ON THE PASSING OF HOLLY WOODLAWN
|Holly Woodland at a party. NYC, 1976. Photo by Indra Tamang|
Like so many people, I was saddened to hear that Holly Woodlawn had died on December 6th in Los Angeles. She was one of the interesting characters I met early on, in the 1970s, not too long after I came to New York. I was lucky that Charles Henri Ford took me almost right away to meet Andy Warhol at the Factory, and I thought it was all very interesting although at the time I knew nothing about Andy or any of the people I was meeting at the Factory.
At a certain point, Charles gave me a little Kodak Instamatic camera, and I carried it with me wherever we went. Very often we went to Studio 54. Anytime someone was having a birthday party or some kind of celebration, an invitation would come and we’d go off to Studio 54. Andy was always there with an entourage, and rather than try to start a conversation with anyone I kept myself busy with the camera. Sometimes Charles would point at someone and say, “Photograph that one.” I didn’t always know who I was photographing then, but I ended up with a lot of snapshots of famous people. I know that I photographed Divine, and I photographed Jackie Curtis, and Jayne County, and somewhere there’s a photograph of Holly Woodlawn.
Charles remembered us being at some club one night, not Studio 54—and I have no memory of this—but a lady was pulling at me and saying, “Come on, Indra, let’s dance!” So we danced, and it was Holly Woodlawn. That was my first encounter with her and I can’t remember it! I wish I could, but at least Charles did. Later on I read Holly’s memoir, Lowlife in High Heels. I read every page and I’m sure it’s all true.
I wish her a safe passage and I’m sure she’ll be reunited soon with all the other glamorous figures who never missed a party and who have gone on ahead. Rest in Peace, Holly.
October 26, 1946 – December 6, 2015
Copyright Indra Tamang, 2015, all rights reserved.