I can’t remember the moment I first heard Patti Smith. It was probably as a child while playing with the matte board cutter at my dad’s frameshop (it was safer than it sounds). Yet she didn’t come into prominence until I was in 6th or 7th grade. That’s when I would scour the Internet to find more female musicians to obsess over. I’d grown up with No Doubt and Hole, but I had always wanted more. My only prerogative was that they were female and had some edge to them. I remember finding troves of musicians on random LiveJournals dedicated to these women. Somewhere in there I found Patti.
While in college at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, my mom saw Patti right after Horses had come out. So when it was announced she would be performing at Bryn Mawr, it seemed like a perfectly circular experience to share with my mother.
As one can expect, Patti was amazing. I was fortunate enough to have friends save me a seat directly front row center. I was three feet away from her the whole evening. Her set was equal parts reading from her memoir, answering questions, and acoustic performance. She closed with an acapella sing-a-long to “Because the Night” that was, in a word, amazing.
I am so lucky to be part of a college community that values the profound contributions Patti Smith has made not only in music, but in society and culture at large. Instead of independently searching the Internet for (s)heros as a lonely middle schooler, I now belong to a vibrant campus of future Patti Smiths. It may sound trite, but it’s days like these I am so very happy to be a Mawrter.