Wednesday, September 15, 2010
When I can get my ass out of bed just 10 minutes earlier, I take the Metro train to work, which makes me happier throughout the day because instead of sitting in traffic in the morning, I listen to my Ipod and read. Today I took the train and immersed myself in Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and her pre-rock star, poverty ridden, artistic beginnings in late 1960's/1970s New York. Patti Smith has been a long-time hero of mine, and I am happy to find in reading her book that we are similar in many regards – hyper fast metabolisms, which force us to eat constantly; love for French culture including an appreciation for Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Yves Montand, and french new wave film; using our outfits as a way to pay homage to our favorite movies, artists, etc.; going to the thrift stores to find aforementioned outfits; being mistaken for the opposite sex (though that never happens to me nowadays). Her funniest anecdote is her first encounter with Allen Ginsberg, who bought her a sandwich and coffee because he mistook her for a pretty boy. I instantly remembered my 10 year old self being mistaken for a boy by my dad’s friend. I was mortified. I was such a tomboy then, and I believe I still am in many ways, though I wear lots of dresses. I also learned in reading “Just Kids” that Patti Smith loved to wear a long black sweater, black tights, and black Capezios, influenced by Audrey Hepburn’s signature outfit in “Funny Face”. I am, likewise, influenced by this film in that I wish to replicate Audrey’s famous “Basal Metabolism” dance, set in a darkly lit beatnik bar.
Clothing plays a big role in Patti Smith's personal expression. Now when I dance to “Ask the Angels” from “Radio Ethiopia”, I will envision Patti Smith flitting across my living room in a blue rayon polka dot “East of Eden” dress.
Oh ya – her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe is pretty touching too.
Thank you, Judy Gloom, for letting me borrow this book. I'm in love, and don't worry I haven't scribbled notes all over your book, a.k.a made love in the margins.
All photos taken from "Just Kids"