It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation. Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous—the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years. Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.
Winner of the 2010 Non-Fiction National Book Award Patti Smith's definitive memoir: an evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe 'Sharp, elegiac and finely crafted' Sunday Times 'Terrifically evocative ... The most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late '60s and '70s that any alumnus has committed to print' New York Times 'Render, harrowing, often hilarious' Vogue In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max's Kansas City, Scribner's Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol's Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years--the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup. Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.
Second-grader Cindy is assigned to spend part of each day in the class for students with special needs, where she finds out that even though some kids may learn differently or have different abilities, they are all "just kids."
"In lyric essays, a story, poems, and photographs, Smith illuminates the whirl of chance and choice that stokes a writer's imagination, recounting her fascination on the eve of a trip to Paris with Simone Weil and an evocative, accidentally discovered film about Stalin's mass deportation of Estonians. In France, a gravestone, a televised figure-skating competition, a meal, and a garden all converge in what becomes Devotion, [a] ... fairy tale about a young, displaced Estonian skater and a solitary dealer in rare objects and arms. This ... fable about creativity and obsession, possession and freedom is followed by a meditation on how a work of art is, for other artists, a call to action"--Booklist, 08/01/2017.
"A down-to-earth, inspiring book about the American promise fulfilled." —President Bill Clinton "Fascinating . . . . Made me wish I had been born in the Bronx." —Barbara Walters A touching and provocative collection of memories that evoke the history of one of America's most influential boroughs—the Bronx—through some of its many success stories The vivid oral histories in Arlene Alda's Just Kids from the Bronx reveal what it was like to grow up in the place that bred the influencers in just about every field of endeavor today. The Bronx is where Michael Kay, the New York Yankees' play-by-play broadcaster, first experienced baseball, where J. Crew's CEO Millard (Mickey) Drexler found his ambition, where Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dava Sobel fell in love with science early on and where music-making inspired hip hop's Grandmaster Melle Mel to change the world of music forever. The parks, the pick-up games, the tough and tender mothers, the politics, the gangs, the food—for people who grew up in the Bronx, childhood recollections are fresh. Arlene Alda's own Bronx memories were a jumping-off point from which to reminisce with a nun, a police officer, an urban planner, and with Al Pacino, Mary Higgins Clark, Carl Reiner, Colin Powell, Maira Kalman, Bobby Bonilla, and many other leading artists, athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs—experiences spanning six decades of Bronx living. Alda then arranged these pieces of the past, from looking for violets along the banks of the Bronx River to the wake-up calls from teachers who recognized potential, into one great collective story, a film-like portrait of the Bronx from the early twentieth century until today.
ABOUT THE BOOK Plenty has been written about Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, two of the more celebrated artists to emerge from the vibrant New York artistic circles of the ‘70s. Now Smith shares her story - or at least part of it - in her own words, with Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Smith’s Just Kids tells the tumultuous story of their romance, artistic self-discovery and eventual commercial success. Like all great autobiographies, her story is strewn with anecdotal snapshots and inner observations that would have been beyond the grasp of even the most dedicated biographer. It’s an intimate, tender account that, as the title suggests, sticks mostly to the duo’s formative years. In telling her own story, Smith also pulls back the lens to capture some of the energy of the era, a golden age ruled by icons like Andy Warhol (a major source of fascination for the young Mapplethorpe), Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed. Many of the main settings in the book - the Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, CBGB - have become places of lore. MEET THE AUTHOR Adam McKibbin's work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and websites, including The Nation, the Chicago Tribune, AlterNet, Paste and Punk Planet. He's worked in web editorial and social media management for years, and is a seasoned interviewer whose favorite subjects include David Lynch, Tori Amos and human rights journalist Mac McClelland. He studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin and received the Award for Academic Excellence for his collected fiction. He's currently working on his first nonfiction book. Adam lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, and can be found on Twitter at @TheRedAlert. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Just Kids begins with Patti Smith as an actual kid; she was a sickly child, getting herself through the day by losing herself in stacks of books and imagining herself walking in the footsteps of heroes like Rimbaud and Bob Dylan. At the earliest opportunity, she sets out for New York City with barely a dollar in her hand and nary a job prospect. Shortly thereafter, she meets a striking and self-assured young artist named Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith and Mapplethorpe become fast friends, then lovers, roommates and mutual muses. The early stretch of Just Kids documents a time when money was scarce but inspiration was abundant. Smith worked on her poetry while Mapplethorpe explored increasingly dark and sexualized themes in his collage art; they set out with fame and fortune squarely on their minds, but hadn’t yet found their mediums of choice. In each case, they found their calling (Smith in music, Mapplethorpe in photography) with the help of pestering from the other. Buy a copy to keep reading!
From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey into the mind of this legendary artist, told through the prism of cafés and haunts she has visited and worked in around the world. M Train is a journey through seventeen "stations." It begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. We then travel, through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations: from Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico, to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; from the ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith buys just before Hurricane Sandy hits, to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud and Mishima. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation, alongside signature memories, including of her life in Michigan with her husband, guitarist Fred Sonic Smith, whose untimely death was an irremediable loss. For it is loss, as well as the consolation we might salvage from it, that lies at the heart of this exquisitely told memoir, one augmented by stunning black-and-white Polaroids taken by Smith herself. M Train is a meditation on endings and on beginnings: a poetic tour de force by one of the most brilliant, multi-platform artists at work today.