July 31, 2021 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

WeHo Asking For Community Input On Naming Request to Rename the West Hollywood Library

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is conducting a community survey to solicit public input about a naming request to rename...

Patrick O’Connell, AIDS Activist, Dead At 67

May 6, 2021

May 6, 2021

Patrick O’Connell, a venerable AIDS activist and creator of the iconic red ribbon creating awareness about the disease, has died...

Ivy Bottini – WeHo Icon & LGBTQ Advocate Dies

March 14, 2021

March 14, 2021

Ivy Bottini an artist, mother and a legendary activist, devoting over 50 years to the feminist & LGBTQ  struggle for...

Black History Month: Celebrating Bayard Rustin

January 31, 2021

January 31, 2021

Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Due to criticism...

WeHo Will Commemorate MLK Jr. Day With Virtual Donation Drive

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

In January 2021, the City of West Hollywood will continue its tradition of joining hundreds of communities across the country...

City Of WeHo Celebrates Veterans Day 2020

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will honor veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces during a virtual...

USC One Archives to Host Screening of Film on Black Trans Woman to Honor Black History Month

February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

Meet Mary Jones, a black transgender woman born in New York in 1803. Described as a “man-monster” in the press. ...

VIDEO: South Coast Chorale’s Tribute to Gay & Civil Rights Activist

January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

67 years ago, openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay “lewd conduct” charge for...

Honoring Gay Rights & Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin

January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

On this day in history 67 years ago, gay civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay...

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...