The Lower East Side Biography Project
excerpt from 28 minute biography
Steve Zehentner: Producer, Co-director/editor
Taylor Mead was a performance poet, painter underground film star, comedic actor, astral clown, whimsical beatnik, refugee from old money, a true pop prince and the real son of Andy Warhol. Featured in over 100 films including many Warhol films, Mr. Mead is unequaled as the insouciant pop enigma who has seen everything and done it all.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Mead appeared in Ron Rice's beat classic The Flower Thief, in which he "traipses with an elfin glee through a lost San Francisco of smoke-stuffed North Beach cafes..." Film critic P. Adams Sitney called The Flower Thief "the purest expression of the Beat sensibility in cinema." Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman called Mead "the first underground movie star.
Mead lived in New York City, and continued to perform and read poetry regularly at The Bowery Poetry Club. His latest book of poems is called A Simple Country Girl.
The Taylor Mead Biography was produced by The Lower East Side Biography Project and was edited and directed by Sibylle Jud and Steve Zehentner in collaboration with Penny Arcade.
The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive will help to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.
The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed forty-six 28-minute biographies, videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.
The completed biographies are cablecast and streamed live every Monday at 11 p.m EST on Time Warner Cable Channel 34 and on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.
View the current livestream and cablecast schedule on the project's Facebook page.