Rock singer Patti Smith is a media darling again Celebrity: Several publications offer the same attraction this month.

Magazines

June 23, 1996|By Matthew Gilbert | Matthew Gilbert,BOSTON GLOBE

Sometimes reading magazines is freaky-deaky, like when you keep seeing profiles of the same cool celebrity, and she keeps saying the same cool things, and her photos are all shiny and grungy, and you wonder:

Is this a harmonic convergence of some sort?

Are all magazines one in the great glossy sky, and is a new mega-monopoly about to dawn?

Or is this some kind of ugly joke in which we are only pawns in an Antonio Sabato Jr. nightmare, the kind where he goes out in public without his clothes on?

Patti Smith is the celebrity being magazined these days, now that she's back with an album and a flutter of concert dates.

No longer the androgynous poet with a self-described "snot-nosed swagger," the beat-punk icon is playing the role of elder woman rocker with equal parts humility and grace.

She's a walking, talking, singing lesson in survival, and she proudly carries the spirits of her lost loved ones -- her husband, her brother and her friend Robert Mapplethorpe.

"I can say that I feel these blows that really take our breath away," she tells June's Interview. "But, I've also seen how we can marshal ourselves and get up again and look around."

She tells the July Spin: "Each generation suffers different pain; the thing young people seem to suffer now is a lack of comprehension at how beautiful life is. I've experienced a lot of personal sorrow, but I still feel constant amazement at how beautiful life is."

Patti's also in the July Details, but the real star of Details is Bebe, the famous rock babe who is quickly becoming known as the mother of Liv Tyler, the young actress about to open in "Stealing Beauty" (see the current Entertainment Weekly cover).

Bebe Buell narrates her own torrid story, in which she links herself with, among others, Todd Rundgren, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello and Steven Tyler, Liv's father.

Buell says she finds the G-word (groupie) offensive, except "when it has the word 'goddess' attached to it," and she gets philosophical about her early motivations.

"Being one of those girls seemed like the way to be a woman in rock 'n' roll," she explains, hoping she'll be perceived as "a pioneer, a woman's woman, maverick." Like Patti.

Also in Details with Patti: Joni.

While Mitchell and Smith are both having sort-of comebacks, they are quite a study in opposites -- in unexpected ways.

Mitchell, who won a Grammy this year, is the tough-talking, brutally honest and strikingly immodest one: "I am an arrogant artist!" she says. "And I'm sick of the false humility in this business! And I get really arrogant when they start pitting me against people and saying something or someone's like me when that something is mediocre!"

Patti, who has heartfelt praise for artists such as Courtney Love, tells Spin she's been surprised she was missed by fans: "I really didn't perceive that I had any significant impact."

Fiction issues

The New Yorker fiction issue is out (June 24 and July 1), and it's chock-full.

It opens with an interesting comment by fiction editor Bill Buford, who wonders whether storytelling has come back and replaced the modernist mistrust of conventional narrative.

The issue contains fiction by Martin Amis, Robert Stone and Cynthia Ozick, and letters between such figures as Ernest Hemingway and Maxwell Perkins, T. S. Eliot and Djuna Barnes. Also, an essay by Salman Rushdie on the dangers the novel faces today.

Pub Date: 6/23/96

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