In memory of Cleo Odzer

When your fifteen minutes of fame comes right from Andy Warhol himself, what do you do for an encore?

If you’re Cleo Odzer, the answer is quite a bit.

Cleo lived as a hippy in Goa, India, becoming heavily involved in both drug use and trafficking there. She returned to New York, stopped taking drugs and went on to earn a PhD in Anthropology. Cleo worked full-time in Communications for a substance abuse not-for-profit, wrote three books — Goa Freaks: My Hippie Years in India, Patpong Sisters: An American Woman’s View of the Bangkok Sex World, and Virtual Spaces: Sex and the Cyber Citizen. This, plus a cable TV show and Web projects.

In the late-90s, I maintained the Max’s Kansas City Web Site. Cleo Odzer, a MKC regular some thirty years before, sent me the Andy Warhol column seen below. We emailed each other fairly often. After a while, the messages reflected that she was increasingly unhappy with life in New York.

Then Cleo Odzer sent a message that she’d gone to Goa and was overjoyed to find that many of her friends still were there. I didn’t receive any more emails from Cleo after that. A year or so later, I did a Web search and discovered that she’d died. Cleo Odzer, following in the path of Hesse’s Goldmund, found that a trail that’s smooth and downhill at eighteen is rough and steep decades later.

But just the other day, I heard from Cleo again. Someone brought in a bag of books to donate — one by Cleo Odzer. Through writing, we transcend time and space and so never end, becoming like the angels.

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Cleo

Gerry Miller, the pop scene’s perpendicular pet, was so stunned the other night at Max’s when she spotted her new heart throb (a member of one of the top five groups in the country) necking in the back of Max’s upstairs discotheque with pop-columnist Cleo, that she wrenched the blonde writer from his arms and punched the surprised singer square in the jaw. Cleo only a petite 5’5″, lifted herself up from the floor during the brief skirmish that ensued and whacked Gerry from behind with the closest available thing she could find, a half full salad bowl, spilling lettuce and other assorted greens all over Gerry, her embarassed suitor, and the booth next to them which consisted of Viva!, Rene’ Ricard (that’s another story), and Al Aronowitz. The battle royale that was almost ignited since Viva! and Rene’ “don’t take that stuff from nobody,” was averted when public relations man Dominic Sicilia, an ex-Vic Tanny member, stepped into the middle and put everyone in their seats with some deft Japanese wrestling techniques. We’ve since heard that the enraged Miss Miller (who,incidentally, is featured sans clothes on page 105 of tne November Playboy), promised she “would get Cleo” and is laying out for her nightly in the back room of the scene.

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Renee Ricard

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