July 7, 2011

"Edie Factory Girl" - Biography of Warhol's Femme Fatale

It’s probably a safe assumption that Edie Sedgwick – the original Reality Star – is probably someone that Kim, Kloe, Koo Koo, and whatever other Kardashians there are know nothing about. 

In their book, Edie Factory Girl (VH1 Press), writer David Dalton and photographer Nat Finkelstein give an insider’s glimpse into the dysfunctional, speed-fuelled, short life of Sedgwick during her brief but meteoric tenure as Andy Warhol’s muse and mid-‘60s It-Girl. 

In an appropriately pop-artsy, collage-like format with rare photos taken by Finkelstein, the biography is written from the authors’ perspective as inhabitants of Warhol’s inner sanctum at the notorious Factory.  Dalton writes in a colorful, wildly veering, and decidedly opinionated tone that captures the fabulous era, the avant garde circus that was The Factory, the Technicolor drugs, all of which mirror the trajectory of Sedgwick’s manic life.  The inclusion of interviews and quotes from many of the scenesters including Betsey Johnson and Marianne Faithfull adds to the immediacy of the biography. 

Whether Sedgwick was a unique product and footnote of the times or wholly a creation of Warhol’s or all of the above, for a fleeting moment she was America’s answer to Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, and Twiggy.  However, unlike her closest British and European counterparts, Sedgwick was famous only for being famous.  Her sole accomplishments were being Andy’s visually arresting female twin at groovy NYC happenings and for starring in Warhol’s art films, which were usually mind-numbing, plot-less, script-less, hours- or day-in-the-life documents in bizarrely contrived, stoned-out scenarios.  Her mere presence in Warhol's films inadvertently made Sedgwick the world’s first reality star.  In retrospect, the films were Keeping Up With The Kardashians minus the editing, plus the drugs.    

Edie Factory Girl is a fast read in a good-looking package befitting its subject.  

No comments: