Author: The JT LeRoy Story

Way stranger than fiction

Creative expression takes many forms, but few are more labyrinthine than this wildly absurd trip through a hall of mirrors and down a rabbit hole.

This is the tale of the emergence in the mid-90s of a fresh new author, immediately celebrated by the literary world for his tough, Holden Caulfield-type persona and sordid backstory. He appeared at Cannes. Gus Van Sant wanted to make a movie out of one of his books. Asia Argento actually did.

Then, after about a decade, a New York Times article unmasked the enigmatic “author” as the androgynous sister-in-law, in a bad wig and big shades, of the true author, his personal assistant “Speedy,” aka Laura Albert, a former San Francisco phone-sex worker. The shape-shifting Albert, from childhood fat and unattractive, created the avatar to avoid the celebrity, and had now slimmed down and was into becoming an alt-rock star.

I know. You can’t make this stuff up. But Albert apparently can. The obvious question surrounding Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary, which is based largely on an interview with her, is: can we believe her this time? Fascinating sit. (110 min)