i just got an email with the subject “patti smith and store 808″ and i had to blink a couple of times and make sure i was reading correctly- but a couple of our fp girls in boston did in fact get to meet patti smith herself at a book signing and lecture that took place last week at the museum of fine arts. i am so jealous… since reading her book she has become a huge inspiration for me, and i wish i had known her story sooner and gone to one of her appearances because to hear her speak in person would be life changing.
luckily our fp girls took some great notes! here’s a recap of the event from ava, our MIT in boston.
Last week Christine (our assistant store manager) and I had the opportunity to go meet Patti Smith at the Museum of Fine Arts for a book signing and lecture….. It was an amazing experience! We snapped a few photos, and jotted down quotes from her lecture.
We first went to the book signing – we could barely contain our excitement while waiting in line, along with our Sales Associate Kaly. We had the opportunity to talk to her at the table, and were completely star struck – she was so nice, completely approachable and laid back. I’m sure I mumbled something dumb to Patti about her being wonderful.
After the book signing we went into the auditorium, and when we saw her guitar on stage – we knew we were in for a special treat! She read excerpts from Just Kids, told stories, took questions and even sang a couple of songs.
patti’s guitar, from “objects of life”
I jotted down some quotes below that I was scribbling in my note book. When Patti saw Kaly holding her notebook, she asked her “Are you a writer?” and Kaly said, “No, I’m an artist.” and Patti replied “You can always spot writers and artists because they always keep their notebook close!”
A lot of Patti’s talk emphasized the importance of labor within the realm of art.
“The goal of an artist is to magnify one’s vision to make it flesh. … A true artist’s ultimate goal is not celebrity.”
patti’s jacket with rimbaud pin, from “objects of life”
At one point Patti was reading from her book, and came to a passage that mentioned a long blue raincoat and she stopped, and said “I had to mention that rain coat. I’m a coat freak. In fact, I was signing books earlier and I was coveting at least two people’s coats!”
“All my outfits had names… Actually, the whole history of new wave film I had in two drawers.”
handmade tambourine, from “objects of life”
On Song Origins:
As an opening to her song Wing – she said “I always screw up when I do this song. I wrote it, but it sort of expresses my state of mind as a young girl of 20, before I met Robert Mapplethorpe…”
I was free
it was beautiful
it was beautiful
Talking about how she came up with the song Grateful, right before she sang it:
“I was feeling a little low– and I was standing there so sad and I had this vision of Jerry Garcia and he smiled at me and shook his hair, and this song came into my head so I named it ‘Grateful.’ It felt like a gift from Jerry…. Life is tough, but things work out.”
suitcase from “objects of life”
Talking about NYC:
“I went to NYC the way I usually did things- not having any money, not knowing where I was going to stay, not telling where I was going. Truthfully I still often travel that way… It’s exciting!”
“We lived at the Chelsea Hotel. Everyday was an adventure… some people accuse me of name dropping in my book. I can’t help it everyone. Everyone was there in the late 60s.”
When Robert asked me to write this book he was here in Boston, so I always have a special sense of him when I am here.
What do you think about audiobooks?
“I’ll never not love books. I love the paper and to hold it. However, there’s a lot of trash that is being written that doesn’t deserve to be a beautiful object….. I was against color tv when it came out. You people think I am so cutting edge, but I never want anything to change.”
She did reveal she’s doing an audiobook of Just Kids, even though she didn’t know what a Kindle was about a year ago.
paintbrush from “objects of life”
I’m a 20 year old unemployed painter. How do I grow up to be as cool as you? (Patti’s response to this was one of our favorite moments!)
“I never knew a 20 year old employed painter!
The main reason I went to NYC wasn’t to be a rich, famous artist, but to get a job. We do what we can in order to survive. Work really hard to magnify your vision. Don’t worry about selling work. Just evolve. Work hard.
If you mean you don’t have a job – GET ONE! I was always aware that you need to work in order to have food, or materials. If you mean you aren’t selling it, don’t worry about it.
First thing: Do good work. Worry about selling it later. Make it first.
People think “oh, if you are a punk rocker you don’t work….. Uh… sorry!
I got married, scrubbed floors, raised children, and I was still an artist everyday. Unfortunately, I was not a very good housekeeper.”
(She then sang My Blakean Year)
What historical woman would you consider to be punk rock?
“Joan of Arc!”
How do you feel about being called the Godmother of Punk?
“To me people worrying about who was, who is punk rock, it’s like when my husband and brother in law would make fantasy baseball teams and argue for hours and hour about who was better… it’s all theoretical.
First it was Princess of Piss. Then Queen of punk, now Godmother. Next I’ll be the Dinosaur.”
In a room full of 400 people, it felt like we were sitting in a living room just hanging out. She ended her lecture by leading the entire crowd in an acapella sing along of ‘Because the Night’ (one of my favorite songs of ALLLLLL TIME) after reading the excerpt about hearing it on the radio while walking down the street- it was absolutely amazing!
“objects of life” images from here.
thank you so much for sharing your experience ladies!