Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It is well known that marketers plumb contemporary and historical popular culture for hooks that are both fresh and familiar in order to promote a product or service. I’m no different; if you saw me in a café or on the Métro staring at a netbook or IPad, or flipping through and old magazines, what I probably would be doing is looking a photos and YouTube clips for inspiration and filing ideas away for the future.

Thoughts of Hannah, Anne Marie’s girlfriend, had me exploring the well worn path of Scandinavian beauties, when I came across a trove of screen tests filmed by Andy Warhol. The 60’s model/singer Nico had caught my attention and led me to the tests, but I was soon distracted by another.

Though the calendar said it was still winter, spring was about. Buds were about to pop and it was easy to imagine that the dogwoods and magnolias would soon follow. Mid-terms were over and I was entering the stretch run of my freshman year at college. I’d settled on a major, arts administration, which later became part of a double major with marketing. Why? When I visited Grace in NY the people she knew that I found most interesting were affiliated with the arts, not necessarily the artists themselves, but the people who created the infrastructure that fostered the art industry.

Each year the chairman of the arts department had an Ides of March party and since I was taking courses in the department I was invited. His home was several blocks off campus in a turn of the last century neighborhood of substantial but not ostentatious homes. The guests were a mix of students, faculty/staff and members of the local arts community. The guest of honor was a one of the chairman’s former professors, a rumpled; gentleman in his 70’s who frankly gave me the creeps.

I kept catching him looking at me, even in mirrors, and a friend made a comment. I felt as if he were an old lecher masturbating while watching me from behind a blind and then as luck would have it I found myself caught in a small hall with the exit behind him. He said hello, in a manner that you could imagine a pedophile might approach a child and then he told me that I reminded him of Edie. “Edie,” I questioned? “Edie Sedgwick,” he replied. I had no idea who that was but didn’t want to let him know that. “How so?” “Your vivaciousness and spirit, how you dominate the room and challenge others. Your appearance you are as waifish as she.” Then he seemed less threatening, but just as weird and I excused myself and passed.

Later I’d figure out who Edie was. The vivaciousness he saw was likely the shared propensity for manic-depressive behaviors. That night I was on the rise heading toward all night sessions cleaning the grout of the bathroom tile with a toothbrush. As for my appearance, that was still my period of experimenting and the mini dress (I have pictures) that I wore that night was a rummage sale find, a tunic from a pant-suit repurposed. That week I was channeling Twiggy and the 60’s Mods. The sleeveless, cream colored dress with a V-neck had red ribbons trimming the collar and arm holes and faux red buttons down the front, paired with glitter-tights and red flats. Add to that very short hair, Twiggy-ish makeup with dangly earrings and every necklace that Rachel and I owned, yes I looked precious and those pictures will never again see the light of day.

Among the Warhol screen tests, is Edie’s and after viewing it, I looked at several other videos that featured her. After spending an hour, I can safely say that any resemblance was a figment of an elderly man's memory, but I got an idea. We have a new intern, a waif with a meter of dark brown hair, off she’s going to a photographer and a videographer. If she’s photogenic…



Anonymous VJ said...

Still one of the highest compliments you might pay a stranger, of any age. Even if it took some years to understand perhaps. Thanks for the vignette. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

5:55 AM  

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