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.

Chapter 14

Edie Sedgwick, Maid Of Constant Sorrow

by

R.E. Prindle

Edie

In the interest of keeping things in perspective and since a huge part of the readership obviously didn’t experience the sixties, I’d like, if I may, to give a little additional background to understand what happened here.  I hope I don’t offend by mixing in some of my own background, not merely from vanity, but so the reader will have some understanding of both my limitations and strengths in interpreting Edie, Andy and Dylan.

Nearly everything you read about the sixties today is written by former activists, usually Jewish, or dopers of one stripe or another.  Shall we say they skew the period in the direction of their beliefs.  Theirs was only the point of view of small minority.  In fact, they seized the leadership playing a much different game than the majority who were busy getting on with their lives.

The period now coming under discussion is 1966-’68 which changed the direction of the sixties. In mid-’66 Dylan had his motorcycle accident and was effectively removed from the scene for the duration. When he resurfaced in the seventies it was in a much diminished role. The first Bob Dylan was dead and the second was busy being  born. No matter what he’s done since then, compared to his mid-sixties trilogy it has had minimal impact.

Warhol reached his apogee in this period while he was shot by Vallerie Solanas in 1968 which changed the direction of his career when like Dylan he became a corporation while business affairs were managed by other men, most notably Fred Hughes.

Edie was heartbreakingly dragged through the mud in these years until her evil genius, Chuck Wein, connected her to the movie Ciao, Manhattan which was the most degrading, humiliating experience possible.  It eventually killed her.  All three of our participants then suffered life threatening experiences within two or three years of each other.  Edie was the only one not to survive.

Andy, Edie And Friends

The sixties were tumultuous times; it was like walking around with a perpetual thunderstorm over your head.  I was on the West Coast in the San Francisco Bay area till 1966 and at grad school at UOregon in Eugene from ‘66 to ‘68 and then in the record business for the rest of the period.  I got my degree from California State College At Hayward now Cal State U. East Bay in 1966.  It’s a long and irrelevant story but I entered Cal State in ‘64 taking enormous credit loads of up to 24 hours a quarter.  You can do things like that when you’re young and not too bright.  Hayward is just South of UC Berkeley.  Cal State was a new school with a very small library so we were allowed library privileges at Berkeley of which I availed myself so I was around the Free Speech Movement scene but not of it.  I was a first hand observer.

Once in Eugene in the fall of ‘66 things were getting in full swing in our own cultural revolution that would be joined to that of Chairman Mao in ‘68.  I was entranced by the poster art work coming out of San Francisco eventually dropping out of grad school to sell posters and then phonograph records at which I was successful.  Thus I was involved in the scene on an intimate basis from 1967 on.

While other generations were characterized by their literature our, the, generation was depicted by songwriters on phonograph records, thus records were central to the scene, don’t look for it in novels.  The first efflorescence occurred in the US during the mid-fifties while going into an incubation period in England from then until the early sixties when in 1964 the Beatles, Stones and Animals among others provided the transition from fifties Rock n’ Roll to sixties rock.  I don’t know how true it is but for me the revolution really got underway with the breathtaking first Doors LP in ‘66.  The blues bands and the next wave of British bands provided the impetus to move things into the seventies where the creative impulse ended by 1974 although inertia carried things through until sometime in ‘78.  Disco doesn’t count that was the beginning of an entire new ethic based in the homosexual revolution.

Morrison, Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek

When Andy, then in his quest for money, moved into records by managing the Velvet Underground, probably in imitation of Dylan, he did so just before the music scene broke.  New York bands were never that popular on the West Coast and the Velvets were no exception.  Andy, however, was an innovative guy.  Light shows were already news on the West Coast but Andy came up with a new multi-media formulation that blew our minds, as we used to say, while having a very lasting cultural effect.

In the Spring of ‘66 he rented a hall called the Dom in NYC.  Using the Velvets as his house band and his light show he managed to overwhelm the hipsters of the Big Apple.  He would have had a major success had he continued on but he was fixated on movies, wanting to do his Western put down, so the Factory crowd decamped for Tucson, Arizona, thinking to pick up the strand on their return.

While away Albert Grossman and Dylan leased the Dom from under Warhol and opened it as The Balloon Farm.  Between taking Edie from Andy and then the ballroom I’m convinced that Dylan sealed his doom.  I hope there aren’t too many people who think the rear wheel of his motorcycle locking was an accident.  Once again, conclusive proof is lacking, but there are indications that Andy and the Factory crowd did it.

Before The Fall

By late ‘66 Andy’s brief period in the spotlight was over.  His creative burst had run its course and while afloat financially, there was not any great income in sight.  Paul Morrissey had come on board as a filmmaker and his vision was more commercial than Andy’s but Andy was in charge so Paul had to bide his time waiting for his opportunity.  At the same time a man from Houston by the name of Fred Hughes came on board who knew how to monetize Andy’s reputation and art skills and then, Bang! Andy was writhing on the floor in pain.  One of those little zig-zags fate has in store for us sometimes.  The sixties were over for Andy but the change in direction made his future in the seventies and eighties.

Now, let’s go back to ‘64 and take a look at one of the defining members of the decade I’ve slighted till now, Prof. Tim Leary.  I’m convinced Leary was not in his right mind or, if he was, he shouldn’t have been there.  By the time Timmy latched onto psychedelics they were pretty well established.  LSD, discovered in 1938 by Hoffman and brought to prominence in 1943 was almost passe when Leary was turned on.  Aldous Huxley had published his Doors Of Perception in 1954 and Heaven And Hell in ‘56, that celebrated the joys of mescaline.

When I was in high school maybe ‘54 the kids of Scarsdale were notorious for using marijuana, written up in Time if I remember right.  Those were rich kids and by ‘56 our elite were very covertly using it.  In the Navy aboard ship from ‘57 to ‘59 Bennies and other pills were prominent while the occasional heroin addict passed through.  The Marines of Camp Pendleton were heavy into everything, barbiturates, mescaline, peyote buttons, LSD, you name it.  For cryin’ out loud, Hollywood had been the drug capitol of the US for decades.  One only has to read Raymond Chandler.  There wasn’t anything they didn’t know.  Cary Grant had been an old LSD hand for years before Leary, the apostle of acid, made it to town bearing the good news in 1960.  He was received with some amusement.

A very amusing story Leary tells in his autobiography is that Marilyn Monroe fell to his lot at a party.  They were actually in bed together.  As you may know Marilyn knew more about drugs than any pharmacologist.  Probably disgusted by Timmy’s ranting about LSD she handed him a pill and said take this.  Timmy did then decided to get up to go the dresser for something.  ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’ Marilyn asked.  Timmy was.  He took about two steps and seemed to sink through the carpet until only his nose was above the rug.  He lay there inert all night while Marilyn laughed softly from the bed.

From his position on the faculty of Harvard Timmy was a very visible advocate of LSD hogging headlines in Time and other mags that were the envy of Andy.  Tim was to amuse us with his antics all through the sixties.  Now, all this stuff was happening very fast.  It was impossible almost to keep up with the headlines let alone any indepth reporting or analysis.  Besides there was no internet so all news was comparatively old news, perhaps weeks after the occurrence if you heard of it at all.  Also it was impossible to be where it was happening unless it was happening where you were and then you didn’t know it was happening because you were in the middle of it.  I happened on the Free Speech Movement because I was in school but I missed the SF scene going on at the same time because I couldn’t be in two places at once and keep up grades in the third place at the same time.  New York was out of the question, London was across a wide, deep ocean, and LA hadn’t caught on yet.  Thus, I was invited to the Kesey/Dead Trips Festival but passed on it.  For various reasons I only caught the end of the Fillmore/Family Dog scene and then only fleetingly.

Even Morrison and the Doors who can claim to have been in the center could only have caught their small share however central it was.  Nobody got it all.  How could you be in Swinging London, New York, San Francisco and LA at the same time?  Couldn’t be done although there were many who tried spending their time criss crossing the country from West to East and reversed and for all I know popping into London too trying to be jetsetters but they were merely vagrants peripheral to everything.

So marijuana, acid, speed and barbiturates or downers as they were called then made up the pharmacopeia.  Amphetamines were obviously big in NYC from the early sixties and must have been in the West too but my first acquaintance with that was the Speed Kills buttons.  Heroin was a danger drug for the addict type only.  Cocaine came along in the seventies.  At the time little or none of the marijuana crop was home grown.  It came from Mexico and there are smuggling and pot running stories galore.  At first the dealers were amateurs, boys and girls next door, but that slowly turned into the criminal professionals.

Andy’s crew were all what he called A-heads, but you may be sure they smoked and did booze too.  It must have been uproarious in the early years but by ‘66 psychotic and physical reactions were beginning to slow the troops down.  It was hard to keep up that pace.

Now, Edie when she came to New York in late ‘64 was a naif.  Not many of us knew much better but she was a true naif, fresh from the farm, so to speak, while having had her brains addled by electro-shock treatment at Silver Hill Sanitarium.  At Radcliffe-Harvard she had hung out with homosexual men gaining the reputation as a fag hag.  Alright, I suppose, as she didn’t know how to handle herself around boys anyway.  She came down to New York with the group of homosexuals that Andy called the Harvard kids with some distaste.  She associated herself with her evil genius, Chuck Wein, who, as a homosexual, sought her destruction.

The Factory of Andy Warhol she entered was created in Andy’s image.  In reading of it, I was never there, it comes across as a hell hole from which any reasonable person would have fled at first glance.  Many did.  Andy hurt a lot of people being of a sado-masochistic frame of mind.  Outside his circle he was universally referred to as ‘that Warhol creep’ and yet events conspired with him to realize his perverted dreams and triumph over all.

Andy considered himself ugly and descriptions of him by others are unpleasant but whatever everyone and himself saw doesn’t show up so clearly in his pictures.  He may not be the handsomest fellow around but he has a cherubic, pleasant look that I don’t find unattractive.  But, because of this feeling he surrounded himself with beautiful people.  Fred Hughes his business manager was quite handsome.  Morrissey was OK, Malanga had his moments, Edie was considered a knockout, although I can’t see it, and the other women he associated with were quite attractive.

And then, as a little immigrant boy who wasn’t acceptable to mainliners of Pittsburgh Andy was especially pleased to have society women attached to him and especially the titled or rich English girls.  Edie fit in as a beauty, as Andy called her then, and as an old line New York society girl.  The combination was almost too tantalizing  for this lifetime homosexual.  Andy said Edie was as close to love with a woman that he ever got.  He even took her home to meet mom.  Edie apparently missed the import of that.

Andy has been blamed for making an A-head out of Edie.  Once she tasted amphetamines it is clear that there was no stopping her.  In truth the Factory was no place for her and Chuck Wein who introduced her into it must have known that.  Still, as Dylan sang, there’s something going on here and you don’t know what it is, do you?  Most people didn’t including Dylan, and I certainly was out of my depth.  It was disconcerting metaphorically to step on what was once solid ground to feel it giving beneath your feet.

Actually there were several revolutions going on which would result in massive social changes.  Those of us firmly grounded could only see the so-called change as a rising tide of insanity.  Aided by drugs these revolutionists became totally  dissociated from reality.  Drugs alone cause a withdrawal into an inner fantasy world of wishful thinking.  The external world appears as something that wishful thinking can manipulate to one’s desires in some magical way.  When the two got really out of sync as they inevitably must you ended up in Bellevue psychiatric wards as happened to a heavy user like Edie many times while most of Warhol’s crew checked in at least once.

Andy, who used these people for entertainment and self-aggrandizement, provided a hospitable retreat or club house where the cognitive dissociation wasn’t quite so apparent or, at least, normal.  The scene must have been incoherent.  A reading of Warhol’s so-called novel, ‘a’,  shows that by 1966 his crew was indeed incoherent.  Ostensibly a tape recording of Ondine’s conversation over twenty-four hours, whose conversation Andy found engaging, the tapes show Ondine unable to complete a sentence along with Rotten Rita and the rest of the crew including Edie.

Further the whole bunch were absolute thieves.  In Edie’s decline through sixty-six they walked into her apartment and chose their favorites from her collection of fur coats along with anything else of value.  In her demented state all she could say is that everyone was wearing her coats.  One wonders how much internal anguish there was as she knew there was nothing she could do about it.

At the same time Andy was a leader of the Homosexual and Underman revolutions.  Perhaps nobody knew what was going on but Warhol, Rotten and others were working for homosexual liberation which they achieved with the Stonewall Riot of 1969.

New York was unique in that for decades homosexuals from the South and Midwest flowed into New York each year in a great internal migration.  The chief destination was the Village.  Christopher Street was the  main fag drag.  The Stonewall Tavern was on Christopher.  Why the cops would disturb the lads in their own colony is beyond me, but they did and then gave up without a fight.

Perhaps the most astounding revolution of all was that of the Undermen.  Untermensch in German.  While Warhol’s crew was a prime example of the Other Half rising to control the direction of society, the main impetus seems to have been the West Coast, San Francisco and Haight-Ashbury, specifically the Hippies.  It was really there that the poverty look took hold, torn, faded jeans and whatever.  LA never really went for it but it spread up the coast to Eugene, Portland and Seattle.  The Sorority and Fraternity look went out the window with millionaire’s kids posing as the down and out.

I would imagine a naïve thing like Edie got caught up in the so-called sexual revolution too.  We’re not talking Feminist Movement here but the sexual aspect of the Communist Revolution in which women are common property to be had anytime or anyplace by whoever.  The Pill that came along in 1960 really facilitated the change in sexual mores.  Nothing exemplified that more than the mini-skirt.  So you’ve got drugs, the Pill, the Mini Skirt and the Ideology.  The world was not so slowly turning upside down.

All these revolutions might have gotten not too far but they were all collected and subsumed under the directing force of the Communist Revolution under the leadership of Chairman Mao and the Chinese Party.  The money really flowed in after 1968.  Driving the whole thing and what made the turmoil possible was the Viet Nam War.  It served the Communist cause more than the American as while taking a beating in Viet Nam the Communists subverted the United States.  Strangely Viet Nam had no effect on Warhol at all.  His disaster paintings ignored Viet Nam  while a couple napalm drops would have made a terrific topic.

In the early days of the war it was filmed like a reality TV show with the daily haps relayed on TV to the US.  The reality of napalm drops while our soldiers cheered and howled while a couple dozen Vietnamese where incinerated  was too much for the entertainment starved public to take. I sure couldn’t handle it.   The films were quickly removed.  The reality of war is a private thing between the armies, not quite like the Super Bowl.

I don’t recall a single mention of Viet Nam in Andy’s Diaries, Philosophy From A To B or ‘a’.  The war appears in none of the biographies or auto-biographies or even novels written by various denizens of the Factory.  Rather strange, but then I can recall no references to it in Dylan’s songs either.

The Communist Revolution connection developed when John and Yoko arrived in NYC in 1971.  The two of them were clearly involved  in revolutionary activities linking various art and entertainment figures with them including, Dylan, Warhol, David Bowie and others.  What exactly they were doing isn’t clear to me yet.  Yoko was and is on some Feminist rag.

So, in 1966 while an apparent apex for Warhol, his world was actually coming apart while Edie’s was descending like a Stuka dive bomber.

The period from December ‘65 to Easter of ‘66 must have been traumatic for a crazed and confused A-head like Edie.  She sacrificed her position with Andy, seduced by the fallacious promises of Dylan and Grossman  who certainly had no plans to make a movie, and if they did, to put Edie in it.

Velvet Underground & Nico

Warhol had all the sadistic cruelty characteristic of homosexuals that he turned on to the distraught girl.  Edie must have been thoroughly crushed when Dylan rejected her love while passing her on to Neuwirth.  Edie was not at her wit’s end with no money, cut off by her parents who objected to this life style, while having no means to make money to support the station in life she had seemingly attained.  Both Dylan and Warhol abandoned her after accepting her largesse for several months.  Warhol is especially reprehensible.  Dylan sure is a close second.

Her heavy dependence on amphetamines was literally eating away her brain, her body and her personality.

I really can’t believe that Edie loved Neuwirth as she claimed.  I  don’t think either was capable of love.  Yet, she abandoned her body to him claiming she could make love for forty-eight hours straight but crashed whenever he left her.  That is a sign of despair and fear.  I can only imagine the horror she felt when she looked into the future and saw only a blank wall.  As Dylan was to sing of her:  Time will tell just who has fell and who’s been left behind.

Perhaps the cruelest trick of all was played on Edie by Dylan, Grossman and Neuwirth at the Easter Parade of 1966 when Neuwirth filmed the promised movie.

In a November issue of Life Magazine in 1965 Edie had been photographed standing on top of a toy leather rhinoceros about two feet high and three feet long, popular at the time.  Whether the three of them, Grossman, Dylan and Neuwirth, put their heads together to come up with this or Dylan brainstormed it by himself, Neuwirth persuaded Edie to pull the rhino down Fifth Avenue as the parade progressed, filming as they went.  Then Bobby tied the rhino to a parking meter and persuaded a passing cop to write Edie a ticket.  Thus Grossman and Dylan fulfilled their obligation to put Edie in a movie while mocking her cruelly.  Those guys had a reputation for cruel put downs.  They live up to it here.

It was just after Easter that Warhol opened the Dom to stage his Exploding Plastic Inevitable.  The reports we got of it on the West Coast made it sound absolutely astounding.  If any one thing characterized the sixties I would have to say it was the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.  It brought everything the era valued together.  As usual with Warhol he couldn’t resist turning it into a sado-masochistic experience.  The chaos must have been extraordinary.  One can imagine the scene with dope peddlers trying to push their drugs on you, the lights flashing, strobing and pulsing, the howling music, the bodies bumping against each other, Malanga doing his whip dance, Edie bopping around the stage with her odd skip and step.  They talk about the Velvet Underground being loud but they must mean for the times.  Blue Cheer with its wall of Marshalls was just around the corner while the electronics improved almost daily until the sound passed the limits of endurance.  Created a whole generation of deaf Beethovens.  Musicians literally without ears.

I actually promoted the Underground once in either ‘68 ot ‘69, might have been pre-Blue Cheer.  BC’s main claim to fame was that they were the first mega blasters, loudest band alive for their brief moment.  Sort of a Great Divide in Rock music.

Things were still building but it wasn’t that the Velvets were that loud; they were just super strange.  Reed was the original one-note man, he played it over and over fast.  Sterling was there but he must have been background noise because I don’t remember much of an effect there.  Whatever Cale was doing passed over my head but it must have been some kind of La Monte Young dynamo hum, all the songs were.  I was most fascinated by Mo on drum.  Yeah, right, drum, in the singular.  She had a six inch deep tom with an under slung mallet.  The mallet hammered away at the bottom skin while Mo pounded the upper skin with the sticks.  In keeping with the dynamo hum she never varied the beat once but she was right on time just in case time was important.  Quite an experience.  You shoulda been there, and paid at the door.  I wouldn’t have lost as much money.

Andy made a bundle in the month long run and then he made what would have been the mistake of his life in leaving for Arizona, or would have been if he hadn’t been shot.  While he was out of it Hughes and Morrissey put together the means to put Andy over the top.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Chaper 15 follows.