“A Conversation with Joe Dallesandro” at the Brooks 

Joe Dallesandro thinks it's too cold in Los Angeles these days. The most successful of Andy Warhol's superstars says he's spent a lifetime dodging winters, always looking for warmer and warmer climates.

So you're not that into Warhol, and the name's unfamiliar. You know Dallesandro. That's his crotch on the cover of The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers LP. More of a Smiths fan? That's his torso on the cover of the band's first record. Lou Reed called him "Little Joe" in his hit song, "Walk on the Wild Side." Dallesandro's not all that impressed.

click to enlarge Take a walk on the wild side.
  • Take a walk on the wild side.

"None of those things had nothing to do with me," he growls. "With the Smiths album, [Smiths singer Morrissey] was a fan, and I don't think he asked anybody for permission. He just used the picture. Sticky Fingers, the crotch shot could have been anybody. The only reason I know it was me is because of my belt. With "Walk on the Wild Side," that was [Warhol-affiliated director] Paul Morrissey telling Lou he should watch some films they'd been doing and write about the people in them. He wrote about the character he saw on screen. It wasn't like he was socializing with us."

Pink Flamingos director John Waters once claimed that "Little Joe" changed male sexuality in cinema forever with work ranging from the Warhol-produced trilogy of Trash, Flesh, and Heat to his romp with Jane Birkin in Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime moi non plus. Dallesandro says he never listened to the hype.

"I always thought of Paul Morrissey as my mentor," he says. "Paul told me early on, I can't look at the press because if I take to heart the good and the appreciation, I have to take to heart the bad things, too."

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