Brigid "Polk" Berlin 


Berlin was born into a high society family. Her father, Richard Berlin, ran the Hearst media-empire, and her mother, Muriel "Honey" Berlin, was a socialite. While her father rewarded her with food treats when she was well behaved, Honey pressured her to lose weight. The more Honey tried to get Brigid to be slim and respectable, the more Brigid ate and ran amok. Honey introduced Brigid to weight loss drugs at a young age and, as Brigid matured, she found a need for speed, which she tempered with alcohol. Brigid's youthful scandels—from asking the family electrician to escort her to her debutant ball, to marrying a gay window dresser—were like a trail of performance art pieces, which culminated in her association with Andy Warhol.

When Brigid met Andy in 1964, they became quick friends. In just a few years, Ms. Berlin had appeared in five Warhol films.  In Chelsea Girls, she talked on the phone, shot up drugs, and had a lesbian encounter.  After moving to the Chelsea Hotel, she adopted the moniker Brigid "Polk" because of her habit of giving out 'pokes,' which were injections of Vitamin B and amphetamines.  Brigid brought the telephone to the stage in her performance piece, Brigid Polk Strikes! Her Satanic Majesty in Person.  During the performance, Berlin made phone calls to unsuspecting friends and family and broadcasted the live conversations to the audience. At one point she asked a friend for money so that she could get an abortion. She then asked the audience to wait while she jumped in a taxi, zoomed uptown, and returned with the cash. Brigid's Polaroid series, such as tit paintings, trip books, and The Cock Book, would later establish her as an artist in her own right. 

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