Gerard Malanga's Childhood
"Whereas Andy Warhol led a sheltered childhood in Pittsburgh, I grew up a street hood in the Bronx." (GMW23)
Gerard Malanga was an only child. Like Andy Warhol, he had a traditional Catholic upbringing. As a youth, his parents enrolled him in an art class after school at the neighborhood YWCA.
"... while students were busy drawing landscapes and still lives, I would tape sheets of paper into one extended scroll, creating a continuous detailed cross section of New York city's subways and elevated lines from memory." (GMW20)
In high school, Gerard studied poetry under his high school English teacher, Daisy Aldan. (GMW101) He then went on to study poetry at the University of Cincinnati where he met and studied with Richard Eberhart in the spring of 1961. He had to drop out at the end of his freshman year due to lack of money.
Willard Maas, a poet and English professor at Wagner College in Staten Island, and Maas' wife, the filmmaker and sometime journalist Marie Menken, secured a fellowship for Malanga so that he could enroll in Wagner College in October 1961, two weeks after classes had started. (GMW23)
Both Willard Maas and Marie Menken were heavy drinkers. Edward Albee, who was a friend of theirs, based his play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf on their relationship. Maas was also a homosexual and, according to Gerard, was the offscreen person who gave the actor a blow job in Warhol's film of the same name. (GML) Marie Menken would go on to appear in several Warhol films, including The Chelsea Girls. Willard Maas became Malanga's faculty advisor at Wagner College. (PS139)
Like many of Warhol's superstars, Gerard Malanga had already started taking speed before meeting Warhol in June 1963. (GMW28)