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Suze Rotolo Passes at 67

Posted by Miss Ess, March 1, 2011 09:56am | Post a Comment

The woman who shared the cover of Bob Dylan's The Freewheelin' and both dated and inspired the artist for 3 highly influential early years, Suze Rotolo, has passed away in New York City at 67 after a long illness. She wrote a fascinating autobiography a couple of years back in great part about her life with Dylan that is recommended reading! Sure am glad she was able to share her thoughts and write it before she died. Rest in peace, Suze Rotolo.

bob dylan the freewheelin

Patti Smith's Just Kids

Posted by Miss Ess, February 8, 2011 03:05pm | Post a Comment

Patti Smith's National Book Award-winning Just Kids is the best book I've read in a long time, and maybe the best I've ever read about the creative process.

patti smith just kids

It's the story of her development as an artist during her childhood and througout her 20s via her complex relationship with best friend and artist Robert Mapplethorpe. It's an incredibly moving, intricately written autobiography and is ripe with detail when it comes to their poverty stricken existance that was lit up only by art and by friendships with some of NYC's most colorful characters in the late 60s/early 70s, like Candy Darling, Harry Smith and Janis Joplin, to name but a few. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! In our current era of irony and faux posing, where Manhattan's exceedingly high rents have obliterated any hope for real artistic daring, it was refreshing and inspiring to read about two consummate artists taking on the city who truly lived for their work and for creation itself.

Mick Fleetwood's Autobiography: Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac

Posted by Miss Ess, May 6, 2009 04:48pm | Post a Comment
Ever since I wrote this post a few months ago, it's been a full on Mac attack in my life -- I have been listening non-stop to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, everywhere I go, over and over. I picked up Mick Fleetwood's 1991 autobiography as well, Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac, hoping for some salicious tidbits about the band that is known not only for its instantly addicting, mega-popular music, but also for the many interband rumours...

mick fleetwood autobiography

The book is pretty great. Mick describes his childhood and early life with candor, including his stints in boarding school and his feeling that he was not smart, upheld by his poor academic performances and difficulty memorizing facts...thus, he turned to music, and with perfect timing. Although he certainly slaved away upon moving to London, paying his dues in one dank club after another, he makes the process of gaining early fame and fortune seem somewhat simple -- after all, this was Swinging London! He was in mick fleetwoodthe right place at the exact right time to make a career for himself.

Mick portrays himself as the glue that held the various incarnations of the band together over the years, and it appears to be true -- he and a rather mute John McVie are the only two members that have stuck with the band since its creation in the mid 60s. Mick felt he had no back up career; holding the band together was what he pledged his whole heart to, even at the expense of his first marriage, relationships and children.

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Suze Rotolo's A Freewheeling Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 06:05pm | Post a Comment

I just finished reading Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. Rotolo is most famous for having had a complicated and inspiring relationship with Bob Dylan early in his career and for appearing with him arm in arm on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

the freewheelin bob dylan


Her autobiography is an easy read, and she chronicles not only her time in the Village in the early 60s, but also the trials of growing up thbob dylan suze rotoloe child of two communists in the era of blacklisting, and her post-Dylan trip to then-recently Communist Cuba for several months in 1964. It's interesting to read about a woman's life in the early 60s (I was glad to have recently experienced a visual touchstone of the early 60s in Mad Men) and the limitations that were part and parcel of daily life back then that are now in many ways foreign to us gals. When Suze was with Dylan, everyone expected she would merely be his shadow and have no career or creative pursuit of her own, and, among other things, she was subjected to his own rigid expectations of her looks and her second-class status.

While the book was mainly enjoyable to read, I'm not sure if I was expecting too much, but it was not heavy on details, in my opinion. I respect Rotolo's right to keep some things private, of course, but I also wondered at times why she was compelled to write a book if she wanted to keep so much to herself. Still, the book does give an outline of The Village as an exciting, creative place and also of Dylan as a charismatic but manipulative charmer. She also gives an interesting take on the corrosive effects of fame on individuals, those around them, and their relationships. bob dylan suze rotolo dave van ronk

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How Sassy Changed My Life

Posted by Miss Ess, March 19, 2008 04:43pm | Post a Comment
Growing up, my best friend and I were obsessed with reading.  We would spend time together whilingsassy johnny depp jane pratt away the summer in the hammock in her yard, voraciously reading through any books that came our way.  My best friend's sister was 5 years older than us.  Although she was basically nerdy too, she was, by age association alone, more advanced and thus cooler than us.  It was through her that I discovered Sassy Magazine at the age of 11.

When I think about the major influences on my life, the bits that I've clung to and that have truly created and informed who I am today, the first thing I think of is The Beatles and the second is SassySassy was utterly unique-- a teen girl's magazine that addressed feminism, individuality and intelligence.  Sassy gave voice to ideas I was too young to communicate and also acquainted me with relevant topics I had never read about before.  It bolstered my already- formed beliefs in honesty and creativity, and it gave me a sense of self-esteem in those dreaded mjane pratt drew barrymore sassy magazineiddle school years.  It showed me there was a world outside of my preppy high school-- a world where there was more going on than wearing Gap Jeans and driving a Mercedes.

It was written by a small group of young women (and a few men) in their early and mid 20s who had clearly made it out of adolescence and had, in my eyes, made something of themselves.  They embraced the high and the low culturally and taught me to look with an even keener critical eye at popular culture.  They seemed to have complete freedom in their lives and spent their days, as I imagined it, meeting stars and adequately tearing them down or flirting with them, listening to music, gossiping amongst themselves and of course, writing.

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