smiling ventura   MICHAEL VENTURA was born in New York City in 1945. He disciplined himself to a daily regimen of writing at the age of 19, while working in Manhattan first as A transcriber, then as a typesetter. Ten years later, in 1974, Ventura’s first published article appeared in ‘The Austin Sun.’ He has been what he calls “a working writer” ever since.

In 1978, Ventura co-founded the ‘LA Weekly,’ serving as a film critic and feature writer until 1983, when (while continuing to write features) he began his bi-weekly column, “Letters at 3AM.” The column appeared in that publication until 1993; since then it has been published by the ‘Austin Chronicle.’

Ventura has published three novels, several books of non-fiction, and three poetry chapbooks. He’s written two feature films and directed a documentary, I’m Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes – the Man and His Work. Cassavetes Directs – John Cassavetes and the Making of Love Streams, is Ventura’s memoir about the great director; it was published in 2007 in England by Kamera Books. His most recent book of essays,  If I Was a Highway, was published by Texas Tech University Press in 2011 and features photography by Butch Hancock.

In 2014, Ventura and Jazmin Aminian initiated LettersAt3amPress, publishing James BigBoy Medlin’s novel SLAP NOIR as an e-book and print-on-demand

On August 12, 2014, The Criterion Collection will release a new digital restoration of John Cassavetes’ Love Streams.  The discs will include an audio commentary by Ventura along with “I’m Almost Not Crazy . . .”—John Cassavetes: The Man and His Work (1984), a sixty-minute documentary by Ventura on the making of Love Streams.

Read Michael’s Career Chronology