A rock icon who hates being called a rock icon, Patti Smith, was at the Block Museum of Art in Evanston last night (Jan. 30), where director Steven Sebring’s documentary about her, “Patti Smith: Dream of Life,” was being shown. I was privileged to sit in on a press conference with her before the screening, where she played “In My Blakean Year” for this select audience of a dozen people or so. Toting her ever-present vintage Polaroid camera, Smith took photos of some audience members at the screening and handed the instant pictures to them.
The film is a kaleidoscopic, poetic portrait of Smith, and after the screening, Smith and Sebring answered questions from Jim DeRogatis and the audience. Smith played “In My Blakean Year” again for the full crowd, adding an extended introduction about being born in Chicago, living on Kedzie near Logan Square. She closed by reciting the lyrics of “People Have the Power” as a poem for President Obama. “President Obama,” she said in closing, “be a good man, and we will be a good people.”
I’ll post a link to the article I’m writing for Pioneer Press about Smith’s appearance later.