Narrator, poet and underground singer , at 73 she defines herself as a survivor. The pandemic confirmed that freedom is a mental conquest and, for American society to wake up, he took to the streets to sing and encourage the vote.
His books, like his life, are written with memories of Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Shepard, his two great loves. Also from Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and William Burroughs, who taught him the secret of art: keep a clean name and don’t pretend.
Escritora, singer, artist of performance and painter, if Patti Smith (Chicago, 73 years old) is asked how many Pattis coexist, replied with words of Walt Whitman:
” We contain multitudes.” Witness to a New York of cheap rents and “drugs that killed a lot of people”, he entered the beat world and the Warholian environment when the New Jersey bicycle factory where he worked closed and, at the age of 19, he moved to the lower Manhattan. It was 1971 when the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe pushed her to sing his poems .
He – who would end up becoming a gay icon – was one of his great loves. Playwright Sam Shepard was another. And by her husband, guitarist Fred Sonic Smith, would leave that world to retire to raise their children in Detroit. But Sonic died and, “to feed them”, Smith returned to the stage. He was 44 years old. At 55 he began to publish his memoirs.
We were children (Lumen) tells with tenderness and rawness – he explains that Mapplethorpe was the hustler to pay the rent – the love story between them that, on his deathbed, the photographer begged him to write. He managed to do it in 2010, 21 years after he died of AIDS.
Dressed in men’s clothing, she represents independence and the wisdom of knowing how to live with little. The conversation is over the phone. He speaks from his apartment in New York. In a dying recount, Joe Biden has been confirmed as the new president of his country.
I ask her if she has a coffee next to her – her “only vice” appears continuously in her books (the last one: The Year of the Monkey , published this year) and the Lavazza brand has named her a “cultural ambassador” -. Answer yes: “Black, without sugar and with a little cinnamon.”
He took to the streets to sing to encourage people to vote. In 2016 he wrote that those who were silent had won the elections. Who has won these?
People have spoken. I have never voted so much. That the people mobilize is the triumph. We are a society that sometimes has to wake up.
Love – to his partners, his dog or the memory of his parents – defines his writing. Did you need to get on stage and kick to make up for so much love?
You can hardly show your love if you don’t show your anger. Anger is usually the result of the search for the truth, that is why people protest in the street. The music we make communicates those emotions.
Among his loves he puts his dog Bambi and the playwright Sam Shepard on the same level .
They are two of my favorites. Bambi got run over when we were going to put him up for adoption because my little sister was allergic. I took food and went out with him.
For one day we went to all the places where we had been happy. Then he stood in front of the truck of whoever was going to adopt him.
Sam and I were a wild couple. I could always count on him. In the end, when he had ALS, I went to help him. We were in the kitchen. We drank coffee. I made him a sandwich and he said, “Patti Lee, we’ve become a Beckett play.”
He always called me by my middle name. Only him, my mom, and Johnny Depp did it.
It is unclassifiable, but has not been questioned as an artist.
As William Burroughs advised, I have tried to protect my name and have not lied.
However, she was personally questioned when she was a couple with Mapplethorpe, some press published that she was a lesbian.
I was also criticized by some feminists when I moved to Detroit with my husband to care for my children. You have to take many steps to be free. It is because one questions every decision.
There are people who look for an identity in belonging to a group, but you have to look for it in yourself. Being a mother didn’t oppress me. But I understand that it can happen to other people. For me, sacrifice is part of our evolution as human beings. When you sacrifice, you grow.