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Thursday, November 18, 2010

ANDY

cat eyes


I have reaped what I have sown. The chemical warfare attack killed all the mice. Last night was silence. All the mice were dead. It felt creepy. A friend had suggested a movie called 10,000 lights, I forget the rest. I wrote it in the search box at netflix and it wasn't in their inventory. As always, a list of titles, one of them, House of 1,000 Corpses. I cracked up. That's my house. Mouse corpses in the walls. And today I pay for my sin of poisoning all the mice. They stink and I can't do anything about it. They're in the walls and there are several. Doors and windows are closed with heat on. I tell myself it surely doesn't smell worse than Mumbai or Calcutta, learn to live with and I won't notice it, then it will be gone. What else? Pot pouri? (however it's spelled) I feel a bit of sorrow for Caterpillar too. She liked watching them. She looks and waits and they never appear. They were her 3-D television. She has nothing else to occupy her attention. She just lazes about on her cushion.



Have just finished seeing A Walk Into The Sea, a documentary made by a Massachusetts woman who had been searching for anything to lead to her brother's disappearance several years before. He'd been one of the hangers on at Andy Warhol's Factory in the 60s. It was interesting history, a brief review of that Warhol period in New York, the intensely boring films that were cool because they were boring, and the silkscreens of Marilyn, Elvis, Campbell's soup cans, Brillo boxes, coca cola bottles, and his hangers on were the essence of cool in that time, in that place. They affected boredom brought on by everything and everybody around them. On coke, of course. On heroin, uppers, downers, acid, every kind of drug they could get in any form. Making films of each other shooting up and arguing and being stupid.



They got immense attention in the art world and in the press. They were a sensation. Edie Sedgwick, the rich California junkie who flashed like the shooting star that she was, fizzled out, crashed and died. It was a dark atmosphere, and I don't mean poorly lit. It looks like Warhol drew his creative energy from the people around him. He manipulated and used them. They all wanted to please Andy. Andy was famous and making them famous for being famous. A bunch of junkies of artistic leanings hanging out, staying high, playing artist, actually making some very interesting art. Like Gerard Malanga evidently did an awful lot of the silk screens. Andy made the design and Malanga put them on canvas. Andy was after making art like in a factory. He conceived the image, got other people to put it all together into multiple silk screens.



Warhol became one of those nutcase New York people like Truman Capote who, like Warhol, sucked up to the rich and partied with NY high society, got their pictures in People magazine, had expensive eccentricities and not so gracious deaths. I saw as many Warhol films as I could, which isn't very many, interested by what he was doing in art, feeling like I got it to some extent, and fascinated by that crazy bunch of people around him. Now, many years later, after reading half a dozen books on them, by some of them, seeing documentary films about them, looking at Warhol artistically, I see a bunch of people I'd couldn't be comfortable among for 5 minutes. He might have been a nutcase, but he was foremost an artist who made for himself a respectable place in American/international art of his time. He's the source of the saying every American has known for several decades, 'in the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.'


Part of what I likedItalic so much about this film was the absence of Warhol adoration. They looked at him with a cold eye. The director was searching for why her brother, who had been with the Factory bunch for quite a while as electrician for Velvet Underground concerts, disappeared. She went around to different living people from the Factory, almost 40 years later, and talked with them. They were some strange looking people. They looked pretty bad then, but in their own 60s they weren't quite as cool as they believed they were back in The Sixties.



I noticed nearly all the men that talked had permanent dark circles around their eyes. It was like they had brown donuts tattooed around their eyes. Bad hair, phew. What I was seeing was from the TS Eliot poem, we are the hollow men. I saw emptiness vast as looking into a black hole. I laughed at myself, thinking these were the people I thought were too cool for school at one time. Seeing these people, I felt glad again that I jumped off that track into the kind of emptiness that inhabits them. I'd have become like them, dark circles around the eyes, who I am locked up in a box and put in a safe place where it's forgotten. Living inside a self-created identity of what I want other people to believe about me. I can't live like that. It was in that time that God picked me up like a mama cat picking up a kitten by the back of the neck and carrying it from here over to there. I didn't do so well living in the world. I felt like a balloon with a slow leak. Then, like the song says, love lifted me. I've thought no more of the Warhol mystique since that time, but to enjoy his images from time to time. I'll always appreciate Andy's art.



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