Away from the studio again for a movie, untitled, about Marie Mencken and her husband, Willard Maas, themselves long-time film-makers. This one was shot in an attic apartment in Brooklyn Heights where time has stood still, so far as the furnishing were concerned, since Maas moved in before World War II. Once the camera was set up, the pair sat and drank and bugged each other in the time-honored way of long-married couples, Marie lapsing into spells of sullen silence relieved by the arrival of exuberant visitors, one of whom ended the action abruptly by throwing her drink across the room and blowing out one of the lights. Warhol, surprisingly, expressed his disappointment with this epic. He'd expected that Marie Mencken would launch into one of her endless anecdotes, but for some reason she'd been inhibited and grown silent. Perhaps by getting drunk too soon.

Beautiful Girls
"What Andy is selling, unlike traditional painters, is not art so much as a milieu, one friend of his sums up. "The very atmosphere around him is very potent and very self-contained. At a time where the word 'camp' is fashionable, everybody says that Andy is 'campy.' But Andy wouldn't use that word. To begin with, he's like an original creative mind—he wouldn't allow himself to be so easily categorized. There's a definitely swishy air around sometimes—not so much Andy himself as a few of his friends—but it doesn't matter. It would be silly of him to get hung up on that kind of evaluation when it's not at all the main bag.

"And anyway, there are always beautiful girls–lots of them and more seeking him out all the time. Most of them claim to have been original stars in his 'Thirteen Beautiful Women.' I sometimes think that there must be as many 'Thirteen Beautiful Women' around here as there are beds that George Washington allegedly slept in. It's strange when you think about it, that his most impressive star—Mario Montes—is a man. He/she played 'Harlot' in a blonde wig. And there were moments in that film that should ensure Andy's reputation as a remarkable artist even if not as a movie-maker. I think the part where Mario eats a banana is one of the most sensuous things that's ever been filmed!"

Fabulous 15 minutes. Andy Warhol with Mr. America and Gerard Malanga at Filmmaker's Cinematheque (December 1965)
photo: Fred W. McDarrah
Fabulous 15 minutes. Andy Warhol with Mr. America and Gerard Malanga at Filmmaker's Cinematheque (December 1965)

A final comment came from a commercial artist I met at a party. "Warhol?" he mused. "I met him 10 years ago when he was a commercial illustrator doing shoe ads. And do you know what? He wasn't just a man drawing shoe ads—everybody agreed that he was the BEST illustrator of shoe ads."

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