Edie Sedgwick: Maid Of Constant Sorrow

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter 15

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.

Bob Dylan

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.

Gerard Malanga

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:

Joel Schumacher

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:

Paul Caruso

“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

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.

Exhuming Bob XXIX:  Dylan And His Blonde Problems

by

R.E. Prindle

An Examination Of Temporary Like Achilles

Searching For Inspiration

Temporary Like Achilles is another ’64-’66 piece.  It has the feel of being improvisational, out of focus.  I believe it is a companion piece to Visions Of Johanna while it might be connected to Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.

Dylan always said that he had no physical relations with the song’s subject Edie Sedgwick.  I’m certainly in no position to say but if this song is accurate then Edie for some reason played the virgin for him.  Either that or because she represented his mother to him it would have been an incestuous situation.  Edie did say she was pregnant by Dylan but then she says that she was in the psycho ward and that the doctor’s held her down and aborted the baby.  Of course she must have been delusional at that time having over dosed on amphetamines.  God, how she punished her mind.  I’m of the opinion that she probably was not pregnant by Dylan although there may be hospital records.

If one takes the last verse first:

Achilles is in your alleyway

He don’t want me here, he does brag

He’s pointing to the sky

And he’s hungry, like a man in drag.

How come you get someone like him to be your guard

You know I want your lovin’

Honey why are you so hard.

Warhol, the man in drag is obviously Achilles, perhaps meant humorously.  Achilles of course lived a short but glorious life.  Warhol is temporary because Dylan is moving in on Edie.

In answer to the refrain ‘you know I want your lovin, honey why are you so hard’, it is probably that Edie wanted to marry Dylan but in the way of women wanted to pose as a virgin so as to come to him pure.

When she was at Harvard in Boston she was known as a premier fag hag.  The men she knew were all gay so one presumes her chastity was safe there.  Of course, Andy Warhol, known here as Achilles here was gay.  Insofar as she associated with Andy, and he apparently really was smitten by her, as close to being in love as he could get with anyone, as he put it, her chastity was safe with him too.  Perhaps that is why Dylan has Achilles in Edie’s allegory, near but not close sexually.

As there was rivalry between Dylan and Warhol for Edie it follows that ‘he don’t want me here he does brag.’  The line

Her fogs, her amphetamines and her pearls.

would point to the situation as it stood in August or September of ’65.  He’s hungry like a man in drag may refer to his homosexuality which prevents him from satisfying his lust  I don’t know why he’s pointing at the sky but Dylan says disgustedly ‘how come you get someone (a fag) like him to be your guard.  Dylan was known to be macho at the time.

The first verse points to a period perhaps November-December of ’65.  Dylan, of course, married Sara in November of ’65 so that at this point Dylan would be playing with Edie as perhaps he thought she was playing with him before.

Hence:

Standing on your window, honey

Yes. I’ve been here before

Feeling so harmless

I’m looking at your second door

How come you don’t send me no regards?

You know I want you lovin’

Honey why are you so hard?

Here is a reference to Dylan and Edie’s first meeting in December of ’64.  And then in March Chuck Wein introduced Edie to the Factory although she had met Warhol a couple weeks after Dylan in January of ’65.   Dylan may have been too busy at the beginning of ’65 to actively pursue Edie, he also did have to pay attention to Sara who he was courting at the same time, plus engagements and whatever.

Andy

At any rate Edie teamed up with Warhol from March to about December of ’65.  At that point Dylan who was wooing Edie and Grossman his manager were promising to make Edie a star at something.  If as a star, she couldn’t sing, but then that didn’t stop Dylan from having a career.

Now, Andy had been trying to make Edie his movie star.  According to Ronnie Tavel who scripted many of Andy’s movies Andy saw Edie as his ticket to breaking into Hollywood.  That was one of Andy’s chief ambitions that was never realized.  Tavel says that he and Andy used to coach Edie in her lines.  When time to film came she always dosed herself with amphetamines before hand and, of course, uncoached herself.  Thus in Andy’s account of his appearance at the psychiatrists’ banquet in January of ’66 he remarks that it was futile for Dylan and Grossman to work with her because she was unable to concentrate long to get anything done.  Edie wouldn’t work hence no career.   Andy might have been able to get her something if she had.  He sounds rueful and hurt.

So in late ’65 this was Dylan’s second attempt to connect with Edie.

The second verse:

Kneeling ‘neith your ceiling

Yes, I guess I’ll be here for a while

I’m trying to read your portrait, but

I’m helpless, like a rich man’s child.

How come you send someone out to have me barred:

You know I want your lovin’

Honey, why are you so hard?

Kneeling ‘neath your ceiling fits in with standing in your window and looking at your second door.  Kneeling ‘neath your ceiling is probably somewhat like Paul Simon’s ‘One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor or Tony Orlando’s Stomp three time on the floor.  In other words Dylan is in the room beneath Edie unable to get to her unless she calls him.

Thus the addendum to verse two:

Like a poor fool in his prime

Yes’ I know you can hear me walk

But is our heart made out of stone, or is it lime

Or is it just solid rock?

In other words Edie knows he’s down there pacing anxiously back and forth but a hard hearted woman she refuses to call him to her, stomping three times on the floor.

The fourth verse:

Well, I rush into your hallway

Lean against your velvet door

I watch upon your scorpion

Who crawls across your circus floor

Just what do you think you have to guard?

You know I want your lovin’

Honey why are you so hard?

The ardent and frustrated would be lover can’t breach Edie’s window, door. ceiling, hallway, velvet door.  The scorpion/circus reference escapes me except that Edie may have appeared to be leading some circus life as does Ophelia in Desolation Row.

Apparently this was a throw away song for Dylan as other than recording it he has never played it in concert.  It was one of my favorites on the album however.  Perhaps after Dylan’s motorcycle accident the song became irrelevant to him.  Too topical, not universal enough as was its counterpart Visions of Johanna.

As far as Blonde On Blonde goes I’m tentatively of the opinion that Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 refers to Edie and his mother.  The only reference to Sara in the album would be Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands.

Your secrets are safe with me, Bob, of course you don’t have anything to hide.

Edie Sedgwick:  Maid Of Constant Sorrow

Chs. 6,7,8

Chapter 6

The Pillow That We Dreamed On

 

Revolt Of The Undermen

 While this is a history it is also a history I lived through.  Thus, while history from a distance in time loses much detail it gains in perspective.  While these events were transpiring in New York an interpretation of them was being dispersed throughout the country by magazines.  While I have no first hand knowledge of the scene in New York my reality at the time was formed by magazine reports.  I considered myself pretty well informed from those magazines and in an intra-social sense I guess I was although that only made me less superficial than some others.

The sixties was a fabulous time for magazines.  Endless specialized titles came and went after only a few issues, or even a single issue.  One of my favorites was the long lasting Horizon, a hard cover quarterly boasting a whole hundred thousand subscribers.  Obviously it was for the fortunate few.  Of the big bombers chief of all was Time-Life.  The two magazines were probably the backbone of American culture during the fifties and sixties.  Time lost its credibility during the sixties.

Time was founded by Henry and Clair Booth Luce in 1923.  By the fifties it was not only a money machine but gave the Luces a position from which they could actually direct the course of American culture.  A heady responsibility.  The Luce’s always claimed to be Conservatives but their publications always seemed to have a decidedly leftward bend.

For me the 60s was a most exciting intellectual period.  Things were moving fast and generally opening up the American mind.  Time-Life publications, all those mail order books.  I love mail order.  I especially love getting books through the mail.  The sixties was my time.   Horizon had annual volumes I cherish.  Time-Life published a series of paperbacks, actually linoleum like covers, called the  Time-Life Library, sent out four titles a quarter, complete set of 108.  I completed it.  They did delete one title replacing it with another that I don’t have.

However the titles seemed to further a Left agenda.  Biographies of Marx  and others with the explanation that it was important to know how the enemy thought.  True enough, I’m sure, and I bought it at the time but they issued precious little concerning other political angles.  I soured on Time-Life as it went.

I also discontinued subscribing to Time sometime in the mid-sixties although it was impossible to stop reading the magazine as there was always a copy lying around somewhere.  I became revolted when I read a marvelous piece describing Howard Hughes exit from Las Vegas.  It was an astonishing eye witness piece.  Then we learned that the whole account was fiction; it never happened.  Not only inaccurate but it never happened.  They just made it up.  That ended my fascination with Time.  Still it was where I continued to get most of my information while it had formed my mind for over a decade.

The magazines- Time, Life- were where I got my information on the NYC art scene.  Time was especially attentive to it.  Pop Art was covered pretty extensively by both magazines.  A complete collection of both Time and Life is available on line for reference.

On the West Coast where I was,  then, my personal knowledge of Warhol and the art scene pretty much came from Time-Life as did that of most others.  Probably not that many were actually interested.  Time was a big weekly magazine, how much of it could you actually read.  One looked at the magnitude of the weekend NYTimes, sniffed, and just walked away.  Who could even begin to read it.

When Edie hooked up with Warhol she gained a national recognition second to none for a nonentity, quite astounding in retrospect.

In August of ‘65 she and Warhol received a good write up in the Arts section of Time while as late as November she received a very nice photo essay in Life.  She hadn’t even done anything but hang out with Warhol.  Judging from what I read on the internet these articles impressed a number of people giving Edie a national reputation, at least in some circles.  This is quite startling because she was only a cute girl, nothing more.  She could never have achieved this without her association with Warhol.  And she was in a position to turn her allure and fame to account.

Warhol was not going to pay her for the movies.  His position was that he had given her this fame so that it was her responsibility to do something with it.  There were things she could have done to retrieve her fortunes.  Supposedly Chuck Wein was on the lookout  to make her into something.  He was useless.  He should have given his brain an enema and looked at things more clearly.  There were things that could have been attempted.  It wouldn’t have been impossible for her to set up an advice column such as Edie Says, or What Would Edie Do.  My god, she was in NYC.  The idea could have been sold to the NYTimes and from there perhaps syndicated.  She wouldn’t even have had to do anything but collect the money.  Others could have handled everything.

Edie had already modeled so she was in Fashion.  So…a line called Edie Sedgwick Party Clothes, Casual Fashion, you name it.  Heck, Warhol should have been on the ball and taken his cut, led the way, instead of stupidly taking Ondine’s chat for a novel called ‘a’.  Who bought it?

Having raised Edie then to near iconic status within just a few months Warhol, Wein and Edie let the opportunity of a life time slip through their hands.  Perhaps it was the drugs.

Chapter 7

Hatred In His Heart

 

But She Breaks Just Like A Little Girl

At the beginning of May Dylan left for a tour of England.  At the same time Warhol took Edie along with Gerard Malanga and Chuck Wein for a gallery show in Paris.   Warhol, Edie and Dylan were in Europe at the same time.  Whether this influenced Dylan’s rage or not isn’t known but in June shortly after his return he began to vent his rage as he began the composition of Like A Rolling Stone.

Now, Edie’s brother Jonathon told a story he says he got from Edie that she was impregnated by Dylan and carried his baby.  There is no time frame for this story.  According to Jonathon Edie was determined to have Dylan’s child.  As she told it it took four men to hold her down for the abortion to be performed.  If true, this is an interesting situation.  For one thing abortions were illegal at the time, so a rogue doctor was required.  Edie says that she was adamant about having the baby so that she would have had to have been either lured to the doctor or essentially kidnapped.  If she resisted and four men, who happened to be in attendance, were required to subdue her then we have a crime of some magnitude.

Bear in mind that all the alleged participants are whacked out of their minds on amphetamines so no one is thinking clearly.  At any event Dylan was committed to marry Sara if this is before the wedding or married to her if after.  Edie is a celebrity of some distinction who in all likelihood would tell everyone it was Dylan’s love child.  What effect this might have on Sara can’t be known but it might possibly have disturbed Dylan’s plans.  If he’s like the rest of us he would have held Edie responsible for getting pregnant.

The gist of it is Jonathon Sedgwick says Edie told him the story.  It is a possibility, after all if you’re having sex with somebody as she undoubtedly was with Dylan, the possibility of pregnancy is there.  But that’s in the background.

During the summer while Dylan stewed Edie and Andy’s star was rising.  New York dailies ran stories on the pair that told of Edie drawing Andy into uptown society; and then in late November Life ran its photo essay on Edie.  Let’s let Andy recap the period as he told it in his autobiography Popism, recalled in 1980, p. 107:

(At the party) There were a few guys in the latest velvets and silk shirts, but not too many- the boys were still mostly in blue jeans and button-down shirts.  Edie brought Bob Dylan to the party and they huddled by themselves over in a corner.  Dylan was spending a  lot of time then up at his manager Al Grossman’s place near Woodstock, and Edie was somehow involved with Grossman too- she said he was going to manage her career.

I’d met Dylan through the MacDougal Street/Kettle Of Fish/Café Rienzi/Hip Bagel/ Café Figaro scene, which Danny Fields claims got started when he and Donald Lyons saw Eric Andersen, they went up and asked if he wanted to be in an Andy Warhol movie.  “How many times did we all use that one?”  Danny laughed.  And after that Eric got interested in Edie and suddenly we were all around the Village together.  But I think Edie actually knew Dylan because of Bobby Neuwirth.  Bobby was a painter who originally started singing and guitar playing up in Cambridge just to make money to paint with, he told me once.  Then he hooked up with Dylan and became part of that group- he was something like Dylan’s road manager-confidant.  And Bobby was a friend of Edie’s.

At Sam’s party Dylan was in blue jeans and high-heeled boots and a sports jacket, and his hair was sort of long.  He had deep circles under his eyes, and even when he was standing he was all hunched in.  He was around twenty-four then and the kids were all just starting to talk and act and dress and swagger like he did.  But not many people except Dylan could ever pull that anti-act off- and if he wasn’t in the right mood, he couldn’t either. He was already slightly flashy when I met him, definitely not folksy anymore- I mean, he was wearing satin polka-dot shirts.  He’d released Bringing It All Back Home, so he’d already started his rock sound at this point, but he hadn’t played the Newport Folk Festival yet, or Forest Hills, the places where the old-style folk people booed him for going electric, but where the kids started getting really crazy for him.  This was just before “Like A Rolling Stone” came out.  I liked Dylan, the way he’d created a brilliant new style.  He didn’t spend his career doing homage to the past, he had to do things his own way, and that was just what I respected.  I even gave him one of my silver Elvis paintings in the days when he was first around.  Later on, though, I got paranoid when I heard rumors that he had used the Elvis as a dart board up in the country.  When I’d ask, “Why would he do that.”  I’d invariably get hearsay answers like “I hear he feels you destroyed Edie,” or “Listen to ‘Like A Rolling Stone’- I think you’re the ‘diplomat on the chrome horse’, man.”  I didn’t know exactly what they meant by that- I never listened much to the words of songs- but I got the tenor of what people were saying- that Dylan didn’t like me, that he blamed me for Edie’s drugs.

So it is quite clear from Andy’s recollection that he had known Dylan from the early Spring of ‘65 and that Edie was quite clearly dating him.  Whether the pregnancy story comes from this time would be an interesting question.  After the release of Highway 61 Revisited Dylan conceived a plan to take Edie away from Andy.  It would seem quite clear from the bags under Dylan’s eyes that he was no stranger to drugs.

Perhaps the August Time article on Andy and Edie was the high point of their relationship although the October art exhibit at UPennsylvania was still to come.  That show was astonishing in that Warhol was treated like a rock star with apparently the same crowd attending.  Of course, Andy’s pal Sam Green had masterfully whipped up enthusiasm with his promotion of the show preceding it by several weeks.  The show was probably the first time an artist received such adulation.

Though Andy was enough of a rage that a big crowd would come out for him.  I was in attendance at the UOregon lecture in Fall ’67 when Allen Midgette impersonated him and a crowd of about 1500 paid to see him.  It isn’t true that Midgette’s impersonation was that good.

I was standing at the end of the line waiting to enter when Midgette and Morrissey were brought in to the elevator just behind me.  The guy in front of me asked if that was him.

I was watching Midgette who was a midget, little skinny short guy.  There was a superficial resemblance but he seemed too short and he wasn’t wearing a wig.  I said, ‘It looks like him but I don’t think it is.’  Midgette raised his eyebrows while Morrissey looked like the jig was up but the admins ignored me.

During the so-called lecture there were several groups of us dispersed throughout the audience loudly debating the issue.  They got away with it but later the school learned they had been pranked and demanded their money back.  I always thought that was rude.  What did they expect of Warhol.  He had a reputation.  Didn’t the administration read Time?

In September of ‘65 Dylan began to court Edie with promises, one believes, of a good income from movies, recording or such.  One is amazed that geniuses like Dylan, Grossman and Neuwirth couldn’t come up with something more inventive to promote Edie.

Edie was torn between two lovers, Andy and Bob.  It must have been quite head turning to be the object of contention between the number one celebrity artist of the time and one of the most famous recording and performing acts at the same time as receiving national exposure in Time and Life.

Warhol, even though a homosexual, said that he was as close to in love with Edie as he had been with any other person in his life, he even took her home to meet his mother.  Mrs. Warhola who had been urging her son to marry would certainly have taken Edie’s appearance as an indication that Andy was serious about her.

Having committed himself even that far would mean that her receptiveness to Dylan was a crushing rejection of himself as, say, a male object, while her abscontsion to Dylan’s camp would be a traitorous act.  Unforgivable in his eyes.

Thus as Edie wavered between Dylan and Andy her life at the Factory became untenable.  Andy quietly brought in other superstars including Dylan’s old flame, Nico.  Whether conscious of it or not Andy was displacing Edie.  She was mocked and reviled.  While this was happening at the Factory Edie was evidently taken to Woodstock where Albert Grossman was talking contract to her as her manager.  Dylan had had his May gig in England filmed although it would be a while before it was released.  There was talk of another film of which Edie would have the starring role.  That film apparently wasn’t made for several decades until Dylan finally got it together to make Masked And Anonymous.  Perhaps the blond female lead was meant to remind the viewer of Edie.

So, rejected by her family who disapproved of her modeling as well as scorning her association with Warhol, desperately in need of money Edie was in an agonizing mental dilemma.  Remember that by this time she was a national figure having appeared in Time and even as her position disintegrated featured in Life, yet she had no money to back her celebrity status.    She couldn’t participate in the social life.

We don’t know what Dylan was promising her personally whether he hinted at marriage or stated it but it seems clear from the evidence of One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) and Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine that Edie believed Dylan was serious about her.

Dylan married Sara in November of ‘65 secretly but how to keep a secret.  Warhol learned of the marriage tauntingly informing Edie of it in December.  Edie was incredulous.  It follows, and can’t be otherwise, that she confronted Dylan with the alleged fact.  This was undoubtedly a moment of triumph for Dylan as he could now reject Edie as he believed she had rejected him in March.

One can imagine Edie demanding of Dylan whether he was with her or Sara.  The intense mocking derision of Sooner Or Later when Dylan sings:  I couldn’t believe what I did hear- was I leaving with you or her?

At that time Edie’s game was up.  Warhol had destroyed her reputation; she could no longer get modeling jobs; she was broke with no hope of a good encore.  With a loud sneer Dylan passed her to his sidekick, Bobby Neuwirth then a song to commemorate it:  She’s Your Lover Now.

Chapter 8

Down The Trail Of Broken Hearts

 

Dylan Lifting Off

The motivations of the actors are difficult to determine.  However that insofar as any actions relate to the others than the actions of any of the others are interrelated.  Thus Andy had Edie and wished to keep her as she was as close to love as he ever came.  Perhaps he realized that he would need money to do so while perhaps his various activities from the Factory to filmmaking were keeping him financially strapped so that even if he wished to he couldn’t pay Edie.  He had expenses.

Of course today an authenticated Warhol may go for millions up to the one hundred millions paid for the Eight Elvises picture but at the time you could have scooped up several paintings for under ten thousand dollars that might have been worth tens of millions twenty to thirty years on.

Dylan is ridiculed for trading his Presley taken from Warhol for a sofa but at the time that wasn’t necessarily a bad deal depending on the sofa.  Warhol would give his actors the choice between a painting and a hundred dollars cash.  The Factoryites elected the cash over the picture.  So, it’s not like Warhol could just sell a painting anytime he needed to  raise the ready.  His question was how to raise some cash, he had overhead.

His adversaries were Dylan and Albert Grossman, one a recording artist the other a manager both swimming in cash.  There seemed like a pot of gold at the end of that particular rainbow.  Andy thought about it and came up with what he thought was a winning formula, and it actually was but he let it slip away.

Taking his cue from Bobby and Albert then Andy decided to manage a band.  He also conceived at the same time an artistic light show to create an even more unique and exciting ambience, The Exploding Plastic Inevitable.  When the student is ready the teacher will appear.  And so it was.  Andy’s scouts went looking for a band and came back with a group called the Warlocks who were renamed The Velvet Underground.  An SM band extraordinaire whose chief songs were Heroin and Waiting For My Man.  Only Andy could have shouted Eureka! at such a find.

The band came straight out of the avant garde.  The chief instrumentalist, John Cale, had belonged to the John Cage/La Monte Young musical circle.  The ostensible leader, Lou Reed, another survivor of electro-shock therapy, not much of a musician, was the group’s songwriter and lead singer.  Between Warhol, the Factory hands and the Velvets they were a Happening of the first order.

Andy now had his band and his concept but no venue.  No way to present the package for popular consumption.  But, that too appeared when someone suggested a hall called the Dom.  Andy rented the hall but, here’s the catch, he didn’t lease it.  He cautiously wanted to try it out first.  The trial was a major success, wowing hip New York while also bringing in an astonishing amount of cash for a three or four week run.  Should have been a hint.

Now, Andy negotiated a recording contract for the Velvet Underground and the band actually recorded its SM anthems Heroin and Waiting For My Man.  Remember the Velvets had no history and horrible songs but Andy’s influence was so great this unknown band was given a recording contract.  Not so bad.  Of course the record wasn’t released until 1967 but it fell flat as one would have expected with an eighteen minute song called Heroin.  Also the record was released as Andy Warhol Presents The Velvet Underground.  Andy’s credibility wasn’t too great outside NYC and I, for one, looked at the record as a probable joke, especially as the cover was a peel away banana.  After listening to the record I knew it was a joke.

A couple years earlier Dylan had been in Greece where he met a German woman going by the name of Nico.  They apparently had a short fling and he wrote the song I’ll Keep It With Mine for her.  Time passes and paths meander.  Having passed through London Nico showed up in New York City at this time where, as chance would have it, she hooked up with Warhol and became a Factory girl.  Andy in his usual way foisted her on the Velvets as a chanteuse, Nico And The Velvet Underground, did I mention that before?  So, not only did one ask what the hell was a velvet underground but who the hell was Nico?  We knew who Andy Warhol was.  And how.

Dylan undoubtedly thought of Nico as his, thus he showed up in Warhol’s scene to push songs on Nico with the intent no doubt to woo her away as he had done Edie.  The contest between Andy, Bobby and Albert was heating up.

I think it probably came to a head over the Dom.  Andy and the Velvets left for a gig in LA and when they returned they attempted to resume their shows at the Dom.  Lo and behold they found that Albert Grossman had leased the venue from under them.  They had the winning formula but once again no venue.  Albert called his place something stupid like The Balloon Farm but under different management it became The Electric Circus.  Andy was offered the light show but didn’t take it, but by then light show paraphenalia was being manufactured as a commercial product.

From my point of view the most astonishing and impressive thing Andy ever did was the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.  It had a long lasting effect.  Of course by this time the whole light show paraphernalia had turned into an industry and anyone could do it.

Toward the end of ‘65 Edie had become peripheral to both Andy and Dylan.

Chapters 9,10,11 and 12 are now up on one post.