Saturday, May 26, 2018

Singer Songwriter Contest Attracts Impossibly Good Talent--Again

"Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it." ~Stevie Wonder

From the balcony, John Sonofmel performing.
The English language is lacking superlatives to describe last night's singer/songwriter contest at Sacred Heart. Not that we don't have good words, it's just that they have all been so overused that they've been diluted and sapped of their true power.

Having said that, I will simply note that both the venue and the caliber of talent that was on display last night was simply wonderful, exceptional, full of poignant moments worthy of being enshrined. Thank you to each and every writer/artist performer who came from whatever distance to be with us, to share their pearls. I'm sure you could tell by the audience reactions that every single person who took the stage was extraordinarily appreciated.

The event began with a welcome that included special thanks to Sacred Heart for hosting the event. Having performed here at a few previous Armory concerts, I know that the staff here is unmatched for their dedication to getting every mic and speaker perfectly attuned to capture and reproduce the acoustics and voices, and being a former church designed to impress, impressing it does very well.

The way this competition works is like this. Each performer has to sing two songs. The first is one of their own composition, the second a selection from the Dylan archive. The performers are judged on their own songs. And there were just so many incredibly good songs.

Pat Eliason, who has been involved with this event since its inception in Hibbing two decades past, introduced Gene LaFond & Amy Grillo to open with a song. The North Shore duo chose an endearing Dylan tune to honor the memory of John Bushey who could not be with us,  “I Remember You.”

M.C. Pat Eliason then introduced the panel of judges, comprised of Gene LaFond, Maija Jensen (KUMD producer who shares a birthday with Bob Dylan), Jamie Ness of the Boomchucks and former winner),  Karen Sunderman (host of the Playlist and Making It Up North), and Christa Lawler (Duluth News Tribune journalist who covers the Arts & Entertainment beat.)

The judges. (photo credit: Michael Anderson)
Toughest assignment ever... so much talent.

1. The performers came from a range of locations. Our first was from Peoria, Illinois, also a painter and poet, Daniel Botkin, who sang a fabulous song Destined For Stardom accompanied by two young people. The Dylan selection was actually a medley of five songs he cobbled together with segues beginning with My Back Pages.

2. John Sonofmel from Hayward Wisc. followed, saying, “Wayward, not Hayward” as he took the stage. John has a rich baritone voice which served him well at Wednesday's poetry event. John sang We’re All Refugees. One line that jumped out for me was, “It’s hard not to wonder what could go wrong in every single moment…” His Dylan selection was "Things Have Changed" and as soon as he finished it was apparent these first two performers had set the bar high.

3. Eric & Rachel Cyr were third with another beautiful song titled Calloused. This line captures the message of the song: “I hope that your hands will get calloused but your heart never will…” Their Dylan selection was an incredibly moving rendition of "Boots of Spanish Leather." Heartbreaking and no doubt moistening eyes across the room.

Azure and Aaron
4. Lauren Burton sang next, her original song titled Everything I Need. “I have everything I need now that I’ve got you.” This was followed by a beautifully rendered version of "Emotionally Yours." Thank you for that, Lauren. Great song. You moved us.

5. Azure Daniels and Aaron Tink followed with song titled Landscapes, a reflection on life and the choices we make that bring us to where we are. Here's a line that spoke to me from this beautiful song: “But we’ll keep on rowing like the rivers keep flowing and maybe we, too, will find our way.” Azure pulled out a washboard to deliver a bluegrass funk to "Maggie’s Farm," a Newman family favorite.

6. Walter Lyle of Bear Creek called himself "another old Dylan fan.” With guitar and harmonica he shared a lighter song, “I’m chasing you around the house… Round and round we go… Where we stop nobody knows.” His Dylan selection, "Every Grain of Sand," left me wondering how Dylan could produce so many great songs.

7. Joe Schlafer introduced his song by stating that Dylan wrote topical songs when he started. Here are a couple excerpts: “Listen to the bell sounding the alarm..." and "Fire from the sky took us by surprise, shook us up and knocked us down, didn’t leave us wise.” His Dylan selection was the theme from Billy the Kid  called "Billy" Another great one.

8. The duo Mama’s Stolen Horses  -- Abby and Kris Robin accompanied by Jacob Mahon sang River Carry Me. Jacob Mahon was last year's winner.
"There’s water on the left and water on the right
From the looks of it there’s no end in sight…
Oh river won’t you carry me… put my mind at ease.”
The Dylan selection: "Buckets of Rain"

9. Dave Dvorak of Minneapolis sang Dylan’s Gone Electric followed by "Mr Tambourine Man." Ditto to all superlatives above.

Josie Langhorst. (Photo credit: Michael Anderson)
10. And then Josie Langhorst came to the stage. I spoke with her briefly beforehand and learned that she's 12 years old which brought many thoughts to mind, including being introduced to Dylan via Ed Hilliker, a friend on the school bus in seventh grade who said, "You should listen to this" as he handed me The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

Josie sang A Different Side to Life, a song with some pretty profound lyrics for a youth her age.
“Everyone has those days
when they can’t see through the haze
Confusion overruns your mind
but once it clears you see a different side.” Her rendition of "Mr Tambourine Man" led me to scribble these notes to myself: "Absolutely mindblowing. Dylan's incredibly profound song so powerfully transported to an even higher orb. Audience absolutely riveted."

11. Jerry Esnough followed with Where the Skyline Meets the Road, a traveling song.
“We take our chances out on the highway beyond the comfort zone,
We meet somewhere on the edge where the skyline meets the road.”
Jerry introduced his Dylan selection with “I always wanted to do this song in front of a Dylan-loving audience.” And then he floored us with "It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)." I overheard someone say, “He totally gets it.” Awesome

Photo credit: Michael Anderson
12. Eli Hawthorne grew up 45 minutes North of here. He shared a song about the neighbors out here in the middle of nowhere titled Man Down.
"Maybe we’re all broken and scattered to the wind
and maybe it’s some part of us that will never love again.”
Eli's Dylan selection: "Don’t Think Twice."

13. Peter Klug from Mankato showed that he's a skilled performer and his song was titled I Love This Band about playing shows for money.
“I know what I want and I’m never feeling fed.”
“I love where I’m coming from and I love my band”
He did some very nice riffing, and followed with knockout rendition of "Tangled Up In Blue." Solid.

14. This was Rachel Nunemacher's first singer/songwriter contest. She began by acknowledging all the talent that preceded her. She, too, showed that she had something to offer and like the rest appeared totally comfortable. What a great venue for your first event like this. Her original song was titled Ladder in the Rain.
“I’m holding on to something deeper than faith…
Piece by piece… I can sing to your heartbeat…
I’m hanging on the edge, they say we’re too young...”
“So just forget the rest.”

15. Ryan Lane from Duluth just returned from three years in Madagascar with the Peace Corps. The trigger for this song he wrote in Madagascar came from a moment in a rice field waist deep in mud, a song titled Love Songs to a Ghost.
“No one ever lived by being too cautious”
“Buried heart deep in the mud and losing good sleep over nothing but you.”
“We burned those dreams in the moment…”
He followed by singing the song that made him start listening to what Bob Dylan had to say, “Farewell Angelina.” Thank you, Ryan.

16. Steve Davis, with his faithful Martin guitar, sang My Time, a song for everyone about their dreams. “My time will come…” He closed the competition with "All Along the Watchtower."

* * * *
The points were tallied up and after a few moments interlude Pat Eliason read the final results. There

3rd Place
Eli Hawthorne

2nd Place
Ryan Lane

1st Place
Mama's Stolen Horses

Mama's Stolen Horses courtesy Michael Anderson
* * * *
Thank you to every one of you who worked so hard to make this such a stellar event.

Today at one o'clock Richard F. Thomas, Harvard Classic professor and author of Why Bob Dylan Matters, will be giving a lecture at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum as part of the John Bushey Memorial Lecture Series. Then at 8:00 tonight Cowboy Angel Blue will be performing at Carmody's.

Sunday 11:00 a.m. is a Farewell Brunch at the Zeitgeist Cafe. Join if you can... to say goodbye till next time.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Duluth Dylan Fest Birthday Celebration: A May 24 Photo Gallery

Greg Tiburzi
The celebration began at the house, 519 No. 3rd Avenue East, where Abe and Beatty Zimmerman once rented the upper story of a duplex on Duluth's Central Hillside. This is where their firstborn son Robert lived for the first six years of his life and younger brother David the first year of his. Greg Tiburzi played Dylan tunes as the circle of friends expanded and circled the front of the house. Zane Bale of the Dylan Fest committee welcomed everyone and introduced her husband Don Dass who was one of a trio of advocates who successfully gained the city's support to name a road from the Depot to the Armory, where Bob Zimmerman saw Buddy Holly. Don shared a few words and invited Mayor Emily Larson to share a few words. Those words came from the heart and warmed everyone as she welcomed all who were visiting from around the world.

Mayor Larson points to the great lake below.

After singing Happy Birthday to Bob we cut the cake.

Early in the evening... "All aboard!"
Later we boarded the Blood on the Tracks Express and celebrated an evening of music and good times with friends old and new. Some kind of delay held us from an immediate return from Two Harbors, which only resulted in everyone hearing more music and a deepening of friendships. Here are photos from yesterday. We wish you were here.

Tom O'Keefe and Friends

Music here, music there, listen to music everywhere.

 * * * *
The Two Harbors train depot welcomed us and the Rolling Blunder Revue entertained.
* * * *
Tonight we gather at the Sacred Heart on (Positively) Fourth Street at Second Avenue West for the annual singer/songwriter contest. Saturday morning there will be an informal Tour of Bob Dylan's Duluth featuring a number of points of interest. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Armory Annex parking lot on London Road across the street from Valentini's.
Then join us for our second John Bushey Memorial Lecture with Richard F. Thomas, author of Why Dylan Matters from 1–2 p.m. at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

Saturday night we'll reconvene at Carmody's Pub on Superior Street 
with Cowboy Angel Blue.

Finally, the Farewell Brunch will be at Zeitgeist Cafe at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Thank you to everyone who shared events with us this week.

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 song panels 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.