Patti Smith

Patti Smith Inducts Lou Reed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Patti Smith can be counted on to give good speech. Not only is she quipped with the language and cadence of a poet, but she paid attention to the gifted people and strange situations around her in the 1970s, helped by the fact that, while others indulged in excess, she chose to remain more or less sober. She can remember New York's rock heyday.

Lou Reed was one of those gifted people around her. The two were colleagues and friends, but not too close, affording her an objective take on his triumphs and struggles, kind advice and gruff foibles. Her thoughtful, poignant, emotional speech last night to induct him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (this is his first induction as a solo artist, following a group induction as the Velvet Underground in 1996, also with a speech by Smith), makes their mutual admiration abundantly clear...

"Hello, everybody. On October 27th, 2013, I was at Rockaway Beach and I got the message that Lou Reed had passed. It was a solitary moment. I was by myself and I thought of him by the ocean, and I got on the subway back to New York City. It was a 55-minute ride, and in that 55 minutes, when I returned to New York City, it was as if the whole city had transformed. People were crying on the streets. I could hear Lou's voice coming from every cafe. Everyone was playing his music. Everyone was walking around dumbfounded. Strangers came up to me and hugged me. The boy who made me coffee was crying. It was the whole city. It was more [pauses and tears up]... Sorry. I realized, at that moment, that I had forgotten, when I was on the subway, that he was not only my friend, he was the friend of New York City.

I made my first eye contact with Lou dancing to the Velvet Underground when they were playing upstairs at Max’s Kansas City in the summer of 1970. The Velvet Underground were great to dance to because they had this sort of transformative, like a surf beat, like a dissonant surf beat. They were just fantastic to dance to. And then somewhere along the line, Lou and I became friends. It was a complex friendship, sometimes antagonistic, and sometimes sweet. Lou would sometimes emerge from the shadows at CBGBs. If I did something good, he would praise me. If I made a false move, he would break it down.

One night when we were touring, separately, we wound up in the same hotel, and I got a call from him. He asked me to come to his room. He sounded a little dark, so I was a little nervous. But I went up, and the door was open. I found him in the bathtub dressed in black. So I sat on the toilet and listened to him talk. It seemed like he talked for hours, and he talked about, well, all kinds of things. He spoke compassionately about the struggles of those who fall between genders. He spoke of pre-CBS Fender amplifiers and political corruption. But most of all, he talked about poetry. He recited the great poets — Rupert Brooke, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara. He spoke of the poets' loneliness and of the poets' dedication to the highest muses. When he fell into silence, I said, 'Please, take care of yourself so the world can have you as long as it can.' And Lou actually smiled.

Everything that Lou taught me, I remember. He was a humanist, heralding and raising the downtrodden. His subjects were his royalty that he crowned in lyrics without judgment or irony. He gave us, beyond the Velvet Underground, Transformer and 'Walk on the Wild Side,' Berlin, meditations to New York, homages to Poe and his mentor Andy Warhol and Magic and Loss. His consciousness infiltrated and illuminated our cultural voice. Lou was a poet, able to fold his poetry within his music in the most poignant and plainspoken manner.

Oh, such a perfect day [cries]... Sorry. Such a perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you. You made me forget myself. I thought I was someone else. Someone good. You were good, Lou. You are good. True poets must often stand alone. As a poet, he must be counted as a solitary artist. And so, Lou, thank you for brutally and benevolently injecting your poetry into music. And for this, we welcome you, Lou Reed, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

Apr 19, 2015 22:07:00
Tom Ford

When They Were Young

They all had an adorable baby phase; many of them had a geeky phase; some of them even pulled off a dashing adolescent phase. Eventually they all did their part to shape fashion and culture as we know it...

Tom Ford

Coco Chanel

Alexander McQueen


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Apr 18, 2015 10:52:00

Best Adult-Film Posters from the 60s/70s

In the 1960s and '70s, before VHS tapes, porn was shown in theaters, usually seedy theaters. That meant they had to be creative — dare we say smart — with their sexual innuendos and double entendres.

It also meant they had to have posters, which were often not just creative, but comedic. Here are the best adult-film posters, those that defined the era with a healthy dose of sleaze and satire...

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Apr 18, 2015 12:17:00
Aydian Dowling

Meet the Transgender Man About to Get a Major Magazine Cover

For transgendering folks, critical mass is everything. The movement itself is verging on critical mass. Trans-pioneers are popping up everywhere, from television to fashion runways — and now magazine covers. Aydian Dowling, a bodybuilder and trans-man from Eugene, Oregon, who already graces the April cover of FTM (short for female to male), is in the running to appear on the November cover of Men's Health. The major fitness magazine is currently conducting a reader poll (voting closes June 21), with Dowling in the lead by more than a few inches.

"As a transgender male, having a healthy body and mind is my ultimate goal to find peace within my soul," he wrote in his submission. “Having a trans person on the cover would tell people that no matter who you are, you can be the man you want to be...I think it would blow minds. I think it would be so affirming to young kids who are lost right now and depressed, to see somebody on a magazine, to see if I can do it, they can do it, too."

Disarmingly frank about his transition story, Dowling tells the magazine his first dose of hormone replacement therapy occurred in 2009 and he's continued injecting testosterone each week. In 2012, he had his breasts removed in a procedure called top surgery, but hasn’t set about enhancing the bottom. At least not surgically; the hormones have done some enhancing. “I don’t have a vagina,” he confirms, candidly. “People don’t have a problem when you call your penis ‘Mr. Winky,’ but when I call what I have a penis, some have a problem with that.”

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Apr 18, 2015 11:32:00

Kanye West's Ego Lands a Time Cover

"Every time I crash the internet, it's like this little drop of truth. Every time I say something that's extremely truthful, out loud, it literally breaks the internet." So spouts Kanye West in Time magazine, which, in its infinite wisdom, decided to put him on one of five covers of its 100 Most Influential People issue. He even managed to relegate his wife to a mere cover line.

Time got someone already familiar with spacey talk to write the intro. Not Anna Wintour (good guess), but Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX, a space-transportation company established to facilitate the colonization of Mars. He writes: "Kanye West would be the first person to tell you he belongs on this list...Kanye does think. Constantly. About everything. And he wants everybody else to do the same: to engage, question, push boundaries. Now that he’s a pop-culture juggernaut, he has the platform to achieve just that. He’s not afraid of being judged or ridiculed in the process."

Here are other uncomfortably delusional and/or not entirely logical things Kanye has apparently been thinking about...

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Apr 16, 2015 22:10:00
Carine Roitfeld

Carine Roitfeld Ventures into Fashion Design

She's the namesake founder and editor of CR Fashion Book, global fashion director of Harper's Bazaar, and former editor-in-chief of French Vogue. Now the irreverent Carine Roitfeld can put designer on her resume. Announced today, the style oracle who's set more than a few trends is collaborating with the Japanese fast retailer Uniqlo on a limited women's collection for fall.

Part of Uniqlo's comfort-based LifeWear category, the Carine Roitfeld Collection will "reflect Ms. Roitfeld’s broad experience with numerous designers and creators to bring new styles to the world," reads a statement. The designs — about 40 pieces in total, including outerwear — are being overseen by Uniqlo's design director Naoki Takizawa.

"I started from the idea of clothes that I would want to wear myself," says Roitfeld, the subject of Mademoiselle C, a revealing documentary by French filmmaker Fabien Constant just over a year ago. "[I] developed this into clothes that anyone would want to wear, a woman’s ideal of clothes that make her feel transformed when she wears them.”

No word yet what exactly the items will be. But given the kohl-eyed dynamo's personal predilection for trim silhouettes, precision heels, and a monochromatic black palette, it isn't hard to guess. 

At Uniqlo stores worldwide and online from the end of October 2015

Apr 18, 2015 09:45:00

Finally, a Giant Cat Head

Grumpy Cat has nothing on this Godzilla-sized wearable cat head, made of needle-felted wool by the students of the Japan School of Wool Art. It’s the only school in the world to offer a course in making realistic-looking cats, not just cat masks, taught by the world's foremost expert, Housetu Sato, who's even published books on the subject. Just imagine the possibilities. Choupette could double her 2014 earnings, said to be in the millions, by selling the rights to her likeness.

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Apr 15, 2015 22:10:00

Frida Kahlo's Secret Love Letters

One of the 20th century's most illustrious couples, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were known to have an open relationship, preferring not to hide their extramarital affairs.

But there was one tryst Kahlo wished to keep a secret, telling her Spanish paramour José Bartoli, whom she met in New York while recovering from one of her many corrective surgeries, to address her as Sonja in their love letters. Those letters remained private long after Kahlo's death in 1954, only discovered by Bartoli's family upon his passing in the 1990s and not seen by the public until now.

The correspondence from Kahlo to Bartoli — roughly 25 letters, written in Spanish — include enclosures ranging from pressed flowers and beads to photographs and an original drawing of a sleeping cat. Poetically and passionately composed, they not only illustrate Kahlo's unwavering love for Bartoli, but also shed light on several important works, such as Tree of Hope (1946), as well as her post-surgery relationship with her husband, and an unknown pregnancy. 

The letters and their enclosures were auctioned off today at Doyle New York, where they remain on view.

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Apr 15, 2015 14:30:00
Patti Smith, M Train

A New Memoir from Patti Smith

Patti Smith — punk poet, artist, and author of Just Kids, the intimate autobiographical account of her early years with Robert Mapplethorpe — is back with a new memoir. To be published in the fall, M Train takes readers on a trip through what she calls “a roadmap to my life,” stopping at her favorite coffee shops to recount her various literary inspirations and how they played into her loves and losses.

The book’s cover photo — showing her at Cafe 'Ino in Greenwich Village, where she went each morning for black coffee and brown bread — was taken by a passerby on the cafe's last day in business. Smith describes it as “the first and last picture at my corner table in Ino…My portal to where.”

Apr 14, 2015 10:54:00

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