Friday

Wake Up Edie


Modes of Writing piece for Uni, 500 words under the theme creative non-fiction.

It happened in November. A Monday evening in Santa Barbara 1971 and she’s kicking off heels after a fashion show. Holding steady a glass and taking her prescribed medication. She sleeps. In the morning her husband tries to wake her. She can’t hear him. The sound of the ambulance doesn’t move her either. Edie Sedgwick, dead.

I saw her in December. A Friday afternoon in New York 2010 and I’m kicking my heels around the MOMA. Her face is on the wall. She’s moving. Trapped in an Andy Warhol frame, her screen test plays and flashes in front of me. There are Warhol screens playing all around the room. Different faces smiling at the camera, huge soundless projections in gravestone grey. The audience crowd around Edie, everyone else is a blur.

Edie is on the wall but she’s on the floor to. There are lots of Edie’s walking around the MOMA, around New York and London to. Girls with acid blonde hair and wicked eyelashes strutting on pencil thin legs. She is the girl at the party dancing freely, the one with the loud laugh smoking too many cigarettes. But there is only one Edie, and she isn’t here now. She is lost behind a screen.

He saw her in March. A weekday afternoon in Lester Persky’s apartment and Andy is looking at Edie. He was making films, he needed a new star. They started working together straight away and Edie became the darling of the New York underground film scene, appearing in films such as Poor Little Rich Girl, Beauty No.1 and Face. What she created was bigger than herself. Edie was a performer; she became the art. The films that made her famous bore her name, the poor little rich girl, the no.1 beauty and face.

But Warhol didn’t see it like that, and refused to pay her for her work. He said it wasn’t acting. For Edie, it was acting. Her drug use was spiraling out of control, memories of her abusive father Fuzzy, the deaths of her two beloved older brothers Minty and Bobby, her trips in and out of psychiatric institutions, her troubles with eating disorders. On screen she was vulnerable, but she was strong to.

So Edie left Andy and the films behind. She was getting worse and need to be around family in California. While being treated for psychiatric problems in hospital in 1970 she met her husband to be, Michael Brett Post. They moved in together, things were looking up.

Fast forward to November 1971 and Edie is attending a fashion show. A guest at the following party approaches Edie with cruel words about the state of her marriage and her drug problems. Edie wanted to leave the party, it wasn’t fun anymore. Michael came to pick her up. At home he poured her a glass of water she took her prescribed medication and went to bed.

Edie Sedgwick died of an overdose in her sleep. She was 28. On her death a friend Bob Neiuwerth said, “Edie was fantastic. She was always fantastic.”

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