Patti SmithPhoto by Steven Sebring; image from www.familyactionnetwork.net

Evanston Township High School will host “Year of the Monkey: An Evening with Patti Smith” on Oct. 26, beginning at 7 p.m., in the school auditorium, 1600 Dodge Ave. The event is free and open to the public, suitable for ages 12 and up. The presentation will be recorded.

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, Patti Smith’s Year of the Monkey is a profound, beautifully realized memoir in which dreams and reality are vividly woven into a tapestry of one transformative year. Following a three-night run of concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore, she finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz on New Year’s Day in 2016, about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger’s words, “Anything is possible: after all, it’s the Year of the Monkey.” For Ms. Smith –  inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing – the year evolves as one of reckoning: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.

In “Year of the Monkey,” Ms. Smith melds the western landscape with her own dreamscape. Taking readers from California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places, this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; grief and disillusionment set in. But as Ms. Smith heads toward a new decade in her own life, she offers this balm to the reader: her wisdom, wit, gimlet eye, and above all, a rugged hope for a better world. 

Ms. Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She formed the Patti Smith Group in 1974, and she has released 12  albums over the decades, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone. She is widely considered one of the most influential figures in the New York punk rock movement. 

Ms. Smith’s New York Times bestselling memoir, “Just Kids,” documents her early years in 1970’s Manhattan and her close relationship with the acclaimed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. “Just Kids” won the 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Other books include “Wi!tt,” “Babel,” “Woolgathering,” “The Coral Sea,” “Auguries of Innocence,” “M Train” and “Devotion. 

In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor given to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. 

Guests should plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before the start of the event to find parking and seats. Accessible seating is available in the auditorium. Parking is available in the lot across from the main entrance, off of Dodge Avenue, or in the lots behind the high school. Parking is also available along Dodge Avenue according to posted City of Evanston signs.