Thursday, May 24, 2018

Inspired By Scorese's Biopic on Dylan, Skye's Art Inspires Others in Duluth

Photo courtesy Michael Anderson
This week, a Door County artist has decorated the Great Hall in the Depot with a project that birthed in her heart and evolved into a passion. Yesterday afternoon her display "Shakespeare's in the Alley," a collection of 45 tapestries hand-stenciled with lyrics from the songs of Bob Dylan, was the focus of attention on the fifth day of Duluth Dylan Fest. Around 5:30 those present gathered to hear Skye give a talk about this dramatic presentation.

Skye, a stone sculpture up till this point in her career, said that Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home proved to be the seed that grew into this powerful display. Initially she did research on Dylan, checking out books from the library, and the more she learned the more she recognized in him "an amazing example of just don't stop." During a morning walk she had a vision so to speak of panels unrolling. She felt that to follow through would be a tribute to him as an artist. She would try to make it happen. The first summer, 2011, she did 15 panels. In 2012 she decided to do more.

The creation has been a very personal journey. In 2016 she knew that to publicly share it she would have to ask permission. She did not ask permission sooner because she felt it necessary to execute that which was inside of her. It proved to be a huge relief when Jeff Rosen, Bob Dylan's business manager, replied and said yes.

Skye noted that this was the first time the installation has been displayed outside of Wisconsin and only the third time in all. Because of the special occasion she added the 45th panel, "Girl from the North Country," which is also the title of the play that opened last year in London with 1930's Duluth as its "place."

Skye shared the process by which the panels were created and the materials used: pencil, rulers, tape, fabric markers. The title comes from a line in Dylan's "Stuck Inisde of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again."

There's a Japanese term that means "living national treasure" and she said it applied to Dylan who is himself "a preserver of culutural treasures and creator of them."

"How lucky you are," she said to the Duluthians gathered for her talk. "He was born here." She then read a passage from 11 Outlined Epitaphs which he wrote when he was 22.

The images here are from The Great Hall.

* * * *

Related Links
Interview with the Artist Skye
No Direction Home by Martin Scorsese

REMINDER: There will be a birthday cake and music at Bob Dylan's birth home at 3:00 p.m. in front of the yellow duplex at 519 Third Avenue East. Happy Birthday, Bob.

Meantime art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Old Power Vs. New Power: Who's Got the Power?

It’s interesting how it appears that the earth is stationary, that the sun and moon move across the sky and the clouds move in front of them but the earth feels like it is standing still. What's strange is how our senses have been altered so that we understand that things are contrary to how they appear, since we know the earth is rotating and also moving through outer space in its circuit around the sun. Our perceptions are at odds with what we know is really happening.

And so it is with the nature of material reality, which is also different from what it appears. According to chemists, atomic structure is such that there’s more empty space between electrons, protons and all that sub-atomic material than there is substance, yet what we perceive as a tree and asphalt and faces is so substantial-looking even though it is less so than it appears. I find this strange.

How do our minds work? How do we synthesize everything in our minds to form a semblance of  order that reflects Reality? Light reflects off the surfaces of things, but there is also, is there not, an internal energy—Atomic energy? Nuclear energy?—within things.

* * * *
All this came to mind as I was reading about a new book about power.

2. the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

The book is titled New Power. I believe I came across the book by means of an email announcement. When you click the link is takes you to the following promotional copy on their landing page:

The story of our chaotic, hyperconnected world — and how you can navigate it.

Understanding “new power” is the critical skill of the 21st century. From #MeToo to Airbnb – from Barack Obama to the shock election of Donald Trump – those who know how to harness the power of the connected crowd are leaping ahead.

In New Power, two visionary thinkers take you on a whirlwind tour of our times, revealing how “new power” is reshaping politics, business and society – and how understanding how it all works will change your life.

On a subsequent page they take the idea a little further:

The world seems chaotic. Polls failed to predict that Trump would win. Airbnb is worth more than Hilton. #MeToo is taking down powerful, previously untouchable heads of industry. But when you step back from the chaos, you can notice there’s an underlying force at work: “new power.”

By understanding new power you can reshape the world around you. The future is a battle for mobilization. Those who flourish will be those best able to channel participatory energy — for the good, the bad, and the trivial. And this battle will have big implications for people, organizations, and for the world at large.

The rules have changed, they say, as they offer up this "indisputable guide to navigating the 21st century." Authors Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms are making available "a new roadmap to building movements, spreading ideas, growing organizations, and leading differently."

* * * *
As an ad copywriter I found it compelling. After a lifetime of reading compelling promo copy though I've learned that sometimes the product doesn't quite live up to the expectations being generated. Nevertheless, it's an intriguing thought (the notion of a new kind of power) and it made me wonder if it is accurate and true (that there is New Power that is greater than Old Power) or only has the appearance of being so.

To illustrate my point here I draw attention to the power battle that takes place in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which later became a powerful Hollywood film. As you watch the battle between R. P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) and Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), it's apparent that McMurphy believes he's got the power. He believes he's in control of things. In the end, we see that the inmates may believe they can run the asylum, but in the long game it's only temporary victories they achieve.

Maybe this is what Bob Dylan was thinking about when he wrote, "I seen the kingdoms of this world, and it's making me feel afraid" in the song "Shot of Love."

So the question stands: Does the New Power have staying power? Time will tell.

Related Links
New Power 
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Illustration Notes: Images from two concurrent shows at Duluth Art Institute. Top of page, from Tara Austin's Boreal Ornament. Bottom of page, from Jonathan Herrera's Querida Presencia, an exhibition about power and accountability.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Problem with Dylan Trivia Contests at Carmody's During Dylan Fest

Scene from the opening reception for Monday's Dylan Fest Art Show.
We're midway thru Duluth Dylan Fest 2018 and the best is yet to come. Yesterday I was asked to share the Dylan Fest Trivia Contest we did at Carmody's Sunday evening. This was my fifth, maybe sixth, year of creating the contest and it would appear that my dilemma is irresolvable. The dilemma I'm referring to is the challenge of creating a contest that is easy enough to make newbies feel confident while simultaneously challenging the Dylanophiles.

When all is said and done, the Dylanophiles have pretty much internalized every song from every album, including the bootlegs, so stumping these folk amounts to an exercise in futility. They not only know the title of every album from the beginning, they know the title of every track, in order. Example: Blood on the Tracks begins with Tangled Up In Blue, followed by Simple Twist of Fate, etc. etc. etc.  So if I ask the question, "What Dylan album was Idiot Wind on?" half the trivia night competitors don't even need to wait for the answer options.

If I ask a question like, "Which of the following actors did NOT play Dylan in the film He's Not There?" you'll overhear someone at the next table say, "Did anyone here see that?" If I ask what the name of the character Dylan played in Masked and Anonymous, Dylanophiles all know it was Jack Fate before the multiple choices are offered. The other half are scratching their heads and wondering what Masked and Anonymous was.

You see the problem. And we still haven't gotten into the niche trivia yet. C'est la vie.

All that being said, let's roll out the trivia questions I invented for this year's contest. It's always multiple choice, so you can at least guess. Answers will be at the end of this post. Let me know what you think... It may help in the development of next year's contest.

Note: It is a violation of the rules to use Google, Siri or any other assistance here.

1. 10,000 Men is a Dylan song on what album?
a. Under the Red Sky
b. Shadows in the Night
c. Together Through Life
d. The Basement Tapes

2. Complete the title of this song: SEVEN ______
a. Miles Down the Road
b. Curses
c. Old Friends
d. Times Gone

3. What kind of Car is in the song "From a _______ 6" on Highway 61 Revisited?
a. Ford
b. Pontiac
c. Buick
d. Chrysler

4. On the album Self Portrait Dylan recorded a song titled "Days of _____"
a. 31
b. 49
c. 61
d. 59

5. How many Strong Winds blew on Bootleg #11?
a. 3
b. 4
c. 8
d. 9

6. Dylan has famously mentioned Highway 61 a couple times in his songs. What highway did he sing about on his first album?
a. Highway 209
b. Highway 51
c. Highway 22
d. Highway 1

7. Which of the following songs with number in them is incorrect?
a. I Shall Be Free #10
b. Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream
c. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
d. Workingman’s Blue #7

8. Love minus what number has no limit?
a. Zero
b. One
c. Three
d. Five

9. How many Miles does Dylan sing about on Time Out Of Mind?
a. a thousand miles
b. ten thousand miles
c. a million miles
d. ten million miles

10. On the album Down in the Groove, how fast does Dylan drive down a dead end street?
a. Sixty miles an hour
b. Seventy miles an hour
c. Eighty miles an hour
d. Ninety miles an hour

Part Two: PLACES
11. What town was Dylan stuck in when he had the Memphis blues?
a. San Francisco, California
b. Mobile, Alabama
c. Camden, New Jersey
d. Louisville, Kentucky

12. Dylan once mentioned seeing a movie with Gregory Peck in it. What town is featured in this song?
a. St. Louis
b. Los Angeles
c. Brownsville
d. San Antonio

13. Dylan once tried to become part of Bobby Vee’s band for a very short time as a piano player. Where did this take place?
a. Fargo
b. St. Paul
c. Denver
d. Chicago

14. Which country is mentioned in the song Idiot Wind?
a. Brazil
b. Germany
c. Italy
d. Mexico

15. “Hot chili peppers in the blistering sun” is the first line of a song about a romance where?
a. Cuernavaca
b. Durango
c. Cincinnati
d. Rio

16. On the album Together Through Life Dylan sings a song about a town where “you better do right” or the sheriff will get you. What town is this?
a. Miami
b. New Orleans
c. Oxford Town
d. Houston

17. Where did Dylan go to see the Gypsy?
a. Las Vegas
b. A little Minnesota town
c. Sunset Strip
d. A carnival in the desert

Part Three: PEOPLE
18. Whom did Dylan pity in his song on John Wesley Harding?
a. The carpenter
b. The immigrant
c. The childless widow
d. The broken soldier

19. Also on John Wesley Harding, whom did Dylan ask to not put a price on his soul?
a. The priest
b. His father
c. His landlord
d. A lawman

20. On the album Shot of Love, Dylan sang that he rode with this man in a taxi once for about a mile and a half, but it seemed like a couple of months. Who was he?
a. Martin Luther King, Jr.
b. Lenny Bruce
c. Nat King Cole
d. Woody Guthrie

21. The civil rights protest song “Only a Pawn in their Game” is about the murder of what important civil rights leader?
a. Emmett Till
b. Medgar Evers
c. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
d. Malcolm X

22. In two of Dylan’s 1960’s albums he recorded the song “Girl from the North Country.” The second time it was a duet with whom?
a. Kris Kristofferson
b. Waylon Jennings
c. Harry Belafonte
d. Johnny Cash

23. The renovated Nidaros Cathedral is a sanctuary in Norway decorated with fabulous architecture and numerous sculptures depicting various characters from the Bible. Which one of these sculptures, on the Northwest Tower, used the face of Bob Dylan?
a. The Angel Gabriel
b. John the Baptist
c. Michael the Archangel
d. St. Luke the Physician

24. Bob Dylan has been a musician, a songwriter, painter, sculptor and more. His latest venture is a whiskey business. The name of his whiskey was taken from what familiar Dylan song?
a. All Along the Watchtower
b. Forever Young
c. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
d. Caribbean Wind

25. To find the schedule for the rest of this week’s Duluth Dylan Fest, you should go to what website?

* * * *
1. a----2. b----3. c----4. b----5. b----6. b----7. d----8. a----9. c----10. d
11. b----12. c----13. a----14. c----15. b----16. d----17. b----18. b
19. c----20. b----21. b----22. d----23. c----24. c----25. b

* * * *
All in all, it was a fun way to spend an evening with friends. A member of our Duluth City Council was there playing, himself an avid Dylan fan. And tomorrow, when we cut the cake at Bob Dylan's first home on the Duluth Central Hillside tomorrow, it's my understanding that the mayor will be present to share the moment. The house is a yellow duplex at 519 3rd Avenue East. Will we see you there?

LATER TODAY, join us in the Great Hall at the Depot as the artist Skye discusses her remarkable forest of tapestries based on the songs of Bob Dylan, "Shakespeare's in the Alley." Wednesdays are Free so take advantage of this rare opportunity. Afterwards the Poets of the North Country will convene in the Duluth Playhouse.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Get into it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Plug for 3 Noteworthy Upcoming Events: Blood on the Tracks Express, Battle of the Jug Bands and DuSu Film Fest

"Come along and ride this train..."
--Johnny Cash

Blood on the Tracks Express
In the VIP Car Jim Hall will entertain. Appetizers provided by Valentini’s. Music on train going up and back: The 4ontheFloor, Black River Revue, The Basement Tapes Band,  and Father Hennepin. 
The Dylan show in Two Harbors will feature the Rolling Blunder Review with Nate Case of Dirty Horse, Brad Nelson and more. Board at the Depot, 5:30 p.m.. Train leaves the station at 6:00.
 Tickets Here


"All Aboard!"

Tara Lynn Austin: Without Limits (An Artist Interview)

This summer the Duluth Art Institute is featuring the work of Tara Lynn Austin in the Morrison Gallery at the Depot. The show, titled Boreal Ornament, will be on display through July 1. Ms. Austin recently completed her MFA in Madison after having previously studied art as an undergrad here at UMD.

With it being Duluth Dylan Fest this week, there is an impressive installation in the Great Hall at the Depot by the artist Skye called Shakespeare's in the Alley featuring 44 textile panels adorned with Dylan song lyrics. Wednesday the artist will be giving a talk at 5:30 in the Great Hall followed by a Poets of the North Country event in the Playhouse. I would strong recommend coming early to the artist Skye's exhibition and visiting the DAI upstairs on the fourth floor for the three exhibits there as well.

What follows is an exchange with Tara Austin about the work she is doing.

EN: As I look through your website I see that colors and designs have been a long time interest. Were you fascinated by colors and design as a child? Can you share a story about your first recognition of patterns and design in your world?

Tara Lynn Austin: I grew up near Grand Marais, MN, so I was fortunate to be surrounded by nature. I was fascinated with plants and spent a lot of time reading plant identification books. Identifying plants takes careful observation and recognition of pattern and detail. The changing seasons and variety of colors found in nature inspires me, from the iridescence of hummingbirds, the vivid green of spring growth, the sugar maples in fall and the purple skies in winter.

EN: Who were your biggest influences at UMD? You really make a lot of vivid designs from our natural world.

TLA: I worked with Professor Ryuta Nakajima who reinforced the notion of science and art. I became interested in Victorian botanical illustrations while I was at UMD, especially those of Ernst Haeckel, and I spent a lot of time in the greenhouse. I started reading about the mathematics found in nature, like golden spiral, Fibonacci sequence, and fractals.

EN: When did you begin working on plexiglass? What kind of materials do you use to create the works now on display at DAI?

TLA: Boreal Ornament is all paintings made on plexiglass or glass. I became interested in working on these transparent materials when I saw a painting by Barbara Rossi at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2016. The depth she was able to create was amazing and since then I have been experimenting with different painting techniques on both the front and back of the plexiglass or glass.

EN: I can’t help but believe you’ve gained a following of people interested in where your work will lead you. Whats your next step?

TLA: Right now I am working on a plexiglass painting as well as completing a rosemaling apprenticeship. The organic nature of this Norwegian folk art is beautiful, and I have enjoyed learning about the technique and history. I hope to continue my research of rosemaling and incorporate some of its process into my paintings.

EN: Do you have any favorite artists whose work inspires you?

TLA: I was fortunate to see Gerhard Richter’s exhibition in Prague last summer, and I enjoy the op art of Briget Riley. I also find inspiration from Scandinavian textiles like Markimekko and Josef Frank.

* * * *

Related Links
Opening Reception for Boreal Ornament
Online Gallery, Tara Lynn Austin
Interview with the artist Skye

Meantime art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Visions of of Duluth Art Show at Zeitgeist: Opening Reception Features Tom O'Keefe, a Selfie Wall and More Bob Dylan

"Chairishing Young Bob" by Kris Nelson
Tom O'Keefe (center) & Friends lifting spirits at 2017 Dylan Fest.
Let's just say it like this: Duluth Dylan Fest is off to a great start and we've only just begun. Tonight there's an Art Show Opening Reception at the Zeitgeist Atrium from 5-7 p.m. and we have several special features to go with it. For starters, it's Tom O'Keefe's birthday, so I'm personally inviting you to come say "Happy Birthday" to Tom as a way of saying "Thank You" for all the generous music he has shared with us in the Twin Ports these past many years. Tom O'Keefe and Friends will be creating ambience for us throughout the reception, which will also include libations and finger food courtesy Zeitgeist Cafe. The theme this year is Visions of Duluth, synthesizing many of the Northland influences that helped shape the character we know as Bob Dylan.

"Forever Young" by Daniel Botkin
based on Norman Rockwell's
famous triple self-portrait.
The artists on tap have produced a range of really fun images again. Time does not permit me from detailing everything, but I would like to point out a few especially fun paintings that you owe it to yourself to see. Daniel Botkin of Chicago has once again outdone himself, producing four pieces based on classic and historical American paintings, Dylanized. These include Christina's World, Washington Crossing the Delaware, American Gothic, and Norman Rockwell's hilarious painting of himself doing a self-portrait. Mr. Botkin has suitably altered each to feature Bob Dylan in the "title role."  Do not miss these.

I commend our Aussie co-curator Susan Laing for her having become inspired to take up painting and expand her creative horizons here. Her painting of the late John Bushey, founder/host of KUMD's Highway 61 Revisited radio hour is noteworthy.

Other artists include Timothy J. Beaulier, Sue Rauschenfels, Margie Hellstrom, Kim Buskala, Tanya Beyer, Jim Hall, Kris Nelson, Susan Krochalk, Susi Watson and Ed Newman.
* * * *
Co-Curator Susan Laing in front of her tribute to John Bushey.
"When the Ship Comes In: Dylan Crosses His Delaware." 
Timothy Beaulier's "East on 8th Street"
Kris Nelson's "Chairishing Young Bob" at the top of the page is one of literally hundreds of chairs painted by the former art teacher, and one of many unique submissions that have made the Dylan Fest Art Shows so much fun. But in the Spirit of the Times, we've also added this year a...

We've also assembled a Selfie Wall which we encourage you to use. When you take your Selfie, be sure to post it on your favorite social media sites with this year's art show hashtag #DDF2018. The Selfie Wall will be in place all week, so if you can't make it to our reception, stop by another time for lunch, supper or a look at our show... and share your Selfie.

And why not you?

for a Chance to Win
We're also giving away one piece of original art at tonight's event. We screen printed a half dozen Double Dylans and everyone who joins us is invited to write their favorite Dylan song, Dylan lyric or Dylan album on the piece, after which you can put your name in the hat for a chance to win. At the end of the night there will be a drawing. If you put contact info on your submission, then you needn't be present to win. On the other hand, if you stay you'll likely be glad you did. The music is free, the energy uplifting. Will you join us?

Do not miss Shakespeare's in the Alley, the exhibit in the Depot's Great Hall by the artist Skye. This fabulous display features 44 panels of Dylan lyrics which took ten years to complete. Read Christa Lawler's DNT story "Tangled Up In Lyrics." and my interview with Skye in January.
* * * *
More about Kris Nelson's Chairs
Schedule for the rest of the week.
A Shout Out to our Sponsors

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Weekend Open House Shows Why the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art Is a Gift to Our Community

Friday evening at the GLAFA  (Photo courtesy Ramona Marozas)
Tricycle by Jeffrey T. Larson
How does light work? How does perception work? How do we synthesize everything in our minds to form images of the material world? Light reflects off the surfaces of things, yet we do not see the light waves moving through space as it strikes the surface of things. How is it, too, that while our eyes are in motion everything appears fixed in time and substantial. We move about within a space and yet the room doesn't move with us, unless you've had too much to drink. Why do colors shift when the light is brighter or more restrained?

Photo courtesy Ramona Marozas
The Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art is having its second annual student/instructor exhibition this weekend. The school uses a method of teaching that was developed in the 17th century called the Atelier method. Students spend hours every day drawing a two-dimensional reproduction of a 3-D object using techniques that enable them to accurately depict reality. The first year is devoted to drawing and learning to see. The second year students also begin painting, but it is not till year three that they introduce color to their paintings. Next year's open house is expected to be a yet more vibrant one as second year students look forward to the broadening of their pallets.

The images here are from this weekend's open house, which continues today for several hours, from noon till three. After that the students and instructors will break for the summer. Jeffrey T. Larson and son Brock are looking forward to a painting trip to the mountains of Colorado later in the week. And the students look forward to seeing what new themes will spring from their own imaginations, with more advanced skillsets for translating their visions to reality.

Co-founders Jeffrey T. and Brock Larson (Ramona M photo)
Ramona M, right and center. w/ artist Daralyn Berg Peifer
Showing how it's done when working from real life.

Photo of student by Ramona M.
Early in evening. Students eager to share their achievements with friends
family and fans.
Friday evening was another stellar open house for the school. I paid a visit Saturday afternoon to grab some of the photos here and offer my best wishes to the students who have clearly demonstrated their willingness to commit to a very demanding regimen. The proof of the pudding is in the eating they say... They have achieved new levels of eye-hand coordination, learned new ways of seeing, and have promising futures. I can hardly wait till next year.

REMINDER: Doors will be open this afternoon from noon till three. Take advantage of this opportunity to get inspired.

Related Links
How the Eye Sees
The Atelier

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Were The Beatles Ever More Popular Than Jesus?

This spring I took a renewed interest in The Beatles, in part due to some of the writings of David Pichaske, author of From Beowolf to Beatles and Beyond, among other things. As a result I've been picking up a number of other Beatles' related books including Geoffrey & Brenda Giuliano's The Lost Lennon Interviews, which I was perusing Thursday evening as a bedtime read.

Early on there are a pair of brief newspaper articles dealing with John Lennon's infamous declaration that The Beatles were more famous than Jesus. The incident took place during the Beatles' last American tour in 1966. One result of this statement was this incident: bonfires were lit where young people could burn their Beatles records.

What's ironic here, if not bizarre, is that some of the bonfires were built by the Ku Klux Klan, as if they held the moral high ground. In South Carolina, for example, the Klan Grand Dragon Bob Scoggins nailed a Beatles record to a large cross and set it on fire. (Source: AllThatsInteresting)

As with many things, the media can be partially blamed for attributing the most heinous motives for John Lennon making this statement. Lennon afterwards stated in another interview, "I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying... I was sort of deploring the current attitude toward Christianity."

His observation was that Christianity seemed to be shrinking at a time when pop culture was rising. "I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ or anti-religion. I was not saying we are greater or better."

But if fanning the flames would sell more newspapers, then let the Beatle memorabilia burn. (OK, that harsh indictment of newspapers crosses the fairness line, so we should be careful not to tar them all with this brush.)

* * * *
The second half of John Lennon's statement as regards being "bigger than Jesus" was that Rock 'n Roll would outlive Christianity. It's worth noting that Thomas Paine made a similar statement about the Bible, that as a result of Enlightenment thinking the Bible would be dead in 50 years. Paine died in 1809.

* * * *
Two years ago Slate published an interesting article on the 50th anniversary of John Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" quote. It's eye-opening because Lennon, by today's standards, violated a whole array of PC language regulations.

All this is on my mind in part because today is the beginning of our weeklong Duluth Dylan Fest and tonight David Pichaske will be giving a talk in the first John Bushey Memorial Lecture Series at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Pichaske is more than familiar with the challenges of having a career in the academic world. Author of numerous books--Beatles to Beowulf, A Generation In Motion and Song of the North Country most relevant to our Dylan celebration--Pichaske's most recent book, Crying in the Wilderness, is a collection of essays, many of them dealing with the shifting sands of post-modern academia and free speech.

Pichaske's dedication should tell you a lot: "This book is a written memorial to the Southwest State University English Department, 1976-2016. blessings upon those who built it, a pox upon those who dismantled it."

His 2015 essay "Speech Cops on Patrol: How P.C. Language Regulations Undermine Communication" details some of the changes he has lived through and had concerns about. How far the pendulum has swung. In the Sixties the fight was for Free Speech, a right established in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Over time, the lit professor was asked to no longer teach "Howl" by the beat poet Allen Ginsberg "because some students were uncomfortable with its homosexuality." In other words, let's only teach things that are "safe." Hence, the Duluth school district this year banned Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird from being taught in its curriculum. Despite the dignity of its message, it contains a bad word, which makes some people uncomfortable.

When Lenny Bruce fought the "status quo Goliaths" of his era, he was made to suffer for it. Today there are new Goliaths.

All this to say that I look forward to welcoming David Pichaske to our city tonight. He begins his book with a quote from David Masciota: "One of the most important challenges for any American in the twenty-first century is to remove the mask and shed the persona that regulates life, to actually work to achieve a fulfilling and freeing identity."

Inasmuch as Herman Hesse begins his book Demian with a similar sentiment, I half wonder whether this is a contemporary issue or a universal one. "I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings that came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?"

The answer here might come from Nietzsche, who observed that most of us are kept in line by our fear of being shunned. As a result, we are weaker people rather than stronger because we're afraid to raise the questions that are rattling around inside our heads.

This is likely what attracted me to Dylan in the first place. When I heard "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" I realized I wasn't alone. There was at least one other person who understood what I was feeling and thinking.

Related Links
The Letters of John Lennon
Lenny Bruce: Challenging the Status Quo
For the Benefit of Mr. Kite: How Creativity Works
Duluth Dylan Fest Schedule 

Will we see you tonight at Karpeles?
Meantime life goes on all around you. Engage it.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Local Happenings This Weekend: Art, Music, Poetry, Dance and TWO FREE TICKETS

Straight up, you have to make decisions. Too much to see, too little time.

Tonight, jazz/blues singer Pippi Ardienne will be at the Oldenburg House. It's sold out, so your decision has been made for you.

Tonight, the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art is hosting its Second Annual Student/Instructor Exhibition. If you can't make the opening, the art school will be open throughout the weekend. Check the link for hours.

The Hibbing Dylan Project will be offering a Bob Dylan themed tour of Hibbing on Saturday May 19th. The tour will be given by Mary Keyes, a Hibbingite who has been giving Dylan themed tours of Hibbing for over a decade. Mary’s tours are always informative and entertaining. Dylan fans should not pass up this learning opportunity. The tour is part of a day long celebration put on by The Hibbing Dylan Project acknowledging Bob Dylan and his accomplishments.

The cost for the “Bob Dylan’s Hibbing Experience” bus tour is $30 and seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased at Security State Bank in downtown Hibbing, or may be reserved for will-call by emailing Refreshments will be served on the bus.

I HAVE ONE FREE TICKET that was purchased and donated for a giveaway here. The first person to contact me via email (ennyman3 AT gmail DOT com) or FB or Twitter (ennyman3) will receive this ticket if we can get it to you and you're planning to go.

Proceeds from the day will be going towards the Hibbing Dylan Project’s tribute of Bob Dylan’s achievements.

* * * *
The Largest open studio weekend of the year Nationwide is this weekend in Minneapolis. If you are in the Twin Cities, check out the Art-O-Whirl.

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I ALSO HAVE A FREE TICKET TO SEE BIG WU. This is a concert to support the Armory Arts and Music Center vision and to raise ongoing awareness for the Historic Armory. The first person to Buy a Ticket gets this FREE TICKET FOR A FRIEND.

Big Wu got its start in late 1991. Their first couple gigs were on campus in 1992. According to Mark Castino, "We weren't all that interested in school especially after we began having success with the music. Initially we learned and performed classic rock and funk tunes with an emphasis on Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers, thanks to Jason's influence. I had virtually zero knowledge of the Dead when I joined the band. Today I can safely say that Jerry Garcia is a guiding light for my guitar playing for the last 25 years."

After four years of playing cover songs in or around Northfield, the band mostly graduated and relocated to the Twin Cities with the intention of trying their luck in that music scene. "We quickly realized that we needed original music now, so I began writing music that would end up on our debut album in 1997. Terry also began writing. He and I have always been the main writers in the band."

This year the ban is putting the finishing touches on their ninth official release, due out this summer. No official title yet, but all original music with the exception of one song which utilizes the lyrics of Robert Hunter.

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SUNDAY After there will be a Celebration of Motherhood in all its forms at Beaners.

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ALSO on Sunday, Duluth Poet Laureate Ellie Schoenfeld is presenting an event called Wordy Dancing, a celebration of poetry through the movement of dance. DETAILS HERE

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AND FINALLY Duluth Dylan Fest begins tomorrow evening with the opening at Karpeles featuring a presentation of a portion of the William Pagel Dylan Archives, accompanied by the first of two lectures in the John Bushey Memorial Lecture Series. David Pichaske, who teaches literature and writing at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, is the author of more than two dozen books including A Generation in Motion: Popular Music and Society in the Sixties and Song of the North Country: A Midwest Framework to the Songs of Bob Dylan. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the Dylan lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m.  Learn more about our speaker at

I myself will be at this event (the lecture at Karpeles) as well as Sunday evening's Dylan Trivia at Carmody's, 9:00. This is the fifth or sixth year that I've assembled the trivia questions, and as usual there are some special ones. You don't really have to win to have fun. Join us.

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Duluth Dylan Fest Complete Schedule

Meantime, how do people find time for television?