follow us in feedly
Andy Warhol, children’s book illustrator
08.26.2015
10:12 am

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
Andy Warhol
children's books


 
It’s well known that before Andy Warhol became the most famous artist in New York—if not the world—he worked for several years as a commercial illustrator. For instance, he did a bunch of album covers in the mid- to late 1950s, a couple of which are quite familiar to anyone who follows jazz—even if they’re not familiar “as Warhol covers.”

Another of his gigs lasted about four years, that being occasional illustrations for children’s stories in the “Best In Children’s Books” series published by Nelson Doubleday. He illustrated six stories between 1957 and 1960—since there were 33 volumes in the series at a minimum, we can be sure that the series was pretty popular. Every volume had roughly ten stories in it, and each story featured art by a different illustrator. So Warhol’s output in this series was a tiny fraction of the art contained therein. One of the other artists who did illustrations in the same series was Richard Scarry.
 

The cover of vol. 27 (art not by Warhol)
 
It’s so funny to think of the mind behind “Race Riot” (1963), “Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times” (1963), and “Sixteen Jackies” (1964) also illustrating “Card Games Are Fun,” “Magic Porridge Pot,” and “Funny Words and Riddles” just a few years earlier. (Actually, here’s a good book focusing on Warhol’s violent works from the 1962-1964 period.)

There are plenty of pictures of these drawings on the Internet, but alas, many of them come from Etsy and eBay listings, so the images aren’t always so great.

In 1983 Warhol actually did put out a children’s book of his own that was more in keeping with his well-known style, but that’s another subject.
 
“Funny Words and Riddles” by Alice Salaff, vol. 5 (1957):
 

 
“Homemade Orchestra” by Joseph Leeming, vol. 7 (1958):
 

 

 
Many more Warhol illustrations after the jump…..
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Never any sympathy for the wild ones’: Trans pioneer and Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn is dying
07.07.2015
07:20 am

Topics:
Movies
Queer

Tags:
Andy Warhol
LGBT
Holly Woodlawn
Trash


 
Queer historians know Holly Woodlawn as a transgender pioneer and consummate wild child—she was once arrested in New York for impersonating the wife of the French Ambassador to the U.N. The art crowd knows her as a supremely talented Warhol superstar who gave amazing performances in both Trash and Women in Revolt. But Holly Woodlawn was most famously celebrated in the first lines of “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”:

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she

 

Portrait of Holly Woodlawn by EP Holcomb

Despite her icon status, Woodlawn is unable to pay for her mounting medical expenses as her health deteriorates. The outlook is not good, but she doesn’t want to die in a nursing home, and hopes to return home with the help of donations. Performance artist and playwright Penny Arcade is running a crowdfunding campaign for 24-hour at-home care and eventual funeral expenses; you can contribute here. Arcade is quick to point out that, despite the recent visibility of trans people and trans issues, no one seems quite as interested in the foremothers of the movement and their unglamorous, real-world problems.

Many people have commented that they are waiting to see Caitlin Jenner, LaVern Cox or one of the other high profile transgendered people with high profile step up to call attention to Holly’s situation forgetting that most Hollywood people live far away from the reality of renegades like Holly and probably have not yet heard of Holly’s situation and may not..It may go straight to their dead mail! What I find far more curious is that cadre of so called Transactivists that make so much noise about words like Trannie or NightClubs with the word Tranny that were of our community and opened before they were in elementary school. Where is GLADD and other single issue organizations who love to be associated with trans issues when it suits them?

The truth is Holly is Beyond Theory and always has been…she lived her politics on the street with her body not on a velour couch with 8 people who took the same Gender studies class as her! Truth is: There’s never any sympathy for the wild ones.

 

 
You can read more about Holly in her amazing memoir, A Low Life in High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story. To catch a glimpse of her raw talent, see the clip below from Andy Warhol’s Trash. Woodlawn’s performance was so intense that the great director George Cukor petitioned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to nominate her for best actress.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Moe Gets Tied Up,’ Andy Warhol’s ultra-rare 1966 movie starring the Velvet Underground
06.25.2015
07:16 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Velvet Underground


 
A very, very seldom-seen Andy Warhol movie, called Moe Gets Tied Up or, alternatively, Moe in Bondage, is up on YouTube, and it has had a scant 89 views as I type. While this Velvet Underground footage is not quite as much fun as A Symphony of Sound, Warhol’s must-see film of a VU and Nico rehearsal jam—mainly since there’s no music in this one—boy, it sure is seldom encountered. Shot in 1966, it predates their once-despised, now-lionized debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico.

The “Moe” of the title is the Velvets’ drummer, Maureen Tucker, whose bandmates have tied her to a chair and are now hanging around nibbling on sandwiches and pieces of fruit. It is sure to disappoint the pain fetishists among you. Look at it this way: if you’d never heard “Venus in Furs,” this film might give you the impression that the Velvets’ sex kicks consisted not so much of S&M as benign neglect.

Very little information is available about this movie because so few people have seen it, but the 32-minute version below seems to be missing a large chunk. A Velvet Underground filmography claims that the original is “a two-reel set for double screen projection” and notes the existence of “35-minute unofficial video copies,” one of which is likely the source of this vid. When MoMA screened Moe Gets Tied Up in 2008, the Village Voice reported that it “begins with Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison tying Moe Tucker, quite inexpertly, to a chair.” Since Tucker is already tied up at the start of the video below, and since the Voice review gives the movie’s length as one hour and six minutes, I’m going to bet that this is roughly the movie’s second half. (Incidentally, the review says nothing about double screen projection.) The Voice writer, who is mysteriously identified in the byline as “Village Voice Contributor,” also complains that almost none of the movie’s dialogue is audible, so don’t blame the buzzing soundtrack of this bootleg if you can’t make out what Sterling Morrison is mumbling about sandwiches. If you really need to know what people were talking about at the Factory, you can always read a.

Now if someone could please upload Velvet Underground Tarot Cards...
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Walter Cronkite introduces America to the Velvet Underground on national TV, 1965


 
On the last day of 1965, viewers tuning into CBS were treated to a 6-minute report presented by Walter Cronkite himself called “The Making of an Underground Film”; DM’s Richard Metzger wrote about it last year. CBS’ news story prominently mentioned and showed a new band named the Velvet Underground—their first time on TV, ever.

The actual focus of the story was the underground movie scene, in particular an experimental filmmaker named Piero Heliczer. When CBS came a-callin’ to do its story, Heliczer was shooting a 12-minute short called Dirt, featuring the Velvet Underground, and that was the scene Heliczer happened to be shooting that day. (For some reason none of the fellows in the band are wearing a shirt.) Heliczer was actually an important figure in the development in VU’s sound, as we shall see below.

Reporter Peter Beard begins his report standing outside the Bridge, a theater located on 4 St. Marks Place in the East Village, an early center for alternative arts. In fact you can plainly see the word “FUGS” next to Beard on the facade of the Bridge. Remarkably, Cronkite interviews “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema,” Jonas Mekas and the undisputed king of über-experimental abstract movies, Stan Brakhage. CBS even shows more than 30 seconds of a Brakhage movie, presumably part of Two: Creeley/McClure, which is predictably a rapid-fire montage of stutter-y and blurry images—it almost feels like CBS’ little joke on the underground scene. Naturally, CBS also looks at Warhol’s Sleep and documents Warhol filming one of his own parties, at which Edie Sedgwick is joyousy bopping away.


 
One impetus for the CBS story was an interest in this new phenomenon, “underground” art. In Victor Bockris’ Up-Tight: The Velvet Underground Story, Sterling Morrison explains:
 

Whenever I hear the word “underground,” I am reminded of when the word first acquired a specific meaning for me and for many others in NYC in the early Sixties. It referred to underground cinema and the people and lifestyle that created and supported this art form. And the person who first introduced me to this scene was Piero Heliczer, a bona fide “underground film-maker”—the first one I had ever met.

On an early spring day John [Cale] and I were strolling through the Eastside slums and ran into Angus [MacLise] on the corner of Essex and Delancey. Angus said, “Let’s go over to Piero’s,” and we agreed.

It seems that Piero and Angus were organizing a “ritual happening” at the time—a mixed-media stage presentation to appear in the old Cinematheque. … It was to be entitled “Launching the Dream Weapon,” and it got launched tumultuously. In the center of the stage there was a movie screen, and between the screen and the audience a number of veils were spread out in different places. These veils were lit variously by lights and slide projectors, as Piero’s films shone through them onto the screen. Dancers swirled around, and poetry and song occasionally rose up, while from behind the screen a strange music was being generated by Lou, John, Angus, and me.

For me the path ahead became suddenly clear—I could work on music that was different from ordinary rock & roll since Piero had given us a context to perform it in. In the summer of 1965 we were the anonymous musicians who played at some screenings of “underground films,” and at other theatrical events, the first of which was for Piero’s films (I think that Barbara Rubin showed “Christmas on Earth” and Kenneth Anger showed a film also).

-snip-

Around this time, somehow, CBS News decided that Walter Cronkite should have a feature on an “underground” film being made. By whatever selection process, Piero was able to be the “underground film-maker”; since he had already decided to film us playing anyway, we got into the act (and besides, we had “underground” in our name, didn’t we? Maybe someone at CBS reads Pirandello).

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘TV Wipeout’: Cabaret Voltaire’s rigorously post-punk 1984 video compilation resurfaces


 
John Coulthart has unearthed an utterly marvelous find from the early days of mass-produced video music content—Cabaret Voltaire’s TV Wipeout, a “video magazine” that was released on VHS in 1984. Watching it today, TV Wipeout is an excellent approximation of late-night avant-garde music programming from the early 1980s like Night Flight, albeit less scattershot and more rigorously postpunk in perspective. Of course, Cabaret Voltaire were often featured on Night Flight themselves.
 

TV Wipeout, videotape cover
 
As Coulthart explains, “This was the fourth title on the Cab’s own Doublevision label which was easily the best of the UK’s independent video labels at the time.” The compilation has plenty of gems. TV Wipeout features an interview with David Bowie on his latest movie, Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, excerpts from two Andy Warhol movies (Heat and Flesh), concert and documentary footage from the Fall at their creative peak, a video by Residents discovery Renaldo and the Loaf, footage of Marc Almond covering a Lou Reed song, and excerpts from cult classics like Plan Nine from Outer Space and Eating Raoul.

The footage of the Fall was taped at the The Venue in London on March 21, 1983. Their rendition of “Words of Expectation” is interrupted by an astonishing clip of the Fall’s manager, Kay Carroll, tearing the Factory’s Tony Wilson a new asshole for using some Fall music on a video without their permission.
 

(Click for a larger version)
 
On the next-to-last video, Marc & The Mambas cover Lou Reed’s “Caroline Says II” off of Berlin. For the first half of the song, Marc Almond is holding Genesis P-Orridge’s infant daughter Caresse in his arms until she starts to cry.

Coulthart also found a pretty hilarious interview in which Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder had the following to say about TV Wipeout (source: Cabaret Voltaire: The Art of the Sixth Sense by M. Fish and D. Hallbery):
 

Q: The next Doublevision was the TV Wipeout video which was a sort of disposable magazine compilation. It contained a fairly wide variety of contributors, from people like The Fall and Test Dept to some more mainstream groups like Bill Nelson and Japan.

Mallinder: The point was that Virgin Films were quite happy to work with us; they even gave us money in the form of advertising revenue for using some film clips from the Virgin catalogue. We were then able to camouflage them into the whole set-up and make them look as if they were part of the whole nature of the video compilation.

Q: One of those clips was a particularly inane interview with David Bowie. Was its inclusion merely a selling point?

Mallinder: Yes, it was purely that. There are a lot of people who will buy anything with David Bowie on it. So we said “Fuck it, why not use that as a selling point!” Actually the interview is appalling, it’s terrible. Our including it was almost like a piss-take. We were saying “you really will buy anything with David Bowie on it if you buy this”.

 
Coulthart asserts that some clips of Cabaret Voltaire and Japan are missing from this playlist, but I think that’s not right, at least if the list posted above is right, it’s just the Japan track that is missing, and you can find that one here.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Amazing ‘Mod Wedding’ with Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground & Nico, 1966
06.15.2015
09:59 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Nico
Velvet Underground


 
Picture it: You’re a steady couple in Detroit, it’s the mid-‘60s and you’re hip sort of people, and you get a chance for Andy Warhol, Nico, and the Velvet Underground to participate in your nuptials, making it the world’s first-ever “mod wedding.” What could be better?

This actually happened. The date of the wedding was November 20, 1966, and it was one of the concluding events of a three-day festival held in Detroit called the Carnaby Street Fun Festival, at which the Velvet Underground and the Yardbirds played. The lucky couple were named Gary Norris and Randi Rossi.

In 2011 some ephemera from this event I would love to get a look at were auctioned off at Christie’s, including a five-page “press release” called Pop Goes the Wedding, and an invitation to, ahem, “The Nation’s First Mod Wedding to Unite Two Typical Mod Teenagers in the Bonds of Holy Matrimony.”

In a bio of Al Abrams, the noted promoter who dreamt up the Carnaby Street Fun Fair as well as the idea of having a wedding of this type, it states that Norris and Rossi were not the first couple selected for the event: “The pair earned the chance to exchange their vows in the highly publicized ceremony after the original couple, who had won the wedding competition on the popular Detroit radio station WKNR, had to withdraw.“

Here’s Steven Watson in Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties discussing how the event came about:
 

Perhaps the most conspicuous of [the band’s] Sixties events was a Detroit fair called the Carnaby Street Fun Festival. … As a centerpiece, a Motown publicist [almost certainly Abrams] thought up the idea of a Mod Wedding. Since Andy Warhol was “the father of Pop Art,” he became the perfect choice to play the father of the bride. A columnist for The Detroit News dug up a couple to get married—a twenty-five-year-old clothing salesman and his nineteen-year-old, unemployed go-go dancer girlfriend. While Gary Norris and Randi Rossi were married before a crowd of forty-five hundred, the Velvet Underground played “Here Comes the Bride,” and a roadie pounded on a car with a sledgehammer. After the ceremony Andy signed some Campbell’s Soup cans and threw them into the crowd, and he and the bride cut the six-foot cake with a sword. “It would be in better taste if you had those people throwing up on each other,” Dick Clark told the event’s organizer.

 

 
Reaction at the time had more than its share of eye-rolling disgust. This account by Linda La Marre appeared in The Detroit News the next day; in addition to being pretty well written, it achieves a mocking, derisive tone I’ve seldom encountered in a news story before. The article can be found in Clinton Heylin’s essential compendium All Yesterdays’ Parties: The Velvet Underground in Print, 1966-1971.
 

“Mother’s Mod Lament”

by Linda La Marre

The Detroit News, November 21, 1966

Holy matrimony was replaced by unholy pandemonium in what was billed as a wedding yesterday at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

It was a marriage in the Mod Tradition. The country’s first. And let’s hope it’s not what’s happening, baby.

Wearing a white minigown, eight inches over her knees and white, thigh-high boots, Randy Rossi, 18, became the bride of clothing salesman Gary Norris, 25, amid a melange of simultaneous “happenings.”

Andy Warhol, of soup can painting fame and the “father of Pop art,” arrived from New York to give away the bride. With him came his rock & roll group, the Velvet Underground, vocalist Nico, and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Warhol’s gaudy lighting effects.

Some 4,500 shaggy-haired wedding guests swarmed the arena for the prenuptial rituals. Electronic devices screamed, guitars and drums throbbed and a fiddle added to the din as ppurple and orange lights splashed dots and squares across the stage.

“Hey, we’re really witnessing something, it’s history, history!” a young girl shouted.

Huddled on the sidelines were the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Rossi of Mt. Clemens, the bridegroom’s mother, Mrs. Thelma Norris, of Taylor, his sister and brother-in-law, the Robert Wionceks, of Dearborn.

“It’s not the kind of wedding we had planned for our daughter,” Mrs. Rossi said, as eerie screeches emitted from the stage.

“He’s old enough to know his own mind,” Mrs. Norris added, while Nico, clad in a lavender pantsuit, cupped the mike in both hands and began moaning some song.

After an eternity of noise, a black Rolls-Royce with the bridal couple slowly backed into the arena. The pair wisely chose to stay inside the car a few moments.

Warhol’s psychedelic sounds, which seek to create the same illusion as mind-expanding drugs, succeeded.

Gerard [Malanga], the whip dancer, slithered and spun across the darkened stage. Another member of the cast hopped atop a wrecked DeSoto, bashing it with a sledge hammer.

“If I take to love, will I find you gone,” groaned Nico. Warhol ascended the platform, paint bucket and catsup bottles in hand. Contents of both containers were carefully applied to a girl wearing a white paper dress throughout the proceedings.

The bride smiled as she marched up the platform steps. The bridegroom wore a gray checked, Beatle-type suit, black boots, green and white flowered tie. He looked sober.

The couple volunteered for the Mod wedding, which concluded the three-day Carnaby Street Fun Festival. Their reward, a free honeymoon in New York and screen test with Warhol.

After giving away the bride Warhol sat serenely upon a box of tomato soup, autographing cans. A color film of Nico’s face flickered on and off the back curtains as she read a few appropriate, but indistinguishable sentences from a yellow book.

Another member of the cast paraded with a five-foot Baby Ruth candy bar balloon, Warhol’s gift to the newlyweds.

 
My favorite bit in there is La Marre’s description of the music: “Nico, clad in a lavender pantsuit, cupped the mike in both hands and began moaning some song…..”

This online forum on VU supplies a detail that nobody else I consulted had. La Marre reports that Warhol gave the bride away, but on this forum, a user named “taxine” asserts that Nico officiated the wedding. I’m not sure if she did or didn’t, but the photo taxine supplied seems to bear it out. The quality could be a little better, but this sure as heckfire looks to me like Warhol giving the bride away while Nico officiates:
 

 
Rob Jovanovic’s Seeing the Light: Inside the Velvet Underground furnishes an illuminating quotation from Moe Tucker that clarifies the identity of the man with the sledgehammer: “That was lunacy. ... We were playing but [Paul] Cézanne was recruited to beat the hell out of a car with a sledge hammer, during the ceremony and during our set. I don’t know what the significance was!”

Jovanovic suggests that the Yardbirds also played the wedding and covered “I’m Waiting for the Man.” The Yardbirds did play all three days of the Carnaby Street Fun Festival, but nobody else mentions the detail of the Yardbirds playing the wedding—I think what actually happened is that the Yardbirds played the festival and during at least one of their sets (six sets, two per day) they played “I’m Waiting for the Man,” but they weren’t playing the wedding and didn’t cover the song at the wedding per se. At least that’s the impression this chronology gives.

Here are a few more pics, including a great action shot of Cézanne destroying the car with a sledgehammer.
 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol luxury surfboards
06.03.2015
08:35 am

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture
Sports

Tags:
Andy Warhol
surfing

Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol portrait surfboards
Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol portrait surfboards

By some strange twist of fate in 1968, the paths of eleven-year-old surfer Tim Bessell and pop art phenomenon Andy Warhol, intersected in La Jolla, California where Warhol was filming San Diego Surf.
 
Brillo surfboard
Brillo surfboard (based on Andy Warhol’s mid-sixties work, “Brillo Boxes”)
 
The Last Supper Andy Warhol surfboard, Series One
The Last Supper surfboard (from “The Last Supper” series by Andy Warhol, 1986)
 
Although the film would go unseen for 43 years, Bessell had the unique opportunity to observe Warhol and his muses up close during his formative years. According to Bessell, Warhol lived only two blocks away from him during his time filming in La Jolla and that the artist himself even ended up purchasing surfboards from Carl Ekstrom (the inventor of the asymmetric surfboard and snowboard), who was mentoring Bessel at the time.

Too young to understand the sudden culture explosion surrounding him, Bessell was content to be a curious observer, but the experience would go on to help frame his future as an artist. After graduating with degrees in Art and Architecture from San Diego State University, Bessell and Warhol found themselves rubbing shoulders once again at a mid-80’s party at the Playboy Club in New York. Bessell shared his childhood recollections of when Warhol’s “freak show” invaded his sleepy, hippie surf town during the Summer of Love. He says that this chance meeting “opened his relationship” with Warhol and ultimately led to his collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for a decadent line of surfboards, all bearing Warhol’s unmistakable artwork.
 
Marilyn Monroe surfboards
“Marilyn” (Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe done in the weeks after her death in 1962)
 
Elvis (silver tone) and Gun Metal Elvis surfboards
“Elvis” (silver tone) and “Gun Metal Elvis” surfboards (based on “Double Elvis” by Andy Warhol, 1963)
 
Chairman Mao Zegong surfboard
“Mao Zedong” surfboard (from a series of portraits of Mao done by Andy Warhol in 1973)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Incandescent Innocent: Dean and Britta score Andy Warhol’s screen tests


 
At the peak of his fame and influence, from 1964 to 1966, Andy Warhol created somewhere around 500 (the number 472 popped up in my research, as seen below) so-called “screen tests.” Every screen test was a single close-up take of an individual in front of the camera lasting a little shy of three minutes—the idea was that Warhol would run them at two-thirds speed, which resulted in movies about four minutes long each. The short movies that resulted had a consistency of aesthetic feel and featured a wide variety of people, who can be roughly classified into three groups: Factory mainstays, famous people, and un-famous people. Warhol said that he did screen tests for anyone who possessed “star potential.”

As Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum, wryly points out, “none of them appear to have been used for the purpose of actually testing or auditioning prospective actors.” Some notable people who consented to undergo the Warhol screen test treatment are John Ashbery, Marcel Duchamp, Cass Elliott, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dalí, Donovan, and Susan Sontag.
 

 
In 2008 the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh approached Dean and Britta to “create soundtracks” for 13 of the screen tests and perform them on stage. As members of Luna, a band that had toured with the Velvet Underground in 1993, Dean and Britta (who are doing kind of a version of Lou and Nico anyway, eh?) were a highly apropos choice for the project. In 2010 it became an album called 13 Most Beautiful… Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests (there is also a DVD).

The track titles on the album are very redolent of the Factory as well as the general VU scene: “Silver Factory Theme,” “Teenage Lightning (And Lonely Highways),” “Incandescent Innocent,” and “Knives From Bavaria.” In addition to much original Luna-esque music of the gorgeous and dreamy variety, the album featured covers of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine” and VU’s “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.”
 

 
In 2012 LuxeCrush asked Dean and Britta about the project:
 

LuxeCrush: How did this “13 Most Beautiful…” project, pairing your music with Andy Warhol stills, come about? I love the interdisciplinary film/music idea!

Wareham: We were approached by Ben Harrison at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; he described the hundreds of films that the Museum had access to (Warhol made 472 Screen Tests) and asked could we pick thirteen of them and create soundtracks to perform live on stage.

LuxeCrush: What is your favorite Warhol art work, moment or saying? And did either of you ever get to meet Andy?

Wareham: Neither of us ever met Andy. But I love watching him answering interview questions. Where most artists are trained to give long-winded theoretical explanations of why they paint a particular way, he would just say “because it’s easy.” Warhol never ceases to amaze me. We are used to seeing the same famous images again and again (Marilyn, Coke Bottles, soup cans, etc.), but there is so much more, from his early drawings for department stores to his late paintings, paintings for children, TV shows, films. He had a way of turning things upside down.

 
Lots of lovely and stirring videos of Dean & Britta scoring the screen tests after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol interviews Frank Zappa (whom he hated) without uttering a word
04.30.2015
11:36 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Television

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Frank Zappa


 
In this brief clip from Andy Warhol’s public access TV show from the early 1980s, Andy Warhol’s TV, Warhol sits silently by while Richard Berlin assumes the duties of interviewing Frank Zappa. Zappa discusses the ins and outs of being a public gadfly; for a few moments we glimpse a few seconds of the video for “You Are What You Is,” which had been banned from MTV for its use of a racial slur but also, just as plausibly, because of the way it poked fun at Ronald Reagan.

The interview made a significant impression on Warhol. Here’s the entry from The Andy Warhol Diaries for June 26, 1983:
 

Frank Zappa came to be interviewed for our TV show and I think that after the interview I hated Zappa even more than when it started. I remember when he was so mean to us when the Mothers of Invention played with the Velvet Underground— I think both at the Trip, in L.A., and at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I hated him then and I still don’t like him. And he was awfully strange about Moon. I said how great she was, and he said, “Listen, I created her. I invented her.” Like, “She’s nothing, it’s all me.” And I mean, if it were my daughter I would be saying, “Gee, she’s so smart,” but he’s taking all the credit. It was peculiar.

 
Warhol’s memory was rather good—the Mothers did indeed open for the Velvets at the Trip on May 3, 1966. In late May 1966, both bands played the Fillmore in S.F. for a three-day stint.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Andy Warhol New York City Diet (or give your dinner to the homeless)
03.31.2015
09:56 am

Topics:
Art
Food

Tags:
Andy Warhol
diet


 
Shane Parrish at Farnam Street reminded me of an amusing passage from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again) in which he explains how to keep the pounds off.
 

But if you do watch your weight, try the Andy Warhol New York City Diet: when I order in a restaurant, I order everything that I don’t want, so I have a lot to play around with while everyone else eats. Then, no matter how chic the restaurant is, I insist that the waiter wrap the entire plate up like a to-go order, and after we leave the restaurant I find a little corner outside in the street to leave the plate in, because there are so many people in New York who live in the streets, with everything they own in shopping bags.

So I lose weight and stay trim, and I think that maybe one of those people will find a Grenouille dinner on the window ledge. But then, you never know, maybe they wouldn’t like what I ordered as much as I didn’t like it, and maybe they’d turn up their noses and look through the garbage for some half-eaten rye bread. You just never know with people. You just never know what they’ll like, what you should do for them.

So that’s the Andy Warhol New York City Diet.

 
La Grenouille was and is a fancy eatery in Midtown, by the way. If the above passage teaches you anything, it might be “Don’t take diet advice from thin people.” Having said that, however, the intersection of Warhol and food yields some interesting nuggets.

Not terribly surprisingly, Andy Warhol claimed that his only weakness for nostalgia had to do with the old-style automats like Schrafft’s, for which, remarkably, Warhol did a 60-second commercial in 1968 that consisted of a single voluptuous pan over one of Schrafft’s scrumptious chocolate sundaes. That commercial, alas, appears to be lost to the sands of time, but you can watch a 2014 “re-creation” of the commercial here.

Anyway, here’s Warhol on Schrafft’s and Chock Full O’ Nuts:
 

My favorite restaurant atmosphere has always been the atmosphere of the good, plain, America lunchroom or even the good plain American lunchcounter. The old-style Schrafft’s and the old-style Chock Full O’ Nuts are absolutely the only things in the world that I’m truly nostalgic for. The days were carefree in the 1940s and 1950s when I could go into a Chocks for my cream cheese sandwich with nuts on date-nut bread and not worry about a thing.

 
A few lines later, Warhol writes, “Progress is very important and exciting in everything except food.” But that didn’t prevent him from proposing an eccentric dining solution for lonesome foodies:
 

I really like to eat alone. I want to start a chain of restaurants for other people who are like me called ANDY-MATS—“The Restaurant for the Lonely Person.” You get your food and then you take your tray into a booth and watch television.

 
Incredibly, as the blog Restaurant-ing Through History explains, that ridiculous Andy-Mat idea nearly happened in real life. Below is a picture of Warhol with three associates, architect Araldo Cossutta, developer Geoffrey Leeds, and financier C. Cheever Hardwick III; it appears that the picture was taken at some sort of announcement event for the Andy-Mat, which was to be “an unpretentious neighborhood restaurant serving homely comfort food at reasonable prices which was slated to open in fall of 1977 on Madison Avenue at 74th Street in NYC.”
 

 
For anyone who knows New York, Madison and 74th Street is a terrible place to place an “unpretentious neighborhood restaurant” serving food at “reasonable prices.” The plan was to include “pneumatic tubes through which customers’ orders would be whooshed into the kitchen. The meals served in Andy-Mats, in keeping with the times, were to be frozen dinners requiring only reheating.” Hooray, frozen dinners! Unsurprisingly, the restaurants never happened.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
In bed with Andy: David Bailey’s banned ‘Warhol’ documentary

002warbailbed.jpg
 
Among the reasons given for the banning of David Bailey’s documentary on Andy Warhol were: its possibly breach of the Vagrancy Act and a suggested sex act that was not “conducive to road safety.” These were the stated opinions of lawyer and judge Lord Justice Lawton and the sports journalist and broadcaster Ross McWhirter.

McWhirter was one-half of the famous twin brothers Ross and Norris McWhirter who compiled, wrote and edited the Guinness Book of Records. It was McWhirter who initiated the bizarre events that led to Bailey’s film being pulled from broadcast in January 1973, and temporarily banned until March of the same year. McWhirter was responding to the press previews for Bailey’s film that appeared in the Sunday papers on January 14th that described the film as “shocking,” “revolting,” and “offensive,” with the worst scene (erroneously) described by the Daily Mail as showing:

...a fat female artist [who] dyes her breasts and then rolls about on canvas ‘painting’...

This was Brigid Berlin making one of her famous “Tit Prints,” which was cited by Lord Lawton as a possible source of offense.
 
004bailwarx.jpg
Director and subject.
 
David Bailey had spent about a year working on his documentary about Andy Warhol—it was the last of three films Bailey made for Lew Grade’s television company ATV, the other two were profiles of photographer Cecil Beaton and director Luchino Visconti—and he had spent considerable time with the often monosyllabic and elusive artist, and had interviewed many of Warhol’s Factory entourage including Candy Darling, Paul Morrissey, Fred Hughes, Jane Holzer and art dealer Leo Castelli. Bailey had given over directing duties to William Verity, while he spent his time asking questions and getting close to the film’s subject.

When ATV gave a press screening for Bailey’s Warhol, little did they consider that the negative response of the press would lead to the film being banned. When Ross McWhirter read the press previews, he was sufficiently disgusted that he saw an opportunity to strike a blow for the silent majority—for whom he believed himself to be the obvious spokesman. In fact, he was over-reacting to some hearsay about a film he had not seen.
 
0000war0000.jpg
 
On Monday 15th, McWhirter prepared to take out an injunction against the Independent Broadcasting Authority—the TV watchdog—for allowing Bailey’s film to be screened. On Tuesday January 16th, he issued a writ against the documentary to stop it being broadcast. However, McWhirter’s writ was dismissed during a one-minute High Court hearing. Like all zealots, McWhirter was not one to have the law stop him, and he appealed the High Court’s decision.

McWhirter’s actions gained support from an unlikely quarter: one of the ITV broadcast regions Anglia decided, after is chairman Lord Townshend and two members of the channel’s planning committee had watched the documentary, not to screen the documentary as Bailey’s film was:

...not of sufficient interest or quality.

McWhirter’s appeal was heard at 17:00hours on Tuesday January 16th, the day Warhol was set for broadcast. The Appeal Court consisted of Lord Justice Cairns, Lord Justice Lawton, and was presided over by Lord Denning. Although he had not seen the programme, McWhirter claimed in his writ that the press previews were sufficient to suggest the show would cause considerable offense. Any programme that was considered to be offensive to “good taste and decency” was to be banned under the guidelines of the Television Act of 1964.

Causing offense to the viewing public was not McWhirter’s only concern over Bailey’s film as his writ went on to describe some of its possible dangers:

At one point there is a conversation between a man dressed as a Hell’s Angel and a girl. In that piece, the girl discusses sex with the man and says she would like to have sex with him on the back of a motorcycle doing 60 miles an hour. Apart from anything else, that does not sound as though it is conducive to road safety.

Like McWhirter, none of the Lords had seen Bailey’s film, however this didn’t stop them pontificating about its possible criminal intent. According to the Guardian newspaper, Lord Justice Lawton was deeply concerned over Brigid Berlin’s breast painting:

...the viewers of Britain were to be shown pictures of a fat lady doing something that sounded to him very much like a breach of the Vagrancy act, apart from anything else…

 
003bridtitpaint.jpg
The offending “tit printing” scene.
 
However, it was the IBA who received the greatest criticism from Lord Denning for their perceived failure to view the documentary before transmission. This, as it later turned out, was a major oversight by Denning and co. as they had failed to ascertain whether anyone from the IBA had actually watched the film—which in fact they had. IBA General Director Brian Young, Head of Programmes Joe Wellman, together with their deputies, had all watched Bailey’s film and suggested cuts and had even insisted on the addition of an introductory voice-over.

Still this did not stop the appeal judges voting 2-1 in favor of an interim injunction that temporarily banned the film from being screened on television—a documentary on craftwork was broadcast instead.

Watch David Bailey’s ‘Warhol’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
And then Andy Warhol took another one of Man Ray
03.17.2015
12:11 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Man Ray


Andy Warhol, Portrait of Man Ray
 
This is easily the best thing I’ve seen all day. In 1976 Andy Warhol was conducting a photo shoot in the Paris apartment of the legendary photographer Man Ray. A camera crew was present and asked for a description of the goings-on, which were apparently fairly recursive in nature. Warhol in his semi-witting way, uncorked a mesmerizing batch of verbiage. It’s truly something to behold.
 

 
There’s a transcript of the interview in Kenneth Goldsmith, ed., I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, 1962-1987, which I’ve taken and brushed up just a touch here and there. Here’s the chunk of the video that’s been embedded below:
 

And then he took a picture of me again and I took another Polaroid of him and then we had the Super X… the camera 70… Super 70-X uh… And then I took one of um… ahhh… And then I took another picture of Man Ray and then I took another one of Man Ray and then I took another one of Man Ray. Then I took another with my uh… uh… with my funny camera, what’s it called? The funny camera? It’s called the uh… the portrait camera. And so I took another one of Man Ray and I took another one of Man Ray and I took another one of Man Ray. And then I think he signed one… one of them, and then I took another one of Man Ray. I took another picture of Man Ray, another Polaroid portrait of Man Ray and another Polaroid portrait of Man Ray, another Polaroid portrait of Man Ray and then another Polaroid portrait of Man Ray and then I took another Polaroid portrait of Man Ray and then I took another Polaroid portrait of Man Ray. And then I took another portrait. And then I think he took another portrait of me and then he signed that one for me and I put it in my sss… my Brownie shopping bag.

 
Amazingly, this is only a small portion of what he said…. you can see a full transcript of Warhol’s remarks here.

Just watch it, you won’t regret it.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘My life couldn’t fill a penny post card’: A glimpse of Andy Warhol’s early correspondence
03.11.2015
09:47 am

Topics:
Art
Media

Tags:
Andy Warhol


 
In its December 1949 issue Harper’s published a short story by John Cheever—the story was called “Vega,” and it was illustrated by a young artist named Andy Warhol, who was all of 21 years old at the time.

The editor of Harper’s at the time was Russell Lynes, and at some point he wrote Warhol asking him for some biographical information. Warhol responded with an unmistakably Warholian document, featuring a cute drawing, an upbeat greeting, and a bare minimum of upper-case letters (there are five in all). Perhaps fittingly, Warhol plays the humble card, insisting that his “life couldn’t fill a penny post card” and that he has spent the previous few months “moving from one roach infested apartment to another.” (Warhol lived in at least two such apartments with his old school chum Philip Pearlstein.)

The short letter dates from an interesting time in Warhol’s life. He was fresh out of college, and the alacrity with which he secured some high-profile illustrating gigs may have been a sign of future successes to come. He illustrated two album covers, A Program of Mexican Music by Carlos Chávez and a recording of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He worked as a commercial artist for Glamour, Vogue, and Seventeen and also, we get this tidbit from the Tate Modern in London: “Infatuated with the writer Truman Capote, Andy inundates him with fan letters and telephone calls until Capote’s mother asks him to stop.”

Here’s a transcript of Warhol’s letter:

Hello mr. lynes
thank you very much
biographical information

my life couldn’t fill a penny post card i was born in pittsburgh in 1928 (like everybody else — in a steel mill)

i graduated from carnegie tech now i’m in NY city moving from one roach infested apartment to another.

Andy Warhol.

 
The letter comes from the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. It appears in the dazzling new book More Than Words by Liza Kirwin, published by Princeton Architectural Press (for more information about the archives, visit aaa.si.edu). It’s highly recommended, as it’s jammed with visual treasures just like this one.

(Click on the image for a larger image.)
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
There are Andy Warhol Chuck Taylors now
02.12.2015
07:09 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Converse
Chuck Taylor


 
The Chuck Taylor All-Star is an iconic American shoe that comes pre-loaded with rebel cache, so it’s kind of astonishing that Andy Warhol never made a series of drawings or screen prints celebrating it—at least none I’ve been able to find, and the man drew PLENTY of shoes. But though Warhol is no longer with us, the Warhol Foundation and Converse have teamed up to do the inverse, and now you can get Chucks emblazoned with iconic Warhol works for $70-$90 a pair. (Indulge me in an alter-kaker moment—these used to be such an attractive sartorial option not just because they look perfectly timeless, but because they were cheap as dirt. Nike took over the Converse company in 2003, and suddenly the simple canvas wonders cost as much as any sneaker. Also: sweatshops!) My favorite pair, the Black Bean Soup high top, is a bit cheaper on Amazon, so I’m fairly tempted, as my current pair of Chucks is starting to fall apart. Though they may still have a decent year left in them—like blue jeans and concert tees, I’ve always felt like Chucks looked all the cooler once they got to be a bit thrashed.
 

 

 

 

 

 
via Tasting Table

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Richard Pryor’s ‘Dynamite Chicken’ is a raunchy, NSFW time capsule of the hippie era


 
Sorting out who is and who isn’t in the 1971 “comedy” movie Dynamite Chicken, written and directed by Ernest Pintoff, is no easy matter. The montage-heavy movie relies so much on found footage that it’s accurate to say that John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Lenny Bruce, Malcolm X, Humphrey Bogart, and Richard Nixon “appear” in the movie even if they were scarcely aware of it or, in some cases, were long since deceased at the time. Not to put too fine a point on it, the makers of the movie were verging pretty close to fraud here.

Richard Pryor they definitely had, as well as a lot of countercultural figures like Paul Krassner, Tuli Kupferberg, Joan Baez, Sha-Na-Na, Peter Max, and a comedy troupe called Ace Trucking Co. that featured a young Fred Willard. The movie’s a bit like Kentucky Fried Movie, only far more political in intent; it’s chock-a-block with skits, snippets of musical performance, political debate, a strip-tease or two, and whatever else popped into the noggins of the filmmakers at the time. There’s tons of quick-cutting montage of newspaper clippings and just a ton of random footage.
 

 
The full title,  “Dynamite Chicken: A Contemporary Probe and Commentary of the Mores and Maladies of Our Age … with Schtick, Bits, Pieces, Girls, Some Hamburger, a Little Hair, a Lady, Some Fellas, Some Religious Stuff, and a Lot of Other Things,” is an accurate reflection of what the movie is like. The emphasis here is squarely on free expression; the movie starts with a scroll explaining, in a way we today associate more with Lenny Bruce, that Richard Pryor had been witnessed “in the late ‘60’s” by a policewoman saying the words “bullshit, shit, motherfucker, penis, asshole” during a public performance. The distance between “free expression” and “annoying the audience for the sake of it” is pretty small, and in addition to some salubrious footage of women in various states of disrobe, we also get a pointless and somewhat sickening exegesis of a comic book about slicing women in two with a buzzsaw. Early on, I had been thinking that Chicken Dynamite is an almost perfect cinematic equivalent of SCREW Magazine, when who should materialize on the screen but Al Goldstein and Jim Buckley themselves.

Andy Warhol was one of the few luminaries who apparently did consent to be filmed, for a short sequence in which Ondine reads aloud from Warhol’s book a: A Novel while Warhol looks on. John and Yoko weren’t involved; their bit is just a statement about peace from the Montreal Bed-In a couple years earlier. The link to National Lampoon, mostly a spiritual one, is made explicit with a clip of Michael O’Donoghue, then one of the chief writers at the magazine, in a spoof of a cigarette commercial. There’s a bit towards the end in which Ron Carey (known to me primarily as a bit player on Barney Miller) dresses up as a priest and does some soft-shoe in front of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Ave., scored to Lionel Goldbart’s “God Loves Rock and Roll” that is pretty delightful.

The footage with Pryor was shot outdoors in a single day; Pryor riffs on a bunch of raunchy material while messing with a basketball somewhere in the projects. At this point in Pryor’s career, the similarities with Dave Chappelle were (in hindsight) particularly strong. After Pryor became a big movie star in the early 1980s, he apparently became annoyed with his association with Chicken Dynamite, as he successfully sued to bar “the distributors of the film ... from emphasizing his role in the film,” according to an issue of Jet from December 1982.
 

 
In the end, Chicken Dynamite was probably a little bit dated even when it came out. It’s a movie made by people who are waaaaay too “serious” to be funny, for the most part. It’s the kind of movie that even if you are “enjoying” it, you might choose to turn it off before reach the end of its 75-minute running time, just because it wears you out. Still, some parts are pretty entertaining, and it’s worth a look for those who missed the era and those who didn’t.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 8  1 2 3 >  Last ›