My Andy Warhol Diary

As a result of my obsession with Marilyn Monroe, I found my way into learning about Andy Warhol because of his iconic pop print. However, I also found myself drawn to him more and more because of his queerness. So to dig more into his brilliant mind, I read Warhol by Blake Gopnik while watching “The Andy Warhol Diaries” on Netflix.

The Warhol biography was interesting to read, but was insanely lengthy. While I appreciated learning about intimate details of his life and influences, I did find myself often skimming through some fluff for sure. I definitely have some critiques about the way the author wrote, specifically in the way he acted as if he was the sole holder of all the correct information. He often phased things like, ‘Andy was described as X, Y, and Z by his closest friends, but it was actually quite the opposite!’ – which was really annoying. Andy was a complex human who can exist in spaces of contradiction and hypocrisy, and I would be reluctant to make such solid statements about him, ever.

The book also projects Andy as more gay than Netflix series indicates, even though the diaries come directly from Andy’s words. Andy was thought to have left a lot of mystery surrounding his personal life, and was clearly in the gay scene but often identified as asexual. The author definitely pushes Andy’s sexuality to a more promiscuous side and invalidates his use of the term asexual to describe himself. I disagree with this, as sexuality is full of many spectrums that I do not believe the cis/straight author understood. Just because Andy had sexual experiences and even partners does not mean he was not on the spectrum of asexuality – especially considering the lack of knowledge at the time around demisexuality.

The approach to Andy’s sexuality was one reason that I now firmly believe that gay stories should be written by gay people, but the author confirmed this more with his incorrect use of terminology. While there may have been outdated terms that Andy used freely in the 60’s and 70’s, this book was published in 2020, and a queer person would have known that we don’t use certain terms to describe members of the trans community in this day and age.

*Trigger warning*: I’m also concerned with the author’s casual approach to subjects like rape and child pornography as potential subjects in the Warhol art world. Andy often dipped into the adult film industry with his movies, and the subject matter was often problematic. There were films made where sexual assaults were acted out, which was said to have made a political statement, but I don’t agree with this type of artistic expression. He also unfortunately featured teenagers in a few of his adult films, which the author not only did not deem clearly problematic but also cannot fully understand the reason behind these actors even being in Andy’s orbit.

Young kids often found their way to New York City after being kicked out of their homes by their own parents just for being gay or trans, and these kids could be as young as 12 or 13. They found each other in underground spaces, and in their teenage years, they end up with crowds that frequent places like Andy Warhol’s Factory or Studio 54. Because they’re now with the “in” crowd, they get into clubs despite how young they are, and age goes out the window. Mature individuals were often seen scanning through the younger selections of actors and models, who go with them in hopes of making it big. This situation is of course layered and complicated, because queer spaces are so important, and kids don’t need to be on the street. But this also led to predatory behavior as well as acceptance in areas that were not actually appropriate for people of this age – like adult videos.

My last critique is that the book hardly really mentions Andy’s iconic documentary “The Queen”, where he follows a drag queen pageant that ends in dramatics when a contestant is extremely unhappy with the results of the competition. Because of how much I loved this documentary, I was disappointed to not even have it mentioned in the book by name, but rather just referenced in one quick paragraph. As lengthy as the book was, maybe this film got bumped to the side because it was released the same year that he was shot by Valarie Solanas.

The Valarie Solanas story is so wild and random that it almost seems made up, and was even created as a plot point for “American Horror Story: Cult”. While Ryan Murphy depicted Valarie Solanas as a mentally disturbed feminist extremist, he may not have been that far off. She was an obvious eccentric, obsessed with her SCUM Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men), and determined to get famous. She figured the best way to do this would be to shoot Andy Warhol, though he didn’t really do anything to earn her violence in his direction. Valarie was a part of The Factory scene, Andy was relatively inclusive to women, and they could have been allies to each other as members of the queer community. Instead though, Valarie changed the course of Andy’s life, as many note that he was very different after his recovery from her bullet.

The thing that I admire most about Andy Warhol was his ability to adapt to whatever way the world is changing without fear of failure. He wasn’t afraid to change his tune or image, he was unapologetic, and he was always reinventing himself in a way that still stayed within his character. His work across a dynamic range of mediums lives on as legendary, and I celebrate the influence he has had on the world.

But again, my biggest conclusion is this: gay stories should be written by gay people.

Thanks for reading!

My Tattoos

As my most recent tattoo fully heals and I prepare myself for my next design, I decided to write out the current list of my tattoos. I got my first one when I was 18 and the most recent just a month ago, but I am far from done. I am always working to design new tattoos and figure out what to get next. So, here’s what I got so far:

Rest with Life: My dad agreed to take me (and pay for) my first tattoo on my 18th birthday as long as I got something that he was okay with. He didn’t want me to get a tattoo that I would regret or wouldn’t like later in life. I settled on a simple text tattoo to honor the passing of my Pop-Pop, since my first couple ideas were shot down by my dad. Truthfully, if I had been able to get what I had really wanted, I’d probably still love it. But instead, this is honestly my least favorite tattoo. It’s too simple, too boring, doesn’t represent me and doesn’t hold the true meaning that I wanted it to. I have plans to cover this and turn it into something else. When I was in college, I took a creative writing class where I wrote a poem about my family using tree imagery. Recently after, I did a drawing of a tree for my Grams, where I put her and my Pop-Pop’s name in the trunk, their children in the branches, and their grandchildren in the leaves. Since my tattoo was originally family-driven, and this particular image holds a lot of significance, I intend to work up a tree design to re-create that space on my upper right back into something that means more to me.

Dove: This one is a simple dove with the script written underneath it; “Let it go”, tattooed on my left side above my ribs. I got this tattoo when I was on senior week – but don’t worry, I was completely sober. I actually had designed the tattoo prior to the trip with intent to get it done one morning on the boardwalk. The tattoo itself for me symbolized letting go of anger and not letting things affect you negatively. At the time, I perceived a lot of anger around me and I did not want to live being suffocated by it. I think this held a lot of significance for me at the time that I got it done and I appreciate the message and reminder that I send to myself.

Cross: A lot of tattoos I have seen revolve around things like scripture and other religious aspects and I wanted to tie my faith into my tattoos somehow. I found a simple cross drawing which I made even simpler to represent my Christian faith. Even though I grew up Catholic, I identify as a Christian (non-denominationally). I believe in a God-type figure and I believe that a man named Jesus walked the Earth – but I also believe that religion is man-made. I believe that religion should be a form of love and belonging, in whatever form that takes, to promote just being a good person overall. So yeah, this is my religious tattoo, located the back of my right ankle.

Marilyn Signature: If you don’t already know that I love Marilyn Monroe more than life than we probably aren’t friends. If you don’t already know that I have Marilyn Monroe’s signature tattooed on my ass cheek, then we definitely aren’t friends. I got this in college for no reason other than my undying and unconditional love for Marilyn. I have full intention in getting more into why I love Marilyn Monroe in other posts, don’t worry.

Key: I have a skeleton key tattooed on the back of my neck, and my little sister has the lock tattooed on her ribs inside a heart. We planned this out for a long time with the date of Julia’s 18th birthday in mind. I actually sketched out the key and lock design myself, and we sent lots of pictures back and forth before landing on the final design. This tattoo might have been one that hurt the most, but it was also the shortest by a long-shot that I had to sit for. Pen to skin, only took about 3 minutes.

Moon: This tattoo also has a counter part – my best friend, Sarah. Just like the tattoo with my sister, Sarah and I sent lots of pictures back and forth and had tons of discussions before settling on what we truly wanted. One of my other best friends, Kelly (www.kellyoharadesign.com) helps me design any of my tattoos that I don’t design myself. I sent Kelly an image I had found with a long list of things I wanted changed and that’s how we got to the design that is tattooed on my left arm on the opposite side of my elbow. Sarah’s design is much simpler, just a circle with some rays to represent the Sun, tattooed in a small spot on her ankle.

Succulents: Kelly played a LARGE part in creating this tattoo – taking over 4 different pictures I sent her, making changes, and combining them into one design with 4 little images of plants for me. It honestly turned out so cute and perfect, and once I had the design it only took me about 2 days to get it tattooed on my right thigh. This tattoo holds a lot of meaning for me regarding being on my own, growing as an individual, and what I am able to influence and create. On the surface level, I’m also obsessed with cacti, succulents, and other plants.92C3D284-3582-4D09-B760-610E70E2CADASo, I have some work still to do. I need to start working on the re-creation I want for my first tattoo. I’m also working on a Libra constellation sort of tattoo, and for a long time I have wanted the word “Gravity” tattooed behind my ear against my hairline. Plus there’s always new ideas and designs flying around so like I said, more to come.

Thanks for reading!

Marilyn Monroe (A Rare Look)

If you know me at all, then you know my extreme love for Marilyn Monroe. From my Marilyn wall in college to my tattoo of her signature, I can’t get enough of her.

I’ve seen or own a version of most pictures that exist from her, since there is a finite amount. However, I still love to find new ones that I haven’t seen before, or different versions and adaptations. I was sent an article by a coworker of A Rare Look At Marilyn Monroe, and there were a couple of photos in there that really caught my eye.

Marilyn could not take a bad picture. Every time that camera flashed, she looked flawless in the lenses. At every size, in any style, at any time. Some of my favorite pictures of Marilyn, however, are not the glamorous shots that she is known for. Her beauty and uniqueness shows even in her “normal” or more “every day” type photos. These are the ones that remind me that she truly was someone special.

 

 

It’s true that Marilyn stands for a Hollywood glamour and sex movement that could never be forgotten, but I love to see her classic beauty reside in simple places as well. Whether Marilyn is posing for the camera or the picture is candid, no one can deny her charisma through photographs. She has the ability to evoke emotion in every move, expression, and look in her eyes. And our eyes gravitate towards her no matter what.ss-120313-marilyn-cr-6.fit-880wI also just love so much that she can look absolutely stunning, perfect, and intriguing in a simple picture where she is standing next to some bears eating garbage. She’s amazing.

More to come. Thanks for reading.

A Rare Look at Marilyn Monroe, today.com

My Marilyn Monroe Movie Favorites

mm slihMy absolute favorite Marilyn Monroe movie of all time is Some Like It Hot. There are a few other classics that you should definitely go back and check out if you have never seen before. Marilyn always brings the magic, so here are some of my other favorite films that showcase her charisma and talent:

 

mm gpbGentlemen Prefer Blondes
Marilyn Monroe’s character is engaged to a man to whom’s very rich father does not approve, as he believes she is only marrying his son for the money. She goes on a boujee cruise with her best friend, played by Jane Russell, and the father has hired a private detective to follow her and dig up any dirt that might help prevent the union between her and his son.

 

mm syiThe Seven Year Itch
Marilyn is the beautiful blonde that has just moved in the apartment upstairs from a man whose wife and kids have escaped the heat wave by spending the summer in Maine. Left alone to engage with the new neighbor, the husband becomes infatuated by Marilyn and dreams of infidelity, and possibly tries to make that dream become reality.

 

mm pasgThe Prince and The Showgirl
mm my weekEuropean royals have traveled to England to commemorate a new king, but he finds himself attracted to an American performer played by Marilyn. Their attraction causes him to become unfocused, and Marilyn must help to smooth things out before the country becomes unstable. Also, the movie My Week With Marilyn is a documentary that was made based on an assistant’s experience and affair with Marilyn Monroe while on the set of The Prince and The Showgirl.

 

Now, go enjoy some classic cinema!

Thanks for reading.

Some Like It Hot

My favorite Marilyn Monroe movie of all time is Some Like It Hot, released in 1959. Marilyn was about 32 years old during the making slih 1of this film and looked as stunning and radiant as ever.

The plot of the film follows actors Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, who are musicians and best friends. They accidentally witness a crime, leaving them at risk from some sort of mob/mafia. Afraid of the consequences, they take a job with a traveling band. The catch is, it’s an all-female band, and so they are forced to disguise themselves as women and attempt to continue to fool everyone around them. While they are dressed as women, they meet Marilyn who plays the lead singer in the band. They become instantly infatuated, but aware that they are dressed as women. They then go back and forth between playing dress up in drag and also slih 2appearing as men in an attempt to win her heart, stay away from trouble, and also live up fantasies with rich men in the process.

I love the quirkiness and silliness of the film, and the classic comedy that is old Hollywood. From the bubble bath to hide an outfit scene, to the sexy jazz numbers, to the famous final line of, “Well, nobody’s perfect” – it’s cinematic brilliance. This movie also helped incorporate drag and campiness into mainstream slih 4media, showing some ideas that might have been considered “queer” in a way that was lighthearted and simple and comedic. The film, while still providing solid humor, also promotes acceptance – the kind that always existed in the “rock and roll” jazz world.

If you’re going to watch this movie and you aren’t used to watching old Hollywood films, I have a small recommendation. Modern movies are very fast-paced and attention grabbing, but movies were not always this way. There used to be a lot of care that was put into setting up a plot, showing some background information, and allowing you to really get to know the characters before the real story starts. So, the beginning of the mm slihmovie is admittedly a little slow and takes a little bit to get started. If you are used to jumping right into movies, I recommend starting the film when the men walk into “Charlie’s Garage”, right around 18 minutes into the movie (I own this on DVD, so if you watch that way, it’s where scene 5 starts, titled “Spats Deals With Toothpicks”).  This will take you right to the crime that is witnessed, and you will not even really miss a thing in the plot prior to that.

It’s a lighthearted and funny film that will certainly make you laugh. It’s campy, goofy, and everything you would want from a 50’s film. Like I said, my absolute favorite lrgMarilyn Movie of all time. She’s amazing, specifically while singing. She’s a beauty and a vision.“I wanna be loved by you, just you, and nobody else but you. I wanna be loved by you – ba dee-da-lee-dee-da-lee-dee-da-lee-dum, boop- boop-be-doop.”

Go check out my leading lady! Thanks for reading.