Thursday, September 3, 2009

Patti is back in town

Rock goddess Patti Smith and her band are back in town for a free performance tonight at the Santa Monica Pier.

I really have a jones for Smith —and have ever since I was a pudgy, pimply punk in high school and Patti released her album Horses. But I'm going to pass on her show at the Pier tonight.

Call me a fuddy duddy. But I just can't summon the patience to crawl to Santa Monica during the evening rush —that "subway to the sea" can't come soon enough— struggle to find parking and then stand for a few hours in a crowd craning my neck to get a good view of Patti and her band mates. With luck, she'll come back to L.A. sometime soon and perform at a venue where I can sit during the performance and sip Metamucil through my G-tube during the intermission.

I know I'll regret my decision once I start reading reports of tonight's show. Patti never disappoints.

Only a month ago I saw Patti at a book signing in West Hollywood for Patti Smith: Dream of Life (Rizzoli International Publications, 2008). It was the second time that I met Patti, following a signing event at Amoeba Music a while back. I handed a note to Patti thanking her for all of the enjoyment she has provided over the years, and explaining that I couldn't tell her that with my voice because I had cancer. (The signing took place the day after my biopsy but several days before my doctor told me that I no longer had any evidence of cancer.)

I was too flustered to remember the exact words that Patti spoke but she wished me the best and said something like "Get healthy," as she looked directly into my eyes. Once Patti Smith has looked directly into your eyes, you are never the same again.

In my copy of her book Patti wrote, "To Paul: People have the power" and signed her name.

Patti, I'm sorry I won't see you dancing barefoot on stage tonight but I want you to know that I am on the road to getting healthy. Have a great time at the Pier.

Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier

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