Sunday, April 26, 2009

well, you must tell me, baby, how your head feels under somethin' like that, under your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Edie Sedgwick, Part Three
As a result of her growing popularity, Sedgwick was advised by many to break away from Warhol and go out to Hollywood to become a legitimate actress. One of these people was Bobby Neuwirth, who was associated with Bob Dylan at that time and whom Edie had first met briefly about a month before meeting Warhol. “Edie was fantastic,” Neuwirth said recalling their first meeting, “but she was always fantastic.” At the time that Bob and Bobby had met Edie, Dylan was living with his future wife Sara Lownds in the Chelsea Hotel, a fact that was apparently neglected to be passed on to Edie. As Sedgwick began to be drawn to the Dylan crowd, embarking on an affair with Neuwirth (not, as “Factory Girl” would have you think, with Bob Dylan) and being promised to be the leading lady alongside Dylan in a film they were supposedly planning, her relationship with Warhol began to flounder. As Paul Morrissey recounted that after Dylan and Neuwirth’s encouragement for her to leave the Factory, “suddenly it was Bobby this and Bobby that, and they [Warhol et al] realized that she had a crush on him. They thought he’d been leading her on, because just that day Andy had heard in his lawyer’s office that Dylan had been secretly married for a few months…” During an argument at the Gingerman Restaurant in February 1966 “Andy couldn’t resist asking, ‘did you know, Edie, that Bobby Dylan has gotten married?’ She was trembling. They realized that she really thought of herself as entering a relationship with Dylan, that maybe he hadn’t been truthful.” Whether Dylan had really led her on (intentionally or not) or if the idea that she hadn’t know about his marriage and she thought herself an inner part of his group from her relationship with Neuwirth, that issue will probably always remain clouded (it is reported that Sedgwick had feelings for Dylan, but it’s doubtful that they were requited, let alone reciprocated). What we do know is that after Warhol told her this at the Gingerman, Edie left to make a phone call before stating to Warhol and everyone that she was leaving the Factory for good. Gerard Malanga commented on the fight between Edie and Andy that “she left and everybody was kind of quiet. It was stormy and dramatic. Edie disappeared and that was the end of it – she never came back.”
In May 1966, Dylan’s critically and commercially successful “Blonde on Blonde” was released. Many of the songs are believed to be written about Edie and her relationship with Andy Warhol. While Patti Smith’s claim that without his relationship with Edie Dylan never could’ve recorded “Blonde on Blonde” can seem over-exaggerated to some, it is easy to see many allusions to her throughout the double album. Nico was one of the first to claim that “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” was about Edie, others believe the ‘debutante’ in “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” was referring to her, “Just Like a Woman” is believed in part to be inspired by Sedgwick (with ‘her amphetamines and her pearls’), and many believe that Dylan was addressing the Sedgwick-Warhol dynamic in “Like a Rolling Stone,” calling her ‘Miss Lonely’ and Warhol the ‘Napoleon in rags’ and the ‘diplomat on the chrome horse.’ Even Warhol was aware of the possible allusions to him on Dylan’s album. “I liked Dylan, the way he created a brilliant new style…I even gave him one of my silver Elvis paintings in the days when he was first around. Later on though, I got paranoid when I’d heard rumors that he’d used the Elvis as a dart board up in the country. When I'd ask, 'why did he do that?' I'd invariably get hearsay answers like 'I hear he feels you destroyed Edie,' or 'listen to “Like a Rolling Stone” - I think you're the 'diplomat on the chrome horse,' man.' I didn't know exactly what they meant by that - I never listened much to the words of songs - but I got the tenor of what people were saying – that Dylan didn't like me, that he blamed me for Edie's drugs.” A year after Edie made “Lupe,” she came back and filmed “The Andy Warhol Story” with Rene Ricard, an unreleased, drug-fueled film where the two of them pretend to be Warhol and satirize his aloof and ‘abusive’ ways. The film, only screened once at the Factory, is believed to be either lost of destroyed.

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