Why are they exposing us to these nuts?

Uptown Party and Velvet Underground’s First Appearance. See also Velvet Underground’s First Public Appearance at jonasmekasfilms.com (one of Mekas’ The First 40 collection). The description places the VU performance at a “Psychiatrists Convention” and the party footage at the apartment of Stephen Shore.

The convention was in fact the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry’s 43d annual dinner at Delmonico’s Hotel.

Three quotes from The New York Times’ report the following day (which can be read in full here):

“The Chic Mystique of Andy Warhol,” described by an associate of the painter as “a kind of community action-underground-look-at-your-self-film project,” was billed as the evening’s entertainment … And until the very last minute, neither group quite believed the other would show up.

“I suppose you could call this gathering a spontaneous eruption of the id,” said Dr. Alfred Lilienthal. “Warhol’s message is one of super-reality,” said another, “a repetition of the concrete quite akin to the L.S.D. experience.” “Why are they exposing us to these nuts?” a third asked. “But don’t quote me.”

The evening ended with a short talk by Jonas Mekas, film director and critic. But long before that, guests had begun to stream out.

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Jamie Atherton

Jamie Atherton is an artist living and working in London.

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