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Patti Smith Gives Rare Private Performance at NRDC Dinner

The legendary singer dueted with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O at the Chanel-hosted event.

Patti Smith at the Channel Dinner for NRDC on May 31
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Tobey Maguire, Cindy Crawford and Emma Roberts were among the stars who gathered Friday at a Chanel dinner to benefit the Natural Resources Defense Council, held at art dealer Larry Gagosian’s Holmby Hills residence.

Guests gathered on Gagosian’s patio for hors d’oeuvres and dinner, an all-vegetarian menu by Gjelina restaurant's Travis Lett. The night featured three surprise musical guests: Patti Smith and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O dueted during cocktails, and Pharrell Williams performed over dinner.

Smith and Karen O played four songs: "Because the Night," Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps," "Pissing In A River," and a cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day."

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Smith addressed the event’s environmental cause in a speech. “We must as activists not always be ready to win -- we always want to win -- but we also have to be ready to lose, and lose, and lose, and lose, and keep on fighting,” she said.

“We must be a thorn in their side, and sooner or later, they will bleed,” she added, to applause. NRDC, one of the nation’s top environmental groups, mobilizes 1.4 million activists, lawyers and scientists to tackle green issues. The organization addresses climate change as well as endangered wildlife and ocean preservation.  

The "Celebration of Art, Nature and Technology" event also featured a benefit auction of such pieces as a work by painter Walton Ford, whose art recalls Audubon's naturalist illustrations, bound volumes of images by Sebastiao Salgado and limited-edition photographic prints of Antarctica and Greenland by Sebastian Copeland.

Most stars wore Chanel, including Roberts in Chanel shoes and a white dress, who attended with now-fellow American Horror Story star Evan Peters. Rachel Bilson appeared in a colorful, frilly Chanel number. “I just really like the dress,” Bilson said. “It felt kind of like a flower."

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Chelsea Handler, model Angela Lindvall, actors Balthazar Getty, Emily Mortimer, Bella Heathcote and Haley Bennett, mogul Michael Eisner, New Line Cinema founder Bob Shaye and director Andrew Dominik were also among the guests. "Art, fashion and a good cause -- nothing better than that," is how Bennett summed up the night.

Co-hosting the environmental event were Janet Friesen, Jane Kachmer, Lauren and Benedikt Taschen, and Ron and Kelly Meyer, who have previously hosted the Chanel-NRDC environmental fundraiser at their Malibu house.

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