Saturday, 24 September 2011

21 September 2011 Dr Sketchy Set List

Jayne Mansfield letting it all hang out

This was the first Dr Sketchy back at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern since July. The two previous Dr Sketchy’s at The RVT had been marred by some truly catastrophic technical glitches (fuses blowing, performers’ CDs malfunctioning at crucial moments. You can read about them here and here if you really want to re-visit the full horror). The whole day leading up to this Dr Sketchy I was so anxious about either sound or lights going tits-up again this time that by the time I arrived at The RVT I was acting all twitchy and bug-eyed like Natalie Portman in Black Swan. And just to crank up the pressure, the actual founder of Dr Sketchy, Molly Crabapple from New York, was in town and would be in attendance. (In other words, the actual Queen Mutha of Dr Sketchy herself!). Nothing could wrong!

In fact this Dr Sketchy turned out to be not just smooth and problem-free, it was actually pretty damn triumphant. The night had long been sold-out in advance and was filled to capacity (which always makes things feel buzzing and more fun) with a quite liquored-up and rowdy crowd (suitably, the theme for this Dr Sketchy was “indulgence”). There was cabaret and burlesque aristocracy both onstage and off: the emcee this time was Ophelia Bitz; the featured striptease artiste / model was Cherry Shakewell; Trixi Tassels was working the door and an off-duty Ava Iscariot was in the audience. Throughout the night Molly Crabapple was drawing a gigantic mural / backdrop along the back wall of the RVT stage (the way the DJ booth is situated at The RVT means I couldn’t actually see her art work until the end of the night, but it was pretty freaking amazing).

As usual, the effervescent Ophelia Bitz was the hostess with the mostest. “I’m dressed like a 1960s art teacher” she explained (her beatnik-inspired ensemble involved Capri pants – or toreador pants if you prefer – and a headscarf, with paint brushes sticking out of her hair). Inspired, while Ophelia did some warm-up poses before Cherry Shakewell came out I played “A Cruise to the Moon“ from the timelessly alluring 1979 death jazz album Queen of Siam by the then-19 year old Lydia Lunch when she was the perma-scowling Death Kitten of New York's No Wave scene. Variously described as “a Billie Holiday nightmare” and “a putrid classic of style and substance”, Queen of Siam first well and truly corrupted me when I bought it at a second-hand record store as a teenager and it remains a touchstone of mine to this day. (Around the same time I interviewed Lydia herself for the first time for my university’s newspaper – now that was an education. She taught me about champagne enemas). "A Cruise to the Moon" is actually an instrumental, an epic of discordant art-y big band beatnik jazz-punk -- and was arranged by Billy Ver Planck (the composer of The Flintstones’s theme song!). (I also played a track by Lunch's No Wave contemporary and former partner in crime: a spikey deconstruction of Gene Pitney's "Town without Pity" by James Brown/Chet Baker hybrid James Chance).

She's In a Bad Mood: Lydia Lunch around the time she would have recorded Queen of Siam (1979)

Perennial Dr Sketchy favourite Cherry Shakewell works an irresistible 1960s go-go dancer / babydoll image (think Lori Williams as Billie in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) which always prompts me to go full tilt-boogie on 60s sex kitten tracks (Ann-Margret, Nancy Sinatra and Brigitte Bardot). When it comes to lechery, Dr Sketchy operates an equal opportunities policy: we also featured the male model Luscious Luke (he’s aptly-named). I had some tracks cued for his first pose, but as soon as he came onstage and I saw his outfit (pretty much nothing but a pair of black leather hotpants, wielding a spanking paddle in his hand) I quickly replaced them with some S&M-tinged instrumentals ("The Whip by The Originals, "The Whip" by The Frantics, "Torture Rock" by The Rockin' Belmarx).

Soundtracks by David Lynch and John Waters are a constant source of inspiration for me. While I spun the slinky instrumental “The Beast” by Milt Buckner (used in Mulholland Drive), I pondered the folly of David Lynch's much-hyped new nightclub venture Club Silencio in Montmartre in Paris (based on the nightclub of the same name in Mulholland Drive, the one where the woman sings Roy Orbison’s “Crying” en Espanol). While the idea of an eerie and seductive Lynchian nightclub experience makes my nipples harden in ecstasy, it’s hypocritical to describe Club Silencio as a potential successor to Andy Warhol’s Factory, as a Guardian journalist has proposed. At the Factory (at least initially) its genuinely bohemian open door policy meant low-life denizens like junkies, hustlers and drag queens could mingle, flirt and get stoned with socialites, Hollywood stars and Tennessee Williams. Club Silencio meanwhile is a member’s only club – and the most basic membership starts at an eye-watering 780 Euros a year (420 Euros for under-30s and non-French residents). Somehow I think I won’t be checking it out next time I’m in Paris! (I think the pricey and elitist membership fees are designed to weed-out the likes of me, anyway). And anyway, it would have been far cooler to base a nightclub on The Slow Club, the dive bar where Dennis Hopper listens to poor Isabella Rossellini croon her endless, tuneless Nico-like dirge rendition of Blue Velvet.

A few months back Cherry Shakewell Facebooked me asking for urgent help finding suitable music for a new routine she was working on with a cavewoman/ primitive vibe. Honestly -- so demanding! What a diva! Two songs that instantly popped into my head were "Watusi Zombie" by Jan Davis and “Primitive” by The Groupies – and she wound up using both. While I didn’t play “Primitive” at this Dr Sketchy (it’s too 1960s garage punk for the Dr Sketchy vibe), I just found this clip on Youtube – so I guess my idea of using this track for a burlesque number wasn’t quite so original after all! Still – Blaze Starr. What a beauty, and it's this installment's tittyshaker.

Town without Pity - James Chance
Pas c'est chanson - Johnny Holliday
Unchain My Heart - Florence Joelle's Kiss of Fire
Love Letters - Ike and Tina Turner
Follow the Leader - Wiley Terry
The Greasy Chicken - Andre Williams
Club Delight - Jack Jolly
Take Half - Hal Singer
Hole in My Heart - Esquerita
Vesuvius - The Revels
Where Yo Is? Fat Daddy Holmes
Sick and Tired - Lula Reed
Rockin' Out the Blues - The Musical Linn Twins
Trouble - Jackie De Shannon
Don't Be Cruel - Bill Black Combo
Hound Dog - Little Esther
Jungle Walk - The Dyna-Sores
Virgenes del Sol - Yma Sumac
Cha Cha Cha du loup - Serge Gainsbourg
Babydoll Mambo - Belmonte & His Afro-American Music
Love for Sale - Hildegard Knef
Java Partout - Juliette Greco
Lunar Rhapsody - Les Baxter
Ole Devil Moon - Chet Baker
Always True to You in My Fashion - Denise Darcel
Astrosonic - Jimmy Haskell and His Orchestra
A Cruise to the Moon - Lydia Lunch
Pop Slop - Béla Sanders und Sein Tanzorchester
Cherry - The Jive Bombers
Screwdriver - Luchi
Womp Womp - Freddie and The Heartaches
Black Coffee - Julie London
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
Crank Case - Bill Black Combo
Lightning's Girl - Nancy Sinatra
Harley-Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
The Rat - The Ventures
Bombie - Johnny Sharp and The Yellow Jackets
Dragon Walk - The Noble Men
Eight Ball - The Hustlers
The Whip - The Frantics
Rigor Mortis - The Graveyard Four
Torture Rock - The Rockin' Belmarx
Ice Man - Filthy McNasty
Tony's Got Hot Nuts - Faye Richmonde
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Beat Out My Love - Lee Dresser and The Krazy Kats
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Peter Gunn Mambo - Jack Costanzo and His Orchestra
Work Song - Nina Simone
Beauty is Only Skin Deep - Robert Mitchum
La Bamba - Eartha Kitt
Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
She Wants to Mambo - Johnny Thunders and Patti Paladin
The Swinger - Ann-Margret
Sexe - Rene Linaude
The Girl Who Invented Rock'n'Roll - Mamie van Doren
As the Clouds Drift By - Jayne Mansfield
The Beast - Milt Buckner
Makin' Out - Jody Reynolds
Let's Go Sexin' - James Intveld (A Dirty Shame soundtrack)
Little Boy, Little Girl - John and Jackie
Hot Licks - The Rendells
Charge It - The Playboys
Intoxica - The Revels
My Daddy Rocks Me - Mae West
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Kruschev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Ring of Fire - The Earls of Suave
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Surfin' Snow Matador - Jan Davis
Fever - Timi Yuro

One last grumble: I looked back at some older blogs of mine and discovered that at least 40% of the Youtube videos I'd lovingly chosen to illustrate blog entries have been deleted! They're now just blank black boxes. The standard reasons seem to be the user has deleted their Youtube profile (which means their videos vanish), or (in my case) Youtube has changed its policy on nudity and sexual content. Go check some of your own older blogs and feel instantly discouraged!

Bonus tittyshaker! Jayne Mansfield rocks it out in the wigged-out, floor-writhing dance sequence from Primitive Love (1964)

NOTE: A very talented photographer called Derek Bremner was taking excellent photos at this Dr Sketchy all night long. Check out his blog to see them. I highly recommend you do. The shots of Cherry Shakewell "spanking" Luscious Luke are my favourite.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Ann-Margret at The Stardust Casino in 2005

(Note: I originally wrote this review for the London website Artrocker way back in 2005. They deleted it from their site long ago, so figured I’d dust it off and post it here for posterity. This already feels like a lifetime ago. The Stardust was closed the following year, and demolished in 2007. Atomic-era sex kitten turned serious actress Ann-Margret is one of my abiding obsessions, maybe just a few notches below Jayne Mansfield. I can't imagine not playing a few tracks by her when I DJ at Dr Sketchy).

Ann-Margret: Wayne Newton Theatre, Las Vegas
March 2005

"Her Vegas revue was slick, gratifyingly kitsch cabaret. Her costumes, for example, were by Nolan Miller, the designer behind Crystal and Alexis's clothes on Dynasty in the 1980s, and as hideous as that statement leads you to expect..."

You know that 1950s flick The Wild One where Marlon Brando's biker gang roar in and take over an entire town? Viva Las Vegas - the annual rockabilly rumble that rocks Las Vegas -- feels something like that. In a revenge of the freaks against the squares scenario, every long Easter weekend for the past eight years hepcats from all over the world descend and drag Vegas down to their level. Glancing around surrounded by side-burned and tattooed greasers and vicious bullet bra-ed cuties with Bettie Page fringes, it feels like you've been dropped into your own juvenile delinquent exploitation movie.

As a happy coincidence, during this year's Viva Las Vegas, veteran sex kitten extraordinaire Ann-Margret was doing a residency in the Wayne Newton Theatre at The Stardust casino. The ticket wasn't cheap, but attendance felt compulsory. This is after all the woman whose romantic life - if gossip is believed - encompassed Elvis, Sinatra and JFK. (She serenaded Kennedy with "Happy Birthday" in '63, the year after Marilyn Monroe did).

Having made her Las Vegas showroom debut 45 years ago, Ann-Margret is one of the few lifelines to the whole swingin' Old Vegas Rat Pack era still active. Not to mention golden era Hollywood: she made her film debut in 1961, starring in musicals like Bye Bye Birdie in the genre's dying gasp. Then there's the Elvis connection: Her luscious presence as love interest Rusty Martin makes 1963's Viva Las Vegas one of Elvis's few (only?) tolerable film vehicles. And at 64 years old, who knows when Ann-Margret might retire from performing and if I'd be in Vegas at the same time as her again? My ass was there.

/ Below: Ann-Margret shaking it in Viva Las Vegas (1963) /

A local journalist predicted Ann-Margret would lure the visiting rockabillies, anticipating she'd look out from the stage "and see a hallucinatory-level concentration of hair-greased and black t-shirted conventioneer Elvii." I wish: I was certainly the only rockabilly present the night I went, surrounded by senior citizens and a particular strain of camp-hungry gay men of a certain age. Before her entrance and during her many costume changes giant movie screens on either side of the stage transmitted beautifully edited footage from her old films and performances spliced together and spat out in vivid, jarring shards: Ann-Margret cavorting with Elvis; her animated cartoon image as "Ann-Margrock" on The Flinstones, singing and dancing with Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble; frenzied go-go dancing atop a motorcycle; goofing around with Dean Martin; duetting (in hot pants) with a hoochie mama Tina Turner on "Proud Mary" in an early 1970s TV special.

Below: Ann-Margret duetting with Tina Turner ... 

... and Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble

The clips bore testament to Ann-Margret's strange career (she must have starred in some of the trashiest films ever made; she manages to be hip and naff at the same time, part of her kitsch appeal) and her alluring 1960s sex kitten image (see also Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda in Barbarella and Nancy Sinatra) that hipsters recall with such affection. It's an American interpretation of Bardot's wild child / female James Dean persona, with the feral sensuality overlaid with an essentially wholesome niceness: Ann-Margret's good girl / bad girl mixed messages in films like The Pleasure Seekers and Kitten with a Whip echo today - for better or for worse -- in Britney Spears.

/ Sex kitten gone berserk: 1969 TV special /

Ann-Margret's early pop career has been well served by two greatest hits packages. 1996's Let Me Entertain You and 2004's Viva La Vivacious focus on her years on the label RCA (1961 - 1966), when her image was pitched somewhere between the “New Monroe” and a “Female Elvis”. Both contain her slinky interpretation of Elvis's "Heartbreak Hotel" and her biggest chart hit, the winsome, harmonica-driven girl group-style lament "I Just Don't Understand." Typically, she purrs, coos and sighs, dripping honey over sultry Country & Western-inflected rock'n'roll. It's appealingly disorienting to hear unvarnished rhythm & blues and rockabilly standards like "Kansas City", "Jim Dandy" and "Dance with Me Henry" filtered through a jazzy cocktail lounge sensibility and delivered by someone wearing false eyelashes.

Only a few years later, under the guidance of Lee Hazlewood, Nancy Sinatra (another Elvis leading lady) would achieve greater commercial success with a brasher, tougher variation on this formula. (In another parallel with Sinatra, Ann-Margret and Hazlewood teamed up in 1969 for an album of duets, The Cowboy and The Lady).

Ann-Margret sang none of these tracks at The Stardust, opting instead for covers of other people's songs and schmaltzy ballads. Her Vegas revue was slick, gratifyingly kitsch cabaret. Her costumes, for example, were by Nolan Miller, the designer behind Crystal and Alexis's clothes on Dynasty in the 1980s, and every bit as hideous as that statement leads you to expect. Singing a Swedish-language ballad dedicated to her immigrant parents, she wore a matronly violet gown that was pure mother-of-the-bride. But with each costume change the audience ooh-ed and aah-ed and burst into applause. She connected to a reassuringly middle of the road conception of old fashioned glamour (tousled bouffant hair, cleavage, sequins), which was sweet.

Still curvy and compact, Ann-Margret certainly looked great, and her voice is still buoyant and feline. She was accompanied by three muscular, queer-as-a-three-pound note male dancer / background singers wearing Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation-style headset microphones, who picked her up and twirled her around in dance routines. At one point she gushed she wanted to hug us all. Later she asked if there were any war veterans in the audience, then thanked them in an emotion-choked voice and demanded we all applaud them. It felt simultaneously cringe-worthy and heartfelt.

/ Early 1970s TV Guide cover /

/ Ann-Margret in mid-seventies /

/ Ann-Margret in 1981: The disco era (warning: you must have a high tolerance for camp before even contemplating watch this! If watching this clip turns you gay, don't blame me) /

In show biz reminiscences she reverently called Frank Capra and John Wayne and George Burns "Mr Capra", "Mr Wayne" and "Mr Burns." When the screens showed scenes from Ken Russell's berserk 1975 film of the Who's rock opera Tommy (in which she played Roger Daltrey's volatile mother and earned an Oscar nomination), the audience was tangibly baffled. This was one aspect of the Ann-Margret oeuvre that left them cold. It was deliciously weird when she sang a hard rock version of "Pinball Wizard" in a long white dress, shrouded in billowing dry ice.

/ Two clips of Ann-Margret going batshit crazy in Tommy /

In homage to Elvis, she sang "A Little Less Conversation" and (perhaps inevitably) for her big finale "Viva Las Vegas". Reflecting on how as a young starlet her looks saw her typecast in bad girl roles, she recalled," I call it my Kitten with a Whip phase. Sometimes I still feel like that little kitten. It's just getting a little harder to crack the whip. But I still manage." Then she sang Shania Twain's "I Feel Like a Woman" while wearing wraparound sunglasses and a fringed black leather biker jacket and draping herself across a Harley-Davidson while her male dancers gyrated and crotch-thrust around her. It was that kind of show. Musical credibility is not a priority for an old school entertainer like Ann-Margret, whose objective is simply to please her audience. On that level, she succeeded impeccably.

/ Present-day Ann-Margret: it looks like she's self-administering a face lift /

/ Present-day Ann-Margret, Part Deux: Last of the Red-Hot (Motorcycle) Mamas /

Excellent fan website

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Back from Canada

My 7-year old niece and I at the beach in Norway Bay, Quebec. 27 August 2011

Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield. 1957

You can see photos from the trip here.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Reflections on Andy Warhol’s BAD (1977)

“The final film released under the Andy Warhol moniker is a much more polished affair than Flesh, Trash or Heat, but preserves the oddball wit and eccentric flair that made those films so memorable. A New York housewife has to support a houseful of relatives on her own. She pays the bills by operating an electrolysis service out of her home and by running a murder-for-hire service staffed exclusively by women.” Allmovie Guide

When you watch BAD, “polished” is definitely not the word that spring to mind, although admittedly it’s all relative. And the above description seems to underestimate the poetry of Paul Morrissey’s admittedly rough and unvarnished but frequently beautiful earlier films, which cover similarly lurid subject matter but feel entirely different to BAD (which was directed by Andy Warhol’s then-boyfriend, Jed Johnson, rather than Morrissey). While BAD certainly has a significantly higher budget than the Morrissey films, it frequently feels inept, the performances are mostly grating and it has the smudged, dark, murky and ugly look typical of low-budget films of that period (see also: the el cheap-o drag queen comedy Outrageous! also from 1977 -- perhaps the only true Canadian cult film), although for some that could be part of BAD’s grungey allure.

BAD aims to be a satirical exercise in deliberate bad taste, but (for me) it misjudges the tone. It’s a botched black comedy with gratuitously nasty violence (I’m the first to admit to being ultra squeamish when it comes to violence). BAD’s most notorious sequence shows a woman throwing her baby to its death from a high rise balcony (obviously a doll, but still distressing!). A scene where one of the hit women kills an illegal immigrant mechanic by crushing him under a car and then cutting off one of his fingers (presumably as proof she’s completed the job) is pretty grim, too. (The scene is so badly-lit you mercifully can’t see much, but I can’t get the bone-crunching sound effects out of my head!).

John Waters has always been voluble about how as a youth watching Warhol’s trailblazing 1960s underground films like Chelsea Girls (1966) shaped (twisted? Corrupted?) his aesthetic sensibility. With BAD, it feels like the Warhol crowd was now taking cues from Waters himself, and trying to catch up with the prince of puke. BAD captures the nihilism of early Waters like Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974) and Desperate Living (like BAD, 1977), but with his gleefully campy verve, wit and humour mostly surgically excised. Instead, BAD is just grindingly unpleasant, brutal and bleak.

(Pedro Almodovar was clearly an acolyte of Waters in his scabrous early films; maybe he also saw BAD. If BAD reminds me of any film, it is Almodovar’s deliberately offensive feature debut Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (1980), made during the post-Franco punk era in Madrid. It’s probably my least favourite film by Almodovar, who I revere).

Bear in mind I’ve always wanted to see BAD (it’s only just recently been reissued on DVD in the UK after being long unavailable). I remember reading about BAD in Danny Peary’s book Cult Films as a teenager and almost physically yearning to see it! And I’m a hardcore Warhol fanatic: I used to watch Warhol double-bills at the much-missed sleaze palace The Scala cinema in London’s Kings Cross. I’d stay until the bitter end of, say, Lonesome Cowboy (1968) when the cinema was virtually empty after most people had long since drifted out, exasperated. (Read this great blog with a contrasting point of view about the merits of BAD).

Warhol films were traditionally enlivened by the presence of his charismatic and freaky stable of Superstars, but their era had come to an end by BAD. Glam rock scene-maker and Max’s Kansas City habitué Cyrinda Foxe (whose admirers included New York Doll David Johansen, David Bowie – she’s featured in his "Jean Genie" video -- and Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler) plays RC, one of the hit women. Foxe looks sensational, a 1950s platinum blonde rockabilly bombshell (in one of the early scenes, she sashays down a Queens street while a group of garbage men hoot at her – it recalls Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can’t Help It!). But Foxe is no actress, and her mystique evaporates every time she speaks.

Similarly, Perry King as LT, the sole male hit man in Hazel’s doll squad, looks great: a chiselled dark-haired hunk in a muscle shirt, if you squint he resembles Joe Dallesandro (apparently the role of LT was conceived with Dallesandro in mind). But King completely lacks Dallesandro’s strange, torpid almost Robert Mitchum-like magnetism. He may be a charisma bypass, but King does have one nice moment, when he announces completely straight-faced, “I committed suicide last year.”

What BAD can boast is the presence of a genuine Hollywood star, albeit a somewhat faded one down on her luck at the time. Carroll Baker plays homicidal Queens housewife and beauty salon proprietor Hazel Aiken (a role originally intended for Shelley Winters; the fact that Winters, an actress not exactly known for quality control, turned it down speaks volumes. Weirdly, I’ve also read the role was offered to Vivian Vance – Lucille Ball’s I Love Lucy sidekick Ethel Mertz! Now that would have been mind-blowing casting).

Caroll Baker as Hazel. Photo Via

Baker first caught the public eye in the 1950s in the deluxe family melodrama Giant (1956) co-starring alongside the likes of James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Later that year Baker created a sensation as a prototype Lolita in the scandalous Tennessee Williams adaptation Baby Doll, along the way getting nominated for a Best Actress Oscar and enraging the Catholic Legion of Decency. (John Waters has recalled the nuns in his Catholic school in the 50s warning him that to see Baby Doll was a guarantee of going to hell). With the exception of The Carpetbaggers (1964), Baker’s subsequent films (like a 1965 biopic of Jean Harlow) bombed and after legal battles with Paramount she re-located to Rome to salvage her career with kinky / arty Euro-sexploitation giallo films like The Sweet Body of Deborah (1968) and Paranoia (1969).

Pouty and perverse: the famous image of a thumb-sucking Carroll Baker in her crib in Baby Doll (1956)

Returning to the US to star in BAD, the film finds Baker long past her Baby Doll prime: Photographed unflatteringly, she looks frumpy and matronly. To her credit, though, Baker seems to revel in Hazel’s callousness; she re-invents herself as a mature character actress and nails a witheringly aggrieved, acidic delivery. (Baker has a nice Joan Crawford moment towards the end when she snarls at Perry King, "I don't have the luxury of being sensitive!"). And at one point, when alone in her bedroom and feeling nostalgic, Hazel takes a luxurious white fur coat out of the closet and wraps herself in it you suddenly get a brief glimpse of Carroll Baker in her 50s sex kitten heyday.

I tell a lie: there is one true Warhol Superstar in BAD. Amongst the grotesque freak show of clients who hire Hazel’s hit women, blowsy Warhol stalwart Brigid Berlin (aka Brigid Polk) is on blistering form as the racist, misanthropic Estelle who hires the sociopathic sisters Marsha and Glenda (“You’ve got to kill a dog, and you’ve got to do it viciously!” she screams). BAD sparks to life every time she appears: Berlin gets the film’s best lines, and sinks her teeth into them with venomous zeal. “People stink – all they do is eat, fuck and watch TV!” she philosophises. Later, when Estelle violently attacks one of her neighbours, her hateful foul-mouthed tirade (“You dirty old shithead! You Irish bastard!”) includes, “You welfare recipient!”

Another high point is provided by Geraldine Smith and Maria Smith (real-life sisters) playing the sneering, sarcastic killer sisters with Dorothy Hamill haircuts, Glenda and Marsha. (Geraldine had already been memorable as Joe Dallesandro’s venal wife in the 1968 Warhol / Morrissey film Flesh). They maintain deadpan, contemptuous expressions and flat nasal Brooklyn-accented voices (think Penny Marshall in Laverne and Shirley) even while killing and committing arson.

Maria and Geraldine Smith as sullen killers-for-hire Glenda and Marsha. Photo Via

Susan Tyrell also makes a strong impression as Hazel’s much-abused, downtrodden daughter in law Mary. A tremulous, wincing mousey depressive constantly trying to console her crying baby, Mary is apt to lament, “I just can relate to smoking. It’s the only thing that’s always there ...” and then burst into tears.

It’s the traumatised Mary who nails the film’s whole ethos when she whines, “People are so sick. The more you see them, the sicker they look.”

In retrospect, perhaps Andy Warhol's BAD's lasting contribution is ... it made for a great t-shirt.