Patti Smith Rocks LA

04/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Legendary poet, musician, and performer Patti Smith has been making the rounds promoting her latest book, Just Kids, chronicling her lifelong relationship with eccentric photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The memoir follows their journey through New York in the late sixties and seventies when the two young artists happened upon one another in the Chelsea Hotel, becoming passionate lovers and then the closest of friends. Smith writes, "It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation." Hundreds lined up outside of Skylight Books in Los Feliz to catch a glimpse of Patti reciting romantic and tumultuous tales of her emergence from awkward outcast to an icon of bohemian cool. Unable to squeeze by the throngs of die-hard fans, I stood on tip toes to watch her reading projected on the big screen. Luckily, anyone who purchased Just Kids was given an opportunity to have their copy signed and eventually I had my turn. While the following pictures are not works of beauty, by no means up to Mapplethorpe's standards, shaking hands with the "Godmother of Punk" was a monumental moment that I am fortunate to have captured on camera (Patti is not a fan of flash photography, which I learned the hard way). You can read Tom Carson's glowing review of Just Kids in The New York Times Sunday Book Review.