There’s Something about Mary Woronov

Back at the Factory…or in this case the cultural center…

Ramona, Mary in the middle and Me.

A group of us attended an art/film/book signing event for Mary Woronov; former muse to Andy Warhol.  A muse by definition is a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. However, Woronov has since become her own creative artist as actor, figurative painter and author.  But getting back to Andy…

I’ve always had a fascination with Andy Warhol, going so far as once trying to locate him (at a relatively young age) at his studio in Manhattan that everyone referred to as “the Factory.”  Unfortunately he wasn’t there and I’m not even sure what would have happened had I found him.  Perhaps he’d have hired me as an assistant, perhaps he would have put me in one of his underground movies and I would’ve become his muse or maybe he would have just told me to scram…but I didn’t see it that way.

Art by Mary Woronov

Being a bit of a mystery, his work appealed to me and he was way ahead of his time having eventually predicted what is now happening with social media where an average person can become famous through avenues like YouTube or tik tok.  It’s fascinating actually; the world is wide open and yet; it’s not really “real.”  Reality TV, influencers and Art is everywhere.  I remember Warhol’s “Interview Magazine”, nicknamed “The Crystal Ball of Pop”, featuring interviews with celebrities, artists, musicians, and creative thinkers. In 2018, the publication ‘folded’ and ended both its print and web publications.  Times have changed.  But sometimes it’s important to hear significant stories from the past.

with Claudia Reid of Palm Springs POV + variety show entertainer.

Which brings me to my recent meeting with former Warhol muse and cult star Mary Woronov.  It was at the closing reception of her art series “the mystery of the red shoe” and a movie she starred in called “Rock ‘n Roll High School,” at the Palm Springs Cultural Center last Saturday night – the closing night of a MARY WORONOV MEGASPECTIVE presented by The Ebersole Hughes Company – the same documentarian duo who did “House of Cardin,” “My Name is Lopez,” “Mansfield 66/67,” “Dear Mom, Love Cher,” and others.  I’m a huge fan of their work.

Sponsored by HELLTOWN Whiskey & The Cheetah Hotel (links below).

with Roy; creator & co-founder of Helltown Whiskey

Gathered around was an eclectic bunch, to say the least:  An “in-the-know” crowd of documentarians, entertainers, musicians, whiskey makers and the odd blogger who remains curious.

L-R (Me, Mary Woronov, Ramona Huth, Roy Rogers Oldenkamp, P. David Ebersole, Kitty Joselle Gilvezan.

It’s clear that not everyone knows who Mary Woronov is.  A major cult figure as an actress for her work with Andy Warhol and Roger Corman films, she is also an accomplished painter and writer, having published three books —Wake for the Angels: Paintings and Stories, her autobiography Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory, and the novel Snake.

Kitty Joselle and hubby Dan Gilvezan

Woronov joined Warhol’s entourage after a class trip to the Factory and starred in a number of his underground films (Chelsea Girls for one), and she appeared as a go-go dancer in the Velvet Underground’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows. She left the Factory in the late 1960s and, after recovering from a heavy methamphetamine addiction, spent two years in Europe with a friend. It was during this time, Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, and thanks to the now altered Factory dynamic, “there was nothing to go back to.” She then supported herself with work in off-Broadway theatre, got married to director/producer Theodore Gershuny, appearing in three of his films.

Woronov is most famous for her role as Mary Bland in Paul Bartel’s black comedy Eating Raoul (1982).

She’s also funny as hell.  It was a pleasure being in her company.

Speaking of hell….there was Helltown Whiskey where co-founder Roy Rogers Oldenkamp (an L.A. Art Dealer) gave my friend Ramona and me a little education on the making of whiskey as we sampled whiskey sours which turned out to be pretty darn tasty.  The evening ended with us getting a lift to another bar called Truss & Twine with an entertainer who plays piano and sings Dean Martin tunes while his wife sings Dinah Shore oldies. The show is appropriately called “Dino and Dinah.” 

Welcome to Palm Springs!

Cheers!

 Cheetah Hotel:

https://www.cheetahhotelps.com/

Helltown Whiskey

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L.A. Vibes

Bits ‘n Pieces of Los Angeles ambiance from a recent visit.

Flower Child

My friend Natalia – Santa Monica Beach

Fish Market Sushi Hand Rolls – THE BEST!

Bijan, Beverly Hills

Sunglasses: Balenciaga

Everything has beauty; but not everyone sees it – Confucius

Photos: d. king

 

Tracy Turco’s Pink Palace

Welcome to a sneak peek of Hungarian-Hollywood history!

The pink palace; part of this year’s Palm Spring’s Modernism Home Tour.

The home’s previous owner was glamorous socialite and actress Magda Gabor, eldest sister to both Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor. (Eva was well-known for her role as the most stylish housewife who lived on a farm in the series “Green Acres”).  The Kardashians have nothing on these three. The charismatic sisters, originally from Hungary, were a favorite on the talk show circuit, dazzling each host with sophistication, wit and charm. Zsa Zsa had some memorable one liners among them “I’m a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house.”   I always admired their “no apologies” excess because of the way they handled it all.  And I always find it amusing when people assume beautiful women-with-means are stupid, and even more amusing when they’re proven wrong.  

Eva (L), Magda (in the middle) + Zsa Zsa (R)

But it’s not all about the house or the Gabors…

It’s as much about the unique style and many talents of the new owner, Tracy Turco. The devoted wife/mother/artist/hotelier has built an empire unto herself, bringing her vivacious design flair and spirit to one of the world’s glamour capitals, and making it more so.

original painting portrait of Magda Gabor to Tracy’s left.

The mid-century design mecca of Palm Springs has never been better since Tracy and her real estate developer husband Jerry took up residence here a little over two years ago.

Tracy isn’t called the “Design Diva of the Desert” for nada. Her entrepreneurial spirit has been hands-on behind several boutique hotels – Art Hotel, Cheetah Hotel (as shown in the header), Tiki Hotel, with more on the way.  A  modernism museum is already in the works including a disco pizza + roller rink (can’t wait!) and she still finds time to head an “Entrepreneurial Women’s Club of Palm Springs” (helping other women realize their own business potential) with monthly meetings, along with having a toddler.

Tracy with her adorable baby daughter Marchesa.

I don’t know how she handles it all – but she does and always with amazing aplomb. I have a feeling it’s in her DNA – both beauty and brains. Maybe we should refer to her as “the unsinkable Tracy Turco” (an allusion to the movie “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” – about the famed American socialite and philanthropist played by Debbie Reynolds). See what I mean?

Master Bedroom with custom made round bed.
View from master bedroom bathtub

Tracy (nee Stern) first made a name for herself in her native New York with creative lifestyle brands such as Salon Tea and Tea & Co. (with multiple locations around the globe – even making Oprah’s favorite list).  I had the pleasure of sampling a few teas at a Tiki Party she hosted at her previous Tiki House and they were several cuts above anything else I’ve ever tasted as far as teas go.  No wonder she was able to publish two books on tea and entertaining (another skill she excels at, including cooking/baking).  But she didn’t stop there. She’s designed shoes for the likes of Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. Not a shabby squad. But that was then…

Elvis Silkscreen by Warhol.

At the Tiki hotel there’s a colorful boutique with Tracy’s name on it – literally. It’s almost impossible to drop in and walk out empty handed.  I ended up buying a pair of flip flops that have gold crown emblem’s (afterall, my last name is King) and an amazing lipstick that comes in 3 gorgeous pin-up girl shades. Oh yeah; they also have her name on it – as she designed those too.

Now getting back to the Turco’s stunning house…


Aside from the original interior design which includes the etched “M’s on the mirrors (that baby Marchesa will one day inherit), Tracy added bold color and contrast, keeping faithful to Hollywood Regency elegance, signifying both opulence and comfort. Something not so easy to achieve. A few of the paintings of beautiful Magda that belonged to Magda, now belong to the Turcos, along with some of the furniture (including piano shown here) which belonged to Zsa Zsa from the Gabor era. A bygone era, or so we thought.

I love this diamond ring bird-feeder with a perfect “birds-eye” view.

Long Live Beauty, Charm, Glamour & Imagination!

For more and ALL information including hotels/books/guides click here:

https://www.tracyturco.com/

Who’s that girl?
Photo: Megan Abbott

Home Photos: d. king