Patti Smith: The Santa Monica Pier

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 18, 2007 07:32pm | Post a Comment
One day it's the 1970's, I'm trapped in the kind of hell a youngster homo freak usually is trapped in, and hey, Patti Smith is the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. (Who in the '70's didn't watch Belushi when you were 9?) Suddenly, you realize you can stop jumping off the roof of any building you can scale the side of, you stop trying to figure out how to knot a noose, and you ... embrace life.

Because you realize if this woman is on TV in America ... that there is hope. And when Gilda Radner did her Patti Smith impression--you loved Gilda even more. Crazy.

Next thing you know, a some 3 decades later, you are standing on the Santa Monica Pier watching Patti Smith from about 3 feet away. Life is so weird and magical.
30 years later, you can barely stand up, you're half deaf, blind in one eye and ... none of that matters a god damned bit. Yeah, you feel all the pain, and you clutch the stage so you don't fall over ... it's just that being there makes it all bearable for a little while, and that is all any of us can ask for. I'm not a unicorn: tons of people are broken into pieces: but these beautiful and generous artists give to us that magic, that roar of love ... that medicine that the HMO and free clinic can't conceive of ... the kind that really does heal you.
And for the first time since Patti played her show at Amoeba Hollywood, I can feel my soul, I can feel your heart and I keep turning around to witness the joy in the people around me.

Yeah, she's a genius. Yeah, Patti Smith is an inspiration ...  She is a force of nature. I think if there are any Gods at all ... they roar truth and power through her voice. But face it, she doesn't save your soul. You gotta do that. She shows up to do a non-profit, save The Santa Monica Pier, and if you want to know without any question at all that the people do have the damn power--you show up, and you feel pretty damn grateful and powerful.

Yeah, I work for Amoeba--but not the one in Hollywood, and I don't care at this moment if I sound like a shill or an ass-kiss: Thank you to everyone at Amoeba Hollywood that made it possible for this to happen. You worked your asses off that night. To all the beautiful people at all the Amoebas, thanks for caring about the world, with your revolving/let's try to help this here now, raise some awareness over there kind of stuff ... like Santa Monica Pier Preservation. Thank you for having the Rebuild New Orleans donation jugs on your tables at the Patti Smith concert even though most of the world stopped caring about 6 months after it happened. (Note: Time Magazine's summation of the government's efforts 2 years post Katrina devastation and horror: PATHETIC.)

Okay. A moment of happy thoughts:
We need more voices on this internet of people who are willing to thank the right people even if it's yer buddies in LA, and we need more people to take up in chorus with Patti's voice ... People Have The Power. I do, You do. Doesn't matter how many times I get thrown out a window, or have a bottle thrown at my head for being a queer in America. No one takes away my power. No one takes away your power. No matter who you are. The oppressor cannot win, it is against nature itself. They've been partying on our dime for a while, but ... love always wins over evil.


The beauty of Patti Smith, for me, is that I was able to get that at like, 10 years old. The overwhelming part of the whole story is how relevant it all remains, that the kids dancing in the audience at The Pier got it.  Maybe someone will make a comment, but I'll be damned if I can think of one artist out there who has given me so much in this life, and I look around at my meager belongings and see her music, her poetry, her drawings and her photography.

This video, well ... it ain't the best quality and I think the shooter would admit it. But I held onto that stage and wept as she tore the hell out of this song:

Maybe the very best news of all is reading that she is working on her new songs for the next record, when her latest record, Twelve hasn't even left my dashboard.

If you've heard her music, and haven't heard her speak, you can watch this interview she did at Amoeba Hollywood:

... and this was just too weird and beautiful to not post:

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