Rotten Rita

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Rotten Rita (real name Kenneth Rapp), was an influential denizen of Andy Warhol's The Factory and was sometimes referred to as "The Mayor" there. Although he worked by day in a fabric store, he spent many nights at the Factory bringing his unique influences to encourage others to become artists. He was an opera aficionado, and also an alleged amphetamine dealer (and user),[1] and he touched the lives of many members of Warhol's artist collective. He was particularly close to another member, Brigid Berlin.

Warhol wrote about Rita in his 1980 memoir Popism: The Warhol Sixties. In one mention, Warhol recalled asking a mutual friend, Duchess, why Rita was known as "The Mayor" and received the reply 'Because he screws everybody in town'.[2]

Rapp's death in late 1991 (together with that of songwriter Doc Pomus by cancer) inspired Lou Reed, another famous Factory denizen, to compose his 1992 album Magic and Loss.[3] Reed also makes mention of Rotten Rita in the song "Halloween Parade" on the 1989 album New York. Writing about his first year in New York City for the New York Times, in 2000, Reed recalled returning to find his apartment trashed, and the front door 'which hung off its hinges', had a poem by Rita carved into it.[4]


  1. ^ Woronov, Mary (2000) - Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory. Serpent's Tail/REI. ISBN 1-85242-719-1.
  2. ^ Andy Warhol; Pat Hackett (12 October 2007). POPism. Penguin Books Limited. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-14-190526-6. 
  3. ^ Jim DeRogatis (2003). Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90s. Da Capo Press. pp. 185–196. ISBN 0-306-81271-1. 
  4. ^ The New York Times (20 May 2009). The New York Times Book of New York: Stories of the People, the Streets, and the Life of the City Past and Present. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-60376-369-1.