I was working for Andy Warhol’s Interview and writing plays when I first met Holly Woodlawn.
I can’t say we ever had a close friendship – Holly was part of my broad circle of friends and acquaintances – but she and I once made some kind of underground movie together.
Holly and I had a scene together – it was a quarrel scene of some sort and t was a reconciliation, though whether Holly and I were supposed to have been playing a couple or angry neighbours, who knows?
“You can’t take everything too heavy in life,” Holly would tell me years later.
Holly didn’t identify as transgender then – that’s something that’s been written about her since – but she had not managed to parlay her downtown credentials into a full-blown career the way other Factory people had. But she was a survivor.
Holly was emblematic of that moment, out of which came a lot of social and cultural change.
If t’s anything I’ve taken away from Holly’s death at the end of last year, it’s that she’s a representative of a bygone New York and of a group of people the likes of which we’re not going to see again.
Guy Trebay is the Culture and Style reporter for the New York Times.