Filming ‘Venus in Furs’

“Venus in Furs” November 1965 at 450 Grand Street, NYC.
In 1965 I was a photographer living on the Lower East Side in New York. A film-maker friend, Barbara Rubin, phoned me one day and said she was playing a nun in a Piero Heliczer underground film called “Venus in Furs”. There was this fantastic unknown band in it. “We are filming now. You’ve got to come right away and hear this band,” she said. I was there in fifteen minutes.

The band was the Velvet Underground in their earliest days. There was Piero in the dingy apartment roaming around with his 8mm camera filming the body-painted Velvet Underground along with Barbara as a nun, Margaret Boyce Cam as a nurse and Chas Stanley as Death. A CBS News film cameraman was there filming the whole thing, after 15 seconds of the clip, that is me in the background sitting behind Piero, loading film into my camera:

Lou Reed sang and played well but was very remote on drugs. I talked mostly with John Cale who was Welsh. We were both Brits in another country. Mo (Maureen) Tucker, VU percussionist, in a wedding dress didn’t say a word, nor did bassist Sterling Morrison. Angus MacLise, the former Velvet drummer and Julie Garfield were also there.

Barbara was right, the music was spellbinding. They were playing “Heroin”

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