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Friday, March 23, 2012

Corsair Interview: Olivia Maxwell

My friend Olivia Maxwell rocks. Actress, songstress, socialite  and now radio show host on VNDC Radio (Vietnam Radio Washington), Olivia Maxwell has worn a lot of hats in her fascinating life. The London born Virgo's life has spanned the entertainment spectrum from child star (Little Darlings) to society belle to Bennington College wild child to now host of the cult hit O Show on Sunday nights, where she has featured guests including SCENE Editor in Chief Peter Davis and Paul Morrissey. Her web site is OliviaMaxwell.com. Olivia is infinitely interesting and I interviewed her earlier this week:

The Corsair: Describe to me your early childhood?

Olivia Maxwell: omg....you got 10 years? OK...I'll start with the positive. the only two great memories,  really, 3, was my BABA, Slovakian grandmother. my mom's side. Apparently I was a malcontent since birth and the only person who could sooth me and put me to bed was BABA(Anna Savko Sopoliga). She had a fixed marriage and had her first son at age 16. She came over to America from Stropkov, the Chezchoslovakia, on a boat with 2 other sisters. She regrets this her whole life. So she painted beyond 'Grandma Moses' style...I have some on my pics ...painting of Stropkov in the late 30's...little pink and brown houses, farms with lots of ducks and geese on the ponds. She lived on a huge farm. She sung in the church choir and also made her own clothes. She was her own fashion house. There is a ohoto of her and I wearing a purple and white checkered paints suit outfit! We matched. She had a sewing machine in her basement and always has easy listening on the radio, then it was like Abba, Roberta Flack -- IMPORTANT -- for some reason when I was around her at her tidy kept home in Clifton, NJ, 'Killing me softly' would come on and I have no idea...but it ALWAYS made me cry---Baba was the only one who could put me to bed...my parents had to call her at 1 am to drive over...I remember at 2, watching her creep out of he room, then I'd start to cry again...she was like a soul mate of mine.It was unexplainanble really.She really missed Slovakia. i resonated with her and she with me...Baba's lines (she was this point dying and totally senile, dementia) I knew it was the last time I would see her...in December about 4 years ago in the nursing home...I was going through a rough time...She was very out of it BABA...I put my head into her belly and cried. And out of her mouth came the most translucent moment of clarity I head from her in about 10 years-'You were born beautiful, you will always be beautiful, and they will try to take this away.No matter how hard they try , and will try their hardest, they can NOT ever take it away from, never, never, never...cause you were born this way. ' Those were BABA's last words to me. My parents (filmmaker Ronald F. Maxwell, painter Lydia Sopoliga) had a hideous divorce right when we returned from Achill Island, west Coast Northern Sea, Ireland. During the filming of 'Sea Marks' for PBS a teleplay written by Gardner McKay and produced by Jack Venza and Tom Hayes(Irish) actors George Hearn and Veronica Castang---this leads into your next question
The Corsair: yes, the movie sets in your childhood ...

Olivia: I was about 5 my brother 3. It was so magical...there are super eight's...my mother was so gorgeous and my dad was so groovy...imagine being on the set of a movie...early 70's like 1975 (The Corsair falls into a reverie, then quickly revives) It was...all bagpipes being played , little churches, old men in Irish sweaters smoking pipes, sheep!!! I played with the sheep! I spoke to them...they were everywhere! small dogs! The scenes had loads of fiddles and harps in them, the dancing party scene for the wedding I'll always remember the magic that was in the air....it was windy, very green, no fighting of my parents, tons of artists and actors throwing me and Jonathan my bbrother up in the air...and that rough magical sea! Gardner McKay was really also in love with my mother and she he...unrequited...I picked up on all that. It was just so amazing...my karma with Ireland started there. Achill island, was enchanting...mostly hills and farmland, you never saw a bus or any other car on the road. the roads were small. I t was like living in a fairy tale. Cracking fires, to stay warm...and all the music! as soon as we got back to New Jersey the marriage ended in a very hate filled divorce. my childhood turned into a NIGHTMARE. This is why karma with Ireland and me is so huge...Frank Murray...2002...manager of Pogues, tour manager of Thin Lizzy (with) whom I had a relationship and managed me nearly 28 years later and my totally Dublin feature story...all KARMA
The Corsair: The divorce ...

Olivia: My dad after the divorce had a sail boat...the 'JOLI' I had great memories of 5 day trips going to Newport, R.I, all over Long Island Sound. We had little sleeper beds and wore harnesses, the boat was sometimes on 80 degree angle with the jib up cruising very fast in those rough high waves! I got the splash on deck...we'd stop at Mystic Seaport-those moments resonate. At home all I wanted to do was go buy albums-I was obsessed with music-another Karma thing, I loved the mamas and papas-OBSESSED...15 years later Tamerlane Phillips in LA becomes my boyfriend and to this DAY one of my very best friends-I know the entire family.. MUSIC again! 'The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia' was shot in Chattanooga, TN...I sat on Dennis Quaid's lap in his trailer, he had(which I now have) a rattlesnake cowboy hat. Always fun...I sat on his lap and he played his acoustic guitar and sung songs like 'I am a freeborn man, ' and his originals...we laughed! Then may she RIP-Sunny Johnson was my night time babysitter at least 3 times a week we would watch horror flicks in her hotel suite and laugh together, a mother figure as my mother was never on sets-after their divorce...She died 3 years later...so sad. I loved being on that set cause there was a BAND! I was always around that rock band...Dennis fronted the band , Keith Allison was on guitar (Paul revere and the raiders') ----'Little Darlings'-shot in Georgia.

The Corsair: Yes! Let's talk about Little Darlings, directed by your dad Ronald Maxwell

Olivia: Kristy MacNichol was THE BEST! Her and her girlfriend Ina would take me to amusement parks and Kristy always made me go on the rides , like 'The Swings' I was so scared of! Loads of cotton candy, all kinds of fun! I remember she ate Cocoa Crispies in her trailer and she'd invite my brother and I in for a bowl! SHE WAS THE ALL TIME COOLEST- Tatum (O'Neill) was a HUGE SNOB. I did NOT like HER! Matt Dillon was also cool. I loved the peach ambrosia on the set and my dad allowed me to sit right next to the actors as they did their scenes----

Th Corsair: Talk about Gettysburg.

Olivia: Gettysburg- That was a blast. I turned 21 on that set. I worked very hard as a P.A. and was by no means given ANY special treatment. I flirted with all the movie starts, I was bad---I dated Cooper Huckabee(True Blood) now filming with Quentin Tarantino in NOLA----He is a born again Christian so that did not last-but to this day a BFF. We partied at the 'Farnsworth House' The South was great---the cast were always method---heavy drinking---like we were in a civil war--but the fun parts...The Confederate cast left---then a whole OTHER VIBE came onto the set---The union troops. Jeff Daniels NEVER went out. The rest did and of course when the Union troops came...The Irish Brigade! Brian Mallon was genius, he played General Hancock. A great friend of Ron's and mine to this day and the great Irish actor Barry Mackevoy.

The Corsair: What ws the set like?

Olivia: The knew how to have a great time. It was funny my dad kept Cooper there the entire shoot cause he played Harrison the SPY...I think it was because he knew we were dating and I moved into the Gettysburg Hotel w him...we shot the whole movie on the actual battlefield...It was also MAGICAL!
Gods and Generals-less magical...but I bonded with Mira Sorvino, Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of the great Mr.. Abernathy bff w Martin Luther King and Malcom X. I also started to date Rory Mallon..a bit part he had , a cool singer/songwriter from Michigan, Brian Mallon's nephew. CT Howell was always a SWEETHEART on Gettysburg. We shot that in Stanton -VA...9/11 hit day of shooting...I have a story now on this----

The Corsair: Yeah ...
Olivia: I was all ready packed to head to NYC I saw a small TV in DAYS INN check out counter--'a plane went into the World trade Center building'---I knew...I AM a NY er---I unpacked and said..I am staying another 2 weeks-fine the production payed...I had a bit part in ..anyways ended up in the directors cut came out this past summer...but I knew it was no fucking mistake-in NYC that shit don't happen-I knew it was WAR. I watched it unfold in my hotel room---miserable. My dad made a HUGE announcement on the set---it went like this_'THEY WANT US TO STOP SHOOTING OUR FILM, THEY WANT ALL AMERICANS TO STOP. WE WILL NOT. WE WILL KEEP GOING CAUSE WE WILL NOT CAVE IN TO THEIR EVIL ILL WILL-THOSE THAT NEED TO LEAVE LEAVE -BUT HOW MANY OF YOU WILL STAND WITH ME-' nearly 98% of the set remained and the filming did not stop..but every HOUR my dad led a 5 minute prayer and 5 minutes of utter silence on the set on that day. true story-the night before (I was not there) my dad had some governor over for dinner and Karen his wife couldn't believe it as nor anyone could---the night before 9/11 my dad always has political debates he said 'It's a matter of time only before the terrorists will hit the world trade center in nyc---a matter of time. ps-I was the only girl in Gettysburg I had one line-'I thought the war was in Virginia.' HA!
The Corsair: Let's talk about your time in New York society -- among the hop polloi
Olivia: OK----I had troubles with mom and her other daughter ... my bro already went to live w Ron (Maxwell)  in The Majestic CPW 72nd....My mom was infuriated I visited the set of KIDCO my dads made-for-TV movie in AZ. So upon arrival I was still parked with grandparents, my grandmere on my dads side and she has all my shit packed up in garbage bags and sent the rest of my WARDROBE to the salvation army(real nice) she hated Ron that much-so I had no choice----I cried for a year.

The Corsair: Ugh.

Olivia: My dad thew me into Hewitt where I received much love and became BFF w Lulu Kwiatkowski-I practically lived at her house, we went w her brother and mother to MAUI on Spring Break---that was amazing---Stephan was my first kiss. In The ocean---I had a groovy one piece Norma Kamali neon yellow bathing suit-I was so in love with Stephan!!! I was about 13? I also was just 5 buildings away from Samantha Stein (Seymour/Sire records) is her dad. Linda9may she RIP. took such great care of me---I fought constantly w my dads fucking bitch 2nd wife ...she HATED KIDS---my dad was never there so it was like I lived at Lulu's and Samantha's---I met Madonna, Elton John, Roy Hay9Culture Club) one night Iggy Pop was waltzing around...it was wild! I had so much fun! Sam Stein and I were on the same bus route to Hewitt...that next year Lulu was my BFF---that on East End Avenue.a STUNNING apartment---on the East River...i ALSO HAD DINNER w her dad Henric at One Beekman a lot. It was very formal I was so intimidated. Oh Sammy Stein and Mandy her sister and I performed 'Don't put another dime in the jukebox' for Seymour---I thought I would get discovered then!!!!! I also met Andy Warhol at Asbury Park , NJ at a Culture Club concert w Linda, and Sammy Stein! he was very ANDY.
The Corsair: sounds amazing. How did it end?

Olivia: I got into a fight w Lulu and Sammantha went off to Riverdale so I rebelled against society and started to listen to the GRATEFUL DEAD and hung out w my NJ friends I still knew like Julie Kemps and Hertha Kastler (I fooled around with her, my first bi experience) I lived at Hertha's when I could during summers---cause my parents , mom especially was strict as hell...I got a bad spanking too. I went to dead shows!!!! This is really , well I loved MTV---then I became a Depeche Mode freak and at the same time a dead head. My dad did NOT have a place in the hamptons---so NYC society at this time I was basically SHUNNED cause everyone took LULUS side at HEWITT and the whole scene acted as if I never existed even though in the yearbook pick...a huge pick of LULU and I called 'LIV AND LULU' It broke my heart. I still have to this day not spoken to her.

The Corsair: This is like a Whit Stillman movie.
Olivia: So now I insist on boarding school as i got claustrophobic in an ALL GIRLS SCHOOL& I got into Berkshire w Devon Smith also Hewitt in my class---it was great! Gorgeous setting, I became heavy into cross-country running...made MVP every year and was captain for all 3 years I ran. I placed 11th in the class B New Englands---this what got me through that 'PREPPY PREP SCHOOL'...I of course was made fun of NEVER FIT IN there too----but the running gave me the 'FIGHT.' I had a method of always keeping the other team in 1st place ahead then the last stretch to the finish line i would sprint like wildfire and stick out my chest...they had a saying for me and my sneak attack--'she won by a nipple!' My advisor Dr. Cabaniol was my English LIT teacher---he GOT me. was my BFF and looked after me like a daughter---I got an A+ in his class and of course was hated for the cutting edge profound things I'd say when reading hemingway or a synopsis on 'Death of a Salesman.' etc...But Ron Cabaniol was the one who told me GO TO BENNINGTON ONLY----I was wanted to really go to Boston University---I still wanted to be accepted by the fucking normies---thank_GOD Mr. Cabaniol put his foot down..and thank-GOD I went to Bennington---I was only there for a semester fall 1990---I met Jennifer Spector who said I needed to meet Milon  Henry Levine.

The Corsair: Okay.

Olivia: Milon I met him in LA---Jennifer was on the money! Milon and I clicked---to this day, I am doing a shoot w him later he is taking a train down as we speak---I was cast in his 2003 film(After Gettysburg) 'Still in Hollywood, The Notorious #9" released 2010...a while later, I met Tamerlane Phillips on that set---which led into a whole new rebirth into nyc/la/palm beach/London society. I soon dated Alexander Papock then married in VEGAS--Adrien Brody was his best man. The divorce ended in 3 months. Then I flew to Palm beach and begun a long 5 years on and off relationship with Alex Mortimer of the famous Mortimer family--- Through Alex, I met my all-time best friend and advisor, Stephanie Brooke Friedman. She actually was responsible for my meeting Frank Murray, my manager. More on this later. (Alex) was VERY IMPORTANT cause he taught me basically everything I know today about music...turned me on to mc5-The Stooges- Fats Domino-Thin Lizzy- Betty Davis-The Stones-Gram Parsons-all of it. I met Rebecca Guinness through him about 5 years after we broke up...I am still referred to as Alex's girlfriend.

The Corsair: I was at Marlboro in 89, then 92-4. Southern Vermont is the perfect New England college experience. What's your best memory?

Olivia: Oh best memory at Bennington...hmm....I had terrible insomnia, I was in the quite dorm 'Franklin' next to me was Beau  Friedlander (published later Unibomber book) very eccentric---I was so in love w Beau...He also didn't really ever sleep. I was walking aimlessly but loving this soup like mist---

The Corsair: I know Beau. he was my boss for a while at the tragic Air America.
and bennington was built on a sacred indian burial ground. So the weird energy on that campus could NOT be more haunted nor WEIRD! Out of the foggy soup so dense at around 4 am appeared Beau He walked with a cane! We had a chat---but I'll never forget that one moment. It was silent, quick, and private---I cannot remember what we said---but it was along the lines of 'Fancy meeting you here my darling Olivia.' We never fooled around..

NOW HE WANTS ME!!! TOO LATE---I am over it. he rejected me then----he said---on night in the common room of Frankin at like 4 am..' So very pretty. perfect features you have, a stunning girl, you are such a girl still, not a woman, but oh so short.'

The Corsair: Everything about Air America is tragic.

Olivia: I am 5 foot 3...since then I have NEVER worn flats.

The Corsair: You are perfect.
Olivia: -- I do NOW! just not out at night...I have truly become confident the day i go out in sneakers!!!!! I have yet to have that moment....but growing up in the dominated age of the Golden SUPER MODEL you just could NOT be short.

The Corsair: So now he wants you.

Olivia: OH OF COURSE! Flirts with me here on Facebook... and I only am in my prime NOW!!!KARMA!!

The Corsair: Cold blooded! OK, now tell me about your contretemps and make up with Peter Davis. I love Peter.

Olivia: OK...I got a lot of shit from a friend a close dear friend of mine who is a publicist not mentioning her name. Johnny X Rook loved it and thought it was brilliant and ballzy...I had 50/50 split w we love Olivia...we hate olivia on that whole thing...He posted in response on his wall..'SOMEOME SAID...' That got to me. He never said my name. he kept sending me these positive messages...i spoke to Kathryn Rider and Johnny Xylon Rook and i thought the only wary I can turn this around is have him on my show!!! cause I really have no hate in me...I just like to speak my mind...and the preface that the NY Times piece cames out w 'FOR THE RICH BY THE RICH' SORRY NY TIMES----it really mislead me. When he agreed to do my show, I was elated! he also is close to the Mortimers and went to Bennington so of course we had all this is common---why stay angry right? So Johnny Rook helped a lot so did Kathryn Ryder...So we did the show, and he was the opposite of a SNOB! If you listen to the show---this was the biggest thing he never told anyone but on my show 'society is dead.'

The Corsair: But Olivia is forever. Thank you for this interview.

5 comments:

Olivia Maxwell said...

Olivia here---One mistake--I am a VIRGO!!! Love you RON! oxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

www.maxwell.vnwashingtondc.com is "The Olivia Maxwell Radio salon" site! xxoo

Ron said...

got it. Awesome interview Olivia, xoxo R

Anonymous said...

please remove Johnny X Rook's name from this interview . Olivia's comments about Johnny were not true , lies .

Olivia Maxwell said...

Olivia's comments about Johnny X Rook were 100% true at that time. Olivia does not lie.