Tag Archives: The Velvet Underground

Angus Maclise

Angus MacLise was a musician, poet, artist, and counterculture figure who was a mainstay of the downtown New York arts scene in the 1960s.


Angus MacLise Checklist:

Section A: Books and Broadsides
Section B: Contributions to Periodicals
Section C: Recordings
Section D: Publications Edited and Published


· The Dead Language [see also Piero Heliczer]
· Bardo Matrix


Angus MacLise was born in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1938. He studied music and dance before moving to Paris in the late 1950s. In Paris he and his high school friend, avant-garde filmmaker Piero Heliczer, started the Dead Language Press in 1958. The press specialized in poetry and published early works by poets such as Gregory Corso, Olivia de Haulleville, Hendrik Jan Marsman, Anselm Hollo, and others. MacLise also published several of his own poems and manuscripts through the press, including the pamphlet Year that renames all of the days of the year—a convention that MacLise and many of his friends used in dating correspondence or artworks.

MacLise and Heliczer moved back to the United States in the early 1960s, settling in New York and bringing the press with them. In New York, MacLise continued his publishing efforts, while also pursuing music and becoming involved in avant-garde theatrics and performance art pieces. He was a member of the Theater of Eternal Music, started and organized by composer and musician LaMonte Young. He was a regular participant in Fluxus events in New York City and appeared in many experimental films being made by his friends in the downtown arts scene at the time, notably Piero Heliczer and Ira Cohen.

MacLise was a founding member of the Velvet Underground—he was introduced to the band through his roommate John Cale and became the band’s first drummer. Though he helped to found the band, and may have even given it its name, his time with the Velvet Underground was short due to MacLise’s disinterest in creating art for profit or on a schedule dictated by anything other than his own inspiration. He does not appear on any of the band’s recordings.

In 1967 MacLise moved briefly to Berkeley, where he joined the Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company, a street performance troupe that included the painter and illustrator Hetty McGee. McGee and MacLise were married in Golden Gate Park in a ceremony officiated by Timothy Leary. The two would later have a son, Ossian, who began living in a Tibetan monastery at the age of 4 and was recognized at 7 as a tulku—a reincarnation of a lama.

The couple moved back to New York where MacLise again collaborated with Ira Cohen, scoring and appearing in Cohen’s film The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda.

In 1970 Angus and Hetty began a tour of Asia that ended with their settling in Kathmandu, Nepal. In Nepal, MacLise helped operate the Spirit Catcher Bookshop in Kathmandu which became a gathering place for the growing community of artist and poet expatriates living and working in the area. He founded a literary and poetry journal, Ting Pa, and in 1974 he and Ira Cohen started the Bardo Matrix publishing venture. They published work by MacLise, Paul Bowles, Charles Henri Ford among others.

During this time he was particularly interested in calligraphic art and works on paper. Much of his own work from his time in Nepal includes calligraphic illustrations in a made-up script. He was working on establishing a handmade paper company, Himalayan Paper, Inc. at the time of his death.

MacLise died in 1979 in Kathmandu, Nepal at the age of 41.


References Consulted:

Dreamweapon: The Art and Life of Angus MacLise 1938-1979
New York: Boo-Hooray, 2011


Online Resources:

Blastitude – Angus MacLise: Master of Synthesis

Columbia University Libraries – Angus MacLise papers

Piero Heliczer – Film

>> return to PIERO HELICZER main page >>

SECTION C:
This index includes films by Piero Heliczer, with a short section at the end highlighting films that Piero Heliczer appears in


Films by Piero Heliczer: 

1. THE AUTUMN FEAST (1961) [link to Ubu Web]
Format: 8mm, 14 minutes, black and white and color, silent / sound on tape
Writer/Director: Piero Heliczer
Cinematography: Jeff Keen
Cast: Piero Heliczer, Kate Heliczer, Jacqueline Keen and others
Music: Angus MacLise – cembalum, Tony Conrad – mandolin, Piero Heliczer – flute

Note:  a deliberately non-synchronous film, shot in 8mm with the sound on tape. Piero Heliczer reads his poem “The Autumn Feast,” and the visuals interact with, but do not represent what is read.

“A grown up fantasy based on Guy Fawkes Day, the great children’s holiday of England, which is a combination of Halloween and the Fourth of July.” – Piero Heliczer.

“The Autumn Feast lays bare (there should be something that rhymes with hair here or bare there) the mythic structure behind the orange domes and cardboard battlements and gilded gables of our Pasty National Howard Johnsons Baghdad. It rubs the very noses of our mannequins in our mold and sends us spinning into the street – undone and toothless” – Jack Smith

2. THE SOAP OPERA (c. 1964)
Format: 16mm, 13 minutes, silent
Cinematography: Piero Heliczer
Cast: Piero Heliczer, Angus MacLise, Jack Smith, Marian Zazeela, LaMonte Young and others.

“This is basically a documentary on the beginnings of the cultural revolution on the Lower East Side, New York. While finishing this film, Piero Heliczer starred in Jack Smith’s FLAMING CREATURES and later in Bill Vehr’s AVOCADA.” – The Film-Makers Coop

“Also known as THE HOME OPERA and THE PANIC OPERA. At home in a small loft in the early days of the Golden Age of the Lower East Side. With Piero Heliczer, Angus Maclise, Jack Smith, LaMonte Young, Marian Zazeela and others.” – Piero Heliczer.

3. DIRT (1965) [link to Ubu Web]
Format: 8mm, 12 minutes, color/black and white, silent with sound on tape
Writer/Director: Piero Heliczer
Producer: Andy Warhol
Cast: John Cale, Storm De Hirsch, Bobby Driscoll [Nun], Dee Dee Driscoll, Rose Feliu-Pettet [Bride], Charles Henri Ford, Julie Garfield, Kate Heliczer, Sally Kirkland, Gretl Learned, Angus MacLise, Gerard Malanga, Jack Martin, Ann Mattingley, Barbara Maultsby, Jonas Mekas, Mario Montez, Irene Nolan, Bobby Notkoff, Barbara Rubin, Edie Sedgwick, Harry Smith, Jack Smith, Charles Stanley, Andy Warhol, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela
Music: Marc Antoine Charpentier: Kyrie and Credo from the mass, “Assumpta Est Maria”
Filming location: New York City

Note: planned as a three hour epic, but when finished was only 12 minutes: also known as BATH SEQUENCE.

“Two nuns take a bath, then meet a sailor on the Staten Island Ferry. With Irene Nolan, Gretl Learned, Angus Maclise, Mario Montez and others.” – Piero Heliczer.

“Among all the new movies (it has been quiet lately on the underground scene) Piero Heliczer’s Dirt touched me most deeply. Its beauty is very personal and lyrical. And every frame of it is cinema. I can do not justice to this beautiful work in one paragraph. It was shot on 8mm and much of its beauty and its cinema come from 8mm properties of camera and film. It is all motion. Together with Brakhage’s Songs, Branaman’s abstractions and Ken Jackob’s not yet released work, Heliczer’s Dirt is one of the four works that use 8mm film properly and for art’s sake” – Jonas Mekas, Village Voice.

4. THE LAST RITES (1965)

5. SATISFACTION (c. 1965)
Format: 16mm, 10 minutes, color/black and white, silent with sound on tape
Writer/Director: Piero Heliczer
Cinematography: Piero Heliczer
Cast: John Cale, Sally Kirkland [The Nun], Angus MacLise, Gerard Malanga [Flash Gordon], Mario Montez, Irene Nolan [School Girl], Barbara Rubin [The Nun], Jack Smith [God], Frances Stillman [The Nun]
Music: The Rolling Stones (“Satisfaction”)
Sound Engineer: Tony Conrad

“A nun goes to Heaven and arrives there at the same time as Flash Gordon. With Sally Kirkland (as the Nun), Irene Nolan (as the School Girl), Frances Stillman and Barbara Rubin (as Nuns), Gerard Malanga (as Flash Gordon, Jack Smith (as God), Jack Martin, Angus Maclise, Mario Montez, and others.” – Piero Heliczer.

6. VENUS IN FURS (1965)
Format: 16mm, 16 minutes, color, silent with sound on tape
Director: Piero Heliczer
Cinematography: Piero Heliczer
Cast: John Cale, Piero Heliczer, Angus MacLise, Lou Reed, Barbara Rubin, The Velvet Underground
Music: The Velvet Underground (“Heroin”, “Venus in Furs” with Piero Heliczer on saxophone)
Sound Engineer: CBS-TV News

“This companion film to SATISFACTION is set at the opposite solstice and recapitulates part of DIRT. With Julie Garfield and Barbara Rubin (as Nuns), Chas Stanley (as Death), Margaret Boyce Cam (as the Nurse), Lou Reed, John Cale, Angus Maclise and others. A chess game under the bridge becomes a party in Hell. A must for lepidopterists.” – Piero Heliczer.

7. JOAN OF ARC
Format: 16mm, 11.5 minutes, color, silent with sound on tape
Cast: Arnold Rockwood (as the Policeman), Jack Smith (as LBJ), Rene Ricard, Ira Cohen, Wm. de Vore, Gerard Malanga, Tuli Kupferberg (as Bonnie Prince Charlie), Jose Rodriguez Soltero (as the Priest), Angus MacLise, Irene Nolan (as Marlene Dietrich), Chas Henry Ford, Jane Waldren, Wendy Norins, Andy Warhol, and many others
Music: Tony Conrad

“The story of Joan of Arc as applied to the present revolution in arts and mores. The Gothic is applied to the War in Vietnam. The film is experimental in the sense that in it the visual becomes tactile. With Arnold Rockwood (as the Policeman), Jack Smith (as LBJ), Rene Richard, Ira Cohen, Wm. de Vore, Gerard Malanga, Tuli Kupferberg (as Bonnie Prince Charlie), Jose Rodriguez-Soltero (as the Priest), Chas. Henri Ford, Jane Waldren, Wendy Norins and many others.” – Piero Heliczer.

8. THE STONE AGE
Format: 16mm, 24 minutes, color/black and white, silent with sound on tape
Cast: Tom Raworth, Mary and Gudmundur Gudmunsson Erro, Agneta Freiberg, Jane Fagin, Michael Malce, Francois le Coeur, Jackie Curtis, Viva, Michal Auder, Terence Ork, Mario Anniballi, Jud & Jeni Yalkut, Marion Brown, Mossa Bildner, Dexter Kelly, Betsy Greenstein, Gerorge Whitman, Alferdo Leonardi, Patti-Lee Chenis, Cornelia Wessels, Joseph Arak, Jose Rodriguez-Soltero, Rolando Pena, Suzanne de Maria, Lohr Wilson, Jerry Benjamin, Jack Smith (as Casanova), Michael Snow (as Aristotle), Gerard Malanga (as Orfeo) and many others
Music: Claudio Monteverdi (“Orfeo – Act III”)

9. HARUNOBU
Format: 8mm, 5 minutes, color, silent with sound on tape
Cast: Antoine Perich and others

“The action takes place in a pissoir in june/1958 the weather is very good every now and then it/ rains very hard at night there is lightning in/ the day time bright sun without rain bows the / day is bright as urine/ some of the action takes place on the outer/ surface of the pissoir shell/ harunobu wears a white noh mask and/ reddish black wig her japanese dress is white/ lack and red like a st raphael advertisement/ jean sebastien bach/ gregory shaxper/ with antoine perich and others.” – Piero Heliczer.

10. BESSIE SMITH (1967)
Format: 16mm, 6 minutes, color, silent with sound on tape

“Photographed by gerard malanga in the subways of new york (actually the set of the blue centaur left over from the economy cutbacks at mgm and paramount/ joseph smith; patti lee chenis/ barrabas son to joseph smith: bill iwata/ captain john smith/ captain smiths band white masks mustaches armored round quattrocento helmets/ angel black face wears a checkered ginham dress/ band of angels/ johann sebastian back wears a wig in blackface looks a lot like george washington two fingers of his left hand are missing/ bessie smith: lily ocasio/ joseph smith and barabbas smith are played by one man preferably buster keaton/ angel and bach are played by one man preferably django reinhardt/ captain smiths band is played by the band of angels.” – Piero Heliczer.

11. THE NAKED LUNCH (1968)
Format: 1/4″ magnetic tape, 30 minutes

“A film for tape recorder no projector needed/ sound by wm burroughs.” – Piero Heliczer.

12. ST. THERESE DE L’ENFANT JESUS
Format: 16mm, 40 minutes, black and white, silent

13. ROBIN HOOD
Format: 16mm, 39.5 minutes, black and white, silent


Film with Appearances by Piero Heliczer: 

1. BENGASI (1942)
Director: Augusto Genina
Writers: Edoardo Anton, Ugo Betti, Alessandro De Stefani, Augusto Genina
Piero Heliczer (as Sandrino Berti (aka “Pucci”))

2. ACQUE DI PRIMAVERA (1942)
Director: Nunzio Malasomma
Writers: Nunzio Malasomma, Sergio Pugliese
Piero Heliczer (as “un altro bambino”)

3. FLAMING CREATURES (1963)
Format: 16mm, 45 minutes, black and white, mono
Writer/Director: Jack Smith
Cinematography: Jack Smith
Cast: Francis Francine (as himself), Sheila Bick (as Delicious Dolores), Joel Markman (as Our Lady of the Docks), Mario Montez (as The Spanish Girl (aka Dolores Flores)), Arnold Rockwood (as Arnold), Judith Malina (as The Fascinating Woman), Marian Zazeela (as herself), Beverly Grant (as Whirling Dervish), Piero Heliczer (as himself)
Music: Tony Conrad
Filming Location: New York City

“An experimental film that features graphic sexual imagery, an earthquake, and a lipstick commercial.”

4. COUCH (1964)
Format: 16mm, 54 minutes, black and white, silent
Director: Andy Warhol
Producer: Andy Warhol
Cast: Bingingham Birdie, Rufus Collins, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Kate Heliczer, Pierre Helzicer, Jane Holzer, Jack Kerouac, Mark Lancaster, Joseph LeSeuer, Naomi Levine, Gerard Malanga, Taylor Mead, Billy Name (as Billy Linich), Ivy Nicholson, Ondine, Peter Orlovsky, John Palmer, Amy Taubin, Gloria Wood

The couch at Andy Warhol’s Factory was as famous in its own right as any of his Superstars. In Couch, visitors to the Factory were invited to “perform” on camera, seated on the old couch. Their many acts-both lascivious and mundane-are documented in a film that has come to be regarded as one of the most notorious of Warhol’s early works. Across the course of the film we encounter such figures as poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, the writer Jack Kerouac, and perennial New York figure Taylor Mead.

5. SCREEN TEST(1965)
Format: 16mm, 3 minutes, black & white, silent
Director/Producer: Andy Warhol
Cinematography: Gerard Malanga

Piero Heliczer, dressed in a broad-brimmed black hat and high collar, is placed in front of a plastic sheeting. He slowly smokes a cigarette, occasionally blowing a smoke ring. Towards the end of the roll he smiles, closes his eyes and sticks his tongue out at the camera

Note:between 1964 and 1966 Andy Warhol made about 500 different Screen Tests of various personalities who visited his atelier Factory.

6. BROTHEL (1966)
Format: 16mm, 45 minutes, color, mono
Director/Writer: Bill Vehr
Producer: Bill Vehr
Cinematrography: Bill Vehr
Cast: Mario Montez, Jack Smith, Piero Heliczer, Tosh Carillo, Francis Francine

Brothel is a 45-minute color film starring Mario Montez, Jack Smith, Piero Heliczer, Tosh Carillo, and Francis Francine. Filmmaker Carl Linder was particular taken with Vehr’s film, describing the film’s protagonist as “neo-romantic, Beardsley-esque phantoms from an Oscar Wilde garden.”

7. HOMEO (1967) [link to Dailymotion]
Format: 16mm, 38 minutes, color
Director: Étienne O’Leary
Cast: Michel Asso, Michel Auder, Yves Beneyton, Dennis Berry, Juliet Berto, Margareth Clémenti, Pierre Clémenti, Francis Conrad (as Konrad), Billy Copley, François De Menil, Barbara Girard, Michèle Giraud, Piero Heliczer, Nicole Laguigner, Taylor Mead

O’Leary’s second film is a disjointed collage of beautifully shot footage: cityscapes, signs and billboards, nudes and cameos by other French actors/filmmakers of the day.

8. NO PRESIDENT (1967)
Format: 16mm, 50 minutes, black and white
Director: Jack Smith
Cast: Tally Brown, Tosh Carillo, Doris Desmond, Charles Henri Ford (as Lady Dracula), Bill Fortenberry, Francis Francine, Piero Heliczer, Donna Kerness, Nancy King, Robert Lavigne, Gerard Malanga, Joel Markman, Gay Martini, Mario Montez, Irving Rosenthal

Note: original title was “The Kidnapping of Wendell Willkie by the Love Bandit”