Dean & Britta + Warhol = Thirteen Most Beautiful…
Tomorrow night, the San Francisco Film Society presents a special program at the Palace of Fine Arts: 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests.
As might be expected from that title and the picture above, the show consists of pop duo Dean and Britta performing original songs with a 4-piece band while a selection of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests are projected in large scale behind them. (The New York Times reviewed the show here a couple weeks ago.)
Warhol created his Screen Tests from 1964 to 1966 as part of his ongoing exploration of the transient nature of celebrity. Whenever a visitor with potential star quality visited the Factory — a potential judged by Warhol, of course — he would ask his visitor to sit in front of a tripod-mounted 16mm Bolex camera. A strong key light would be set up and the camera would be loaded with a 100-foot roll of black and white film. Often the visitor was instructed to sit as still as possible, or to perform some other action (like toothbrushing), and to stare into the camera without blinking while the camera was running. The resulting films were 2.75 minutes long, but when shown they are invariably slowed down such that each one lasts exactly 4 minutes.
From the 300 or so that Warhol filmed in those three years, he made several compilations for public exhibition, including two called The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys and The Thirteen Most Beautiful Women. The title of this show is an homage to those compilations, but the thirteen Screen Tests featured are drawn from the totality. The featured stars include Edie Sedgwick (of course), Nico (but of course!), Ann Buchanan, Lou Reed, Dennis Hopper, and eight others famous and otherwise.
And if you’re interested in learning a bit more, you might check out the trailer here, or Alex Barkett’s interview with Dean Wareham over here at SFist!
Advance tickets can be purchased here.