Pamela Des Barres is an authority on many things, including sexy rock stars (she talked to VICE about Jack White and Ryan Adams last year). For better or worse, she's also the expert on what it means to be a "groupie," a word she says may have become irredeemably tawdry.
Before she graduated from high school, Des Barres was befriending and dating rock stars in Los Angeles. In the 1960s, she was a familiar face on the Sunset Strip. She babysat Frank Zappa's children, partied with musicians and dated Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Waylon Jennings and many others. In 1977, she married Michael Des Barres of the bands Detective, Silverhead and others.
Des Barres immortalized herself as the world's best-known "groupie" in her 1987 best-seller I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. When Kate Hudson played Penny Lane in Almost Famous, she based the character on Des Barres. Des Barres followed up with 1992's Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up. Her books Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon and Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies chronicled exploits in excess by rock stars and groupies. Last year, Des Barres released Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin' Memoir.
Des Barres is in New Orleans this week for a short residency at Art Klub. She'll read from her work and be interviewed by former Gambit music writer Alison Fensterstock at 8 p.m. Thursday, and there is a dance party with DJ Lingerie afterward. Des Barres also will teach a writing workshop June 23-24. $10 Thursday, $140 workshop. Visit www.artklub.org for details. Art Klub, 1941 Arts St.