Friends, family and admirers gathered to celebrate the legacy of Glenn O’Brien on Sunday night.
O’Brien, who passed away in April at the age of 70, was a fixture in the worlds of art, music and style. His writing was sharp-witted, insightful and often funny. In many ways, it was emblematic of him as a person. For that reason, friends decided to read his work spanning the Seventies to the present on stage at the SVA theater in Manhattan’s Chelsea, instead of eulogizing the man by telling personal anecdotes. (Although, there was a fair share of colorful snippets about O’Brien to go around).
The memorial, which ran from 6 to 8:30 p.m., including readings from John Giorno, Michael Hainey, Jerry Saltz, Joan Juliet Buck, Bill Powers, Vincent Fremont, Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Lynne Tillman. Large photographs of O’Brien by the likes of Sante D’Orazio, Todd Eberle, Lynn Goldsmith, Bobby Grossman, Andreas Laszlo Konrath, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinhood Matadin and Kate Smith were placed in the entry way of the theater.
Attendees also viewed a clip from “Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party,” in which a young O’Brien chatted with artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mick Jones and Iggy Pop.
Writer Linda Yablonsky, who was O’Brien’s longtime friend, opened the program, citing his posthumous book “Ruins With a View.”
“Glenn wrote the poems last year when he was directly confronting his mortality,” she said. “He wrote something that we should all keep in mind today: ‘Laughter,’ he said, ‘is not going to ruin my image.'”
“I miss him terribly,” Yablonsky said, emotionally. “He meant the world to me.”
Attendees included Nan Goldin, Fabien Baron, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, André Balazs, Peter Nadin, Olivier Zahm, Chloé Sevigny and Cynthia Rowley, among others, as well as Gina Nanni, O’Brien’s widow.
For More on Glenn O’Brien: