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the column of lasting insignificance...
—for March 21, 2015 by John Wilcock

from the archives…

Gerard Malanga

When did you first meet Andy?

Loo with a View
Charles Henri Ford

In 1962. Under what circumstances did you meet?

Met him at a party at my sister's.

What was your first reaction to him?

Well my first reaction to him was that I liked him after I saw his show.

So then, what were the circumstances of your very early involvement with him?

Well, first of all he was still living in his house on Lexington Avenue, he had just lost his other studio, which I never saw. The studio preceding the firehouse. Well, when he lost his studio in '62, he took this firehouse over, near his house on the east side. It was an old firehouse and he was renting it for $150. a month from the city, two floors, beautiful hallways, and office space etc. Somebody bought it from the city and let him stay on from month to month, so he really never did anything about it, and then he got out of the firehouse, when he got his other studio, which later became known as the Factory.

Why did he have to get out of the firehouse?

Because it was sold to a man who wanted to make apartments out of it. He was renting from the city.

It must have been a great thing to have, a firehouse. Then he moved to 47th Street.

Yes, he moved to 47th street. By that time, I think I had already introduced him to Gerard Malanga.

Where did that momentous meeting take place?

At that time, Andy didn't know as many people as he knows now and I took him to a party in Brooklyn which was given by Mary Mencken and Willard Maas and at that party happened to be Frank O'Hara, and I think Kenneth Koch. Andy had never met either of them. And he was always just camping and going on about all these celebrities he'd never met, and how glamourous everything was and Kenneth Koch: Oh, Frank O'Hara, and Mary Mencken, and she knew who he was and started chasing him around the room trying to kiss him. She immediately fell in love with him. She said, 'Oh Charles, you come back in ten years, and you'll meet me with him again.' She was a very kind person. She was the only one who knew him, Frank didn't know who Andy was, Kenneth, nobody really knew, it was another world.

There wasn't the mixing of the arts and the poetry thing in those days.

No, not at all. So, I don't know if Gerard was there that night or not, but anyway I became friends with him, and one night Gerard told me about a poetry reading and I took Andy, it was down at the New School. And Andy has just lost a helper for his silk screen and Gerard was looking for a job, and I said 'Andy this is Gerard, who needs a job and you need a helper, maybe he'll do.' And Andy immediately said, 'Can you come tomorrow?' And he started working. That was in '63.

What were the elements that Andy and Gerard shared that made it such a good partnership. They fitted so well together.

That worked out gradually, because what Andy needed at the time, was just a strong arm, a good silk-screen roller, to put the paints on. Andy was just beginning to meet people in other milieus like I used to take him to underground movies.

Were movies going to be at that time-could you tello-to be one of his interests? Could you tell from his reaction.

Not necessarily, but he went to the underground movies with me they turned him on.

What was absorbing his attention at that time?

Silk-screening. He was doing these enormous silk-screens of Elvis Presley for a California Show.

And the Jackie things, and the electric chair things.

That was later. I don't know if they were ever shown in New York. He did Elvis Presley, in over life size, with a silk background with a silver screen. Now, before I left for Europe in the spring of '63, Andy said he wanted to buy a camera, and wanted to know what kind. So I took him to Peerless with Gerard, and there he tried out a Bolex. And I remember his using it, the first time, he brought it home and just opened the lens and just waved it around the room without even looking at it. But he had decided from the beginning he was going to make "bad" movies, like he was always talking about bad art which was another word for pop. He could make as bad movies as anybody.

But in effect, it was not so much bad as. . .

. . .that's "bad" in quotes. . .

But he was really doing effortless movies, in that he was just not looking at anything, just waving it around.

Well, it was a form of bad. And I wanted to make movies at that time, and actually I had filmed Andy with Jean Seburg at the Firehouse, I had filmed a thing of Claes Oldenburg putting up pop-sicles and taking them down. And Robert Whitman and Jim Rosenquist. I had the idea at that time to be a still photographer--to me movies move too much, they make me nervous, they move so much. So, when Andy did his first movie, of Sleep it never moved at all; he might have taken that hint.

That's one of the things about him you never can tell where he gets his ideas from people say so many things to him.

I said, Andy why do you like to go to all these artist's studios? He in turn was taking me to different places. The stars then were Rosenquist, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg and Bob Indiana and Andy. One night he took me over to where Rauschenberg was, and I said, why do you go to all these studios? And he said, 'That's the way I get ideas.'

How did they react to him by the way?

He was always complaining about how badly they treated him, etc. 'Oh, Rauschenberg was so unkind, and this one, you know,' because they were already celebrities, and Andy was just kind of new on the scene.

And 'he felt they weren't giving him the right amount of credit.

They felt that he was just nobody, kind of an upstart.

Do you think that was just his complaint, or was that the way they really were treating him?

Well, there was no need for him to take it seriously, because he had just come out of advertising art into. . .

Oh, I see, a certain amount of snobbishness.

'Cause actually I remember talking to Ruth Kligman about Andy's the one and all and his silk screen and she said, 'Well you know who did it first was Rauschenberg. It wasn't Andy."

There seems to be some dispute about that actually.

Ruth Kligman would know.

Would know or wouldn't know?

Would know. She was one of the abstract expressionists and the girl friend of de Kooning, Pollack, and all that; and she knows who came first. So Rauschenberg came first with silk screens on canvas, I'm sure of that.

Which of those artists do you think influenced Andy the most? Rauschenberg?

Probably, because Andy took over the silk screen and made it his own thing.

Do you think Rauschenberg had any feelings about that?

Probably, that's why you know Andy was complaining.

They appear to get along well today, but I guess its easier to get along when you don't see each other much, and you have your own little realms anyway.

They were never very close friends. Oh Jasper Johns was also there at the same time.

I think Andy—or somebody commented—that Jasper had definitely influenced Andy. I think Andy was an admirer of his stuff.

Andy did the Campbell soup can, Jasper did the beer can.

Did you have any idea at this time of, not so much what Andy's potential was, but what he might be doing in the future? Or, was it at that time, like it is now, that whatever it is it's going to surprise you?

He was strictly a silk screen artist, pop artist at that time.

You had no indication that he was going to go into something else?

None. And if he did, at the moment I didn't know. Then, I remember I was in Athens and Gerard wrote me and he said 'Andy has upset the whole underground film scene with his pranks.' So that's the way it was taken at first, as a kind of a prank.

Let's get back to the Gerard thing, I was asking you, and we never really settled that about they really got to be so close, they just seemed to fit so well together, he and Gerard, the personalities seemed to mesh very well. What do you think were the characteristics that both of them shared that made this partnership?

I think its this that Andy was, he's always been a receiving station of one form or another, and Gerard began to bring people around him, and Gerard, according to Gerard, was the first one who brought him Ronnie Tavel. And that had a great influence on his movie-making. Gerard used to collect people and bring them to the factory. I don't know who started calling it the factory. And he was a catalyst for a lot of people, and Andy enjoyed all that. Andy being very receptive and perceptive, was formed by the milieu that collected around him and were attracted to him.

Kind of like a filter in some way.

Yes. Gerard was a real catalyst in that way, bringing different people to him.

Who do you think are the people that influenced Andy the most? Altho, he never indicates exactly what he accepts from anybody.

Certainly Jasper Johns I'd say was number one, and although Jasper never did silk screens, Andy could combine you see, he could put the Rauschenberg and Johns together, and do a new thing out of it, which became Andy Warhol.

Wyn Chamberlain said the other night that Andy reads a tremendous amount which is news to me, cause you hardly ever see him reading anything.

According to Wyn he has thousands of books.

I remember at that time Andy was buying the poems of Taylor Mead.

You think he was reading poets more than anything else?

I don't know he just sort of put his finger on Taylor Mead at that time, when I hadn't even read him.

It was almost like a school around him, because although he learned a lot from other people, they also learned an awful lot from him. I suppose what happens is, that he's such a strong character in some ways, that people tend to emulate his ways of handling things.

Yes, because of his flair for picking out things that are in the air, which are bound to congeal in the future. Andy is a combination of flair, luck and publicity. Without one of those elements he wouldn't exist.

What do you think about his alleged lack of emotionalism, or the fact that he doesn't appear to have any emotions about anything. It seems to upset some people.

That's purely surface.

What do you think really gets to him the most?

Sex appeal.

His sex appeal or somebody else's?

Somebody else's.

What do you think attracts him the most? What particular type of person?

Well, boys.

Alright, this is a good time to talk about Andy's sex life. I mean what kind of traits in a person would appeal to Andy the most?

Anything that is delinquent, perverse.

Some of the people who are hanging around the Factory are very creative and talented, and because of that they tend to be very awkward to handle. I'm thinking of the girls like Ingrid, and Brigid and Ultra--all these people are likely to fly off into all kinds of strange directions. Most people would be embarrassed by their behavior in public, but Andy seems to thrive on it; he seems to be able to handle awkward cases.

Well, Andy is amused by the content possibilities for movies. He wasn't amused by this when he was doing silk screens; it's only since he started making movies.

But even when he's not making the movies, he appears to be amused by the catalytic qualities these people have.

He wasn't thinking about movies til' now. Characters in movies and so forth. He had a totally different life-style when he was doing silk screens.

So what you're saying is that making movies has changed Andy more than anything else. Apart from the fact that he's changed movies.

Yes. Also the movies that he used to make now belong to history. He's not filming that way anymore. And with a Hollywood contract coming up now, his whole life-style is changing. The new Factory is not like the old one.

There's always been this credibility gap between what the public actually knows about him and where he's actually at, because he moves faster than most people. So even if people think they know what he's doing today, they're way behind what he's really doing.

I suppose the reason why he does know so much is the fact that people are always so anxious to tell him things. Is there any way you can explain that? Why are people so anxious to go and tell Andy everything? I know I tell him hundreds of things, and everybody I know tells him things.

Because he's a receiving station. That's his way of working.

What are the forces that shapes him makes him into a receiving station?

There's a lot of receiving stations around, it's just the other side of giving.

Do you think receivers are rarer than givers?

No, no I think they're just equal, like male and female, its just the opposite side of the coin.

That's very interesting. What about his sexual relationships with people, are they constant?

He's very visual in his sex relationships, I mean everything is sexual to Andy without the sex act actually taking place.

You mean the sex act might not take place?

I think it just moves on the visual aspects.

Well is he faithful to a particular person say?

He is at the moment.

Has it been consistent over the years, has he ever been faithful to one person at a time?

I don't think so.

I see. I'd like to explore in some way the ways that an artist's sex life affects his art, particularly in reference to Andy. Because it seems to me to be such an interesting theme but I've no idea of how to get into it or even ask questions about it.

I think its very simple that one's sex life goes into one's. art, and that's a form of sex expression with Andy, his art.

Is there any way we can explain in what way it comes out? If his sex life were different, how would his art be different?

It is a question of temperament and character; whatever we do in art is what we are, it's just like a mirror image.

Andy himself is like a mirror to a lot of people. I've seen people go up there, and if they're aggressive, they'll go away with the aggressive impression they came with. In some ways, people go up there with pre-conceived ideas about Andy and if they insist on having them, those pre-conceived ideas, Andy makes no attempt to correct them. He just feeds back. He's almost totally pure in some ways, he's not only like a catalyst, but I always think of him as a seismograph thing, like something that bobs on the waves and tries to be neutral and records.

That's what I meant about being a receiving station.

Have you ever seen him totally thrown, surprised, upset or totally incapable of coping with anything, apart from the fact of the shooting, etc. I mean any other circumstances, have you ever seen him really so surprised that he didn't know what he was going to do about it.

I haven't seen him in any up-tight situation.

Have you ever seen him really lose his temper?

I've heard a lot of complaints from him, that's all. Kind of 1ike plaintive complaints, about everybody and everything. Art collectors, other artists, slights that he thinks he's received.

Is there any pattern in the nature of those complaints, about what kinds of things persistently upset him?

 
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No, I don't know, you know like people giving him a hard time about this or that.

Complaints are about the worst, he's never really blown his top in any way.

No, he never gets mad. Just child-like complaints.

Do you think the fact that he doesn't show his temper, means he hasn't got a temper to show, or he has incredible control over his emotions probably.

I think probably he has a lot of control.

Which probably gets easier the more practice he gets.

Yes.

Can you remember any things you have gone to together or done together that turned him on?

Yes, I took him to the happening down at Robert Whitman's.

Which one was that?

I think it was the Flower one.

Oh lovely, yes I remember that. Did he like that?

He loved that. He loved the costumes.

And the way the chicks kept changing the colors of the dresses.

I introduced him to Whitman, I had already introduced myself to Whitman, I knew already and then introduced Andy.

Have you ever collaborated with him in the production of something? Can you visualize yourself collaborating with him or would you fight over some things or disagree?

No, the only thing I've collaborated with him on was the People Collage, and you can't really call that a collaboration. Andy's always very, very amenable.

He's always very willing to cooperate over anything that sounds sensible. Part of that is publicity, but part of that is just genuine good nature, isn't it?

Yes. There's a lot of sweetness there. He's not the sadistic type.

If you had to describe to somebody who'd just heard of him, they just knew the name, and they realized that he was some artist, but didn't know why he was famous, could you explain his philosophy or theme?

Well, just as well try to explain pop art in the beginning with flair for the popular image, which might reach the heights of the symbolic, like when he took whatever personalities he took for his silk screens, i.e., Marilyn Monroe; but even there he wasn't really the first one, but he made it his own. And Andy's had a lot of misses too.

For example.

 
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I'd say one of his misses was the wall of Troy Garrison.

But I wonder how much of a miss anything he does is because sooner or later he could sell it for some incredible price, just because he did it.

And I think he was on the wrong track when he did the auto crashes.

Why do you think he was into that thing about death and destruction? Was there some personal thing in his life that got him on to that or what?

Well, at that time he had an attraction to the macabre, which he still has, and the sensational. Most of the time, he could always see from a sense of design, so that now when you look at his electric chairs, they seem more like an abstract painting rather than the subject matter.

At the moment presumably he doesn't have any financial problems because there always seems to be plenty of work to do and everybody seems to be coming up with ideas and things.

I don't think Andy really did ever have any financial problems and that's one reason Andy is where he is. He always seemed to have money to spend, he was always very generous, if he'd been a poor starving artist I don't think he'd have gotten anywhere. Its really investing in himself that's got him where he is today.

But then the movies must have made a fantastic sum of money.

That's what I mean. He must have had some kind of fund to draw on, otherwise he would have been crippled from all the things he's done.

Do you think that Andy himself has any overall theme or philosophy that he could express in words if he was able to be articulate enough to do it?

He likes the American pop scene, he's never gotten away from the whole pop thing. What's going on is what interests Andy.

What's going on in a particular milieu of society anyway. How does his personal life differ from his public life that anyone who has any association with him knows about? Every now and then one hears stories about how he goes off to church on Sundays, lives like a recluse, goes home very early.

That's all consequential to the assasination attempt.

Have you been inside the house on Lexington Ave?

I haven't been on the second floor.

Oh why?

Oh, a lot of people haven't. That's his living quarters. Downstairs is like a studio and junkshop, accumulation.

Do you think he gets a lot of amusement out cf the vying for attention that the Factory crowd is always doing. One would assume he gets a certain amount of wry amusement by people always wanting to be the favorite around sort of.

I don't know. I don't know the whole group, just casually. But I know Andy used to like all aspects of publicity. He bought shamelessness into the artist going commerical, or in columns, fashion magazines; he took away the stigma of artists not doing anything for publicity or for commercial reasons.

Yes, but did it spring out of the shrewd sense commercial value of it, or an ego thing?

I think he really liked it, and saw it would work.

1 suppose it's really characteristic of a lot of things he's done which is to make people see fairly obvious things somewhat differently.

Yes. Also he has a terrific drive toward success being a first generation immigrant, plus having a built-in dynamo somewhere to succeed.

What does ultimate success mean to him?

All the money he can ever have. At one point I asked Gerard, after he'd been with him some time, I said what does Andy really want? Gerard replied, glamour. And I said then, well do you think he's got it? And Gerard said, well he's getting it. That was really before the publicity explosion. Andy would. say, "Oh, I think Harpers Bazaar is so glamorous." Well that was the sort of thing we used to run from.

Well, of course the funny thing is that for years, Andy has made me see so many things, I mean purely accidentally. I would never have dreamed of watching the Miss America Contests on colour television, and now I feel that the Miss America Contest on colour television is the ultimate America. It will tell you more than volumes of other stuff.

Yes, like one day I went out to Brooklyn to see one of the rock and roll groups at one of the theatres that Andy wanted to go to; I didn't care much about it, I forget which one, it was real rock in other words, back in '63.

I guess it's kind of pseudo-intellectual to not like plastic pop type things, but your true intellectual would surely be interested in everything, and wouldn't let their snobbishness overcome their wish to know what was happening. I guess Andy is successful in some extent

in showing up pseudo-intellectuals. That would be only one way of interpreting it. Because actually it is interesting to watch these horrible shows on tv, I watch these things like the Dating Game and all sorts of stuff. I doubt that I would have watched it had I followed my normal course of life and gone along with the theory that it's all so much bourgeoise nonsense.

It's really pop.

Yes, its so vulgar its really fascinating.

Yes, well that's the whole pop thing is to take the vulgar and make it. Rosenquist did the billboard thing like advertisements and bill-board art.

Why is it that people just don't understand why Andy gets publicity and think he's just putting everybody on, and why are people so frightened that they might be put on? They can only be put on, if they're willing to be put on.

Well, I think they are.

But not everybody though.

Yes, but I mean the. . . there are really two general groups, the ones who are close to him and the ones that aren't at all. In between are the ones who are trying to keep art pure and so forth.

But even the ones who are close to him don't know him at all in some ways. What is that something so elusive about Andy?

He's more elusive now than he used to be.

I always found things happening that I couldn't figure out whether they were planned or whether they were accidental, and when I thought about it I realized they had to be accidental, that they fitted so perfectly.

That's what I meant when I spoke of luck. You know what he did when he was asked to do an erotic painting for Sidney Janus' show, he painted a banana. A year later they discovered that bananas would produce a high. So I mean it's that thing. You could take almost anything like that, Charles. Supposing somebody saw that banana and without ever being conscious of seeing that banana, said to themselves, 'Why don't we pretend that banana skins make people high?' It may even be conceivable that because of Andy's banana, somebody did that. There's so many things like that about andy you can never really figure out.
. . . coincidences. . .

There was an awful lot of popularity for silver things for a while. Was it because he was popularizing silver?

His influence hasn't been that great. He takes influences much more than he influences.

Yes, but he somehow spreads them out to a much wider audience than existed before. And with his mystique behind them, they become somehow much more significant than they were before.

He can sense things like the seismograph that you brought up before; he can sense things before they happen.

I think the pig is a funny example. The pig is a political symbol. A flowered pig. Andy isn't political, but nevertheless he did a pig. Yes, it's so interesting that kind of thing. In the early days of the film, I used to spend hours with Buddy, his cameraman, discussing all these accidental things that happened, could they possibly be accidents? You know. And I realized after a while that the only way to handle them was to accept that things had happened and that whatever had happened was what Andy made capital out of. For example, if you were filming in front of the elevator at the Factory and somebody came up in the elevator and walked through the set it wasn't intentional but because they walked through the set it made it appear as if it were planned.

He's been open to all sorts of things. He has great vision.

Can you think of any particular example in your own life, in your own association, over the years with Andy, that his influence, that maybe he might have made you see something differently?

Well yes; when I did the Jayne Mansfield posters. However, what really turned me on to Jayne Mansfield was an article by Michael McClure in Film Culture called 'In Defense of Jayne Mansfield.' But then Andy had already done Marilyn Monroe and it was an influence. Because I immediately dug Jasper's flags even before I knew him.

When I first started taping these interviews the first person I taped was David Bourdon. I said to him it seemed like every wave of artists was followed by a wave of imitators. Not necessarily imitators, but people who are influenced by the previous set. So, I said who do you think are the people that are influenced by Andy? And David said, everybody. Which to an extent, I really believe. I really think he's managed to reach a more general audience with his influences than most artists have.

Well, except that as Andy's influence has grown the times have independently changed too, so it might seem that he's influenced everybody, but if Andy hadn't been there at all the times would be exactly as they are. Rauschenberg and Johns were there, the whole abstract expressionist scene took place but not with Andy. Andy is still receiving things, he's not that big an influence.

But he's been fantastically skillful at somehow exploiting his mystique more than other people have.

He has become Andy Warhol, which is a personality.

How has he managed that, Charles? How come he was able to get the publicity he wanted?

Well, if he wanted it he got it. You get what you ask for. Picasso was an integrator of all styles, and he was the greatest artist of his time because he could integrate everybody's style, including 16th, 17th century and ancient Greek and God knows what; he was also a receiver, a receiving station. He tuned everything into Picasso. It doesn't mean he's invented all these things, they came to him. They already existed and he transforms them by his own alchemy his own magicianship, into Picasso. Well, Andy had done more or less the same thing. Andy living on a desert island wouldn't be Andy.

Oh yes, that's true. Living in isolation, I wonder what kind of things he would produce.

. . . parts of his environment. . .

Do you think that an artist of that nature would literally cease to be an artist, unless the conditions were right?

Yes, I think so definitely.

I.e., if there was nothing to receive, there would be nothing to produce?

He feeds off other people and he is a product of what he eats. You are what you eat!

Everybody thinks that they're going to get something out of him in a relationship, which they always do incidentally. Yet he always gets a lot out of it, too.

It's give and take. In fact the greatest complaints I've heard about Andy is that he's tight with his money.

What do you think accounts for that?

Maybe he hasn't got as much money as he seems to have.

That would contradict what you said earlier that he had no problems with money.

As much money as he seems to have.

What've you heard about Andy's sex life?

He didn't like to take his pants off, or for anybody to touch him.

Well, that extends also into the fact that he's not exactly the type you shake hands with, even. Most people you shake hands with when you meet them. But Andy's kind of wary of that. I mean he will shake hands if necessary. . .

He doesn't like his hair to be messed up.

Why do you think he doesn't like to be touched?

I think he's said it himself, he likes to be a kind of machine-like, emotionless.

Yes, but because of his particular control of his emotions, his creativity as an artist comes out in a very special individual way, but people show emotions more who don't have. John Chamberlain definitely shows his emotions and his art is very different. I mean it's an interesting subject, people's sex lives in relation to their art, but then really I don't know how to handle it.

Art is an extension of the sex life.

Tell me some of the things, the rumours and gossip you've heard about Andy's sex life.

That's all.

Oh, just that?

That he doesn't like to be touched.

It's funny that you describe him as a receiving station, in his attitudes towards life, which I think is very accurate, because he does receive things, incredibly and endlessly. But he doesn't even like to receive even so much as a hand shake.

Well he may also receive a cock in his mouth. I mean that's receiving too. I mean that's all I've heard about his sex life. He's still a receiving station. The least interesting thing about a person is his sex life. What a lot of people can do in sex, but what he does in art only Andy does.

The relationship between the sex and the art might be interesting. Has anybody ever done a book that examines that in non-professional, but psychological terms?

Yes, it's been done over and over again. . .

Yes, but these are all like professional psychologists, but has anyone ever done a popular, mass media thing in terms of the relationship between creativity and sex-life?

I don't know but it's the kind of thing that is taken for granted. That's because we're human. When you come down to it, everything is a sexual drive. And if you have the artistic temperament, your everything is your art.

But then does smothering the sexual drive bring the thing out in creativity, i.e. is creativity a result of frustration?

You don't smother anything. It all comes out even more, you have more than you need, so the sex flows over into the art. Of course the greatest artists have been the most highly sexed.

But don't you think there's something about the sublimation that brings, I mean sublimation of sex would certainly come out conceivably in violence. Would it also come in the sex drive.

I wouldn't call it sublimation, call it a dynamic force, an over-flow.

—from The Autobiography & Sex Life of Any Warhol by John Wilcock, 1971

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3/14/15


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John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
Week of January 23, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve--Andy Gets Shot: Max's Kansas City; Jane Fonda's gesture; Christo & Jeanne-Claude
Week of January 16, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven (continued)-- We go to Rutgers, Ann Arbor ... What people say about Andy
Week of January 9, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven -- Andy Warhol First encounter....People talk about him....His movies...
Week of January 2, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten (continued)--The 'Movement' splits: Eldridge Cleaver Year of the Great Hoax…The OZ trial
Week of December 26, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten--Tom Forcade's smuggling funds High Times; Rolling Stone's underground sabotage
Week of December 19, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine (continued)--Rip Torn on stardom… Robert Mitchum's gift; London: Julian Beck’s critique; Emmett Grogan and the Diggers; Greece: The Junta, Charlotte Rampling, and art hero Daniel Spoerri
Week of December 12, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine--Bob Dylan in the Village, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Richard Neville and OZ, What Does London Need Most?, The International Times
Week of December 5, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon; The Shinjuku Sutra
Week of November 28, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
Week of November 21, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven (continued)--The Underground Press; Army revolt:  fragging officers; Bowart goes to Millbrook
Week of November 14, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven--The singing Tit-o-Gram; The East Village Other; Art & Forgery; Birth of Black Power; The Underground Press
Week of November 7, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
Week of October 31, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six—The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
Week of October 24, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
Week of October 17, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness--The man who turned on the world; Tested by Harvard professors; Jan and Stan change my life
Week of October 10, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Four—Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
Week of October 3, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Four—Into the '60s--More Working at The New York Times; Mexico On $5 a Day; What Richard Condon taught me; Henry Miller's wise words
Week of September 26, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHO  and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
Week of September 19, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--More trouble with our star novelist; Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column; Jean Shepherd’s phantom novel
Week of September 12, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
Week of September 5, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Gilbert Seldes' The Lively Arts; Norman Mailer’s Voice column; Giving parties to meet strangers
Week of August 29, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
Week of August 22, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Jack Kent Cooke tells me to stay in Canada; Becoming a New Yorker ;A new Village newspaper; The casual wisdom of Steve Allen
Week of August 15, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
Week of August 8, 2015

- column archives: 2006 - present



in the press...

Now on Boing-Boing!
February 12, 2015

The New York Years - Issue 3 The New York Years
Wednesday,
October 27, 2010

A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler

by Seth Kugel
John Wilcock at the New York Times

It was the first handwritten letter I'd received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I'd never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.

By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.

(read more)


A Guide to Occult Britain

Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook on amazon.com.

Manhattan MemoriesManhattan Memories
An Autobiography
by John Wilcock

"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."

-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner