Editor’s Note: This is the seventh interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. They’re an eclectic bunch, each with their own projects and day jobs. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, they rely on the donations of our readership, and we hope you’ll consider giving this month. This one is with Jerry Gorin, the Director of LARB AV.
Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?
I was working as a producer and reporter at KPCC radio a few years ago and looking for more avenues to do multimedia stuff. I met the executive editor Jonathan Hahn through one of LARB‘s longtime copyeditors, Antal Neville, and he told me LARB was looking for help to ramp up their AV program. I’ve been there ever since and have helped shape the section into what it is today, which is a home for in-depth author interviews, profiles, and literary and arts based documentaries. I’ve worked in just about every aspect of production – interviewing, filming, editing, writing – and I’m also really proud to continue to help produce our long running podcast with Colin Marshall and our photography series with producer Michael Kurcfeld.
When I’m not at LARB I do a handful of other freelance-y things: I’m working on two documentary projects, producing fashion videos and writing about food. Some of my favorite things include boozy lunches, homemade lox, and Stanley Kubrick.
Could you talk about one of the pieces you submitted for the 2014 LARB Digital Anthology? What was it, what was the editing process, and why did you submit it? (The 2014 LARB Digital Anthology is available as a thank-you to donors of $50 or above during our fund drive.)
I submitted our video with William T. Vollmann for the e-pub, which was from an interview with the author that I did with the help of former LARB senior staffer C.P. Heiser. I’d seen Vollmann speak while promoting The Book of Dolores and I just knew that we had to get this guy on tape! His career output is wild and eccentric, his reputation legendary, but nothing prepares you for what happens when you actually start talking to him. He’s both wise and reckless, fascinating and yet painfully dull, and he pretty much encapsulates why we should all continue to support video interviews.
Talk about a book you read this year you’d recommend – could be recent or old, well-known or unknown. As long as you read it this year and you think it’s worth reading.
I recommend picking up a copy of John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van. I’ll admit that I jumped at the first chance to interview the famous frontman of The Mountain Goats and that it wouldn’t have really mattered if his debut novel was crap. But I was so genuinely impressed with this work of fiction, a very heartbreaking story of extreme loneliness and geekiness, and the writing was just cleverly and gracefully crafted. I wanted to find reasons to poo-poo it – he’s a musician, damn it, not an author – but I simply could not put it down.