Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Floodgates Are Open: Spring Is Here and So Is Dylan Days

Oakland, Feb 11, 1974
"Floodgates, also called stop gates, are adjustable gates used to control water flow in flood barriers, reservoir, river, stream, or levee systems. They may be designed to set spillway crest heights in dams, to adjust flow rates in sluices and canals, or they may be designed to stop water flow entirely as part of a levee or storm surge system." ~ Wikipedia

"Open the floodgates" is an idiom meaning "if an action or a decision opens the floodgates, it allows something to happen a lot or allows many people to do something that was not previously allowed." The action I am thinking of is the advent of spring. This is not a human construct, but here in the Northland it just happens to happen that when the freezing and cold weather lift, Northlanders are determined to get outside or get out and about. We want to move. We want to shake a leg. And there's an abundance of things happening to beckon us forth.

Last year, there was an attempt to formally orchestrate May as Arts Month here, but it happens on its own anyways, beginning with the Homegrown Festival. We're in the middle of Dylan Fest Duluth, and on the threshold of Dylan Days Hibbing. And within the week the Duluth Superior Film Festival will get underway.

Tonight Cowboy Angel Blue will be performing at the Red Star Lounge starting at seven, and "Cowboy" Jim Hall will be performing at Tycoon's Alehouse at ten, all part of the North Country Dylan Fest here. After this the action moves to Hibbing.

Highlights will include a 3:30 book signing at Howard Street Booksellers by David Kinney, author of The Dylanologists, followed by the public opening of the GRAMMY Museum Traveling Exhibit "Daniel Kramer: Photographs of Bob Dylan."

Later that evening will be the famed Dylan Days Singer/Songwriter Contest at the historic Crown Ballroom (214 E. Howard St.). This event draws competition from all over the world and is always a thrilling part of the weekend.

Saturday is Bob's birthday, and you can read more about the rest of this weekend's activities at the official site.

If you aren't going to be in Hibbing tomorrow, there's going to be a wonderfully intimate performance by Scarlet Rivera and Gene LaFond Friday evening at The Green Door in Beaver Bay (up the North Shore).

By the way, you don't need to be a big Dylan freak to enjoy the Dylan Days events. Most of them are simply energizing social occasions and an excuse to get together with friends, to do something you just don't happen to do every day. You really don't have to believe that Dylan has been as significant as Gutenberg. For a fun read check out Christa Lawler's column today in the Trib.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Open the floodgates and dive in.

Photo Source: From the private collection of a friend.

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