As one of many who adopted NYC as my home, I can say the city’s rich artistic culture was the inspiration for my migration from the west coast. Andy Warhol is an icon not only for developing the pop art style and making it famous, but for his many other projects. I love that Andy mixed transvestites, drug addicts, socialites, musicians, models, artists, and writers. He not only brought himself up, but showcased his friends in many of his movies.
Brooklyn Academy of Music teamed up with the Andy Warhol Museum to project 15 Warhol short films which have never been publicly shown. Musicians composed pieces to play while we gazed upon the mesmerizing Edie, Nico eating bananas and the wacky Taylor Mead all hopped up on methadrine.
The opener was Tom Verlaine of Television. Very slow and calming strokes of the instrument, as you might expect while watching a video of John Giorno washing dishes in the buff or Jill Johnston dancing with a rifle in the fall leaves. He plucked away.. one slow note at a time. My first thought was, “Am I listening to a legend or someone that plays guitar in the high school band?” What a snooze fest!
Suicide’s Marty Rev started with a loud bang that made us all stand at attention. Dressed like a club kid with a dark purple plastic jumpsuit and giant white 80’s shades, he pounded on his keyboard constantly with palms and elbows interchanging. I couldn’t remember the last time i was that excited! Marty blew Verlaine’s set out of the water! I snuck a terrible pic of him from my nose bleed section seating. The film behind him was of an shirtless, unidentified man guzzling a coca-cola bottle. I was really grooving while he shouted randomly into the microphone, until he started sampling, ‘Disco inferno’. The music was still good but I REALLY hate disco. With the exception of KC and The Sunshine Band and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, the genre can be buried forever in my book. The next clip was of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gerard Malanga, Taylor Mead, and other men drinking and joking around. The last clip that was background for Mr. Rev was of two junkies chain smoking decorated in heavy black eyeliner. It was part of an unfinished movie called, “Batman Dracula.”
Eleanor Friedberger was next. A lot of my friends say she has a nice voice, but I just tuned her music out and focused on the film. Just not my cup of tea. A clip of a very young Donovan played behind her. He just stares ahead adorably, curly shag haircut framing his youthful face. A beautiful artist named Marisol poses next to her unique sculptures of people during the second clip of Friedberger’s set. Warhol had said that Marisol brought glamour into the world of female artists.
Andy had postured a true star to be a person that could just sit there and their very subtle face changes would even be entertaining. Edie Sedgewick’s screen test began and I was transfixed. Edie had of coarse natural beauty, but it was more than that which made her so attractive. It was the fact that behind her eyes you could see this very sweet and broken little girl. Her dimples formed with each smile , her lovely doe eyes danced around the room reminiscent of a new born baby’s focus. I imagine everyone who met her was instantly infatuated.
Edie Sedgewick is quoted as saying, “You have to put up with the risk of being misunderstood if you are going to try and communicate. You have to put up with people projecting their own ideas, attitudes, misunderstanding you. But it’s worth being a public fool if that’s all you can be in order to communicate yourself.”
(Nico by Billy Name)
Dean Wareham, of Galaxie 500, was next. I remember his band being very tight. He was also the MC for the event. Dean & Britta, is his project with his wife Britta Phillips. They have taken 13 Most Beautiful : Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, on tour around the world for the last six years.
“Parapharnalia” (1966), is a clip with former model Susan Bottomly, who Warhol renamed International Velvet. With bouffant hair, giant silver ball earrings, a sequined blk & wht mini dress, fishnet stockings, and white platform boots- Velvet slinks around like a sexy tigress playing with a cat o’nine tails whip which she loops around her neck, making sure to pose correctly for the camera.
“Nico/Antoine” (1966) came next. I believe this was a strange sort of protest where Nico, and the gorgeous long-haired Pierre Antoine Muracciolo, ate as many bananas as they could. Watching this one, I realized, that even though Nico was beautiful, she was really boring to watch on film. Next to Edie, she would be utterly invisible.
In “Kiss The Boot” (1966) , Gerard Malanga licks and rubs against Mary Woronov’s boot as he slithers on the floor in slow motion. Eventually she puts her other boot on his neck and back exerting her authority.
The last musician was Bradford Cox. He was a tall, thin man dressed in all black with a pale face and mop of black hair. He really impressed me with his dark, atmospheric sounds. He is in the band Deerhunter and under the solo pseudonym Atlas Sound.
Marcel Duchamp and Bendetta Barzini’s screen test portrayed a classy beauty laughing gracefully while sharing a cigar with Marcel. You can feel the warmth between them and whoever else was in the room through the screen. Bradford let the audience in on the fact that Bendetta moved to Milan to become a Marxist, radical feminist organizer in 1973. Another fun fact was that she was engaged to Gerard Malanga around the time of the photo below.
“Mario Montez And Boy”, was of a drag queen who was done up like an old movie star. Her gentleman caller fed her a hamburger while their cheeks were pressed together. They traded off bites while making out in-between chewing. This one was strangely pleasing to watch.
Lastly, the great Taylor Mead was served a bottle of Methadrine on a silver platter by Andy. His eyeballs were reacting to the speed by jumping around in his skull. He was dancing around like a maniac and sitting upon Warhol’s carousal horse. I love that Andy would toy with his audience. Like the time the media said they were sick of seeing Taylor Mead’s ass in all of Warhol’s films. Andy’s response was an hour long movie of Taylor’s buttocks accompanied by some gorgeous lighting. Very cheeky.