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January - February 2016
[Note: if you were a donor to the original Holly Woodlawn Fund on the "You Fund Me" website and you do not think that the money was used appropriately, you can complain to You Fund Me here.]
February 20, 2016: It's been more than two months since Holly Woodlawn died, so I thought an update might be in order. As many of you already know, more than $68,000 was contributed to a Holly Woodlawn fund on the "Go Fund Me" website when Holly was still alive in order to make sure she was as comfortable as possible. It was later revealed that a real estate agent, Robert Starr, was the beneficiary on the account, rather than Holly. The New York Post covered the story here.
It's difficult to get a clear idea of what the money was spent on because there has never been a public accounting of it. Apparently, some donors suggested that a spreadsheet be created to keep track of expenses, but the campaign organizer, cabaret entertainer Penny Arcade, refused. On the "Go Fund Me" page she referred to the donors who suggested it as "cretins." (If you don't know how to do a spreadsheet Penny, just scribble down a list of the expenses on a bit of paper - surely the donors to the campaign deserve at least that.)
We know that some of the money was spent on Holly's 69th birthday party when she was still alive. The party took place at the care facility that Holly was in and the food was provided by El Pollo Loco. We also know that some of the money went to pay for a memorial party that took place after Holly's death. That party was at the Chateau Marmont, with alcohol and canapes. (A far cry from the fast food provided at her birthday party.)
Holly's ashes were at the Chateau Marmont party and I have recently learned that the memorial ceremony at the Marmount was performed by a Rabbi. Holly was Catholic. Robert Starr is Jewish but Holly was Catholic. When I brought up this anomaly with the party guest who told me about the Rabbi, he said Holly "was raised in the Hebrew faith after her mother remarried, was very proud of her adoptive father, and thought of herself as Jewish." That's not what she said in her autobiography:
Holly Woodlawn (The Holly Woodlawn Story: A Low Life in High Heels (NY: St. Martins Press, 1991), p. 37-8):
Right in the heart of the strip-joint district, near Twenty-first Street and Collins Avenue [in Miami] was a secluded beach... Well, darling, I was shocked to learn that I had stumbled upon the only gay beach in all of Florida... That day really opened my eyes. Having been born into a Catholic family, I grew up believing in all the religious values instilled in me."
Although it is true that her mother married a Jewish person after Holly was born (to a different father), Holly doesn't mention following Jewish religious ceremonies in her autobiography. Whether someone is Jewish or not depends on their mother's religion, not their father's. What sort of Rabbi would perform a funeral service for a Catholic?
Holly's Catholic relative from Puerto Rico was at the Marmont party to pick up the ashes. He wasn't introduced as a special guest, didn't make a fuss and didn't partake in the drinking. He stayed in the background until he was finally given the ashes and took them home to be buried with Holly's mother in Puerto Rico. The real funeral took place in Puerto Rico, not in L.A.
Wouldn't it have been wonderful if some of the fund could have been given to the family so that they could have at least given Holly a decent funeral? Or was it a case of the L.A. queens not caring about the relatives because they were Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico? Shame.
On Holly's "Go Fund Me" page, Penny Arcade writes "Robert Starr, Holly's beloved friend and care giver has told me that Hollywood Forever Cemetery will soon be interning Holly's ashes in the Niche that you helped procure for her." I certainly hope that's not true. Holly's Puerto Rican relative who picked up the ashes at the Chateau Marmont thought he was picking up all her ashes. (And the word is "interring" Penny - I've had a complaint from a funeral director.) Will any family members be at the Hollywood Forever ceremony?
Donors have also been promised a tribute to Holly at La Mama in New York by the campaign organizer which is likely to star the campaign organizer. Presumably this memorial will be free as past public memorials for Warhol stars have been. Will any of Holly's family members be at this memorial?
Most people who contributed to the original Holly "Go Fund Me" campaign did so in order to contribute money to Holly - to make her more comfortable at the end of her life. If funds were left over they were to be used for a Holly Woodlawn transgender support group.
$25,000 of the "Go Fund Me" money has apparently been donated to the LGBT offices in Los Angeles - but not for a transgender support group to be named after Holly. The LGBT has simply created another funding page for LGBT groups already in existence. Holly's LGBT legacy is a funding page. That's it. Just another page asking for more money for groups that already exist, none of which are named after Holly. People contributed to the original "Go Fund Me" page because they thought the money was going to Holly. Unfortunately, the only person who didn't get money from the original fund appears to be Holly.
Throughout the original controversy, I received quite a few phone calls from people in the states who knew Holly. It was disturbing how few of these people showed any sadness about her death. They were all worried about the rights to this or the rights to that as though Holly was a big star. The only person who seemed to express real grief was her Trash co-star Joe Dallesandro, on his Facebook page. (Joe's Facebook page is here.)
Nobody is going to make a lot of money out of Holly. If you ask the average person on the street who Holly Woodlawn is, they wouldn't know. It's sad but its true. More people know who Ru Paul is than who know who Holly Woodlawn is.
Hopefully the friends of Holly who started making a documentary about her before her death will be given the support to finish the film as a labour of love. The Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis documentaries were fairly successful but certainly did not make their directors wealthy by any means. Neither will a documentary about Holly. But it would help her to be remembered by her friends which is ultimately what Holly would have wanted - a film made by friends for her friends.
February 19, 2016: An exhibition devoted to the Beat Generation opens at the Centre Pompidou on June 22, 2016 and runs until October 3, 2016. Among the work featured will be photographs by Fred McDarrah who also chronicled aspects of the Pop generation. (Some of his photos are included in the "Warhol by the Book" show currently on at the Morgan Library. A pdf about the Centre Pomidou exhibition is here.
Ninety-nine photographs by McDarrah will also be featured in the upcoming "Velvet Underground New York Extravaganza" at Philharmonie de Paris which opens on March 30, 2016.
McDarrah's son Timothy continues to do "Save the Village" walking tours (highly recommended) in New York, based on his father's photographs. Details here.
February 15, 2016: Underground film icons Jonas Mekas, Richard Foreman and Ken Jacobs will be appearing together (along with surprise guests) at a reunion of the 60s, tonight (Monday) from 7 - 9 pm at McNally Jackson publishers. They will be honouring Mekas new book, Scrapbook of the Sixties. Details here.
The Anthology Film Archives, founded by Mekas in 1970, is undergoing construction to enlarge the premises. The new premises will include an additional floor, a gallery and a cafe. Details at The Anthology Library Project.
Film Culture 45
February 14, 2016: Contents from Film Culture 45 (known as 'The Andy Warhol issue' and published by Jonas Mekas in the Summer of 1967) has been added to the Warhol Film Ads website. This issue of the magazine is a collectors item, often selling for more than $200.
It includes an interview with Mario Montez, "Letter to an Unknown Woman Namely Jack Smith" by Ondine, articles on Andy Warhol's film Hedy as well as articles on Jane Holzer, Marie Menken and The Chelsea Girls (with a photo of Gerard Malanga and "Mary Might" (Mary Woronov)). It also has an interesting page on Vivian Kurz (as above) who starred with Andy Warhol and Gerard Malanga in Andrew Meyer's underground film, Match Girl. The description of Kurz as someone who was the "reigning darling" of Cambridge who hung out with Don Lyons and others is very similar to Edie Sedgwick. Vivian never quite made it to New York underground superstardom although, according to the article she appeared as Andy Warhol's brother in a Kuchar film, Corruption of the Damned (neither are listed in the IMDB credits for the film) and was also filmed by Gerard Malanga for his Cambridge Diary.
The Warhol Film Ads website is here.
February 13, 2016: I have added to the site an essay by William S. Wilson about the early, pre-Ray Johnson, origins of mail art. No real Warhol content although it does mention Jackie Curtis (whom Bill knew) and Valerie Solanas (who stored her gun under the bed of Bill's mother).
The essay, "Retrospections on West 23rd Street," is here.
As most of you know, Bill died on February 1, 2016. I've slightly revised the personal memorial I wrote about him, here.
Juud Janssen is maintaining a tribute page to Bill, with photos, here.
Personal tributes can also be left on the NYT Legacy page here.
February 12, 2016: "Polaroids, Photographs, and Films: Re-Viewing Andy Warhol's Work in the Age of Social Media and Self Curating" opens tomorrow, Saturday, February 13 at CSU Northridge in California and runs until March 26, 2016. The opening reception will take place on the 13th at 4 - 7 pm and there will be a talk by the curator Mario Ontiveros on February 15 at 10 am. In addition to Warhol's photographs they will also be showing Sleep and Empire.
Still from Ric Burns' documentary on Andy Warhol showing Warhol with William S. Wilson and one of his twins (with Ray Johnson in the background) at the opening of Warhol's first show at the Stable Gallery in New York
February 10, 2016: I have added to the site an obituary for William S. Wilson. You will find it here.
February 6, 2016: The "International Pop" exhibition which was at the Walker Art Centre last year, opens at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on February 24, 2016 and runs until May 15, 2016. One the of events taking place in conjunction with the exhibition is a "Pop Goes the Sixties" party which promises a "journey back in time" with a "tribute to sixties London." Considering the price of tickets to the party ($700 per person for "mods" and $350 per person for "rockers," it might make more sense to actually fly to London instead.)
Details of the exhibition here.
The exhibition "ROUND HOLE, SQUARE PEG" has its opening party at the Artists Corner Gallery in Hollywood on February 6, 2016 from 7 - 11 pm. Joe Dallesandro will be the guest of honour at the event. Dallesandro was, of course, Holly Woodlawn's co-star in Trash and appeared in a number of other films directed or produced by Andy Warhol.
Tickets to the party are $40, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Trevor Project - an organization founded in 1998 by the creators of the academy award winning short film, Trevor, to provide help to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. Ticket holders will automatically be entered into a raffle with prizes to win to win memorabilia and photos autographed by Dallesandro. Tickets can be purchased here.
The event will be emceed by James St. James and will feature special guest appearances, a live auction, hosted bar, and film and music by DV Paul V (Dragstrip 66 / Born This Way Blog). The host will be Mia Dinelly (publisher of West Hollywood Lifestyle Magazine) with special guest, Leonora Claire. Performance artist Cassils will present a live introduction of self-portrait artwork, which she will be donating for the auction. Art in the auction includes work by Andy Moses, Tom of Finland, Arthur Tress, Clive Barker and many other artists. The auction is also taking place online here.
Details of the exhibition and the party here.
Bill Wilson at the British Museum in 2005
February 3, 2016 It is with great sadness that I have to report that Bill Wilson - or William S. Wilson as he was known professionally - has died. Bill was a dear friend. We have communicated regularly for more than fifteen years and we always spent time together when he was in London. Among Warhol aficionados he is mostly known for his "Prince of Boredom" essay which is here. And of course he was a close friend of the artist Ray Johnson. And the son of May Wilson and for a period, the husband of the artist Ann Wilson. I thought he would go on forever.
I can't really write anything else at the moment - it's just too upsetting. His daughter has kindly sent me a copy of the obituary notice below:
William S. Wilson (1932-2016)
William S. Wilson, 83, died in Manhattan on Monday, February 1, 2016 from cardiac arrest. Born in Baltimore, April 7, 1932, he was raised in Maryland, attended the University of Virginia for his B.A., Yale University for his Ph.D. and taught college as a professor of English in Queens College, City University of New York from 1962 until his retirement in the early 1990s. While raising three children on his own in Chelsea, he published a collection of short stories, Why I don't Write Like Franz Kafka (1975), and the novel Birthplace (1982). The son of sculptor and painter May Wilson, he was deeply involved in the post-war New York world, the subject of his numerous published essays. Survivors include his sister, Betty Jane Butler, children Katherine, Ara and Andrew and grandchildren Jack, Alex, Augusta and Josephine. Contributions may be offered in his honor to PBS public television or the High Line or the Baltimore Museum.
Geraldine Smith and Joe Dallesandro
February 2, 2016: One of the visitors to Joe Dallesandro's recent appearance with Jane Birkin at Lincoln Center was his Flesh co-star Geraldine Smith, pictured above. Smith was also in Andy Warhol's Bad and Paul Morrissey's Spike of Bensonhurst.
Joe is wearing a Philip Treacy hat. Treacy designed Kate Middleton's headdress for her wedding to the future King of England, Prince William - in addition to designing hats for a multitude of celebrities - including Grace Jones, Lady Gaga and Madonna - and other members of the Royal Family.
And speaking of designers, look at what Jane Birkin gave Joe's wife, Kim, as a gift from Paris:
Jane Birkin's gift to Kim Dallesandro - a Hermès bag
Joe Dallesandro's next appearance will be in Los Angeles at the opening of an exhibition celebrating transgender art on Saturday, February 6, 2016. Details in the Huffington Post here.
Matt Wrbican, chief archivist at The Warhol Museum (2015)
February 1, 2016: In case you missed it, Matt Wrbican, the chief archivist at the Warhol Museum, wrote an interesting blog about David Bowie and Andy Warhol after Bowie's recent death. Matt has been the chief archivist at the Warhol Museum for a considerable amount of years and probably knows more about the artist than any other Warhol scholar. He helped me immensely during the early days of this site and I know he has helped a lot of other writers with their research. We all owe a lot of gratitude to him.
Warhol was never particularly enamoured of Bowie but it is interesting to read Matt's account of how Bowie and Warhol's paths crossed - and how Matt's path crossed with Bowie while Bowie was promoting the film Basquiat - in which Bowie plays Warhol.
Matt Wrbican (The Warhol Museum):
He [Bowie] sauntered into the huge bright room, cheerfully greeting everyone. As he came closer, I thoroughly cleaned my hands and checked (for the twelfth time?) the boxes holding our precious items.
But I could never have been prepared for his greeting: “So, you’re the Warhol bloke?” said the thin man with famously mismatched eyes, (which I could not stop staring at!). “What will your next job be? Are you waiting for Jasper Johns to die?” That cracked up everyone within earshot. The brilliant, dark wisecrack demonstrated his knowledge of art history, particularly of an artist who was of great importance for Warhol (and, I’m delighted that he’s yet among us).
Bowie walked to his makeup room; I followed, carrying my treasures, hoping that he and the film crew would follow our written instructions on properly caring for the wig and jacket. I mentioned something about that and got an assurance in reply. Perhaps 20 minutes later, a commotion arose in that corner, with Bowie rushing around in his boxer shorts, hotly pursued by the makeup artist flicking a wet towel at his posterior.
Matt's blog about Bowie (and all other things Warholian) can be found here.
January 31, 2016: Photos of Joe Dallesandro in New York for his appearance with Jane Birkin at Lincoln Center last night:
Fellow superstar Bibbe Hansen and Joe Dallesandro
(Photo: David Rubin)
Joe Dallesandro with his son and grandson in New York
Joe Dallesandro and Jane Birkin
(Photo: David Rubin)
Joe Dallesandro at the podium during the Lincoln Center Q&A
(Photo: Victor P. Corona)
Hugues Quester, Jane Birkin, Joe Dallesandro and Serge Gainsbourg during the making of Je t'aime moi non plus on 5 October 1975 in Belvezet in the south of France
January 30, 2016: Andy Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro will be doing a Q&A with Jane Birkin tonight (Saturday, January 30, 2016) at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center in New York after a screening of their film Je t'aime moi non plus. The event is sold out, however standby places will be available approximately one hour before the event begins. The phone number for the Walter Reade Theater is: (212) 875-5601.
29 January 2016: Alfredo Garcia has added a considerable amount of new Warhol film ads and articles to his site here. As usual it includes some real gems such as the following interview with Andy Warhol, Nico, Ultra Violet and Paul Morrissey from the Berkeley Barb:
Richard A, Ogar, "Warhol Mind Warp," Berkeley Barb, September 1, 1967
The full article is here. (Scroll down on the page)
Medal awarded to Joe Dallesandro by the French government, making him a a Chevalier ("Knight") de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
January 28, 2016: Joe Dallesandro's appearance with Jane Birkin at Lincoln Center this Saturday is now "standby only." Standby tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first serve basis at the Walter Reade box office one hour prior to the event which begins at 6:30 pm.
January 27, 2016: Fran Lebowitz is appearing at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey on February 5th. Tickets are $45.00. (Yes, I did say $45.) Details here.
There is also an interesting interview with Lebowitz in the New Jersey Jewish Times. Lebowitz was, during the late 70s and early 80s, the Susan Sontag of the Warhol crowd. When she wasn't writing, she was hobnobbing with Warhol and his celebrity friends. As the writer of a regular column in Interview magazine, "I Cover the Waterfront," and the author of the book Social Studies, she was sometimes compared to Dorothy Parker.
Her fifteen minutes of fame however, didn't last long and never really extended very far beyond the east coast of the states. She's largely unknown in Europe. In the interview she admits to never owning a computer - a decision that some might see as courageous but how can a social commentator be plugged into the modern world when they're plugged out of the digital revolution that has taken place over the past twenty years? Get a computer, Fran. (And you too, Brigid Berlin.) There's never a reason for not being modern.
The interview with Fran Lebowitz is here.
January 26, 2016: "Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films" will be performed at the Barbican in London on May 16, 2016 as part of a series of European dates. The event includes the screenings of recently restored (and never before seen in London) films by Andy Warhol accompanied live by musical artists Tom Verlaine (Television), Martin Rev (Suicide), Eleanor Friedberger (The Fiery Furnaces) and Bradford Cox (Deerhunter).
Info and tickets for the Barbican gig can be found here.
A review of the event when it was performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014 can be found on the Village Voice website here.
Two other confirmed dates are taking place in France after the Barbican gig - on May 18th at Le Lieu Unique in Nantes and on May 21st at the Cité de la musique, Philharmonie 2 in Paris.
January 23, 2016: Additional tickets have become available online for the Q&A with Joe Dallesandro and Jane Birkin taking place next Saturday, January 30, 2016 in New York. Tickets are available through the website of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The film that Joe and Jane co-starred in will also be shown - Je t'aime moi non plus, directed by Serge Gainsbourg.
Mary Woronov in Heaven Wants Out on You Tube here.
January 22, 2016: Ruby Lynn Reyner has posted full-length versions of her films, Heaven Wants Out and Finishing Heaven (an HBO documentary) on You Tube. Finishing Heaven is basically a documentary about finishing the 1970 film Heaven or Heaven Wants Out as it become known when it was brought out in 2009.
Reyner is a main character in both films. Heaven Wants Out (1970) also includes appearances by Ondine, Mary Woronov, Holly Woodlawn, Roger Jacoby (Ondine's real-life boyfriend), Holly Woodlawn, Tinkerbell and Francesco Scavullo.
The beginning of Finishing Heaven is hilarious - Ruby Lynn Reyner attacks director Robert Feinberg for having suggested that he should have used Viva instead of her in the 1970 film: "I still haven't gotten over the way you treated me last time, the cruel way you treated me... what cruel way? I should have used Viva?... You fuckin' said it... it negated our whole relationship. I should have used Viva. She would have never done this. She would have never spoken to you even. You are a big nobody... That is the moment I fell out of love with you... you left me, abandoned me in Piazza Navona when we were both in Europe while you picked up a fourteen year old gypsy girl with huge breasts... and went home and fucked her." Feinberg replies, "I don't remember that."
According to the resume on her website, Reiner's appearances in cult plays of the sixties included the version of Conquest of the Universe that was directed by Vaccaro as well as Vaccaro's production of The Life of Juanita Castro, written by Andy Warhol's scriptwriter, Ronald Tavel. Other Vaccaro productions which are listed on her resume include Cockstrong featuring Jackie Curtis in the cast. in 1971 she was part of the mega-cast of the play written by Jackie Curtis, Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit. She also lists an appearance in Andy Warhol's film Four Stars (****) on her resume. Her Broadway credits include playing Elizabeth I in Mary Queen of Scots at the Lyceum.
Finishing Heaven is here.
Heaven Wants Out is here.
Bette Midler (L) and Penny Arcade (R)
January 21, 2016: Cabaret entertainer Penny Arcade has named Bette Midler as the person who donated the most to the Holly Woodlawn Fund, despite Midler's wish to donate the money anonymously. Arcade was the Campaign Organizer for the fund. She gave away Midler's identity in a video posted on You Tube. In the video, Arcade says "somebody just made a $5,000 donation. first their name was showing, now her, their, name is not showing… but it was not anonymous, you know, ten minutes ago when it was Bette Midler." (The video is here - go to 16:00.)
Midler aparently donated the money soon after the fund was created. Arcade, as the Campaign Organizer, has yet to produce a list of the expenses which the fund has paid for. The beneficiary of the fund was real estate agent Robert Starr rather than Holly or her family.
$25,000 of the money is supposed to go toward supporting transgendered youth, despite that fact that Arcade has yet to apologize for her comments criticising transgendered women (Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner) and "Transactivists" on the web page for the fund.
January 20, 2016: Andy Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro will be the guest of honor at a charity auction for The Trevor Project - the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to (LGBTQ) young people.
The evening will be hosted by World of Wonder's club kid James St. James. (World of Wonder produce the Ru Paul show.) Mia Dinelly, publisher of West Hollywood Lifestyle magazine, will also be hand to help with the hosting of this special event. There will be a bar, music and films and each ticket holder will also be entered into a raffle for autographed photos and memorabilia by Joe.
The auction will take place on Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM (PST) at the Artists Corner Gallery, 6585 Santa Monica Boulevard Hollywood, California 90038
Sponsors include Artillery magazine, Fabrik magazine and The Tom of Finland Foundation.
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