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The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press (2007)

The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press (2007)

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Released in November 2007 to critical acclaim, Wayne Ewing’s documentary, “The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press”, is a joy to watch for Bukowski fans, but also those with a fascination for New Orleans history and enthusiats of the small Press. It tells the story of Jon and Louise Webb (otherwise known affectionately in the French Quarter as “Gypsy Lou”) and their quest for immortality through the painstakingly beautiful books and magazine, The Outsider.

As it directly relates to Bukowski, Loujon Press was responsible for transforming Bukowski into an established writer, even if fame wouldn’t occur until years later. They published Bukowski’s first true books, “It Catches My Heart In Its Hands” (1963) and “Crucifix in a Deathhand” (1965). These books are true works of art in and of themselves. The detail, the printing methods, the craftsmanship, and the pure insanity it took to undertake these endeavors was as unparalleled then and as it is today.

They also published Outsider magazine, which became the standard for poetry journals at the time. No other publication attracted nearly the talent that appeared in its pages and the production value of the magazine itself was unrivaled. Bukowski appeared in all four issues, with a large collection of poems in Outsider 1 (1961) and as the named “Outside of the Year” in Outsider 3 (1963), featuring Bukowski on the cover and a large center section.

But the LouJon Press story is bigger than Bukowski, and director Wayne Ewin does a great job painting that picture for us. Ewing amassed enough audio and visual artifacts to stimulate the senses and tell a very unique story – perhaps one that could only come out of New Orleans. Gypsy Lou was still very much alive at that point and in remarkable cognitive health as well.  As we watch her talk twith old friends and share her stories, you feel the charchter of a person who had enough energy and insanity to leave her mark on the world.

This copy has some wear, more so to the disc than the packaging. If it does not play correctly, I will refund your money and you can keep the DVD.

From the Video Librarian
Loujon Press began operation in the New Orleans French Quarter in 1960 with an antique printing press and almost no money, initially publishing an influential literary journal called The Outsider—featuring poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Laurence Ferlinghetti—and later presenting Charles Bukowski's first collection of poems to critical acclaim. Wayne Ewing's (Breakfast with Hunter) documentary The Outsiders of New Orleans tells the story of the passionate couple behind Loujon: the late Jon Webb and his wife Louise (aka “Gypsy Lou”), who came to New Orleans in 1940, attracted by its sense of freedom, flavorful culture, and cheap rent. Much of the film follows Louise (now in her 90s) as she visits old New Orleans haunts (such as the street corner where she once sold paintings), and talks with surviving friends, while archival film footage, stills, and audio recordings (including Bukowski's comments on his relationship with the Webbs) are intercut to portray the fascinating bohemian milieu in which the couple lived and worked. Additional interviews—with local book collectors; professors and students at the University of Alabama Book Arts Program; and Jeff Weddle, author of Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press—also help trace the significance of the Webbs' work in the avant-garde literary world. Recommended. Aud: H, C, P. (J. Wadland) Reviews

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