Friday, December 29, 2006

Yep, it was great

The Patti Smith Birthday Bash last night was really great. Jackie Sheeler did an amazing job organizing an eclectic 2-hour line up that started with Baudelaire's masterpiece "Drunk" and ended with Patti Smith's song of hope "A Farewell." The namesake guest of honor didn't make it, but her spirit was there throughout.

For yours truly, the strangest moment was before the show even started, when my 82-year-old father-in-law and his wife showed up, courtesy of sister Lisa. I was moved by their presence, but sort of freaked out as well. I mean, Patti Smith ain't exactly Sinatra and the spoken word sensibility she inspired is a somewhat acquired taste. But they stayed for the whole show, and seemed to honestly enjoy my work.

Highlights of the show were a Patticento, where Sheeler combined excerpts from hundreds of poems and songs of Patti Smith into a cool piece, accompanied by The Bass Player from Hand Job, who is himself a poet to be reckoned with. Rimbaud pieces were cool, too. I was happy with my pieces, but, due to a last minute demand from one of the other readers, I ended up sharing the mike on "A Farewell" with another poet and her psuedo-mime girlfriend (both in silver paint), which weakened the power of the piece considerably. Another highlight was my new favorite musical group, Rewbee. Check them out on myspace and look for them live. Very early X-like, with a New York edge.

Here's one of the pieces I read (the funny one). I'll be posting an audio of the other piece in the next few days.

The Crotch Sniffer

The crowd presses toward the stage, eliminating all
empty spaces between the goddess and themselves
as if proximity alone would ensure a touch of the same

spark that lights her fire. It's June 16, 2003, it's San Francisco and
it's Patti Smith. "Patti, Patti," the chanting begins. I'm a old pro at
holding position in a crowd. No one in this room has a chance

in hell to move me back. Three people in front of me now, and,
guaranteed, when the show ends, three people will be in front
of me then. I don't give an inch, not even for the cute little five-

foot-two blonde in Birkenstocks and backpack, armed with two
bottles of Calistoga. They're everywhere here. Backpacks full of
bottled water. So help me, God, none of them will get in front of me.

Even the six foot five dot-commer guy can't get past me. He's all
stringy hair and glasses. T-shirt, khakis, backpack. Been making
moves to get by but forget it, man, this spot is mine. Too bad for him.

Lights dim. Roar begins. Band appears. Then Patti. Then a
scream. The six-five guy falls flat on the floor. Patti starts to sing
as fifteen people rush to the guy and offer him sips of the

bottled water from their backpacks. "I'm okay, I'm all right, thanks,"
he says, still sprawled below. Fuck him. I'm here to see Patti. His
girlfriend mumbles, "It's okay, this happens to him all the time."

So why does he go to concerts, I wonder? Patti puts on one
hell of a show, with poems from her new book, along with the
classics. The tall guy taps his fingers on the floor and stays there,

the entire concert. Even the encores. There's got to be something
behind this. During the last song, I sneak a glance and see the key.
The guy's a freak. He's not looking a Patti, he's sniffing between the

legs of every chick that drifts near him. He's a freakin' crotch sniffer.
Probably pulls this act everytime he goes to a show. I'm torn now
between absorbing only Patti or giving this guy a quick kick in the

balls. Thank god for multi-tasking. Two quick boots and before the end
of the final song, he's making his way out the door like a dog. Patti turns
her head my direction and smiles. I know she is looking right at me.


Karen said...

I wish I had something more articulate to say about your performance than Wow! But, Wow! You were terrific. The Crotch Sniffer is good on the page as well as performed, but truly Abigail with the bass player? Great. More music in 2007, please.

Anonymous said...

We had a great time playing and hope to do it again real soon.