A New Year
The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.
The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.
Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.
The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
The Chelsea Hotel, New York City, 1970
Located on West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, Hotel Chelsea is firmly part of American history. Originally opened in 1884, Mark Twain, Allen Ginsburg, Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, Leonard Cohen, and the power couple Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were among the artists, writers, musicians, and poets who have called the hotel home.
The film producer Albert Scopin writes about Smith and Mapplethorpe the following: "Patti fascinated me from the very start. She really was completely different to any other human I had ever met before. She was pure energy. Everything was an experiment and everything was to be understood. Robert, on the other hand, was a cool cynic, yet the two stood united in their fundamental aim to get to the top and I am incredibly pleased to know that they really made it!" - Albert Scopin, 2014
And below a rare TV film from 1972. Patti is in love with New York, it's art and artists. Will she one day be a star? Jonathan Miller returns to the city where he once starred in Beyond the Fringe. A freewheeling portrait, through two pairs of eyes, of the city that can make or break you.