Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Erupting Plastic Inevitable Velvet Underground Kids

Looking at this photo, you might think it comes from 1977 during the early days of the punk rock era, but it's actually a newspaper photo I found in the Pocono News-Record that appeared on May 5, 1966! The caption misindentifies Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable as the Erupting Plastic Inevitable, but otherwise the caption is surprisingly nonjudgmental about the caveman/S&M get-up that the Velvet Underground fans are wearing. Since the Velvet Underground borrowed their name from a trashy paperback about wife-swapping and S&M, I guess it's not surprising that some of their fans were on the same wavelength.

Another interesting fact about the caption is that Andy Warhol refers to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable as a "disco-flicka-theque." I suppose the "flicka" refers to the flickering strobe lights included in the light shows that accompanied the Velvet Underground. Perhaps Andy Warhol was influenced by Tony Conrad's experimental film, The Flicker, a movie consisting of solid black and solid white frames that created a "flicker" effect strong enough to induce trances and even epileptic seizures in the audience. Since Tony Conrad was a member of the Primitives, the first band to include Lou Reed and John Cale of the Velvet Underground, the possibility of Tony Conrad influencing Warhol is not totally implausible.

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