Monday, May 2, 2016

Something Is Happening Here, Do You Know What It Is, Dylan Fans?

Two years ago the curators of a rare photo exhibit chose Hibbing, Minn as the place to properly unveil a collection of Daniel Kramer's photos from the period in which Dylan transformed himself from folk singer to global force, transforming rock in the process. It was the U.S. launch of the Grammy's rare Bob Dylan Photo Exhibit, many of the photos now iconic. The Hibbing launch was only natural, as Dylan is one of the native sons from the Iron Range, a grad of Hibbing High School.

This week, another Hibbing resident is unveiling yet another rare collection of early photos, early concert flyers, clippings, acetates and posters from the William Pagel Archives. These items and more will go on display at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum here in Duluth. This is where Dylan was born and lived the first six years of his life. Uncoincidentally, Bill Pagel owns that Central Hillside duplex and is renovating it to replicate its 1941 flavor.

Dylan fans from around the world are familiar with Bill Pagel's Bob Links website in which he chronicles the activities of the Never Ending Tour. Fans are undoubtedly less familiar with the breadth and depth of Pagel's private collection of Dylan memorabilia. The man is an avid collector and exceedingly organized. Even the boxes and containers he organizes his collections in are catalogued and organized.

The exhibit opens to the public on Wednesday, May 4 and will remain open through Duluth Dylan Fest the last week of May. On of the items on display will be two pages from Daniel Kramer's book that had been signed by Dylan. This is what is written on the placard accompanying the two printed photos:
Autographed pages from Dylan photo book
1967

These two pages were taken from the 1967 Daniel Kramer book published by Citadel Press of NY.

Daniel Kramer’s photograph of the inside of a venue Dylan will perform at. The shot was taken from the stage, and Dylan signs it with a take-off from his song Ballad of a Thin Man, “Something is happening and you know just what it is/ Bob” The original song lyrics were as follows: “Because something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?” Many have theorized that the song was written to a reporter, or the press, and seems to imply that while he is open with the press they seem to feel he is not, and that his answers are evasive rather than open. A quote from the song’s first verse;

You walk into the room, with your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked, and you say “Who is that man?”
You try so hard but you don’t understand
Just what you will say when you get home
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Dylan signed nearly every page of this copy of the book. The book was eventually dis-bound, and the pages sold individually. This second photograph is of Dylan on stage from the rear, playing for the audience. Dylan inscribed this photo combining two of his songs, “She Belongs to Me” and “Don’t Think Twice, It's Alright”. In this wonderful inscription Dylan combines a version of a line from each song and writes, “Don’t look back, and things should be alright.” It's signed Bob Dylan.

Beginning May 4 Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Duluth, MN, will host a new Dylan-themed collection titled Einstein Disguised as Robin Hood - Bob Dylan, an Exhibition. The items selected for display from the collection of Bill Pagel, respected Dylan historian, researcher and collector of Dylan memorabilia. The exhibition, one of several new events added to this year's Duluth Dylan Fest, run through 31, 2016.

* * * * *

"Ballad of a Thin Man" begins with one of the most mysterious chord progressions, simultaneously alarming and haunting, jarring and attention-getting. It was the fifth cut on Highway 61 Revisited, an album I like to think of as the shot heard round the world. What Dylan initiated with Bringing It All Back Home he underscored and further unveiled in Highway 61 Revisited.

* * * * *

Big week here in Duluth. Homegrown is here. Today as Homegrown Day 2. A multitude of venues with a multitude of activities, it's not competing against SXSW or Green Man to be the biggest in the world, it's just competing with itself to be more memorable than the year before. 8 days of music and magic.

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

Photo Credit: Thom Cronin, photographer. Newark, New Jersey, Symphony Hall -- October 2, 1965

No comments: