Synopsis: A look into what moved Andy Warhol’s greatest muse
Located at 33 Union Square West in the heart of New York City’s pulsing downtown scene, Andy Warhol’s Factory was an artistic anomaly. Not simply a painter’s studio, it was the center of Warhol’s assembly-line production of films, books, art, and the groundbreaking Interviewmagazine. Although Warhol’s first Factory on East 47th Street was known for its space-age silver interior, the Union Square Factory became the heart, brain, eyes, and soul of all things Warhol—and was, famously, the site of the assassination attempt that nearly took his life. It also produced a subculture of Factory denizens known as superstars, a collection of talented and ambitious misfits, the most glamorous and provocative of whom was the transgender pioneer Candy Darling.
Born James Slattery in Queens in 1944 and raised on Long Island, the author began developing a female identity as a young child. Carefully imitating the sirens of Hollywood’s golden age, young Jimmy had, by his early twenties, transformed into Candy, embodying the essence of silver-screen femininity, and in the process became her true self.
Warhol, who found the whole dizzying package irresistible, cast Candy in his films Flesh and Women in Revolt and turned her into the superstar she was born to be. In her writing, Darling provides an illuminating look at what it was like to be transgender at a time when the gay rights movement was coming into its own. Blessed with a candor, wit, and style that inspired not only Warhol, but Tennessee Williams, Lou Reed, and Robert Mapplethorpe, Darling made an indelible mark on American culture during one of its most revolutionary eras. These memoirs depict a talented and tragic heroine who was taken away from us far too soon
Publication date: February 17, 2015
Date Read: January 15, 2015
Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Open Road Media
No. of Pages: 230
Inspirational as it was tragic.
I requested a copy from NetGalley and they were more than willing to approve said request. And I was more than happy to have read such an inspiring and moving book. I particularly loved that I could identify with the book in more ways than one, though there are close to none similarities between Candy Darling’s life then and my life now. I guess everything she said in her letters still hold true today. The fact that Candy Darling stayed true to who she was, despite the few setbacks and despite that her being a transgender was not as openly accepted as it is today – she was her own beacon of hope, her own light at the end of the tunnel. She truly believed in herself and her capabilities – she took the word respectable to whole new level. I loved how this memoir depicted her struggles to be accepted and respected, and to be loved – in which until today these are what people truly long for, just in a different circumstance. Her passion in everything she did will never go unnoticed. She was a dreamer and a pursuer, I loved how this book was able to send its message across – that life is what we make of it, and in the end it will always be our choice that would matter.
Her diary entries and letters shed a light on how she lived her life, how there were struggles and there were victories, how there was longing for acceptance and validation. It is very inspiring, her voice is so alive as if she was the one talking to you. It was tragic that her life ended too soon at the age of 29, she could have seen better days. Through her diary and letters her life lives on, she left a legacy, she left something truly amazing.
The cover is amazing, showed how colorful Candy Darling’s life was. I had issues with the format of the whole book, but I overlooked said fact, as I was after the contents of the memoir.
“You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality. We should both try to live it. You’ve got to always keep your heart and mind open. You can disguise your emotions, you can even numb them, and finally you can paralyze them. And that is tragic. Our emotions are the only clues to our identity. The only true meaning in life is passion. The passion to learn, to paint, to love, etc. Don’t dare destroy your passion for the sake of others. When you do you’ve lost the beauty of life, and that’s what a sin is. By robbing yourself of your very reason to exist, you have cheated. You must laugh when you must laugh, you must weep when you must weep, and you must love when you must love.”