and the right to contain and express a multiplicity of voices â€” is felt to be very precious within most on the expansive edge of transhumanist thought.
But I donâ€™t believe Iâ€™ve ever seen anyone bring home the absolute inner necessity for speaking and writing through another name and persona as succinctly â€” and in such an emotionally true fashion â€” as my friend Laura Albert aka JT LeRoy does in this video of her 10 minute performance at â€œThe Moth.â€Â (Sound quality is a little rough).
Albert â€” for those of you who ignore everything in literature that isnâ€™t SF â€” authored a series of brilliant and intense novels, Sarah, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, and Haroldâ€™s End under the persona of JT LeRoy, a male teenage prostitute.Â LeRoy became a major literary figure among those who lean towards hip, challenging, sexually charged works. Many rock stars â€” including Billy Corgan, Tom Waits, and Shirley Manson â€” became fans and advocates.Â The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things became a film directed by Asia Argento.Â Plans to film Sarah ended badly, when Antidote Films reacted to the revelation that JT Leroy was actually Laura Albert by successfully suing her for fraud.
The building and maintenance of the persona, in itself, became an art form, as Albert â€” among other maneuvers â€”Â incorporated a female friend â€” Savannah Knoop â€” to play the boy genius in pubic appearances.Â (The story in all its complexity is too much for this post.Â Hereâ€™s the big NY Times reveal.)
After the real JT Leroy was revealed, she was reviled by many leading figures in avant-garde literature in the US â€” some who felt personally used by the masquerade.Â But as the dust settles â€” and after being celebrated during a visit to Paris â€” Albert nee Leroy may be in for a period of reconsideration and acceptance.
Artist Jasmin LimÂ has created an installation about the J.T. Leroy affair at ATA (Artists Television Access) in San Francisco.Â On Wednesday, August 24, she will be joined by Laura Albert for aÂ moderated conversation.Â Info here.