Sunday, June 24, 2018

You Never Know Where Bob Dylan Will Show Up Next

The other night I was looking through the arts mag Acne Paper, seeking treatment ideas for a painting I was working on. A friend had loaned me several copies of the chic pulp rag and I liked the large format imagery, paging through this and that when all of a sudden, lo and behold...  Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I can't recall the year but there was a story in the newspaper here in Duluth in which it was suspected that Bob Dylan, wearing a hoodie, went into Bullseye on East Superior Street and purchased a “Duluth Does Dylan” T-shirt, with a design by artist Chris Monroe. Unverified, but possible.

The late John Bushey, 26-year host of Highway 61 Revisited, the KUMD radio hour devoted to Dylan tunes, used to say Dylan was like a phantom that could blend in anywhere, like an invisible man, and you'd never know he was there. So every once in a while I'd wonder if maybe he might be here at our annual Duluth Dylan Fest celebration, like a complete unknown, shrouded in that hoodie, a nowhere man. Or maybe your Dylan birthday party? Stranger things have happened. 

Which brings to mind the time Dylan was stopped by police in New Jersey. I'm from Jersey myself, and can tell you a few unpleasant experiences I myself had with police. But then that's another story. He was walking late one night, strolling a dark street like Guy Noir, when he was stopped and asked for identification. Hmmm.

Laura Leivick, who seems to specialize in unearthing places and spaces where Dylan shows up, sent this link featuring the art of Jef Aerosol. Like I say, with a cat like Aerosol around you never do really know where Dylan will next appear, I'm sure. We'd love to have him surprise us with a Dylan uprising here in Duluth where the man was born. Just sayin'.

OK, it's the "Happy Grandpa" look...
with 3rd Gen Dylan fan, Wally.
This winter I became a grandfather and this spring when I saw my grandson Wally for the first time... lo and behold! Another Dylan sighting. I mean, I already knew he was a Dylan fan, even before I met him. (Seriously, when he's crying and won't get settled, his mom and dad calm him down by playing Johnny Cash, Tom Waits or Bob Dylan. I watched it first hand. Must be something about the gravelly voice.) My daughter and her husband are carrying on what is now becoming a family tradition.
Wally. Just bein' cool.

Last week I was reading a graphic novel by Howard Shapiro called The Queen of Kenosha, and what do I find? It's got several Dylan references. Never mind that the story is about a young female singer/songwriter from the Midwest who traipses of to the Big Apple to make a name for herself.
It was a fun read, especially when seasoned by those unexpected Dylan echoes.

A few days later I stumble upon people showing off their tattoos and guess what? Yet another unexpected Dylan sighting. (To be honest, I can't remember where I stumbled on that one, but when it jumped out at me and captured it.)

It's not surprising to find Dylan music woven into countless Hollywood films, but frequently it does show up in unanticipated places. I know of no other singer/songwriter who has been inserted into as many films as he, other than the Hollywood regulars like Randy Newman others who seem to be soundtrack fixtures there.

So yesterday I was watching the very powerful video about James Baldwin titled "I Am Not Your Negro." I strongly recommend it if you've never seen it. (Available on Netflix)

About halfway through there is a section on the shooting of Medgar Evers, and you already know where this is going...
"The day Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught,
they lowered him down as a king..."
* * * *
Actually, it isn't entirely true that you "never know" where Dylan will show up next. You can always go to and see his upcoming touring schedule, among many other treats. 

Photo courtesy Nelson French. 
On the other hand, I don't know too many people who expected to see Dylan sign off on a line of whiskeys. I mean, did you really? I didn't. I still love the name: Heaven's Door

Finally, the real trigger for this blog post. As I was saying up there at the beginning... while leafing through the pages of these large format art mags I suddenly came across yet another unexpected Dylan sighting.

Naturally it seemed like something that had to be shared.
Proof once again that you never know where Bob Dylan is going to next appear.
* * * *
Do you have a story? 
Feel free to share it in the comments.

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


jd said...

Bob Dylan made his video for "Political World" in Bloomington, Indiana on the campus of IU. At the Telecom building. the night before I overheard two law students talking about Dylan being there. This was in the Law School where I was reading the paper. It was the day before Thanksgiving. The next morning I walked across the deserted campus to Telecom and hung out for awhile. sure enough, I saw Dylan at the end of the hall with a few others. I walked down there and tried to act casual. He really looks like bob Dylan up close. He came over and started talking to me. Later that day I saw him outside and we got to talk alone for a while. He didn't act at all like a famous person. But you couldn't get over how he looks. He had a hood LOL. Big blue eyes. Large hands. We shook hands. I think a nice guy who has been haunted most of his life. He could show up anywhere. And probably does. I think people meet him all of the time but you never hear about it.

Ed Newman said...

Cool story. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Hoodie... another reason I think of Bob Dylan when I watch Bill Belichick pace the sidelines. Thanks

Zhuang Lemon Duck said...

I don't really understand why people are so surprised about Dylan whiskey. He did the same with wine, years ago.