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The Unpredictable Patti Smith’s Favorite Cultural Moments of 2010

Jason Merritt/Getty Images, John Lamparski/WireImage, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

We've been asking the top culturati of 2010 to pick the best of the year's entertainment. Naturally, that meant we'd have to talk to Patti Smith, author of the wonderful memoir Just Kids, about her extraordinary relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith's answers were as idiosyncratic as the woman herself. We published one of them in our culture year-end issue a few weeks ago, which is included here, along with the rest.

I’m Still Here
Casey Affleck directed the most innovative and underrated film of the year. Joaquin Phoenix’s unparalleled performance was raw, poignant, and funny. The unexpected and beautifully shot long, silent end was like a poem.

The Petting Zoo
Though admittedly flawed, Jim Carroll’s novel is infused with the dying poet’s beauty, humor, and wisdom. One can access his dreamy, digressional voice, and it is the last major work we will have from him.

"Mouths to Feed"
I mostly listen to Glenn Gould, but I listened a lot to this song from Karen Elson’s album The Ghost Who Walks. She has an honest, old-fashioned, clear voice and her songs are touching, well-crafted, and have that mountain-ballad feel.

Alfred Molina in Red
Molina as the artist Mark Rothko, in Jonathan Logan’s Red, was weary, dark, and virile. A scene of Rothko and his assistant stretching and priming a canvas together was breathtaking, like a muscular dance.

Law & Order: SVU
I was heartsick when the brilliant Vincent d'Onofrio was obliged to turn in his badge on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Luckily, I discovered the sister show SVU. Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni are another intense, human team.

Related: Culturati Share Their 2010 Favorites [NYM]