For all the weird stories out there about Andy Warhol (that he was a voyeur, started balding in his twenties, and had terrible, mottled skin that he once tried sanding, with poor results), it pains me to think some of the most bizarre stuff might never be revealed. And I know there must be tons of it. He hung out with Lou Reed and a girl named Ultra Violet, at the Factory, where amphetamines were everywhere, come ON. Their lives sound like one long, Germf-infused all-nighter with Stefon.
Tonight at the New York Public Library a panel discussion with some of his closest friends from the Factory will hopefully be as vulgar and revealing as possible, as they try to explain the man who always claimed he was “deeply superficial” (oxymoron!) and that there was nothing to him, beyond his art.
As with most stories about Warhol, it might be hard to tell who is embellishing what. Everyone on the panel was originally interviewed in the late 1960s by John Wilcock, one of the co-founders of The Village Voice, probably while on lots of drugs. Which is the best way to interview, really. Wilcock self-published the results in 1971 as “The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol.” The title is misleading, as none of it was written by Warhol himself and it does not reveal anything new about his sex life. Still, it has a lot of nifty anecdotes from Charles Henri Ford and Nico, among others, and more than 120 new photos from Factory regulars Harry Shunk and Janos Kender. It originally sold for $5, and has long been out of print. The fancy reissue is more expensive, but the panel discussion, moderated by cultural historian Dr. Steven Watson, is FREE.
The New York Public Library
South Court Auditorium
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street [Bryant Park]