"Fire of Unknown Origin": Patti Smith, Androgyny, and the New York Underground
MetadataShow full item record
Patti Smith’s androgynous gender performance is often cited as one of her defining performance characteristics. This thesis aims to determine whether Smith’s androgyny might be conceptualized as a subversive tactic to either the masculinist ethos of rock ‘n’ roll, or the limitations of prescribed femininity in general society. To draw a conclusion, it analyzes primary sources of the written, musical, and video variety from the first three years of Smith’s career as a rock ‘n’ roll performer. This thesis traces the influences in her musical and performance characteristics to determine to what extent they inform her performance of androgyny. Furthermore, it locates her performance strategies within both the overall trajectory of rock ‘n’ roll, and her specific New York City context.