I have a few new obsessions and they’re not your typical gay ones either. I have a new diva I am worshipping these days and she shies away from false lashes and sequined gowns. In fact she’s the anti-diva: grit replacing glimmer, harsh where others are soft.
I bought Patti Smith‘s Just Kids on a whim by recommendation of several friends. The book told a flip side story of NYC in the 1960s and 1970s to Warhol’s books and diaries, which painted the underground in pop colors and Mylar shine. Her tale is dirtied, just as dark, but much more rock and roll. I was unaware of Smith’s friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe, the iconic gay photographer.The book’s title refers to the two of them. It is their coming of age in NYC, starving, creating, and reaching highs and lows together. It’s remarkable.
It propelled me deep into Smith’s musical catalog and I am so in love. The voice and lyrics are raw. She hurts and loves and you hear how deep. She rocks and sings tales of sorrow with equal measure. She’s a rock and roll goddess, a brilliant artist. No wonder she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. If you’re unaware of her genius, as I was before, I strongly encourage you to discover her book and songs. In both, a voice of an American artist and poet exist.