Great Groupies Of The Sixties Series
Review by R.E. Prindle
Vanilla, Cherry: Lick Me, 2010, Chicago Review Press
Since writing Part 2 an interesting development has occurred. In what might seem an unexpected twist, according to the Cherry Vanilla website it has been decided to make a TV series of her autobiography. Given the life she has lived it is hard to believe the series wouldn’t be a salacious affair. Her biography is mainly a list of her sexual and drug escapades some of which are almost too much for the printed page. We will have to see.
Having brought her story up to graduation Kathie’s post high school life can be divided into three segments with an aftermath. The first period from 1960-66 might be described as exploratory, the second commencing from her introduction to Dr. Bishop in 1966 to 1971 might be described as a period of wild abandonment when she decided to become a relatively aged groupie, the last period can be divided into the Warhol period when she starred in his stage play, Pork, and her time with Bowie before attempting to become a Punk star. With the collapse of her hopes when her Punk escapade failed and all her hopes were disappointed she was plunged into a period of despair and depression as her personality disintegrated leaving her life a wreck of her hopes. She was finally saved when a hand was extended to her by the musician Ianni.
Whatever financial gain she receives from the projected TV series with a little luck now that she is sixty-eight might give her some financial stability for the rest of her life unless she blows that ruining what is probably her last chance.
There are many who believe the individual is completely responsible for his choices in life but I’m a firm believer that you have to play the cards you’re dealt. Even if the choices are yours they are limited by the possible. It’s possible to squander a good hand but very difficult to parley a bum deal into a pot winner.
Kathie’s childhood had its difficulties, its highs and lows but the significant incident of aborting her dog Lady’s pups seems to have formed the psychological basis for Kathie’s choices in life.
On the one hand she had a dismal home life with a boorish uncultured father but on the other she was introduced to cultural society by being introduced into the household of the actor Don Ameche through a friend. She spent weekends living a childhood high life in Amerche’s hotel suite as a friend of his daughter where none of the pleasures of room service and other amenities were denied them. She was allowed, as it were, to participate in the pleasures of Fifth Avenue society in ways that positively affected her future expectations while giving her a background that allowed her to fit in. The contrast between the two modes of life would greatly influence her outlook and early success. She did have a promising start in life that she threw away.
The most influential incident in her life was when her father discovered that her Dalmatian, Lady, had been mounted by some black mongrel. Rather than accept the situation, for some seemingly irrational reason, her father decided to destroy any chance of fertilization by scouring the dogs womb with boiling water.
The shrieks and howling of the poor dog penetrated deep into the subconscious of the young girl giving her her central childhood fixation. Shortly thereafter she developed an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that plagued her throughout her autobiography; what she called her OCD. While she doesn’t describe the wounds she inflicted on herself by tearing at her skin she apparently tore her flesh to the point of leaving scars.
Thus the Aces and Kings were removed from her hand severely limiting her decisions while compelling her to go in directions better avoided. The tragedy is that she chose the road of drugs and sex rather than some serious self-analysis. Like most central childhood fixations the memory of the event is strong but the reaction to the event is obscured and hidden while too difficult to face without some direction. Having suffered a similar childhood fixation myself, which I was able to solve by self-analysis, my sympathies are with Kathie.
The worst of it for Kathie was her excessive use of drugs. Drugs tend to destroy the conscious resistance to the fixation eliminating the barrier to the full expression of sub-conscious compulsions giving the unconscious full unobstructed expression. At the height of her sexual activity as Kathie notes her OCD disappeared being replaced by the repressed sexual equivalent. Old OCDs for new. That was the hand she was dealt.
Growing up in a poor area of Queens might have been an impediment to success except for her friendship with the Ameches and also with a sort of introduction to show business because her mother worked above the Copacabana nightclub which led to Kathie’s seeing many of the big stars and meeting several of them, most notably her favorite, Dean Martin.
After graduating from high school Kathie was first attracted to the Madison Avenue advertising world. He landed a job with the Sullivan, Stauffer, Colwell & Bayles advertising agency. She landed a plum of a job straight out of the box. She assumed a role not too different from the portrayal of Peggy Olson in the Mad Men AMC TV series.
Seeking other opportunities she quit that job to join the firm of Kastor,Hilton, Chesley, Clifford & Atherton in a similar capacity. There she was introduced to the homosexual world as her associates there were all or mostly gay. As a young woman she could not have been aware of the rapidly developing influence of homosexuality on life in New York City. The Stonewall Riot was a short eight years away after which for all practical purposes homosexuals took over the cultural life the city.
For decades New York City had been the destination of homosexuals from the South and Mid West who flocked to New York as a haven. Over the decades the homo population grew. As the sixties began critical mass for their conquest of the Big Apple was reached. Kathie fell into the group through her advertising connections.
The obvious became undeniable in 1966 when Time Magazine published an article lamenting the degree to which homosexuality had infiltrated the infra-structure of NYC. It has to be obvious to the blind, deaf and dumb before the media notices anything. Kathie relates this influence in a sort of perplexed tone. Perhaps Queens in the fifties was relatively straight or closeted so that Manhattan was a revelation to her.
The homosexual migration to NYC might even be considered in the light of the Great Internal Migration of the Negroes from South to North and West. During the Great Coming Out from 1960 to Stonewall in 1969 homosexuals became increasingly open while increasingly setting the sexual and social mores of the city. Kathie first began here working career in advertising on Madison Avenue. She appears to have become enamored of what she calls Mad Men, perhaps after the TV show or perhaps the TV show aped reality, at least to that extent. Don’t know.
Kathie’s second agency job turned out to be a nest of homos. Thus per the Time article homos were not only becoming paramount in NYC but began, or perhaps continued, to shape continent wide mores always tending to stretch sexual limits.
Of course as Kathie was already stretching heterosexual mores to the limit this presented no problem to her. Just as she indulged her drug usage with few limits so she indulged her sexual activities with no limits being open as she proudly acclaims to anything.
She was first taken to Fire Island by Mad Men at the hetero resort. Her curiosity drove her to the homo enclaves of the Pines and Cherry Grove which became a fascination to her. According to her LSD had not yet reached the Pines, so ever a pioneer, Kathie made the trek to the Pines with her purse laden with tabs. As no cars were allowed on the island Kathie had to walk down the beach. She says she changed the direction of the gay crowd.
Whacked out on whatever there was no barrier to her unconscious desires so Kathie was able to do things without qualms while she associated the impregnation and aborting of her dog as a reason for her uninhibited exhibitionism. She was however compulsive in avoided impregnation herself. Although the pill was around she preferred to use an IUD. Kathie was ready to copulate in public at the drop of a hat. Thus in this 1960-66 period at a big bash at the Pines the homos had hired a hetero bartender by mistake. A little eye contact between he and Kathie was enough to incite them. They jumped up on the counter and went at it.
As Kathie says if it had been two homos nothing would have been said but hetero sex was too much for the Guys who expressed their displeasure. Strange attitude in a bunch that would make fisting a form of public entertainment a few years hence.
It may prove interesting to see what they make of the TV series as Kathie’s whole book is a record of her really extraordinary sexual and drug escapades. While she was still working on Madison Avenue she began moonlighting as a disc jockey at the club Aux Puces. The night club scene was still tightly controlled in NYC at this period. The most that the Guys at Stonewall were doing as late as ‘69 was dancing together. The wide open S&M and fisting surfaced after Stonewall which resulted at the end of the seventies in the public hetero and homo sex at first Studio 54 and subsequently throughout Bohemia. Kathie once again was a pioneer which is what perhaps the TV series will concentrate on.
In 1966 Kathie was introduced to the Feelgood Dr. Bishop (this may be his real name) who she patronized until 1970 when she was persuaded to stop. Dr. Bishop brought in a whole new level of drug taking further erasing the line between the conscious and subconscious- in other words, Kathie was now in full dream mode. In the Freudian sense Kathie had accessed her unconscious with little or no censorship from the conscious mind. She was free to indulge her libido with no sense of shame or guilt as we shall see when she becomes a groupie.
While drugs made her oblivious to the reactions of others by 1966 if not before she had created a reputation of sexual abandonment that made her repellant to many men and this may have influenced her decision to become a groupie. She slowly moved downtown from Madison Ave. into the lower reaches of the Bohemian East Side. She was no longer employable on Madison Avenue although they still threw her a bone occasionally.
She was still working at Aux Puces as a disc jockey but as the decade progressed and the homos became more and more obvious and open the hetero clientele of Aux Puces was driven away leaving the club 100% gay. This was too much for Kathie who had become progressively disenchanted of the homo scene, perhaps still brooding over her chastisement for performing hetero sex at the Pines, so she quit Aux Puces and decided that perhaps Groupieism was for her, especially as she was drawn to the musicians by her experience as a DJ.
Nineteen sixty-nine then marked a sea change in culture for herself post-Stonewall as well as for society at large. I don’t know how many of us were aware of Stonewall at the time and if we had been I’m sure we couldn’t have projected the societal changes of the next ten years. I don’t think anyone had even thought of disco in ‘69. I was in the record business on the West Coast at the time. I began a record store in a medium sized college town in ‘67 while my store was just taking off at the end of ‘69. While I was into pop culture- records and posters- I was still in a definite minority, almost of one. What the general population knew of pop culture was not good. Not that many at the university were aware of the sea change while none of the faculty was nor did they approve of it. Even posters were a relatively new phenomenon while the forms they were taking were well beyond the imaginations of most of us including myself. Warhol may have been old hat in NYC but the soup cans were still news out West.
New York was alien to those of us on the West Coast. We despised and reviled it. From San Francisco to the Canadian border along I5 the SF scene was what was happening. LA and SoCal was different. We were familiar with Warhol and when the Warhol tour of ‘67 appeared at the university as its last stop it was able to fill the university auditorium., perhaps a thousand people. That it was a faux Andy didn’t seem to bother the students so much. It was pretty clear that Midgette was an imposter. The administration felt defrauded however and demanded their money back. Rather our money although no attempt was made to refund our tickets.
The image of Warhol was a bit hazy. We’d read about him, heard of the superstars not knowing what to make of them but rushing events eclipsed their importance. I don’t think I even knew that Warhol was shot in ‘68. Perhaps his shooting was eclipsed by Robert Kennedy’s.
At the time Kathie decided to be a groupie the scene was already in decline. Altamont definitely ended the sixties. In 1970-71 the record business even became precarious supported during the entire summer of ‘71 by two releases: Carole King’s Tapestry and Cat Stevens’ Tea For The Tillerman. There were many days when those two records were virtually all that I sold. Then the Columbia Big Brother started to break the logjam; Janis Joplin somehow broke through to the middle class while the bands from ‘66 to ‘68 put out greatest hits packages and these and Led Zeppelin carried the industry through to ‘74. Then it was a disco run as homoseuxals took over the industry to the industry collapse of ‘79.
In 1969 then when Kathie decided to be a groupie, as I see it, she was running from a bad reputation into one that became much worse. Whatever talk there may have been about her could not have been good. Most of the groupies were very young girls; any rocker could have been picked up on a morals charge any day. That the federales didn’t do it is a wonder. Why worry about drugs which were difficult to prove when you got ‘em in a headlock over a thirteen year old girl. When Kathie decided to compete with the young stuff she was already a twenty-seven year old woman with sexual experience that few attain. I mean, when you reach a certain age you’re just not that cute anymore, you’ve crossed the line. Perhaps there was an aura of desperation about her.
She did manage to latch onto Burton Cummings of Guess Who in a very humiliating encounter. God, I don’t know how she survived it. In the first place Burton Cummings! I don’t mean to put Cummings down personally, who I am sure is a very fine person, but out on the consuming end of the industry Cummings and the Guess Who (Guess Who- what a super dumb name when there was already a group named The Who, also pretty dumb, had a semi stupid hit in American Woman and never could put together a first rate album) even then the rhythm section under the name of Bachman-Turner Overdrive put out a bigger LP than Guess Who ever could. The Guess Who were definitely third rate material. I used to groan every time Guess Who released another LP, them and Harry Nilsson- The Point!
The first time around was enough for Burton and then on her second attempt Burton deleted Kathie in New Jersey after all public transportation had closed down for the night leaving her without a dime in her pocket and no way back to NYC. A pretty desperate situation.
Indeed, desperate she ran back to the venue to beg the boys in the band to let her on the bus. They took her along on the loop through Philly and back to NYC. This is painful to relate and frankly I don’t know how Kathie could tell it but she gave blow jobs to all the boys in the band, minus Cummings, and then a their insistence blew the bus driver. The band dropped her off in the worst part of the Bronx, this is 1970, where she somehow cadged subway fare, found an entrance and got safely back to the Village.
I don’t know how she could psychologically survive that except that the drugs placed her mind safely outside reality. I can’t even guess how this is going to be told in the TV series.
Kathie had many other groupie adventures that I am only going to sum up in a poem she wrote commemorating her groupie adventures. I hope she won’t mind my quoting it in full. P. 95:
A GROUPIE’S LAMENT
Diamonds twinkle beneath my feet
On the Labor Day weekend street
Sunlight shines warm through my hair
You’d think there was no pollution there
Pimples sprout on my sleepless face
Varicose veins show the endless pace
My white dress dirty as I walk it home
But my head is up, so I’ll write a poem
I’m feeling beauty in my ghetto land
‘Cause I got it on with a rock and roll band
The trip was a long one; the bus was crazed
The guys and I were mostly dazed
We sang a few tunes from old rock and roll
And we hid the dope when we paid the toll
Burton ignored me, the silly fool
But the rest of the guys thought I was cool
From Asbury Park to Virginia Beach
I gave head like daybed philosophies teach
I feel good and I should and I even got a tan
On my two-day tour with a rock and roll band
You see I missed the last bus from the Jersey shore
And a taxi driver said that there were no more
So I went back to Convention Hall
And I got on their bus and I had a ball
The motels were sterile and the food was all plastic
But at their last set on Sunday I got freaked-out spastic
I know they all love me, ‘cause they told me so
As for Burton, well, I just don’t know
I’m the happiest broken heart, can you understand
‘Cause now I’m the friend of a rock and roll band
At that point Kathie’s life was going nowhere. Then Andy Warhol had Brigid Berlin’s taped phone conversations with her mother turned into a play he named Pork, tapped Kathie as Cherry Vanilla for the lead role of Brigid.
Part 4 follows.
August 21, 2011
Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla
Living In The System
Kathy was born in 1943 so as she left high school the sixties were emerging. Everybody talks about the sixties but nobody does anything about them. The sixties didn’t just happen, they erupted, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable as Warhol put it. Andy was right. The reason no one can remember the sixties is because so much was going on all anyone could see was their little fragment, that includes the so-called taste makers. All that crap you get from the sixties politicos glorifying themselves and their exploits is just crap. They were performing their act in a small little corner or the room pretending it was the whole stage. They were just a bunch of hard core losers anyway. Abbie Hoffman! Excuse me! Jerry Rubin, get out of my way. Allen Ginsburg? Pardon me while I puke.
No, no. The sixties were a happening no matter where you were. I’ve already touched on the drugs in Part One. Trust me, everyone but we happy few was on drugs whether prescription or street. I mean, Valium, my god! Straights ‘needed’ it to get through the day.
As I touched on in my Edie Sedgwick series the sixties were ushered in by the big 707 flying non-stop between NY and Europe beginning in 1959. That created the Jet Set who were the envy of all. Airports were small and intimate at the beginning of the decade burgeoning into the behemoths they have become as the airlines reduced prices and seduced people to fly. Not that I was, I didn’t get into the air until the seventies but as soon as I could I emulated the Jet Set flying to Europe and back three times in my best year.
So there were drugs and the Jet Set and the Kennedies. The Kennedies were the worst thing that ever
happened to the country. Of course in pedigree sensitive USA we are all conditioned to ignore national, religious and racial origins as if they don’t count but, let me tell you, they do. John F. Kennedy began the decade in 1960 replacing the vacated spot of Dwight David Eisenhower. The change was not nominal. Eisenhower knew what he was doing, Kennedy didn’t. Ike, as he was affectionately known, engineered the victory in Europe in WWII. He’d done a stellar job from ‘52 to ‘60. Knowing the devastation of war he resisted the hawks to keep the peace, and we hawks were quite vocal. Having inherited the Viet Nam situation from the French and FFL collapse he had contention in Indo-China under control which Nixon, had he been elected, was pledged to honor, if he could have executed.
Like I said, we’re not supposed to think, much less talk about, race, religion and nationality but the Kennedies were Irish Catholics who finally won the triumph over the Anglo-Saxon Protestants in America. The war between the Irish and English was hundreds of years old in 1923 when the Irish freed themselves from the English yoke. The Irish and Anglo-Saxon war in America had only been going on since the 1840s when the potato famine drove the Celtic lads to our shores at which time, in reaction, the so-called Know Nothing Party was created. In 1928 the Irish put Al Smith up as the Irish attempt to capture the New Island after De Valera’s 1923 success on the Ould Sod.
Times were not propitious for an Irish Catholic and Al was soundly defeated. But a gentleman named Joseph P. Kennedy, accruing a bootleg fortune with solid connections to Organized Crime was about to engineer the election of one of his sons to the highest office in the land. God only knows what goes on behind the scenes but his first choice, Joe Jr., was blown up flying over the channel. His second son John F. was given one of the most dangerous posts in the Navy, commanding a PT boat. It’s hard to believe that whoever it was that got Joe Jr. didn’t want him dead but John survived the war and began the corruption of the land from the highest office in 1960.
Kenney with amphetamines coursing through his veins and a mind centered on sex, which is to say fucking, was clueless along with his brother Bobby and his other nitwit sibling, Teddy. Within a matter of months he had us involved in a shooting war in Viet Nam, threatened by Khrushchev in the Cuban missile crisis, after he had taken the drug addicts measure at the summit, and then aborting the reconquest of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Is it any wonder the magnificent crew Ike had assembled offed him. Regardless of how history has been revised their were a great many us who sighed and said: Good riddance.
When Bobby stuck his head up from under his rock in 1968 there was no doubt he’d get it blown off, and he did. If you think the two assassinations aren’t connected, think again. So ’63 and ’68 were big years of a decade of big years. Teddy kept his head down after that but gained a measure of revenge by sponsoring the 1965 immigration bill.
In far off Africa a gentleman by the name of Barack Obama Sr. was leaving for Hawaii to get a college degree and beget the future President of the United States on a little simple minded White girl. It was in 1957 when the African colonies renounced their allegiance to their European overlords that Ghana proclaimed independence from Britain. Thus the complexion of the United Nations was changed overnight as colony after colony of a congeries of warring tribes, now known as countries, declared independence and sent emissaries to the UN. Thus the balance of power was shifted from the capable to the incapable in that momentous decade.
It should be noticed that Marcus Garvey began the coordination of the African peoples of the world a
few decades before independence was achieved by Africans and not improbably Garvey also furthered the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, thus the African independence movement and the Civil Rights Movement were occurring simultaneously and I suspect coordinated. Thus the African presence in the UN complemented the enormous Black riots that began in LA in ‘65 and reached their apex through ‘67, ‘68 and ‘69. The fabric of the country was rent and torn. The future of the country became increasingly ugly.
It’s difficult to say but after the double whammy of the movies The Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without A Cause of the mid-50s a new tone emerged in which the youthful violence came to the fore and not just lower class kids. This senseless rebellion without a cause represented a change in outlook occurring in the mid-fifties perhaps aggravated by Elia Kazan’s influential movie. Gangs of young rich guys terrorized the well to do sections of LA in ways that were inexplicable. The graduating classes of ‘53, ‘54 and ‘55 belonged to the previous era while 1956, the year I graduated, was the swing year between what was and what would be that began with the class of ‘57. About half the class of ‘56 looked backward and half, maybe less, faced forward toward the future. I was in the latter half.
Then in 1958, a twenty year old, class of ‘56 actually inspired by Rebel Without A Cause and James
Dean, so it was said, by the name of Charlie Starkweather went on a murderous rampage in Nebraska murdering several people simply for the sadistic thrills. It was bone chilling, perhaps the first of its kind. Charlie was quickly apprehended and executed in 1959.
Also in the fifties the homosexual, William Inge, wrote and produced the play Bus Stop, turned into a movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray in 1956. From those emerged the astonishingly violent TV series of one year only, Bus Stop, the production of which was supervised by Inge. That TV series transcended by miles any sadism and violence seen as yet in either TV or the movies. It even made the comic book Tales From The Crypt look tame by comparison.
Perhaps the most sickening episode in a season of sickening episodes was the one starring the teen idol Fabian as a sadistic murderous thrill killer who was obviously based on Charlie Starkweather. The episode by Altman was ambiguously titled: A Lion Walks Among Us. So the sadist was compared to a lion. The episode altered the direction of TV drama breaking down the doors for whatever followed and you know what that’s like. The impact was so strong that a Congressional hearing was called immediately to denounce it.
Already in an excited delirium young people were shown a new direction that was seized. Serial murderers that were unheard of during the early and mid-fifties became commonplace escalating, so it seemed, year by year.
Thus the scene in New York where Kathy was living her life became more violent by the month until after 1969 and the liberation of the homosexual psyche by the Stonewall Riot, when the crime became ultra sadistic and unbearable.
By the early seventies Dirty Harry and Death Wish symbolized the era moving well beyond Rebel Without A Cause or even Bus Stop as sadistic sick, sick violence. Insanity, really, and it characterized the country in the coming decades.
At the same time beginning in the early sixties pornography began its rise into the mainstream. While it was a good sized underground business before, in 1953 Hugh Heffner began publication of Playboy Magazine which brought porn into the mainstream. Playboy was followed by a host of ‘men’s’ magazines that got raunchier and raunchier. In the early sixties in San Francisco I noticed for the first time open advertisements in the Chronicle of porn films. There was a very active push to further pornography which was participated in by Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey and the Factory. In 1968 I Am
Curious: Yellow and Curious Blue were released. I Am Curious: Yellow was very influential in loosening sexual mores. Blue and Yellow were the colors of the Swedish flag. A Swedish pervert made the movie. This all led up to 1972’s Deep Throat which for all practical purpose shot porn into the mainstream. Porn and the so-called Sexual Revolution went hand in hand.
Since sex had been practiced the same ways since the origin of mankind the real sexual revolution was whether you could say ‘fuck’ in public. The pervert Lenny Bruce led that charge followed by George Carlin and certainly by the mid-seventies few movies were made where the word didn’t constitute 20% or so of the dialogue.
And then, of course there was the Viet Nam war. This effort was hampered in the US by the Judaeo-Communist allies of the Viet Namese. Naturally the US Communists said that there was no reason for the US to be involved blithely ignoring the history of the situation. Actually the war was part of the US-Soviet confrontation in which the US had made several mutual defense pacts with countries on the Communist borders in an effort to contain it. South Viet Nam which came into existence when the French Foreign Legion forsook their reputation was part of a mutual defense pack called SEATO- South East Asian Treaty Organization. When they were attacked by North Viet nam, of which there an be no doubt they were, the clause of the treaty was invoked involving the US in the defense of South Viet Nam. So, the US was legitimate if foolish in going to the defense of South Viet Nam.
Now, because of the seeming passiveness of the Jews during the so-called holocaust the Jews had acquired a reputation for being a weak ineffective people. The skullduggery that established the State of Israel in 1948 did nothing for their pride but the seemingly easy triumph of 1956 against the Egyptians through which war Israel purloined the Negev Desert Jewish pride of prowess began to blossom. You started seeing identifying marks like gold Stars of David necklaces appearing on bosoms of Jewish men with wide open shirt collars unbuttoned to the penis. Little different than Nazi insignia they were now worn with pride.
The 1967 war against the allied Arab States completed the transformation of Israel into the Neighborhood Bully. Jews now began to strut down the streets virtually knocking people out of the way with the Stars of David dangling everywhere. The Jewish Defense League followed in 1968 soon splitting into an even more violent Jewish Defense Organization. Under their leader Rabbi Kahane a war not too different from the Jabotinsky days in Palestine ensued with the ubiquitous bomb exploding in NYC instead of Jerusalem.
Now, as has recently emerged, the crucial years for Jews in the United States, which had nothing to do with any so-called holocaust, were the years between 1933 and the accession of Wolf Hitler in German and the US entry into WWII in 1942. Before the war in the ‘30s the Jews called opponents to their machinations, Fascists. The name included anyone from Henry Ford to Charles Lindbergh. A marginalization campaign was begun against all American nationalists that largely succeeded. In that period the Jews created the notion in their minds that they were the true Americans who had created this near-perfect democracy and the Anglo-Saxons who had preceded them were out to destroy the country and turn it into a Nazi satrapy.
Philip Roth commemorated this attitude in his novel back dated to this period, The Plot To Destroy
America. Thus through the fifties and sixties the Jews conspired to dispossess the ‘New Nazis’, that is non-Jewish White Americans. The war of ‘56 emboldened them so that by 1964 they were encouraged to seize the university system of the US. The first front opened was the so-called Free Speech Movement on the UC Berkeley campus whose real purpose was to displace Free Speech with Jewish controlled speech.
This was successful and when the dust had settled the Jews were in control of the campus stifling the free speech that had been the ostensible reason for the battle. As Mark Rudd would later say: The issue is not the issue. Jewish commissars set up tables at the Sather Gate to which students were demanded to submit to Jewish governance or else.
From Berkeley the battles strung out to other campuses, the most notable being Columbia in NYC while the other Ivy League campuses fell in line. Freedom of speech was the last thing on their mind.
Having achieved their goal at Berkeley the next step was to escalate the resistance to the Viet Nam war hence shielding their Communist allies in Hanoi. This was furthered significantly by the 1968 world wide offensive led by Chairman Mao and his Cultural Revolution so that by the time of Nixon’s reelection in 1972 the country was in a State of near revolution although it wasn’t that apparent on the street. I was amazed just before the election to see truckloads of soldiers brought into Eugene where I was living and a revolutionary hotbed, to be secreted in the hills in the event of an insurrection.
I have no idea if John Lennon and Yoko Ono knew how close they were to the edge but in retrospect they were not only lucky to be allowed to stay in the country let alone avoid imprisonment. If they hadn’t been so high profile I’m sure they would have been arrested. They were committing some pretty provocative acts. I’m sure that the money they gave to the movement through A.J. Weberman found its way into bombs.
Back in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson had inherited the White House after John F. Kennedy had escalated the war so that there was no way out but to go forward, Johnson was presented with the choice of guns or butter. Would there be a period of austerity as in WWII when the choice had been guns or butter. Between those two choices Lyndon chose a third- guns and butter. Things would go on as close to normal as possible. It was weird. His administration occupied the center years of the decade while the Judaeo-Communists would give him no peace. I mean, you know, the hundreds of bombings went on with no qualms on the part of the domestic terrorists.
And lastly, while all previous generation had been known by their literature the current generation, my generation, was known by its song writers and music. Everyone picked up a guitar and wrote songs. This essentially came in two, maybe, three waves. The first was spearheaded by Elvis Presley, the second by the British Invasion from 1964 to 1966 and the possible third from 1966 to 1974 after which the generation exhausted itself. It was along about 1966 that Kathy made the fateful decision to become a groupie and this would define her life until her mental breakdown in the late seventies.
When the Beatles and the Stones hit these shores they were just singers and bandsmen, popular, but nothing more. The notion of the Group began to be deified in San Francisco after Ken Kesey’s Acid Test. The group members were suddenly invested with nearly superhuman powers and wisdom. All you had to do to become a Holy Guru was stand up on stage, hit a couple of chords, and shout out ‘Mercy, mercy me, the ecology.’ with a raised fist. The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother And The Holding Company, people of questionable character all became secular saints. One grows faint thinking it but, yea verily, gods. And this only from playing the guitar badly and voicing universal popular sentiments. Don’t trust anyone over thirty said a twenty-nine year old and immediately thirty-somethings were posing as teenagers. Too late now, isn’t it?
If you break down the ages, the first wave was born sometime in the early to mid-thirties, Presley was born in ‘35, Little Richard in ‘32.
The first wave of Rockers was spent by the late fifties succeeded by an interim group of nondescripts like Bobby Vee and Bobby Vinton. Nice enough but not essential or memorable. The Beach Boys were the top American group from 1960-64. Then came the second wave, these were men born from 1938 to 1945- Lennon ‘40, Dylan ‘41, Jagger ‘43 and this was the core age through the sixties. So the second wave, the true Rock phenomenon was a product of people born from 1938 to 1945. In the seventies Bowie ‘47, Billy Joel ‘49, those of the fifties came to fore as the generational impetus sputtered out. The Bowies and Joels were of a different sensibility than the main second wave. They grew up under different circumstances.
As the second wave gathered strength not as mere entertainers but as potent pop culture figures, adoring young girls emerged as groupies. Their sexual excesses were scandals although the concept of groupie was nothing new. Anywhere there are glamorous or powerful men accessible women will appear as well as, one might add, homosexuals. There are literary groupies and business groupies, etc. However Rock groupies tended toward being under aged jail bait not infrequently barely out of puberty and unconcerned for any consequences, indeed, not knowing of any.
So when Kathy discovered groupies she determined to become one although incongruously as old as the musicians themselves as she had been born in ‘43. It was kind of like somebody’s mother turning groupie. As she said of her groupie career she wanted a band to offer her a job. Finally David Bowie did.
This was the world in which Kathy Dorrotie was making her way.
Great Groupies Of The Sixties Series
Cherry Vanilla: Lick Me
Vanilla, Cherry: Lick Me, How I Became Cherry Vanilla, 2010, Chicago Review Press
The sixties were the first period of excessive drug use. Nearly everyone carried something, whether prescription or street. How influential drugs would have been without psychedelics is questionable. Psychedelics were legal for most of the sixties while enjoying great cachet. LSD led many a poor boy and girl into drug use. Live Better Through Chemistry was the parody of the motto. LSD stories are legendary, people taking thousands of mics. People dropping LSD daily for months on end. Doug Dillard of the Dillards Band according to legend dropped daily for a couple of years or so. Hendrix found in the desert crawling around on his hands and knees. Incredible stuff.
Cherry Vanilla, nee Kathy Dorritie, certainly qualifies as a heavy drug and LSD user. Staggering amounts. She tells of a friend of hers who had a vial of what she believed to be pure liquid LSD. She describes him saturating sugar cubes with it until the cubes began to disintegrate, then swallowing the cube. I can’t comprehend the dosage. After one massive dose she experienced a white out of her mind during which she went blind experiencing only a sense of blinding light. She doesn’t say, probably doesn’t know, how long it lasted. Life changing though.
Kathie was already an accomplished writer before beginning her autobiography so needed no co-writer. I had recognized her style of writing before I read the account of her LSD intake. LSD has an amazing effect on the mind which produces a very distinctive writing style. Very clear, very organized, written at a very intense level with the little variation in dynamics that inevitably becomes a numbing bore, but so well constructed that it reflects the blinding light that Kathy experienced.
Tim Leary who was a major acid freak wrote some truly amazing books reflecting the LSD experience while if you want to read an amazing virtuoso performance find a copy of Stephen Gaskins Haight Ashbury Flashbacks. These authors write with such amazing clarity and precision as to astound.
But, LSD is a totally inward experience, a complete divorce from the outside world which ceases to exist or becomes a sort of movie set. There is such an intense preoccupation with self that even though the writing is crisp and exciting the tone becomes boring as the inner self isn’t that interesting. The writing is on such an intense, unvarying level that there are no dynamics. (That I’ve repeated myself means I mean it.)
The dissociation from external reality is so complete that one loses all self-consciousness, thus Kathie, or Cherry Vanilla, is able to copulate in public without any sense of embarrassment, indeed, even with a sense of liberation. One might think she was an exhibitionist except that she is so preoccupied that she is almost unaware.
In time the inner world takes such precedence that one is unable to distinguish between the inner world of wishful thinking and the outer world of appearances. Thus Tim Leary could imagine shrinking a few acres of earth into a small size to take with him on a space trip to other planets and believe it possible. As if he wasn’t spaced enough. His final fantasy was incredible enough and he was actually able to realize it.
When he died he willed that he be cremated and his ashes put in a real space ship and rocketed into space. He’s up there now orbiting the planet every couple hours. As his orbit degrades he will one day reenter the atmosphere as a shooting star. Just absolutely incredible.
I don’t know how far out Kathy is but I imagine she finds it quite easy to draw a straight line from Point A to Point 9.
Now, not only did Kathy do amazing amounts of LSD but she was on the money on other drugs too provided they gave the proper result. She rejected heroin after a few times because it didn’t take her where she wanted to go.
She was a perfect child of the sixties even having a fine Dr. Feelgood. One finds her memoirs less than trustworthy because she feels compelled to change names, not all, but some, we just don’t know which ones.
For instance she calls her Feelgood, Dr. Bishop. That good doctor is the same as Dr. Roberts in Jean Stein and George Plimpton’s book, Edie about Edie Sedgwick. Dr. Roberts is also a false name so we can’t be sure. Perhaps Dr. Bishop is his real name but I can’t be sure. Jean Stein and George Plimpton also quote Kathy under the name of Cherry Vanilla concerning an encounter with Dr. Roberts/Bishop that Kathy repeats here but quite differently. Kathy’s memoirs were published in 2010 while Edie was published in 1982 so Kathy has had plenty of time to think about Dr. Bishop; while on the other hand Stein and Plimpton appear to have used a heavy editing hand. All of the dozens of people they interviewed sound remarkably alike so the interviews may reflect more of Stein and Plimpton’s modes of thought. Perhaps they edited to make the text more exciting.
It is quite possible that Dr. Roberts/Bishop may have been with the CIA doing drug experiments. The CIA was certainly active in the field at the time. Bishop was even happy to participate as his own guinea pig. This is an interesting topic so I am going to quote Kathy extensively as she repeats and edits her account from Edie.
By the summer of 1963 (when she was twenty) I had already become quite familiar with booze, grass, hash, coke, speed, opium, uppers, downers, and hallucinogens like mescaline, peyote and psilocybin because they were my favorites.
Those were just her favorites. So in two years since she left home she had really been doing some living while at the same time performing well at her advertising job on Madison Avenue.
And then, pp 50-53:
I’m in with the in crowd;
I go where the in crowd goes,
I’m in with the in crowd:
And I know what the in crowd knows.
By Billy Page as sung by Dobie Gray
c. Warner/Chappell Music
The Jet Set and the In Crowd
Two sixties institutions
Keeping up with the schedule I was on back then would have been impossible were it not for the drugs. And in 1966 I got introduced to the in crowd’s newest elixir. Dr. Bishop’s vitamin shots. At thirty-five dollars a pop, they were pretty expensive, but one or two a day would keep you up forever, and keep you looking fresh and vibrant the whole time. I forget who first introduced me to Dr. Bishop. It might have been Joel Schumacher (one of the original designers of the Paraphernalia store), whom I’d recently met at the Pines (Fire Island homosexual hangout), or Wally Clapham, a friend of Joel’s I knew from Mad Ave. Anyway, someone had to bring you there. You couldn’t just walk in off the street.
Dr. Bishop’s office was located on the ground floor of a highrise near First Avenue and later in a mansion at 53rd and Madison. It was a scene so quintessentially sixties you couldn’t even imagine a doctor’s office like it today. The clubby drug buzz in the waiting room was so dense and intense, you got high on anticipation just walking in there. The “nurses” (none of us knew or cared if they were really nurses or not) wore seductively modern sportswear and often pulled down your pants and gave you your shot in the hallway, while the examining room might be occupied by Dr. Bishop giving someone the sixty dollar special and/or somebody “having a bad reaction.” Everyone was always in a rush, wanted to be seen first, had somewhere to be, had a taxi waiting, whatever. But then once they got that shot in the ass, they often couldn’t tear themselves away from the clinically and socially charged atmosphere and would get caught up in the speed rap session that was always going on among the patients.
When the taste of the iron, or whatever it was, hit your mouth, you started getting off on the shot. And as long as the soreness in your ass lasted, your stamina pretty well lasted too, a good six to eight hours anyway. The first half hour after the shot was dangerous, because you often got a sudden urge to shop, buy someone a gift, spend the rent money on something pretty. And right across the street from the 53rd Street office was a shop called Hunter’s World and, oh my God, how many elephant hair bracelets and zebra skin notebooks could anyone possibly need?….The other temptation was a nearby crystal and rock shop, where it was especially hard to resist the colorful sparklers.
Dr. Bishop had his favorite patients, especially the one male and one female he’d singled out from each sign of the zodiac. I was his Libra girl. I can’t believe I had a huge sense of pride about that. It meant that, along with the vitamins and speed, my shot might get an extra dose of whatever he was experimenting with that week- things like adrenaline stimulants, niacin and even LSD. And he’d have his favorites call him about an hour after getting a shot to let him know what we were feeling. The guy was using us all as guinea pigs, and I thought he was some kind of savior, freeing us all from the need for food and sleep.
One night Dr. Bishop came by Aux Puces while I was spinning and offered me a free shot of something special if I’d come to his office after work. All night at the turntables my mouth was watering at the prospect of what was to come. And as soon as we closed I ran the two blocks over there to take him up on his offer. As his building’s open-sided elevator rose through its day-glo painted, black-lit shaft, I felt positively dizzy with excitement. A minute later I was alone with Dr. B. in his fabulous office space, with it high ceilings, mahogany paneled walls, dance studio, and all those delicious drugs in the cabinets. He loaded the needles and instructed me to slap his ass, poke him fast, and slowly push the plunger on the first one. And then he shot me up on the second. A few minutes later, he had his fingers up my pussy and I was rushing beyond belief.
Pretty soon, I was going numb all over, even in my brain. Then all of a sudden there was blood everywhere and Dr. Bishop just laughed and said rather flippantly, “My dear, you’re bleeding. Maybe you should see a doctor.” I knew I didn’t have my period and I didn’t feel any pain, but the shock of seeing the blood running down my legs made me come to my senses. Even though the bleeding seemed to be subsiding, I just wanted to get out of there and get away from him as fast as I could. It wasn’t easy, since he’d become perturbed and paranoid about the fact I was leaving.
I went back to Aux Puces, where the new maitre d’, David Smith, was tripping after hours with Jay Martin and a couple of friends. I banged desperately hard on the locked front door and, luckily, they heard me above the loud music they were playing. My shaken state and gory story must have been a real bummer for them on their LSD high but they snapped into action immediately and got a limo to take me to the emergency room. Turned out I had cuts and scratches inside my vagina made by a ring or more sinister object, though the doctors said no major damage had been done. By that time the bleeding had stopped and I still wasn’t feeling any pain. Though questioned I refused to rat out Dr. Bishop and was quickly released. I went back to join the gang at Aux Puces, where we opened a few bottles of Chateau Lafitte Rothschild ‘60, smoked some hash-oiled joints and partied until dawn.
Let’s examine the above. As I said Stein’s Edie was about twenty-eight years old when Kathy wrote this. She undoubtedly read Edie so was familiar with her testimony then and as the account combines and adds to Joel Schumacher’s and her own story it is possible she had a copy of the book before her and wrote from it.
The time she is writing about is 1966 which was the heyday of the Doctor Feelgoods. I don’t know that a study has been done on them yet but there were apparently dozens of these guys practicing dope medicine beginning in approximately 1960. As is well known a Dr. Max Jacobson was operating in the early sixties with an extensive elite clientele that included then President John F. Kennedy. Dr. Jacobson even accompanied Kennedy to the Khruschev summit meeting where he kept Kennedy loaded on these shots. So for roughly six years New York City had been speeding along and whatnot.
At the same time the uptown Doctor, E. 87th, that the Beatles refer to as Dr. Robert was managing an extensive clientele. Kathy refers to her guy as Dr. Bishop who is the same guy Jean Stein refers to as Dr. Roberts. We may assume that neither name is correct. Both Dr. Robert and Jacobson were Jewish, I believe Bishop probably was also. In fact all, or nearly all, of these doctors were probably Jewish.
Now Kathy believed Dr. Bishop was experimenting on his clients. If he was shooting them up with unknown drugs without their knowledge that was at the very least unethical not to mention shooting them up with amphetamines at all. To say that no one knew the effects of amphetamines at the time is nonsense. Amphetamines had been around since 1887 while every army of WWII issued tablets to their troops. Hitler’s own Dr. Feelgood kept him filled with amphetamines for years and his deterioration was obvious. But, perhaps, more clinical observations were wanted or a more precise understanding of how large numbers of people reacted and could be controlled was needed. Maybe they wanted to know how easy it would be to control and direct populations on drugs.
It is well known that the CIA and other governmental agencies experimented with drugs on soldiers and even to unknowing members of the civilian population. Extensive experiments with LSD were carried on by the CIA in the late fifties and early sixties. Stanford and UC Berkeley for instance were running programs in the mid-sixties running ads in the newspapers for volunteers as this was happening in NYC.
So who would have been the beneficiaries of knowledge obtained by these Jewish Dr. Feelgoods who had very large supplies of amphetamines, cocaine which wasn’t too common in ‘66 and was definitely illegal, LSD was just being made illegal, and who knows what experimental drugs? It could have been conducted under the auspices of the US Government agencies who were researching mind control. But the information most likely was going two ways- one to the US authorities, the other way to Jewish psychological ops who could draw their own conclusions for their own purposes. Let’s face it old drugs have been made available while new drugs are invented everyday and find easy distribution so every young person has had his or her consciousness altered beyond recognition.
At any rate with all those doctors with crowded waiting rooms the buzz over New York City must have been audible for miles and miles. And all that didn’t include freelancers like Brigit Berlin of the Andy Warhol crowd.
July 23, 2011
Edie Sedgwick: Maid Of Constant Sorrow
We are now at the beginning of June 1966. Life was careening very fast for Edie, Andy and Bob. Oddly enough all three were headed for life threatening experiences. The first to take a hit was Dylan. He had his famous spill from his motorcycle in July of that summer. His back wheel locked up sending him flying over the handlebars. It has never been made clear how badly he was hurt or if he was even hurt at all but he was observed in a neck brace so a report that he had a cracked vertebra in his neck may be accurate. He may have come within an ace then of being paralyzed from the neck down or killed.
It seems to me unlikely that the rear wheel accidentally locked up. As Dylan was one whose conduct from, say, ‘63 to ‘66 should have made him a lot of enemies it seems likely that someone was seeking revenge. There are strong indications if not evidence that Andy Warhol was the most likely candidate.
Andy was not one to wear his heart on his sleeve but my thinking after reading extensively and thinking deeply is that in his own way Andy was deeply in love with Edie. Given his homosexuality there was apparently no way for him to express his feelings to her. Edie on her part remarked to Dylan that she had really tried to get close to Andy. While Andy strove to appear indifferent he expressed his resentment at David Weisman and his movie Ciao Manhattan that exploited Edie’s fame while destroying whatever was left of her reputation.
At the same time too he resented Dylan for purloining Edie and then discarding her. Andy was controlled by the notion that there was no stopping a person from following their bent or as he put it: How do you stop someone from doing what they want to do. Indeed, all one can do is step out of the way and let them do it. Thus, while the attitude is callous he was heard to remark that if Edie was going to commit suicide he hoped that she let him film it. The logic is not unreasonable but the attitude comes across cold.
As Edie seemed intent on going with Dylan Andy felt that there was no way to stop her. It never occurred to him that he himself was exploiting her by using her in his movies. As he saw it he was creating avenues to success for his people and it was up to them to create their own opportunities from that fame. Not too much different than he was doing for himself. It apparently never occurred to him that none of his people had the talent to do anything on their own although some did try.
He does not seem to have been aware that what was fame for him was mere notoriety for them. He had merely created a clubhouse for drugged out buffoons. Thus when things began to fall apart in mid-’66 when the mise en scene began to be broken up by Andy’s trip to Hollywood his entourage was merely dispersed with no direction home.
The case with Ondine was as pathetic as that with Edie. With the accession of Paul Morrissey and Fred Hughes who encouraged Andy to drop the whole A-head and Silver Factory crowd which they correctly saw as a liability the Silver Factory’s days were numbered. This was made easier by the end of ‘67 when Warhol was advised that his lease would not be renewed. Everyone was told there would be no place for them at the new quarters. The Factory building was subsequently torn down in 1969 to make room for the Dag Hammerskjold project.
For Ondine who was completely burned out by the amphetamines this was disastrous. He ended up at the post office for a while then tried to capitalize on his notoriety by stealing a film in which he starred from Andy trying to make money by exhibiting it while lecturing on his Factory days. He was apparently pathetic while Andy turned his back on him without a thought.
The same was true of Gerard Malanga who was dumped in 1967. Andy’s treatment of this most competent and valuable assistant is a real blot on his record. Malanga was a man of some talent and ability. I don’t think much of poetry but Malanga has a position in the NYC poetry scene. He introduced Andy into a milieu beneficial to him that he would not have known otherwise.
At a time when Andy was turning his art in the direction of multiple copies, essentially posters, Malanga who was knowledgeable in silk screening taught Andy the process. I am of the opinion that Gerard was essentially a collaborator in Warhol’s art. He assisted in the screening contributing skill and know how while undoubtedly making good suggestions. Of course he followed Andy’s lead. All this time he was paid only the minimum wage so, in a sense, he sacrificed a half dozen of his most valuable years for little recompense and as it turned out nothing in the way of thanks. In 1967 he went to Italy in an attempt to further his fortunes. While there he ran out of money having no way to pay his fare home. Andy refused his pleas for help, so Gerard who was completely familiar with Andy’s process of selecting photographs, such as the Presleys, selected a photo of Che Guevara and screened a few copies representing them as genuine Warhols. From my point of view they were authentic Warhols produced without the Master’s hand but still, perhaps, genuine.
When art authorities checked with Warhol, Andy dropped the ball. He should have confirmed them as no one could tell the difference and rescued Gerard. Instead he made Gerard guilty of art fraud which gave Gerard some very trying moments with the Italian authorities. Gerard made it back to New York but now having served as Warhol’s apprentice during his twenties, at thirty he had no marketable skills while being essentially a convicted criminal. Having no other recourse and some rights in my estimation, he expropriated, as the Leftist criminals used to say, some of Andy’s multiples and sold them. In a way in Andy’s mind this acknowledged his primacy and he didn’t press charges but he did disavow authentic prints as genuine.
We now move to ‘68, Andy under the influence of Morrissey and Hughes while forced to change quarters as his former space was condemned, disavowed the whole former Factory crowd telling them to get lost, that they were no longer welcome at the new Factory.
You can’t do this without making a large number of enemies. Andy just before his shooting was not so popular a fellow. And we are not quite there yet.
Edie going into the last half of ‘66 and into ‘67 was in dire straits. She was now completely unable to function without amphetamines. Cut off from all sources of income she was forced into thievery to support her habit. She was caught and did time. She was to spend more time at public mental hospitals that were quite unlike the posh Silver Hill of Connecticut. One can only guess the effect this disastrous series of events, a series with no seeming end, had on her psychology. Or perhaps we can get a glimmer from the biker group she hung out when she returned to Santa Barbara after the stunning humiliation of Ciao Manhattan. There she became a biker chick offering herself to all comers for a dose of drugs. Certainly her self-respect had been obliterated. Certainly she no longer thought she had any value as a human being. The mind can only be battered so much before it gives way. The men in her life had treated her shamefully, her father, Fuzzy, Warhol and Dylan as well as her evil mentor, Chuck Wein.
If, as claimed in the movie Factory Girl, her father had sexual relations with her as a young girl then his obligations extended much further than a paltry allowance that he cut off . Then he is morally liable for her degradation. If as Warhol thought there was no way to stop someone from doing what they want to do, then he was under no obligation to provide the ways and means. In all probability in the environment of NYC of the early and mid-sixties Edie would have drifted into amphetamines anyway. Indeed, as Andy said, Edie was a regular patron of the feel good doctor, Roberts.
Roberts was a licensed physician as was that other chief Dr. Feelgood, Max Jacobson. Doesn’t society have to obligation to protect its citizens from charlatans and quacks? Didn’t they throw some poor innocent Jim Bakker in jail because they disliked his religion? Didn’t society pursue hapless marijuana smokers and criminalize them by the thousands? Can the doctors actually claim they didn’t know the deleterious effects of amphetamines when they had the example of the most notorious amphetamine user ever, Adolf Hitler, before them?
Even if they tried they were still were medical malpractitioners and criminally liable. Read this quote from Edie by Jean Stein for an account of these doctors’ methods and practices. This is absolutely terrifying. There is a problem with Stein and Plimpton however. Apparently there was no Dr. Charles Roberts; Roberts is a name substituted by Stein to ‘protect’ the real doctor, who in any event would likely have been discredited c. 1968 when the Dr. Feelgoods were finally discountenanced. Also there may be confusion with the Dr. Robert, without an ‘s’ of the Beatles’ song. He was apparently Dr. Robert Feynman, a sixty year old man who was discredited in 1968. In any event since Stein and Plimpton didn’t announce the name change their whole history of Edie is compromised more than somewhat. Who knows what edits the two authors made. To quote the account, p.261, Edie:
Joel Schmacher reporting:
I’ll give a description of what it was like to go to Dr. Roberts. The time is two-thirty in the afternoon. I’m going back for my second shot of the day. I open the door. There are twenty-five people in the waiting room; businessmen, beautiful teenagers on the floor with long hair playing guitars, pregnant women with babies in their arms, designers, actors, models, record people, freaks, non-freaks…waiting. Everyone is waiting for a shot, so the tension in the office is beyond belief.
Lucky you, being a special Dr. Roberts person who can whip right in without waiting. Naturally there’s a terrible resentful, tense moment as you rush by because you’re going to get your shot.
You attack one of the nurses. By that I mean you grab her and say, “Listen, Susan! Give me a shot!” You’re in the corridor with your pants half off, ready to get the shot in your rear. Meanwhile Dr. Roberts comes floating by. Dr. Roberts has had a few shots already, right? So in the middle of this corridor he decides to tell you his complete plan to rejuvenate the entire earth. It’s a thirteen part plan, but he has lots of time to tell it to you, and as the shots start to work-Susan having given it to you- you have lots of time to listen.
In Dr. Roberts’s room would be Edie…so thin that she cannot be given her shots standing up; she has to lie down on her stomach. It was a big shot- all those vitamins, niacin, methedrine. God knows what else- for a little girl she has to take it lying down.
Meanwhile everyone who’s back in the corridor for the second or third time that day complains that the shots they received that morning haven’t worked. Out in the waiting room you can hear the people complaining that they haven’t even received their first shot yet.
And Dr. Roberts is still going on. In the middle of his thirteen-part plan he decides to tell you about a movie he saw on television…in detail. You however, are telling him your ideas for whatever you are going to do. But then Dr. Roberts begins to describe his idea for a plastic Kabuki house. Someone else is showing his sketches for redesigning the Boeing 707 with a psychedelic interior. Big doings at Dr. Roberts all the time.
Now you decide to go back out through the waiting room, right? Now you have all the time in the world. Life is a breeze. You’ve used the sun lamp, I mean, you were in a great rush when you came in; now, finally, you decide you’ll leave.
But there in the room are all these people who are not Dr. Roberts special people and who still haven’t been served. They’re there to spend as much money as you have, but they’re not part of the “in” crowd. So they’re drifting off into craziness because they haven’t gotten their shots. A couple of people are wandering around…their poor systems are so riddled with the methedrine they got half an hour ago they feel is not working that they’ve come back for what Dr. Roberts call “the booster.” The basic Dr. Roberts shot goes for from ten dollars to fifteen dollars. As your resistance to the drug gets to the point of diminishing returns, you move on up. There is a big shot for twenty-five dollars, and if it doesn’t work you go right back and get the “the booster’ for five dollars. That’s what some of these poor people are doing- standing out there waiting for the booster. But you …you are flying high, having just had your twenty-five dollar special, and you walk out ino the outer office and say: “Hi, Oh, hi! What a beautiful sweater! Gee you look wonderful! How are you? Oh, hi! Isn’t it wonderful to see you! What’s happening?”
Before leaving, I’d often go and find Edie in Dr. Roberts’ sauna. If we’d been up all night on drugs, the sauna and steam-bath were wonderful things. We’d go and walk for blocks and blocks…just be together, because we didn’t know what we were saying half the time.
The speed thing was so wonderful because everyone was walking around scared to death…scared because they couldn’t sustain the pace. And so these shots from Dr. Roberts and all those other speed doctors gave you a false sense of being together. You cold face everybody when you went out at night. You could dance all night. It was like “the answer.” Nobody knew much about speed in those days.
Once Edie’s mother came to Dr. Roberts! I remember she was on crutches. She looked like Betty Crocker-gray hair with a little hairnet, a blue print dress, and little glasses. She looked like a librarian from the Mid-west standing next to Edie with her cut-off blond hair with the dark roots, thigh-high boots, and mini-skirt, and a kind of chubby fur jacket that looked like it was made out of old cocker spaniels. There they were- the two of them. Mrs. Sedgwick had come to see if Dr. Roberts was taking good care of her little girl…and I guess the parents paid for her treatment. It cost a lot for those shots.
I’m not sure I trust Joel’s memories but that is sure good speed freak talk. Love it. And then there’s this from Cherry Vanilla, p. 265:
I became like an acid queen. I loved it. My looks got crazier and crazier. I started getting into things like pink wigs, teasing them up to make them real big and like bubbles. I’d wear goggle glasses and real crazy make-up: spidery lashes and white lips, and micro-minis. I saw a micro-mini on Edie and immediately started cutting everything off. Kenneth Jay Lane earrings. Big Robert Indiana LOVE earrings, giant love paintings on my ears. Little bikini undies, a band around the top; and we made these silver dresses that were just silver strings hanging on us. I was surrounded by a lot of gay boys in designing and decorating who would always give me a hand in pulling some look together. I would go out half-naked with see through things. You took a scarf and wrapped it around you and thought you were dressed.
I gave Dr. Roberts a shot once. In the ass, in his office about five o’ clock in the morning. I had been playing records at Aux Puce- I was the disc jockey there- and he had come around to visit and said, “If you come back to my office with me, I’ll give you a shot.” It was a freebie, which was nice because those shots were not cheap.
I really got into having a needle in my ass. Just the feeling of it. You get the shot, then this taste in your mouth, and you get a rush and you knew you were getting high. It was all very sexual in a way, and very “in” and social and stylish to do it. So I went back to his office with him and I gave him one and he gave me one.
I don’t know what he shot me up with, but it was something I had certainly never had before. I was really very numbed. Maybe it was cocaine. Sometimes he would shoot you with LSD. You never knew what he was going to shoot you with. So we got involved in a rather heavy sex encounter.
All of a sudden there was blood everywhere. I was bleeding like crazy. He laughed and said, “Oh, I think you should go and see a doctor.” Very bizarre. I started freaking out. I thought, “Oh, my God, this man has done something to me.. He’s killed me. I’m going to die here in his office, all shot up with drugs, and it’s going to be a disgrace and terrible.” I told him I had to get out. He said, “No, no, you can’t leave. I’ll fix you. I’ll give you a shot.” I said, “No, no, no more shots!” I got dressed. I never thought he was going to let me out. Perhaps he was scared I would go to the police.
When I did get out, I ran around the corner to Aux Puces. Some of the staff used to hang out there very late at night taking LSD. Sure enough, they were there. We called doctors. We couldn’t get anybody. Then the bleeding began to subside suddenly- about seven in the morning. I never actually knew what happened. I had been cut inside- scratched with something, fingernails or jewelry…probably by accident. I think we both just got carried away.
Exciting times. And finally we have this from Edie. This is a transcript from Ciao Manhattan.
It’s hard to choose between the climactic ecstasies of speed and cocaine. They’re similar. Oh, they are so fabulous. That fabulous sexual exhilaration. Which is better, coke or speed?” It’s hard to choose. The purest speed, the purest coke, and sex is a deadlock.
Speeding and booze. That gets funny. You get chattering at about fifty miles an hour over the downdraft, and booze kind of cools it. It can get very funny. Utterly ridiculous. It’s a good combination for a party. Not for an orgy, though.
Speedball! Speed and heroin. That was the first time I had a shot in each arm. Closed my eyes. Opened my arms. Closed my fists, and jab, jab. A shot of cocaine and speed, and a shot of heroin. Stripped off all my clothes, leapt downstairs, and ran out on Park Avenue and two blocks down it before my friends caught me. Naked. Naked as a lima bean. A speedball is from another world. It’s a little bit dangerous. Pure coke, pure speed, and pure sex. Wow! The ultimate in climax. Once I went over to Dr. Roberts for a shot of cocaine. It was very strange because he wouldn’t tell me what it was, and I was playing it cool. It was my first intravenous shot, and I said, “Well, I don’t feel it.” And he gave me another one, and all of a sudden I went blind. I just flipped out of my skull! I ended up wildly balling him and flipping him out of his skull. He was probably shot up…he was always shooting up around the corner anyway.
It would appear that Edie was very familiar with drugs and very welcoming to them. The quote doesn’t tell us whether Edie was first introduced to amphetamines at the Factory and then found Dr. Roberts or vice-versa but we do have an environment at the factory in which Brigit Berlin walked around injecting people with or without their consent. The question then is how innocent is Andy really. What sort of milieu had he created for his amusement.
The Factory was a clubhouse for what were essentially lowlife homosexual drug addicts. This must have been the overriding first impression. As such the women had to be accessories to attract men and outsiders. They were there essentially to be abused. They put the Factory in bad odor. As Andy says the police were through the Factory so often it might as well have been the precinct house. Warhol himself was generally known as ‘that creep’ while the more respectable people thought the place poison.
Andy’s genius however did turn it into an ‘in’ place by 1966 where certain celebrities with cachet found the place exciting and for a short period gave it a certain status.
As I have pointed out Warhol was a leader in both the Homosexual Revolution and the Underman Revolution. By late 1966, early 1967 we are not too far from the Stonewall Riot of ‘69 that ended restriction and harassment of homosexuals in NYC and the rest of the country. It was the end of rock n’ roll. After Stonewall the period began that homosexuals called the Candy Store Era. It was a time when anything went that ended about ten years later when AIDS made its appearance on the scene. Of course if any of us had heard of the Stonewall Riot we would have missed its significance nor did anyone understand the astounding change that was the Candy Store Era or even know they were in it. A sub-text of the Homosexual Revolution is the subversion of heterosexuality which goes without saying. Thus the Factory was a prototype of the nightclub that would realize the ideal of absolutely promiscuous sex- Studio 54. Thus as the homosexually led nightlife of the Candy Store Era developed Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager created the ultimate Factory in Studio 54. That club was everything Andy wanted the Factory to be- a celebrity paradise. The place was filled with celebrities, sexual perversion and drugs. All inhibitions were down. Studio 54 became Andy’s clubhouse where he spent his nights as a voyeur.
Rubell and Schrager were not overly discreet so that the Feds, at least, were onto them from the beginning although NYC authorities must have been paid off as they didn’t harass the club. At Studio 54 the Undermen forged a very destructive attack on elite White America. According to Anthony Haden-Guest in his book, Studio 54, a concerted assault was made to corrupt prep school youth- boys and girls by using drugs, liquor and sex. According to Haden-Guest the conspirators were quite successful in debasing both boys and girls in much the same manner Edie had been debauched under Warhol’s tutelage.
This raises the question again of how innocent Andy really was. His competitor Bob Dylan is supposed to have hated Andy for debauching Edie but that may have been the pot calling the kettle black.
Andy’s record of the treatment of women is not good but in keeping with the homosexual ethos. The gays dislike women as competitors, as they believe, for men’s favors. While not considering themselves psychotic they believe that if there were no women all men would be theirs. The irrationality of the belief shall pass without comment. Hence they imitate women to attract men. An inevitable consequence of their attitude is the need to debase and humiliate women.
While being of this mindset Andy as the little Ruthenian immigrant boy who was himself humiliated and rejected by the upper crust of Pittsburgh found delight in debasing and humiliating upper crust women. This runs through his whole career. Edie came from a very old American family that was very prominent in both Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Boston, from whence they arose and New York City. Her father had moved West from New York only shortly before she was born. Although raised as a half wild girl on a vast ranch near Santa Barbara Edie could claim to be a New York society girl. Indeed, her grandmother still maintained her position on the East Side.
While Andy may indeed have loved Edie it was probably more for her background than for herself. The prize of an Anglo-American princess must have been beyond Andy’s juvenile dreams. Indeed, it was through her that Andy first tasted any social success. If they were inseparable during that glorious summer of ‘65 it was because Andy was basking in Edie’s social glamour. And yet one doesn’t find reverence or respect for Edie as a person. Andy allowed her to pick up the check at expensive restaurants not only for himself but his whole entourage of freeloaders. As these were all Underclass people you may be sure they took full advantage of her largesse. I am perhaps a trifle old fashioned but to me this is unforgivable in Andy.
While Andy may have been hard pressed financially to maintain his large and growing establishment there appears to have been no gratitude for Edie relieving the strain. As his entourage grew Andy began to yearn for a restaurant where he could exchange art for food and drink. This was provided in 1966, after Edie was out of favor, when Mickey Ruskin opened Max’s Kansas City in December of ‘65.
The rest of women at the Factory were treated with disrespect although they submitted to it with stoic resignation. One reads with horror the treatment of Viva in Tucson during the filming of Warhol’s cowboy parody and putdown, once again a homosexual extravaganza.
And then there was the ever present sado-masochism that permeated the Factory. An acceptance and celebration of the perversion. The attitude was expressed successfully in the films of Paul Morrissey begun while Warhol was recuperating from Valerie Solanas’ assault. With Andy unable to interfere Morrissey quickly turned out the movie Flesh with Joe Dallesandro which turned out to be a success in Germany. This gave Andy confidence and Morrissey produced several more movies among them Flesh For Frankenstein. I have no intention of reviewing the movie here but certain barbarities of the French arch-sadist Gilles de Rais were celebrated.
Women of some prominence played roles in the nude while performing sexually deviant acts. This rather negative attitude toward women was reflected all through the history of the various Factorys carried on in the most degrading circumstances.
To add insult to injury when Edie was actually falling into her psychological abyss Andy shot The Andy Warhol Story with Rene Ricard and Edie in which both expressed their hatred and revulsion of Andy. ( http://.warholstars.org/warhol/warhol1/warhol1f/warhol.html )
So by this time she had been debased more than any man or woman should ever be debased. Edie herself lay her destruction at the feet of Andy, the great facilitator, the sado-masochistic doyen of New York. I think Andy, then bears a great deal of responsibility for Edie’s shame.
Now, it will be noted. The Andy Warhol Story was filmed at about the same time as his Bob Dylan Story so Edie and Dylan were connected in Andy’s mind.
As I said Warhol and his troupe left for LA in May of ‘66 after a successful month of the EPI. When he returned to resume this lucrative enterprise he found that his hall, the Dom, had been leased from under him by- Albert Grossman and Bob Dylan. They turned it into a venue inanely named The Balloon Farm. Another act of plagiarism by Dylan. I think this was too much for Warhol. First Edie and then the Dom. This was surely provocation asking for trouble, demanding it.
Now, if you’ve watched the post-1968 Warhol movie Bad how far is it from Bad to conjecture that Andy and his crew were responsible for Dylan’s accident? Bad concerns a woman who runs a clearing house for dirty deeds written by Andy’s amanuensis, Pat Hackett. Andy had to have been angry at Dylan and Grossman and indeed he filmed a put down of the two. Quoting Warholstars.org:
Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground:
“Dylan was always around, giving Nico songs. There was one film Andy made with Paul Caruso called The Bob Dylan Story. I don’t think Andy has ever shown it. It was hysterical. They got Marlowe Dupont to play Al Grossman. Paul Caruso not looks like Bob Dylan but as a super caricature he makes even Hendrix look pale by comparison. This was around 1966 when the film was made and his hair was way out to here…On the eve of the filming, Paul had a change of heart and got his hair cut off- close to his head and he must have removed about a foot so everyone was upset about that. Then Dylan had his accident and that is why the film was never shown.”
So, in July smarting from the indignities imposed on him by Dylan and Grossman Andy was making a ‘hilarious’ film about the two. Perhaps Andy thought that was not enough so somewhere during the filming, one conjectures, he conceived this motorcycle rigging. Thus, in late July Dylan went over the handlebars when his rear wheel locked. Anything could have happened to him from paralysis to death. As it was he fractured his neck coming within an ace of serious injury.
Andy hadn’t finished with The Bob Dylan Story. He wanted to work in the accident. Probably aggrieved at Dylan’s survival Andy recommenced the film in October of ‘66 probably with the Andy Warhol Story starring Edie in mind.
Warholstars once again:
Susan Pile speaking:
Andy filmed the Bob Dylan Story starring Paul Caruso…Ingrid Superstar and I were folkrock groupies who rushed in (to Paul Caruso) attacked his body and taped him to the motorcycle…Paul Morrissey suggested all of Paul Caruso’s lines be from songs, but Andy, knowing it was a good idea (this is a direct relay from Paul Morrissey) vetoed it…My one line (what I wasn’t supposed to say; I was to remain mutely sinister) was “You’re just like P.F. Sloan and all the rest- you want to become famous so you can get rid of those pimples.” (accompanied by quick slaps to P. Caruso’s acne remnanted cheeks.)…
So, what do we have here? Bear in the mind the subject matter of Bad which is a very violent movie of revenges made in the most casual manner. Morrison’s account is given before the accident while Pile’s is after.
Pile and Ingrid attack Caruso/Dylan and mockingly tape him to the motorcycle so that he can’t fall off. (ha, ha, ha). Pile then delivers a devastating putdown comparing Dylan unfavorably to P.F. Sloan. Sloan was the guy who wrote the puerile Eve Of Destruction that was very near to being a humorous parody of Dylan’s songs such as Blowin’ In The Wind. If Dylan had seen the film he would likely have been enraged. Pile than calls Dylan’s song ‘pimple music’ another put down as rock n’ roll was derisively called pimple music because teenagers had pimples. And then Caruso/Dylan is physically abused by having his face slapped while being unable to retort because he is taped to the bike.
Psychologically then what Andy is saying is that he felt the filching of Edie as a slap in the face while when he was in LA he was unable to foil the filching of the Dom.
This combination of Dylan and the motorcycle in a film called The Bob Dylan Story points clearly to Andy as the perp.
And so the final chapter will concern the filming of Ciao Manhattan and the demise of Edie. I have some other work to be done so there will be a delay before Chapter 16 appears.