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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 6, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Patti Smith plays the Neptune Theater

References to age are unnecessary, misguided

Patti Smith performs at the Neptune Theater in Seattle on Feb. 27. (NICOLE BRODEUR/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

Patti Smith performs at the Neptune Theater in Seattle on Feb. 27. (NICOLE BRODEUR/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

I was appalled by the recent review of the Patti Smith concert, written by Charles R. Cross [“Ageless Patti Smith soars at Neptune Theater show,” NWFriday March 1]. It began, “Patti Smith is 66 years old, but at the Neptune Theatre Wednesday night she put on a vibrant and energetic performance that one would expect from someone 50 years her junior.”

It went on in that vein with four more sentences describing what a wonderful concert is was, followed by the word “but” and sheer astonishment that anyone that old could put on such a great show. At one point, Cross also referred to Smith’s “surprising awareness of the pop-culture mainstream.”

Such assumptions reflect a negative stereotype of people over 50 or 60 as being in steep decline, rapidly losing their ability to do work they’ve been doing so well for so long.

I think the reviewer may actually have though he was complimenting the performer. If one strips away the ageist language, he is saying that Smith was vibrant and energetic and that her voice has never sounded better. Why not just leave it at that?

–Madeleine Kolb, Seattle

Comments | More in Arts, Seattle | Topics: concerts, music, Patti Smith

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