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I Shot Andy Warhol

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I Shot Andy Warhol

Image credit: I Shot Andy Warhol, 1996

As research for another project I’m working on, I’m going down the rabbit hole of Andy Warhol’s Factory to discover the good, the bad, and the just plain sad. I’ve already listed off my Top 5 Andy Warhols on Cinema Sips, but this week I’m ready for a deeper look at my favorite Warhol, Jared Harris in I Shot Andy Warhol (DVD). Of any portrayal, this one gets closest to the voyeuristic creep I believe the artist to be. Was he on the spectrum? Probably. Did he ruin a lot of lives? Yep. Did he change the way we think about art and popular culture? Absolutely. Was the famous shooting by violent feminist Valerie Solanas karmic payback? You be the judge.

Directed by Mary Harron, I Shot Andy Warhol is a gritty look at the 1960’s Factory scene and all its periphery misfits. Valerie is a damaged, deranged writer who has some radical feminist ideas, but is so unlikable that nobody is willing to pay attention. She flirts with various paths to fame (a book deal with Lolita publisher Maurice Girodias, a movie deal with Warhol), but sabotages it all with her acute paranoia. And yet- she’s not entirely unsympathetic. When Valerie sits next to Andy on his famous velvet couch and strikes up a conversation, it feels like these are two weird peas in a pod. One is violent, the other voyeuristic, and both struggle to find a place in the outside world. But then the tides turn, and as we see the cold, detached Warhol shun her like he did so many vulnerable people, you can’t help but feel like his reckoning was bound to happen sooner or later.

Despite my love for Jared Harris as Warhol, the real star of this film is Stephen Dorff as Candy Darling. This portrayal is done so well that Candy, the trans-pioneer/Chelsea Girl/Superstar, comes off as the only normal person on the island of misfit toys. Let’s celebrate Ms. Darling with a cocktail worthy of her- the SuperStar-burst Martini.

SuperStar-burst Martini

5 pink Starburst® candies, unwrapped

¾ cup vodka

1 oz lime juice

1 oz Cointreau

Place Starburst® candies in a mason jar with lid, and pour vodka over the candies. Replace the lid, and shake vigorously. Let sit overnight to infuse the vodka. Once the vodka is ready, pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add lime juice and Cointreau. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass. Garnish with a Starburst®.

Starburst martini

Watching this film, I can’t help but be envious of the people who lived to see The Factory in all its glory. It was a place where creativity flourished; a place where the avant-garde could find a home. But it’s easy to see why this eden never could have lasted. Eventually every bright star burns out. Cheers!

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Mystic Pizza

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Image Credit Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1988, Mystic Pizza

Image Credit Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1988, Mystic Pizza

 

Recently I was so excited to see that actress Annabeth Gish had joined the cast of TV’s Sons of Anarchy. Where has she been all these years? Aside from a small part in Beautiful Girls, I really hadn’t seen much of her since her star-making role in this week’s film Mystic Pizza (DVD/Download). That appearance got me excited to re-watch one of my favorite movies, which is an absolutely perfect pick for autumn. It makes me long for fall in New England, filled with crisp leaves, cold nights, and chunky sweaters.

Mystic Pizza follows three female friends on the cusp of adulthood as they navigate tricky romances and their future dreams while living in the small town of Mystic, Connecticut. Kat (played by Annabeth Gish) enters into a torrid affair with the married father of the little girl she babysits, Daisy (played by a very young, big-haired Julia Roberts) gets involved with a wealthy playboy, and Jo Jo (played by Lili Taylor) is debating whether or not to marry her long-time boyfriend. They work at a pizza parlor together, and I swear the pizza in this movie looks so good that I always crave it mid-way through. Just do yourself a favor and order one about half an hour before the movie starts. You’ll thank me later. What I love about this film is that these women manage to find themselves and figure out what they want out of love and life, without sacrificing their friendship. That’s the central key to why this movie works so well. Men may come and go, but the friendship among these women is forever.

As for my beverage choice this week, nothing says fall to me like apple cider. I do a little happy dance every time I see it appear in grocery stores next to the bushels of fresh apples. Over the years I’ve paired it with everything under the sun- spiced rum, whiskey, brandy, even an ill-fated night with Bailey’s Irish Cream (I do NOT recommend this if you value your stomach lining), but this week I’ve decided to go girly and make an apple cider sangria. While watching Mystic Pizza, I recommend drinking a Mystic Sparkler.

Mystic Sparkler

2 cups apple cider

½ cup cognac

750ml bottle of cava (or other dry sparkling wine), chilled

2 apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Add the apples to a large pitcher 1/4 filled with ice, reserving ½ cup of the apples for garnishing. Add the cognac, apple cider, and chilled cava.   Stir. Add more ice if necessary. Serve in wine glasses and top with more apple slices.

apple-cider-sangria

I like to think these ladies would have mixed up a big pitcher of this and sat around dishing about their trysts in abandoned houses. Seriously, haven’t any of their boyfriends heard of electricity? The characters say at the end of the film that they wonder where they’ll all be in ten years, and frankly I wonder that too. Who’s divorced, who has kids, and who still lives in Mystic, CT? I’m just putting it out there to the cinema gods that there NEEDS to be a sequel to this movie. This can’t be the end of it for these ladies. How will we ever know what Leona puts in that pizza??  Cheers!