Leee Black Childers

Leee Black Childers

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Photographer and scenester Leee Black Childers worked as the vice president of David Bowie’s management company, Main Man, and was a roommate of Wayne County, Jackie Curtis, and Holly Woodlawn.


David Bowie Makes Inroads Downtown


With his eye on breaking David Bowie in America, his manager Tony DeFries hired Pork performers Tony Zanetta and Cherry Vanilla to work at the New York offices of MainMan, his management company, alongside photographer and scenester Leee Black Childers. Zanetta became president of MainMan, Childers was vice president, and Vanilla directed publicity. They had absolutely no business experience and were fairly irresponsible, but no matter—DeFries was selling an image one couldn’t learn about in business school. “MainMan was definitely about Tony DeFries wanting to make money,” Zanetta said, “but I was there because I liked David Bowie and I liked what he was doing.” MainMan’s new president became friends with Bowie and toured with him during the Ziggy Stardust era, which further fueled his Warholian infatuation with stardom and image-making. “Once I admitted that to myself,” Zanetta said, “it kind of freed me and the whole world kind of opened up, especially rock ’n’ roll.” Andy Warhol, however, did not receive Bowie quite as enthusiastically. When he paid a visit to the Factory, the artist muttered something about liking his shoes, but things got more awkward when Bowie played him “Andy Warhol,” a rather corny track from his Hunky Dory album. Silence. While visiting New York, Bowie also connected with Iggy Pop, who signed a management contract with MainMan, and Bowie finally got to know his musical hero, Lou Reed.

From Chapter 24 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore