Andy Warhol & The Superstar Girl

A year after Valerie Solanas shot Andy, Paul Newman and Robert Redford got shot. Lucky for them, they didn’t get shot IRL like Andy, they only got Hollywood shot.

In a Warhol film, even when an ‘actor’ acts, it looks like he’s living it;
in a Morrissey film, even when an actor lives it, it looks like he’s acting.

Jonas Mekas

After Superstars Paul Newman and Robert Redford got shot, they went to the Academy Awards. After Andy got shot, nothing was ever the same. Not Andy. Not The Factory. Not The Work.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Have you ever seen the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Or 1991’s Thelma and Louise? Both films are about a charismatic duo that manages to piss people off till they run out of options.

Superstar: Frame from Thelma & Louise at film's end where they race to a cliff with a half dozen police cars in pursuit. In this version the face of Edie Sedgwick is pasted over Gina Davis, and the face of Andy Warhol is pasted over Susan Sarandon.

Leap Into The Void (Andy & Edie as Thelma & Louise taking Yves Klein’s legendary leap to epic scale)

The characters have horrid, bloody ends. In both films the filmmakers freeze frame before the carnage, allowing we the still-living-audience to savor their last moment of independence and self-determination. Does anyone get out of this mortal life “well”? Dying in a hospital bed surrounded by grandchildren sounds a lot better than the brutality of Butch, Sundance, Thelma, or Louise’ end. But the minute after you’re gone, does it matter?

If all those grandkids represent a life lived well, then great. If they represent the dull bludgeoning of a life never really lived, then maybe Butch & Thelma’s ends were worth it.


Like Superstars Butch, Sundance, Thelma, and Louise, Andy and I managed to piss off our share of people. Andy was an amazing man. But he was also cold and cruel. Not to blame him for Valerie Solanas’ cowardly act, but I know how miserable he could make you feel. I’m not sure if I pissed off people the way Andy did. Maybe I did. I know Lou Reed and Nico certainly hated me. But maybe I mostly just pissed off god. Other than 1965 my life was pretty much an epic fail. Or maybe I should have been pissed off at god for baking me in such a shitty batch of cookies.

Maybe Superstars don’t have gracious exits. Sundance didn’t. Louise didn’t. I didn’t. But we sure lived for a while. Perhaps it’s folly to expect more.

Being Me

Today marks 2 weeks since my Twitter Resurrection. IDK how long my hall pass is good for. Warhol MOOC has 3 weeks left, so I know I’ll be here for that long. After that, will I slumber once more? I guess time will tell. Happy as I am to be back, it’s also difficult inhabiting my short, frustrating life. Maybe 5 weeks of me is all even I can stand before needing more sleep.

I’ve thought a lot about my short life in these 2 weeks. The first few days I ranted about how unfair it all was and how abused and taken advantage of I’d been by everyone. From my dad to Andy to Bob & Bob to so many others. Maybe I was a victim. Maybe it was my own fault. Whatever. Ranting about the past got old in a hurry. I didn’t really have an agenda when I came back, but after taking a few breaths of fresh air, I started to think about how I might have lived a different life. Edie’s Farm was born.

Superstar: Black-and-white photograph of Edie Sedgwick with out-of-focus people in the distance

Which way?

Peeling the Edie onion

Still, all these 14 days I’ve wondered what to make of my short, mostly pathetic life. So many women have had abbreviated lives. So often their stories make us cry out, “What if?” What might Janis Joplin or Amy Winehouse have done if they’d lived? Or Isabella Medici or Princess Diana? With me, was there even enough of a life to be worthy of what if?

Maybe the answer for my story is to sprinkle a little Hollywood on it. Rather than dwell on the carnage, how about a freeze frame at the end? Better still, maybe just get the inglorious end out of the way at the beginning of our story. The last intoxicated years, the early lost years, and move toward the center and let my story freeze frame in the middle. On those days when things were briefly perfect and the possibilities seemed endless.

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7 Responses to “Andy Warhol & The Superstar Girl”

  1. Out of curiosity,how do you suppose you would have performed at Wonka’s factory? Did you consider it? Do you think you would you have earned Charlie’s prize or ended like Veruca Salt? And if granted the former, in a position of control, would you have abolished or continued the candy product and the use of oompa loompas?

    The book was released when you were twenty one
    And later adapted to film just a little over four months prior to your death

  2. (And I apologize if I’ve posed this at a wrong time or place given the “moving past what ifs/asking for the freeze frame”. Just considered it significant and the Wonka factory versus Warhols sparked my interest. Did you ever watch the newest version by Tim Burton? Something smelled almost warholian in Depp’s character)

    • Oh Hi Mendosa! I’m not sure I know too much about The Chocolate Factory, but I love your idea. In some ways the Silver Factory & the Chocolate Factory may have been pretty different, but I wonder, in a way, if they weren’t the same. That is, that it’s all in your perception.

      The Silver Factory was a magical place. For a lot of people. Still, my experience of it was a lot about my brain and my perceptions. So I might well have had the same experience at the Chocolate Factory. I’ll have to let YOU do the comparison between Andy & Willy!

      To be brutally honest, since The Silver Factory did take me down the road of drugs, and obviously The Chocolate Factory would have taken me down the road of sugar & calories, it might be that at the Chocolate Factory I’d have lived longer, but become obese and less popular. I might have traded a longer life for a shorter legacy.

  3. Ah, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of differences with just scraping the surface and maybe with some research you could discover some similarities, maybe weigh them out. Could be a stretch or it could work.

    I actually didn’t intend for it be a comparison between factories. Though its not to say one couldn’t or shouldn’t try

    Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to mention. My only link was the amusing thought in placing you in a completely different (or at least seemingly different) “factory” setting

    I was introduced to Wonka’s factory through a play I participated in when I was younger but I dont know much about Warhols factory so I dont think I’m in a position to speak in Venn diagram about both habitats
    Except in stating obvious differences like Warhols factory not having edible landscape architecture and orange midgets working for him etc
    Ive picked a little bit up about Warhols character which is why I thought about depp’s depiction of Wonka, but I haven’t seen it since its release in 05 which went along with the play and the book we covered

    How was your experience of the silver factory a lot about your brain and perception? (Was it a kind of test?)
    Was your experience good or bad?
    Why would it stay the same?
    If bad, I think psychologists tend to offer the “make meaning” advice which Ive so far understood as finding the alternative to a situation.
    I think environmental factors go recognized, that it also plays a part on your brain and perception and therefore not equal the same results, unless you want to dwell on quantum physics- it really depends but I suppose in the end, knowing or remembering how to think is most important (especially when nothing can be done (?))

    (From a personal take, i struggle with identifying where the line of acting upon is versus exploring all the different shades you can find in a color given to you, but it might be too specific. Perhaps like deciding whether to quit a job or not. Its hard to find whether its you, all you, or not and when or how people make the decision to move and whether or not its passive to not act upon.)

    It probably depends on a number of variables and I’m no professional and also don’t entirely know where you’re coming from in saying that

    The visit to Wonka’s factory was a kind of test (to which charlie survived for making the right choices and later earning him the factory and supplies)

    And though an edible palace can be tempting, the very owner wonka managed to maintain his figure
    Could be a matter of eating habits or like the case for restaurant employees, losing appetite from constant exposure ?
    The gluttonous character in the group drowned in the chocolate river

    Did Warhol do drugs?

  4. I hope i didn’t sound too vague in explaining, I’m also trying to avoid going into a tangent or over thinking it
    But for the color thing I was referring to all the different angles to a “snow storm”. For one, you have a day off from work, you can stay inside and read a book, etc etc
    Or there’s the trick question on the pros and con’s to your sexual orientation
    Etc etc

  5. Oh wait…although I realize with bringing the Wonka idea because of some sort of ‘amusing’ setting contrast its almost not acknowledging your farm (?) and whatnot

    never mind everything that I’ve said

    It was probably all within the word and nothing more, uninformed and repeating

    • hahaha, now you’re over-analyzing your own over-analysis! Or something! No worries Mendosa! Thanks for the conversation! I actually haven’t read or seen Wonka so my knowledge is is pretty minimal. But I should totally rent the film — which would you recommend, the original, or the Depp?

      Again, I can’t really comment too meaningfully, not knowing the material, but I think you’re on to something. “Factory” is a pretty interesting idea. It permeates our culture, but there aren’t a lot of them in the art & culture sense. You’ve definitely inspired me to look into the Chocolate Factory. Imagining it to be “big” and “cartoon-like” it might be that the “wacky imaginings” in the Chocolate Factory are kind of like the “experience” of the Silver Factory.

      Andy actually didn’t do drugs. He took a small daily dose of amphetamine for weight control, but it was a mostly not “doing drugs” sort of thing. He didn’t like it when people did drugs at The Factory. However, he did like people ON drugs! I think drugs often made people more animated and less inhibited which entertained him in general and was good for filming.

What do you think, factory girl?

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