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Vintage 1970s Warhol / Velvet Underground-inspired banana record player


 
Over on Etsy, there’s a Warhol/Velvet Underground-inspired portable banana-shaped record player from the 1970s for sale. The asking price is $1500. That seems a bit steep to me, but truth be told, I’ve never seen one of these before. They must be pretty scarce!

From the write-up on Etsy:

Ok, folks. I bought this record player because the time to buy something you have never seen is when you see it. And I am a huge Warhol fan. At the time, I could find no information on this. A friend was able to find this old advertising for it in an old Speigel catalog. In searching the internet, there are only 2 of these known. There is one in Indianapolis that a guy has from his youth- a present from his grandmother. The other one is in the Banana Museum in California. I even wrote to the Warhol Foundation to find out if there was any kind of affiliation, but they had never heard anything about this and had no record. They came up with the same information I did. Mine is not perfect, it shows wear and I cannot determine if the black markings on this have been redone or if they are original- looking at the picture in the ad, it is still hard to tell, but they look rough to me. I still love this. It runs properly at all 3 speeds, but it will need a needle. The cord is in good condition and the case locks as it should. The ad touts that this will play in any position, even upside-down, but I would not suggest such a thing, as it cannot be good for your records.

If you’re interested in it or want to contact seller, click here.


 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Bowie, Elvis, Warhol ‘Black Star’ connection: Popism eats itself

wkgfynr
 
Like everyone else on this planet, I feel the loss of David Bowie like a black hole in my heart and this sets me searching and thinking and finding weirdness a go-go (and everything tastes nice). After watching the new video for “Lazarus,” I was left chilled to the bone as though it was recorded as he was dying, and as if he were speaking directly to me. The whole thing with UK newspapers saying there are “clues” all over Blackstar and all that “Paul is Dead” sorta stuff. Except David Bowie is dead. I mean he is dead, right? Then I was alerted to the unreleased song “Black Star” recorded by Bowie’s birth mate (everyone knows they share a birthday of course) Elvis!
 
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This track was recorded for a 1960 film that was originally to be called Black Star but that wound up being retitled Flaming Star instead.

The original recording sat in the vaults until the 1990s when it became available to the public. Besides sharing a birthday with the King of Rock and Roll, Bowie was very interested in and influenced by Elvis, too, so there would be no reason to think that he wouldn’t have been aware of this song, with its aptly chilling lyrics that could be applied to Bowie’s end of life situation…

Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

When I ride I feel that black star
That black star over my shoulder
So I ride in front of that black star
Never lookin’ around, never lookin’ around

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

One fine day I’ll see that black star
That black star over my shoulder
And when I see that old black star
I’ll know my time, my time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

 
Here’s Elvis’ “Black Star”:
 

 
And Bowie’s “Blackstar”...
 

 
...with its own chilling and obscure lyrics:

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes

On the day of execution, on the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile, ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, at the centre of it all
Your eyes, your eyes

Ah-ah-ah
Ah-ah-ah

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster)

I can’t answer why (I’m a blackstar)
Just go with me (I’m not a filmstar)
I’m-a take you home (I’m a blackstar)
Take your passport and shoes (I’m not a popstar)
And your sedatives, boo (I’m a blackstar)
You’re a flash in the pan (I’m not a marvel star)
I’m the great I am (I’m a blackstar)

I’m a blackstar, way up, oh honey, I’ve got game
I see right so white, so open-heart it’s pain
I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a star star, I’m a blackstar)

I can’t answer why (I’m not a gangster)
But I can tell you how (I’m not a flam star)
We were born upside-down (I’m a star star)
Born the wrong way ‘round (I’m not a white star)
(I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar
I’m not a pornstar, I’m not a wandering star
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

In the villa of Ormen stands a solitary candle
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes
On the day of execution, only women kneel and smile
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

And as all things in pop culture eventually lead back to Andy Warhol, the kicker for me is that as I was looking into this I realized that all the infamous Warhol Elvis silkscreen art that you have seen your whole life is from (of course) a still photo from Flaming Star. And I don’t have to remind you that Bowie played Warhol in the 1996 film Basquiat do I? More will be revealed, I’m sure. It’s like that Kennedy and Lincoln coincidence thing, isn’t it?
 
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Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
‘Two Days in the Life of Andy….’: Candid photos of Andy Warhol, 1981
12.22.2015
12:42 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Robert Levin


Andy Warhol seated at a table at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, Robert Levin, 1981
 
In the spring of 1981, Andy Warhol was working on his “Myths” show, which ran later that year at New York’s Ronald Feldman Gallery.

Robert Levin, a photographer on assignment for Germany’s Stern magazine, spent two days with the pop art master. Levin stuck to Warhol like glue, accompanying him everywhere as he traversed the city, including work sessions at the Factory, a facial treatment at the Janet Sartin Spa, and a bicycle ride in the East Village. By chance Warhol ran into filmmaker John Waters on Madison Avenue, and Levin captured that meeting as well.

Maison Gerard Gallery in New York is showing an exhibition of Levin’s photographs called “Two Days in the Life of Andy…,” but it closes tomorrow, alas. The exhibition showcases fifteen black-and-white photographs which were taken over the course of the two days. This is the first time the images have been shown in the United States.

The most striking photos in the show are likely the ones in which Warhol gets a facial treatment. “Warhol had a lifelong obsession with appearance and beauty regimes, he was fanatical about his dermatologist and skin care, so for historians and collectors these images are going to be particularly interesting,” commented exhibition curator and Warhol expert and collector James Hedges in a statement.

In addition to the photographs shown here, you can see more at the Maison Gerard Gallery website.

All photos by Robert Levin. Click on any image to get a larger view.
 

Andy Warhol undergoing a facial treatment at the Janet Sartin Spa in New York City, Robert Levin, 1981
 

Andy Warhol relaxing after receiving a facial treatment at the Janet Sartin Spa in New York City, Robert Levin, 1981
 

Chance meeting between Andy Warhol and John Waters on Madison Avenue, Robert Levin, 1981
 

Andy Warhol posing at the New York City midtown store where he purchased a bullet proof vest, Robert Levin, 1981
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Bettie Page & more roller skating (because roller skating rules!)

Andy Warhol roller skating
Andy Warhol roller skating
 
If you keep up with my posts here at DM, you know I often put together cool photo-sets featuring famous people doing things that we all like to do like hitting the beach or lying in bed. This time around I’ve pulled together something fun for you to kill time with this Friday - images of people way cooler than us on roller skates.
 
Bettie Page and Gus the Gorilla roller skating, mid-1950s
Bettie Page and Gus the Gorilla roller skating, mid-1950s
 
Some of the images are from the wide variety of films with either roller skating themes or scenes in them such as Raquel Welch tearing it up on the derby track in the 1972 film, Kansas City Bomber. Others are from the late 70s and 80s when Roller Disco was all the rage. There’s even a few that go way back in time that I slipped in because they were just too cool not to share.

I’ve also included a video that features Dutch girl band, the Dolly Dots roller skating around in leotards lipsynching to their 1979 track, “(They Are) Rollerskating.” Because, like I said, roller skating RULES!
 
Grace Jones roller skating at Compo Beach, 1973
Grace Jones roller skating at Compo Beach, 1973
 
Judas Priest roller skating in 1981
Judas Priest, 1981
 
Many more famous rollerskaters, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Keith Haring’s scabrous New York Post collages
10.12.2015
11:48 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Keith Haring
Madonna
New York Post


 
When you think of the work of Keith Haring, it’s probable that unless you know a great deal about him, you’ll envision it all as being rather similar, brightly colored graffiti-style artifacts with faceless outline-homunculi thrusting their fists into the air and crawling babies and barking dogs with wiggly motion lines, perhaps on a Swatch? CRACK IS WACK: we’ve all seen it.

Well, as is true of nearly all artists, Haring’s signature style didn’t emerge fully formed, and there is a lot of work from his younger years that isn’t much like that at all. While this tendency never really left him, Haring started out as something closer to a standard-issue agit-prop street artist and collagist, one with a huge debt to Warhol, whom he later befriended. In 1980, already having acquired some reputation as a street artist, Haring briefly adopted a style in which he manipulated choice phrases from the cover of the New York Post to create bizarre new headlines in which his most hated public figures (Ronald Reagan and the Pope) became the butt of the joke. In a text that can be found in Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography by John Gruen, Haring wrote:
  

The most notorious of my street pieces were the ones that looked like the front page of the New York Post. I’d cut out letters from the Post and rearrange them to make fake headlines, like REAGAN SLAIN BY HERO COP or POPE KILLED FOR FREED HOSTAGE or MOB FLEES AT POPE RALLY. I Xeroxed these in the hundreds and I’d paste them on lampposts and on newsstands. Because they looked so real, people were forced to confront them. They were completely confused—and the posters really made a mark, because they got into people’s consciousness.

  
When I lived in New York, my housemates and I would frequently joke about strange turns of phrase that we would see in the New York Post. For better or worse, the deathless tabloid represents the pinched and chauvinistic and intolerant side of the city, and it does that pretty damn well. The fact that you probably knew EXACTLY how a New York Post cover treatment of any subject looks and feels before you even looked at any of the pictures in this post is a testament to their nauseating skill at getting people riled up, and the damn thing is probably as iconic as Mount Fuji and may well last as long as it, too.

Here are a bunch of those, I believe all of these date from 1980.
 

 

 

Obviously this is the original taped-together collage version of the one above it, in Xerox form.
 
Many more examples of Keith Haring’s New York Post collages after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Intimate photos of Andy Warhol’s Factory Superstars, the Velvet Underground and Nico
09.30.2015
12:51 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Nico
Velvet Underground
Billy Name


1966
 
I wonder how many people in the world had a romance with Andy Warhol and also combined that with being a significant influence on Warhol’s work. You make your list and I’ll make mine, but we shouldn’t discount the possibility that that list will start and end with Billy Name. Born William Linich, Jr., Name was a prominent lighting designer in NYC and even won an Obie for his lighting around the time he met Warhol, which was in 1959.

He had a brief romance with Warhol which evolved into a long-lasting friendship and collaboration. Name was selected to be the archivist for the Factory. At one point Warhol handed him a camera and said, “Here, Billy, you do the stills photography,” and Name’s identity as a photographer was born. By that time, Name had already gone ahead and “silverized” a dilapidated hat factory on East 47th Street, transforming it into one of the most iconic places of the late 1960s. In The Warhol Diaries, Warhol said of Name that he “had a manner that inspired confidence. He gave the impression of being generally creative, he dabbled in lights and papers and artists materials. ... I picked up a lot from Billy.”

Today at the Serena Morton II gallery at 345 Ladbroke Grove in London starts an exhibition of Name’s Warhol-era photos called “Billy Name: The Silver Age” that runs for roughly three weeks. There is a lovely associated book with the same title that came out last year from Reel Art Press, and if you want to hear some eye-popping blurbs, check these two out: Gerard Malanga said that “Billy’s book will go down in history as the best book about Warhol,” whereas Warhol himself said, “Billy’s photos were the only thing that ever came close to capturing the feel of the 1960s Silver Factory.”

The Guardian recently interviewed Name, now 75, at the Mid-Regional Hospital in his hometown of Poughkeepsie (where I attended college, as it happens) for “extreme dehydration” along with a host of other ailments. All of us at DM wish him a speedy recovery.

All of the pictures in this post you can see in a larger version by clicking on them.
 

Warhol using a pay phone at the 1964 World’s Fair
 

Nico, 1967
 

Warhol in the original Factory studio, 1964
 

VU, 1967
 
A bunch more masterful Billy Name shots after the jump…...
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Pre-Velvet Underground Nico in Spanish brandy advertisements, 1964
09.14.2015
02:10 pm

Topics:
Advertising

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Nico
Velvet Underground


 
These Centenario Terry brandy ad, made for Spanish TV, dates back to 1964 and feature a young and impossibly beautiful Christa Päffgen who would soon go on to join the Velvet Underground at the behest of Andy Warhol.

Years later we have this entry from Andy Warhol’s Diary on Monday October 6th, 1980:

“Went to C.Z. Guest’s for drinks. A guy there told me, “We have someone in common.” He said that his family owned all the brandy and sherry in Spain and that in the sixties Nico was the girl in all their advertisements in all the posters and subways and magazines, that she was famous all over Spain. He wanted to know where this beautiful girl was now and I said that it was a whole other person, that he’d never believe it, that she was fat and a heroin addict. He wanted to see her and I said that if she was still playing at the Squat Theatre we could go see her.”

There used to be a few more of these ads on YouTube, but most seemed to have vanished.
 

 
The actor here, Hans Meyer was apparently closely associated with this particular brand of cognac.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol, children’s book illustrator
08.26.2015
01:12 pm

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
10:20 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
10:16 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
12:59 pm

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
11:35 am

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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
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