Between 1964 and 1966, Andy Warhol shot close to 500 short movies of friends, celebrities, models, and any of the other lovely young things who passed through his studio known as The Factory. The indie-rock duet Dean and Britta recently composed songs for 13 of the videos, which they’ve been performing live as part of a multimedia concert for several years. “13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” is available on DVD, CD, and of course, YouTube.
We especially loved “I’m Not A Young Man Anymore,” featuring an icy cool Lou Reed, so hip and desirable that even his Coke bottle looks as if it’s wearing sunglasses. There are other gems as well, starting with the doomed Edie Sedgewick, one of The Factory’s earliest stars, who died of an overdose in 1971.
The 5’10” German model Nico, before she began recording with the Velvet Underground.
The preternaturally beautiful Paul America, star of Warhol’s film “My Hustler,” who eventually hired lawyers to seek payment for his role in the movie that made him a reluctant gay icon. He died after being hit by a car in 1981.
And finally, the late Dennis Hopper, extraordinary on screen even by Factory standards. According to Dean and Britta, he was the first to buy one of Warhol’s soup can paintings.
On a somewhat unrelated note, the Dean is of course Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500 and Luna. If you’re a fan of his music, or even just nostalgic for 90’s era pre-Napster indie rock, you might want to check out his dry, thoughtful memoir, Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance.
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Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.