May 032012


He, “Yackety yackety yackety.”
She, “Chatter, chatter, chatter.”
He, “What I said was, yackety yackety yackety.”
She,”And what I said was, chatter, chatter, chatter.”
He, “But can’t you see that I’m saying, ‘Yackety yackety yackety?'”
She, “So!! Well, why won’t you admit that I’m saying, ‘Chatter chatter chatter chatter?”
He, “How can you be so damn stupid?”
She, “My Gawd! You’re the one who’s stupid!”

–from You Can’t Make Me Angry, by “Dr. Paul”


Brigid Berlin and Andy Warhol sure did carry on. They kept up a continuous, laconic, often inane phone conversation for years and recorded much of it. This clip is from a documentary about Berlin, Pie in the Sky, made when she was 60 and fighting off a life-wrecking eating disorder, which is the center of the film.

In the Warhol days, her stage name was Brigid Polk. I read that she came up with the name Polk because she was always giving herself and others injections (“pokes”) of amphetamine and vitamin B, which was “perfectly legal” at the time.

She and Andy had a meta-marriage. In his diaries, in outsider chronicles of the pop-art world, in the eye-witness accounts of Warhol’s porn escapades, Brigid Berlin is always sitting there at her desk in the middle of it all, angry as shit. I guess Andy liked to be on the receiving end of her sarcasm and rage. In the film clips, he is amused.

The Warhol Factory hedonism—the sixties unhinged, unglued, uncensored, no-turning-back, die-before-forty, fully committed and yet commercially savvy—that moment is a bead on a particular evolutionary thread. If you want to understand how brilliant and stupid and sadly human it was, just start asking the question: “Whatever happened to Andy Warhol’s superstars?” Brigid B. was one of them.

Jan 212012


“Nelson Lyon came over with Michael O’Donoghue, the writer on Saturday Night Live, and he’s a funny guy but he doesn’t look Irish. He said that at a party I took a picture of him, but I must have been aiming at somebody behind him. He looks like he wants to be Buck Henry. I hadn’t invited them for lunch and they saw all the leftover food from the big lunch Bob had just had, so I had to make some excuse, and Nelson’s so paranoid, anyway.”

The Andy Warhol Diaries, Thursday, October 2, 1980



I have spent a fair amount of time with these diaries, and I think it’s safe to say that Andy Warhol took social anxiety to the level of high art. And unrequited love, that, too. Loneliness. Snarkiness. I was going to use a quote of something shockingly horrible he said about Calvin Klein, but I could not bring myself to type it out. What was he thinking? No, really, what was he thinking?

The (insane) illustration of Perseus, Medusa, Andromeda, and a suspicious sea monster comes from Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths.