In 2003, the week that the US began its invasion of Iraq, I was at LaGuardia Airport in New York, when I struck up a conversation with punk rock artist Patti Smith, who was headed to Houston for the opening of her Strange Messenger show at Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum.
Once in Houston, I interviewed Patti at KPFT 90.1 Pacifica Radio, after which I remained in touch with her.
Seven years later, in 2010, I was able to bring Patti to Houston on behalf of Voices Breaking Boundaries, and she offered a performance and reading from her award-winning book Just Kids.
Punk rock artist and writer Patti Smith being interviewed on KPFT Pacifica 90.1 FM by Sehba Sarwar; photo Burnell McCray
On stage, she dedicated my favorite song, “People Have the Power,” to me, and the next day, when I dropped her to the airport, she handed me a signed copy of Just Kids.
… some special honor goes to the implacable VBB founder and director Sehba Sarwar who years ago by chance ran into Patti Smith in an airport, struck up a conversation, and extracted a promise to visit Houston for VBB someday. When Smith released her book Just Kids, Sarwar came calling. Smith came to Houston without charge, so the audience at UH’s Cullen Hall could pay just $5 to hear the rock-n-roll prophetess read from her book, sing some of her songs, and take questions.
—“Guerilla Tactics Top Five: Best DIY Productions of 2010.” Houston Press, December 2010. LINK
Ongoing & Additional Projects
I am an author and speaker, an artist, and a community and cultural activist.
If I can use my talents and passions to inspire you or your network to push boundaries and become involved in our communities, please connect with me. I am open to schedule readings, workshops, courses or multimedia installations.Universities and non-profit organizations based in Texas can apply for Texas Commission on the Arts grants to fund Sarwar’s workshops, readings and/or installations since she serves on the Texas Touring Roster.