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Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays is a fascinating first-person account of writer Ronald Tavel's experiences collaborating with the artist on his films from the winter of 1964 through the summer of 1967. During this period, Tavel wrote seventeen screenplays for Warhol, including some of the most significant works in the artist's filmography and in American underground f Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays is a fascinating first-person account of writer Ronald Tavel's experiences collaborating with the artist on his films from the winter of 1964 through the summer of 1967. During this period, Tavel wrote seventeen screenplays for Warhol, including some of the most significant works in the artist's filmography and in American underground film more broadly: "Screen Test #2," "The Life of Juanita Castro," "Horse," "Vinyl," "Kitchen" (all 1965), "Hedy," and two sections of "The Chelsea Girls" (both 1966). The nature of filmmaking in Warhol's Silver Factory of the mid-1960s meant that Tavel's role as screenwriter was not restricted to a film's pre-production. In most cases, he was responsible as well for directing, performing, and facilitating the performance of the screenplays during filming itself. -from the introduction by Marc Siegel Includes Tavel's essay "The Roots of the Theatre of The Ridiculous in the Scripted Films of Andy Warhol"


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Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays is a fascinating first-person account of writer Ronald Tavel's experiences collaborating with the artist on his films from the winter of 1964 through the summer of 1967. During this period, Tavel wrote seventeen screenplays for Warhol, including some of the most significant works in the artist's filmography and in American underground f Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays is a fascinating first-person account of writer Ronald Tavel's experiences collaborating with the artist on his films from the winter of 1964 through the summer of 1967. During this period, Tavel wrote seventeen screenplays for Warhol, including some of the most significant works in the artist's filmography and in American underground film more broadly: "Screen Test #2," "The Life of Juanita Castro," "Horse," "Vinyl," "Kitchen" (all 1965), "Hedy," and two sections of "The Chelsea Girls" (both 1966). The nature of filmmaking in Warhol's Silver Factory of the mid-1960s meant that Tavel's role as screenwriter was not restricted to a film's pre-production. In most cases, he was responsible as well for directing, performing, and facilitating the performance of the screenplays during filming itself. -from the introduction by Marc Siegel Includes Tavel's essay "The Roots of the Theatre of The Ridiculous in the Scripted Films of Andy Warhol"

9 review for Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays

  1. 5 out of 5

    tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE

    review of Ronald Tavel's Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - December 25, 2019 For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/... This bk was originally copyrighted in 1997, when the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh was 3 yrs old, & copyrighted by the Estate of Ronald Tavel in 2015. Despite this, no mention of the AWM is made on p iv in the following: "Most of the Tavel/Warhol films, withdrawn from circulation in the early 1970s, have been rest review of Ronald Tavel's Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - December 25, 2019 For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/... This bk was originally copyrighted in 1997, when the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh was 3 yrs old, & copyrighted by the Estate of Ronald Tavel in 2015. Despite this, no mention of the AWM is made on p iv in the following: "Most of the Tavel/Warhol films, withdrawn from circulation in the early 1970s, have been restored and are available for viewing through the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Facsimile manuscripts of Ronald Tavel's screenplays can be found at ronaldtavel.com, where these texts first appeared in a different form." Fortunately for interested parties, that website still exists ( https://ronaldtavel.com ). What puzzles me about the Andy Warhol's Museum non-mention in connection w/ screenings of the films is that I was the projectionist there from 1996-2016 & for the 1st 10 yrs of that period we frequently screened the Tavel films. There is a still showing Tavel on p 9 that has a tiny photo credit to the The Andy Warhol Museum copyrighted 2015 so that may not've been in Tavel's 1998 original. It was, in fact, through being the Warhol Museum's projectionist that I 1st heard of The Theater of the Ridiculous & of Tavel. From roughly 1996-2005 or 6 I projected 2 AW 16mm movies a wk, each one 4 times per the wk. On Monday, the museum was closed; on Tuesday & Thursday one of the 2 films was shown once in the afternoon; on Wednesday & Friday the other was screened; on Saturday & Sunday both films were screened. This scheduling changed over the yrs but that was a basic routine. Since an attempt was made to give somewhat equal rotation to the films shown, each film may've been screened roughly 8 times a yr for 10 yrs. I wasn't always the projectionist on duty but I might've at least had each of the films in my background about 50 times. As such, I think I can somewhat reasonably claim that I've seen these films more than anyone else. Alas, I think most of the films, both the Tavel/Warhols & all the other Warhols, are mostly tediously mediocre — interesting in their day but so shallow that whatever made them shocking at the time of their original making no longer has much value. But, of course, that's just my opinion. I do think, however, that while 'opinions are like assholes, everybody has them' it might be more accurate to say opinions are like brains, everybody has them but how many people develop them carefully? Marc Siegel's "Ridiculous Screenplays" introduction says what's become, & may've been then, pretty much 'the usual': "Surely the most ridiculous thing about Andy Warhol's screenplays is that they exist at all. Popular opinion about Warhol's films tells us that he just pushed a button and left, leaving alone those in front of the camera to decide what to do and—in the case of the sound films—what to say. With his own statements, Warhol fostered such misconceptions about his work, encouraging people to think that he only turned to film because it was easier than painting and that his films were talked about than seen." - p ix I'm not sure how accurate the summary of "Popular opinion" is. In other words, is there a statistical analysis of such opinion? Regardless, refuting this hypthetical opinion, even in the Screen Tests, where setting the camera running & leaving is probably more accurate than not, there were exceptions. E.G.: Reel 15, #6 (1965) is described on a list I have as showing John Cale's lips, Reel 18, #8 (1965) is listed as "John Cale's eyes 2", Reel 21, #9 (1965) is "John Cale's eyes 3", Reel 24, #3 is listed as "John Cale 4" (1966) — but, as I recall, at least one of those features discrete multiple shots also showing Cale's ear &, possibly, other areas of his head. In other words, there are instances when there is actual camerawork, presumably done by Warhol. As for film being "easier than painting"? Some of Warhol's paintings just involved his taking a pre-existing photograph, say something from a newspaper such as an image for the disaster series, & getting a screen made by a commercial company from it - in other words, a mechanical process that only involved Warhol as a curator. Then paint was squee-geed thru the screen onto canvas, perhaps often by underpd assistants, following Warhol's color choice (etc) instructions. Warhol didn't have to work too hard. The films at least involved loading the film into the camera, setting up lighting & a microphone, aiming the camera, focusing it, checking sound levels, changing the spools (many or most of the features are 2 reelers w/ each reel at 400 ft / 33 minutes), removing the spools w/o accidentally erasing the image w/ light, & getting the film processed. Even at its simplest, filmmaking was probably a little more technically difficult than the making of Warhol's paintings. Of course, Siegel does refer to "Popular opinion" as "misconceptions" so I'd have to agree. "Ronald Tavel's experiences collaborating with the artist on his films from the winter of 1964 through the summer of 1967. During this period, Tavel wrote seventeen screenplays for Warhol, including some of the most significant works in the artist's filmography and in American underground film more broadly: Screen Test #2, The Life of Juanita Castor, Horse, Vinyl, Kitchen (all 1965), Hedy, and two sections of The Chelsea Girls (both 1966)." - pp ix-x This particular one has to wonder how much Marc Siegel actually knows about "American underground film" to base his opinion about the significance of the Tavel/Warhol collaborations on. Personally, I think that there are some minor things of interest about "The Life of Juanita Castor, Horse, [&] Vinyl" but I wdn't rate them very highly otherwise. Let's cf other American underground films from the same era of 1964 to 1967. I personally think that the following films from this time are far more important: "Sins of the Fleshapoids" (1964) - Mike Kuchar "Lapis" (1966) - James Whitney "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" (1966) - Kenneth Anger "Relativity" (1966) - Ed Emshwiller "Film in Which There Appear Sprocket Holes" (1966) - George Landow "Titicut Follies (1967) - Frederick Wiseman "Portrait of Jason" (1967) - Shirley Clarke "Wavelength" (1967) - Michael Snow Those are chosen from a list in the back of Parker Tyler's Underground Film, A Critical History & my selections are all films I've personally witnessed & remember. There are probably other works that cd be easily added to it by Paul Sharits & Bruce Conner, etc, that I don't remember as well &, therefore, don't list. None of the above are as lazy or as facile as the Warhol films. There are many films from before this era that, IMO, make the Warhols seem even more trite in comparison. "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1928) - James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber "H2O" (1929) - Ralph Steiner "Synchrony No. 2" (1936) - Mary Ellen Bute "Stars and Stripes" (1939) - Norman McLaren "Dots and Loops" (1939) - Norman McLaren "#1" (1939) - Harry Smith "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943) - Maya Deren "Film Exercise I" (1943) - James & John Whitney "At Land" (1944) - Maya Deren "Film Exercises 2-3-4-5" (1944) - James & John Whitney "Choreography for Camera" (1945) - Maya Deren "The Potted Psalm" (1946) - Sidney Peterson "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (1946) - Maya Deren "Dreams that Money can Buy" (1946) - Hans Richter "The Cage" (1947) - Sidney Peterson "Fireworks" (1947) - Kenneth Anger "Fiddle De Dee" (1947) - Norman McLaren "Meditation on Violence" (1948) - Maya Deren "The Petrified Dog" (1948) - Sidney Peterson "Mother's Day" (1948) - James Broughton Alright, I cd go on & on but that's enuf to get my point across: those Warhol/Tavel films & most of Warhol's films in general are drek in contrast to the more carefully thought-out & made films listed above. Warhol's films have been elevated to canonic status by bad & lazy scholarship & by motives related to the art-market price fixing of Warhol's more saleable work. If you're looking for daring gay films then Anger's "Fireworks" is far more important (IMO). For that matter, Jack Smith's work strikes me as more important too & much has been written about Warhol recruiting the cast of Smith's films to use in his own. Those 2 examples alone put Warhol/Tavel in a minor light (IMO). "Despite her considerable screen magnetism, Sedgwick was not interested in or gifted for learning lines. As Tavel describes it, she became increasingly unstable due to her drug dependencies and, entering a period of hedonism and confusion, agreed to join forces with her friend Chuck Wein in displacing Tavel from Warhol'd good graces. Confronted with the script for Shower, a new Sedgwick vehicle that Tavel considered to be his "best work under the painter's tutelage," the star protested to Warhol that she would no longer continue as "a mouthpiece for Tavel's perversities." Warhol stood by Sedgwick but recognized the value of Tavel's new work, suggesting that he stage the script as a theater piece instead—and connected him with a befriended director to help him on his way." - p xiv The popularity of Edie Sedgwick has always mystified me. She never struck me as having any talent whatsoever. IMO she cd've used more of "Tavel's perversities" b/c any time she opened her mouth on her own nothing but banalities seem to issue forth. I take it for granted that any Warhol film she's in, except "Kitchen", one of the few that I like even a little, is going to be atrociously dull. She was filthy rich w/ inherited wealth &, hence, a perfect target for whoever got her hooked on drugs to vampirically such money out of. Didn't anyone notice? Didn't anyone care? Tavel continued "contributing, in 1965, screenplays for Space (with Sedgwick) and the never-filmed Kahuna! In 1966, Tavel followed with Hedy, Their Town, and Hanoi Hannah, Radio Star—the latter two were filmed and used as segments of the double-screen epic The Chelsea Girls. Additionally, at Warhol's request, he penned such little-known screenplays as Withering Sights, Jane Eyre Bare, and Movie Talk for Mary Woronov, none of which was ever filmed." - p xv So many of the 17 screenplays Tavel penned for Warhol weren't made into movies that if it weren't already obvious that the title of this bk is an attempt to sell it exploiting Warhol's popularity ratehr than something strictly speaking 100% accurate. Personally, I got a copy of it out of inetrest in Tavel & The Theater of the Ridiculous — the Warhol connection is almost a downside. As for the 3 that did get made from the above list, "Hedy, Their Town, and Hanoi Hannah, Radio Star", these are 3 of the ones that I find slightly more interesting than the total drek ones. "Hedy" has multiple scenes, unlike, say, "Vinyl" &"Horse", has some slightly interesting visuals, etc.. The 2 scenes that made it into "Chelsea Girls" interest me largely b/c of "Chelsea Girls" in toto rather than for being so great on their own. Mary Woronov, an actress who I find almost as insufferable as Sedgwick, is, at least, not an air-head — even if she is a pompous college girl type overly impressed w/ her own apparently highly overinflated self-opinion — such a role as the sadistic Hanoi Hannah is perfect for her. One day when I was bored working at the AWM & had neglected to bring something to read I read Woronov's Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory wch I cd borrow from the gift shop — or, perhaps, it was something else by her. Anyway, whatever it was, I read it in a hr or so b/c it was only something like 50 to 70pp long & in large print to help beef it up enuf to make it into something that cd be sold. This was what clinched my dislike of her — prior to that, I thought she has some talent, again in contrast to Sedgwick, but after reading it I realized that she was only slightly less stupid & even more pretentious. Tavel hated Sedgwick & loved Woronov so he toots her horn: "Mary went on to a screen career in Europe and Hollywood, and though she is best known for The Chelsea Girls, Rock 'n Roll High School, Parts I and II, and Eating Raoul, she truly has appeared in more films than you could comfortably see in a month of non-stop screening. Today she's known as a representational painter and short fiction writer as well as an actress." - p 119 "Known as"? I think that's stretching it. She is one of the few people who managed to create an artistic career for herself that didn't just collapse w/ Warhol's artificial inflation of her into 'superstar'. That's something. She has appeared in a huge amt of movies & TV shows. I can only recall seeing her in 2 post-Warhol vehicles Silent Night, Bloody Night & Death Race 2000. What that means to me is that she probably has an agent, wch means to me that she was comfortably bourgeois to begin w/. Still, she certainly has more talent as an actress than most of the 'superstars'. "Although highly illuminating, Tavel's engagement with the reception of Warhol's films at times leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. For all the genuine respect—even awe—that he feels for Warhol, he seems to have experienced their work together as frustrating and traumatizing, as much as it was energizing and inspiring. The book chronicles their collaboration as a series of disappointments and complaints: neither Warhol nor the performers took the scripts seriously; Warhol's camera worked at cross purposes with the script; Tavel increasingly felt implicated in the humiliation and shaming of the vulnerable Superstars; he wasn't sufficiently remunerated for his work; and the significance of the screenplays has not been adequately acknowledged in the Warhol literature. Writing well over three decades after the end of their collaboration, Tavel remains convinced that he deserved better; hence, the occasional self-aggrandizing gesture. As the story of a neglected Warhol collaborator, Tavel's account this links up with those by others whose significant contributions have been obscured by the massive proprietary reach of the artist's brand name." - p xvi For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Judy G

    Im reading books about the art of Warhol and that includes the films This was written years later as he left Warhol in 60s. I think it was released in early 2000. Ronnie died in 2009 He was a screenwriter for Warhol with about 7 of his films until he was pushed out by the next up and comer Chuck Wein. Tavel writes about those times and the films and tasks of making the films. He says little about himself and his life just bits and pieces He did go on to get some fame as a screenwriter with group cal Im reading books about the art of Warhol and that includes the films This was written years later as he left Warhol in 60s. I think it was released in early 2000. Ronnie died in 2009 He was a screenwriter for Warhol with about 7 of his films until he was pushed out by the next up and comer Chuck Wein. Tavel writes about those times and the films and tasks of making the films. He says little about himself and his life just bits and pieces He did go on to get some fame as a screenwriter with group called Theatre of the Ridiculous. Tavel had major issues with Warhol's stepping stone to fame and fortune Edie Sedgwick and also he did not like Ingrid Superstar. I doubt that Tavel was the heavy drug user that defined most of the group. I believe he was there just for the film making and wanted to do something valuable. Its an interesting book cause he was there and it is a view into that world during those times. I think Tavel tried to put in some structure and some professionalism into the film making of Warhol. He got in before the film Lupe which was by Wien who was somewhat connected to Edie Sedgwick. I think Tavel wrote the S&M film Vinyl. I think he had some sort of regard for Warhol and what he was trying to do and yet he had some issues with Warhol and what he built there. Tavel worked on the Screen Tests and he would urge people into the dark zone where there could b nudity and violence. He was trying to back up Warhol. I think one cause of their "breakup" was he didnt want to work w Edie Sedgwick who Warhol saw as the ultra superstar This is an interesting book and well written cause Tavel is a writer Judy

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Pretentious, self-serving, petty, yet still totally fascinating look at Warhol's production methods during the brief period that he attempted to use Tavel's scripts. Pretentious, self-serving, petty, yet still totally fascinating look at Warhol's production methods during the brief period that he attempted to use Tavel's scripts.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Palmer

  5. 5 out of 5

    Larry-bob Roberts

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jac

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alix Hunter

  8. 4 out of 5

    Satine Dali

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

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