CANDY, CANDY DARLING
With one single toss of her magnificent, glossy curls in front of Andy Warhol’s lens, Candy Darling’s solo performances established a fierceness that would shape the definitional contours of glamour. Before there was Hedwig, before the Edie Sedgwick craze, before the mass marketing of Warhol paraphernalia, there was Candy Darling, whose fashionable existence was a marvelous ruse of sorts for a new kind of draggish insubordination.
The Candy vs. Edie contest remains interesting for the reason that it alludes to our culture’s current favoritism and obsession with spoiled rich girls with no particular talent, but who are considered talented, who are considered risqué, but don’t actually take risks. Very few would live as daringly as Candy. Seemingly a sexual curiosity, Candy, as we will see, made the personal, political. Born in 1946 as James Lawrence Slattery in Forrest Hills New, New York, Jimmy grew up absorbing old Hollywood movies, imitating his favorite female stars. . He started cross-dressing, visiting bars in Manhattan, and taking hormone injections in the early 1960s, marking/making his gradual transition from James to Candy. Candy met Andy Warhol in 1967 and thereafter he invited her to appear in one of his movies, Andy Warhol’s Women. She then moved on in the 1970s to star in the infamous Klute with Jane Fonda and Lady Liberty with Sophia Loren.