Last Wednesday night, New York Institution Patti Smith appeared at downtown venue Bowery Ballroom with a few friends to read poetry and play some music. The occasion? One of many in an almost two-month-long celebration of Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s brief sojourn in New York City in 1929-1930 while he was a student at Columbia University. That year inspired a book, Poet in New York, which has been republished in a revised bilingual edition by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
In the clip above, watch Smith read a selection of Garcia Lorca’s “Little Viennese Waltz.” Her Jersey/New York inflections make the lines her own (love the way she says “piano”), and her banter with the audience is priceless.