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Ingrid Superstar, Gerard Malanga, Paul Morrissey and Sterling Morrison discuss the "Exploding Plastic Inevitable"

BROADCAST: Jun. 23, 1966 | DURATION: 00:41:03

Synopsis

Members of the Purple Underground, Ingrid Superstar, Gerard Malanga, Paul Morrissey and Sterling Morrison discuss being apart of Andy Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable". EPI is a production of films, strobe lights, music and dancing. The group talks about the large audiences going to the shows out of curiosity. They also talk about items being thrown at them while they're on stage and that half of their audiences walk out before the performance is over.

Transcript

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Studs Terkel And thus, with that explosion that could have been anything--glass, man, everything--we have just a touch of the music of Andy Warhol's creation, E.P.I., a new word in the American lexicon, "explosive plastics inevitable," explosive plastics inevitable, now being--how can you describe it? Being seen? Being heard? It's now at Little Richard's--at not Little Richard's, he's an excellent urban blues singer. Poor Richard's, at Poor Richard's, and we have five of the principal figures seated around here, Ingrid Superstar whom I don't know, therefore shall address as Miss Superstar, we have Gerard Malanga who is the senior member of the group here with E.P.I., Gerard's been in a number of underground films and you see him with a whip in his hand on the stage as well as seeing him being, etc., in the film, too. We see him in the flesh and we see him there and we see Ingrid and we have also Paul Morrissey who was--Paul, you play what? You are--these are members of the Velvet Underground, by the way. We'll ask the meaning of that in a moment. Much of this seems for those who've been at Little Richard's [sic]--oh, we'll mention other members, too. There's Sterling Morrison, who is the electric guitarist, and there's Steve Sesnick, who is all-around, sort of publicity and involved with the program--a program, some would say, is it a program? And perhaps we could open with the comments of Michella Williams, a very fascinating review in "The Sun-Times", have been the, she "Warhols' brutal assemblage non-stop horror show." And she says of the audience, and I was there that opening night, "to experience it is to be brutalized and helpless." I sort of agree with her, there's sort of a humiliation of the audience, what, is this unfair of me to say this? Anybody. What do you think?

Paul Morrissey It's not humiliation.

Gerard Malanga No,

Studs Terkel All right.

Steve Sesnick But I mean, it's an assault on the audience.

Studs Terkel It's all what?

Steve Sesnick An

Paul Morrissey An attack--

Gerard Malanga A passive--

Sterling Morrison An assault on the, but we don't want to humiliate anyone.

Studs Terkel Oh, it's an assault without humiliation. It's an assault. Let's talk about this. An assault on the senses.

Steve Sesnick More like a physical thing.

Gerard Malanga And an assault on culture.

Studs Terkel Well, Gerard Malanga, you're the old--then each of us, we can all pitch in, I'll just identify her, what do you mean by an assault on culture?

Gerard Malanga Well, it's, culture has been too horizontal, and now by assaulting it we could make it vertical.

Studs Terkel Well, how do you make--

Gerard Malanga More

Studs Terkel You want to make the culture vertical.

Gerard Malanga Yeah.

Studs Terkel How do you make the culture vertical?

Gerard Malanga Oh, just by sort of making it uptight. You know, assaulting it. Changing things around where the people's sensibility isn't really tuned into it, they're not used to a certain kind of sound they're used to, you know, a much

Studs Terkel So, in a way maybe dehumanizing? Is that part of it? That's also an implication of Michella Williams in her review. That you had strobe lights. How can we describe the strobe lights? Oh, first of all we should describe what's happening. Why don't you, Steve or Paul describe what's happening? Or Ingrid. Ingrid Superstar.

Gerard Malanga Oh, yeah.

Studs Terkel Miss Superstar--may I call you Miss Superstar?

Ingrid Superstar Sure.

Studs Terkel Yeah. I'll call you Miss Superstar. How, how did, how would you describe it?

Ingrid Superstar There's just one word in my book that would describe it, and would be psychedelic.

Studs Terkel Psychedelic.

Ingrid Superstar And they have like different colored lights, spots of lights reflected off a mirror in a dome shape floating around the room on the ceiling, the walls, and the movies, and then they had different colored strobes flashing on and off palpitating, and they have two or three movies going at one time, one on top of another or two on one screen, plus the band, plus the atmosphere and the people, and it's very, very different.

Studs Terkel It's different, all right. Yeah. This goes on--how can you, what would you say, Steve, or anybody? First of all, as we come in, we sit there, and on the screen is one of Andy Warhol's underground films "Eat", and there's a guy who's eating, he might be a friend I once knew named Angie. He looks like him, and he's eating. I don't know what he's eating, he's just

Sterling Morrison eating. He's

Studs Terkel Oh, he eats a mushroom for 36 minutes, and we sit there and we watch him.

Sterling Morrison He's

Studs Terkel Oh, he is.

Paul Morrissey Yeah. Robert Indiana is his name.

Studs Terkel His name is--oh, is that Robert Indiana? Oh, that's Robert Indiana. I thought it was a guy I once knew way back in a candy store named Angie, he looked like him, but he's munching a mushroom for 36--and we watch this. And then--

Gerard Malanga A raw mushroom.

Studs Terkel A raw mushroom. And then a cat appears.

Gerard Malanga That's his cat.

Studs Terkel That's his cat. And then on the other wall, a more vertical [stream?]. And that's where you appear.

Gerard Malanga That's vinyl.

Paul Morrissey That's

Studs Terkel That's called vinyl? Vinyl. V-I-N-Y-L. Now there, everything happens. Where there's people don't do much, but we watch both, right? You're talking, you're dancing, and then you're hit a couple of times.

Gerard Malanga Yeah, well, that's, the film--

Studs Terkel Archer Winston was reviewing it in "The New York Post".

Gerard Malanga Well, actually the film is, deals with counterpointed happenings which developed through a pseudo-clinical approach involving sadomasochism and juvenile delinquency.

Studs Terkel It's all related. It's all connected. So we see all

Gerard Malanga It's the idea, it's the sort of film narrative of a hero or a sadist turned into a pacifist.

Studs Terkel Is that what it is? Well, I will say you're pretty specific. You didn't have a bad time, though, did you?

Gerard Malanga Well, we were all very lucid and floating around near the end of the film and we didn't know what was

Studs Terkel Oh, you didn't--I'm thinking, you don't mind, Miss Superstar, but sitting on the trunk was a predecessor of yours, right? Edie Sedgwick?

Gerard Malanga Oh no, no, no, no.

Studs Terkel Isn't that, we're not supposed to bring that up? That's true. You are the girl of the year, are you not?

Ingrid Superstar No, not really. I'm

Sterling Morrison sort She's

Ingrid Superstar Like the trip girl of the year or the--

Steve Sesnick She's the sidekick, though.

Ingrid Superstar Or the fill-in staying there.

Steve Sesnick We're preparing her for next year.

Studs Terkel To be

Ingrid Superstar If I'm still alive.

Studs Terkel You are? You say you were the trip girl.

Ingrid Superstar Well, that's what Andy calls me.

Studs Terkel Why trip? T-R-I-double P?

Ingrid Superstar Triple.

Studs Terkel Triple P.

Paul Morrissey We're grooming Ingrid.

Studs Terkel Oh, you're grooming her. Well, you didn't object too much to see your predecessor on the trunk smoking, do you see, perhaps the audience--

Ingrid Superstar Oh no, not at all. That was before me.

Studs Terkel If you don't--that was

Ingrid Superstar Yeah, cause I've only been with [him?] since September.

Studs Terkel Well then, or let's continue if we may. Then the--continue with what? That's the point. Yeah. See, we have the two films. They're seen simultaneously. In the meantime--

Steve Sesnick Two soundtracks on both.

Studs Terkel What's that?

Steve Sesnick There are two soundtracks going simultaneously.

Studs Terkel Two soundtracks

Steve Sesnick Going both films.

Studs Terkel Right, and the time that Gerard is talking, [you? we?] don't hear what he's saying, we just hear the sound, and then the Velvet Underground appears live now, as films run, and on the stage we have the music, an excerpt, a passage of which we heard, right? And we have an electric viola.

Steve Sesnick Yeah.

Studs Terkel This is new in the world of music, is

Paul Morrissey Oh, yes.

Studs Terkel Electric guitar--

Paul Morrissey In the world of rock and roll music.

Studs Terkel I think in the world of any music.

Paul Morrissey Not exactly, 'cause John Cale played the electric violin when he was with

Steve Sesnick Yeah, but that's just what they do in their closets down at Gramercy, nobody gets that. They do that in the lofts and everything. Whoever heard it--

Studs Terkel And Sterling Morrison plays electric guitar, then there's an amplified bass, too, isn't there? And then there's a prepared piano that is not quite prepared.

Steve Sesnick Yeah. And there's electric organ--

Paul Morrissey Electric organ.

Studs Terkel Electric organ.

Steve Sesnick Also a whole series of drums. What are Angus's drums called? All sorts of drums.

Paul Morrissey Angus's drums--

Sterling Morrison He's playing a [dunebach?], a thing called a chumlum.

Paul Morrissey A chumlum.

Sterling Morrison Which has strings.

Studs Terkel So this all goes on--

Gerard Malanga The drum has strings?

Studs Terkel As the audience sits and then, you don't mind if I use the word "endures," the audience endures it, doesn't it, in a way?

Sterling Morrison And then four different films go in back of them, in back of the musicians.

Sterling Morrison And I think they eventually--

Ingrid Superstar Plus the

Sterling Morrison Feel a pulsating beat to the whole thing and they don't endure it anymore, but they're a part of it.

Studs Terkel They've become part of--now the question is, the part of, they become, the audience becomes part of what? This is the thing.

Sterling Morrison Well, they just become part of the entire show. They're all moving with the driving music and the, Gerry and Ingrid dancing, and everyone begins to really feel it.

Studs Terkel Gerry and Ingrid dancing, then four people appear and they dance, as the strobe lights Ingrid was describe--perhaps we can describe this. The lights are flickering on and off in a certain way as

Gerard Malanga They're set. There's a certain time set for the strobes.

Studs Terkel You know what I was hoping? I was hoping, this ever happ--I was crying, saying to myself, "Blow, fuse, blow!" I wanted the fuse to go out, because I wanted to be sort of God in reverse, say let there be darkness, you know?

Gerard Malanga But the music would still be going.

Studs Terkel But--it what, did you ever have that feeling, the reaction from an audience is, they hope everything turns in darkness all of a sudden, it stops?

Steve Sesnick On their initial contact with the show that may happen, because there's so much going on that the average person just, you know, it's very difficult to absorb it all.

Studs Terkel If we could, perhaps, continue with Michella Williams' review and then think of other reviews and some reactions of psychiatrists who have seen your show, and then keep it open, eventually, you know, Michella Williams was saying, "You think you're in some kind of--we--you're in any kind of horror you want to imagine from a police state to madhouse, and then finally after this horror is over, eventually the reverberations in your ears stop, but what do you do with what you still hear in your brain? The flowers of evil are in full bloom with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Let's hope it's killed before it spreads." Do you like this

Steve Sesnick Well, I think that it's far--

Sterling Morrison I think she's a bit frustrated when she says "let's hope it"--

Paul Morrissey I think it's far superior to a hangover.

Studs Terkel Yeah. Oh, I see. Oh now, that we--now we come to it. Why did this come to be? Steve, you think this is better than a hangover. [Our? Are?] seeing

Steve Sesnick Well, she's feeling--she's wondering what to do with those things in her head. And I think though the whole way, much sooner than a hangover in the morning and it's much healthier, really, then some of the other devices people use to forget their problems or whatever they're doing.

Studs Terkel Well, this is a--how would Andy Warhol, who is the very celebrated pop artist and underground filmmaker, has conceived this idea? What did he mean by, let's go back--E.P., Explosive Plastics Inevitable?

Sterling Morrison I think the word he likes is, he doesn't use the word, but I mean, what's you used, the word "dehumanizing." It's not dehumanizing but it's sort of a new kind of thing where people are very, you know, closely connected with the machinery and the electricity. And there's that word somebody used about the show which I like, called total molecular corruption. You see, it's almost as if, like this girl mentioned, this girl, this girl mentions that the audience themselves sort of become a part of just the molecules there. I mean, everything is so flashing and everything and it's so intense that the audience themselves, I think, feel they're part of, I don't know what, sound waves or something, you know, it's just sort of very intensified electricity and light and--

Gerard Malanga It becomes a melting pot.

Studs Terkel Well, how'd this--what do you think? What do you--you five are directly involved. What do you think of this? I mean, you're part of it. How long has this been--I was about to say performed, that's not the word either. How long has this been done? Thus, being done to the audience and done to you? How long has this been going on?

Steve Sesnick Since around January.

Studs Terkel Since around January.

Steve Sesnick I think it's a very exciting show. Like, I mean, you don't see any shows like this.

Studs Terkel No, you don't.

Ingrid Superstar It's

Steve Sesnick Like, if you went--it's comparable in a way to things that went on [at? in?] the World's Fair, you know, you know remotely, but, I mean, there was no experience involved in going to the World's Fair, it's all so nothing, you know? It's sort of what the World's Fair was doing was showing what's happening in the world, you know, in the world of the future and all that. And they did it without any imagination or any purpose, and then what we're doing is sort of a very remarkable, elaborate show. And you know, for the price of admission is something you don't see any place else.

Studs Terkel Well, we could smack each other around,

Sterling Morrison Actually, in the pop field which we're--now, you know, where we are in, no other rock and roll groups offer you this. I mean, you go to see a concert and if you don't particularly like a song, you're just stuck with it in your own imagination and you have to sit there and wonder why I spent five-fifty to sit in this room, where we're offering you movies, we're offering light, dancing, and there's just more to do.

Studs Terkel Steve or Ingrid or Sterling has said, did you feel, does the audience every now and then react violently toward you? Oh, do they? Has anybody thrown glasses

Paul Morrissey Well, it's not armed resistance.

Steve Sesnick They make remarks and shout and like--

Ingrid Superstar Clap. Or

Steve Sesnick Or some people run screaming from the audience.

Ingrid Superstar Some people lay on the floor and roll around on the floor.

Paul Morrissey Sonny, another good quote was Sonny and Cher. Cher

Sterling Morrison Some of those are good

Steve Sesnick They're good reactions.

Studs Terkel In what way are they good reac--you mean?

Paul Morrissey As they're getting right into the experience themselves and freaking out.

Studs Terkel They're freaking out.

Paul Morrissey They're doing something that other mediums haven't brought out

Studs Terkel No, they

Paul Morrissey Or rather, maybe psychiatrists couldn't bring out of them, they're just being very free.

Studs Terkel Well, you mentioned psychiatrists. There's a description here of a E.P.I.--electronics exploding--electronics are involved. Explosive Plastics Inev--performed a group of white--this is a great article, by the way, by Grace Slick in "The New York Times", the white-tied psychiatrists who turned out to see the program in which you are were involved. The psychiatrists who turned out in droves for the dinner were there to be entertained. The way to study Andy Warhol, and then quote "creativity and the artist have always held a fascination with a serious student of human behavior" says Dr. Robert Campbell, and we're fascinated by the mass communication [connected with?] Warhol and his group reminds me of a psychiatrist written by Lillian Ross. Ever hear of her in "The New Yorker"? Called Dr. Blauberman. And he mentioned a Dr. Blauberman. And it's this--so what were the psychiatrist reactions?

Gerard Malanga But they thought it was a little bit too intense, I think. You know. What to--I don't know what their reaction is, you could say. A lot of them left, which shows you how intolerant they were. You know?

Studs Terkel Some

Steve Sesnick Yeah, like about half the audience left. They weren't, you know, they knew that something very phenomenal was going on in front of them, but they weren't going to put up with it, you know. I mean, they're most illiberal people. I mean, you know, the trashiest people in the world the liberals and the psychiatrists and the doctors, and they really don't belong in a position they're in, because you know they really don't have what they're supposed to have. They're supposed to be interested and open and all that, and they really aren't, and there wasn't any good reactions from any of the psychiatrists really.

Studs Terkel You mean the psychiatrists actually walked out on you? You think you--what were you going to say, Sterling? What were you going to say?

Sterling Morrison Some of them did. Well, actually, I think they were expecting Andy to give an after-dinner speech. Well, he didn't, and--

Paul Morrissey He gave an [absence? abstract?] In a program.

Sterling Morrison And our real purpose to that was, to film the reactions of the psychiatrists as we played.

Paul Morrissey Yes, we

Sterling Morrison And we did, and it's really very fascinating.

Paul Morrissey It's part of the uptight series.

Studs Terkel Uptight series. And you think that, you think the psychiatrists were sore because maybe they felt that you were taking over their territory, too? That you were

Gerard Malanga They were being [assaulted?] upon.

Sterling Morrison They were getting some of their

Gerard Malanga They were so confused, they couldn't figure it out.

Sterling Morrison Well, there was another article that uses that for a caption" "Shock treatment

Studs Terkel Oh, they did use that. So you think, when you say people throw things at you or walk out or get mad or clap or roll on the floor, you would call this good.

Steve Sesnick Well, yeah, it's a good reaction. The one thing

Sterling Morrison Getting them to react, which is--

Steve Sesnick One of the things about the show, the show was put together, this is something, the show does then, has this reaction to people, not on account of the films themselves, exactly, but on account of the music itself. Like the show is devised to display the music, which is so like far out, you know, music is very peculiar. A lot of the mu--some of the music is, it's all original music, The Velvet Underground, and some of it is very conventional. We usually begin with some conventional songs and then go into the stranger ones and end with what you saw that opening night, like what you saw opening night was usually the ending of a longer program, but the sound system was so bad that you didn't hear many vocals.

Studs Terkel I don't think it made too much difference,

Steve Sesnick No, but I mean, it sometimes is a more elaborate show when the sound system is better, but--

Studs Terkel Maybe it was better for me that it wasn't better. You know, is what I meant. You

Paul Morrissey In any case, it doesn't work. We start off with conventional songs, and they have, you know, sweetness and [life?], supposedly, and then we're accused of decadence, you know, when we do that. They say, you know, the sweetness is there, but it's one of corruption

Sterling Morrison and Yes,

Gerard Malanga Somebody said that.

Steve Sesnick They read into the [unintelligible] songs all sorts of evil and perverse intentions, but then the music does give it a [unintelligible]. But I don't think, you know, the show could exist unless that the musicians themselves were, had a certain kind of music, which is really, you know, what--you know the statement was made a year or so ago by Bob Dylan in talking about his poems or something, his poetry, and he said he wasn't interested too much in poetry itself because the way things were happening were on the radio in the field of popular music. He said the most interesting things were happening in popular music and that's actually what's happening.

Studs Terkel Do you think that what you're doing here, E.P.I., could have been, say, possible? Anybody? Say, 30 years ago? Let's talk about standards being different in, artistic standards being broken down to a great extent as being what is good and what is bad. Do you think this would've been possible 30 years ago?

Paul Morrissey It was explained that you could have done it in Germany in the '30s.

Studs Terkel That's

Paul Morrissey Where there no extant

Studs Terkel Hey, wait a minute. You're raising--starting a very interesting point here. This program could have been done in Germany in the '30s.

Paul Morrissey Well, that's not my personal

Sterling Morrison opinion. But

Studs Terkel No, somebody said that. That's an interesting point.

Sterling Morrison Yeah, it is. And--

Steve Sesnick Yeah, it's very comparable, because you know the '20s, too, they're '20s, '30's period in Germany--

Paul Morrissey Well, it couldn't be [unintelligible] music, but they could have--

Steve Sesnick No, no, they had very comparable kind of music, nothing like this, but they were the first to go in for that, you know, the Germans invented Expressionism, and then Expressionism came into the music in a big way, all that Kurt Weill music it's very

Studs Terkel And I'm thinking about why that somebody who it was said that this is like Germany in the '30s, I'm thinking now about Hitler coming to power, you know, and a certain kind of feeling about chaos and dehumanization, of brutalization taking place--

Steve Sesnick And there also this feeling of chaos and dehumanization comes across not, you know, in movie theaters or any place else that comes across in a nightclub. You know, the whole area--medium of the nightclub is an art form that's very seldom utilized like it was utilized in the '20s and '30s by these Germans, and they had these people like Lotte Lenya and they had these little cabaret skits in the nightclub--

Studs Terkel But that was in that, no, what, that was the, Lotte Lenya and the Weill and the Brecht was in the '20s--

Steve Sesnick Twenties--

Studs Terkel That's pre-Hitler, I'm thinking now about during, after Hitler's coming to power. This--I think this was the

Paul Morrissey Yeah, the chronology may be loose,

Studs Terkel But I'm thinking about the fact that something was happening to people in a certain society in which they were accepting dehumanated, brutal--and what you're doing now in a way is almost--

Paul Morrissey Yeah.

Studs Terkel Commenting, isn't it, in the--what you're doing is alm--as though someone is watching and saying, "This looks like the end of the world to me, or madness." You know. Do you think, Ingrid Superstar hasn't said much yet. Do you think the world is going to explode? The way of

Ingrid Superstar What world? I don't know. Maybe soon. You never can tell.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ingrid Superstar Somebody might press the wrong button.

Studs Terkel What do you think? You have a theory?

Ingrid Superstar Yes, but I

Studs Terkel don't You don't wish to state it. All right. Well, that's fair enough.

Ingrid Superstar It's a religious theory.

Studs Terkel What is your religious theory?

Ingrid Superstar Well, that the world might be destroyed. All the wickedness might be destroyed and the good left.

Studs Terkel Oh, you mean you think the good will be left.

Ingrid Superstar Yes.

Studs Terkel Even with a nuclear bomb.

Ingrid Superstar No, only if it's destroyed by God.

Studs Terkel Do you feel this is a religious program, by the way? Is this religious program? Do you feel religious when you're on the stage?

Ingrid Superstar Heavens, no.

Sterling Morrison She feels

Paul Morrissey Do you feel guilt?

Ingrid Superstar No, I just have a lot of fun.

Studs Terkel What do you do on the stage?

Ingrid Superstar Well, I dance with Gerard with a whip and the tambourines and a flashlight and I sweat because it's very, very hot there. And I just gaze out at the audience and I don't blink, I'm sort of in a trance.

Studs Terkel Oh, you are in a trance.

Ingrid Superstar I mean, I'm very fascinated by all this.

Sterling Morrison By the audience?

Ingrid Superstar By the audience and their reaction and what's going on and the lights.

Studs Terkel Sterling asked you a very interesting question. You're fascinated by the audience. What is it that, what about, what is it about audience that fascinates you? How does the audience look to you?

Ingrid Superstar Oh, shocked. Interested and intrigued. And I just like to see the reactions and the expressions on their faces.

Studs Terkel Does the audience looks stunned or stoned or perhaps both to you?

Steve Sesnick Yeah, a little.

Ingrid Superstar Stunned.

Sterling Morrison They look a little like a Daumier painting.

Studs Terkel They look like Daumier painting.

Ingrid Superstar Surprised.

Steve Sesnick Yeah, but they are a sort of--and I word it sort of like stunned. They're very--they seem very attentive. You know, nobody seems to be very bored during the show ever. You know, you don't see people talking to one another or anything during the show. They pay attention.

Studs Terkel Is it maybe that they're so stunned that they're too stunned to be bored, too?

Steve Sesnick Oh, yeah.

Studs Terkel Know I mean? that is, they're so stunned--

Sterling Morrison They're definitely not bored.

Studs Terkel They're desensitized.

Gerard Malanga Yeah. That's right.

Ingrid Superstar I

Gerard Malanga You can tell because when a song ends, it takes a matter of minutes before clapping begins.

Paul Morrissey They really aren't just--they don't know when it's going to end maybe and, you know, they wait a few minutes.

Studs Terkel And then they're thoroughly exhausted.

Paul Morrissey No, what happened to solve an internal moral conflict, you know. This cause, you know, some sign of assent. And that bugs

Studs Terkel You know, I have to ask, this is a question, why do you think, you've been drawing large crowds wherever you are, and at Poor Richard's too, you drew 3,000 people in San Francisco. Why do people come to see this you think?

Paul Morrissey 'Cause they're curious.

Studs Terkel Curious. Are they curious because Andy Warhol's name is associated with it, and he's now a celebrity, in quotes, that is, his name has been in the society

Sterling Morrison pages Yeah,

Paul Morrissey A very significant part. But I think more basic than that, through media today, changes are happening continually and much faster and more rapidly than they were maybe 10 or 15 years ago, and the people want new things to keep their mind occupied and then let them go on to new things and think more.

Studs Terkel Think more? You think they think more?

Paul Morrissey I think they're thinking more today. Definitely. Advertising is geared to that, business is geared to that, they--the people, well, they want more. They're being educated more.

Studs Terkel What were you going to say? More of what would you say? They want new things, it's the wanting of new things. Things. Things the big thing here?

Paul Morrissey Things to do, right.

Sterling Morrison Objects.

Ingrid Superstar Originality, because there's so many things of interest going at one time it's practically impossible to get bored.

Studs Terkel So instead of getting bored--

Ingrid Superstar Sometimes they're a little confused--

Studs Terkel Instead of getting bored they get stunned. Like, you hit them over the head with a sledgehammer, and at the end maybe they just applaud because it feels so good when you stop. You know? Isn't that the idea sometimes? It's like a guy says, you know the old joke. "I hit my head over the head with a sledgehammer. Why? Because it feels so good when I stop." Do you think that's part of it, too, possibly?

Sterling Morrison Yeah. Maybe.

Paul Morrissey Maybe. But when they start, when they begin stamping their feet and asking for more, I don't think they're stunned. I think they're enjoying

Studs Terkel Wait a minute. There have been--audiences--

Paul Morrissey This happened last night.

Studs Terkel Asked for more?

Paul Morrissey They were screaming for more and they were stamping their feet and clapping their hands.

Studs Terkel What--the nature of the audience.

Paul Morrissey Yankee Stadium when Mickey Mantle gets a homerun. They want another one.

Studs Terkel We have to ask, Steve and colleagues and--we have to ask the nature of the audience. You know, how would you describe your audience? Is it a young audience? Is it--

Gerard Malanga It's a mixed audience. Young people, young adults, teenagers, young, young adults, older adults.

Studs Terkel But mostly what? Is there a certain--in your observations is it mostly a?

Sterling Morrison There's, the people who like it the most are the younger people.

Gerard Malanga There's a lot of

Sterling Morrison A lot of the people who like it the most I think are some of the younger people, because, see, the younger people are much more aware than say, young adults or college people or even just post-college people of everything that's going on in the popular music field and they can compare it with all the other popular music and they see how, you know, extraordinary it is sort of. And a lot of people--I don't know, a lot of people never listen to rock and roll I don't think, you know, and they might think this kind of rock and roll goes on all time, or they might think, I don't know what they think. But the whole thing that--it's basically working in an area of popular music or nightclub or something, you know. It's primarily a musical experience.

Studs Terkel You know, I'm thinking--go ahead. Anybody else want to add to what Paul's been saying?

Ingrid Superstar Well, I think that in music is almost impossible to duplicate because it's so original and way out.

Paul Morrissey And very inventive, sort of.

Ingrid Superstar And palpitating, vibrating.

Studs Terkel You know, I'm thinking about all things being thrown at the audience at the time. The Andy Warhol's underground films, two for the price of one, in fact, three for the price of one, because the bill had the Velvet Underground at work, too. And we have dancing, so it's four for the price

Steve Sesnick And you get three films at the beginning, then you get four more--

Studs Terkel And then all this and the strobe, almost fuse exploding lights, you got eight things for the price of one, all being, and so I'm thinking about Michella Williams' review again. She describes in one of the films there's a guy whose face is being strapped to a sort of a mask--

Ingrid Superstar That's Gerard.

Studs Terkel And she said he's being force-fed, right, [unintelligible], like a funnel, through a funnel like a goose in Strasbourg, now and that turns out to be, it turns out to be Gerard Malanga after all. But do you know what she meant by the goose of Strasbourg?

Paul Morrissey Yeah. Yeah.

Studs Terkel Well, you know what that, the reference. Perhaps the audience--the geese of Strasbourg are force- fed, and finally their eyes pop and they die, and out of this comes pate de foie gras, a very fashionable expensive food. Now, do you think people like that because the people today are becoming like Strasbourg geese? That is, we're being fed through the TVs on commercial, through the sound in elevators, through the terrible things that are happening, and finally we see you guys. And this used to be a culmination of all that.

Steve Sesnick Right. It's true.

Gerard Malanga That's very good observation.

Steve Sesnick And this show sort of makes people aware of a lot of things that are going on, but it makes people aware, not just what's going on, but what's going on in the minds of the people who they are watching, like the musicians or the moviemaker, and if they can see what some people are thinking about, like experiencing the show, well, then you know they're educated in a certain area, and it's something they weren't as aware of, you know? I mean, if you just--if you weren't, you didn't see the show, you might not think about it, but I mean, it's actually happening and you see it's actually happened to all these people involved in the show, because there they are doing it, you know? I mean, they're not doing it just for the sake of doing it, they're doing it maybe because they have to do it.

Studs Terkel You're doing it because they have to do it.

Paul Morrissey Yeah.

Studs Terkel The people on the show.

Paul Morrissey Yeah.

Studs Terkel Perhaps this leads to you, you know, we've been talking about E.P.I. and my own feelings that I think are clear about this particular program of which I was part, that is, I was in the audience seeing it. Stunned. I felt I was had, quite frankly. My feelings, see. Maybe people like to be had. You see? Maybe people have grown for their love to be taken. Maybe people have reached a stage now, I'm thinking about the '30s that Sterling talked about in Germany, maybe we've reached a certain stage now where we just don't mind being had, you see. So I'm thinking how you five came to be. This is the point. This is, how did you five become part of, even autobiographical, which because we don't know about the people who are involved. Suppose we begin.

Sterling Morrison Well, I can tell you.

Studs Terkel All right.

Gerard Malanga Explain this.

Sterling Morrison Oh, all right.

Gerard Malanga Well, it's--

Studs Terkel Gerard Malanga.

Gerard Malanga Andy's connection with the Velvet Underground. Originally the Velvets were playing down at--there were four in the group and they were playing down at the Cafe Bizarre in Greenwich Village and there was this girl, Barbara Rubin, a filmmaker who was connected with the Velvets, sort of doing things and getting people down there to see them and so she, she was an old friend of mine, and my first feature length film appearance was in her film, so she called me up and I went down with my whip and I danced with her for a couple of days, and then I took Andy down and he liked them so much and he was going to have a show at the Cinematech of his, just his films, and he thought it would be a great idea have something different than just showing films, so we all got together and put our heads together and created the Exploding Plastic Inevitable show, which was--ran for two weeks at the Cinematech. Two--yeah, two

Studs Terkel So it's Andy, then, being interested in something different?

Gerard Malanga Yeah.

Studs Terkel Something different for difference's sake.

Gerard Malanga It's the same way with his films, when he was being--when he was painting, when he was just painting he became curious about films and he went out and got a camera and he started making films and then he'd be, it's like he was curious about the Velvet Underground, and he--his curiosity. Andy's very intuitive and he's, he picks up on things very

Studs Terkel Some of these films, you know, that even though they're independent, yet part of the films that he made, like "Sleep", which a guy is, we see just a man in bed, right? Sleeping.

Gerard Malanga That was

Studs Terkel For six, seven hours. Right? And the Empire State, Mr. Camera, still camera just in the building, right, for several hours. What--Because none of you were involved with that, were you?

Gerard Malanga Yeah, I was.

Studs Terkel Oh, you was [sic]. Well, what, what, how would you explain that?

Gerard Malanga Well, that's sort of like an element of voyeurism where he really--Andy wanted to view something and observe for a very long time and there's actually change going on through film, it's not like nothing's really happening because are things that are happening in the film but that they happened so slowly and when people least expected it, sometimes the people, the audience said, the scene the film misses things, but it's a time element and you could be sitting--the films aren't actually meant to be watched or looked at for seven hours, they're just to look up at once in a while. You could be talking to your neighbor--

Steve Sesnick Like

Gerard Malanga Eating a sandwich. Yeah, it's a moving painting. They're not meant to be looked at for seven hours. But the whole idea of the movie theater changes because you're sitting rigidly in your seat. They should be viewed at, in let's say a huge lounge, you know, with couches where people could get up and go buy a sandwich or something and come back. You know, that's the way they should be looked at, really--

Studs Terkel Thinking about this difference for difference's sake, we should come back again to the individuals. What led you to this. You know, not just this immediacy but yourself, your, without being too autobiographical, but as much as you want. Gerard.

Gerard Malanga Well, our dedication and that we like each other and we're all together and that we were interested in certain things, music and dancing and film and we're around each other a

Studs Terkel You know, for example, say, Miss Superstar. You came from where?

Ingrid Superstar Well, I'm originally from Jersey. I've been living in New York since I turned 19 and I was discovered by Chuck Wein, a friend of mine who's writing a script with Otto Preminger, and he brought me up to Andy Warhol's factory.

Studs Terkel Well, you say you were discovered.

Ingrid Superstar Well, not really discovered, he asked me if I wanted to make a movie for him, see, and.

Studs Terkel And thus you were discovered, Ingrid.

Sterling Morrison Launched.

Studs Terkel Now, don't all attack Ingrid Superstar here. I know you--

Ingrid Superstar Everybody seems to be doing that.

Studs Terkel This is, Ingrid, she is herself, right?

Gerard Malanga But she

Studs Terkel She won't accept that. But nonetheless--

Ingrid Superstar But I want to be myself. I don't go along with being phony.

Gerard Malanga No one ever said you were phony.

Ingrid Superstar Who asked you?

Gerard Malanga Genuine gush.

Ingrid Superstar Mmm gush.

Studs Terkel Well, what about Paul Morrissey? How did you get involved, Paul?

Paul Morrissey Oh, I worked with Andy on the making of the films. Sort of technical assistant.

Studs Terkel Where are we from? Again, just some more, maybe offer us inklings. Where did you come from?

Paul Morrissey New York City.

Studs Terkel You're from New York City.

Sterling Morrison Paul makes movies, too.

Gerard Malanga Yeah.

Steve Sesnick So there are a lot of moviemakers been in the city for a long time. But Andy went into the field and became the most famous and made more movies than anybody.

Sterling Morrison The first

Steve Sesnick He made the more--yeah. He made more movies than anyone else and actually far and away the most interesting.

Studs Terkel What about Steve? Steve Sesnick? What [town?]?

Steve Sesnick I was affiliated with an advertising agency that had some dealings with some of Andy's work, and we just sort of got together on the idea of forming a rock and roll group with Andy behind it creating the entire scene.

Studs Terkel And Sterling Morrison?

Sterling Morrison Well, I'm from New York.

Studs Terkel You're from New York, and Gerard--

Sterling Morrison Just graduated from college.

Studs Terkel Gerard--

Gerard Malanga I'm from New York, too.

Studs Terkel You know, a question to ask about Andy Warhol, who is, you know, the darling of what we call the jet set and, you know, society pages and feted and often the favorite of columnists, gossip columnists, is though what he does is almost a secondary thing. The work itself, you see, because he is now what you call a celebrated figure. Now, the question to ask you is, is he innocent? What I mean is, is that is, or is this, or is he a very hip ex-public relations man knows exactly what he's doing? You know my question?

Gerard Malanga Well, actually, he sees--we don't have any promotion or publicity agent.

Steve Sesnick No, he's very innocent in a way. But then he's very hip, too. I mean, it's a complicated thing. It's very complex. I mean, but, basically he does it--

Paul Morrissey He's, let's say he's aware of what's right and aware of what's wrong, and he tries to avoid what's wrong.

Steve Sesnick Yeah, he doesn't object to people paying attention to him in the press, so he doesn't go out of his way to avoid it and he doesn't go out of his way to get it, and something about that attitude he has where he doesn't care and he's interesting. People go after him more because he doesn't go either way, for it or against it, but it seems to attract press attention because he's just--you know, he's very nice and people talk to him and he answers them.

Studs Terkel So if we could, and that's it. It's just--

Steve Sesnick Or if he doesn't answer them, he doesn't, he doesn't refuse an answer. You know, in a funny way, I mean, you can understand he just doesn't have an answer so, a lot of times he never says anything, but that in itself gives people material to write about.

Studs Terkel Therefore, if he never says anything, he must know something.

Steve Sesnick Yeah. Yeah.

Studs Terkel Oh, I see. So if we continue now to E.P.I. What were you going to say,

Ingrid Superstar Well, I'd like to say something else about Andy, that he has very artistic mannerisms and poses, and he's a very talented genius with a very vivid imagination.

Paul Morrissey Andy'll like that.

Studs Terkel That's very good. You mean he has artistic poses. What do you mean by "artistic poses"?

Ingrid Superstar Well, he likes sits with his two fingers or

Sterling Morrison

Paul Morrissey And thus, with that explosion that could have been anything--glass, man, everything--we have just a touch of the music of Andy Warhol's creation, E.P.I., a new word in the American lexicon, "explosive plastics inevitable," explosive plastics inevitable, now being--how can you describe it? Being seen? Being heard? It's now at Little Richard's--at not Little Richard's, he's an excellent urban blues singer. Poor Richard's, at Poor Richard's, and we have five of the principal figures seated around here, Ingrid Superstar whom I don't know, therefore shall address as Miss Superstar, we have Gerard Malanga who is the senior member of the group here with E.P.I., Gerard's been in a number of underground films and you see him with a whip in his hand on the stage as well as seeing him being, etc., in the film, too. We see him in the flesh and we see him there and we see Ingrid and we have also Paul Morrissey who was--Paul, you play what? You are--these are members of the Velvet Underground, by the way. We'll ask the meaning of that in a moment. Much of this seems for those who've been at Little Richard's [sic]--oh, we'll mention other members, too. There's Sterling Morrison, who is the electric guitarist, and there's Steve Sesnick, who is all-around, sort of publicity and involved with the program--a program, some would say, is it a program? And perhaps we could open with the comments of Michella Williams, a very fascinating review in "The Sun-Times", have been the, she "Warhols' brutal assemblage non-stop horror show." And she says of the audience, and I was there that opening night, "to experience it is to be brutalized and helpless." I sort of agree with her, there's sort of a humiliation of the audience, what, is this unfair of me to say this? Anybody. What do you think? It's not humiliation. No, All right. But I mean, it's an assault on the audience. It's all what? An An attack-- A passive-- An assault on the, but we don't want to humiliate anyone. Oh, it's an assault without humiliation. It's an assault. Let's talk about this. An assault on the senses. More like a physical thing. And an assault on culture. Well, Gerard Malanga, you're the old--then each of us, we can all pitch in, I'll just identify her, what do you mean by an assault on culture? Well, it's, culture has been too horizontal, and now by assaulting it we could make it vertical. Well, how do you make-- More You want to make the culture vertical. Yeah. How do you make the culture vertical? Oh, just by sort of making it uptight. You know, assaulting it. Changing things around where the people's sensibility isn't really tuned into it, they're not used to a certain kind of sound they're used to, you know, a much So, in a way maybe dehumanizing? Is that part of it? That's also an implication of Michella Williams in her review. That you had strobe lights. How can we describe the strobe lights? Oh, first of all we should describe what's happening. Why don't you, Steve or Paul describe what's happening? Or Ingrid. Ingrid Superstar. Oh, yeah. Miss Superstar--may I call you Miss Superstar? Sure. Yeah. I'll call you Miss Superstar. How, how did, how would you describe it? There's just one word in my book that would describe it, and would be psychedelic. Psychedelic. And they have like different colored lights, spots of lights reflected off a mirror in a dome shape floating around the room on the ceiling, the walls, and the movies, and then they had different colored strobes flashing on and off palpitating, and they have two or three movies going at one time, one on top of another or two on one screen, plus the band, plus the atmosphere and the people, and it's very, very different. It's different, all right. Yeah. This goes on--how can you, what would you say, Steve, or anybody? First of all, as we come in, we sit there, and on the screen is one of Andy Warhol's underground films "Eat", and there's a guy who's eating, he might be a friend I once knew named Angie. He looks like him, and he's eating. I don't know what he's eating, he's just eating. He's Oh, he eats a mushroom for 36 minutes, and we sit there and we watch him. He's Oh, he is. Yeah. Robert Indiana is his name. His name is--oh, is that Robert Indiana? Oh, that's Robert Indiana. I thought it was a guy I once knew way back in a candy store named Angie, he looked like him, but he's munching a mushroom for 36--and we watch this. And then-- A raw mushroom. A raw mushroom. And then a cat appears. That's his cat. That's his cat. And then on the other wall, a more vertical [stream?]. And that's where you appear. That's vinyl. That's That's called vinyl? Vinyl. V-I-N-Y-L. Now there, everything happens. Where there's people don't do much, but we watch both, right? You're talking, you're dancing, and then you're hit a couple of times. Yeah, well, that's, the film-- Archer Winston was reviewing it in "The New York Post". Well, actually the film is, deals with counterpointed happenings which developed through a pseudo-clinical approach involving sadomasochism and juvenile delinquency. It's all related. It's all connected. So we see all this, It's the idea, it's the sort of film narrative of a hero or a sadist turned into a pacifist. Is that what it is? Well, I will say you're pretty specific. You didn't have a bad time, though, did you? Well, we were all very lucid and floating around near the end of the film and we didn't know what was happening. Oh, you didn't--I'm thinking, you don't mind, Miss Superstar, but sitting on the trunk was a predecessor of yours, right? Edie Sedgwick? Oh no, no, no, no. Isn't that, we're not supposed to bring that up? That's true. You are the girl of the year, are you not? No, not really. I'm sort She's Like the trip girl of the year or the-- She's the sidekick, though. Or the fill-in staying there. We're preparing her for next year. To be the If I'm still alive. You are? You say you were the trip girl. Well, that's what Andy calls me. Why trip? T-R-I-double P? Triple. Triple P. We're grooming Ingrid. Oh, you're grooming her. Well, you didn't object too much to see your predecessor on the trunk smoking, do you see, perhaps the audience-- Oh no, not at all. That was before me. If you don't--that was before Yeah, cause I've only been with [him?] since September. Well then, or let's continue if we may. Then the--continue with what? That's the point. Yeah. See, we have the two films. They're seen simultaneously. In the meantime-- Two soundtracks on both. What's that? There are two soundtracks going simultaneously. Two soundtracks going-- Going both films. Right, and the time that Gerard is talking, [you? we?] don't hear what he's saying, we just hear the sound, and then the Velvet Underground appears live now, as films run, and on the stage we have the music, an excerpt, a passage of which we heard, right? And we have an electric viola. Yeah. This is new in the world of music, is it Oh, yes. Electric guitar-- In the world of rock and roll music. I think in the world of any music. Not exactly, 'cause John Cale played the electric violin when he was with Lamont Yeah, but that's just what they do in their closets down at Gramercy, nobody gets that. They do that in the lofts and everything. Whoever heard it-- And Sterling Morrison plays electric guitar, then there's an amplified bass, too, isn't there? And then there's a prepared piano that is not quite prepared. Yeah. And there's electric organ-- Electric organ. Electric organ. Also a whole series of drums. What are Angus's drums called? All sorts of drums. Angus's drums-- He's playing a [dunebach?], a thing called a chumlum. A chumlum. Which has strings. So this all goes on-- The drum has strings? As the audience sits and then, you don't mind if I use the word "endures," the audience endures it, doesn't it, in a way? And then four different films go in back of them, in back of the musicians. And I think they eventually-- Plus the lights. Feel a pulsating beat to the whole thing and they don't endure it anymore, but they're a part of it. They've become part of--now the question is, the part of, they become, the audience becomes part of what? This is the thing. Well, they just become part of the entire show. They're all moving with the driving music and the, Gerry and Ingrid dancing, and everyone begins to really feel it. Gerry and Ingrid dancing, then four people appear and they dance, as the strobe lights Ingrid was describe--perhaps we can describe this. The lights are flickering on and off in a certain way as though They're set. There's a certain time set for the strobes. You know what I was hoping? I was hoping, this ever happ--I was crying, saying to myself, "Blow, fuse, blow!" I wanted the fuse to go out, because I wanted to be sort of God in reverse, say let there be darkness, you know? But the music would still be going. But--it what, did you ever have that feeling, the reaction from an audience is, they hope everything turns in darkness all of a sudden, it stops? On their initial contact with the show that may happen, because there's so much going on that the average person just, you know, it's very difficult to absorb it all. If we could, perhaps, continue with Michella Williams' review and then think of other reviews and some reactions of psychiatrists who have seen your show, and then keep it open, eventually, you know, Michella Williams was saying, "You think you're in some kind of--we--you're in any kind of horror you want to imagine from a police state to madhouse, and then finally after this horror is over, eventually the reverberations in your ears stop, but what do you do with what you still hear in your brain? The flowers of evil are in full bloom with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Let's hope it's killed before it spreads." Do you like this review? Well, I think that it's far-- I think she's a bit frustrated when she says "let's hope it"-- I think it's far superior to a hangover. Yeah. Oh, I see. Oh now, that we--now we come to it. Why did this come to be? Steve, you think this is better than a hangover. [Our? Are?] seeing Well, she's feeling--she's wondering what to do with those things in her head. And I think though the whole way, much sooner than a hangover in the morning and it's much healthier, really, then some of the other devices people use to forget their problems or whatever they're doing. Well, this is a--how would Andy Warhol, who is the very celebrated pop artist and underground filmmaker, has conceived this idea? What did he mean by, let's go back--E.P., Explosive Plastics Inevitable? I think the word he likes is, he doesn't use the word, but I mean, what's you used, the word "dehumanizing." It's not dehumanizing but it's sort of a new kind of thing where people are very, you know, closely connected with the machinery and the electricity. And there's that word somebody used about the show which I like, called total molecular corruption. You see, it's almost as if, like this girl mentioned, this girl, this girl mentions that the audience themselves sort of become a part of just the molecules there. I mean, everything is so flashing and everything and it's so intense that the audience themselves, I think, feel they're part of, I don't know what, sound waves or something, you know, it's just sort of very intensified electricity and light and-- It becomes a melting pot. Well, how'd this--what do you think? What do you--you five are directly involved. What do you think of this? I mean, you're part of it. How long has this been--I was about to say performed, that's not the word either. How long has this been done? Thus, being done to the audience and done to you? How long has this been going on? Since around January. Since around January. I think it's a very exciting show. Like, I mean, you don't see any shows like this. No, you don't. It's Like, if you went--it's comparable in a way to things that went on [at? in?] the World's Fair, you know, you know remotely, but, I mean, there was no experience involved in going to the World's Fair, it's all so nothing, you know? It's sort of what the World's Fair was doing was showing what's happening in the world, you know, in the world of the future and all that. And they did it without any imagination or any purpose, and then what we're doing is sort of a very remarkable, elaborate show. And you know, for the price of admission is something you don't see any place else. Well, we could smack each other around, too. Actually, in the pop field which we're--now, you know, where we are in, no other rock and roll groups offer you this. I mean, you go to see a concert and if you don't particularly like a song, you're just stuck with it in your own imagination and you have to sit there and wonder why I spent five-fifty to sit in this room, where we're offering you movies, we're offering light, dancing, and there's just more to do. Steve or Ingrid or Sterling has said, did you feel, does the audience every now and then react violently toward you? Oh, do they? Has anybody thrown glasses at Well, it's not armed resistance. They make remarks and shout and like-- Clap. Or some people run screaming from the audience. Some people lay on the floor and roll around on the floor. Sonny, another good quote was Sonny and Cher. Cher said-- Some of those are good reactions. They're good reactions. In what way are they good reac--you mean? As they're getting right into the experience themselves and freaking out. They're freaking out. So-- They're doing something that other mediums haven't brought out of No, they haven't. Or rather, maybe psychiatrists couldn't bring out of them, they're just being very free. Well, you mentioned psychiatrists. There's a description here of a E.P.I.--electronics exploding--electronics are involved. Explosive Plastics Inev--performed a group of white--this is a great article, by the way, by Grace Slick in "The New York Times", the white-tied psychiatrists who turned out to see the program in which you are were involved. The psychiatrists who turned out in droves for the dinner were there to be entertained. The way to study Andy Warhol, and then quote "creativity and the artist have always held a fascination with a serious student of human behavior" says Dr. Robert Campbell, and we're fascinated by the mass communication [connected with?] Warhol and his group reminds me of a psychiatrist written by Lillian Ross. Ever hear of her in "The New Yorker"? Called Dr. Blauberman. And he mentioned a Dr. Blauberman. And it's this--so what were the psychiatrist reactions? But they thought it was a little bit too intense, I think. You know. What to--I don't know what their reaction is, you could say. A lot of them left, which shows you how intolerant they were. You know? Some Yeah, like about half the audience left. They weren't, you know, they knew that something very phenomenal was going on in front of them, but they weren't going to put up with it, you know. I mean, they're most illiberal people. I mean, you know, the trashiest people in the world the liberals and the psychiatrists and the doctors, and they really don't belong in a position they're in, because you know they really don't have what they're supposed to have. They're supposed to be interested and open and all that, and they really aren't, and there wasn't any good reactions from any of the psychiatrists really. You mean the psychiatrists actually walked out on you? You think you--what were you going to say, Sterling? What were you going to say? Some of them did. Well, actually, I think they were expecting Andy to give an after-dinner speech. Well, he didn't, and-- He gave an [absence? abstract?] In a program. And our real purpose to that was, to film the reactions of the psychiatrists as we played. Yes, we did. And we did, and it's really very fascinating. It's part of the uptight series. Uptight series. And you think that, you think the psychiatrists were sore because maybe they felt that you were taking over their territory, too? That you were performing They were being [assaulted?] upon. They were getting some of their own They were so confused, they couldn't figure it out. Well, there was another article that uses that for a caption" "Shock treatment for Oh, they did use that. So you think, when you say people throw things at you or walk out or get mad or clap or roll on the floor, you would call this good. Well, yeah, it's a good reaction. The one thing that-- Getting them to react, which is-- One of the things about the show, the show was put together, this is something, the show does then, has this reaction to people, not on account of the films themselves, exactly, but on account of the music itself. Like the show is devised to display the music, which is so like far out, you know, music is very peculiar. A lot of the mu--some of the music is, it's all original music, The Velvet Underground, and some of it is very conventional. We usually begin with some conventional songs and then go into the stranger ones and end with what you saw that opening night, like what you saw opening night was usually the ending of a longer program, but the sound system was so bad that you didn't hear many vocals. I don't think it made too much difference, did No, but I mean, it sometimes is a more elaborate show when the sound system is better, but-- Maybe it was better for me that it wasn't better. You know, is what I meant. You know, In any case, it doesn't work. We start off with conventional songs, and they have, you know, sweetness and [life?], supposedly, and then we're accused of decadence, you know, when we do that. They say, you know, the sweetness is there, but it's one of corruption and Yes, Somebody said that. They read into the [unintelligible] songs all sorts of evil and perverse intentions, but then the music does give it a [unintelligible]. But I don't think, you know, the show could exist unless that the musicians themselves were, had a certain kind of music, which is really, you know, what--you know the statement was made a year or so ago by Bob Dylan in talking about his poems or something, his poetry, and he said he wasn't interested too much in poetry itself because the way things were happening were on the radio in the field of popular music. He said the most interesting things were happening in popular music and that's actually what's happening. Do you think that what you're doing here, E.P.I., could have been, say, possible? Anybody? Say, 30 years ago? Let's talk about standards being different in, artistic standards being broken down to a great extent as being what is good and what is bad. Do you think this would've been possible 30 years ago? It was explained that you could have done it in Germany in the '30s. That's Where there no extant Hey, wait a minute. You're raising--starting a very interesting point here. This program could have been done in Germany in the '30s. Well, that's not my personal opinion. But No, somebody said that. That's an interesting point. Yeah, it is. And-- Yeah, it's very comparable, because you know the '20s, too, they're '20s, '30's period in Germany-- Well, it couldn't be [unintelligible] music, but they could have-- No, no, they had very comparable kind of music, nothing like this, but they were the first to go in for that, you know, the Germans invented Expressionism, and then Expressionism came into the music in a big way, all that Kurt Weill music it's very And I'm thinking about why that somebody who it was said that this is like Germany in the '30s, I'm thinking now about Hitler coming to power, you know, and a certain kind of feeling about chaos and dehumanization, of brutalization taking place-- And there also this feeling of chaos and dehumanization comes across not, you know, in movie theaters or any place else that comes across in a nightclub. You know, the whole area--medium of the nightclub is an art form that's very seldom utilized like it was utilized in the '20s and '30s by these Germans, and they had these people like Lotte Lenya and they had these little cabaret skits in the nightclub-- But that was in that, no, what, that was the, Lotte Lenya and the Weill and the Brecht was in the '20s-- Twenties-- That's pre-Hitler, I'm thinking now about during, after Hitler's coming to power. This--I think this was the implication-- Yeah, the chronology may be loose, but-- But I'm thinking about the fact that something was happening to people in a certain society in which they were accepting dehumanated, brutal--and what you're doing now in a way is almost-- Yeah. Commenting, isn't it, in the--what you're doing is alm--as though someone is watching and saying, "This looks like the end of the world to me, or madness." You know. Do you think, Ingrid Superstar hasn't said much yet. Do you think the world is going to explode? The way of this? What world? I don't know. Maybe soon. You never can tell. Yeah. Somebody might press the wrong button. What do you think? You have a theory? Yes, but I don't You don't wish to state it. All right. Well, that's fair enough. It's a religious theory. What is your religious theory? Well, that the world might be destroyed. All the wickedness might be destroyed and the good left. Oh, you mean you think the good will be left. Yes. Even with a nuclear bomb. No, only if it's destroyed by God. Do you feel this is a religious program, by the way? Is this religious program? Do you feel religious when you're on the stage? Heavens, no. She feels decadent. Do you feel guilt? No, I just have a lot of fun. What do you do on the stage? Well, I dance with Gerard with a whip and the tambourines and a flashlight and I sweat because it's very, very hot there. And I just gaze out at the audience and I don't blink, I'm sort of in a trance. Oh, you are in a trance. I mean, I'm very fascinated by all this. By the audience? By the audience and their reaction and what's going on and the lights. Sterling asked you a very interesting question. You're fascinated by the audience. What is it that, what about, what is it about audience that fascinates you? How does the audience look to you? Oh, shocked. Interested and intrigued. And I just like to see the reactions and the expressions on their faces. Does the audience looks stunned or stoned or perhaps both to you? Yeah, a little. Stunned. They look a little like a Daumier painting. They look like Daumier painting. Surprised. Yeah, but they are a sort of--and I word it sort of like stunned. They're very--they seem very attentive. You know, nobody seems to be very bored during the show ever. You know, you don't see people talking to one another or anything during the show. They pay attention. Is it maybe that they're so stunned that they're too stunned to be bored, too? Oh, yeah. Know I mean? that is, they're so stunned-- They're definitely not bored. They're desensitized. Yeah. That's right. I You can tell because when a song ends, it takes a matter of minutes before clapping begins. They really aren't just--they don't know when it's going to end maybe and, you know, they wait a few minutes. And then they're thoroughly exhausted. No, what happened to solve an internal moral conflict, you know. This cause, you know, some sign of assent. And that bugs them. You know, I have to ask, this is a question, why do you think, you've been drawing large crowds wherever you are, and at Poor Richard's too, you drew 3,000 people in San Francisco. Why do people come to see this you think? 'Cause they're curious. Curious. Are they curious because Andy Warhol's name is associated with it, and he's now a celebrity, in quotes, that is, his name has been in the society pages Yeah, A very significant part. But I think more basic than that, through media today, changes are happening continually and much faster and more rapidly than they were maybe 10 or 15 years ago, and the people want new things to keep their mind occupied and then let them go on to new things and think more. Think more? You think they think more? I think they're thinking more today. Definitely. Advertising is geared to that, business is geared to that, they--the people, well, they want more. They're being educated more. What were you going to say? More of what would you say? They want new things, it's the wanting of new things. Things. Things the big thing here? Things to do, right. Objects. Originality, because there's so many things of interest going at one time it's practically impossible to get bored. So instead of getting bored-- Sometimes they're a little confused-- Instead of getting bored they get stunned. Like, you hit them over the head with a sledgehammer, and at the end maybe they just applaud because it feels so good when you stop. You know? Isn't that the idea sometimes? It's like a guy says, you know the old joke. "I hit my head over the head with a sledgehammer. Why? Because it feels so good when I stop." Do you think that's part of it, too, possibly? Yeah. Maybe. Maybe. But when they start, when they begin stamping their feet and asking for more, I don't think they're stunned. I think they're enjoying it. Wait a minute. There have been--audiences-- This happened last night. Asked for more? They were screaming for more and they were stamping their feet and clapping their hands. What--the nature of the audience. Yankee Stadium when Mickey Mantle gets a homerun. They want another one. We have to ask, Steve and colleagues and--we have to ask the nature of the audience. You know, how would you describe your audience? Is it a young audience? Is it-- It's a mixed audience. Young people, young adults, teenagers, young, young adults, older adults. But mostly what? Is there a certain--in your observations is it mostly a? There's, the people who like it the most are the younger people. There's a lot of intellectuals. A lot of the people who like it the most I think are some of the younger people, because, see, the younger people are much more aware than say, young adults or college people or even just post-college people of everything that's going on in the popular music field and they can compare it with all the other popular music and they see how, you know, extraordinary it is sort of. And a lot of people--I don't know, a lot of people never listen to rock and roll I don't think, you know, and they might think this kind of rock and roll goes on all time, or they might think, I don't know what they think. But the whole thing that--it's basically working in an area of popular music or nightclub or something, you know. It's primarily a musical experience. You know, I'm thinking--go ahead. Anybody else want to add to what Paul's been saying? Well, I think that in music is almost impossible to duplicate because it's so original and way out. And very inventive, sort of. And palpitating, vibrating. You know, I'm thinking about all things being thrown at the audience at the time. The Andy Warhol's underground films, two for the price of one, in fact, three for the price of one, because the bill had the Velvet Underground at work, too. And we have dancing, so it's four for the price of And you get three films at the beginning, then you get four more-- And then all this and the strobe, almost fuse exploding lights, you got eight things for the price of one, all being, and so I'm thinking about Michella Williams' review again. She describes in one of the films there's a guy whose face is being strapped to a sort of a mask-- That's Gerard. And she said he's being force-fed, right, [unintelligible], like a funnel, through a funnel like a goose in Strasbourg, now and that turns out to be, it turns out to be Gerard Malanga after all. But do you know what she meant by the goose of Strasbourg? Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know what that, the reference. Perhaps the audience--the geese of Strasbourg are force- fed, and finally their eyes pop and they die, and out of this comes pate de foie gras, a very fashionable expensive food. Now, do you think people like that because the people today are becoming like Strasbourg geese? That is, we're being fed through the TVs on commercial, through the sound in elevators, through the terrible things that are happening, and finally we see you guys. And this used to be a culmination of all that. Right. It's true. That's very good observation. And this show sort of makes people aware of a lot of things that are going on, but it makes people aware, not just what's going on, but what's going on in the minds of the people who they are watching, like the musicians or the moviemaker, and if they can see what some people are thinking about, like experiencing the show, well, then you know they're educated in a certain area, and it's something they weren't as aware of, you know? I mean, if you just--if you weren't, you didn't see the show, you might not think about it, but I mean, it's actually happening and you see it's actually happened to all these people involved in the show, because there they are doing it, you know? I mean, they're not doing it just for the sake of doing it, they're doing it maybe because they have to do it. You're doing it because they have to do it. Yeah. The people on the show. Yeah. Perhaps this leads to you, you know, we've been talking about E.P.I. and my own feelings that I think are clear about this particular program of which I was part, that is, I was in the audience seeing it. Stunned. I felt I was had, quite frankly. My feelings, see. Maybe people like to be had. You see? Maybe people have grown for their love to be taken. Maybe people have reached a stage now, I'm thinking about the '30s that Sterling talked about in Germany, maybe we've reached a certain stage now where we just don't mind being had, you see. So I'm thinking how you five came to be. This is the point. This is, how did you five become part of, even autobiographical, which because we don't know about the people who are involved. Suppose we begin. Well, I can tell you. All right. Explain this. Oh, all right. Well, it's-- Gerard Malanga. Andy's connection with the Velvet Underground. Originally the Velvets were playing down at--there were four in the group and they were playing down at the Cafe Bizarre in Greenwich Village and there was this girl, Barbara Rubin, a filmmaker who was connected with the Velvets, sort of doing things and getting people down there to see them and so she, she was an old friend of mine, and my first feature length film appearance was in her film, so she called me up and I went down with my whip and I danced with her for a couple of days, and then I took Andy down and he liked them so much and he was going to have a show at the Cinematech of his, just his films, and he thought it would be a great idea have something different than just showing films, so we all got together and put our heads together and created the Exploding Plastic Inevitable show, which was--ran for two weeks at the Cinematech. Two--yeah, two weeks. So it's Andy, then, being interested in something different? Yeah. Something different for difference's sake. It's the same way with his films, when he was being--when he was painting, when he was just painting he became curious about films and he went out and got a camera and he started making films and then he'd be, it's like he was curious about the Velvet Underground, and he--his curiosity. Andy's very intuitive and he's, he picks up on things very easily. Some of these films, you know, that even though they're independent, yet part of the films that he made, like "Sleep", which a guy is, we see just a man in bed, right? Sleeping. That was his For six, seven hours. Right? And the Empire State, Mr. Camera, still camera just in the building, right, for several hours. What--Because none of you were involved with that, were you? Yeah, I was. Oh, you was [sic]. Well, what, what, how would you explain that? Well, that's sort of like an element of voyeurism where he really--Andy wanted to view something and observe for a very long time and there's actually change going on through film, it's not like nothing's really happening because are things that are happening in the film but that they happened so slowly and when people least expected it, sometimes the people, the audience said, the scene the film misses things, but it's a time element and you could be sitting--the films aren't actually meant to be watched or looked at for seven hours, they're just to look up at once in a while. You could be talking to your neighbor-- Like Eating a sandwich. Yeah, it's a moving painting. They're not meant to be looked at for seven hours. But the whole idea of the movie theater changes because you're sitting rigidly in your seat. They should be viewed at, in let's say a huge lounge, you know, with couches where people could get up and go buy a sandwich or something and come back. You know, that's the way they should be looked at, really-- Thinking about this difference for difference's sake, we should come back again to the individuals. What led you to this. You know, not just this immediacy but yourself, your, without being too autobiographical, but as much as you want. Gerard. Well, our dedication and that we like each other and we're all together and that we were interested in certain things, music and dancing and film and we're around each other a lot. You know, for example, say, Miss Superstar. You came from where? Well, I'm originally from Jersey. I've been living in New York since I turned 19 and I was discovered by Chuck Wein, a friend of mine who's writing a script with Otto Preminger, and he brought me up to Andy Warhol's factory. Well, you say you were discovered. Well, not really discovered, he asked me if I wanted to make a movie for him, see, and. And thus you were discovered, Ingrid. Launched. Now, don't all attack Ingrid Superstar here. I know you-- Everybody seems to be doing that. This is, Ingrid, she is herself, right? But she won't She won't accept that. But nonetheless-- But I want to be myself. I don't go along with being phony. No one ever said you were phony. Who asked you? Genuine gush. Mmm gush. Well, what about Paul Morrissey? How did you get involved, Paul? Oh, I worked with Andy on the making of the films. Sort of technical assistant. Where are we from? Again, just some more, maybe offer us inklings. Where did you come from? New York City. You're from New York City. Paul makes movies, too. Yeah. So there are a lot of moviemakers been in the city for a long time. But Andy went into the field and became the most famous and made more movies than anybody. The first one He made the more--yeah. He made more movies than anyone else and actually far and away the most interesting. What about Steve? Steve Sesnick? What [town?]? I was affiliated with an advertising agency that had some dealings with some of Andy's work, and we just sort of got together on the idea of forming a rock and roll group with Andy behind it creating the entire scene. And Sterling Morrison? Well, I'm from New York. You're from New York, and Gerard-- Just graduated from college. Gerard-- I'm from New York, too. You know, a question to ask about Andy Warhol, who is, you know, the darling of what we call the jet set and, you know, society pages and feted and often the favorite of columnists, gossip columnists, is though what he does is almost a secondary thing. The work itself, you see, because he is now what you call a celebrated figure. Now, the question to ask you is, is he innocent? What I mean is, is that is, or is this, or is he a very hip ex-public relations man knows exactly what he's doing? You know my question? Well, actually, he sees--we don't have any promotion or publicity agent. No, he's very innocent in a way. But then he's very hip, too. I mean, it's a complicated thing. It's very complex. I mean, but, basically he does it-- He's, let's say he's aware of what's right and aware of what's wrong, and he tries to avoid what's wrong. Yeah, he doesn't object to people paying attention to him in the press, so he doesn't go out of his way to avoid it and he doesn't go out of his way to get it, and something about that attitude he has where he doesn't care and he's interesting. People go after him more because he doesn't go either way, for it or against it, but it seems to attract press attention because he's just--you know, he's very nice and people talk to him and he answers them. So if we could, and that's it. It's just-- Or if he doesn't answer them, he doesn't, he doesn't refuse an answer. You know, in a funny way, I mean, you can understand he just doesn't have an answer so, a lot of times he never says anything, but that in itself gives people material to write about. Therefore, if he never says anything, he must know something. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I see. So if we continue now to E.P.I. What were you going to say, Well, I'd like to say something else about Andy, that he has very artistic mannerisms and poses, and he's a very talented genius with a very vivid imagination. Andy'll like that. That's very good. You mean he has artistic poses. What do you mean by "artistic poses"? Well, he likes sits with his two fingers or with This That's

Ingrid Superstar In front of his, in front of his face, or

Sterling Morrison That's he like, he's posing. Ingrid thinks he's posing.

Paul Morrissey Ingrid

Ingrid Superstar Well, I keep on copying him, and like I've been with him quite frequently and I'm starting to attach his poses.

Studs Terkel So that means when he poses that way, he's pretty artistic.

Ingrid Superstar No, no, no, the way he moves his hands and everything.

Studs Terkel Well, Ingrid, she is Miss Superstar, right? Now, this is also since part of this world of showbiz, quote unquote, this is it, she therefore is news, is she not?

Steve Sesnick Oh yes, she goes to all the openings and people interview her. But in the films she appears, sometimes she has script and she memorizes scripts, sometimes she improvises. She's better at memorizing a script I think.

Ingrid Superstar Well, there was in four of my movies there's a lot of ad-libbing.

Paul Morrissey She made a movie based on "Wuthering Heights".

Studs Terkel She did, yes?

Ingrid Superstar A revision of, well, "Withering Sights", it was a revision

Studs Terkel So you were the heroine of "Withering Sights".

Ingrid Superstar Yes, I played Catherine Earnshaw.

Studs Terkel You played Catherine.

Sterling Morrison The Merle Oberon part.

Studs Terkel Yeah, you were--who was Sir Laurence Olivier? Gerard, were you--?

Gerard Malanga No--

Ingrid Superstar No--

Gerard Malanga I wasn't in that.

Ingrid Superstar Charles Aberg.

Studs Terkel And he was Heathcliff. That's a film to see, isn't it? But, this is interesting. I think we come down to something. Ingrid Superstar now is at the opening, and she's interviewed seriously. Right? And because you are now a celebrated figure, right? You have replaced--you are girl of the year in a sense. Wasn't there once Baby Jane?

Steve Sesnick Yes.

Studs Terkel And then there was Edie Sedgwick.

Ingrid Superstar Well, I'd say I'm one of the girls of the year.

Steve Sesnick You know, this year the show is so big, it's sort of, Nico is sort of the girl of the year, and then Ingrid and then another girl, Mary, they're always there, too. It's sort of like this year there were three maybe.

Studs Terkel So what has drawn people to see E.P.I.? We come back to that again. Curiosity for one. The name of Warhol for another, right?

Steve Sesnick No, I don't think that brings them back the second time, the name, I think they come back a second time because they really like the show. I mean, really, so many people just think it's a very fascinating show.

Studs Terkel There are some who'll come back to

Sterling Morrison Oh, there are some people come every night.

Studs Terkel Some people come every night?

Sterling Morrison Oh, yeah. Oh, enormous numbers

Studs Terkel Oh, really?

Paul Morrissey Kids from Playboy have returned already and they're coming back they said every night. They just--

Studs Terkel Who, these are Playboy bunnies come

Paul Morrissey No, some in the--

Sterling Morrison People work at the magazine.

Studs Terkel Oh, from Playboy. They come to see it every night. That's interesting. That's a very fascinating point

Paul Morrissey Well, our show in New York, all the publicity was right in the beginning. And then we did the best right at the very end. It was quite good all the way through. So last week was--

Studs Terkel So there really--it's really also--I'm sorry. Did you--I know I was interrupting you there. Did--is it also the fact that they're "in"? Does "in" and "out" mean something?

Steve Sesnick No, I don't think it [means?] That much. I don't really think it means anything being in and out. Anybody who even talks about something they think is recent or new to say they know what I mean, they appear so foolish. I don't think anybody really cares. I think people--there's--are curious naturally and they're curious about something new. They can't just say they're not curious because it's new. I mean--

Studs Terkel You know, I'm thinking as we're talking with five of the members of E.P.I., how'd that title come to be, by the way? Explosive Plastics Inevitable?

Steve Sesnick Andy just likes the word "plastic." And then the idea of everything becoming so, sort of wild and total, you know, is just sort of inevitable. You know, the idea that movies and music and lights would all come into one full act, you know, and sort of, just sort of assault the public. I guess it was an inevitable idea.

Studs Terkel And he referred to the fact that these people are plastic, too. Can you say that?

Steve Sesnick I guess that word desensitizes.

Studs Terkel Desensitize. You know, perhaps we could end with--feel free to say more if you wish. I'm thinking about Archer Winston's review here in "The New York Post". "Andy Warhol," he calls him "King of the put-on, bring down [method?] movie is here thrown together some meaningless stuff well calculated to reflect not only a meaningless world, but an audience so mindless that it can sit still and take it and come back for more. It is even possible the more Andy kicks his audience in its teeth, the more he shovels nonsense into its hanging open mouth, the more they like it." This is Winston in "The New York

Paul Morrissey This is a high style.

Studs Terkel This is high style.

Ingrid Superstar He likes to see good in the bad.

Studs Terkel You like this review.

Sterling Morrison Oh, that's--

Studs Terkel This is a strange taste. "But we live in strange times," continues Winston, "there is no disputing that a packed house, many of whom paid to get in, were there last night. And photographers for god knows what chichi magazines competed with the show in befuddling the audience." And somehow, when the last two sentences of Winston's review, "journalists looking for signals of the times abounded. So did great persons resembling psychiatrists who may well have considered themselves knee-deep in clover." Somehow I think Winston's review may summarize the feelings of a number of people, and we should point out statistics, that E.P.I. is at Poor Richard's at 1363, that's 1363 North Sedgwick, two shows a night, ten o'clock--

Sterling Morrison And three on Saturday.

Studs Terkel And three--ten, twelve and then Saturday. Friday and Saturday three shows.

Sterling Morrison Three shows.

Studs Terkel Ten,

Sterling Morrison Yeah.

Studs Terkel Ten 12 and two. And for those who are--what? Who are what they are.

Paul Morrissey Curious.

Studs Terkel Curious to see, it's at Poor Richard's. We trust Poor Richard's will be less poor as a result, too, of this. So we thank our five guests. Again, Miss Superstar, delighted to have you. Ingrid Superstar. Gerard Malanga, a veteran of both stage and screen.

Ingrid Superstar Gush.

Studs Terkel Steve Sesnick, Paul Morrissey, highly articulate Paul here, and Sterling Morrison of the electric guitar, and we opened with music. Let's explode off. Thank you very much.