I’m watching the Netflix special, Andy Warhol Diaries. They’re going through his massive archives of Polaroids, and it occurs to me that I must be somewhere in there. I had three …
I’m watching the Netflix special, Andy Warhol Diaries. They’re going through his massive archives of Polaroids, and it occurs to me that I must be somewhere in there. I had three encounters with Andy foreshadowed, in a sense, by a random nickname.
In the late ‘70s, Catherine (my best friend and neighbor), started calling herself ‘Mick’ as in Jagger. And even though she was the painter and, I, the musician, she dubbed me ‘Andy’.
“I don’t feel like Andy,” I told her, “I know nothing about him except the Bowie song,” and then I sang, “Andy Warhol looks a scream. Hang him on my wall. Andy Warhol, Silver Screen. Can't tell them apart at all.”
“Andy was radical,” she replied, “He subverted the art world. He basically said anyone can be famous, anyone can be art or even the artist. That’s a new wave/punk idea. You’re new wave, a musician, you can invite anyone to be a musician.”
Dressed in a blue and white dotted-Swiss bustier, tight black mini-skirt, and wearing spiked heels and hair, platinum-dyed of course, I took a cab to East 66th Street. I don’t remember why.
I do remember, upon arrival, someone opening the car door; not unusual when desperate for a cab in NYC. Legs first, I exited and there he was, Andy Warhol holding the car door open for me.
He was wearing a white shirt with a blue scarf, same colors as my bustier. Our hairdos, jutting out at all angles, were so similar, I wanted to laugh, but instead I just smiled and he half-smiled back.
My next encounter with Andy happened in SoHo around 1983. I was singing in the street with the all-girl trio, Venus Fly Trap. (VFT included Soozie Tyrell, Lisa Lowell and sometimes Patti Scialfa, the future Mrs. Springsteen).
Unbeknownst to us, American fine art painter, Eric Fischl, was having an art opening in the very building we were singing in front of. Instead of being asked to move along, which is what usually happened, Fischl invited us inside to perform.
Something about Fischl’s paintings drew me in and I started quizzing him about the process of painting. During our exchange, flash bulbs went off. I turned and saw Andy taking Polaroids of us. I was wearing an electric blue tutu.
Andy was wearing an electric blue Stephen Sprouse jacket. Perhaps this Polaroid is somewhere in his archives. It was our electric blue period, which would eventually fade for both of us.
“I hate Sundays: there’s nothing open except plant stores and bookstores,” wrote Andy in his book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and back again). My third and last encounter with him occurred on a Sunday at the Columbus Avenue Flea Market. It was February 14th 1987, my birthday.
The market was sparse, cold and bitter with hardly any vendors or shoppers. Out of the desolate gray came celluloid Andy dressed in a black turtle necked sweater and slacks; a moving cardboard cutout with the usual shock of white spikey hair. I also still had the same hair only his was a wig and mine was real.
I was wearing a half circle skirt trimmed in faux fur, spiked boots trimmed in real fur and a turtle neck, all in black. It was our several shades of black time; light and dark black; a favorite and final choice.
We exchanged Mona Lisa smiles and a couple of kindred nods. Less than ten days later, following gall bladder surgery, Andy died of cardiac arrhythmia.
Nothing to do with Andy, I think, but it wasn’t long afterwards that a series of events including a trip to the south of France and the handling of Citibank’s twenty-million dollar art collection, led me to leave music and begin madly painting.
To be continued…
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