Here's some news that should be music to every music and book lover's ears and eyes: Patti Smith's fascinating, touching 2010 memoir Just Kids — which chronicled her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in New York City and rightly earned her the National Book Award for Nonfiction — is getting a follow-up.
The singer-songwriter recently told Billboard that she's writing a sequel to her New York Times bestseller that will be "more of the Just Kids vein and even in the similar time period, but shifts more to family, (her late husband) Fred [Smith], music. So it's a different perspective. Just Kids was very focused on Robert and my relationship with Robert and wanting to be an artist, and the next book will be more, perhaps, music-based."
Smith, who says she's "social security age, but ... far from retiring" (for the record, the rocker/author, is 65), promises that, like Just Kids, the new book focus on her personal experiences, rather than taking the form of your standard famous person's tell-all. "I don't have a big rock 'n' roll lifestyle, a sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll story to tell," Smith tells Billboard. "I think I have maybe a better story. Through rock 'n' roll I traveled the world, worked with my late brother (Todd) and, best of all, that's how I met Fred. It changed my life in many unexpected ways, so I have my story to tell."
In addition to writing the Just Kids sequel, the busy Smith is not only recording music for shows like Boardwalk Empire, but continuing to tour. Smith's story continues to be a fascinating one, with a wealth of material. In other words, that new book can't come out soon enough.
[Photo credit: Matt Kent/WireImage]
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At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.