to October 27, 1964: Freddy Herko commits suicide

Andy Warhol Films Freddy Herko

See also: The First Concert of Dance at the Judson Dance Theater and Judson Dance Theater Concerts #6, 7 and 8.

Andy Warhol first came across Freddy Herko when Andy was going to the Judson Church experimental dance concerts in the early sixties with Gerard Malanga and Charles Henri Ford. (POP52)

Andy filmed Herko three times: “The first time was just a short dance thing on a roof. The second was a segment for the Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys where Freddy sat nervously in a chair for three minutes, smoking a cigarette. And the third was called Roller Skate, and Freddy was the star of it. He put a skate on one foot and we filmed him rolling on it all over town and over in Brooklyn Heights, day and night... When it came time to take the skate off, his foot was bleeding, but he’d been smiling the whole while and he was still smiling, wearing a YMCA Good Guys sweatshirt.” (POP84)

Andy Warhol (via Pat Hackett in Popism):

"Freddy spent the months before he died with a girl dancer over in an apartment near St. Mark's Church, taking more and more amphetamine. He began staying inside, never going out. He never smiled anymore... One night he showed up at Diane di Prima's to borrow a record and invited everyone there to a performance; he said he was going to leap off the top of his building downtown...

A few days later, on October 27, he turned up at an apartment on Cornelia Street that belonged to Johnny Dodd, who did the lighting for the Judson Church concerts. The front door to Johnny's apartment was bolted and sealed... but there was a panel... with hinges, that by really stooping you could get through...

What Freddy did when he got inside was go and take a bath... After his bath, Freddy put Mozart's Coronation Mass on the hi-fi. He said he had a new ballet to do and he needed to be alone. He herded the people there out of the room. As the record got to the 'Sanctus', he danced out the open window with a leap so huge he was carried halfway down the block onto Cornelia Street five stories below...

For the twenty-six nights following Freddy's death, the group at Diane di Prima's apartment met formally to read the Tibetan Book of the Dead... There was a memorial service for him at Judson Church, but so many people showed up that there was another one for him, at the Factory. We showed the three films." (POP85)

to October 27, 1964: Freddy Herko commits suicide