Here's one: Patti Smith wins National Book Award for "Just Kids", her memoir of life with Robert Mapplethorpe%0D %0D From Mediabistro: Last night in Manhattan, legendary rock star Patti Smith received the nonfiction prize at the National Book Awards ceremony for her memoir "Just Kids." The book recounts Smith's coming of age as an artist in New York in the 60s and 70s with her dear friend and lover Robert Mapplethorpe. The memoir serves a counter-culture history lesson, a tender love story, and an evocative meditation on art, and any bump in sales it receives as a result of winning the award is well deserved."%0D %0D What does DL think of Patti? Robert? Sam Wagstaff? Who was there? What are your memories?%0D %0D
Patti Smith wins National Book Award for "Just Kids"
|by Anonymous||reply 45||09/08/2013|
Thanks for reminding me OP,I wanted to read "just Kids".
|by Anonymous||reply 1||11/19/2010|
It is a wonderful book. She is a superb writer and the story is really moving. She is the embodiment of an artist, and humble too. (Mapplethorp was not humble.)
|by Anonymous||reply 2||11/19/2010|
It's funny, charlie. I saw her perform a lot back in the day, starting with Lenny backing up her poetry readings at St Mark's, on to CBGB's and Hurrah! and Central Park and the bigger venues. I loved her, but always thought she took her artiste persona a little too seriously, and liked her music way more than her poetry. Now, looking back, I feel that she's the real thing. She's had exactly the same persona from day one, but she's been through the wars and is indeed humble (not to be confused with self-deprecating.) She's a survivor, and she honors the ones we've lost with grace and yes, poetry. When I saw she'd won the NBA I was unexpectedly moved, and, silly as it sounds, proud of her.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||11/19/2010|
It's a very well written book.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||11/19/2010|
I read this book the week that it came out -- I am a big fan of her music. Her prose writing is absolutely superb. Her capturing bohemian life in NYC late 1960's early 70's is quite evocative and you get the feeling of being there.%0D %0D If you are interested in the creative process, life in a pre-Trumped New York, or an intense love/friendship, you should read this book -- even if you don't like her music.%0D %0D As poster 3 said, she is the real deal.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||11/19/2010|
In case anyone missed it, Terry Gross had a lovely Fresh Air interview with Patti about Just Kids a few weeks ago. It's archived on the NPR website (link below)
|by Anonymous||reply 6||11/19/2010|
Yeah R3, she and Mapplethorp, at least as she interprets their time together, had a real sense of what was good and what was not, and what they were doing- no delusions in my opinion.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||11/19/2010|
"It is a wonderful book. She is a superb writer and the story is really moving. She is the embodiment of an artist, and humble too. (Mapplethorp was not humble.)"%0D %0D Oh, give the stupid Patti Smith worship a rest why fucking don't you?%0D %0D I'm sure Patti Smith would agree with you that she's "the embodiment of an artist." Every interview she gives she repeats the same thing over and over: "I'm an artist. We (she and Mapplethorpe) were artists. Our lives were our art. Our art was our children. We gave our all for our art. We were ARTISTS." As for her being "humble"...HAH! Her immense ego has been commented upon many times by interviewers and people who have had the misfortune to know her. Humble, my ass!%0D %0D The main characteristic of both Smith and Mapplethorpe was their drive to achieve FAME. They both wanted more than anything to be famous. And rich too, I guess that goes without saying. These two "artists" were two pathologically self-absorbed, shallow people.%0D %0D As for Mapplethorpe, he was a horror. He seemed incapable of honestly caring about anyone. Everything was all about him. After being diagnosed with AIDS he continued to seek out anonymous sex with unsuspecting men. Despite having racist views he had a fetish about sex with black men, and sought them out at gay bars or anywhere else. He figured he got AIDS from a black guy, so he felt no guilt about infecting the black men he had sex with. He figured it was up to them to protect themselves and if they didn't it wasn't his fault if they got AIDS from him. %0D %0D Sam Wagstaff was looking for a young twink to "spoil" and found him in Mapplethorpe. He bought Mapplethorpe a $500,000 loft; he left him a bundle in his will (he died of AIDS). Mapplethorpe told him "I love you as much as I can love anyone." Which in this case, was not much at all. He just wasn't capable of deep, true feelings for another human being.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||11/19/2010|
This book is so incredibly pretentious and stupid, I can't believe that a couple of you actually liked it. She's a terrible writer - for more evidence, pick up any book of poetry.
I liked how she described Mapplethorpe. You can tell she absolutely loved him. Her descriptions of herself, however, are beyond ridiculous. A legend in her own mind, for sure.
The fact that she won over terrific books like Nothing to Envy or The Secret Historian, shows that book people, like all people, are blinded by celebrity.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||11/19/2010|
Patti is one of my favorite female singers and I'm glad to see she won the award for her book. I haven't had a chance to read it, maybe I'll get it for Christmas.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||11/19/2010|
"Oh, give the stupid Patti Smith worship a rest why fucking don't you?"%0D %0D I am no particular fan of hers- certainly not worship. I do not own one of her records or an iota of her work visual or written. I met Mapplethorpe a number of times, and Wagstaff, totally independent of her. Wagstaff was one of those impossibly handsome smart, rich and independent types I have met in my life that I can count on one hand, or a few fingers.%0D %0D I just liked her book and found it a perfect and really wonderful description of the times (I am 57 and have lived in NYC pretty much all my life.)%0D %0D R8, yeah that is the conventional Page 6 wisdom of their relationhip- not at all what I observed at cocktail parties and such. Lover, friends, Wagstaff was smarter than Mapplethorpe and nobody's fool- least of all Mapplethorpe- and long a patron of the arts before he met Robert. In Robert he found his dream, although his dream lover was never one who lived with him happily ever after. Smith addressed your kind of silly view of them in her book, which you would know if you read it.%0D %0D As for her writing- well, at least one editor of The New Yorker (I know) one literary agent and the entire staff of the NY Times book review think just the opposite of you, R8 That was the principle reason I picked it up- so many in the publishing business I know spoke so highly of it- and I ended up agreeing.%0D %0D To each his/her own. %0D %0D But for others, this is a very special book if you want a great recollection of the downtown art scene in NYC in late 60s and early 70s. By far the best I know of.%0D %0D Mapplethorpe was nuts... but his photography took that medium to a completely different level than it previously occupied as is abundantly clear by the reactions it caused. Wagstaff was smart enough (and knew enough about art to realize what was going on I think. Mapplethorpe is not the first crazed artist- and was by no means the craziest. And he WAS ambitious according to Smith- too much for her taste- she was ambitious too, just not at all for Page 6 or Park Avenue nonsense- Mapplethorpe wanted to be everywhere famous. Ends up that she was perhaps more successful- as an artist.%0D %0D
|by Anonymous||reply 11||11/19/2010|
She's pretentious but what do you expect from an ugly chick who has all the heroin addicts enthralled with her "greatness." She has no range, all her songs sound the same, she stinks. On ice!
|by Anonymous||reply 12||11/19/2010|
I like her music, but her obssession with Mapplethorpe is kind of weird. She was married to and had kids with Fred "Sonic" Smith, but she keeps harping on her early years with Mapplethorpe.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||11/19/2010|
Why does she have an obsession R13? She wrote a book about her early lover, best friend, fellow artist, and muse in an incredible time in the art world of NYC- nothing more and nothing less. %0D %0D My take on her before I read the book was that she must be as nutty as Mapplethorpe was, at least. She comes off as very sane and actually sweet. Looks can be deceiving.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||11/19/2010|
She may have mellowed with age but she was anything but sweet in her CBGBs days. She made several enemies in those days and word has it that she deliberately tried to undermine and discourage other artists on the scene that she felt weren't up to her lofty (pretentious) standards.%0D %0D She hated Debbie Harry, her only female rival on the scene. She was probably jealous of Debbie's looks and sex appeal and popularity with the all the straight (and gay) men. She told her to give up trying to be a singer because she wasn't rock and roll.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||11/19/2010|
I'm a longtime fan of Patti's music but I found the book a little disappointing: a bit sentimental and simplistic.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||11/19/2010|
|by Anonymous||reply 17||11/19/2010|
I enjoyed the book, too..it was very well written, full of great love & class.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||11/19/2010|
"My take on her before I read the book was that she must be as nutty as Mapplethorpe was, at least. She comes off as very sane and actually sweet. Looks can be deceiving."%0D %0D I suppose she's mellowed with age, because she used to be batshit crazy, REALLY crazy.%0D %0D She had frequent mental breakdowns. She had an affair with Sam Shepard and when it ended she fell apart; a woman named Helen Marden recalled a drumken Smith being carried out of Max's Kansas City screaming Shepard's name. She was jealous and nasty towards other women, particularly attractive ones. She was suicidal at times; she hallucinated without benefit of drugs. She bought a wolf skin in some junk shop and developed a fixation on it, believing it to have magical powers. She was NUTS. In comparison to back then, no wonder she seems normal. %0D %0D All of the forementioned comes from Patricia Morrisoe's biography of Mapplethorpe. I has a great deal of information about Patti Smith.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||11/19/2010|
She sure is ugly.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||11/19/2010|
She sanitized and romanticized her life. Andy Warhol and Fran Leibowitz used to sneer at Patti and Robert, implying that they were work-shy grifters, users, and social climbers. They turned a lot of people off.
At the same time I thought the book had much to offer. It radiated compassion and forgiveness -- true to Patti's hippie roots. And it had moments of humor and insight and offbeat charm.
So no, not the whole truth, but still worth the telling.
I am reading "Nothing to Envy" right now and boy, that blows Patti Smith's bony ass right out of the water. This is the story of defectors who survived the surreal hell that is North Korea (and many who did not). Very moving, intense, and upsetting book, with a shocker on every page. Stripped-down, empathetic style draws you deep into the lives of incredibly brave people. I can't recommend this book enough.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||11/19/2010|
Fran Leibowitz SAID THAT, R21?...LOL
|by Anonymous||reply 22||12/17/2010|
Patti Smith is a fake. When she started arguing against marginal artists and arts funding saying that good art makes money in the marketplace, it showed that her whole counterculture persona was a pose--she was just looking for a backdoor into the mainstream.
Does she still climb the speakers during her concerts and then demand help coming down (because she is legally blind and cannot see to get down)?
|by Anonymous||reply 23||12/17/2010|
Why is it that the same poster keeps posting here? Enough already. We know you don't like Patti S. We know you dislike Robert M. We get your point. Why keep returning here to post the same thing under a different handle?
|by Anonymous||reply 24||12/17/2010|
"Andy Warhol and Fran Leibowitz used to sneer at Patti and Robert, implying that they were work-shy grifters, users, and social climbers."
Pot, kettle & all that.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||12/17/2010|
Andy Warhol and Fran Leibowitz used to sneer at Patti and Robert, implying that they were work-shy grifters, users, and social climbers. They turned a lot of people off.
Interestingly, all of that comes out in the book (unintentionally, I'm sure). I had never thought of Smith/Mappelthorpe as careerists until I started reading Just Kids.
[quote]She sanitized and romanticized her life.
Yes, it all feels a little "too nice."
The book is enjoyable, but it is utterly humorless.
What happened to the kid she gave for adoption?
|by Anonymous||reply 26||02/23/2011|
The first paragraph was supposed to be a quote.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||02/23/2011|
Erica Gavin used to hang with Patti Smith for a time in the mid 1970's.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||02/23/2011|
I always liked Patti, but soured on her after her support for Nader.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||02/23/2011|
Warhol sneering at work-shy grifters, users, and social climbers?
|by Anonymous||reply 30||02/23/2011|
|by Anonymous||reply 31||03/06/2011|
R21, I want to read that book about North Korea. I read an article by the same author about North Korea in the New Yorker and was shocked/sadded just by what she described in the article. I looked up her info on the contributors page, and intend to read her book.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||03/06/2011|
The Barbara Demick book is indeed brilliant, best I've read in the past year.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||03/06/2011|
Why would you want to compare "Just Kids" to "Nothing to Envy"? The books couldn't be more different. The only thing they have in common is that they're both non-fiction.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||03/12/2011|
I had one encounter with Patti, that one was enough.
I was with a few people at Max's, one of the guys in our group knew Patti. Another friend of his, who was leaving, suggested we sit with Patti and some curly haired twinky guy she was with, they were sitting alone at one of the back booth areas.
The back room at Max's was hardly large and seats were always at a premium, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
As my friend continued to chat with Patti's friend who was leaving, another friend and I went to sit down in the back booth with Patti. The other person I was with was a gorgeous blond woman.
As we sat down Patti went absolutely ballistic, she started screaming at us. "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS!? WHY are you sitting at MY TABLE? FUCK THIS SHIT!" Then she got up and left with her twink friend.
Her outburst was almost laughable, this woman was hardly famous at the time, we certainly weren't invading a celebrity's space! I could sure see this woman had a bizarre inflated ego about 'who' she was, even when she wasn't well known.
She created this fake persona, even back then, and ran with it. Believe me, she was/is totally calculated, most famous people calculate their fame, Patti is just as guilty as every other famous person, just because she's an 'artist', it's no different.
Anyone who believes Patti Smith is "sweet", "shy" or whatever, has never been at the receiving end of this nut-jobs anger and rants.
She is fake, fake, fake.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||03/12/2011|
I believe what you wrote, R35. I think she is very calculating.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||03/12/2011|
She is truly one of the ugliest people I have ever seen.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||03/12/2011|
She didn't deserve to win a National Book Award for her boring book. Yeah, she and Mapplethorpe were "just kids", alright. They were both megalomaniacal fame whores whose only goal in life was to become rich and famous. They were also both very unpleasant, mentally disturbed people. They were two of a kind; that's why they clicked. It was so funny; they were a devoted "couple", but he was gay as a goose and she fucked whatever man who was idiot enough to become involved with her. %0D %0D I have no idea why Patti Smith has such a cult following. She was and is, quite simply, awful.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||03/12/2011|
[quote]It was so funny; they were a devoted "couple", but he was gay as a goose
He wasn't that gay, obviously.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||03/12/2011|
Have you seen pics of Patti at 20? She was totally androgynous and flat-chested. Just the sort of thing a not-yet-out young man would go for.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||03/12/2011|
[quote]Why would you want to compare "Just Kids" to "Nothing to Envy"? The books couldn't be more different. The only thing they have in common is that they're both non-fiction.
I read Just Kids and I read Kristin Hersh's book Rat Girl. Both about what it is like to be a struggling artist. In my opinion Kristin's book is a better book. It's honest and raw, and funny and sad. And Kristin has a way with words. Patti's book seems calculated to me. I enjoyed reading it, but I felt like I was reading a 'glossied' version of the events. Still, I think she's fantastic live and I will go see her again next time she plays NY.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||03/12/2011|
I just finished the book and it was a slog, yes, she paints a vivid picture of a place in time but there is NO HUMOR or even wryness. It also contains the most pretentious sentence ever written..."When we moved into the Chelsea there was a black and white television in the room. It was the first time we'd ever had one and for the rest of our stay the plug lay there flaccid."
|by Anonymous||reply 42||04/30/2011|
Wait, did he actually fuck her?
|by Anonymous||reply 43||04/30/2011|
Patti Smith is not legally blind. She does photography now, in case you didn't know.%0D %0D As far as her being ambitious and career oriented: so? OTOH, she did decide to walk away from her career to get married and raise a family.%0D %0D I met her a few times in the 1970s when I was in high school and she was always nice to me and my friends. But I would never assume to know her personality based on a couple of encounters. I can tell you that there was a lot of fucked up behavior on the punk rock scene back then, much of it heroin fueled. That included Blondie, who was no saint either.%0D %0D Ugly? Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Again I can say that she was very sexually attractive to many people, male and female at the time. %0D %0D
|by Anonymous||reply 44||04/30/2011|
Right on, R40. An unsuspecting Allen Ginsberg once bought her a drink or snack because he thought she was an interesting looking boy.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||09/08/2013|