Elton John To Auction Off Rare Warhol, Basquiat Collaboration

Photo via Sotheby’s

After a chance meeting in a New York cafe in 1980, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol went on to conspire on several significant works, until the latter’s untimely death in 1987. One such painting, simply Untitled, will go on the block at the Sotheby’s Paris French Evening sale on June 7.

The current owner of the rather poignantly foreboding artwork (Jean-Michel himself died in 1988), a 1984-1985 acrylic, silkscreen and oil on canvas, signed by both artists on the overlap, is Sir Elton John, along with husband David Furnish. Described as a memento mori—meaning, a cultural reminder of mortality and death’s inevitability—it strikingly exhibits the artistic/psychological frisson and tension that existed between Warhol and Basquiat.

It is expected to fetch upwards of $1,000,000, and the proceeds will likely go to one of the singer’s charitable concerns. Indeed, he and Sotheby’s have a collaborative history of selling off pieces to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.


Andy Warhol’s Upper East Side Studio Hits the Market For $10 Million

Photo via Cushman & Wakefield

During the early ’60s, Andy Warhol was working primarily as a commercial artist, having just begun to assert himself as a fine artist and local provocateur. In January 1963, he moved into an Upper East Side studio, his first private space, which was then an affordable fire house, available for only $150 per month. More than half a century later and following years of gentrification, Warhol’s historic site, 159 East 87th Street, is on the market for a steep $9,975,000 and “offers a developer a blank canvass [sic] to create boutique condominiums, a mixed-use rental or a luxury townhouse.” 

Six months before the iconic pop artist moved into his UES space, he’d established a polarizing name with his newly debuted Campbell Soup Can paintings. “In 1963, [Warhol] was only just becoming known as a fine artist, so it’s no wonder he didn’t invest in a fancier studio,” said Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik to Artnet NewsThe building was “a wreck, with leaks in the roof and holes in the floors, but it was better than trying to make serious paintings in the wood-paneled living-room of his Victorian townhouse, as he’d done for the previous couple of years.” Despite the shifty environment, Warhol still managed to create several pieces from his revered Death and Disaster series, as well as portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.


Brillo Box (Soap Pads), 1964 (Photo via MoMA)

Warhol’s lease ended the following May, more than half a year before he moved into his legendary Silver Factory and unveiled his 1964 sculpture exhibition, Brillo Boxes—work philosopher Arthur Danto labeled the end of art. “What Warhol taught was that there is no way of telling the difference [between art and non-art] merely by looking,” Danto said. “The eye, so prized an aesthetic organ when it was felt that the difference between art and non-art was visible, was philosophically of no use whatever when the differences proved instead to be invisible.”

The two-story building, located between Lexington and Third Avenue, is currently being used for art storage and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield as a “boutique development site”—a far cry from its humble Warholian roots and testament to NYC’s ever-evolving real estate landscape.

Five Must-See Videos to Celebrate Transgender Icon Candy Darling’s Birthday

Now a prized fixture of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, Candy Darling, originally nicknamed “Hope Slattery,” was way ahead of her time, pioneering a gender-fluid movement decades before the nation was ready to accept such identities in the way it does today.

“There is one thing I must tell you because I just found it to be a truth,” Darling famously said. “You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality.” Though these words would’ve been viewed as rebellious in the distant days Darling stormed NYC streets in stilettos, in 2015 they sound wonderfully relevant—a subtle testament to the cultural impact of this underground superstar.

To celebrate Darling’s birthday—she would’ve been 71, today—we’ve compiled our favorite videos, all featuring the trans trailblazer.

Candy Darling in Flesh:

 Andy Warhol and Candy Darling Interview:

Candy Darling at the Whitney Museum:

Candy Warhol in Women in Revolt:

Candy Darling sings 1928’s “Ramona:”

The Indelible Iconography of Ryan McGinness

Ryan McGinness with his Limited Edition Bottle of Hennessy, Courtesy PMG


In the past few years, Western culture seems to have reverted to pre-lingual tendencies with the proliferation of pictographic communication. “Love” is download (1), “anger” is 160x160x35-pouting-face.png.pagespeed.ic.w1f9t-wRwM, “celebration” is 160x160x325-party-popper.png.pagespeed.ic.nlB_GieQDx, “pride” is 160x160x307-rainbow.png.pagespeed.ic.LZQTRvUOJh. For artist Ryan McGinness, this is nothing new.

“There’s something authoritative about signs and icons, and I wanted to subvert that,” he said, nestled in a corner at midtown steakhouse Quality Meats.

For years, McGinness has produced painting, sculpture and site-specific work frequently utilizing bold icons and bright colors, most recently his series of “black hole” paintings, which he calls a “subversive symbol of wealth and luxury”, and which grace a new limited edition bottle of Hennessy. The series of elegant black holes are juxtaposed with colorful Boschian imagery of people fucking skulls and committing autoerotic asphyxiation. But since the brand wants to communicate aspirational aspects, obviously, the bottle design is light on skull fucking. There is a twist, though: the layered, multi-colored filigrees coalescing in a black hole illuminate under a blacklight. “It made sense in the club environment,” he said.

Where is the subversion in corporate collaborations, though? “I knew everyone would be scrutinizing, ‘What’s going on?’ I knew that I wanted to communicate with aspirational qualities, but I don’t really like doing this and doing that, being disingenuous. But I was like, “Alcohol? Perfect.”



Limited Edition Bottle of Hennessy, Courtesy PMG


He’s built a bridge between himself and the brand, making sense of the collaboration in a Warholian vein, which is to be expected given the impact the Pope of Pop has had on his career. A fan since he was a child, he studied at Carnegie Mellon (Warhol’s alma mater) and interned as a curatorial assistant at the Warhol Museum. But, as he’s worked in the same tradition of Pop Art, he’s seen Warhol’s true intentions be obfuscated as we progress past his time. “A lot of the sarcasm and satire have been lost in recent years,” he lamented.

McGinness still holds out some humor and irony in his work, though. His Instagram, for example, skewers the platform; instead of behind-the-scenes photos or filtered pictures of sunsets that typically litter newsfeeds, each image he posts is a black circle with a cryptic quote or design in the center. Each dot, in actuality, is part of a halftone that makes up a black and white image of McGinness removing a white fright wig. The act is a Warholian, anti-artifice gesture, a removal of a disguise. “Warhol was all about being fake – he wore a costume. But this is genuine.”



Untitled (Black Hole, Fluorescent Yellow), 2008, acrylic on linen, 72 in. dia. (182.9 cm dia.) exhibited with adhesive fluorescent vinyl on wall under black light via ryanmcginness.com


He’s also began work on a series of paintings inspired by metadata, wherein he depicts an original painting hanging on a studio wall. Similar to Thomas Struth’s photographs of paintings in museums, these meta-paintings are a new twist on authenticity and the reproduction of images.

When he needs a break from painting, he ventures across the street from his studio to Landmark Diner, one of the last remaining original diners in the city. A slice of down-to-earth Americana, it reflects the air of McGinness: not pretentious or haughty as is the typical demeanor of many artists (especially if they’re white, male and straight), friendly, warm and unobtrusively brilliant.

He chronicles his thoughts and ideas meticulously in a series of identical sketchbooks, and currently he’s up to over 200. “Ideas are stickier when you touch the piece of paper. I like making things.” It shows how personal his work really is, and what anyone would say about corporate collaborations, or how he’s not using Instagram correctly, doesn’t really matter to him in the end. He continued, looking down after taking a sip of Hennessy, “make work like nobody cares.”

Kiehl’s Cool New Collab Combines Art, Beauty, and Charity All in One

Blue Heaven #1 and Blue Heaven #2 by Christopher Makos

Kiehl’s gets my vote for coolest collaboration of the month. In an art-beauty-charity power combination, the classic brand has teamed up with photographer Christopher Makos to auction exclusive silkscreens by the artist that benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Makos, a staple in the New York photography scene, was a frequent collaborator with Andy Warhol. As anyone with an intermediate knowledge of beauty fun facts knows, Warhol was a valued customer of Kiehl’s, and swore by the Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion (often buying it in bulk!)

If you’re not in the art collecting mood this month, you can still buy a limited edition bottle of the formula, designed and featuring art by Christopher Makos.

The online auction goes ’til October 30, 2014 at 5 p.m. EST.

Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet’s Exclusive 2011 Interview with BlackBook

Image from Ultra Violet’s collection, available on her Facebook page. Ultra Violet pictured at far right.


Andy Warhol’s infamous proclamation that “everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes” has taken on the same mythic quality as “Let them eat cake.” (Words that, for the record, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered.) In fact, if you consider the rather vapid twin phenomena of reality TV and rampant social media, fame has indeed become a genuine throwaway proposition, something with all the ephemeral value of wolfing down a Twinkie or a Ding Dong.

Warhol superstar Ultra Violet had seized upon the prophetic power of that phrase for the title of her 1988 autobiography, eventually published in seventeen languages. It was the first, and still arguably the most perspicacious tome assessing the epochal cultural shockwaves that emanated from the legendary incubator of depravity, betrayal, and, of course, art that was The Factory.

A restless, disruptive French girl from the little Rhone-Alpes commune of La Tronche, Isabelle Colin Dufresnse arrived in New York in 1954 only to immediately find herself muse to the great Salvador Dali. A deeply jealous Andy Warhol stole her away and subsequently facilitated her transformation into his most prized Superstar, the impossibly glamorous and mind-bogglingly inimitable Ultra Violet.


Ultra Violet image 5

Ultra Violet with Salvador Dali. Image from the artist’s collection, available on her Facebook page.


She had since carried on with an acclaimed but helter-skelter art career that had found her work exhibited from Belgium to Switzerland to Israel to Art Basel Miami. She is also featured in the permanent collection at Paris’ Centre Pompidou. Most recently she was asked to participate in the 9/11 memorial exhibit at CUNY in 2011, and her striking modern-classical sculpture, a palindromic use of the ill-famed date in Roman numerals, was one of the most arresting works of art devoted to the memory of that culturally and politically pivotal event.

Madame Dufrense passed away from cancer Saturday, June 14 at the age of 78. Here we revisit a fascinating 2011 interview BlackBook conducted with the New York legend.


Warhol’s statement that everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes has proven deeply prophetic.

Yes, that was the title of my book. I’m trying to be famous for sixteen minutes, but that extra minute is so hard.

How have you tried to carry on with Warhol’s socio-cultural legacy?

The night Warhol died, he came to me in a dream. I took it as an omen that where he left off — this sounds very pretentious — I should take over. The two years before he died he was doing work with spiritual quotations. He was raised very religious. He went away from it, but he went back to it. Personally, I was born a mystic, and have always been very interested in spiritual matters. People believe there is more than one sun, and that Christ is in the Central Sun. I did some reading from the scriptures, every phrase that has the word ‘light’ in it. Light equates to truth and God. So I think that’s maybe my spiritual contribution, and that’s where I meet what Warhol was about in the last years of his life.

You were a muse to Salvador Dali. What then attracted you to Warhol? They were exceedingly different, as artists and as people.

Oh, no doubt! I came from France, and the first person I met when I came off the boat was Salvador Dali. I realized that I was ‘surreal’, which I never knew until I met him. Then one day Dali introduced me to Warhol. I knew Surrealism was going to end, like every movement, and I was in New York to ride the Pop Art wave. I was hypnotized by Warhol; he hypnotized people. There were a lot of other pop artists, but he was so clever to have that huge silver loft. The door was open so anyone could come in, and the whole world came through. It was very exciting, the whole group at The Factory was so unique.

Dali and Warhol were competing for you?

I used to see Dali and Warhol at the same time, and Warhol would say, ‘Dali is too old, give him up.’ He was very jealous, because he wanted to have the fame of Dali. Warhol copied a lot from Dali’s technique on how to be famous. When the astronauts came back to Earth, I think it was Time magazine that gave a dinner. Me and Andy were invited, and Dali was not. That was a sign that things were turning.

Did you feel that the denizens of The Factory were more inspiring each other or competing with one another?

None of the above. It was a very hedonistic era, the dawning of the nuclear age, and somehow we always felt that there was only fifteen more minutes to live. So we just lived to the fullest. Maybe some of them were conspiring, I don’t know. I was innocent and having fun…and wasting time, probably.

I can’t imagine you look back on it as wasting time.

I’ll tell you why. Because I could have taken photos every single day, I could have recorded more. We were photographed by the whole world, so I thought it was not necessary. I do have lots of tapes from that era, but still I could have done much more. I could have done my art, but I did not; I started much later.

What is your first recollection of meeting the Velvet Underground?

At The Factory, a rehearsal. They were rather frightening, aggressive and confrontational.

Did you have a sense that Warhol was trying to get something similar out of yourself and the VU?

To tap into your youthful energy and ideas as a way of elevating his own art. Mind you, we were there willingly, happily, hedonistically. I am very grateful to Warhol and the Velvet Underground for being instrumental in shaping me, for good or worst.

Your autobiography was considered a definitive account of those times.

When Warhol died in ’87, I wrote an article for New York magazine, and subsequently two publishers called me and they said ‘We like what you wrote, do you have more?’ And I did keep a journal. My book was the first one out after his death.


Ultra Violet image 2


Art seems to be much more of a business now. Do you feel that Andy is in some ways responsible for that?

Oh, no doubt, no doubt. But you know, the life of Andy was unbelievable. He was born in Pittsburgh to immigrants, and when he dies, he’s worth about $800 million, and he has a foundation that now sponsors art. What a trajectory. But when you were with him it was always, ‘Oooh, what should I do? Oooh, help me.’

But he knew exactly what he was doing.

I suppose, because it cannot happen by accident.

Warhol’s work is now coveted as much as the Old Masters. How much of it do you think is based on Warhol the artist, and how much on his cult of celebrity?

It’s mixed. When Andy died, Sotheby’s auctioned his personal belongings and they had seven catalogs. Seven! But there was not one piece of contemporary art in his home. Andy hated contemporary art. As you entered his home, you had the impression that it was an 18th Century marquis that lived there. So odd, so strange. I can speak about his art, though. I meet a lot of young kids, and they say, ‘Oh, you knew Warhol!’ So I say, ‘Tell me about Warhol, explain his art to me.’ And no words come out.

So what do you think it was about Andy’s work?

People don’t really understand the genius of Warhol, and I’m going to explain it now. What Warhol presented was the reality of the life in the American 1960s. Meaning, the front page of the newspaper with the ambulance crash, Jackie Kennedy in mourning because JFK was just assassinated, the first man that walked on the Moon. He was a chronicler of American history. That was his power, presenting life as it was then, matter-of-fact, as is, with no embellishment. And he’s actually the child of capitalism, because it was the era of manufacturing. Dali thought the Campbell’s Soup can was unbelievable, like a coup de poing, a blow to the art world. But what’s the meaning of it? Well, art has always represented the still life. And the Campbell’s Soup can is the 60s industrial age still life. Warhol represented the American dream; but he also represented the disasters, car crashes, suicides, most wanted men, the atomic mushroom. He represented the Yin and the Yang of American civilization at a time when the USA was the uncontested leader of the world, the American Empire. But is it worth $80 million? That’s another story.

I don’t think there’s any right answer to that.

But there is an answer. And the answer is that we are a civilization of worshippers. And what happened to all the civilizations of worshippers? They perished. That’s why I like using the Roman numerals to represent 9/11. Was it a turning point in the decline of the United States? Are we on the brink of perishing?

How did you get involved in the 9/11 exhibit?

I am an artist and a New Yorker, so I had to do something about 9/11. The question was what, of course. The more I played with the idea, I realized that 9/11 is actually a palindrome in Roman numerals. Graphically I think it’s quite magical, it has power. I wanted to do something not political, because 9/11 is still sensitive, still a painful and unresolved event. So it’s just the marking of time. As an artist, I think you have a moral responsibility when dealing with 9/11.


Ultra Violet image 7

Ultra Violet in her studio


So how much of Andy’s influence is present in your art now?

I’m in the 9/11 show with maybe about thirty artists. And you see their work, and it’s someone lying on a mattress, or it’s a photo of a cross, and it’s like, hmm, okay. How do I know that’s about 9/11? But what Warhol taught me was to get to the essence. You have to get to the heart of it.

Andy is recalled with quite a bit of love and hate. How do you feel now about him?

I think everything was extremely calculated. If he was with people, he wanted to know what he could gain from them, or did they know any famous people, and could he meet that famous person? Andy was the sweetest and the meanest. He lived with his mother for forty-five years, his mother dies, and he doesn’t go to the funeral. Typical Warhol. Whatever you might say about him is true; he was the genius and the total idiot. I really mean it. Some people would say he was very kind, but you need to know the motivation for being kind–maybe there was something to gain. I don’t want to criticize him, because it is not elegant to do so. I think a great artist has to investigate everything, investigate God and people. And of course he wants to be at the top; he wants to be looking down and seeing the world. But the real dream of Warhol was, that when he walked down the street, he wanted people to say, ‘Here walks the most famous person down the street.’


Armen Ra On His Shocking Documentary, Favorite Nightlife Stories, & Theremin

In this holiday-shortened week, with the spring pushing and pushing and pushing its way to free us from this winter of discontent, I am writing about the unusual suspects who toil or play in the clubs as they define their crafts. Yesterday it was FLXX. Today it’s Armen Ra, the master of the theremin. The theremin is a rare, eerie-sounding musical instrument, with its foremost astonishing trait explained by Armen in our interview below. Right now, Aremn is raising loot on Indiegogo for a theremin-infused feature documentary about his life: one of growing up in Iranian aristocracy and, after going on vacation in the United States, being forced to stay there due to the Iranian Revolution. A man from wealth and in exile, his story takes flight when he discovers the magic of the theremin and its effect on people. The fundraiser has six days left, and $4,000 to go to get the feature released.

Armen Ra is a well-known face and figure in the posh NY nightclub scene. His story is of ups and downs and all-arounds. It will shock and awe you. I asked him to tell me all about it
It’s been a long road. You are an exile,  being forced to leave Iran and live in a foreign land. Tell me about that transition.
That transition was a complete nightmare. I literally thought it was a nightmare for years. Coming from a sheltered aristocratic background, growing up in the opera, traveling the world yearly, submerged in music and art and literature. Being stuck here was like Gilligan’s Island from Hell. I started making jewelry, doing puppet shows with sets and costumes, learning about the power of beauty. We had been to the US several times already, but I didn’t speak any English. My mother and sister were fluent though, so they helped. I adapted quite fast in every way possible. I had to. It was a sudden survival, and I was unprepared at that age, but you figure things out when you have to.

Drugs, prostitution, alcohol, a zillion demons – not exactly the American dream. How’d you get out of that?
Divine intervention, self discipline, and believing in my own intelligence to eventually conquer the demons that were in reach. The light is always there. We are all light. The substance abuse was knocking holes in my aura, diminishing the light. It was not easy to get a regular job for someone like me at the time, especially when the club scene collapsed. Sometimes I had nowhere to sleep and was living in my friend’s multi-million dollar mansion. I worked at Patricia Field doing make-up, did reception at hair salons, drag shows, and whatever else I had to do to survive. I even worked at Show World in the old Times Square! Until I found a voice through the theremin, I was spiraling downward. I wanted to be great at something, and drag and clubs and doing make-up did not satisfy that urge, that quiet knowing that something else is in store, but what? A gift from the gods…waiting for me to open my eyes, to look up.

Tim Burton, Andy Warhol, Vali Myers, Salvador Dali met you, checked you out… you guys rubbed shoulders.
Being in NYC at that time and living in the East Village, it was inevitable really. I’ve always been lucky in attracting interesting people, and I was just amazed that such incredible people and artists wanted me around. It wasn’t that I had low self-esteem; I was just coming out of years of school and abuse, so it was a fabulous shock. I tell the stories in the film. It really is like mythology, and thankfully its all documented and witnessed. Being 16 and spending hours a day with Vali Myers in her room at Hotel Chelsea with people like Ira Cohen,  Andy Warhol, and Debbie Harry coming and going was insane. Vali would constantly take Polaroids of me and send them to Dali. Befriending Leigh Bowery and Thierry Mugler, dancing with Grace Jones in the Limelight DJ booth,s itting on the floor of Frankie Knuckles’ DJ booth at the World… going to a tranny hooker club with Tim Burton and Francis Ford Copolla. Yes, really. Doing the 1999 MTV VMAs in the Madonna Drag Queens segment; I represented the frozen video, that’s a story! I COULD go on! 

The theremin. You have mastered it, and yet I’ve never heard of it.
The theremin is the first electronic instrument ever. Invented by Russian Physicist Leon Theremin around 1920, it is the only instrument that is played without touching, and one of the most difficult to play. Many people use it as a sound effect. I play it as a classical instrument and a voice. My theremin has an eight-octave range, so she is like the ultimate opera singer. She sounds like Maris Callas from beyond. The theremin was used in many sci-fi and horror movies in the background. I think it fell into obscurity because it was difficult to play properly and was not easily accessible. My intention is to bring this instrument to the foreground where it belongs. It has taken me all over the world and onto some of the greatest stages. The sound affects people, it brings out emotion, and touches the heart like a beautiful voice does.

What is the film about?
The film is channeling sadness and horror into beauty, and music is the alchemy. It’s about being clear enough to receive. We are in THE LAST WEEK of our Indigogo crowd-funding campaign. We’re asking anyone who is interested in seeing this fabulous film made properly to please help support us by making donations and/or especially spreading the word about the film and the campaign. We are working very hard to create a meaningful, beautiful, high-quality work of art. Any and all support is welcomed and much appreciated.

And thank you, Steve. You helped me when I first started working in clubs by believing in me and giving me work of all kinds, and you continue to support what I am doing. I really appreciate it. You’re a real gentleman.

Wednesday Night: Documentary on Newsstand Owner Jerry Delakas, Candy Darling Art Show Opening

As New York emptied into and out of vacation paradises, I was here holding down the fort. I went to a few BBQs, hung with friends at McCarren Park, and walked the puppy…a lot. When the city empties, you can get a good look at it. I watch with a certain schizophrenia always found in my work and my social life. As new construction tears down the old and makes way for the new, I am sad or nostalgic for what remains of the past era, but I’m often awed by the visions of the modern architects and designers. Evident as we walk are the old advertisements for fabric or tradesman fading on ancient brick facades. On NY1 I caught a glimpse of a story about a barber shop closing that opened even before the television became a popular household item. A similar tale of the new crushing the old was told to me by my friend Dani Baum. It seems that the newsstand on Astor Place is being redone and its owner Jerry Delakas, who has been there forever and a day, is being told to hit the road. Tomorrow night, Wednesday, for those of you who are also confused what day it is after the long weekend, there will be a screening of a documentary about Delakas’ plight and an after-party at W.i.P., which is tomorrow’s scandalous story, btw. Here’s the event info:

Actresses As Allies presents a screening of The Paper House Report, a documentary film by Nicole Cimino and Jack Boar Pictures. Join us for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at W.i.P. on Wednesday, May 30th at 9:00 PM. Complimentary Admission.

The Paper House Report is a 25-minute documentary about Jerry Delakas, a Greek immigrant who immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s. Over the years, Jerry has become an icon of the Cooper Square area and the face of the Astor Place Newsstand, which he has been running for past 25 years.The Paper House Report is the story of his fight to continue running the newsstand after the DCA denied the renewal of the license. Director Nicole Cimino & Jack Boar Pictures teamed up to create The Paper House Report, a documentary which brings awareness to support Jerry and his struggle.

Filmmaker Nicole Cimino is an Italian actress and filmmaker whose past credentials include The Wall, Conscience of Zeno, The Blue Wind of Madame Sauvage, Play it Again, and Sam & Les Bonnes. She has also acted in several feature films, short films, television series, and webisodes. She is currently developing two plays: Once Upon a Time in Rome, which pays tribute to the Italian Neorealism genre, and her one-woman show A Night with Nannarella based on the Italian icon Anna Magnani.

Actresses As Allies was established by actress Dani Baum and serves as an alliance between talented, passionate, and dedicated actresses in New York City. The actresses comprised of "A3" support each other, share information about the business and their work, produce original works, and inspire greatness in each other. Many in the community are rallying to save this newsstand, believing its loss would hurt the traditional values of the ever-changing hood. You can sign a petition if you agree that the stand should be saved.

I caught up with Nicole Cimino and asked her all about it:

What has happened in regards to Jerry’s case since The Paper House Report was filmed?
When the shooting was in progress we were waiting for the final decision of the Supreme Court. It was supposed to be the last appeal and that’s why we tried to finish the documentary as soon as possible to support Jerry’s case. On last April 26th the court gave the decision and we lost. Fortunately, we lost for two to five. This was incredible since the result allowed us to go for another appeal with the higher Court of State, which was not supposed to happen. This result also shows how the Court is starting to understand the human aspect of this matter. The possibility to go for another appeal with the Court of State is an important chance to keep fighting for the renewing of the license and hopefully to win his case.

To some, Jerry potentially losing his license is a testament to the progress of modernization. But to you and his supporters, it’s a loss of what makes up the essential fabric of the neighborhood that is Astor Place.
Jerry is a landmark of the community. Astor Place is a historical neighborhood and Jerry is part of it. It’s like cutting a corner, which makes people remember the past and history of New York. The changing and the progress could be considered a “measure” of growing, and the legality could consider it a “measure” of humanity in its own way of looking at things. I think eliminating a human icon like Jerry is to forget an important part of the city and to diminish the dignity of a honest man.

Is compromise possible? Do you think the neighborhood is becoming less bohemian and more gentrified? When you say that "the neighborhood wants Jerry to be able to keep his newsstand," how are gauging that?
In this matter, a compromise is only possible if the Department of Consumer Affairs opens a new path in its own perspective. There are things in this case where the battle becomes meaningfulness without a deeper comprehension of human heart. You can keep screaming at each other your own reasons without asking yourself how we can create value together. I would say there is a possibility to look at Jerry’s case from a human perspective and to understand why granting a license to him is way more important than defending a bureaucratic principle.

I don’t think the problem is to search into two opposite ways of being in the world; bohemian and bourgeois attitude will always exist, as gentry and plebeian – if we want to use these terms – will too. The neighborhood is changing and transforming. The problem is when this change loses sensitivity toward people and keeps moving in a selfish, self-centered direction. I have spent more than a year talking to people in the neighborhood, attending the meetings of Community Board #2, talking to Jerry’s customers, and even looking on internet blogs and newspapers that gave opinions about this matter.

At the end of this process I found an outstanding support for Jerry from people of different backgrounds. That’s why I am saying it is only a matter of making an effort to go beyond the surface. It’s clear why a man, Jerry Delakas,  who  immigrated here in the 1970s on a ship, with just a few dollars and a dream, can be granted what he deserves, as all people who honestly strive for what they believe in with hard work and determination should. People understand that and support him.

What can people do to support Jerry’s cause?
People can sign the petition on line on the website or sign the petition which is displayed at Jerry’s newsstand in Astor Place. In this moment the most important thing is for the Department of Consumer Affairs to understand that New Yorkers and thousands of people all over the world are asking to grant a license to Jerry.

Political organizations, non-profit organizations for human rights, or organizations that take care of old-age people are vital in this moment to really go to the Department of Consumer Affairs and stand up for Jerry’s case and ask for the license.

In this moment we need to spread the voice through publicity. I am also planning to work with other artists to start several events throughout the city to support Jerry Delakas till the end of this trial. My desire is that the official screening of The Paper House Report will be only the beginning of several events that peacefully and creatively start all over New York City with the common Save Jerry-spirit.


Another peek into the past, into the fabric that clothes NYC is the Candy Darling Art Show Opening at the Clayton Gallery, 161 Essex Street between Houston and Stanton, tomorrow night from 7- 9PM. That’s the place run by man-about-town Clayton Patterson and his lovely.

“CANDY DARLING (1944-1974) was born James Lawrence Slattery in Forest Hills, NY and "was – and remains – best known for her roles in two films produced by Andy Warhol and directed by Paul Morrissey, Flesh (1968), and Women in Revolt (1972). She was, however, in a number of other noteworthy independent films, including Brand X (Win Chamberlain, 1970), Some of My Best Friends Are (Mervyn Nelson, 1971) and The Death of Maria Malibran (Werner Schroeter, 1972).

Known for her beauty, wit, and talent, Darling was also a sought-after actress in off and off-off Broadway productions of the sixties and seventies, best known for her work in plays by Jackie Curtis and Tom Eyen, and for appearing in the role of Violet in Tennessee Williams’ Small Craft Warnings. Born a male, and having lived the latter part of her life as a woman, Darling is now celebrated as a pioneer among transgendered communities worldwide. She is the subject of the documentary Beautiful Darling (2010), produced by Jeremiah Newton and directed by James Rasin."

We can go on and on about Candy and her Warhol, Bowie, Francesco Scavullo, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones associations but that will happen tomorrow night at the opening. I do remember watching her with Andy at Max’s before I knew anything about that which I will never understand. Ask me about that line tomorrow night and I will…clarify.  

Christmas Gets Kosher & X-Rated This Year

As I am a 4AM Management DJ I will attend the 4AM Holiday Party at Artichoke Pizza17th and 10th Avenue, tonight. I assume  that’s the one and not their place on E. 14th St. They never tell me these things. I’m the runt of the litter at 4AM. The after-party features 4AM pedigrees Dalton and The Chainsmokers and is at Avenue.

On Christmas Day, Jezebel, that wonderful restaurant that happens to be kosher, is teaming up with BaoHaus chef Eddie Huang. Jezebel claims that Jewish folks love to eat Chinese food on Christmas, but they never have the opportunity to have the real-deal, bonafide fare. Chef Huang will take you there. Jezebel is located at 323 W. Broadway. OK, I’m going to handle all my weird Christmas pitches in one paragraph; there’s this dude Shea who calls himself "The Prince Of Christmas" who has this #1-on-Cashbox hit "The Christmas I Met You." Apparently, he is phenomenal. He’s performing at Steven Colucci’s benefit at the National Arts Club this Thursday, and then he heads up to Harlem to do it again at the Hale House. The Steven Colucci party is a tough ticket. From the release:

"Steven Colucci’s ‘Sounds of Color’ exhibition will showcase at the National Arts Club in New York City on December 20th, 2012 for a very special benefit holiday party. In addition, the National Arts club will present a premiere exhibition of 49 drawings by legendary artist Andy Warhol.The rare collection, created from 1955 to 1967, features the artist’s unique, free-form expressions inspired by dance, performance, and esoteric influences."

I really want to go to Westgay tonight at Westway, 75 Clarkson St. There will be an XXXMAS party featuring the incredible Joey Arias and go-go elves and everything. If you don’t know of Joey, then Google him and start getting a life. He has performed with Bowie, Cirque du Soleil and more etceteras than I have time for.

When I was first discovering Manhattan and the queens I didn’t see in Queens, it was Joey and Klaus Nomi who spent a little time answering some big questions for me. I had never met anyone quite like them and, at the time, I didn’t realize that I actually never would again. My world was opened up and I never was the same. Joey, like some wines and leather jackets, gets better with age. We have been friends across generations of club kids and parties and cultural shifts and I am devastated I cannot attend. Alas, I am leaving at 5am to drive four hours to visit Michael Alig up in the clink. Michael is also quite unique. I may not post tomorrow but I am sure Thursday I will have a lot to say.