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Two Times Intro: On the Road With Patti Smith

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R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe compiled this ”photo diary” in commemoration of the 1995 tour that brought Patti Smith, a ”heroic influence” on him, out of retirement. Some of Stipe’s photos are pointlessly blurry; others are exquisite, notably a mystical shot of Smith’s outstretched hand, webbed in the gauze of her sleeve and backlit by stage lights. ”Michael takes photos…to gather his thoughts and friends and memories around him,” writes documentary filmmaker Jem Cohen, one of the few cogent contributors to a volume soggy with sentimental platitudes. But because so many notables, from Tim Robbins to Smith’s daughter, Jesse, are poorly identified, Two Times Intro leaves you feeling like a frustrated outsider. B-