Edie Sedgwick
Maid Of Constant Sorrow
Chapters 9,10, 11, 12
by
R.E. Prindle
Chapter 9
Leavin’ On A Jet Plane
by
R.E. Prindle
 
 

The 707

 

DC 6B

 

There are arguments about the psychological duration of the sixties mentality.  The limits run from 1956  at the beginning to 1974 at the end.  There are reasonable arguments for those parameters.  I would argue that the sixties began on August  26, 1959 when Pan American World Airways inaugurated non-stop jet service from New York to London, and ending with Altamont in 1969.  Before was merely prologue and post-Altamont merely aftermath.
The sixties are unthinkable without the arrival of trans-Atlantic jet service.  With the jets, the Jet Set came into existence.  The Jet Set was the envy of the entire generation.  There’s little we wouldn’t have done to have been part of it.  Thus when Pan-Am put the first 707-320 into the air the conditions for the sixties were in place.
Boeing won the race to commercial jets and what a plane the 707 was.  In late 1956 I was sent from Philly to San Francisco via a DC6B.  The DC7 was the reigning prop plane at the time but the 6B was just behind.  The 707 not only added jets but dimension.  The DC 6B was just a flying cigar with about a 50 passenger capacity.  Very narrow, claustrophobic and I don’t suffer from claustrophobia.  At somewhat less than 300 miles an hour the 2600 miles from Philly to the West Coast took a major part of the day.  We left Philly at about 6:00 PM and arrried the next day just after sun-up.  The pressurization was terrible; I arrived with my ear drums bursting while the pain lasted well into the week.  I thought I was permanently damaged.  It wasn’t a great experience.
By contrast the 707 was twice as fast with a feeling of roominess and excellent pressurization.  Pan Am’s 707-120 flight that refueled in Newfoundland carried 111 passengers the most ever on a commercial flight.  So the modern era of flight was innaugurated.  A, if not The, future had arrived and it actually did work.  Not only worked but exploded.
The Jet Set could now commute between New York and London over the weekend, or even one could fly to New York, have lunch and be back in London to sleep in your own bed that night.  For people with money the expense was negligible.  All of a sudden travel posters appeared in everyone’s appartment.  London, Paris, Rome, Swiss skiing.  It was a sign of our desires, a longing to travel that was soon fulfilled whether you could afford it or not.  Along with the jet need came other needs that had to be fulfilled, a new outlook, new clothes, new hairstyles.  Whole new economic vistas opened up for the uninfranchised who had the vision: Mary Quant, Vidal Sassoon and a host of others.  Did we need advertising to create those needs?  Not by a long shot.
It took ages for the established firms to catch on.  Meanwhile the portals of opportunity were blown wide open.  Perhaps the phenomenal  response to the Beatles was merely a symptom of those new ideas.  The Beatles clothes, the haircuts, their naive insouciance.  They just epitomized the new attitude as the Rolling Stones nor any other group ever could.  It didn’t have anything to do with the music itself.
Thus by the time Andy set up his headquarters at the Silver Factory things were shifting into high gear of which he was a beneficiary, but then he had the style too.  The defining Pop moment for Warhol was the incredible visit of Pope John VI made possible by the big 707 jets.  But let Andy give his breathless account from Popism, pp. 134-135:
A week or so after Philadelphia I got a real lesson in show business and Pop style.  Just when you think you’re getting famous, somebody comes along and makes you look like a warm up act for amateur night.  Pope Paul VI, talk about advance PR- I mean, for centuries.
Definitely the most Pop public appearance tour of the sixties was that visit of the Pope to New York City.  He did it all in one day- October, 15, 1965.  It was the most well-planned media covered personal appearance in religious (and probably show business) history.  “Never Before in This Country!  One Day Only!  The Pope in New York City!”
The funny thing for us, of course, was that Ondine was known in our crowd as “the Pope,” and one of his most famous routines was “giving the papal bull.”
The (real) Pope and his entourage of aides, press and photographers left Rome early that morning on an Alitalia DC-8.  Eight hours and twenty minutes later, they got off the plane at Kennedy with the Pope’s shiny robes blowing in the wind.  They drove in a motorcade through Queens- the streets were lined with people- through Harlem crowds, and then down to the jammed- for blocks St. Patrick’s Cathedral area in the Fifties- where the Pope seemed to want to go out in “the audience” but you could see his aides talking him out of it.  After all the stuff in the cathedral he ran down the street to the Waldorf-Astoria where President Johnson was waiting.  They exchanged gifts and talked for a little under an hour about world troubles.  Then it was over to address the UN General Assembly (essentially he said, “Peace, disarmament and no birth control”) out to Yankee Stadium to say Mass in front of ninety thousand people, over to the closing World’s Fair to see Michelangelo’s Pieta in its Pop context before it went back to the Vatican, and back out to Kennedy and onto a TWA plane, saying, when the reporters asked him what he liked best about New York, “Tutti Buoni” (Everything is good”) which was the Pop philosophy exactly.  He was back in Rome that same night.  To do that much in that short a time with that kind of style- I can’t imagine anything more Pop than that.
Yes, left Andy breathless and why not?  I wasn’t there but as the motorcade passed by the Factory and Andy looked down on the scene perhaps it was the or a defining moment of the sixties.  Certainly it was a masterpiece of planning and execution for what would have been a small army.
Andy himself had joined the Jet Set back in May when he was summoned to Paris for an art exhibition.  Originally sent a ticket for an ocean voyage Andy asked his sponsors for a change to four air tickets taking a small entourage with him including Edie.  One can only imagine his elation as the big jet liner lifted off the tarmac.  Certainly a defining moment of the sixties for Andy.  By the seventies and eighties Andy and his entourage were part of the Jet Set flying back and forth repeatedly.
Chapter 10.
The System Of Dr. Tarr And Professor Fether

The Heyday Of Andy And Edie

For those of us out in the provinces Warhol and his Factory were an ongoing phenomenon.  It all seemed sort of crazy or insane but inescapable.  His movies while perhaps being experimental were too bizarre to contemplate.  The ‘superstars’ with names like Ultra Violent and International Velvet who were merely girls and not stars of anything were viewed with amazement.  Quite frankly, we didn’t know what to think but had the cool to act like we were with it.  If there was something happening here we thought we knew what it was.
Obviously New Yorkers themselves had different understandings of the phenomenon.  Unaware of the meaning of the rise of Warhol some were condescending to this outre individual and his entourages but curious.  Andy’s strengths were of course in the art world and the homosexual  community more than in the straight world.  Thus at the beginning of 1966 the New York Society For Clinical Psychiatry extended an invitation to Andy to speak at their annual banquet.
This was a dangerous invitation for them to make to a group of quasi-maniacs on dope, for Andy wouldn’t come alone while I suspect the invitation was made in bad faith.  I think the psychiatrists thought they would amuse themselves at Andy’s expense.  It’s not improbable that Andy suspected this intent.  As the program chairman, Dr. Robert Campbell, said post-banquet in a NYTimes interview:  Creativity and the artist have always held a fascination for the serious student of human behavior.  And we’re fascinated by the mass communications activities of Warhol and his group.  In that statement I think the tone of the question and answer segment would have been set.
It is not like certain people in the Warhol entourage hadn’t experience with the psychiatric establishment of New York.  Several of them may very likely have been in the hands of psychiatrists there they recognized.  While the psychiatrists considered their methods quite reasonable those who had suffered at their hands had somewhat different sentiments.  One of the more bizarre of their methods and one that Dr. Mengele would have envied was electro-shock therapy.

Edie And Andy- Sitting On Top Of The World

To a layman like myself the rationale of electro-shock seems quite absurd.  How sending electricity coursing through someone’s brain is supposed to change that someone’s psychology in the direction desired by the doctors is beyond my understanding.  In point of fact it didn’t change anyone’s psychology, not that of Edie Sedgwick nor that of Lou Reed, two of Andy’s entourage, anyway.  While Edie was more passive about it, Reed was enraged.  Andy sympathized with Reed which didn’t bode well for the psychiatrists.
Nineteen sixty-six was a swing year for the sixties.  At that time right at the peak things began to go sour leading up to the twin disasters of Stonewall and Altamont.  Drugs were at the heart of the problem.  As the year began the amphetamine users had been on the stuff for six years or more.  And they we’re taking massive doses.  Edie was already over the edge while Andy’s A-men like Ondine and Rotten Rita were at the point of unraveling.
This use of speed had been mixed with alcohol and marijuana.  In addition the psychedelics that had been gaining in prominence since the fifties were becoming ubiquitous and multiplying.  Aldous Huxley’s psychedelic bible, The Doors Of Perception, celebrating the virtues of mescaline had appeared in 1954 when it was well received by dopers.  Psilocybin and peyote were available for the more adventurous and knowledgeable while the greatest hit of all, LSD, had been increasing in popularity.  Already well established on the West Coast and in Hollywood well before Dr. Timothy Leary became its proselytizer after 1960, the psychedelic was becoming endemic.
Heck, in the fifties the CIA was using hookers in San Francisco to dose Johns with the stuff unbeknownst to the Johns.  Agents behind two way mirrors were doubling over in laughter watching the action.  And of course the chemists were busy rearranging molecules to create new sensations.  Look out below!
Along with the use of drugs came the inevitable separation from both reality and morality.  As Warhol said:  If you don’t like what’s happening to you pretend it’s a movie.  And people did.  All of a sudden people were walking around in buckskins like they were actors in a Western movie.  Don’t Bogart that joint was a tribute to Humphrey Bogart’s smoking style.  Bette Davis eyes….  I knew one guy who thought prison movies were a joke.  He got himself arrested on drug charges thinking it was a lark, just another scene in his movie.  Two or three years later he came back and found the joke was on him.  His former cronies who all seemed to have been in on the joke at the time now wouldn’t have anything to do with an ex-con.  The guy’s movie turned from a comedy into a tragedy.  It was painful to watch.
As people drugged out, subconscious desires rose to the surface, they attempted to become what they couldn’t be thus islolating themselves and destroying their lives.  As Andy also said:  During the sixties people forgot what emotions were supposed to be and he  didn’t think they ever remembered.  At the same time morality became confused with what the individual wanted at the moment.
The psychiatrists were no more immune to drugs than the street people.  Lou Reed wanted some kind of revenge for the suffering he had endured at the hands of the psychiatrists.  Of course when Dr. Campbell extended the invitation to Andy he had no idea what that would include.  Dr. Tarr was to meet Professor Fether.
One can’t be certain what the psychiatrists were thinking when they invited Andy to speak; it’s not exactly clear what they thought he would talk about although the banquet was billed as  ‘The Chic Mystique Of Andy Warhol.’  Andy on his part saw the invitation as an opportunity to ‘epater les pyschiatristes’, and he did.

Velvet Underground And Nico

The two chief accounts of the banquet are Andy’s own as recorded in POPism and a review published in the NYTimes ( http://www.warholstars.org/warhol/warhol/andy/loureed.html )
The event took place on either 1/10 or 1/13 while the Times account was published on 1/14.  The writer, Grace Glueck, does not appear to have been present but relies on reports from other persons.  She quotes Dr. Robert Campbell, the organizer, as saying he ‘was fascinated by the mass communications activities of Warhol and his group.’
Miss Glueck goes on to record the reactions of some of the psychiatrists in attendance:  ‘I suppose you could call this gathering a spontaneous eruption of the id.
‘…a repetition of the concrete quite akin to the L.S.D. experience.’
‘Why are they exposing us to these nuts?’
And finally:  ‘Put it down to decadent Dada.  It was ridiculous, outrageous, painful.  It seemed like a whole (psycho) ward has escaped.’

Edgar Deep In Thought

Yes, the inmates had taken charge of the asylum.  The scene was quite reminiscent of the dinner in Edgar Allan Poe’s famous story:  The System Of Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether.  One might describe it as Lou Reed intended it, as shock treatment for the psychiatrists as well as the repetition of the concrete electro-shock therapy.  As John Cale, the violinist of the group, was to admit a few decades later:  That was revenge- Lou’s revenge…and I was all for it.  So evidently was Andy Warhol.
At the time Andy seemed to be enamored of his crowd but in his subconscious other feelings were stirring.  On page 370 of his diary referring to the Factory years Andy says:
I’d dreamt about Billy Name, that he was living under the stairs of my house and doing sommersaults and everything was very colorful.  It was so weird, because his friends sort of invaded my house and were acting crazy in colorful costumes and jumping up and down having so much fun and they took over, they took over my life.  It was so weird.  It was like clowns.
Everybody was a clown in a funny way, and they were just living there without letting me know, they’d come out in the morning when I wasn’t there and they’d have a lot of fun and then they’d go back and live in the closet.

Malanga and Dylan

It almost sounds like Andy confounded the banquet with Name and his friends actually living in the Factory inhabiting his life, or house psychologically.  So Andy was uncomfortable with his situation but as he equates terrorism of the sort inflicted on the psychiatrists as ‘having fun’ he was amused.  Nevertheless when the Factory moved in 1968 he cut these people off from him.
Andy’s account of the banquet was recorded in his memoir POPism pp.  146-147:
I was invited to speak at the annual banquet of the New York Society For Clinical Psychiatry by the doctor who was chairman of the event.  I told him I’d be glad to ‘speak’ if I could do it though movies, that I’d show Harlot and Henry Geldzahler and he said fine.  Then when I met the Velvets I decided that I wanted to speak with them instead, and he said fine to that too.
So one evening in the middle of January everybody in the Factory went over to the Delmonico Hotel where the banquet was taking place.  We got there just as it just was starting.  There were about three hundred pychiatrists and their mates and dates- and all they’d been told was that they were going to see movies after dinner.  The second the main course was served, the Velvets started to blast and Nico started to wail.  Gerard and Edie jumped up on the stage and started dancing, and the doors flew open and Jonas Mekas and Barbara Rudin with her crew of people with cameras and bright lights came storming into the room and rushing over to the psychiatrists asking them questions like:
‘What does her vagina feel like?’
‘Is his penis big enough?’
‘Do you eat her out?  Why are you getting embarrassed?  You’re a psychiatrist; you’re not supposed to get embarrassed!
Edie had come with Bobby Neuwirth.  While the crews filmed and Nico sang her Dylan song, (I’ll Keep It With Mine) Gerard noticed (and he told me this later) that Edie was trying to sing, too, but even in that incredible din, it was obvious she didn’t have a voice.  He always looked back to that night as the last she ever went out with us in public, except for a party here and there.  He thought she’d felt upstaged that night, that she’d realized that Nico was the new girl in town.
Edie and Nico were so different, there was no good reason to compare them, really.  Nico was so cool, and Edie was so bubbly.  But the sad thing was, Edie was taking a lot of heavy drugs, and she was getting vaguer and vaguer.  Her society lady attitude toward pills had changed to an addict attitude.  Some of her good friends tried to help her, but she couldn’t listen to them.  She said she wanted a “career” and that she’d get one since Grossman was managing her.  But how can you have a career when you don’t have the discipline to work at anything?
Gerard had noticed how lost Edie looked at that psychiatrists’ banquet, but I can’t say I noticed; I was too busy watching the psychiatrists.  They were really upset and some of them started to leave, the ladies in their long dresses and the men in their black ties.  As if the music- the feedback actually- that the Velvets were playing wasn’t enough to drive them out, the movie lights were blinding them and the questions were making them turn red and stutter because the kids wouldn’t let up, they just kept asking for more.  And Gerard did his notorious whip dance.  I loved it all.
And there we have Andy’s version recalled fifteen years later.     His account can be divided into two parts.  On the one hand the banquet and on the other Andy’s blighted relationship, call it an affair of the heart, with Edie.  Andy devotes 22 lines to the banquet and 15 to Edie.
Regardless of what Bob Dylan might now say there was intense competition between he and Andy for the possession of Edie.  That competition complicated by Warhol’s homosexuality and Dylan’s committment in marriage to so Sara Lowndes.  It is doubtful that Warhol could have maintained a relationship without paying physical attention to Edie although it is not impossible that some modus vivendi could have been worked out.  Certainly in the case of P.G. Wodehouse and his wife such an arrangement was worked out.
Dylan’s intentions were entirely dishonorable.  He was too self-centered to maintain a relationship with any woman except wholly on his terms.  Not only would he consider marriage only with a Jewish woman

Dylan

and that solely to fulfull a religious obligation to be fruitful and multiply, but he divided women into two classes, Madonnas and sluts.  Sara was his Madonna and all other women were sluts to be used solely for his pleasure.  Thus he could not have respected Edie.
He also had a serious mother problem.  Sometime around puberty his mother told him that he had blighted her plans for living life as she wanted by being born.  In other words he was an encumbrance to her life as a free spirit.  Thus his attitude toward himself and life took a dark turn about the age of twelve.  For some reason, perhaps ‘her fogs, her amphetamines and her pearls’ Edie reminded Dylan of his mother’s wish for the high life.  Now, it is absolutely taboo for a man to punish his mother so men take out their animosity to their mothers  on other women, hence all these serial killers of women, mother surrogates.  So, Dylan was essentially punishing his mother through Edie.

Neuwirth

Edie had walked out on Andy in December of ’65 when she jumped to the Dylan camp in the expectation that Dylan and Grossman were going to do something for her in the way of a ‘career’, especially something that involved a large paycheck.  As I have pointed out elsewhere there were many things that could have been done to capitalize on Edie’s extraordinary unearned fame.  There was money to be made there but either Grossman and Dylan lacked the imagination or they merely wanted to remove the girl from Warhol’s sphere and then to hell with her.
The latter is what was done.  Dylan had passed her to his sidekick Bobby Neuwirth and thus it was Neuwirth who escorted Edie to the banquet.  Warhol notes this then ruefully mentions that Nico, who was now in his camp, was singing the song Dylan wrote and gave to her.
Dylan had met Nico in Greece a couple years earlier when she was really depressed.  He wrote I’ll Keep It With Mine and gave it to her as her song.  In the video clip linked above the Velvet Underground are playing Venus In Furs.  The cacophany would have driven the psychiatrists out so I doubt they would have listened to more than one song.  Andy is misremembering and projecting.  Dylan had been a thorn in his side and would continue to be.  Indeed, after Neuwirth and Edie reported the spectacular doings at the banquet Dylan showed up at the Factory a couple of days later to get a fuller report.
Edie, on the the video clip, does look a little lost on stage but as it was crowded so does Malanga.  If Nico was trying to sing there was no chance she could have been heard.  Andy is clearly still suffering from Edie’s abandonment.  In his diary for 1977 he mentions meeting Neuwirth at a party where they discuss a couple of Neuwirth’s old girl firends, one of which was Edie.  As Edie was as close to love as Andy could get he had to resent Dylan for taking her away.
The situation with the psychiatrists was evidently secondary in his mind to Edie, but the event had been carefully planned, nothing that happened there was accidental.  This event would set the tone for the next few decades; a new direction in impolite social discourse had been established.  Nor was this an isolated event without consequences, the psychiatrists must have gone away steaming with vengeance on their minds.
Chapter 11
From Out Of The Looney Bin

The Man Of A Thousand Faces

In a different context Sam Cooke was singing A Change Is Gonna Come while Bob Dylan was singing The Times They Are A Changin’ and it may have been the Byrds who were chanting Change Is Now, all normal conditions.  Currently there’s a song which has a video that simulates an insane asylum in which the inmate screams:  ‘There’s nothing wrong with me, there’s nothing wrong with me, there’s nothing wrong with me and then the lead singer comes in screaming four times ‘Something’s gotta give, somthing’s gotta give, somethings’s gotta give, somethings gotta give.’  The banquet was where these two worlds collided…Worlds In Collision.  The irresistible force met the immovable object.
There was a premonition of this evolution  a year or so earlier when Dylan got up to receive the Tom Paine award from the pre-Khruschev Communists and roundly insulted them as old fogies.  Well, you know, the times they were a changin’.

Sigmund Alone Is His Study

Let’s take a look at the psychiatrists.  First it may be necessary to explain the difference between Depth or Freudian psychology and psychiatry.  You don’t need a medical degree to practice psychology, you do to practice psychiatry.  Freudians essentially believe that there is a gap between perception and reality in the mind caused by cognitive dissonance while psychiatrists believe the gap is caused by a physical malfunction somewhere in the brain that can be solved by surgical means, drugs or some external stimulation like electro-shock therapy, to what is an internal perceptual problem.
Hence Edie who really had nothing wrong with her except inexperience with the world was subjected to electro-shock therapy; Lou Reed whose homosexuality was beyond medical treatment was also subjected to electro-shock.  The psychiatrists at one time thought that teeth caused mental problems proposing to alleviate the symptoms by pulling all a poor wretches teeth.  In addition some perverted genius came up with the idea of pre-frontal lobotomies, and he wasn’t a Nazi doctor either, while one had a choice between electro-shock and the equally if not more bizarre insulin shock therapy.
In addition the drugs psychiatrists give to their patients have side effects more serious than the original ailment.  One has to remember that the Dr. Feelgoods such as Max Jacobson and Dr. Roberts, MDs while not psychiatrists, were giving super massive doses of amphetamines to everyone from the President of the United States on down.  Edie received massive doses from Dr. Roberts who was himself

Her Fogs Her Amphetamines And Her Pearls

befuddled by drugs.
Dr. Max Jacobson is a horror story.
Is it any wonder that the Factory hands were rebelling against the pyschiatrists?  Who were these psychiatrists?  As this was 1966 it must be true that over half were Jews, the so-called smartest people in the world, while of those Jews, I’m only guessing, fully half must have been Central and East European Jews who had emigrated during the Hitler years, many probably with very doubtful credentials.  The difference between Dr. Mengele and the Nazi doctors with these psychiatrists is minimal in my mind.
What sort of madmen would subject victims to massive electrical charges and expect beneficial results?  Besides these guys were probably all on drugs anyway.  And these psychiatrists had absolute authority, no different than the Nazi doctors, over those committed to their care.  I mean, there was no way for a patient to question or appeal his treatment.
Now, who were the Factory people.  What exactly are we dealing with here?  A bunch of loonies with Andy Warhol presiding as the Magister Ludi.  Andy, a pervert of the first magnitude.
When Warhol came to New York in 1950 from Pittsburgh he was no longer willing to conceal his homosexuality as he had had to do back home.  He arrived in New York an open homo.  Nor was he ever willing to compromise on what he was.  The avant garde of NYC was homo almost to a man.  The painters Warhol most wanted to impress were also homos but they abjured the lisp and mince not feeling the need to display their sexuality on their sleeves.  They rejected Andy because he did.
One, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Two, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Three, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Four, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Andy bore the insults but he patiently worked to impose his values as well as his art on society.
One, something’s got to give.
Two, something’s got to give.
Three, something’s got to give.
Four, something’s got to give.
In line with that approach he organized the Factory which was a homosexual clubhouse and promotional tool.  Essentially that is what the psychiatrists wanted to question.  While the posters, or paintings if you prefer, were more sexually neutral as soon as Andy had the necessary celebrity he began to make prodigiously boring movies that weren’t that good but avant gardists felt obliged to respect.  I mean, there are boring movies and then there are politically correct boring movies.  The audacity of his film Blow Job, the title was enough to undermine then morality, forced his notions on at least the college generation.  Whether the blower was seen, was male or female, was irrelevant;  Andy was promoting oral sex.  In his later years his pictures would become even more openly homosexually erotic.
The impact of that movie, whether you’d seen it or not, was enormous, liberating many repressed eyes.  So Warhol and his fellow fags, viz.  Rotten Rita, at the Factory were revolutionists leading up to the sharp, short battle of the Stonewall Tavern on Christopher Street, the ultimate fag street in the world, in 1969 that overthrew the entire restrictive attitude toward homosexuals in one fell swoop across the entire United States.  It was one of the worst things that ever happened.
The homo revolution didn’t stop there.  Pyschiatrists and psychologists still recognized homosexuality for what it is, a mental psychosis.
One, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Two, something’s got to give.
Three, let the bodies hit the floor.
The idea that they were ‘sick’ oppressed the homosexual psyche so they mau-mau’d psychiatrists in much the same manner Warhol had except that they were much more violent.  Just as the lesbians took over the feminist movement by showing up with baseball bats and threatening to beat the shit out of anyone who disgreed with them, so the homos treated the pyschologists compelling the wimps to drop the psychosis business.
Let the bodies hit the floor.
Let the bodies hit the floor.
Let the bodies hit the floor.
Let the bodies hit the floor.
So, as the psychiatrists let Warhol in the door he decided to take full advantage of them giving them a dose of their own medicine, so to speak.  At first he apparently intended to bore them to death with his stupid movies, but then, as he said, when he associated himself with the Velvet Underground a new plan took shape in his mind.  A new form of electro-shock therapy at 180 decibels.
The Velvets were a product of the avant garde.  John Cale the violinist was a protogee of the terminally boring ‘One Note’ La Monte Young.  Young was a devotee of the dynamo hum.  As a child he used to stand around the old transmission stations and listen to the transformers hum.   In those days the transformers used to spark and keep up a stead unvarying hum.  It was really something to hear.  The sparking and hum would probably have reminded Lou Reed of the juice flowing through him.  It was a great sound, very mesmerizing, but I never became as obsessed with it as La Monte Young.  Anyway Young’s avant gardism was based on the dynamo hum and the Velvets one chord music was based on La Monte Young.  I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere but I haven’t found it yet.  It is laughable though.
The good news is, through the wonders of the internet time machine you can listen to the Velvet’s

Lou Running A Temperature

performance (here).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNwp4nNTeJg
While warhol informed Dr. Campbell of the movies and the Velvets he didn’t say anything to them about Jonas Mekas and Barbara Rubin or the mocking Factory hands.
Jonas Mekas is an interesting character.  He came to the United States after WWII.  He had moved through various Displaced Persons camps in West Germany in the vile post-war years before emigrating.  I’m not clear on his ethnicity but he’s probably Jewish.  Once in NY, arriving at nearly the same time as Andy, he associated himself with the avant garde eventually emulating the Cinematheque Francaise when the experimental film makers of NY began creating a body of work.
A cinematheque is a library of films.  The French version was begun in the 1930s by Henri Langlois.  After a period of vicisssitudes caused by the war the archives of the Cinematheque Francaise has become a major archive of tens of thousands of films.  Mekas began collecting avant garde NY films on a much smaller scale of course but Warhol’s films were so marginal that many thought Mekas should exclude them  Mekas stood up for Andy exhibiting his films without which help Warhol films would have been consigned then and there to the dustbin of history.   Even more so than they have been.
Mekas at this time was employing a Jewish woman named Barbara Rubin as his assistant.  Rubin was marginally sane exhibiting all the sexual obsessions of the unbalanced.  The previous year she had made a film entitled Christmas On Earth.  Her Christmas on earth was envisioned as a huge sexual orgy, not with a cast of thousands, but a lot.  A few stills are available on the internet but I haven’t found any video clips.   Interestingly Andy’s assistant and collaborator, Gerard Malanga, had a prominent role.
Mekas did film this psychiatric spectacle but the film is locked away from human eyes.  God only knows why.

John Cale as Old Hipster Contemplating The Dynamo Hum

It might be appropriate to say something here about Gerard Malanga.  I might have to repeat myself at some later date but, you know, I’m 73 and there might not be a later date so I’ll say it now and perhaps later if I’m still around to tell the tale.  Malanga at this time at the beginning of 1966 was being placed in a difficult situation.  Within New York circles he was considered a poet of some distinction, he wasn’t just Andy’s helper.  He added luster to the Factory being much more than one of Andy’s vagrant perverts.  He was instrumental in the success of Warhol’s silk screen period.  As I’ve mentioned before Andy’s silk screens are little more than posters.  Andy was very lucky in finding associates who could advance his projects.  I mean Malanga, Mekas, Edie, Bob Colacello, Fred Hughes, Paul Morrissey, how lucky can you get?
When modern (60s) posters began they were travel posters fostered by jet setting.  During the early sixties they were de riguer, everyone had a couple.  Then the big personality posters came in with the Ben Day dots.  These were really impressive and something more, 36×24, and only cost a dollar.  Of course, a dollar back then was really something too, but what a bargain.  Then the Fillmore and Family Dog posters began appearing coupled with the fabulous East Totem West.  These were all printed.  Now, when I emphasize these posters don’t think they were universally accepted, they pervaded only the hip or Bohemian culture.  The were looked on aghast by the straight world.  Strangely, as though from another planet.
By 1966-67 black light designs were becoming prominent, those were mostly silk screened in flourescent colors and then they added flocking a little later.  Under a black light you were talking mind blowing.  With fluorescent colors and silk screen paints some fabulous designs were produced, usually priced at 3.00 but big.  These things really flipped the straights.
So when Andy began silk screening about 1963 he knew next to nothing of the process, however Gerard

Gerard

Malanga, who he now hired as his assistant, did.  There were mechanically operated screening machines capable of turning out unlimited quantities of copies but Warhol and Malanga used a manual method allowing for more variations in results.  At this stage then, Malanga became a collaborator making material suggestions as well as supplying knowledgeable labor.
Gerard also took Andy around to cultural events, poetry readings, and such thus broadening Andy’s rather limited cultural background.  Andy hired Gerard at the minimum wage and never over the years did he raise wages over the minimum wage level.
Gerard profited by his association with Andy becoming something of a figure in the avant garde scene without ever becoming the celebrity that Edie became.  He was in several of Andy’s movies as well as the Rubin sexcapade.  However as his fame and presence in the New York scene grew he faced the same problem Edie had.  He didn’t have the money to enjoy his celebrity.  Sixty dollars a week or so wasn’t going to take him very far.  So, what to do?
Andy ran off large numbers of impressions of his posters, none of these were originals.  For an exhibition at the Ferus Gallery in LA ( there’s a movie available on the Ferus and the LA avant garde)  he sent off a two hundred foot roll of Presleys advising them to cut it up as they saw fit.  He had a stack of Marilyns leaning against the wall that a women came in and put a bullet through Marilyns forehead through the whole stack.  Andy occasionally gave pictures away.  He either gave or let Bob Dylan appropriate one for his screen test.
There was value in these copies laying around so Gerard felt himself entitled to take some to supplement his income.  When he was stranded in Europe he even created an original, the Che Guevara Warhol and sold them.
How is one to view this?  In my estimation one has two types of Warhols.  One has on the one side Warhol-Malangas and on the other Malanga-Warhols.  In one case the screens are collaborative efforts, on the other Malanga originals.  While the Guevaras are considered fakes or counterfeits I think they have every claim to authenticity as Warhols even though they were conceived and executed in whole by Malanga.  Gerard also later either took or produced other posters which he sold.  These are now considered fakes by the Warhol Trust under Fred Hughes.  Maybe.  But Gerard was entitled to better compensation than Andy was giving him while the screens or posters were as much Gerard’s labor and input as Andy’s.
So, whatever, but beginning in 1966 and the move into the performance art of Andy’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable and trips to LA Gerard was woefully underpaid.  He was virtually a Warhol partner in my estimation.
At the banquet he performed his whip dance while Edie bopped around.
Thus, just as the waiters brought around the roast beef, string beans and new potatoes, and they called that a banquet, the inmates of the asylum burst through the doors, this is the entire Factory crowd of reprobates, to harass the unsuspecting psychiatrists.  They threw down their knives and forks streaming for the doors.
Miss Glueck in the NYTimes began spreading what was an amazing story via her commentary in the paper.  This was sensational.
Chapter 12
A Scandal In Bohemia

Andy And Gerard

I’m sure Andy’s audacious incivility was the talk of the town for a few days.  While not exactly getting away with a crime the whole fabric of civil discourse was shredded.  The word of what Andy had gotten away with quickly spread across the country in homosexual and/or revolutionary circles.  It was learned that you could disrupt anything without consequences and in the long run it would prove that these disrupters and obstructionists would profit mightily.  Certainly by the turn of the century there were few of them  who weren’t in enviable positions.  With the election of Obama the  Weather terror underground was in control of the country.  They had gotten away with it and pulled it off under the very eyes of the authorities.  Andy himself died in 1987 a very wealthy man.  Today his estate under the management of Fred Hughes is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
A plethora of people and organizations emerged who were quite willing to disregard everyone else’s rights and desires to impose their own on all.  This may have begun with the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, which had nothing to do with free speech, in which a small group of dissidents upset the University of California bringing education to a halt.  They were accommodated.  In the end the dissidents were in control, not the regents, temporarily at least.  Today, of course, the student body of UC is nearly entirely Asian and the whole brouhaha has absolutely no relevance.  It’s their university, now.  That magnficent library of the European heritage has absolutely no relevance to them.  The Asian library is terrific too.

Bomber Billy Ayers

The Free Speech Movement was expanded out into the terrorist organization Students For A Democratic Society, which had nothing to do with democracy, but the imposition of a narrow view of bigots,  and an assault was made on the entire university system of the country.  This attempt failed, most notably at the Chicago Democratic Convention of ’68 where they made fools of themselves, but from which came the criminal and evil Bomber Billy Ayers and his Weather Underground which today has captured the Presidency of the United States.  The dissidents are now distributing the largess in an authoritarian manner.
While symptomatic of the larger picture and part of that picture on the local level in New York, Andy was even more influential.  New York Bohemianism itself has managed to impose its ideals on the entire culture and that largely through Warhol’s efforts.  It is interesting however to note that George Du Maurier, the late nineteenth century author, thought that such an event would be beneficial.  Boy, did George get that wrong.
I haven’t read an account of Bohemia that wasn’t written by a Bohemian or someone sympathetic to Bohemia.  Thus the romance of Bohemia supplants the reality.  This is not recent either, the roots are deep into the nineteenth century.  Henri Murger’s The Bohemians Of The Latin Quarter celebrates Bohemianism in early nineteenth century Paris.  Puccini based his opera, La Vie Boheme on Murger’s book.  Dumas and Balzac both have a Bohemian outlook.  Perhaps the most famous celebrator and believer in Bohemianism was the late nineteenth century author George Du Maurier.  His three novels- Peter Ibbetson, Trilby and The Martian are a perfect example of sentimental Bohemianism and well worth reading.
Du Maurier’s Bohemia and Bohemianism was before drugs became ubiquitous or Freudian sexual attitudes became predominate although something like them existed at the time, but there was a civility of sorts that prevailed but has since disappeared.   As Warhol put it, in the sixties people forgot what emotions were and haven’t recovered them since.
With the sixties civility came to an end.  The criminal element and mentality prevailed in the Bohemia of Warhol’s time while Andy himself had a sadistic attitude.  His term for disruptive or anti-social behavior was ‘having fun.’
Perhaps Edie is symptomatic of the descent into madness, a modern day La Dame Aux Camellias.  the scene in the Village was an embarrassment for ‘respectable’ New Yorkers.  Underneath the antics of the Bohos real crime seethed, child brothels flourished, the drug scene was no laughing matter as movies like the French Connection attest.  The scene was mild compared to what it would become after Stonewall and the invasion of what New Yorkers called Eurotrash into the seventies and eighties.  The degenerate behavior was called ‘partying.’   As the saying goes:  they really did kick out the jams.
Still the early sixties was bad enough that the city authorized the police to clean up the Village for the ’64 World’s Fair so as not to offend the tourists.  So things weren’t just a little offbeat.  As I said, by ’66 the more destructive aspects of drug use was beginning to tell.  It’s not that people were beginning to lose self-control, Andy’s emotions, they had forgotten what controls were.  A process of devolution was in effect that would be recognized by the 70’s rock band, Devo.  They asked the musical question, echoing the refrain of the vivisected beasts on H.G. Wells’ Island Of Dr. Moreau, Are We Not Men?  the band Devo’s answer was no, we are not evolving we are devolving.  But, the country had a seemingly infinite capacity to assimilate any kind of outrageous behavior without making any move to correct it.  A moral paralysis had set in.  Everyone joined it, the money men would loot the entire Savings and Loan industry of every last dollar and nobody even seemed interested in who got that trillion dollars.  So what, hey?
Thus, when Andy mau-mau’d the psychiatrists in what was an unheard of way at the time without so much as a reproof the word rippled down the line and the rowdies, posing as revolutionists or whatever, sat up and took notice.  Their day had come.   The day of the locust.

Andy And Fred Hughes

In some ways the Stonewall Riot of ’69 in which the homos faced down the NYPD was an extension of Warhol’s mau-mauing the psychiatrists and from then on society had no method devised to counter it.  In reaction to this deviant and puerile behavior for which there was apparently no legal remedy a spirit of vigilantism invaded society compounding the chaos.  Dirty Harry, the lone avenger, made his appearance on the screen; Charles Bronson’s Death Wish movies captured the imagination of put upon society turning a legion of nut cakes loose.  Bomber Billy Ayers and his Weather Underground vented his and their personal frustrations on society.  But, then, society had already been corrupted.
I watched the corruption develop with Du Maurier’s sentimental Bohemianism in mind as partially seen through Maynard Krebs of the Dobie Gillis TV series and I recognized that the problems were emanating from New York but I wasn’t quick enough to see the difference between sentimental and practical Bohemianism.  Perhaps if I had read William S. Burroughs at the time I would have seen the danger more clearly.  As Dylan sang:  There’s something happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you.  He didn’t either although he may have thought he did.  Let the bodies the hit the floor.
For Warhol there must have been consequences to his insulting the psychiatrists.  When the inmates seize control there must be a reaction.  The Factory’s reputation was becoming more tarnished with every passing day.  Even Warhol tried to escape by leaving for LA  with the Velvets and then Arizona to make one of his porn movies.  Nineteen sixty-five had been the Factory’s apogee.  But as that party ended a new party was beginning but I suspect the offended psychiatrists used what influence they had to gain revenge.  When Warhol’s lease came up for renewel in 1968 the City condemned the building forcing Warhol out.  Fortunately for Andy New York was in decline with landlords walking away from unleaseable buildings.  These empty buildings created ‘squats’ which the indigents possessed as public property on ‘squatters rights.’  These empty buildings figure prominently in the movie Midnight Cowboy.
Warhol had no trouble finding other quarters.  Although an inconvenience, the forced move worked to Andy’s advantage.  Andy had already determined it was time to move on and leave the fantasy of the Silver Factory behind.  A new approach was evolving in his mind.  Fred Hughes knew there was money to be made from Andy’s reputation and he was going after it.  He should have been there when Edie was worth money.
Unfortunately at this time in mid-sixty-eight Andy’s dangerous sadistic game playing of the past rose up to haunt him in the form of Valerie Solanis.  She showed up at the new ‘White’ factory and put a bullet or two into Andy’s body.  The body hit the floor.  It was a terrible shooting.  A bullet managed to pass through nearly every organ  except the heart.  The shots from her gun actually did kill Andy.  He was legally dead for a minute and a half before the doctors got his electricity flowing again.
Nineteen sixty-eight was the year of the big revolution.  The only problem with that was that it only happened in the minds of the the so-called revolutionaries; still a change of direction did take place.  Andy departed one world and awoke in another.  He was born again.
For Edie 1966 ended her brief but glorious reign as The Girl Of The Year and began her terrifically horrorous spiral into oblivion.  Her fame would destroy her.

All The Fame Anybody Needs

Tell ’em Andy