Real Live Action

Dean & Britta



Dean Wareham, the former New Zealand denizen of Velvet Underground inspired rock, and Britta Phillips, the singing voice of cartoon character Jem and countless musical projects, put together a subtle and historical night of sound and cinema. Push Festival’s 13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests is just what it was advertised to be. On their own I wouldn’t call the 13 bits of obscure cellulite beautiful; rather, they’re a curious collection of characters who found themselves entwined in Warhol’s films and more specifically in his Factory studio circa 1964 –1966. Nico, Dennis Hopper, Lou Reed and Edie Sedgwick were some of the better-known scenesters projected on the Vogue’s silver screen. The roughly four to five minute tests ranged from the neurotic fidgeting of Ingrid Superstar to Ann Buchanan’s unblinking stare and singular tear. Channeling the range of emotion glowing from the screen behind them, the four-piece band anchored the images in sound and words, and it was the group’s obvious love of the material and of the time and place of Warhol’s mid-’60s lifestyle that carried these primarily banal images into the realm of the ethereal. Wareham’s musical stories told the inner monologues of the visages before the audience. Whether the words were anchored in any actual facts of the subjects’ lives didn’t matter. Wareham’s tenor and Phillips’s angelic pipes were as haunting as their slow ’60s pop sound and Warhol’s images. The idea of 13 Most Beautiful worked so well it felt like it just had begun when the group said, “Thanks.” This is the first time I have ever wanted test time not to end.