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Askew Review 15

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(Site) Documentary. 58 minutes. Not Rated. In 1961, Jon Edgar Webb and his wife Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb, under the name Loujon Press, published the first issue of The Outsider from their tiny New Orleans apartment located in the French Quarter. As Jon compiled and edited the magazine, Gypsy Lou sold her artwork on the street and returned home to spend the night typesetting and printing the pages using a labor-intensive press. Not a big deal you may think, ‘til you discover this avant-garde, literary magazine was the launching pad for Charles Bukowski, who was also the author of Loujon Press’s first two books: It Catches My Heart In Its Hands and Crucifix in a Deathhand. Later, Loujon released two hand-crafted books by Henry Miller.
As told through the eyes and words of the absolutely lovable and charming Gypsy Lou, now well into her nineties, the story of Loujon Press is presented and unwrapped like a Christmas morning gift. Along with Louise, various genre researchers, professors, etc. pour information about Loujon Press from the television screen. Old photos, film, and some taped Bukowski conversation (I love the way that guy talked) add even more atmosphere and some visual/audio bang to the press’s history. Walking around the French Quarter, Louise discusses the various apartments she and Jon rented and some of the area’s characters, including artist Noel Rockmore. While Louise’s eyes gleam as she looks over the magazines and books she produced with her husband, she really brightens up when meeting a female restaurateur who owns various paintings, including one of “Gypsy Lou.” Skillfully, director Wayne Ewing is able to keep the history of Loujon Press flowing while injecting the personal histories of Jon and Louise Webb. Though I was slightly bored when college Book Arts majors, including an Asian women who is smoking hot, discussed their thoughts concerning one of the artsy Henry Miller books, I was captivated for the entire 58 minutes and nearly cried while hearing about Gypsy Lou’s present day housing issues. There are very few people in this world I would love to sit and talk with, and Gypsy Lou is now one of them! As a person who publishes his own magazine and books, I found this release to be inspiring, motivating, and has given me an idea for another ‘zine. – Denis Sheehan



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