November 18, 2019 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

In 1967, Andy Warhol Brought “A Clockwork Orange” to Life with “Vinyl”

Research by J.J. ENGLENDER| Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel “A Clockwork Orange,” which follows a violent misfit through a dystopian near-future, might have been an instant hit as a novel, but it still had a ways to go before making a big-screen impact. Even before Stanley Kubrick’s seminal 1971 film starring Malcolm McDowell as the vicious, volatile Alex, Andy Warhol had been struck by Burgess’s stirring tale of a society gone mad. So much so, in fact, that he decided to adapt it for the screen before Kubrick had secured the rights (or perhaps afterward – Warhol certainly hadn’t sought them out for his own work.) And by “adapt,” of course, we mean basically rewrite the entire book to include wild Factory parties, gimp masks, and Edie Sedgwick in her first speaking onscreen role.

andy-warhol-vinyl-los-angeles
Photo : AdSausage.
A 1967 poster boasts a midnight showing of “Vinyl” in Los Angeles.

This was “Vinyl,” Warhol’s 16th film to date, screened at Santa Monica’s Western Theater in 1967 as part of its scandalous “Movies at Midnight” billing, featuring more titillating fare such as “Soul Freeze” (whose plot revolved around “mysterious sexual visions”) and “Mosholu Holiday.”

“Vinyl’s” scandalous life had begun in 1965, when it was released as a three-shot “anti-film” featuring scenes of gratuitous violence and a soundtrack by some of the most cutting-edge bands of the day, including The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and The Isley Brothers. From the start, “Vinyl’s” appeal seemed tied to its relationship to music. In 1966, Warhol’s movie was screened at the Methodist Student Center in Austin, Texas. The event was billed as ‘an evening of expanded cinema’ and purported to feature a 5-D light show, featuring The Velvet Underground – who failed to show up.

andy-warhol-vinyl-los-angeles-edie-sedgwick
Photo: Youtube.
A preponderance of leather doesn’t phase the calmly smoking Edie Sedgwick in “Vinyl.”

Still, “Vinyl” drew in the crowds for a time on mere shock value alone. The typically slow, un-cinematic adaptation of Burgess’s classic novel is notable for its infusion of queer elements (ahem, leather) into a mainly heterosexual story. While Burgess’s novel – and its famous Kubrick adaptation – both focus on the uncomplicated sadism of the near-future, Warhol chooses (as usual)  to focus on the other half of the sadomasochistic equation. Without being anything like a faithful adaptation of the book, Warhol’s version adds an important addendum to the original text: Sadism can only live and thrive in a masochistic world. “Vinyl” is almost an optimistic take on the traditional bleakness of “A Clockwork Orange,” and a more forgiving one than most.

Related Posts

GAY LA: When Catherine Opie Ruled LA

November 14, 2019

November 14, 2019

By Henry Giardina In the first season of the original “L Word,” art plays a bizarrely large role. For a...

Documentary Honors Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ Vets for Veterans Day

November 11, 2019

November 11, 2019

In honor of Veterans Day, some LGBT Senior Veterans at the Los Angeles LGBT Center shared their stories and experiences...

GAY LA – When Drag Was All the Rage (But Queerness Wasn’t)

August 6, 2019

August 6, 2019

Today, it’s not hard to find drag culture wherever you are. From VH1, to Netflix, to Twitter, the language of...

35th Anniversary for AIDS Walk Los Angeles

July 28, 2019

July 28, 2019

This week 35 years ago in history, actor Rock Hudson publicly announced that he had AIDS. He was one of...

GAY LA: The Fate of Damron Address Book?

July 14, 2019

July 14, 2019

Before AIDS, Airbnb and Grindr changed the face of gay life forever, there were limited ways of finding your people,...

Going Bak in Time with a Photographer

May 30, 2019

May 30, 2019

Spying a thirteen-year-old Sunny Bak, amongst a crowd of New York paparazzi, Elizabeth Taylor showed concern that the young photographer...

GAY LA: Their Name Still Spells “Lesbian”

May 29, 2019

May 29, 2019

When SCWU, or Southern California Women for Understanding, started up in 1976, it quickly became the largest lesbian society in...

The Revolution Will Be Televised

May 27, 2019

May 27, 2019

For the first time ever, the L.A. Pride parade will air on live television.  When the first Los Angeles Pride...

LGBTQ Seniors Share Their Stories of Love in NewStages’ “I Do!”

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

NewStages is providing an artistic outlet for the LGBTQ+ seniors in the Los Angeles area. Comprising of 10-25 participants at...

BREAKING: House Passes Equality Act LGBTQ rights Bill

May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019

Despite previously aggressive pushback from Republican lawmakers, the US House of Representatives passed the Equality Act on Friday, May 17....

GAY L.A. – Long Beach’s Central Place in Queer L.A. History

May 11, 2019

May 11, 2019

From an era-defining raid to a gentrification hotspot, a breakdown of Long Beach’s part in the movement. Long Beach’s queer...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Another Defense for Rainbow Flag Creator

April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019

A second response to a “Letter to the Editor” regarding the true identity for the historic rainbow flag creator As a...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Defending the Rainbow Flag Creator

April 13, 2019

April 13, 2019

In response to a “Letter to the Editor” regarding the true identity for the historic rainbow flag creator My name...

A Look Behind Genderqueer “Rubbish and Dreams”

April 10, 2019

April 10, 2019

Queer artists of Los Angeles, get ready for an enriching evening on Saturday, April 13. The California LGBT Arts Alliance...

GAY LA: When Lesbian Visibility Was an L.A. Specialty

April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019

In 2017, West Hollywood’s Plummer Park hosted an exhibit titled Lesbians to Watch Out For: ’90s Queer L.A. Activism. On...