Co-Founder’s Note: Well, hello there, dearest Filthy Dreams readers. Against my better judgment, I’ve encouraged my mother–Mama as she demands to be called–to cover yet another event for Filthy Dreams. This time, it’s the Andy Warhol Museum’s benefit Night of 1000 Elvises. Of course, being an admitted Elvis fanatic myself, I couldn’t stand to miss this opportunity. Any Elvis-centric event would be up my alley but in Pittsburgh–a city full of people with high alcohol tolerance and no shame, I figured this night would be quite a sight. And it didn’t disappoint as Mama can attest. Or I think she’s attesting because who knows what she’s talking about half the time here. Make sure to take a sip or two of your Bloody Mary before reading, you’ll need it!
Well, hello again, honeys! Mama’s back for the fifth time, can you believe it?! Your brave editor has asked Mama to cover another Filthy Dreams On Location! ‘this time, as an FD corespondent at the Andy Warhol Museum’s Night of 1000 Elvises. Aren’t you lucky!? Hang on to your _________(fill in your beverage of choice here) and wander through the Elvis/Warhol experience that was Mama’s.
A little background: During a recent homecoming visit by your editor, Mama’s honey ‘Daddy’ was perusing the Pittsburgh City Paper and discovered a promotion for the Night of 1,000 Elvises soiree at the Andy Warhol Museum. The Warhol bills:
“El Vez, the self-proclaimed “Mexican Elvis,” headlines The Warhol’s second annual fundraiser and community celebration! This year’s theme Night of 1,000 Elvises invites you to dress up as your favorite Elvis. The museum’s seven floors are open to explore, and spaces are activated by a DJ, dancing, and an underground VIP “Viva Las Vegas” lounge, complete with casino games. The evening features a DJ set and special musical performance by El Vez.”
Exclaiming, “Oooo, we have to go to that!”, event tickets* were purchased by a generous ‘Daddy’ and plans were made for another homecoming. (Co-Founder’s Note: Mama’s playing a bit with the facts here. I saw information about it on the Warhol’s Twitter)
(*Now, Mama’s honey ‘Daddy’ bought general admission tickets ’cause casino gambling is sooo confusing for Mama, ‘Daddy’ and your editor…’not that we’re cheap or anything.)
Sooo…preparing for the upcoming fete, Mama researched and found Elvis sunglasses on Amazon. What caaan’t you find on Amazon?! Three pairs of ‘Elvis’ aviator-like silver sunglasses were ordered and the ‘Elvis’ persona was set. On the evening of October 22, we (Mama, Mama’s honey ‘Daddy’ and your editor…you get the picture) donned our silver sunglasses and headed to the Warhol to arrive at the general admission time of 8:00. Giving our names at the door, Mama felt so special! ‘didn’t need a ticket…’just gave our names!
After showing ID and being braceleted (is that a word?), Mama entered a world of pink lights and sparklies reflected from a disco ball swirling around the entry hall of the Warhol. Is this a disco or is Mama having a migraine attack? No, it’s a disco!
Mama’s honey ‘Daddy’ bought us all Sauvigon Blancs (white wine) and the fun began. Now, you know Mama isn’t shy about asking Furries (see Mama’s FD Furry articles) for pictures but never asked unknown hoomans (sic) for photos. But, all the ‘Elvises’ were so gracious! Many wanted Mama in the photo too but Mama demurely refused…except for ‘Uncle Sam’, who insisted that Mama be in the shot and requested a professional photographer take the photo! Brazen!…but fun.
Mama spied El Vez, walked up and queried intelligently, “Are you El Vez?” To which, he affirmed. So, I asked, “May I take your picture?” (Note: I replied to all my photo subjects after taking their photos, “Thank you, thank you very much”…like Elvis!) El Vez struck a stunning pose. Later in the evening, there was a “special musical performance by El Vez.” And, boy, did he perform! Singing and dancing and working the crowd…why, he had three costume changes during his half-hour show. Mama especially liked his kitty-cat leopard/tiger costume…with a tail!
After downing our wines (no food and beverages in the galleries), we headed upstairs to see the current exhibit Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body and some of the permanent Warhol pieces. (Note: Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body is worth seeing! The curator is interviewed by your FD editor, Emily Colucci, for Art F City. Mama asked a gallery attendant if photos were permitted and he said “Yes, as long as no flash is used.” Oh, my stars! Mama has always wanted to take pictures at the Warhol and here’s a chance! “Katie, bar the door!”(‘reference too old?) Mama’s on the loose!
First photo, I LOVE Keith Haring’s elephant!
A little history: Few people know that Andy Warhol and Mama have some shared history! Now, sadly, I have never met Andy Warhol. But, as a fifth grader, Andy was chosen by his teacher to be in Joseph C. Fitzpatrick’s “Tam O’ Shanter” Saturday art classes at the Carnegie…Joseph C. Fitzpatrick of “to look, to see, to remember, to enjoy” fame. And, I too, was chosen by my grade school art teacher to be in the you-can-forget-cartoons Saturday morning art classes. Insider reference: I was an ‘easel artist’ several times! How many times was Andy an ‘easel artist’?! Hmmm? (An ‘easel artist’ was sent a letter by Joseph Fitzpartick to go on stage in the enormous Carnegie Music Hall and render the previous class drawing with fist-sized chalk at an easel and then talk about it at a microphone for the entire audience of kids… ‘scary stuff for a kid!)
Eight years later, Andy Warhol worked a summer at the Joseph Horne’s department store in “display,” painting backgrounds for windows. Mama was employed, many years later, in Joseph Horne’s advertising department. (Mama’s mama was born the same year as Andy Warhol.) Mama vaguely remembers some of Andy’s work secreted in the tear sheet drawer area. But, who knows? Mama’s memory is a little fuzzy. And…Andy liked kitty-cats and Mama likes kitty-cats! Well, anyhoo…
To summarize, it was an evening of about 500 or more gracious, fun-loving Elvises, mostly Pittsburghers but some came all the way from Miami! Mama learned that even ‘burghers dressed as Elvis are as kind and welcoming as Furries. Who knew? I know that Andy moved to New York City and became a big time super artist but you can’t take the ‘burgh out of a Pittsburgher. One is a product of their hometown. Pittsburgh is a city of hard-working, straight-talking people of many ethnicities. If you don’t want a Pittsburgher’s opinion, for goodness sake, don’t ask! But, they’re also open and warm-hearted. You won’t find much snooty in the ‘burgh. And, luckily Andy’s a “yinzer,” translation Pittsburgher. So’s Mama!
More photos below: