I had the pleasure, courtesy of some good friends of mine, to see Patti Smith last night in conversation at City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco. She was warm-hearted, happy and loving in her answers and in the way she moves through the world. Although not an ardent follower, I have admired her music, activism and words for years. She talked a lot about Robert Mapplethorpe, her onetime close friend and boyfriend, one of the most influential photographers of recent times. During the evening we were told of the passing that day of Howard Zinn, historian and civil rights leader, someone else that Patti knew well. Anyway, you may like to check out her excellent new book, Just Kids, from which she read many insighful and funny recollections of her stay at the Chelsea hotel and that time in NYC.