May 5, 2009

"Are you ready to paint me?" — Debbie Harry.

"Yeah. It's great. It's such a great thing." — Andy Warhol.

(Via Drawn!)


Palladian said...

Warhol comments on this event in one of his entries in the Andy Warhol Diaries. I'm away from home so I can't look it up. I think I remember that this was at Lincoln Center

Palladian said...

Ok, I found it on Amazon and transcribed it. If you've never read Warhol's diaries, a couple of explanations are needed. First, the diaries were dictated over the phone to Pat Hackett, a writer that Warhol had worked with since the 70s, initially hired as a typist. Warhol would call her every morning and talk about what had happened the previous day and she would transcribe it and type it out, which is why, in the tone of the writing, it seems like he's talking to someone. Second, he claims to have started the diary as a way to help him when he had problems with the IRS. That's why he notes cab fares and incidental expenses throughout the diaries. Third, when he says he's going to "dye his hair", he's talking about doing something to his wig.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Tuesday, July 22, 1985


I had to get home early and dye my hair because of my public appearance at Lincoln Center for Commodore Computers the next day. Dyed my eyebrows, too. Black. I always dye it black first, and then leave some white and everything. I'm artistic, sweetheart.

Tuesday, July 23, 1985

The day started off with dread as I woke up from my dreams and thought about my live appearance and how nothing is worth all this worrying, to wake up and feel so terrified. Had to be over at Lincoln Center at 9:00, so I was up at 7:30 (cab $4). Debbie Harry got there before I did. She's a blonde again and she's lost another ten pounds. And she was wearing the outfit from Stephen Sprouse that I've never seen anybody else wear yet—the shoes glued into the leg stocking. We ran through it, and the easiest part is running through our thing for the press, that's so easy. They said we had to be back there at 5:30.

The whole day was spent being nervous and telling myself that if I could just get good at stuff like this then I could make money that way and I wouldn't have to paint.

Then when I went back there at 5:30 we went on and I thought I was going to pass out. I forced myself to think about the next job I could get if I didn't. Went along and the drawing came out terrible and I called it "a masterpiece." It was a real mess. I said I wanted to be Walt Disney and that if I'd had this machine ten years ago, I could have made it. Then afterwards people saw the portraits of Debbie and thought those were (laughs) the Xeroxes.

And the news is full of Rock Hudson having AIDS in Paris. And now I guess people will finally believe Rock Hudson's gay. When you'd tell them before, they wouldn't believe it.

MadisonMan said...

Debbie Harry has the hardest job in that video -- looking interested as someone else uses a computer.

themightypuck said...

Next stop the Amiga Toaster and then CGI for the masses.

Bissage said...

I once thought I met Debbie Harry at Fiorucci but it turned out to be Klaus Nomi.

Wince said...

I'm guessing Joe the Plumber would not have taken his kids to Warhol for their portraiture.

Palladian said...

Nomi didn't wear as much makeup as Debbie Harry.

KCFleming said...

1. Warhol was devastatingly fascinating.

2. I was in fact ready to paint Debbie Harry at the time, but she never asked me.

3. For computers, the amazing becomes commonplace, the astounding soon elicits a yawn, in a time shorter than most recording careers.

William said...

Debby Harry was the best looking singer of all time. Looking back, I am deeply ashamed that my ideological objections to disco prevented me from properly appreciating her work and her beauty. I listen to Blondie albums more often now than when she was in full bloom.....She was recently in the Penelope Cruz movie, Elegy. She looked pleasant and plump and not at all like a sex goddess. It is kind of jolting to see how the passage of time melts the lines of even the most classic beauty. The program God uses to paint us is very crude and cannot hold a fine line.

Prosqtor said...

I had a top of the line Amiga 3000, which was far more powerful than the IBM PCs of the time. It had 2MB of system memory. I added six more megs at a cost of $600.00. 6GB of memory, (1000 times as large) would now cost no more than what- $60.00?

Unknown said...

Another A3000 user? cool. I'm certain there are posters here thinking "how quaint" when they see an Amiga. People forget just how advanced that little A1000 was.

Neither Macs nor PCs had anything that could compete with the Amiga's graphics for four or five years. In 1985, noone could even contemplate a computer displaying a 4096 color palette and animating it in realtime. The Mac? Monochrome. The PC? The wonders of CGA, or if you were lucky, a hercules monochrome. Of course, there is probably some pc type claiming it had color--amber or green, depending on what monitor you bought.

They didn't have anything that approached the Amiga's operating system capabilities for at least 8 years. (Try typing on a WP, downloading at 9600bps, and running a raytrace on an 80386 in windows 3.1. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya.)

Ah, those were the days. I still have my A3000 kicking around here. Maybe I should try cranking it up.

Palladian said...

"In 1985, noone could even contemplate a computer displaying a 4096 color palette and animating it in realtime. The Mac? Monochrome."

BZZT! The Mac may have been monochrome, but the Apple IIGS had all those things in 1986.

Joe said...

In 1988/89, I actually made living writing games for Apple IIs using 6502 assembly. We had a IIGS that sat on the corner of my desk, but it was just a curiosity since not enough people bought them to make it worthwhile developing just for it. I remember being not that impressed with it.

And to be pedantic, EGA graphics were available in 1985 in 16 glorious colors. Plus, people were contemplating more since VGA came out two years later. Still the Amiga had graphics co-processor that was pretty kick ass. (And, if I remember right, the other cool thing with the Amiga is that you could set the graphics buffer to be anywhere in memory.)

Bissage said...

I once had sex with a woman who looked like Debbie Harry but her eyes were much farther apart than mine and that made me feel like I was drowning.

Anonymous said...

Debbie's in a class of her own. A terrific singer with a voice and an intelligence that could convey any nuance. I think she also wrote most of the Blondie music. Very original and extremely talented, but no more so than the group that backed her up.

They could handle about any kind of music, do it with style and put their own stamp on it. They deserved as much credit as she did, but never really got it.

Some of the YouTube videos of Blondie's live appearances are sad. The drug influence was ever present. In one in particular, you could see that Debbie was too drugged out to remember the lyrics and the group was carrying her. She wasn't made of iron.

Some say that Madonna patterned herself on Debbie. I dunno. Madonna can dance; about the only thing Debbie couldn't do. Madonna's brash and brassy where Debbie is subtle and vulnerable. Madonna's also much less appealing as a me anyway.
Dud - big Blondie fan

rhhardin said...

Armstrong and Getty mention High Tide Heels, for all women needing beachwear.

somefeller said...

Debbie Harry was the most beautiful woman ever in rock and modern pop music. Madonna on her best day wasn't as coolly beautiful as Debbie Harry was here, even in a red jumpsuit.

Unknown said...

(And, if I remember right, the other cool thing with the Amiga is that you could set the graphics buffer to be anywhere in memory.)
Actually, it was slicker than that.

(Warning, serious technogeek stuff coming)

The Amiga had three specialty chips. Agnes(bit block transfer chip), Denise(color processor), and Paula(sound). These chips accessed anywhere from the first 256K to the first 2M, depending on the model of Amiga.

The Amiga ran a moto 68K (16bit bus/32bit instruction set) chip at 7.8mhz, and the chips ran at 7.8mhz. However, the clock rate of the bus was 15.6 mhz.

This arrangement allowed the graphics processors to run parallel to the motorolla, and allowed the system to flip between frame buffers instantaneously. The graphics performance of an Amiga was, for the time, simply astounding. No PC or mac was able to touch the original Amiga's graphics performance until at least 1990.

kentuckyliz said...

I was onto Blondie early on. Their earlier albums even before Heart of Glass/Parallel Lines were very ironic and 50s-ish but with a modern twist. The only song I know of that's a love song about a sex offender.

I tend to like the garage band/CBGB phase of a band anyway. More raw energy, more hunger, fresher talent, before overproduction.

I'm glad they were successful as an original band before MTV came along, because if they ascended after MTV, it would have all been attribute to visual appeal. That helped eventually when MTV came along, but you watch the Blondie vids on YouTube and it is that early, unsophisticated, unpolished, awkward use of video. Not slick like nowadays.

Deborah Harry was always so compelling. Men and women both loved her.

Clem Burke is a great drummer. Gotta give him his mad props.