Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Brief Review of Jon Bream's Dylan: Disc By Disc

I'm just finishing Jon Bream's 2015 book about the first 36 studio albums of Dylan's career, a career whose influence pervades nearly aspect of modern culture, a culture that itself has been oscillating and ever shifting before our very eyes throughout the course of our lives. The book sets itself up as both a reference tool and orderly critique of the music of the Northland's native son.

The setup is this: each Dylan album, from his first to Shadows in the Night, is presented with a listing of the songs and several paragraphs of context. This is followed by a discussion between Jon Bream and various commentators, selected for their obvious knowledge about and appreciation for Dylan's music and career, Bream asking questions interview-style to two people with sometimes disparate points of view, more than 50 in all, each of them briefly introduced in the chapters and more elaborately in an appendix.

As I see it, this book can be a useful tool for people unfamiliar with Dylan's lesser known albums who wish to start collecting but don't know where to begin. The discussions help acquaint readers with many of the good tracks on these albums, but are also candid enough to shine a bit of light on which albums might not be suitable for first-time listeners. To this end Bream includes an Appendix 3 in which the albums are ranked, based on the opinions of our reviewers.

A partial overview of my Dylan library. 
It would be easy to say that the book could have been expanded, that there is not enough space in four pages per album to adequately cover his greatest albums. As I see it, that's not the aim of this book. Greil Marcus wrote a whole book on Like A Rolling Stone, and you can read Kevin Odegard's A Simple Twist Of Fate for the definitive review of Blood on the Tracks. In short, the book makes Dylan accessible without striving to be comprehensive. All writing involves setting down rules and Jon Bream's process made for an easy-to-follow summation of Dylan's studio history.

Here's an observation from one Amazon reviewer that I could relate to.

One (of the) the fascinating things about this book is the enjoyment mirrors the arc of Dylan's career. The setup, two people from different but knowledgeable backgrounds, commenting on the albums in chronological order from earliest to latest, works. And the first half of Dylan's albums recreate the incredible spark he brought with his genius. As he becomes, let's say nicely, less popular, the reviewers strain to point out the bright spots. It is amazing to have recounted all the songs he did that didn't have legs. But the masterpieces are fun to revisit. I really enjoyed this book.

Not only are the masterpieces fun to revisit, it's a heady experience to count how many truly great songs he produced over the years, right up through to Tempest, the last studio album of his own songs.

When it comes to ranking the albums I can't say I line up with the "experts" other than to note that their top five could safely be considered five of the top ten albums ever produced. Blonde On Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing It All Back Home, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan--in case you want to know. (The other five would include the Beatles Sgt. Pepper, The White Album... what else? Thriller?)

Local Dylan fans might be interested in learning that a number of the contributors have had connections to the Northland's Dylan festivals, including Paul Metsa. Eric Andersen, who put on a concert here last summer with Scarlet Rivera, is also featured, along with the Twin Cities' Kevin Odegard who weighs in on Tempest in addition the album he wrote about, Blood on the Tracks.

I see that I neglected to mention that for the Dylan fan there are a pallet-load of photos throughout, more than enough new and original snaps to satisfy. My only criticism has to do with the marbled paper effect which occasionally makes reading a challenge in low-light conditions.

About the Author: Jon Bream has been a journalist covering the music scene for the Minneapolis Star Tribune since 1974. Here's where you can find Mr. Bream's book on Amazon. He's also written about Hendrix, Neil Diamond, Prince and other notables, most notably Led Zeppelin.

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For what it's worth, Duluth Dylan Fest is three weeks out now. It might be a good time to purchase tickets for the various events that require them, from the Hibbing Bus Tour to the Blood on the Tracks Express, and our kickoff event featuring Robbie Vee and his Rock & Roll Caravan.

This year, our Bob Dylan Birthday Party will begin with a Poets of the North Country event from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Spirit of the North Theater at Fitger’s, a suitable tribute for the Nobel Laureate. This will be followed by The Basement Tapes Band from 9:00 to 11:00 PM at The Rex Bar at Fitger’s. Tickets for The Basement Tapes Band can be found here on Eventbrite.

Find the full week's schedule here on Facebook.

It's all good. Will we see you there?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Local Art Seen: Leah Yellowbird Spreads Her Wings @ the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center

This past week I've been reading Ed Catmull's superbly insightful book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. Catmull is the president of PIXAR Animation and Disney Animation, and this book details the lessons he's learned from a lifetime of experience at the center of the two most successful and influential animation studios in history.

In the chapter I'd just completed Catmull talks about one of the biggest challenges for creative people is success, because it can stymy people and businesses in the following way. It can make them afraid to try new things for fear of failure. That is, why not keep doing the "sure thing" that you have already done?

So it was with great interest that I stopped at the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center after work last night to see another art exhibition by Leah Yellowbird. In conjunction with the art show the facility has converted its small gallery into a gift shop in which numerous products utilizing Ms. Yellowbird's designs were being sold, including pillows, clothing, wall art and more.

Table detail.
I'd heard that Leah had been trying some new things again (the transition from beads to acrylic has been stunning) and was delighted to see some of this work on display. One of the most striking was a small table which she produced with layer upon layer of some kind of shellac or medium which is transparent, layering this over intricate designs beneath and encapsulated within the layers. The effect is quite compelling, though may photos fail to do it justice. (Click image to enlarge.)

The turnout was good and the traffic steadily increasing during the time I was there. Numerous familiar faces were on hand and Leah Yellowbird was beaming. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it's only appropriate to pile them on here to give you the flavor of her work.

Leah Yellowbird's Monarch probably generated the most oohs and ahs. What follows is the full painting and then close up shots of various details, each one containing a story in and of itself. 

Otters, turtles and other wildlife populate here work, drawing on her First Nations heritage. As she explained to me last year, "The ancestors have really blessed me and keep blessing me."
I would suggest that this is clearly evident. Her work is rewarding to experience and worth the wider audience she has been gathering.

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

Friday, April 28, 2017

Imagination and the May Twin Ports Arts Scene

How does imagination work? How is it that our mind can picture something and see it in our mind's eye, scenes and characters we've never actually experienced? How does our brain create the vivid images and storylines that make up our dreams? How do musicians creates new tunes and sounds out of nothing?

Let's begin by noting that Homegrown Music Festival is officially underway this weekend, beginning April 30 and winding up May 7. Obviously this is a town in which music happens year-round, but for one 8-day week the chickens come home to roost... (No cackles, please. We have plenty of talent in our corner of the global henhouse.)

* * * *
The two shows currently at the Duluth Art Institute feature very different themes. Wrestler Joe Klander's Strongman show is an imaginative Palooka Joe "Pop" exhibit that many will find fun to experience. Simultaneously, in the Morrison Gallery you will find a very serious exhibit titled Lest We Forget, combining images by Sandra Brick that correspond with excerpts (text) from Fred Abram's book detailing his experiences growing up a Jew in Hitler's Germany during the 30's and 40's.

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What follows are a selection of arts activities, mostly assembled by Esther P., in chronological order.

Tonight: Friday, April 28, 5 p.m. Reception; 5:30 p.m. Program, The ART of Ubuntu Art Opening, Zeitgeist Arts, 222 E. Superior Street Echoes of Peace and Zeitgeist present a weekend of art, music, poetry, spoken word and dance centered on the theme “The Art of Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are.”

Also Tonight, at AICHO's Dr. Robert Powless Culutural Center, Leah Yellowbird--The Journey Continues 5-8 p.m.
Otters (detail) by Leah Yellowbird

Tonight is the soft opening of "Indigenous First" gift shop located in Gimaajii-Mino=Bimaadizimin. While our display cases are on order - and some waiting to be made by our friend Russ Abel - we are opening the shop to showcase all of Leah Yellowbirds great merchandise. This includes: blankets, bags, rugs, canvas prints, suitcases and much more. Thanks to Moira Villiard we have a fabulous sign just in time....thanks to Cheryl Stone and Joe Morales for setting up the gallery as well as hanging all the artwork in the Powless Center. I hope everyone will make it to Leah's show tomorrow night. In the future we hope you will come often to shop for wonderful artwork by local and regional Indigenous and Diverse Artists.

Saturday, April 29, 2-4 p.m. Afternoon Stage, Zeitgeist, 222 E. Superior Street Poetry, Spoken Word & more in the Teatro; Children's art activities in the atrium lobby.

Saturday, April 29, 7:30 p.m. An Evening Concert with the Echoes of Peace Choir and Guest Artists, One Community - One Song, Mitchell Auditorium, The College of St. Scholastica, 1200 Kenwood Avenue.  Details:

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Thursday, May 4, 6-8 p.m., Chelstina Rosara Art Opening, Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse, 324 N. Central Avenue
6:00 p.m. Bruce Rosara, acoustic guitar
6:30 p.m. Jade Wong, piano
7: 00 p.m. Mike Guello, it will be a surprise
All day: Half price bottles of wine.

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Saturday, May 6, 10:30-12 p.m., Zentangle® Pattern Drawing, Vaughn Public Library, 502 W. Main Street, Ashland, WI
This class is a FREE introduction to the Zentangle (R) Pattern drawing method. Come relax as we create beautiful artwork using simple repetitive line patterns on a 3.5" square paper tile with pen and ink. No previous drawing experience is necessary. Class size limited to 15 students. Call 715-682-7060 to register for this free class. Zentangle (R) kits will be available for sale, $10.

Wednesday, May 10, 6-8:30 p.m., Zentangle® Pattern Drawing, McGregor Public Library, 111 E. Center Avenue, McGregor, MN. This is a free, public class for ages 14 and up with a 15 student class limit. Call 763-392-0762 to register. (see previous blurb for class description)

Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Nice Girls of the North 2nd Saturday Marketplace, "Free coffee, cookies, and a friendly atmosphere await while you browse a collection of handcrafted clothing and bags, pottery, jewelry, stained glass, photography, personal care products, baby items and much more. One central checkout, most major credit cards accepted."

Sunday, May 14, Run Smelt Run Parade and Party 2017 
3:30 p.m. Presentation of the Smelt Queen, Maritime Visitor Center, beside the Aerial Lift Bridge "Second line parade on the Lakewalk • A stilt walking Royal Guard • An energetic school of silver smelt puppet and mask dancers • A musical procession featuring a delegation from the Kingdom of Smelt! • Music by the Brass Messengers • Everyone encouraged to wear silver!"
5:00 p.m. Smelt Fry and Party, Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, 222 E. Superior Street

Wednesday, May 17, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Zentangle (R)! with Esther Piszczek, CZT, Master Framing Gallery, 1431 London Road. Come experience the fun and relaxation of drawing simple, repetitive line patterns with pen and ink and pencil shading. No previous drawing experience necessary. Class Cost: $35; Supplies: $10 (or use supplies provided without additional cost).

Saturday, May 20, Spirit of the Times Fundraiser Party, Zeitgeist Arts, 222 E. Superior Street
"6:30 p.m. - Doors open, Welcome to the party. We'll have cocktail, beer, wine and appetizer stations throughout the building (all included, of course) in addition to live music & art & our stellar silent auction
8:15 p.m. - Programming starts in the Teatro and Zinema movie theaters.
9:30 p.m. - Let the dance party begin!
All proceeds from this event will go directly to support Zeitgeist's artistic programming and community development work - help us put the FUN in Fundraising!" Purchase tickets HERE.

May 20-28, Duluth Dylan Fest 2017 
There's something every day beginning with the Robby Vee concert at Karpeles. Here's the agenda:

Saturday, May 20, 7:30-10:30 p.m., Armory Arts & Music Center Benefit, Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, 902 E. 1st Street. The 2017 Duluth Dylan Fest will kick-off with Robby Vee and His Rock-N-Roll Caravan. Tickets at

Sunday May 21, Dylan Trivia @ Carmody's. Being one who enjoys games and trivial pursuits, I've been leaned on to again assemble the questions. People beg for me to make the answers easier. I somehow find it needful to simultaneously make it a learning experience. You will discover more about Dylan that you didn't know, if you choose to join us and play. Feel free to just listen and sip some brew.

Monday, May 22, 5-7 p.m., Dylan Themed Art Show Opening Reception, Zeitgeist Atrium, 222 E. Superior Street

Tuesday May 23,
Dylan music performed by Greg Tiburzi 6-8 PM and Dylan-themed Open Mic with Marc Gartman from 9 to 11 PM at Sir Ben’s Tavern. Free

Wednesday May 24 (Bob's Birthday Bash

Thursday May 25, the famed Blood on the Tracks Express. Tickets here.

Friday May 26, the grand tradition continues, our Singer/Songwriter Contest. We have a great panel of judges lined up this year including Christa Lawler of the DNT, Karen Sunderman of The Playlist, Christine Dean of KUMD and musician Gene LaFond.

Saturday May 27
Presentation at Karpele’s Manuscript Library Museum by Dylanologist Phil Fitzpatrick from 3-4 PM and live music with Cowboy Angel Blue beginning at 8 PM at Carmody Irish Pub. Free

Sunday May 28 is our Farewell Brunch at Zeitgeist with live music by Jim Hall.

* * * *

Learn a Tangle! Watch this adorable and engaging 7 minute video, Kitchen Table Tangles, with guest artists Indy (7 yrs) and Mazzy (5 yrs), to learn how to draw their newest tangle: ZINGO.

Read this blogpost by Molly Hollibaugh, Kitchen Table Tangles with Indy and Mazzy, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, to learn how this video came to be.

Book & Film! Patterned Peace, by Esther Piszczek, CZT, published by Whole Person Associates, Duluth. Available on, at The Bookstore at Fitgers, and Duluth Fine Pianos. Original, hand-drawn artwork ready to color. Includes full pattern index.

Life & Art Entangled, a 17 minute art documentary created by Lola Visuals featuring Zentangle (R) inspired artwork on a piano created by fine-line pattern artist Esther Piszczek, CZT, and the improvisational jazz piano music of Peter Brown. Watch on

MUCH MORE TO SAY ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS, But I have to get dressed and start my day!

Stretch yourself and see something you haven't seen or experienced before. You only live once.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The One, the Only: Remembering Ghoulardi and his Fright Night Monster Movie Mash-Ups

This past week I received the most delightful and unexpected gift, a detour back in time to some precious childhood memories from my early years in Cleveland. There's really nothing quite like those unfiltered early experiences, especially when we've spent a lifetime away from that pristine time. So it was that Citizen Kane's last words pertained to early memories of his sled Rosebud.

My early feel-good recollections might include a white rubber football, playing Geography (the game) with my parents, and catching snakes in the woods. But there was little to compare with staying up late on Friday nights to watch B-grade monster movies on a television show hosted by none other than the incomparable Ernie Anderson, a.k.a. Ghoulardi.

What a treat then when I opened the package and found this book by Tom Feran and R.D. Heldenfels about the one and only, subtitled Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride.

Indeed, the Ghoulardi show really was one wild ride.

These were the early days of television in which every major city had its local programming. We didn't know then that what we experienced was extremely regional. When I was on the Barnaby Show as a child, I had no idea that in the Twin Cities those kids were watching Toby's Playhouse. (Actually, when I was a five-year-old I didn't really know there was a Twin Cities or pretty much anything else beyond my neighborhood and the shows on out television set.)

It's hard to imagine now, but at one time Cleveland was the fifth largest population center in the U.S. By 2015 Cleveland sat 51st... a dramatic descent due chiefly to the collapse of America's Rust Belt economy.

When I was a kid, Cleveland was the world. The Cleveland Indians, the Cleveland Browns, and Cleveland television. In writing about Ghoulardi, Feran & Heldenfels put Cleveland television in perspective because Ghoulardi's schtick included making fun of Clevelnad television and its personalities. I'd forgotten about Captain Penny, Woodrow the Woodsman and Barnaby the elf's pointy ears. In those days, local TV stations assumed responsibility for generating much of their content.

What made Ghoulardi so unique? Perhaps it was the context that brought out the best (or worst) in Ernie Anderson. It was Friday night Fright Night and the late 50's monster film phenomenon was in full swing. Ghoulardi, however, took it to another level.

I remember watching The Creeper at my cousin's house in Cincinnati, and House on Haunted Hill when we moved to New Jersey in 1964, but these were nothing like the Ghoulardi show. What Ernie Anderson did was make fun of the flicks because they were so comically poor in their production values and story lines. This was not Masterpiece Theater where the host sits in an elegant room describing the high art quality of significant literature interpreted in film by masters of the craft. Instead, Ghoulardi would introduce a film by saying, "This film is so bad you should just go to bed."


Ghoulardi was half beatnik, half mad scientist, all a put-on by the eccentric Anderson who only got away with his antics because the fan mail was simply so excessive. He developed his own vocabulary, reversing the word Fink to become Knif. "You're a K-nif" he would say. Another saying was "Turn Blue" which I think must have been a twist on the phrase Drop Dead. I doubt it meant, "become the color of sky" or, "get depressed."

The most memorable feature of his shows was that he would splice comic interruptions into the films we were watching. Here's a memorable example. One of the films was about a giant brontosaurus attacking a city (a low-budget Japanese horrorshow) and just as the monster turns the corner to step on a crowd of people, our show host is spliced in, catching the monster's foot, struggling to keep it from crushing him. After catching a whiff of the beast's smelly feet Ghoulardi looks atthe camera and pinches his nose. "Phew." The monster needs to wash his feet.

In other words, when the tension mounted, Ghoulardi intervened, providing comic relief. Another way to put it, he saw the films themselves as a joke -- Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, The Cyclops -- so why not join the fun.

Here's a clip that Ghoulardi routinely had his team splice into the middle of our favorite monster movie scenes. Naturally we would crack up.

Another thing Ghoulardi liked to do on the air was blow things up. That is, he would take firecrackers and light them underneath plastic models and other kinds of inanimate things. He called them "boom-booms." His fans would send boom-booms to the show and he would set them off, creating quite the sitr... until on one occasion he blasted such a forceful boom-boom that he set the studio on fire.

Essentially, he was all about pushing boundaries. And being entertaining. The films were fun, but he made them even moreso.

Not everyone loved him, though. The TV station had to deal with angry parents who thought he was a bad influence. Or too unkind. By the latter I mean he would poke fun of some of the other local personalities who were featured on Cleveland television, including Captain Penny, or the fledgling Mike Douglas. As a result of his popularity he got away with most of it.

One part of the book lists many of the films we watched on Ghoulardi's show. I remember observing my brother Ron's expressions of terror as we watched the film Caltiki: The Immortal Monster, a film similar to The Blob, only better. That is, from the perspective of a ten-year-old. As I read through the list I'm surprised at how many of these monsters were "created" as a bi-product of nuclear radiation. How many of us remember Attack of the Crab Monsters, or The Giant Behemoth?

Many of these films were written about in the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, a rag designed to whet our appetites for more B-films of the horror genre.

The book contains a lot more than what's encapsulated here. Ernie Anderson's relationship with Tim Conway, for example, is worth a blog post of its own, which may or may not ever happen.

The bottom line is that in show business, or any business for that matter, when something is good cherish it. On this side of eternity nothing good really lasts for ever.

Just cool it with the boom-booms. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

An Afternoon in the Capitol: Scenes from My Walking Tour Inside the D.C. Beltway

What is the function of the U.S. Capitol? 
"The United States Capitol Building houses the meeting chambers of the Senate (in the north wing) and the House of Representatives (in the south wing) – the two bodies that compose the legislative branch of the American government. It also includes the offices of congressional leadership, and it is used for ceremonies of national importance such as presidential inaugurations and the lying in state of eminent persons. The U.S. Capitol is also a museum of American art and history and is visited by millions of people every year."

Here is a list of quotations you will find on the buildings and monuments in the region of Capitol Hill. 

What follows are from the afternoon of April 13, street scenes on Connecticut Avenue and images from the historic Capitol area itself. 

There's something about the place the makes an impression.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

At the Intersection of Time and Chance: Eight Minutes with Karen James Cody

Two weeks ago I had my first Air BnB experience. I'd planned a trip to visit my daughter and her husband inside the Washington D.C. Beltway, but needed a place to stay due to my lifelong cat allergy. Several options within walking distance invited me, but my instincts suggested this one in Takoma Park hosted by Karen James Cody.

Upon entering the home the artwork on the walls spoke to me, making me feel so very much at home. In the evening I likewise found Ms. Cody's story resonated with me as well, a networker in the arts community after a professional career in public relations. As she told me about the various projects she is involved with I wanted to share her world with readers here.

EN: What is The Allyson Group? How was it formed and what is its mission?

Gbenga Adibi, batik printmaker (Nigeria)
Karen James Cody: The Allyson Group is primarily me - Karen James Cody - offering writing, editing, and PR services to small-to-medium sized businesses, individual authors, and occasionally publications. Where additional skills are needed - for example, graphic design, photography, self-publishing consulting - I have a coterie of independent communicators who are available to jump in. I am also an artist's representative to a small group of visual artists. Here, I work to get them exhibitions, trunk shows, and to form relationships with museums and collectors.

EN: How was it formed? How has it evolved?

KJC: The company was first formed as The Allyson Company in the late 1980s in Oakland California, after I was laid off from my technical editing job with an environmental consulting company and did not have a Plan B. From that day to this, though I worked in corporate America for another 25 years, I have always had an independent practice.

Most of my professional life was spent in, first, graphic design and later, for many years, on the communications side of a large media company. As my skills and experience grew, I added to my own little company's offerings. In the beginning it was more like "word processing," putting together company brochures, annual reports, and the like: print "collateral." The personal computer added publishing capabilities to every writer's wheelhouse. We still needed designers, but not typesetters nor, necessarily, printers. (Sad, but true.)

EN: Your Kupendiza project is quite fascinating. I've read that you were the founder, but this didn't happen overnight. How did this project come together and get off the ground?

KJC: I do love beautiful handbags. It's not a fetish, but I love handbag design in the way some women love shoes. What got me into the business of handbags was the discovery that the beautiful beaded bags created by the Kenyan women I'm partnering with were funding an orphanage for HIV/AIDS-affected children in their community. It's why they founded their business.

I was enrolled by that because I have seen for myself that when women in small communities come together to take on some social challenge, miracles often happen.

My second partners were introduced to me by a friend, once he saw the purses from the original group. These women's project funds the manufacture of affordable feminine hygiene products for Kenyan girls, too many of whom can't afford the disposable kind, which forces them to miss school when they are menstruating. A totally solvable problem, and these women came together to solve it. Their work is also truly gorgeous. I added them to the roster, and suddenly I had a company. Kupendiza.

Since then we've added a group in Nigeria, and another in Tanzania. This year I expect to add the Amerindian community in Guyana, South America. And of course I'd love to identify women's projects right here in the good ol' U.S.A. that might be a fit for the Kupendiza brand: hand made by women.

EN: What are the special problems women in Africa deal with that you are attempting to address?

KJC: Besides the specific problems our partners are addressing with their businesses, women in many places are still second-class citizens (we think we're over that here in America, but the pay gap - among other things - demonstrates that's not true). The lack of gender parity is a challenge, and is manifest in business problems like lack of access to credit and financing - and in social problems like few choices about how to life one's life, the inability to live independently, even to claim title to land, lack of access to education in places where education has to be paid for out of pocket.

EN: The handbags are utterly beautiful. I found the craftsmanship stunning. Where are they being sold?

KJC: Now starting our second year, we are selling mostly at festivals, fairs, and aritsan markets along the Eastern seaboard, from Washington, D.C. to New York. We will branch out a little in 2017 - we've been accepted to the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach in September, and Dance Africa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York - big, prestigious festivals that I expect will give us more visibility. I'd love to make it to the eWomen Network conference in Dallas in August. We did well at the African Studies Association national convention in D.C. last December. So it's been mostly direct-to-consumer sales in our first year. We do have a shoppable website:, and are working to get known online, using social media: Facebook, Instagram.

EN: How did you personally come to connect with the needs of women in Kenya? Is there a backstory?

Gbenga Adibi
KJC: I met Pauline Muchina, co-founder of the African Women & Youth Initiative collective right here in the D.C. area. Professionally she is an HIV/AIDS policy worker and speaker. Her sister started AWYI. I was a customer first, and later decided to help them market the product. The business has branched out to add more partners.

Women working to solve our own problems is what inspires me. It's what I used to generally whip out my wallet and write a check to support. I saw starting Kupendiza as another way to support women's efforts to shape our own circumstances -- and our societies. The Kenyan beaders are highly talented. All they need are markets. The internet gives us the ability to easily and cheaply connect and collaborate.

EN: What is the Future African Leaders Project and why is this important?

KJC: The Future African Leaders Project is the orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya started by AWYI. They are housing, feeding, educating, and providing healthcare and other essential services to the kids. The first college graduates from this group were minted in 2015.

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Be sure to explore Kupendiza and its links. Thank you, Karen, for sharing.

Meantime, as your life goes on... make it count.

Monday, April 24, 2017

An Inquiry Regarding Bob Dylan's Guitar Collection

Looks like a Gibson, Clinton Inauguration, Jan., 1993**
Though a longtime fan of Dylan's music since the Sixties, it wasn't till 1998 that I experienced my first Dylan concert in person, an event I described as "an early Christmas." In my review of the concert I included the following observation:

Before the show I walked down to the railing directly overlooking the side of the stage and studied the racks of guitars. There must have been nearly a dozen guitars in racks on both sides of the stage which would be used during the show.

Those guitars weren't all Bob's, but as most anyone will attest who's been to a Dylan concert, Duluth's Native Son does strum more than one instrument during his concerts, commonly alternating between electric and acoustic sets and occasionally taking a stand at the keyboards.

In the same manner as Dylan's history with motorcycles, so likewise he's favored a variety of guitars over the years. For this reason I'd been contacted earlier this month via social media by tech editor John Gilbert of Street Rodder magazine regarding Bob Dylan's guitar collection. He initially reached out with this inquiry:

Ed, What do you know about Dylan's guitar collection? Writing about Bob's gate sculptures I emailed back and forth with Jeff Rosen. Asked Jeff about the 1917 042 Martin I sold to Bob brokered by Howie Hubberman Rosen told me Dylan didn't like Martins and didn't play one. Odd, Bob's first guitar was a '49 Martin. A moment of curiosity struck me. Thanks, John

As a follow up Gilbert, who like Dylan is a musician and artist as well as writer, went on to explain further:

Ed, Ramblin' Jack Elliott plays a Martin, and I'm guessing that's why Dylan's first guitar was a Martin. Rosen kind of pissed me off, kind of like he was worried I'd establish a connection with Dylan and make some money from it. It was around 1982 that I sold it. Howie told me Tom Petty's bass player and Dylan were both looking for an 042 Martin. When I picked up the $1,000 Howie said Dylan bought it. 1917 042 Martin five made two with ebony, three with real Ivory. Mine had Ivory. The next time you talk to Bob tell I'll give him $2,000 to get my guitar back. Thanks, John

Well, I don't talk with Bob very often (VBG*) but I do make inquiries with Google and frequently uncover some interesting details. With regards to Dylan's guitars here is what I found, a fascinating blog titled Bob Dylan's Gear.

I find it interesting that Bob's manager would state that Bob didn't care much for Martins when in fact Bob Dylan's Gear goes into great detail regarding the history of Dylan's love affair with the guitar including Gibsons, Fenders, Martins and more. One blog post states:

Cesar Diaz, Bob’s guitar technician in the nineties acquired many stock and Custom Martin guitars for Dylan and thanks to Dick Boak from Martin & Co. we can see the specifications asked for his guitars like the Spruce Top Specified...thinline Goldplus...and their serial numbers!!!!

Though we have repeatedly been urged not to believe everything we read on the Internet, there's a ring of authenticity here that's hard to argue with, especially when the details are accompanied by photos of Bob in all phases of his career with these selfsame guitars.

Robert Zimmerman & Friends at Camp Herzl. Nice guitar, kid.
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Since we're talking Dylan here, I might do well to remind you that Duluth Dylan Fest is one month away, beginning on Saturday May 20 with a concert by Robby Vee at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, an intimate kick-off to a very special week honoring the newly minted 2016 Nobel Prize winner for Literature. Here's where you can find the full schedule of DDF events. Will we see you there?

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

* VBG means Very Big Grin. Though I have written excessively about Dylan and his music, I hope I've not mislead anyone into thinking Bob and I have ever talked.  
* * This photo was sent to me without a photo credit. If you own the copyright and object to its use, let me know and it can easily be replaced. Or let me know who sot it so I can give due credit. Thank you.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Local Art Seen: Friday's Goin' Postal 2017 Art Show

A Tara Stone contribution.
The food, the wine, the music, the art and the crowd -- all combined to produce an artmosphere that made people want to stay, except then they would miss the after-party at Cedar Lounge. As always I myself enjoy hearing artists talk about their work, seeing "what's new" from our regularly featured artists, and taking photos so I can share them here.

Several Adam Swanson paintings made their presence known in one section of the room, and a massive Frankenstein head with glowing eyes captured another portion of the room. Hosts Andrew and Becky Perfetti, as always, produce a fabulous spread when it comes to eats, garnering assistance from the many artists who bring it all together.

The mash-up of styles and the mix of subject matter also makes this an exciting show. There is literally something for nearly everyone.

If you've never been, it's likely you will be surprised by the energy generated when so many people gather for an art event.

One of several colorful Adam Swanson pieces.
Vivid imagery by Ash Marnich.
An engaging dialogue beneath wall of photography by Johnny Mudd.
Andrew Perfetti's striking Globe News shot evokes retro mood.

The original version of my Dogs of War was displayed.
Karen Sunderman of public television's The Playlist interacts
with Goin' Postal owner/artist/musician and show host Andrew Perfetti.

In the sunlight and stillness that preceded showtime.
The finishing touch, John Heino.
Special thanks to Becky & Andy for organizing the event and to everyone who contributed in so many various and essential ways. This blog post shows but a fraction of all there is to see. Be sure to stop in during the weeks ahead and take it in at your own pace. 816 Tower Avenue, Superior.

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I would be negligent if I failed to mention the After Party @ Cedar Lounge.
But then, that's another story. 

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