Video: Taylor Mead’s Fifteen Final Minutes

Robert Galinsky, friend and co-conspirator of Taylor Mead, sent us this video of the underground film legend and Lower East Side artist, who died last week at the age of 88. Titled “Taylor Mead’s Fifteen Final Minutes,” it’s a wide-ranging, funny, poignant and irreverent farewell shot outside the Bowery Poetry Club. On his web site, Galinsky writes:

I had the honor of working with Taylor for many years producing his live Internet TV Show on “The Convertible Taylor Mead”, his live weekly show at the Bowery Poetry Club, also performing with Taylor, and spending time lunching, thinking, drinking, and walking the sidewalks of Alphabet City with him. Taylor Mead’s Fifteen Final Minutes is shot in front of The Bowery Poetry Club. This farewell was thought up one evening after some performance, poetry and whiskey. Josh Harris, Taylor, and I were reminiscing the roaring Silicon 90’s and Taylor began his eloquent rambling so we turned the camera on and his farewell began. Taylor taught me to obliterate my filters and to (as Frederick Douglass says) “agitate agitate agitate”. I trust in Taylor’s mentorship on etiquette from the barroom to the ballroom and I treasure having worked and played with him.

As reported yesterday, friends will gather to remember Taylor Mead at the Bowery Poetry Club tonight.  In a comment left by Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club last night, he said  the event is a “spontaneous tribute,” and added, “come and share and giggle and mourn and … whatever! Taylor’s niece Priscilla has flown in for the gathering.”

Remembering Taylor Mead, Monday Night, 308 Bowery

taylor mead

From Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club:

The address is the same. 308 Bowery
The look is not
Come one and all
To Taylor’s boite

Come celebrate the oft-storied life and “brilliant downtown zen” poetry of this quintessential New York figure.

 6 – 9 pm, May 13

Taylor Mead: 1924-Infinity

Photo by Clayton Patterson.

Photo by Clayton Patterson.

Via Clayton Patterson, here’s the first remembrance of Taylor Mead from his family:

“Art is all a scandal – life tries to be, Taylor Mead succeeds, and I come close.” – Tennessee Williams“

“An autistic genius.” – Susan Sontag 

An Andy Warhol Superstar, actor of the Silver Factory days, Beat poet, and author of many books of poetry and aphorisms, Taylor Wood Mead was born December 31, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan to Harry H. Mead of Valparaiso, Indiana and Priscilla Wood Mead of Wilmington, Ohio.

After moving to Columbus Ohio, Taylor spent happy summers at his grandfather Wood’s house in Wilmington where he created his first scandal. At age 4, he trotted two blocks away to the Wilmington bus station where he boarded a bus to Columbus (how did he know?). He was discovered at a stop, half way from home, when all the adults left the bus. The police finally discovered where he belonged. A neighbor’s chauffeur drove Taylor’s mother to find Taylor who was sitting calmly by the bus station in his little red suit, happily lapping an ice cream cone. It made headlines in the Wilmington News-Journal thus his first taste of fame!

Legendary L.E.S. Artist, Actor Taylor Mead Dies

taylor mead, photo by clayton patterson

Taylor Mead in his Ludlow Street apartment. Photo by Clayton Patterson.

There’s some sad news to report this morning.  Taylor Mead, the legendary Lower East Side artist and actor, died in Colorado yesterday after suffering a stroke. Clayton Patterson, the LES documentarian, heard from Mead’s family late last night, and the news has been spreading on social media today.  Mead, 88, vacated his Ludlow Street apartment earlier this spring, after a long battle with his landlord and said he would be taking a temporary break from New York.

Mead gained fame in the 1960’s and 1970’s after appearing in several Andy Warhol films.  By then, however, the anti-establishment artist was well known for his irreverent brand of beat poetry. Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman called Mead “the first underground movie star.”  He appeared in more than 100 films and was a prolific painter and writer.  Mead performed regularly at the Bowery Poetry Club until it closed last year.  Patterson noted that he continued to be an “active, vital, contributing, creative artist” until very recently.  Just last night, some of Mead’s films were screened at 139 Ludlow St., the possible future home of Soho House on the Lower East Side.


Soho House Invites Community To Discuss Public Space, Screens Taylor Mead Films

139 Ludlow Street, the possible future home of Soho House on the Lower East Side.

139 Ludlow Street, the possible future home of Soho House on the Lower East Side.

Next month – May 20th to be exact – Soho House will finally go before Community Board 3’s SLA Committee, asking it to support a full bar within 139 Ludlow St., the former funeral home destined to be the private members’ club’s new location on the Lower East Side.  Having withdrawn from the agenda on two previous occasions, Soho House settled on a plan to establish a publicly accessible community space in the building.  Over the weekend, we heard from club representatives, who are hoping to engage people from the neighborhood this coming Wednesday evening about potential uses for that public area.

Soho House has held a series of informal open houses inside 139 Ludlow, but Wednesday’s session will be a bit more specific, focused on the things people would like to see in a public facility (a library, an arts space, a venue for talks and performances are ideas that have been floated).  The open house begins at 7:30 p.m., if you’re interested in attending. 

The Lo-Down List: This Week’s Happenings

Museum at Eldridge - Kiki Smith & Deborah Gans Window Mock Up. The opening celebration is this Sunday.

Our weekly look at upcoming happenings on the Lower East Side.  If you have a neighborhood event you would like us to post, please email us here.

Wednesday, October 6th

  • The Sunshine Cinema’s Rattle & Reel screening for caregivers and their babies is Never Let Me Go. The film has been getting good reviews.  It stars the talented and attractive Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield; it’s based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s (Remains of the Day) bestselling novel of the same name.