Tom Lutz, the founding editor and publisher of the LA Review of Books, and Kurt Olerud of KO Pictures are co-producers on a feature documentary about the literary culture and history of Los Angeles. Or they hope to be anyway. They are looking to raise $23,000 via Kickstarter by July 24. They have interviews in the can already with David Ulin (left), the LA Times critic, and others. Here's the pitch, first on video then in text:
Originally inspired by Lionel Rolfe’s pioneering and idiosyncratic survey of the city’s culture from its bohemian roots to the present day, Literary LA strives to capture the city’s literary soul in all of its complexity.
To do so, we have interviewed a wide range of LA literary notables, from critics like Rolfe, Richard Schickel (Time), David Ulin (Los Angeles Times), Tom Lutz (Los Angeles Review of Books), David Kipen (Libros Schmibros), Scott Timberg (The Misread City), and Mike Davis (City of Quartz), to such acclaimed novelists, short story writers, and poets as Michael Tolkin (The Player), Jerry Stahl (Permanent Midnight), Juan Felipe Herrera (Poet Laureate of California), Janet Fitch (White Oleander), Aimee Bender (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake), Steve Erickson (Days Between Stations), Laila Lalami (Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits), Kem Nunn (Tapping the Source, John from Cincinnati), Dan Fante (Point Doom), Hector Tobar (Barbarian Nurseries), Judith Freeman (The Long Embrace), Rachel Kushner (The Flamethrowers), and Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress). We will also interview Wanda Coleman, Nina Revoyr, Gar Anthony Haywood, John Rechy, Chris Rice, and others.
We have captured many of the various literary perspectives about this most diverse and in many ways still undefinable American city. Those who are native to the city, those who have come here from elsewhere in the country, and those who have immigrated from elsewhere in the world, who bring an even fresher perspective and who offer a window into this constantly shifting, ethnically diverse city. We cover a wide range of genres, including crime fiction (Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain), Hollywood fiction (Nathanael West), street realism (John Fante, Charles Bukowski) and, of course, the ever-present literature of the LA Apocalypse (too much to mention, unless you just say “all of it”).
Los Angeles has a central place in the popular imagination, and is in many ways deeply misunderstood. While looking at a very specific subject – the experience of the working writer, past and present, in Los Angeles – Literary LA hopes to reveal what this very unusual, yet very representative city has to say about all of us.
We have assembled dozens of hours of interviews recorded with high quality equipment. We now are trying to raise funds to edit and score the film, as well as help with the high costs of stock footage and photographs so necessary to telling a story that deals with LA literature from the early, “booster” period through the present day.
Your contributions will help us complete a passion project that has been three years in the making and help us celebrate and preserve for posterity the contributions of Los Angeles writing to the literary canon. And, as a thank you, we’re offering backers of Literary LA some excellent and exclusive rewards.