New York superstar of yesterdecade Patti Smith was going to play a free show at the Chelsea Hotel for tenants tonight, but nuh-uh, they got none. The Chelsea Hotel Tenants Association were upset that the hotel’s legendary former resident might be in cahoots with Chetrit Group — Chelsea Hotel’s new overlords behind the gutting historical of rooms, “losing” of art and aggressive evictions of long-time tenants. Patti said she cancelled the gig and that you have it all wrong.
“My motivation was solely to serve the tenants,” she writes. “If this serves them better, than I am satisfied.” She goes on at length to explain how she’s not affiliated nor paid by the Chetrit Group and only entered dialogue with the architect of the hotel overseeing the renovations through a friend because she loves the hotel so much. As an “unofficial and uncompensated” she’s been serving as an adviser, helping to save the “greatly deteriorating” building from demolition, counseling on the “aesthetics” of renovation and trying to make nice nice with the tenants:
“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.”
Also, several of the tenants were planning to stage a flash mob-style “die-in” by laying down outside the hotel with lighters and singing Patti’s song “The People Have the Power.” That might have put a damper on said “nice evening.”
Update: There’s a Patti Smith shrine in there: “Her room has remained completely intact, as a shrine to her career, while all the other rooms have been demolished.” Ooh.