That Summer, the summer of 1972, Peter Beard and Lee Radziwill had the idea to make a film about East Hampton. On the Memorial Day weekend, a crowd of East Enders attended a private screening of That Summer in East Hampton. Director Goran Olsson was not present, nor was Lee, but Peter Beard and his wife Nejma Beard, a producer of this film attended, along with Bruce Weber, Joy Behar, and many others, to hear Vincent Fremont and Bob Colacello, experts on Warhol, tell stories about Andy Warhol and visitors Truman Capote, Bianca Jagger and many others to the Montauk estate back in the day. The film serves as a history of those heady times, of a great group of artists who came to Montauk in 1972.
The new documentary, a compilation of the lost footage, Jonas Mekas’ archival Montauk footage, and a look at Peter Beard at work in his studio, up on a cliff in the last house on Long Island, overlooking the ocean, also features the Beales’ hilarious and often sad banter, and their fashions. Little Edie in colorful headscarf sings “In My Adobe Hacienda” and Big Edie croons “It’s a long long time from May to December.” Because we know them so well from the Maysles’ film, their warbling voices speak to the women’s lost dreams.
After Andy Warhol’s death, filmmaker Paul Morrissey, who owned the Montauk property with Warhol, was its main resident, and on a personal note, in 1993, when my film, Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider, was just finished, he hosted its first screening at the house. Charles Henri Ford, who had first published poetry by Bowles in an early surrealist magazine called View, wanted to see himself in the film. Attending were Peter Beard, painter Julian Schnabel’s assistants, photographer Indra Tamang, and Eiko Ishioka who had just won the Academy Award for costumes created for Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, an austere group for a first-time filmmaker. Last Summer makes such gatherings seem part of a tradition.