I need to calm down a little. I started writing this entry and within 5 seconds I was already opening two other tabs adding another goal to my list and creating a new entry in another journal. Focus, Erik! My zeitgeist is particularly rich this month. The two primary items in it are Andy Warhol and Paul Newman. Andy Warhol is by far the more active character, but Paul Newman's impact is quite influential as well.
When something enters the zeitgeist I try to follow it and see where it leads. Lately, I've been seeing Andy Warhol everywhere. Strangely, I can't remember how he entered the zeitgeist... I think it came through his Factory, and then reenforced itself through his wife, the tape recorder, and how he was essentially a blogger before his time. Recording everything, amateurizing art, business, philosophy. Also, he spends a lot of time talking about fame, which applies to a book I'm reading at the moment, Status Anxiety. Here are Andy Warhol related trails I've been following:
The Factory: Though it was full of drugs and trouble, there was something beautiful about this place he had created in the center of Manhattan. Part film studio, part art manufacturing line, part living space, part club, this location ended up embodying a large part of the 60's. The non-hippy portion, I guess.
Superstars: Ingrid Superstar, and Andy's ability to make someone famous merely by associating with them. The Velvet Underground, Basquiat, Edie, and a bunch of other people. He said the only time he ever wanted to be famous was when he was outside of a party and wanted to get in. He also said that he'd rather stay in bed and watch the party on television if he could.
Wigs: He had 50 wigs of varying quality that have become a big part of his identity. He would have other people wear the wigs and attend events for him. I think his interest in recording everything eventually made him want to also remove himself from the record he was making... or allow him to be in the events and watching the events at the same time. I am looking for a good Andy Warhol wig... the only ones on eBay are cheap and the closest thing I could find at the local wig shops was too expensive and not quite right. Come on, wig people! I'm going to try to overcome my fear of dressing up by being Andy Warhol at the next costume event.
Films: He made something like 80 films, though, after he was shot he didn't really have much interest in them. These films are also difficult to find, but a few of them are on their way to me. I think they would be good movies to play in the background at a party. Or to post to your blog.
Interview Magazine: He started this magazine as a way to supplement the Factory's influence... it does with celebrity and fashion and the media what his art did to... art. He basically removed the bullshit and the meaning from everything he touched. "The less something has to say, the more perfect it is." Most people think of him as pretentious and cold, but I don't really see him that way at all. He was refusing to participate in a lot of the things that we expect people to participate in, and that tends to give one a snobbish aura... why did he think he was better than the rest of us? But the way I see it is that he was antisocial, socially awkward, and yet found a way to make his vision of the world exist in its own little corner. And then the corner moved to the center. This magazine is great because the articles are simply conversations between people with a tape recorder. Oftentimes two people are interviewing each other... people that admire or compete with each other. Sometimes the photographer will interview the person and the interviewer with photograph. And every article lets you know what the author's last article was about, what they were wearing, and how much it cost. Even if they're just wearing a Hanes t-shirt. The current issue mentioned Camus several times, another person in my zeitgeist.
Factory Girl: There's a movie coming out in September about Edie Sedgwick, one of the more infamous personalities at the Factory. And Edie is being played by Sienna Miller, who is currently in the world's zeitgeist. I'm reading her biography next.
Velvet Underground: Andy managed this band and we listened to them in the office a couple times last week. Also, read reviews of the new Strokes album that they compared (loosely) to VU. Also, they were mentioned in DiG, a documentary about the Dandy Warhols.
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: A great little book of Andy's thoughts on all of the things above. Framed as a set of phone calls between him and B, who is an interchangeable person that he calls every morning. His sidekick.
Art, film, music, celebrities, fashion, magazines, living space, literature... so many different elements surrounding one person. All of them quite subtle and interesting in their own way. Overlap with Paul Newman, hustling, con men, Paul Newman's own brand of philanthropism and way of life, overlap with SpongeBob SquarePants, ducks, salons, and new year's resolutions and it makes a brain wobble. Long live the zeitgeist!