Life in The Factory

Miss Ivy NIcholson in halcyon days

Miss Ivy Nicholson in halcyon days

Tales From My Unemployment

December 2005

Tuesday night was the auction for Max’s Kansas City Foundation (created for struggling, established artists). Danny had a picture in the show of Iggy and the Stooges. He would have had more, but most of his other pictures from Max’s backroom had Lou Reed in them, and Lou ordered that no pictures of him be included.

Danny was, to put it mildly, annoyed.

“I’m taking this awful picture of Lou with me,” he said Monday night, holding a 5×7 picture in my face. “And I’m taking some adhesive, and sticking it to the wall! Hahahaha!” 

My suspicions were confirmed almost immediately. Danny and Fabrice, his Parisian friend who’s staying with Danny while he finishes a book on Blondie, met me at the auction, and we wandered around a bit being introduced to people. I met a Ramone. Tommy? I’m not really sure. There was food and an open bar.

And then the curator made the mistake of telling Danny that they had chosen a few other pictures, even had prints made, but Lou Reed ordered them not to be used.

“What? I can’t believe all of you are listening to this man! He’s taking money from people who are being evicted! Because of him they’ll be sleeping on the streets this winter.” He had quite a little crowd gathered around, though I don’t think they had yet noticed the picture taped to the wall.

“I’ll bring you the prints. They look great!” And the curator darted off, leaving Danny to mumble invective about Lou and occasionally introduce me as, “This is my assistant. He just graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied film. He knows every film! Ask him a question. Go ahead! And he used to be a pornographer.”

The curator brought the prints, and left almost immediately.

Danny pulled out a picture of Lou and Iggy. “Oh, I hate this man so much! I should just burn his face off. Does anyone have any matches?”

We all stood around, staring. Some of them in astonishment and amusement. Me in horror, because I knew what was coming.

“Oh, I have some!” And Danny went into the bathroom, leaving the door open for the floor show, and burned Lou Reed’s face out of the picture. Unfortunately, it was printed on glossy paper, which was not a pleasant odor.

One bystander chuckled. “Well, now I’ve seen everything!” he said, as Danny scurried off to another corner to tack the burned photo to the wall.

“Oh, one side of the adhesive isn’t sticky any more! Does anyone have any Scotch tape?”

“Whale, Ah left it on mah desk. Last time Ah make that mistake.” It was one of the people I really did want to meet: Leee Black Childers.

“Well, I might need to run to a stationery store.” And then Danny kind of wandered off, leaving the picture semi-stuck to the wall.

“I’m Danny’s assistant,” I said to Leee. And suddenly, the tiny hallway we were standing in was filled with people. Some old queen swished out the door, followed by an even older queen so old and leathery I had to stare to see if it was a drag queen or not.

“Gorgeous dress!”

The creature spoke. Woman. Either she really likes Tallulah Bankhead, or she really likes her smokes and booze. And who could blame?

“Isn’t it? It’s a Cyrinda Foxe original. I have the,” and scorn dripped from her voice, “honor of modeling this Cyrinda Foxe original. I mean, I’m only Ivy Nicholson! I only worked with Andy Warhol at The Factory for six years!” I excused myself at that point to find Danny so I could leave. I had a job interview early the next morning, and Ivy pushed me over the edge. I mean, the only reason I know her name is because Danny told me the biggest mistake he ever made was pulling her off the window ledge at The Factory when she threatened to jump.

I found Danny, and told him I needed to leave after being cornered by Ivy. I told him what she said, and he snarled, “Yeah, the six years before anything happened!”

I went back to Leee and Fabrice, still in the tiny hallway.

“I’m leaving. Sorry to cut the evening short, but I have a job interview tomorrow.” Leee looked at me and drawled:

“Well, you’re gonna miss the ritual sacrifice at the end of the night. Everyone’s gonna drag Sylvia Miles onto stage and drain the blood from her body.”

With Leee Black Childers

With Leee Black Childers

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