If you live in NYC- tonight is your lucky night. Get down to the Strand bookstore on 12th and Broadway for the debut of Edie Factory Girl...a new book with photos by NAT Finkelstein and text by David Dalton.
Finkelstein--( also seen in this month's Italian Vogue ) has taken photographs that capture every colorful detail from the inside. His images document the dreamy sadness and the exciting thrill in Edie's eyes. In 2004- I was in Japan and hanging out in a cool library like bar. Most of the books on the shelves were in Japanese- It was there that I discovered a book on WARHOL and copied an amazing quote from Nat Finkelstein. At the time I didn't know that much about him- but loved what he said about the sublime freaks from the factory--
"They live to dress up, collect strange objects, dwell in phantasmagorically decorated apartments. Rarified, fragile creatures around whom evolves a universe of oddness and magic."
another great quote--
"It was a great party; a speed freaks dream. The American fantasia full of fun, frolic and forget-me-nots. Some of the guests left in limousines, some in amblances, others never found the door. It was plain old fasioned heterosexual you-girl-me-boy-let's-fuck sex that got me there... I watched pop die, I saw punk being born... I came I saw I observed I enjoyed."
Nat Finkelstein, 1999.
Ok back to plugging the book--
"She was riveting to look at, a sprite of the zeitgeist, the living distillation of the over-amped vision of New York in the mid-sixties. Like many exotic creatures that Andy Warhol shed his light on, she initially bloomed—became the symbol for all that was hip and stylish—and just as quickly began to disintegrate. Told with unsparing candor and with candid images that capture her at the peak of her Factory stardom, Edie Factory Girl is the short but enduring cultural story of Edie Sedgwick—releasing in time for the film of the same name starring Sienna Miller, and including rare photos of Miller as Edie.
David Dalton was just a teen when he became one of Warhol’s first assistants, and was present for the arrival of Edie: witnessing her rise, her Factory superstardom, and subsequent unraveling. Like an anthropologist thrown together with a tribe of 'wild' people, Nat Finkelstein entered the Factory just as Warhol was emerging as the supreme catalyst of the sixties. Among the freaky menagerie, Nat found Andy’s misbegotten princess the most fascinating and enigmatic character of her time, and with a compassionate lens recorded her fragile, fleeting beauty. Edie Factory Girl is a privileged glimpse into Warhol’s inner sanctum, via revealing interviews with intimates, friends, and scenesters, in which Edie orbits around the likes of Bob Dylan, Salvador Dali, Betsey Johnson, Lou Reed, Judy Garland, and many more, before departing as quickly as she came.
In person- and signing books!
Nat Finkelstein and David Dalton, Edie Factory Girl
Mon Nov 27 from 7-8:30 2006 -
according to the Strand book review:
This is the devastating story of the legendary muse and her meteoric rise and kamikaze plunge, told with unsparing candor and candid images that capture Edie Sedgwick at the peak of her Factory stardom. Nat Finkelstein and David Dalton, two Factory insiders, will share with us the short but enduring story of Andy Warhol's first It-Girl. Bibbe Hensen, a friend of Edie's (and Beck's mom), playwright and Factory co-hort, Robert Heide and Edie's good friend, Danny Fields, will all participate in the evening's discussion
When asked the question: Nat answers:
How do you get to work in The Factory? Nat tells the tale of couches, gouches, louches and slouches
I was falling asleep at a Tom Wolfe prepublication party when I spied Jeanne K. and we looked at each other and said, 'Yes:' and Jeanne said, 'Lets go to the Factory. There's a party tonight and nobody will even notice us.' So we made it to 47th Street and submerged ourselves in each other and a couch. When we emerged we found that somebody had stolen Jeanne's purse while we were making love. I was intrigued - the walls were silvered, there was a man called Billy Name living in the toilet and people were doing all sorts of weird things all over the weird place. Nobody had noticed us except a purse-snatcher. The art was incredible, the music great and the natives were kinky. This was the era of the photographer as anthropologist - Ernst Haas's photos of Balinese fertility dances, Inge Morath's photos and essays on head-hunters in New Guinea - and suddenly I found myself in the factory on East 47th Street with some of the freakiest people of earth. After I fucked Jeanne K. on the couch I looked up and said to myself, who needs New Guinea?
And so I hustle myself a couple of assignments on Andy for some magazines and decided that Andy Warhol was a superficial genius for superficial people, and that the denizens of the Factory were a piranha pack waiting to strip the flesh off your bones at the first sign of blood. I stayed at the Factory for close to two years. I watched POP die, I saw PUNK being born. I participated in a cultural revolution that shook the superstructure of our society. I came I saw I observed I enjoyed. I allowed myself to see things that I had only felt before and I became freer because of Andy and the freedom he accorded to and conferred upon the people around him - the freedom to fuck up - the freedom to try and die. I can't really say what he did to/for the rest of society, but he was my artistic messiah. He said do or die. I did, others died: so it goes. In retrospect and after a whole lot of living, I look upon the Factory scene like a perpetual carnival in Rio de Janeiro, beautiful girls, pretty boys, music in the air and fucking in the streets, and every once in a while somebody runs in and kills one of the guests.
Now Andy bestrides his world like a bleached blond colossus, a silver spray-painted black widow spider; fucking 'em over, sucking them dry and spitting them out. I witnessed the birth of his monster, me a kid from a Brooklyn slum who read the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini in a four-room apartment off Rogers Avenue, whose cab-driver father was crippled while earning five bucks unloading a coal truck in Coney Island. They paraded for my camera if not for me, this American royalty called superstars, because I was a working photojournalist - a profession celebrated and mythologized in Blow Up and Rear Window - regularly published and under contract to a major agency. Celebrities are like academics, they must be published to justify their existence. You see therefore they are. They may not have wanted me or liked me, but they sure did need me. Who ever heard of a celebrity that nobody ever heard of? But there was still the problem of how to strip the facade. These were the great dissemblers, professional image projectors. Cultural ecdysiasts showing only as much as they were paid to reveal - g-strings and pasties and nothing more. Don't show fear or they will climb all over you. Infiltrate, assimilate, become one of them but not part of them, softlee softlee catchee monkee. And so I became as much of a spy as a journalist. The first of the red hot Gonzos: spooking about like Sir Richard Burton in Mecca, mixing with the faithful but knowing that a slip of the veil would reveal a five o'clock shadow. I became a visible presence, the yang pimple of a smooth ying cheek. Definite visibility: a lipstick-stained cigarette left smouldering by the Ka'bah: muddy footprints near the ark: a crumpled Kleenex dropped by the wailing wall: `Hi folks: I'm here: It's me, Nat: watch the birdie: look directly in the camera:' Sometimes a part of the scene and sometimes the scene itself. I would jump on the stage and dance as I snapped. I would jump on stage and take pictures of the audience. I would jump into the audience and take pictures of the stage. I would jump into conversations and direct poses at the same time: one time I made love in a movie house and snapped a couple with my pants down: I slugged a security cop and took pictures of the ensuing mini-riot: High visibility and this at a time when photojournalists were barely seen and barely heard. Softlee softlee catchee monkee and slowlee surelee 'What's he doing here?' changed to 'Where the hell is he?' changed to 'Somebody call Nat.'
Exciting things happened: my name on the flyers, my own groupies: and a one- man show of my enlarged contacts at Andy's Edie Retrospective at the Cinematique: Photos by Nat Finkelstein. Operating the lights at the Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows. The Velvet Underground Banana album: Photos by Nat Finkelstein. Mobbed by teenies at the Rolling Stones RKO concert. Stillie at the Betsey Johnson show. Stillie for the Warhol - Dylan meeting. Until finally I committed the cardinal sin: I threatened parity with Andy on a joint venture: the Andy Warhol Index. It died a death or was executed, however you want to look at it. I committed the cardinal sin - I wanted to get paid, and the traditional Cantonese greeting Fa Tsai (make money) was not in Andy's lexicon. Softlee softlee catchee monkee was Andy's aphorism as well as mine because underneath it all Ann Dee Warhol never stopped being Andrew Warhola, child of a McKeeversport, Penn. immigrant family scrambling around the mines scratching out the yankee dollar.
Copyright Nat Finkelstein 1999
To see more of Nat's amazing photographs- go to www.natfinkelstein.com