Patti Smith selling out? While we'd like to believe it isn't true, some are concerned that Smith may indeed be betraying her Chelsea Hotel roots by playing a private show for the hotel's new developer.
According to the Hotel Chelsea Blog, Smith will be performing this Thursday for Joseph Chetrit, who purchased the legendary hotel last summer for more than $80 million. Guests living in the building were abruptly ordered to leave and soon after, Chetrit made sweeping renovations to the building, ultimately stripping it of its iconic appearance.
Hotel Chelsea is assuming Smith is not fully aware of the controversial host behind the invitation, so the blog has written to Smith, asking her to decline Chetrit's request to perform:
We love Patti and her music, and we would love to see her concert, just not under these circumstances. And so we call on Patti, now that she knows the truth, to cancel this event.
The Chelsea Hotel, once home to Smith, was also home to the likes of Bob Dylan and Charles Bukowski and has been known for its infamous nights that include the mysterious stabbing of Nancy Spungen and the incident where Edie Sedgwick set her room on fire.
UPDATE: Smith released a statement on her website about the show.
My current involvement with the Hotel Chelsea began some months ago when I heard rumors that the hotel would be leveled. I was devastated and entered in a dialogue with the architect, through a mutual friend.
He assured me this was not the case and every effort would be made to save and restore the building, which was greatly deteriorating. Having witnessed the demolition and redevelopment of much of our city I was at least hopeful that the hotel would stand.
Since then my few efforts on behalf of the Hotel have been unofficial and uncompensated. My dialogue has continued with the architect. My personal objectives have always been: To offer uncompensated advice as to the aesthetics of the renovation project. To council all concerned to develop positive communication with the rightful tenants. To be available in the future, without fee, in participating in the development and preservation of the artistic cachet of the hotel. To participate in the development of a possible artists-in-residence program.
My small performance for the tenants was my own idea. My hope is that we might have a nice evening and the opportunity to communicate directly. I am an independent person, not owned or directed by anyone. My allegiance is to the Hotel itself, and I have done nothing to tarnish it. It is very difficult for me to embrace change, but my great hope is to witness the Hotel Chelsea find a strong and positive place in the twenty-first century.