Monday, December 27, 2010


I just read Maureen Dowd today, as I couldn't get to it yesterday.

And she was writing about my favorite performer of all time: Patty Smith.

Smith's memoirs, Just Kids, won a National Book Award recently.

I've seen Patty Smith perform twice.

Both times were amazing.

The second time I saw her was at the Paradise, and it was a total accident.

I was actually walking down Comm. Ave, fully intending to see the Nora Theatre's production of Sarah Kane's Crave at BPT.

And I walked past the Paradise, and there's a huge line, and I looked up, and it was for Patty Smith, and I didn't even know she was in town, and I couldn't believe it, and I suddenly knew that I needed to see that concert, even though the sign over my head clearly said it was SOLD OUT.

So I started at the beginning of the line of ticket holders waiting to get in, and walked sheepishly past, staring at them benignly until one guy said: "Hey, you need a ticket?"

And he gave me his extra ticket.  For free. 

It was meant to be.

So, I never got to see Crave, which bums me out, as I LOVE Sarah Kane (not sure if "love" is the right word...)

I would LOVE to see ANY of Kane's plays done here. (I think the Nora is the only professional theatre to tackle her in Boston - or even the region -  until the Gamm Theatre in Providence recently did Psychosis 4.48

And if anyone wanted to cast me in one, I would SO be all over that rapey, eye-sucking shit.

I read Cleansed recently and couldn't sleep for 2 days.

Anyway, back to Patty:

The Paradise is already the size of your Nana's attic, so you're going to be close to the performer no matter what. 

But I was somehow right in front of the stage.

And the moment Patty Smith came into the room, you could not take your EYES off of her.

She is the most mesmerizing, generous, magical performer I've ever seen. 

Dowd actually said that she "radiates magic", which is true.

I remember she did a cover of "Sea of Love". 

She also sang "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie".

I love her quote: "Contradiction is often the clearest way to truth".

She shoots this energy and positivity out of every pore in her body. 

You can actually see it, like a Tesla coil.

And it's strange, because I rarely listen to her recorded music (it's just not the same).

But live, she is unbelievable

Rickie Lee Jones is a close second for me.

And I love Laura Nyro in the same way, thanks to Tommy, even though I never got a chance to see her live.

You can tell she is that kind of performer.

And yeah, I love Deborah Harry too.  But that is TOTALLY different and guilty.

But what was really strange is that Dowd quotes, of all people, Salvador Dali in describing Smith.

He apparently said she was a "Gothic crow".

And birds, particularly black ones, are what frighten the character Jessica so much in Hysteria.

"A chick who looks like a crow" is how Sam Shepard describes Cavale - the character based on and performed by Smith from his play Cowboy Mouth.

And Shepard is sometimes called the "American surrealist". 

Which goes back to Dali. 

Who was trying to "drag up the monstrous from the safety of our dreams" and "commit to the canvas".

Which goes back to Freud.

And of course, Smith was famously the roommate of Robert Mapplethorpe, who is ALSO on my mind lately, as his work is part of the Hide/Seek exhibit being vilified by Republicans.

And I wouldn't have seen Patty Smith perform if I hadn't been going to see a show at the Nora,

who is now producing Hysteria,

a play about dreams and Dali,

who called Patty Smith a gothic crow,

written about by Maureen Dowd,

who has intense, Dali-like eyes herself.

So theres' this weird, interconnected thingy going on right now...

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