1945 — Born in the Bronx, New York City, Oct. 31. Self-educated after high school.
1964-1972 – Works as typist, news scanner, transcriber, typesetter, waiter, vacuum-cleaner salesman, fast food minion, hospital cleaning guy, executive secretary (in that order).
1972-1974 – Knocks around the country, unemployed and happy to be, ending up in Lubbock, then in Clarendon, Texas.
1974-1977 – Crews with The Austin Sun as theater critic, film critic, features writer, Arts Editor.
1978 – Works briefly with Los Angeles Free Press alongside Sun people Jeff
Nightbyrd and James “Big Boy” Medlin.
Begins screenwriting/filmmaker career with James “Big Boy” Medlin.
Co-founds LA Weekly with Ginger Varney, Joie Davidov, and Jay Levin.
1978-1993 – Crews with LA Weekly as film critic, features writer, columnist and Senior Editor. Begins bi-weekly column “Letters at 3AM” in 1983. Begins to publish books in 1985.
1993-the present – “Letters at 3AM” continues in The Austin Chronicle.
BOOKS – NON-FICTION:
If I Was a Highway: Essays by Michael Ventura/Photographs by
Butch Hancock (Texas Tech University Press – 2011)
Cassavetes Directs: John Cassavetes and the Making of ‘Love
Streams’ (Kamera Books – UK – 2007)
Marilyn Monroe: From Beginning to End – Newly Discovered Photographs by Earl Leaf from the Michael Ochs Archive, Text by Michael Ventura (Blandford – UK – 1997)
Letters at 3AM: Reports on Endarkenment (Spring Press, 1993)
We’ve Had One Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse, co-authored with James Hillman (Harper San Francisco – 1992)
Shadow Dancing in the USA (St. Martin’s Press – 1985)
BOOKS – FICTION
The Death of Frank Sinatra (Henry Holt & Company – 1996)
The Zoo Where You’re Fed to God (Simon & Schuster – 1994)
Night Time Losing Time (Simon & Schuster, 1989)
MUSIC LINER NOTES
The Odessa Tapes – The Flatlanders (2012)
Terry Allen: Best of the Sugar Hill Years/American Master Series – Terry Allen (2007)
Texas Flood [cd reissue] – Stevie Ray Vaughan (1999)
Loud, Fast & Out of Control – The Wild Sounds of ‘50s Rock [box set] – (1999)
Phil Ochs – Farewells and Fantasies [box set] – 1997. Liner notes booklet nominated for a Grammy.
The Doors Box Set (1997)
1981: A Spare Odyssey – Butch Hancock (vinyl only, 1981)
Terry Allen – Texts by Dave Hickey, Essays by Marcia Tucker and
Michael Ventura (University of Texas Press, Austin – 2010)
“Elia Kazan and HUAC” in A New Literary History of America
(Harvard University Press – 2009)
NEWSPAPERS, Occasionally (partial list)
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine
New York Times Book Review
New York Times Week in Review
MAGAZINES, Occasionally (partial list)
The Whole Earth Review
San Francisco Magazine
Las Vegas Magazine
Los Angeles Magazine
FEATURE FILMS (as writer)
Echo Park (1986)
Roadie, co-scripted with James “Big Boy” Medlin (1980)
DOCUMENTARY (as writer-director)
I’m Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes – The Man and His Work (1984)
Curator and presenter, Sundance Film Festival Tribute to John
Contact: mventura at austinchronicle.com