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Patti Smith Befriends Jackie Curtis

Patti Smith Befriends Jackie Curtis

Through hanging out in Max’s Kansas City, Patti Smith became friendly with Jackie Curtis—who cast her, Wayne County, and Penny Arcade in Femme Fatale, which debuted at La MaMa on May 6, 1970. Wayne County, who would become Jayne County by the end of the 1970s, was the newest addition to the downtown’s glitter mafia. She met Curtis, Darling, and Woodlawn in 1969, soon after moving from Georgia to New York, and by this point she was living with Curtis and several others in a tiny cold-water apartment on the Lower East Side. “It was during this time that I first got the idea of going on stage,” County recalled. “Jackie had been writing a play called Femme Fatale at the flat, and she was looking for people to be in it. So she said to me one day, ‘Wayne, you should be in Femme Fatale. You’ll play a lesbian.” County’s first line was the setup for a gross-out gag: “You scared the shit out of me” (after which she pulled a plastic poop novelty item from under her dress). “That was my debut on the New York stage,” she said, “in Jackie Curtis’s Femme Fatale. You can imagine.”

From Chapter 21 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore