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Fifteen Seconds With Andy Warhol by Mark R. Elsis

It was May 5, 1982, a beautiful mid-spring Wednesday evening, and I was taking my girlfriend Kimberly Manning out to attend a concert. We were going to the Ritz nightclub on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue. This section of Manhattan, southeast of Union Square Park, was called the East Village. It was vibrant, younger, full of artists, and beginning its gentrification. It was also the neighborhood where I attended La Salle Academy (the oldest Catholic High School in the United States) in the Bowery, an infamous subsection of the East Village known for its plethora of homeless alcoholic men, whom, at the time, many referred to as bums.

We went to the Ritz that evening to see Graham Parker, my second favorite singer-songwriter back then. In my opinion, Parker’s almost five decades of being a prolific singer-songwriter with a wide array of musical influences, along with his vast collection of albums, makes him the most underrated musician in Rock n’ Roll history.

As Kimberly and I walked up the steps to enter the Ritz, our paths suddenly converged with Andy Warhol. When we were face to face, I said thank you for your art. He was cordial enough to momentarily stop, shake my hand while looking me straight in the eye and say you’re most welcome.

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