Thursday, January 29, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Marjorie Sturm’s “The Cult of JT LeRoy” is more downtown Tenderloin. That is where writer JT LeRoy claimed to be a homeless, abused, HIV-positive youth before he became the best-selling author of “Sarah” and “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” and before he was revealed to actually be a woman named Laura Albert. It is also the neighborhood where in 2002 Sturm was putting herself through San Francisco State’s Master of Fine Arts film program as a social worker when a friend helped her secure a gig documenting the author, although the project ultimately went nowhere. “As JT rose, I knew I had this footage,” Sturm says. “As I watched JT rise, I had this footage in my closet for three years, at least. I thought, 'Where’s this going? Where’s he going? What’s his big plan for his longevity?’” Once the fraud became public, Sturm suddenly had a film, using the footage she already had and reaching out to people who had become embroiled in LeRoy’s story.