The Chelsea Girls [16mm premiere version]. 1966. USA. Directed by Andy Warhol. With Brigid Berlin (Brigid Polk), Susan Bottomly (International Velvet), Ari Boulogne, Ronnie Cutrone, Angelina “Pepper” Davis, Donnie, Eric Emerson, Patrick Fleming, Ed Hood, Gerard Malanga, Marie Menken, George Millaway, Mario Montez, Nico, Ondine, Ronna Page, Rene Ricard, Ingrid Superstar, Mary Woronov (Mary Might). 16mm. 237 min.
The September 15, 1966, world premiere of The Chelsea Girls, Warhol’s double-screen masterpiece of the New York underground, was billed as “eight hours of the new epic film” with segments associated with various rooms of the Chelsea Hotel. The projectionists were handed a stack of film reels of material shot during that year and given simple screening guidelines. It is likely that 14 reels were shown on that first evening, but the film was shortened to 12 reels within a few weeks. Tonight’s program, shown on film, presents those reels in a manner that evokes the original screenings of The Chelsea Girls.