Lou Reed, Dennis Hopper, Edie Sedgwick, Billy Name, Nico, Ingrid Superstar, Paul America. The names of Andy Warhol’s ‘superstars’ still evoke a sense of avant-garde glamour, strange happenings and a lot of silver foil. There is an undeniable allure to Warhol’s carefully constructed persona, which some argue holds even more relevance now than it did in the Factory’s heyday. Among his incredible body of work is some 500 ‘screen tests’, featuring the Factory superstars, hangers-on and passersby. The stark screen tests were shot on a 16mm camera and screened in slow motion, the 2 minutes 45 seconds of footage stretching to 4 minutes in the final product. Coming up at the Sydney Opera House is 13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, a show which blends live musical performance by songwriters Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips of Dean & Britta and 13 of the original screen tests. “[Warhol’s] films are lesser known and they’re challenging,” says Dean. “I think it’s some of his best work and people never get to see them on the big screen.” Choosing the 13 most beautiful from the vast bank of films retained in the Warhol Museum was, “the most difficult thing” Dean muses. “We tried to use people who would have been at the Factory every day … You know all the names, but we don’t really know anything about them.” The selection promises to be a fascinating collection of the eerie, the bizarre, the sad and the beautiful, not unlike Warhol himself. Dean, who spent seven years in Sydney as a youngster, is excited to perform in the Opera House. “It’s going to be a magical evening,” he promises. With this incredible collection of rare Warhol work, and accompanied by pop chanteuse Britta, 13 Most Beautiful deserves more than 15 minutes of fame.
Feb 28, 8pm, Sydney Opera House, from $60, 9250 7777 or sydneyoperahouse.com