The other night I attended a fabulous book party for Andy Warhol Screen Tests by Callie Angell at a giant penthouse event space on Fifth Avenue.
"I'm still living in the Sixties," Callie informed me when I mentioned a photo I had seen of Andy at Studio 54 recently. "I still write 1965 on all my checks....I haven't made it to the Seventies yet."
Many of the guests looked like they still signed their checks thusly, as wonderfully aged art world denizens floated around the room, martini glasses held aloft, in a tipsy ballet that was scored by Nico's Chelsea Girls album, the Velvet Underground, and Bob Dylan. What a relief to not be assaulted by vulgar hip-hop music at a Manhattan party!
Anthony Haden-Guest nearly bowled me over to get to the bar as I was contemplating the view of the sunset, while nearby Warhol factory legend Taylor Meade was holding court with tales of his screen test which took place -- when else? -- in 1965. Ultra Violet was signing autographs, Brigid Berlin was talking a blue streak about going 11 months without eating key lime pie, Benjamin Liu -- once Ming Vase -- released a few Warholian anecdotes from his Pandora's box.
An improbable guest was Paris Hilton who, in a stroke of Silver Sixties inspiration, had donned an extra-long Adam + Eve T-shirt so that it resembled one of Edie Sedgwick's mini-dresses. Black tights, dangling earrings and kohl eyeliner completed the Youthquake look. "How marvelous!" I told Ms. Hilton. "In six years I predict you'll be phoning Anna Wintour from the bottom of a swimming pool at 4am, asking for prints from your old photo shoot!"
As for Adam + Eve underwear, the brand was featured prominently on Oprah a few days ago. Proving yet again the cosmic power of "The Oprah Effect", the Adam + Eve fashion show on Ms. Winfrey's program precipitated a seismic shift on the Internet -- millions of shoppers logging on to buy T-shirts -- causing websites to crash, nuclear warheads to accidentally launch, and a brief malfunction of Jim Nabors' pacemaker. Ah, the mighty power of American consumerism!
I also ran into Amy Sacco, who had just returned from a trip to San Francisco. "Lily, darling!" she squealed. "I read all about your scandale en le Chine on Page Six! You poor dear! Considering you spent a week in a fascist gulag, you are positively glowing, Ms. Pad!" If she only knew.
After more cocktails and speeches from important art world people, we all moved to the rooftop garden for a spectacular, panoramic view of the city. Callie had chosen this venue because of its close, breathtaking view of the Empire State Building -- a reference to Warhol's Empire. After tucking into some vodka gimlets, we took in a screening of some of the famous screen tests. >
After the Warhol shindig, I moved on to “Bricktops Takes Manhattan”, a Twenties-inspired party from Los Angeles hosted by the acclaimed performance artist Vaginal Davis. Ms. Davis has been channeling Bricktops, the African-American Parisian party hostess of yore, for many years now but this was the first event staged in New York. Held in the dank basement of Siberia—a Soviet/Leninist-style honky-tonk on W. 40th Street—the soiree had an authentic speakeasy-like air about it. NYU students and older artists in either 20’s period costume or 60’s hustler drag were packed into the exceedingly hot and humid space, inhaling boot-leg liquor and human pheromones. Jimmy Fallon of Saturday Night Live was in attendance as well. Onstage, the formidable Ms. Davis—sporting a Le Mystere bra and Goddess garter belt—performed a Dadaist-like spoken word duet with Jennifer Miller, a real bearded woman known for her feminist provocations and knife juggling. “Are you Armenian or Nordic?” Ms. Davis, drenched in sweat, inquired both rhetorically and cryptically of Ms. Miller. “Are you Francis Bacon and Marlene Dietrich’s lovechild?” An ineffable delirium held sway over the evening.