The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press
A Wayne Ewing Film
Apparently, printing your own magazine is hard work. What's even more surprising is that people still do it, some even void of advertising. By God, they create the things on their own dime! Of course, they don't tend to last very long (with Adbusters being one of the only exceptions), but even so people continue to produce these things purely for the love of the craft. It's sharing thoughts with others in a way that the Internet will never match: a physical declaration of thought, a tangible expression that you can touch, feel, and embrace.
Of course this is nothing new, as Wayne Ewing's newest film shows. Exploring an era long before the affordability of Desktop Publishing, The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press takes a peak at the legendary team of artistic rascals known as Loujon Press, who produced a periodical in the 60's called The Outsider, as well as several books. The movie follows Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb around New Orleans as she tells the tale of the revolutionary magazine she published with her late husband, Jon Edgar Webb, and all they went through to keep their dream alive.
What makes their magazine stand out above others is the fact that this team did everything by hand in their tiny apartment, from setting the type to crafting the pages. And we thought it was hard publishing our beautiful glossy magazine through a printer company in defiance of the corrupt Borders and Barnes & Noble. Those greedy assholes will have their day of reckoning...but that's straying a bit, please don't be sore.
The first issue of The Outsider was printed in 1961, and featured poems by Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, and many others. They were credited with bringing Bukowski into prominence, and their partnership with him lasted for most of the decade.
Eventually, Loujon Press started creating books in the same way they made their magazines, an undertaking even more crazy than it sounds. But it worked; they went from producing books of Bukowski's work to publishing some of Henry Miller's.
The Outsiders of New Orleans also features interviews with historian Douglas Brinkley, college professors and others, reflecting on the age of The Outsider and sharing nostalgia about the New Orleans of yore, when things like live operas at 2am in the French Quarter were commonplace. Complete with music by the celebrated Punch Miller and more sounds of New Orleans, The Outsiders of New Orleans is an evocative tale of how great things can come from the simplest of means, so long as the Dream is strong enough.