Still the iTunes, always the iTunes. Still without and of course I’m hearing more and more, ‘hold off on downloading iTunes version 7 until they work the bugs out’. No one told me this of course, and I bought into Harpy’s mania about it. Harpy for once is innocent, he was just so enthused and that’s ok.
Missed last night’s showing of American Masters about Andy Warhol, Bill and I watched the documentary on the 9/11 Commission instead. I had forgotten all about Andy. It’s cool though, since Bill had a DVR installed in the cable box I’ll be able to watch it on Sunday as well as record it so I can watch it any old time. Very Pop.
My life seemingly intersected with Warhol a few times. Andy had some books published by the book company I eventually worked for, and my mother worked there before and after I did. I remember my mother coming home from work and talking about the fruitcake who came in from New York City to autograph hundreds of books. I was intrigued enough to find out who he was. Andy Warhol was in a warehouse in Saddle Brook NJ signing copies of ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol’. Mom didn’t bring a copy home.
A few years later he came out with ‘Popism: The Warhol Sixties’ a real fun book. My mom brought a copy home, and I devoured it. I really identified with the speed freaks and Andy running around Manhattan in the sixties doing some wild stuff. I didn’t exactly jump on a bus and look for Andy, I just went about my business, but a seed was planted. Years later when I myself was working at the book company, my job was to drive twice a day into the city, a few doors down from where Warhol’s Factory originally was. It was a thrill for me. Though a lot of years had passed since the Factory existed, still it was electric for me to be there.
The book company moved it’s offices from midtown to right off Union Square and I started making deliveries right around the corner from Andy’s new workspace. Once again tres` cool. I wasn’t stalking Andy, fate was putting me a few miles and years at first, then a few feet and days away from him. Never went to his space, though I knew where it was. I did see Andy Warhol Enterprises on the building index. I left the book company job and a few years later wound up working at 2 Park Avenue, once again, right around the block from Andy’s space. He had moved to 33rd and Madison and I was at 33rd and Park.
A really fantastic space, a former Con Ed utility plant, the entrances were on 32nd Street, Madison Avenue and 33rd Street. Once again, I never stopped by, and I never saw him on the street, and once again it was electric to be so close, and in the right time too.
I finally met Andy when he was signing copies of his latest book, ‘America’ at B.Dalton in the Village. It was packed and crowded and he signed a copy of my books. I got one for myself and my friend Martha.
A week or so later he was signing books again at Rizzoli in Soho. Martha came with me this time and I decided to do what I saw tons of people doing at B.Dalton. I brought post cards, newspaper clippings, Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes. Martha and I went to the second floor and there wasn’t a soul around. Not at all like B.Dalton. There was Andy, sitting all by himself under a hooded windbreaker at a card table. No one around, no books. They had sold out. Still he signed everything I had asked him to while I gushed telling him how much I loved him and his art. He was kind and I never asked why he was sitting there hooded. He did volunteer that they sold out all his books, and still he sat there.
Martha and I left and I read a few days later someone had stolen his wig right off his head, threw it to a waiting accomplice downstairs who then ran out of the store. He was angry but sat there for the time he was supposed to. I gave a few friends the Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes to various friends that Christmas. It came in handy as I was skint at the time and these friends would greatly appreciate it.
Never met Andy Warhol after that. He died due to negligence of the hospital after gall bladder surgery. The Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes had gone up in value and my friends could’ve cashed in but didn’t. A soup can like the one that I bought for 39 cents was being offered for $500.00 in the Village Voice. Whether or not people got that amount I don’t know. I do know that I sometimes sit in my friends apartments and look at their bookcases with occasional envy.