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The One Exhibit Thats Worth Your Time
Mark Okoh

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait at the Contemporary Jewish Museum--which coincides with the release of a documentary about the artist--is a super-intimate look at the singer’s pre-fame persona. Here’s why you need to check it out.

1. Her writing You can read the application letter Amy wrote to the Sylvia Young Theatre School when she was 13, with gems like “All my life I have been loud” and “Mostly I have this dream to be very famous.” 

2. Her music collection You’ll see albums by Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, and Frank Sinatra, plus a playlist from a chill-out mixtape with songs by Ella Fitzgerald, the Offspring, the Platters and Luscious Jackson. 

3. Her regal guitar It wasn’t fancy and it sounded awful, but she wrote many songs on it and continued to use it even when she could afford a quality guitar.

4. Her signature style Fashion houses--including Christian Louboutin, Fendi and Adidas-- constantly sent Amy clothes and shoes. Check out the blue sequined Luella Bartley dress from the Glastonbury Festival in 2008.

5. Her talent and tattoos Standouts include a breakout session with rock critic Greil Marcus (August 14) about Winehouse’s unique interpretation of 1960s and ’70s classics and a chat with tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy (August 28) that will shed light on the meaning behind the artist’s tats. 

“Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait” (through November 1) at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St.; 415-655-7800 or

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