Last Friday I attended my tenth Patti Smith show; it was life-affirming and spectacular. Before playing "Beneath the Southern Cross," Patti told a story about how she and two of the dudes in the band had gotten the same fortune in their fortune cookies at dinner, something about there being surprises in store for them. Then she talked about surprises a while, and how surprises are cool, which I absolutely agree with. Here are some cool surprises that have happened to me over the last few days:
1. JOHNNY DEPP PLAYING GUITAR WITH PATTI ON FRIDAY NIGHT!
He was dressed like a cross between Lemmy and Captain Jack Sparrow, but with jeans that were baggy and unflattering. That's him at the right, next to Lenny Kaye, aka the true love of my life. To the left of Patti is Flea, whose presence I'm not counting as a surprise, since Flea's played with Patti three out of the four times I've seen her in Los Angeles. But it was still so wonderful to see him, as he's totally my hero, and I was so delighted when we all got to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. (It's his 50th birthday today! Happy birthday, Flea!) I ganked this picture from fanpop.com, btw.
The last song of the night was "Rock n Roll Nigger" and both Flea and Johnny played on it and it was transcendent, even more transcendent than "Rock n Roll Nigger" always is. Here's a video of that; when the guitars get going around 1:10 it makes want to run nine million miles per hour and throw shit all around and smash everything but in a really positive way. I love when she throws rose petals or something all over Flea and Johnny, and then blows them a big kiss. Her little message at the end is so nice too.
My other favorite part of the night was when she played "Distant Fingers" (which I don't think I'd ever seen her play before?) and started it off by telling a story about smoking cigarettes outside CBGB and looking for flying saucers in the sky with her boyfriend Tom Verlaine. And she played "Because the Night" too and that's really great for me, that I got to see Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith play "Because the Night" in the same year. Lucky duck.
2. THIS FANTASTIC POSTCARD THAT JEN MAY SENT ME:
Satanism + witches + pumpkin iced coffee + my home state = SO MUCH LOVE
3. LEARNING TO LOVE AND UNDERSTAND "WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS" BY LED ZEPPELIN, THANKS TO BEN AFFLECK
I saw Argo on Saturday and so intensely loved it and thought I was going to have a goddamn heart attack in the big scene but I didn't, I survived, and now I'm a better person than I was before. It's such a beautifully done movie and I really want to get some custom balloons (latex, not mylar) that are heart-shaped and printed with the words "I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED BEN AFFLECK AND BELIEVED HIM TO BE WHOLLY CAPABLE OF GREATNESS." Each day I would blow up a new balloon, then tie it to a ribbon and tie the other end of my ribbon around my wrist, and walk all around like that.
But anyway my point is I never got why people love "When the Levee Breaks," but it's used so perfectly in Argo and now I love it too. It's really the only song for when the stakes are high.
4. LEARNING TO LOVE "SISTER RAY" BY THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, THANKS TO MY BOOK & A HONEY MUFFIN
There's this part in my book that I was putting off writing because it takes place in a gallery and I'm just not into writing scenes in galleries -- writing scenes that happen in ponds, lakes, oceans, Dunkin Donuts parking lots at three a.m., bedrooms, bars, bathtubs, motel rooms, and forests is so much more my speed. But it's an important part and finally I was like No more lollygagging and I flew away to Farmers Market and got a pink lady apple and a honey & fig muffin and sat at a blue table and wrote that scene. I wrote the hell out of it, and listened to "Sister Ray" a lot, and also "Memory of a Free Festival" by David Bowie, and it was so fun and good. Generally I'm resistant to the Velvet Underground (mostly on account of their fan base largely overlapping with the subspecies of dude who assumes an automatic superiority over the kind of woman who might wildly and savagely love a band like The Doors) -- but "Sister Ray" is fun and fuzzy and scrappy, and after the fourth or fifth listen I realized my main girl's name is the third word of the song and that's pretty magic. It's a fucked-up magic song.
5. THESE BEAUTIFUL KID-DRAWINGS OF ICE CREAM:
Here's the part in the post where I begin employing a fairly loose interpretation of the notion of "surprise" and tell you I was surprised, joyfully, to find these adorable drawings of ice cream in the hallway outside of Bennett's Ice Cream on my out of the Farmers Market. I like this one too. "Goody Good Good Terrific" is an opinion I completely support.
6. THE SECRET MARZIPAN INSIDE THIS "KRINGLE":
After class on Friday I went to a cute little Danish bakery in Culver City; it's called Copenhagen and I got myself a Kringle, which is a big flaky thing with toasted almonds on the outside and almond paste on the inside. It was way lovely but next time I'm maybe gonna get a Kranse Cake (a cake with almond paste and dark chocolate), a Napoleon Hat (a cake with almond paste, chocolate, and cookie dough), or a Nougat Crown (pastry with almond paste, custard, and hazlenut cream). There's also a bunch of pastries/cakes that are less enchanting to me but have amazing names, like Makron Snitte (aka raspberry macaroon), Smorkage (aka butter cake), and Frosnapper (aka poppy twist).
7. THE MAJESTY OF THE SKY OVER THE OCEAN IN VENICE
Traffic was wicked easy on Friday morning so before class I drove to Venice to get a coffee at Cow's End and walk down to the pier. I took this picture and I guess I shouldn't be surprised by it at all: of course the sky is majestic. One nice thing I've learned since using Instagram is people love skies. So I guess that's surprising. What a sweetly Beatlesy thing for us all to share.