Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
July 14, 1966, Vol. XI, No. 39
The Apocryphal Teeny Bopper
By Howard Smith and Jack Newfield
A 13-year-old blonde-on-blonde named Cher Zimmerman, dressed in flowered bell-bottomed pants and a fur vest over her knish-size breasts, comes up out of the subway. She takes a magic marker out of her tiny shoulder purse and scrawls “Buddy Holly Lives” across a tattered poster advertising Leonard Farbstein. Heads for MacDougal Street.
Immediately a 10-year-old hip urchin lurches out of the shadow of Washington Square Arch and tries to panhandle a quarter; calls her “lady.”
Quickly gulps six pieces of pizza.
Buys $7 worth of buttons, including: Lay Don’t Slay; Cecil Price is Queer; Martin Luther King is a Bad Lay; New York is a Summer Urinal; Hands Off Whitey.
Decides her quarter-size rose-colored sunglasses are too large. Goes into the Shed House and buys a pair of dime size, dark blue.
Goes into the Kettle. Pays Bob Dylan’s tab with a traveller’s check. Goes into bathroom and insert diaphragm.
Goes into park and in two minutes flat scores some grass off a small skinny Negro wearing a fez and one earring.
Told she can’t come into the Figaro basement because she is too old.
She walks past the theatre where Fugs are playing, takes out her magic marker, and on one of the posters writes, “You Sold Out.”
She sits on the curbstone to brood.
We approach and ask, “How does it feel to be on your own, a complete unknown, like a rolling stone?”
She answers, “You guys must be eight miles high.”
“Are you lonely, Miss Blue?”
“I am a rock!”
“What do you want to do for soul and inspiration?”
“Be a paperback writer.”
“Do you believe in magic?”
“Only when a man loves a woman.”
Tiring of the song game, we ask her if her parents worry when she’s out late.
“I haven’t lived with them for a year now,” she answers. “I asked them for some Enovid. They wanted to send me to a $50 mindbender. I figured it was time to split.”
“What are you going to do now?” we query.
“Well, I’ve already been to Mexico with this film producer guy. And there’s this cat who wants to take me to Tangler, but I hear there’s an out-of-sight scene in Hanoi.”
“What do you think about Vietnam?”
“It’s a drag. I sat-in over the Bay of Pigs when I was seven, but now I’m out of that bag. I found out you can’t trust anybody over 18.”
“What about the Meredith March?”
“When I found out that LeRoi Jones had a white wife I figured civil rights is a big sell-out too.”
She unwinds from the fetal position, gets up, and heads north toward Trude Heller’s. We trail, asking more questions and getting the following information:
She was bounced as a highly pad regulation teenager from the Dick Clark show for smoking a joint during a Clearasil commercial. She is in New York only for the night to help get over her depression.
She bypasses the long line at Trude Heller’s, gaining immediate entrance because she used to live with a friend of the bigtough bouncer at the door. At 4 a.m. she emerges with a lifetime contract to be a go-go girl. She hails a cab.
“Broad Street,” she tells the driver.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]