Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Most Important Lessons Learned From "Factory Girl"

After a significant amount of time away from the blog, which has included many life-changing moments and formative experiences for me (university is over! Employment is difficult! Moving is stressful!), I am back with a follow-up to one of my favorite posts I've ever done, The Most Important Lessons Learned from Almost Famous. This time around, I will focus on Factory Girl, the oft-maligned 2006 biopic of Edie Sedgwick and her brief moment as the It-Girl of the 1960s.
Despite the film's flaws, I find Factory Girl to be really quite enjoyable. I (like many others) find Edie to be a fascinating subject. She was the poor little rich girl, the femme fatale, the "real heroine of Blonde on Blonde" (as Patti Smith put it) and her life was tragic, beautiful and legendary. Sienna Miller gives a dedicated and really fab performance, and Guy Pearce does Warhol in a way that is in keeping with the artist's public persona while hinting at some of the trouble's behind closed doors. The atmosphere -- New York City! In the Sixties! -- is my JAM, so of course I love it.
In order to shed some light on how watch-worthy Factory Girl really is, here are the most important lessons I learned from the film:

1. Abercrombie, at one point, sold leather rhinos
Yes, Abercrombie -- the very same Abercrombie of the Fitch, currently known for strange message tees and stores that exhibit dark lighting and club music for no apparent reason (perhaps to make people like me stay far away?), once sold really groovy leather accoutrements. There are eBay and Etsy listings if you want to get your hands on one of these gems (and have $850 to part with) and experience the same level of excitement as exhibited on Chuck Wein's face. Additionally, posing atop said rhino will go over big with the Vogue crowd.

2. Ignore Coco Chanel's rule to always take off one accessory before you leave the house
Instead, add a dozen more accessories! Invest in some insane earrings -- I've mentioned Steve Sasco's designs numerous times before, but that's because they're absolutely sensational. Once when wearing the Original Butterfly style, a young gentleman approached me to tell me I had "legit earlobes."

3. But eschew pants, they're stupid 
Compensate for accessorizing like crazy by eliminating the most cumbersome component of any outfit: pants. They're the worst. And in tights, you can do cartwheels!

4. It's always fun to crank call a mental institution
Oh Edie, calling up Silver Hill and messing with the resident on-call. Even if you're a former patient of a hospital, I don't recommend doing this.

5. Develop quirks
Hate olives! Cut your hair on a fire escape! Order every dish at a restaurant! Take multiple hours to get ready! Do a signature dance! It's all endlessly charming. Also, be sure to have lots of troubles in all aspects of your life: romantically, professionally, financially and in terms of health, eating and family as well. Drama is now your source of energy. According to the DVD commentary, Andy's line "I've never seen a girl with so many problems" is what made Guy Pearce want to do the movie. Being a girl with problems gets movies made about you and that's a fact.

6. Get thee to a palm reader
And when you do, you better hope she has some interesting and profoundly prophetic news for you.

7. Don't take yourself too seriously
Serious people are the WORST.

8. Actually never stand right in front of an agitated horse like Edie does in Horse
As someone who grew up around horses, I've heard many a horror story about broken noses and bitten tongues caused from standing in front of a horse like that. The horse won't immediately calm down from your nuzzles and kisses because YOU ARE NOT A HORSE WHISPERER.

9. Beware of musicians
You know, those crooners with their harmonicas and motorcycles and red plaid scarves. All they'll want is your friend's Elvis painting and a roll in bed in a farmhouse and then they'll marry someone else. Stay far away! Especially if he wears his sunglasses indoors but isn't Andy Warhol.

10. DON'T DO DRUGS
Seriously, they are the literal worst and will cause you to burn down the Chelsea Hotel and get all your pretty stuff stolen and scream at people in restaurants and then die. Also it will make Diana Vreeland not want to hang out with you, and since D.V. was the coolest lady ever, you don't wanna go burning bridges like that.

11. Eventually you'll be replaced by someone from Germany or someone from New Jersey with a German name
It could be Nico or it could be Ingrid Superstar, but anyone could be the next darling thing on Warhol's arm. Fame is a fickle thing. Live in the moment and relish your time as a superstar because your front page headlines can soon become yesterday's news.

12. If you wear a pink coat, you're liable to get punched by Norman Mailer
And if you're on the Cape wearing a pink coat and Norman Mailer doesn't punch you, let alone anyone else, you better reassess yourself. It's an honor to be punched for your style.

13. Jimmy Fallon plays another asshole
Remember when he played Dennis in Almost Famous and almost got the band killed? Man of the year in comparison to the grade-A louse that is his portrayal of Chuck Wein. Chuck goes from Edie's socialite companion to the guy who antagonizes her in Beauty No. 2 and gets a glass ashtray thrown at his head. It's well-deserved. It's interesting how Jimmy Fallon is such a fun and funny guy in real life but tends towards these creepy characters in his acting career.

14. This expression is the best
Let's bring this one back, shall we?

15. Be a living work of art
Trained artist Edie adopted the life motto of the Marchesa Luisa Casati and translated her focus from horse sketches and sculptures to crafting her life into her greatest work yet. There's a reason yet she is still marveled over, many decades after her death.