Chelsea Girls

I have never been one to arrange social outings.  But a couple or three times with movies, I did.  I got together some guys and we went to see this movie I had read a review or two about.  Afterwards, I was the only guy standing up and shouting Bravo! Bravo!  Heck, maybe 30 people were in the theatre so nobody really noticed.  

fistfulkBravo! Bravo, I went for Clint Eastwood in a Fistful of Dollars just released in the USA in 1967.  I had trilled with every scene.  A breakthrough, I said, of revolutionary proportions; the Western would never be the same again and good riddance to bad rubbish.  No more John Wayne sanctimonious moral fable shit.  This was the Western stripped down to its core.  Ugly men, in an ugly, greed ridden town, killing each other quite liberally and graphically.

 Call it nihilistic.  I wouldn’t have minded back then.  But mostly it was incredibly macho in an absurdist way.  Aside from a kind of half-assed plot line about the man with no name protecting a woman, women don’t play a part in it.  Romance in the western was always damn awkward anyway, and quite unbelievable if John Wayne was doing it since the man walked like he had a pole up his asshole.  But Clint was macho in the mode of the maxed out, stay out of my face, I hate authority and the human race more generally, loner.

 People said Eastwood was a fascist, anti-flower power, and a woman hater to top it all off.  I didn’t think so really.  Maybe because I never was really pro-flower power.  When push came to shove people would hit each other.  I had learned that pretty early and was scared of the prospect.  Hell, I liked Dirty Harry too.  

My other outing of this kind was none too successful partly because we had to drive to get there in my 1950 Plymouth with the bad brakes that needed to be pumped every time I needed to stop.  This was quite hair raising.  Also the movie this time was Warhol’s Chelsea Girls.  Once again I had read a review and talked some guys into going.  Hell, I said, a movie like this comes around only once in ten years, and when you are old you can tell your kids you saw it.

As I recollect that movie was fucking 3 hours long; hell it was 6 hours long because Chelsea Girls was experimental and had two movies running right next to each other on the same screen, or maybe they were one movie.  I don’t care.  It looked like two.  Most of the time you didn’t know which one to watch or if it was worth watching either one. And most of the time, the two movies didn’t have anything at all to do with each other.  It didn’t seem to be about anything in particular.  Just a bunch of fucking weirdoes talking about something and shooting up.  I remember particularly one big hefty gal who would drop her drawers and throw her needle into her buttock like it was a dart going into a dartboard. 

Guys started getting antsy, but be damned if I would leave.  Once I had paid for a movie be damned if I was going to walk out.  So we stuck out the whole thing and now we are old enough to tell our children and our grand children about it.  Not that they would give a shit.  Most of them haven’t even seen the Godfather.

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