: relationships are complicated.
a blast from the past, but fascinating to consider in light of recent developments…
:: speaking of America ::
~ Patti Smith ~
As Radek and Sophie walked through the streets and reveling at the beauty of the city and its many gifts, they happened upon a street artist creating a beautiful chalk drawing in Union Square. A fitting end to celebrate a day of gloriously rogue artmaking!
"When I went back upstairs I felt an inexplicable sense of kinship with these people, though i had no way to interpret my feeling of prescience. I could have never predicted that I would one day walk in their path. At that moment I was still a gangly twenty-two-year-old book clerk, struggling simultaneously with several unfinished poems.
On that night, too excited to sleep, infinite possibilities seemed to swirl above me. I stared up at the plaster ceiling as I had done as a child. It seemed to me that the vibrating patterns overhead were sliding into place.
The mandala of my life.”
Patti Smith, Just Kids
"I stood there holding a stuffed black crow I had bought for next to nothing from the Museum of the American Indian. I think they wanted to get rid of it. I had decided to name it Raymond, after Raymond Roussel, who wrote Locus Solus. I was thinking what a magical portal this lobby was when the heavy glass door opened as if swept by wind and a familiar figure in a black and scarlet cape entered. It was Salvador Dalí. He looked around the lobby nervously, and then, seeing my crow, smiled. He placed his elegant, bony hand atop my head and said: ‘You are like a crow, a gothic crow.’
'Well,' I said to Raymond, 'just another day at the Chelsea.'”
Patti Smith, Just Kids
: this is the order in which it happened unbeknownst to even my self.
John Zorn Takes On Patti Smith On The Last Day Of SOTC March Madness’s First Round
The Round of 64 for Sound of the City’s own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—finishes this weekend, with the Round of 32 kicking off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) On our last day of first-round battles, we pit two titans of New York cool—John Zorn and Patti Smith—against one another. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for the musician that you think should move on to the next round.
That’s a tough match! Here at the Chelsea Hotel Project, any voting would be biased. But you can see their killer bios and vote at the link above!
the Spirit of the Chelsea
"On Halloween night, when expectant children raced across Twenty-third Street in their bright paper costumes, I exited our tiny room in my East of Eden dress, stepped upon the white squares of the chessboard floors, skipped down several flights of stairs, and stood before the door of our new room. Mr. Bard had made good on his promise, placing the key to room 204 in the palm of my hand with an affectionate nod. It was right next door to the room where Dylan Thomas had written his last words.”
~ Patti Smith, Just Kids
Halloween has been brought up in every single interview that we have had so far with the tenants of the Chelsea Hotel. What is it about Halloween that stirs people’s spirits— that inspires them to transform? And is there a connection between the Chelsea’s strength of spirit to that which is heightened in our daily lives on this particular night of magic and mayhem?
I wanted to take a moment to notice and muse upon this subtle through-line as we approach a critical point in our artistic process— where we begin to merge some serious logistics with our big creative dreams.
Halloween is a holiday. It is October 31st. People dress up. Kids go door-to-door and ask for candy. We either need to buy or make a costume and either buy candy or make sure we turn our lights out so that no one thinks we are home. This is the practical, logical aspect of Halloween.
But what lies underneath this ritual? Why does it persevere? And do you, if you let yourself, feel a little something special stirring on this day? This hints at the mystical nature of creativity.
I believe that it is no small coincidence that everyone has mentioned Halloween when we’ve talked about life at the Hotel. But what does this mean? Is there a connection that we are failing to make if we only focus on the practical? And how can we open our awareness to pick up on the spirit of this legendary place and create something that harnesses its magic? How can we successfully do both so that our art can exist in a world where it is constantly attempted to be demolished?
Here is some personal advice from another writer who is close to my heart:
"Although it is Hallowe’en when we explore alter egos, identities, and the darker side, I encourage us all to hold on to that sense of curiosity, celebration, and wonder so we can live fuller, more vibrant lives. Personally I have come to realize that the spiritual side of my life has been lacking. Clearly I believe in life beyond this world, but have done little to explore this belief or cultivate any meaningful spiritual practices. Is it enough to simply believe in an idea without searching for it? It seems unfulfilling to know what I do NOT believe in, but not have any stronger ideas about what I do believe. This is something I shall work on. And, although I have known it for a long time but done little with it, writing about something I love and sharing it with others has been true magic. Now I wonder how to proceed, now that this sacred, special day is here but will soon be over for another year. How do I continue to have a conversation that remains true, once the season ends? Part of the spirit and energy that compels me to write about all of this definitely comes from the time of year. I suppose I must keep writing to find out!
Happiest of Hallowe’ens to you, with bright candle lights on this cold but sacred October night!”
~ Alicia Remolde, myhalloweenheart
It may not technically be Halloween now, but perhaps its spirit is something that we can harness— in moving forward with this project, and all of our life’s projects. It is a time of year that haunts many people. And for the residents of the Chelsea, it conjures up memories of celebration and community.
But what does it all mean for what we are creating??? I suppose I, too, must keep writing to find out…
So for now, Happy Halloween— in March!
We were just ourselves that day, without a care. It was our good fortune that this moment in time was frozen in a box camera. It was our first real New York portrait. Who we were. Only weeks before we had been at the bottom, but our blue star, as Robert called it, was rising. We boarded the F train for the long ride back, returned to our little room, and cleared off the bed, happy to be together.”
— Patti Smith, Just Kids
Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed.
It leads to each other. We become ourselves.
— Patti Smith, Just Kids