Recent National Book Award winner (and rock legend) Patti Smith celebrated the centennial of French writer Jean Genet's birthday last month, with a "walk-in," guitar-strumming ode to Genet at New York's MoMA. She was joined by her friend, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, who opened with an ultra-minimalistic version of David Bowie's "The Jean Genie," the Genet-punning track off the Aladdin Sane album.
Even if Patti Smith isn't your cup of tea, you have to give it up for her soul-baring honesty and passion. At one point, she misplays a chord and says, "Sorry. I hit the wrong chord again. It's okay right? Uh, no, actually, I always hit the wrong chord. I never do this song perfect, because, who's perfect?" which comes off kind of touching in its humility.
Incidentally, Stipe and Smith collaborate on the final track, "Blue," on R.E.M.'s new album, Collapse Into Now, due on March 9th.