October 24, 2007

Ari & Mario: Warhol's Drag Queen Babysitter Movie


It's like learning a new word; suddenly you hear it everywhere. I'd never given a second's thought to look for kid-related Andy Warhol art, and now it's popping up everywhere. Last week, it was the story of Penelope Palmer, the only baby to film a Screen Test for Andy Warhol. Now I come to find out that there's an even better Warhol kid movie out there, Ari & Mario.

Shot at the Chelsea Hotel in 1966, Ari and Mario is a manic, manipulative, funny-sounding account of drag queen Mario Montez [above, right] trying to babysit Warhol superstar Nico's toddler son, Ari Boulogne. Montez gets increasingly frustrated when Ari doesn't pay attention to her singing. Meanwhile, Warhol is egging the kid on from behind the camera.

Nico was a model and singer who found her way into Warhol's Factory and quickly grabbed the spotlight, both as a performer with the Velvet Underground, and as a star of Warhol's most successful film, Chelsea Girls.

During her late Factory phase, though, the hard-partying Nico had her son Ari with her. Ari's father is supposedly the French actor Alain Delon. Though Delon still denies it, his mother adopted and raised Ari from the time he was very young.]

Mother and son grew up partying together. Now Boulogne is a father himself, and lives with his wife and son in Paris. [It may have been a blast at the time, but the whole Warhol-and-kids thing seems like a total trainwreck for the kids.]

Anyway, in a rare screening, the American Museum of the Moving Image is showing a newly restored print of Ari and Mario on Sunday, November 3rd, as part of a month-long Warhol's World film series.

Warhol's World, through Nov. 11th, at AMMI [movingimage.us]

Previously: The Baby in Warhol's Screen Tests
Andy Warhol's Children's Book

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