by Gary Comenas
JANUARY 2 - 14, 1967: THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO PERFORM AT STEVE PAUL'S THE SCENE.
Susan Pile [from a letter to Ed Walsh]:
"Mary [Woronov] wasn’t at the Scene that night, so Gerard asked me to dance along with the multitude of groovers. As the Velvets were taking the stage, I told Gerard it was time for him to captivate, but - no - since he wasn’t being paid for dancing, he wasn’t about to bless them with a dying swan and I must continue to rock out with him.
OK, so we assume the dance floor in preparation for hot bopping when suddenly strobelights flick on, audience hushes--”Venus in Furs”--and Gerard pulls out the whip.
Yes, flagellation unmitigated, unpredicted, undesired. I was acutely embarrassed and flew into a cab back to school as soon as I found a replacement..." (S)
See: "Andy Warhol's The Chelsea Girls (1966)"
All three - Andrea Feldman, Geraldine Smith and Patti D'Arbanville - were friends with each other and regulars at Maxs Kansas City. Andrea would appear in Imitation of Christ, Trash and Heat. Geraldine Smith and Patti D'Arbanville were in Flesh. (See "Patti D'Arbanville in Interview magazine.")
FEBRUARY - MAY 1967: ANDY WARHOL'S THIRTEEN MOST WANTED MEN SILKSCREENS ARE EXHIBITED AT THE ILEANA SONNABEND GALLERY IN PARIS.
Andy Warhol was credited as "producer" on The Velvet Underground and Nico album. The album's release had been delayed because a special machine had to be made to manufacture the original cover, designed by Warhol, of a banana that could be peeled. (UT105)
Newspapers and magazines refused to take ads for for the album because of the controversial nature of the songs dealing with drugs and sadomasochism - apart from Grove Press' alternative publication, the Evergreen Review. The majority of radio stations refused to play it.
LOU REED decided not to play again in New York because of the reaction to the album. He did not play New York again until 1970. (LR142-4)
Village Voice ad, 23 March 1967, p. 29
The opening of The Gymnasium was Friday, March 24th. According to Up-Tight, The Velvet Underground Story, (London: Omnibus Press, 2002) "In April, the son of the Dom's Polish owner approached Andy was an idea for a new club in New York. Originally a Czechoslovakian health and social club in the East 70s, it was called the Gymnasium. The idea was to leave all the gym equipment for the guests to play on. The EPI played there and tried to resuscitate the atmosphere they had created the previous April at the Dom, but they couldn't get an exclusive lease on the place and the location was poor." (UT110-11)
The Polish owner must have approached Warhol prior to April as the club opened on the 24th of March, as per the above ad in the Village Voice. From the adverts, the club was open only on the weekends and the Velvet Underground played there until the end of April when the club, presumably, closed.
Chris Stein of Blondie recalls playing at the Gymnasium in his pre-Blondie days:
"... I had this friend who was a cute little boy with superlong blond hair who was a gofer for Andy at the Factory. One night he said, 'Listen I can get you guys a gig opening for The Velvet Underground at the Gymnasium.' I had never seen The Velvet Underground but we had the Banana album [released in March 1967] and everybody know who they were, so we said, 'Oh fantastic!' The night of the gig we got on the subway with our instruments and we were totally hippied out. We had balloons and a couple of girlfriends and everybody was dressed in beads and feathers...
It was pretty late at night by the time we got out of the subway in Manhattan and headed toward the Gymnasium. Walking down the block with our guitars we actually saw some people coming down the street and they said, 'Oh are you guys the band, because we've been waiting there all night and we couldn't take it anymore, we left because they never showed up.' So we said, 'Yeah, we're the band.' We went inside and there was hardly anyone there. Somebody said Andy was supposed to be there, but he was off in the shadows with his entourage, we never saw him. We hung around for a little while and they played records, then we headed up for the stage. It was a big echoey place, we had absolutely no conception of playing a place like this whatsoever, but Marureen Tucker said we could use their equipment. So we plugged into their amps and the amps were all cranked up superloud. All Maureen had was a bass drum and a snare drum, but they were both turned on their side so the drummer was completely thrown off, but she said, 'Well, it's okay, you can put them right side up,' and somehow they produced a bass pedal from somewhere. Then we tried to play but we were totally floored because we couldn't play in this huge resounding echo. It was a giant gymnasium with basket ball hoops and everything was echoing so we couldn't really handle that, but we hacked our way through our little blues songs and people sort of watched us at first and then some of them tried to dance... We must have played five or six songs then we just gave up. By that time the rest of The Velvets had arrived. After a while they started to play and they were like awesomely powerful. I had never expected to experience anything like that before... (UT111-12)
During one evening - Friday, 31 March - the Velvets were advertised to appear at both the Gymnasium and the Rhode Island School of Design on the same night.
Village Voice, 30 March 1967, p. 39
Although the March 30th ad (above) announced that the Velvets would be at the Gymnasium on Friday 31 March, they were also advertised to play at the Rhode Island School of Design on the 31st (in addition to Saturday the 1st of April when the Gymnasium was closed.) A poster for the R.I.S.D. event appears in Andy Warhol 365 Takes:
Andy Warhol 365 Takes (London: Thames & Hudson, 2004), take 43
An interview with Warhol appeared in the student newspaper of the R.I.S.D. which also referred to two nights of performances. Andy Warhol asks the interviewer if he saw the show "yesterday" and the interview took place in the projection booth during the Saturday night show. (See: "Andy Warhol interviewed at the Rhode Island School of Design.") Although the Village Voice ad indicated that the Gymnasium was closed on Saturday, it still gave the impression that the Velvets were playing there on the Friday - the same Friday they were advertised to appear at the R.I.S.D. (See also: Review of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable at the Rhode Island School of Design.)
The ad that appeared in the April 6th issue of the Village Voice for The Gymnasium announced "The Complete Spectrum of Sound with the Velvet Underground," along with the jazz artists, the Dick Hyman Trio and Tony Scott.
Village Voice, 6 April 1967
There were also adverts in the April 13th, and 20th and 27th issues of the Voice which are reproduced in Alfredo Garcia (ed.), The Inevitable World of The Velvet Underground.
CHUCK WEIN, GENEVIEVE CHARBIN, GINO PISERCHIO, JOHN PALMER and DAVID WEISMAN met to plan a non-Warhol film starring EDIE SEDGWICK and PAUL AMERICA. The film became Ciao Manhattan. (CNB)
APRIL 1967: THE CHELSEA GIRLS OPENS IN L.A.
Andy Warhol and entourage flew to L.A. for the opening of THE CHELSEA GIRLS at the Cinema Theatre. His entourage included PAUL MORRISSEY, SUSAN BOTTOMLY (INTERNATIONAL VELVET), LESTER PERSKY, JOHN WILCOCK, ULTRA VIOLET (ISABELLE COLLIN DUFRESNE), and ROD LA ROD (Andy's 'boyfriend'). For one radio interview - the Radio Oz` show on KPFK - International Velvet pretended to be Andy. (DB254)
The Velvet Underground performed in Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable show for the last time at Steve Paul's The Scene nightclub. (UT123)
Andy Warhol and Nico in foreground at Cannes (Photographer unknown)
The 20th Annual Cannes Film Festival took place from April 27 to May 12, 1967.
ANDY WARHOL, PAUL MORRISSEY, NICO, GERARD, LESTER PERSKY, RODNEY LA ROD, DAVID CROLAND, INTERNATIONAL VELVET and ERIC EMERSON took THE CHELSEA GIRLS to the Cannes Festival but never got to show it. (POP211/DB254).
According to Victor Bockris, he person in charge of screening the Critics' Choice films, Louis Marquerelle, decided not to show the film. Marquerelle was already nervous about the "dirty language" in another film that year - the English production of James Joyce's Ulysses. (LD269) Paul Morrissey recalls that the Cannes Festival organizers were afraid to show The Chelsea Girls because they feared a scandal over ten seconds of male nudity that the Festival officials had heard was in the film. (GB135)
“We had the print of Chelsea Girls with us when we got to London. We'd taken it to Cannes to show at the film festival, and there were so many reels and it was so expensive that we'd taken it in our luggage. Andy had paid for seven or eight people to go. Some were in the film, some were friends of others. There was a whole bunch of us: Nico and Eric (Emerson), Susan Bottomly and someone else. But they never screened it. They had announced it, it was part of the programme, but they hadn't given it a date. They didn't know how to screen the film. They needed two projectors and two screens, and I had to try and show them how to do it. Then they were afraid there'd be some scandal because of 10 seconds of male nudity, which they'd heard about but never seen. They never screened it. They refused to show it. The first time ever that an invited film was never screened.”
After Cannes, Warhol and his entourage went to Paris, Rome and London. Taylor Mead, who had left New York in 1964 to live in Europe, saw The Chelsea Girls at the Cinematheque in Paris and later gave it as the reason he decided to return to New York.
When Warhol and his entourage reached London, they privately screened The Chelsea Girls at the home of Warhol's (gay) art dealer, ROBERT FRASER.
Andys most vivid memory of London was of RODNEY LA ROD leaping onto PAUL MCCARTNEYs lap the second he met him... (POP241) Rodney LaRod was Warhol's boyfriend at the time.
While the others returned to New York, David Croland and Susan Bottomly decided to go back to Paris for awhile and Eric Emerson stayed in London at Robert Fraser's home.
Andy Warhol shot IMITATION OF CHRIST the day after Taylor Mead returned to New York from having lived abroad. (POP)
According to Debra Miller in Billy Name Stills From The Warhol Films, Warhol filmed Imitation of Christ in January 1967 and shot sixteen 32 minute reels. The long version was shown once in November 1967 and then withdrawn from circulation. A month later it appeared as a segment in ****. In late 1969 Warhol and Paul Morrissey condensed it to 105 minutes and re-released it. (BN104)
In addition to Taylor Mead, Imitation of Christ featured Ondine, Brigid Berlin, Andrea Feldman, Nico and a former child actor named PATRICK TILDEN CLOSE who played the boy Elliot Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello with Ralph Bellamy and Greer Garson. (POP241) In Sunrise he was credited as Pat Close. (imdb)
Patrick Tilden Close also had an affair with Edie Sedgwick.
"After Dino [Valente], Edie was very much in love with Patrick Tilden. He was Bob Dylan's best friend. Bob had been staying at the Castle before the Velvet Underground moved there.
When Edie and Patrick fell in love, I thought it was a very romantic thing. She lived downstairs in Severn Darden's old room, the spookiest room of all. It was haunted. There was a pentangle in the entrance. I heard the shrieks and funny noises... I hear things rather than feel them. Every morning at four, at the same spot, somebody... the ghost... would make this noise like a broomstick pounding on the floor." (EDIE349)
The Castle was in the Hollywood Hills and was often rented by rock bands. Warhol and his entourage had stayed there in May 1966 when the EPI played The Trip in L.A. Edie and Nico also stayed there without the rest of the Warhol crowd in the summer of 1967.
MAY 30, 1967: THE CHELSEA GIRLS IS RAIDED IN BOSTON.
It was raided by the Boston vice squad detectives at the Symphony Cinema II, where it had been playing for 2 1/2 weeks. The manager of the cinema was found guilty of four charges of obscenity and fined $500.00 for each charge. Andy was delighted as it meant that he would be able to advertise the film as 'banned in Boston', "traditionally a publicist's dream". (DB254)
Andy Warhol took NICO to a performance of the Velvet Underground in Boston so she could join them onstage. They arrived late and LOU REED refused to let her go onstage.
Nico: "Everybody wanted to be the star. Of course Lou always was. But the newspapers came to me all the time. That's how I got fired - he couldn't take that anymore. He fired me." (LR145)
Andy arranged a meeting with Lou Reed. According to Reed, he fired Andy at the meeting. Warhol let him out of his contract with no argument, but still expected to be paid his 25% of the royalties from the Velvet Underground music created under his management. Warhol never saw any of the money. (LR146)
JULY 1967: THE FARM BECOMES THE CIRCUS.
The Balloon Farm, which had previously been The Dom, was renamed The Electric Circus. Albert Grossman sold his lease on the Balloon Farm to JERRY BRANDT for "a lot of money" (UT135) Brandt re-named the venue the Electric Circus. The space previously known as "Erics Fuck Room" - a small alcove with a couple of mattresses used by Eric Emerson - became the "Meditation Room" - with carpeted platforms, Astro turf and a health food bar. (POP215)
LATE JULY 1967: ANDY WARHOL FILMS I, A MAN.
I, A MAN was shot in late July and opened in August at the Hudson Theatre, where MY HUSTLER played. It was a series of scenes of this guy, Tom [Baker], seeing six different women in one day in New York, having sex with some, talking with some, fighting with some." (POP228) Valerie Solanas, who would later shoot Warhol, played a small speaking role.
According to Ultra Violet, who had a conversation with Solanas at the time of the filming, Valerie said to her, "Love can only exist between two secure, freewheeling, groovy female females. Love is for chicks. Why do you let him exploit you? Why don't you sink a shiv into his chest or ram an ice pick up his ass?" (UV169)
I, A Man was a 100 minute, black and white sound film, featuring Tom Baker, Ivy Nicholson, Ingrid Superstar, , Cynthia May, Betina Coffin, Ultra Violet, Nico and Valerie Solanas. Valerie would later attempt to kill Warhol by shooting him in 1968.
See "I, a man."
Warhol ran into Viva at a party held by BETSY JOHNSON - who was engaged to JOHN CALE. John Cale and Betsy started living together when they were both staying at the Hotel Chelsea - later moving to Johnson's loft on La Guardia Place - living together for a year before getting married in April 1968. (UT113)
"... I remember Terry Riley and his peanut butter 'Eat Me Out', being around a lot, and La Monte Young. Nico under the sink! Nico used to come over and live under my big stainless steel sink. And the whole loft was just music. We had a little bed in the corner." (UT115)
"In the Fall of 1967 I moved in with Martha Dargan and her brother Tom on East 2nd Street. John moved in with Betsey at the Chelsea somewhere around this time, and Lou was here and there, mostly on Perry Street, and later at the loft on Seventh Avenue and 31st Street. Maureen [Tucker] was living on Fifth Avenue and 9th Street." (UT144)
At Johnson's party, Viva cornered Andy and asked if she could be in his next film. At the party she told Andy that she was in love with JOHN CHAMBERLAIN, the sculptor, but that he was in love with ULTRA VIOLET. According to Warhol, she also said that shed just done a nude scene in a movie Chuck Wein was filming, 'Ciao, Manhattan', (see Edie bio). Viva asked Warhol if he was planning to do a new movie soon to which he replied that they would be shooting one the next day and gave her the address of where they were going to shoot. (POP229)
The next day Viva arrived at the location and appeared in THE LOVES OF ONDINE (originally a part of **** but eventually released as a separate feature).
Warhol met Joe when Joe wandered by mistake into the apartment in the Village where PAUL MORRISSEY and Andy were shooting a reel for THE LOVES OF ONDINE. They asked him to be in the film. (POP239) Joe was working as a cutter in a bookbindery. (JOE20) He eventually ended up appearing in more Warhol films, although not a keen fan of Andys art, saying about it: Its worth something to somebody who thinks its worth something. (JOE23)
AUGUST 1967: ANDY MEETS CANDY AND JACKIE.
Jackie later told Warhol how she met Candy in the same area.
AUGUST 1967: GERARD MALANGA LEAVES THE FACTORY.
Gerard Malanga went to Italy to show his own film, In Search Of The Miraculous, at the Bergamo International Film Festival. Gerard's film was about three generations of the Barzini family. (UT137) Malanga had met the model Benedetta Barzini at Robert Rauschenberg's loft on Saturday, February 6, 1966 and had become obsessed by her. (GMW49)
The account in Popism of this trip begins "When Chelsea Girls opened at the Presidio Theater in L.A. in late August '67, Paul, Ultra, Ondine, Billy, and I flew to California for personal appearances." (POP231) It continues with " NICO was already there staying at the Castle in L.A. during the summer with JIM MORRISON, but she'd gone off with BRIAN JONES to the Monterey Festival... Edie stayed at the Castle a little while that summer, too..." (POP232)
The rest of the account, however, is devoted to a trip to San Francisco. The reference to the "Presidio Theater in L.A." may, in fact, be the Presidio Theater in San Francisco - a venue which showed mostly adult films and, less frequently, the odd art-house film. D.A. Pennebacker's film on Bob Dylan, Don't Look Back had opened there on 17 May 1967.
Blogger Richard Lewis, has written an account of a trip he made to San Francisco in 1967. He includes a trip to the Presidio Theater for the premiere of The Chelsea Girls.
Andy Warhol and Ultra Violet at the Presidio
Theater in San Francisco, 1967 (Photo: Richard Lewis)
"... in my final week on the West Coast I made two trips to each of the different theatres run by The Committee. First to see their production of “America Hurrah” on Montgomery Street and then two days later to their “Improvised Satirical Revue” with Carl Gottlieb on Broadway... In between my trips to the theatre I watched Mimi Farina on TV from Golden Gate Park singing Tuli Kupferberg’s “Morning” and Dino Valente’s “Lets Get Together”. I also made a final trip to the Fillmore to see The Byrds.
My last outing before I was due to head back to New York was to go to watch the crowd outside the Presidio Cinema for the Premiere of Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls. Sure enough a large American automobile arrived and out got Andy Warhol, Ultra Violet and Nico. They stood around for photos and then went in where they chatted to the audience and had a cup of coffee and generally hung out and made themselves available to anyone who wanted a word or a picture. On Monday September 11th I took a Greyhound east and three days later arrived back in New York..."
Lewis mentions Mimi Farina's television appearance and a performance by the Byrds at the Fillmore. Mimi Farina's TV appearance was on August 24, 1967. The Byrds played the Fillmore on the 7th, 8th and 9th of September 1967.
Popism also claims that during the trip to California they did lectures at colleges and also shot some footage for BIKE BOY. (POP235)
See "Bike Boy."
The first performance of JACKIE CURTIS' play, Glamour, Glory and Gold took place with Melba LaRose playing the lead role of Nola Noonan.
A second production would take place in 1968, with Paula Shaw playing Nola Noonan. In the second production, Robert DeNiro played the men's roles for which he received a rave review in the Village Voice. (HW97/C/MLR)
Other Jackie Curtis plays included Lucky Wonderful performed in 1968 at the Bastianos Theatre, Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit performed by the Playhouse of the Ridiculous in 1969 and Vain Victory produced by LaMama in 1971. Jackie Curtis's last two productions were I Died Yesterday (the Frances Farmer story) in 1984 and Champagne in 1985. (JCC)
Henry Geldzahler and Fred Hughes shared the elevator to the Factory with ONDINE who Henry introduced as "the greatest actor in underground cinema today. " Ondine replied, Im so glad you said that, because most people confuse me with being a vulgar pig.(POP215/LD280)
AUTUMN 1967: ANDY WARHOL TOURS CAMPUSES WITH ROD LA ROD.
Andy Warhol and entourage went on a film/lecture tour of college campuses. ROD LA ROD, Andys boyfriend at the time, was with them and was described by a newspaper as an Alabama man with shoulder-length brown hair. He claims to have two gods, Governor Wallace and Warhol, whom he calls The Great White Father. (UV) Warhol's entourage also included Paul Morrissey and Viva who answered questions from the students after showing Warhol's films.
"Andy stood on the stage, blushing and silent, while Paul Morrissey, the professor, delivered a totally intellectual anti-intellectual rapid-paced fifteen minute mini-lecture putting down art films, hippies and marijuana, saying things like 'At least heroin doesn't change your personality.' Then I... answered questions - 'The reason we make these movies is because it's fun, especially the dirty parts' - and advised them to drop out of school. Then I would rant about everybody in authority." (LD278)
OCT. 1967: NICOS FIRST ALBUM IS RELEASED.
Chelsea Girl was Nico's first solo album. Recorded in April/May 1967, it was produced by Tom Wilson and featured Jackson Browne on some of the tracks. Nico had met Browne while performing at the Balloon Farm and they had a brief affair.
OCT. 1967: VALERIE COPYRIGHTS SCUM.
In addition to the SCUM Manifesto (Society to Cut Up Men), Valerie Solanas also wrote a play called Up Your Ass. MAURICE GIRODIAS, publisher of Olympia Press (who had to leave France after violating their pornography laws), gave her a six hundred dollar advance on a novel she wanted to write based on SCUM. Grove Press turned down her play, which she also submitted to Andy Warhol. (UV184/185)
1967: ULTRA VIOLET MEETS JACKIE CURTIS.
Jackie took Ultra to Jackies grandmothers bar Slugger Ann on 2nd Avenue where Ultra meets CANDY DARLING (who is working there as a barmaid) for the first time. Candy was wearing a bra and shorts and carried a see-through bag in which a tampax was prominently displayed. (UV128/9)
Andy got into trouble when he sent ALLEN MIDGETTE out to colleges in Utah and Oregon for public appearances as Andy. The colleges didn't realize it was somebody else until four months later when somebody at one of the colleges compared a photo that appeared in the Voice with one that hed taken of Allen on the podium. Andy had to go back to the colleges and appear as himself. (POP247-8)
CHARLES LUDLAMs play, Conquest of the Universe opened at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre on the Bowery. ULTRA VIOLET played Natolia, a queen from Saturn who spoke Middle English. ONDINE, who shot up speed before going onstage, played Zabina, a queen from Mars. (UV124) Also in the cast were TAYLOR MEAD, CLAUDE PURVIS, BEVERLY GRANT, MARY WORONOV, LYNN REYNER and FRANKIE FRANCINE. (POP250)
VERA CRUZ became obsessed with Mary and stalked her during the run of Conquest. When Vera followed her to the 14th Street IRT subway station, Mary attempted to kill her by pushing her onto the tracks when she heard a train coming. Vera escaped death when the train arrived on the other side of the platform - as it was an express train. (MW16)
1967: THE ROLLING STONES RELEASE SATANIC.
The Rolling Stones released the album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. CANDY DARLING had met the Stones in the Hotel Albert, a cheap hotel on 10th Street and Fifth Avenue and, according to Candy, they mentioned her in the song, In the Citadel. (POP251)
END 1967: AMERICA GETS PAID FOR MY HUSTLER.
From Andy Warhol Screen Tests: The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne, Volume One (Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne) by Callie Angell:
"At the end of 1967, after a brief spell in the U.S. Army, [Paul] America obtained some legal assistance and convinced Warhol to reimburse him retroactively for his role in the by-then commercially successful My Hustler; America reportedly received $1,000 in several installments." (AD29)
Andy Warhol's Index Book, now a collector's item, contained interviews with various superstars and a NICO interview on flexidisc with VELVET UNDERGROUND music in the background. (LR153)
"The major piece that Andy Warhol and I collaborated on was the book, The Andy Warhol Index. It came about when I was at a party at The Factory. I was getting it on with this girl on the couch and when I looked up, what I saw was decadence. So I decided I wanted to photograph this aspect of American society, as part of the counter-culture emerging at that time...
I always felt the hedonism at the Factory was a bit put on. What was going on hedonistically happened after hours. It would have been absolutely impossible to smoke weed at the Factory. The story goes that Michael Hollingsworth gave Andy some acid one time, but I doubt it. Andy was an amphetamine freak. You can see it in the repetition in his work..." (GNF)
DECEMBER 1967: **** IS SHOWN FOR ONE TIME ONLY.
Andy Warhols film, **** (aka Four Stars) was screened at the Cinematheque - the only time they ever showed all twenty-five consecutive hours of it.
END 1967: ANDY WARHOL GETS EVICTED.
Andy Warhol received notice from the landlord that the building the Factory was in was being torn down. PAUL MORRISSEY found another loft at 33 Union Square. Paul was stripping wood at the new Factory when he met JED JOHNSON who would later become Andy's boyfriend.
Andy Warhol (via Pat Hackett in Popism):
Paul would sometimes go over to Union Square in the mornings to strip wood before coming up to 47th Street. One morning when he was down at 33, a young kid delivered a Western Union telegram there, at just about the time Paul was realizing that there were just too many painted wood surfaces for one person to do alone. When he noticed that the messenger was well mannered, he started up a conversation and found out his name was Jed Johnson, that he had just arrived in New York from Sacramento, and that he and his twin brother, Jay, were living right across the park in a fifth-floor walk-up on 17th Street. Paul hired him to help get the place in shape. (POP264)