Koolhaas, Warhol, and Chelsea Girls

Koolhaus on Movie: "In the thirties - when the second Waldorf is being built - the 'Hotel' becomes Hollywood's favorite subject. In a sense, it relieves the scriptwriter of the obligation of inventing a plot. A Hotel is plot - a cybernetic universe with its own laws generating random but fortuitous collisions between human beings who would never have met elsewhere."

The appeal of the Hotel to Warhol is obvious. Grand Hotel (1932) with Garbo, Barrymore (Lionel and John), Crawford, and Beery serves as the prototype for any of these plotless gatherings as film, think airport, ocean liner, department store. Warhol's Chelsea Girls (1966) with Brigid Berlin, Nico, Ondine, Ingrid Superstar, International Velvet, and Mary Woronov, takes the theme and the hotel underground. The Chelsea is the dark side of the Waldorf-Astoria.

Another locale for the plotless movie is the museum or library, which is where Grand Hotel and Chelsea Girls are now shown. Of course, the cemetery is the dark side of the museum or library, and a film like Dawn of the Dead (1978), where zombies wander aimlessly in a mall, attempts to drive a stake through the heart of the endless proliferation of Grand Hotel films and to spit on their graves.

As the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) proves, the attempt was unsuccessful and the Grand Hotel plot rises to screen yet again. And again. And again. Warhol would love it.



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