Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, the Pogues, and more . . .

I was skeptical when I heard that Patti Smith's Just Kids had won the National Book Award for nonfiction. Fortunately, curiosity won out over skepticism and I decided to read it, and add my voice to the growing chorus of praise.
Seduced from page one by Smith's poetic yet straightforward language and her eye for detail, I devoured this touching memoir of Smith's early life and her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe -- first as lovers, then later, as Mapplethorpe explored his homosexuality, as friends. They were young, innocent, in love, and devoted to living their lives for art.
Smith paints a vivid picture of artistic life in New York City in the late sixties and early seventies, warts (or should I say lice?) and all. From Max's Kansas City, to the Strand Bookstore, to the legendary Chelsea Hotel (where both Smith's and Mapplethorpe's portfolios are accepted as collateral for a room deposit), she brings to life a colorful parade of characters including Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Salvador Dali, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
Even though Smith and Mapplethorpe ultimately went their separate ways -- Mapplethorpe becoming an acclaimed and controversial photographer, Smith a poet and punk rock legend -- they remained devoted to each other until Mapplethorpe's death from AIDS in 1989. Before he died, Smith promised Mapplethorpe that she would one day write their story. She has more than fulfilled her promise -- poetically, tenderly, and with undeniable artistry.

Click here to buy Just Kids.

Here's a video of Patti reading from the book and singing "Because the Night."

Now that I'm in a New York City/punk kind of mood, I wanted to share one of my all time favorite Christmas songs, the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York." Enjoy!

The perfect holiday gift
I won't be recommending electronic appliances very often, but this one is awesome, the perfect holiday gift for the artist or coffee lover on your list: Aeroccino Plus Automatic Milk Frother. Fill it with milk, push a button and in 90 seconds you have a heavenly pitcher of perfectly frothed milk. No fussing with that nozzle spewing hot water and steam all over the place, this magical machine takes all the pain out of making a perfect cappuccino.

Upcoming events at Offramp Gallery

We had a wonderful turnout for the opening reception of ArtZone at Offramp on Sunday! Thanks to everyone who came, the 28 artists who contributed work to the exhibition and to everyone who helped put it together. ArtZone is open every day through December 19 from 1-6pm and there will be a closing reception on Sunday, December 19 from 2-5pm.

Here's video from the opening reception.

January 9 - February 6, 2011
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 9, 2-5pm
Anita Bunn, untitled, 2010, halftone photolithograph,18" x 14" framed

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jane,
    Thanks, I will read it next. And yes, the Aeroccino Plus milk frother is rad!
    May you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!
    xoRenee R