Friday, October 22, 2010

Walek Recommends: Patti Smith's "Just Kids"




Just Kids
tells the story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s remarkable relationship. Patti Smith (famous for singing Jesus didn’t die for her sins) and Robert Mapplethorpe (famous for empowering photographs of S&M and the male form) met when they were two homeless 19 year olds trying to find fame in New York City. As Robert was dying he made Patti promise she would write their story and the result is one of the most moving books I’ve ever read.

Their escapades and brushes with the famous (Sam Shepard makes a delightful appearance) capture a time when artists could actually live in the Chelsea Hotel and Allen Ginsberg would hit on you at the automat. It’s a tender, brutally honest, and completely moving portrait of what it takes to be an artist.

Being part of an emerging writers group it was refreshing to read an icon, explore what it was like for her at the beginning, not just the spoils of her success.

FURTHER READING

-I recommend reading Patti Smith’s responses to comments about the book on Amazon.

-I recommend googling Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs. The one of him pissing in a champagne glass is my favorite.

-Michael Walek

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