Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Heart My Friends, Vol.2: Edie

"When I looked away from Jac in one of those 'I'm only looking away so I won't look like I'm
staring at you' kind of moments, I found myself in the gaze of yet another beautiful creature - quieter, more calculating, perhaps not feeling well. This was Edie."
- J.Wiltz, Thoughts on Edie, September 2004

I didn't think I'd get my chance, dear readers, but last week it finally happened. Factory Girl - the new movie starring Sienna Miller as Pop Art princess Edie Sedgwick - is playing at ONE movie theater in New Orleans. And, like any movie buff worth his salt, I made the trip to see it. Was it worth it? Oh, you betcha. Yes, in spite of all the negative press it's received, Factory Girl succeeds on a number of levels. First and foremost - my favorite aspect of it all - it illustrates the differences in the way people express emotion. At one point in the movie, Edie is torn between a relationship with an anonymous folk singer (obviously Bob Dylan) and the connection she shares with Pop artist Andy Warhol. The folk singer, of course, is the heavy-handed poet type ("It's all about what's in your heart," he says), while Andy sees the fame he's created for her as the ultimate affection. She says to him, "You made me look like a fool in your movies!" to which he wholeheartedly replies, "But every girl in New Jersey wants to look like you, Edie." Too perfect. For those of us who struggle to find the sincerity in superficiality, it's a must-see. Guy Pearce is the best onscreen Andy Warhol I've ever seen.

But anyway, that's not the point. The point is that I'm taking some time out today to pay homage to the great plastic princess of the J.Wiltz Celebrity Entourage - the one I nicknamed "Edie" in tribute to the abovementioned Edie Sedgwick - the one and only Mary Ashley "Edie" Drabman.

Edie and I met at the grocery store while we were in college, and we've pretty much kept in touch ever since. Don't worry, she wasn't some stranger that I approached with some lame pick-up line or anything. No, she happens to be my friend Jac's best friend (Jac, just so you know, is another college friend of mine. We hit it off after I mercilessly tore into a pretentious grad student in an English class we took together. Good times.) Now, it's a strange thing to admire in someone, but when I first met Edie I was really taken with the fact that she's such a blatant girl. Most girls these days will tell you that they're "just like one of the guys" and that they "have more guy friends than girl friends," but Edie was just so all about shoes and make-up and shopping and credit cards and gossip that I couldn't help but feel a little relieved. At last, I thought, an unapologetic American girl.

There's a lot that I could say about her, and I'm sure I probably will before it's all said and done, but for now I think this excerpt from a series I wrote in 2004 entitled Thoughts on Edie will give you a good idea of how it all works...Read and enjoy.

"In May of 2001, just two months after I first met Edie and apparently proved myself worthy of her company, I included her in my traditional '10 Day Countdown to My Birthday' E-Mail Chain, which I send to everyone on my e-mail address list every year. Enthusiastically, Edie responded to one of my letters and told me how she'd just gotten through a great book called A Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. 'It's so good,' she told me. 'I cried. You'd love it.' Then she took the whole thing a step further, e-mailing me a copy of the opening poem and telling me she would put the book in the mail and send it to me for my birthday. I couldn't wait. Here, after all, was an interesting book coming to me from an interesting new friend, a chance not only to read the story for myself but to see what qualifies as 'so good' in the world of Edie Drabman. (People's tastes in literature say so much about their inner workings.) Anxiously I waited. I waited and waited and waited...

Three years and three birthdays later, I have yet to see that copy of A Boy's Life sitting in my mailbox (though of course every year Edie has asked me for my address and sworn she was going to send me something.) Now, don't get me wrong. I don't take personal offense to this. In fact, I'm saying all of this with a great deal of affection. I think I'd actually be kind of disappointed if I were ever actually to open the mailbox and find a gift from Edie on my birthday. It sounds strange, I know - especially coming from someone who would declare his birthday a national holiday if he had the chance - but really, it's one of those things I know I can count on. One of my universal truths: My mother loves me and Edie will never really send me a birthday present." - J. Wiltz (September 13, 2004)

Thank you for being a friend, Superstar. I hope you're doing well. Give my best to David Bowie.
These are pics of the "real" Edie.


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