ScreenAge: Laura Albert in conversation with Fenton Bailey

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“Pop culture is queer culture” – In my far-ranging conversation with Fenton Bailey, we discuss his new book ScreenAge, which examines how television has shaped our reality, and the notion that not just pop culture but ALL culture is queer culture. Fenton calls JT LeRoy a “drag creation,” emphasizing the playfulness and “twinkle” of my literary persona, and speaks about the documentary he co-directed, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, as well as the recent biopic with Jessica Chastain, which his film inspired – and the contrast between her Oscar-winning performance as someone who felt love for all people, and the macho violence of Will Smith punching Chris Rock at the same Oscars ceremony. We also attempt to unravel what Fenton calls the ongoing “war on Pride”: its roots in the anti-gay campaigns of Anita Bryant and others in the 1970s, which energized Harvey Milk’s political career, and the current attempt to fracture the queer community and divide the LGB from the TQ, to appease the haters who equate drag with “grooming.”

Laura Albert

Laura Albert has won international acclaim for her fiction. Writing as JT LeRoy, she is the author of the best-selling novels Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and the novella Harold's End. Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, reissued by HarperCollins, have also been released as audiobooks by Blackstone Publishing. Laura Albert is the subject of Jeff Feuerzeig's feature documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story and Lynn Hershman Leeson's film The Ballad of JT LeRoy. She has written for The New York Times, The Forward, The London Times, Spin, Man About Town, Vogue, Film Comment, Interview, L'Équipe Sport&Style, Filmmaker, I-D, and others – more recently, the cover article for Man About Town and her reflections on fashion for VESTOJ. A writer for the HBO series "Deadwood," she also wrote the original script for Gus Van Sant's Elephant and was the film's Associate Producer. She has written the short films Radiance for Drew Lightfoot and ContentMode, and Dreams of Levitation and Warfare of Pageantry for Sharif Hamza and Nowness. For Tiempo de Literatura 2020's “The Narrative Universe of Laura Albert,” she engaged in a wide-ranging ZOOM conversation with Fernanda Melchor, International Booker Prize Shortlist author for her acclaimed novel Hurricane Season. Twitter: @lauraalbert Instagram: @laura_albert