Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Patti Smith enchants an enchanting city, Venice July 27, 2013

Patricia Lee Smith, known to the entire world as simply Patti Smith, entertained Venetians in a splendid outdoor theatre in front of St. Mark’s Square Supported by long-time member (he joined Smith in 1974), guitarist-bassist Lenny Kaye, the 67 year-old “Godmother of Punk” played in sweltering heat (35 Celsius at 9 pm) and humidity for 90 minutes at the splendid Teatro Verde on the island of San Giorgio, located in front of St. Mark’s Square.  

Smith graced fans with “Gloria”, “Because The Night”, co-written with another outstanding musician, Bruce Springsteen (Smith told fans that in 1978 she had been the guest of Isabella Rossellini, the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Italian movie director Roberto Rossellini, in Venice, her very first time to the enchanting city.  She spoke about wanting a child.  Isabella told her that she had to throw a shoe into the Grand Canal and then go to a church to make a wish.  She did just that and soon after her son was born.  She said that the song was in “Honor of her son’s father”.  The song?  “Because the Night”) and every Patti Smith fans’ all-time favorite song, “People Have The Power”.  And while in Rome in April of this year Smith was greeted by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.

Her newest album, “Banga”, was released in early June 2012 with critical acclaim.  This concert in Venice was brought to us thanks to the folks at Three birds with one stone: Smith was playing in Venice not only during the city’s famous “Biennale” international art show but a near-tragedy could have happened:  the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship was docked in Venice.  The ship weighs 102,000 tons, is 272 meters long, 35 meters wide and 62 meters tall (equivalent to a four-story building).  On its way into the basin it came dangerously close (some people say as close as 20 meters) from St. Mark’s pier (St. Mark’s Square being Venice’s most famous).  The “safety zone” for the gigantic cruise ships is 72 meters.  That day docked in Venice was also the personal yacht, the “Siron III”, which belongs to Micky Arison, who just happens to be the president of the Carnival Corporation, which owns the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship…   

Residents and anti-cruise ship committee members have for some time now been waging their own personal war against these cruise ships which pass right in front of St. Mark’s Square (which once hosted directly in front of the pier on a floating barge that infamous Pink Floyd concert with 300,000 fans that were directly in front on the famous square.  That concert eventually brought down Venice’s entire city council as inadequate washroom service had been provided to the fans that day).  Going at a mere 4 knots with a tonnage of over 100,000 tons, a cruise ship, if it were to loose control or if their were a malfunction (or even a terrorist attack) would not certainly be able to stop on a dime, and would no doubt totally destroy St. Mark’s Square and the adjacent Palazzo Ducale. A catastrophe just waiting to take place one day in THE most magical city in the world?

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