Saturday, August 17, 2019

Louis Kemp's Dylan & Me Book Signing: Bringing It All Back Home

Filming for Making It Up North. Chairs and lights set up on the Armory
drill hall stage where Buddy Holly performed January 31, 1959.
L to R: Louis Kemp, Karen Sunderman and cameraman Steve Ash.
Thursday August 15 Louis Kemp, businessman and former Duluthian, returned to his hometown to promote his new book, Dylan and Me.

Kemp arrived in Duluth shortly after the lunch hour with a full schedule ahead of him. His first stop: the Duluth Armory drill hall where he and teen chum Bobby Zimmerman saw Buddy Holly perform on January 31, 1959.

The structure was built in 1915, a drill hall that could be used year round. The stage was added in 1940, from which presidents and countless entertainers spoke or performed. The list of names includes Harry Truman, Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Liberace, Sonny & Cher,  Diana Ross & the Supremes, Eleanor Roosevelt and a host of other famous persons. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Karen Sunderman, award-winning host of Making It Up North, a show that airs on public television, sat with Louie to discuss his new book about the friendship he shared over a period of 50 years. But first, the author stood near the stage and pointed across the drill hall to the door where he and Bobby entered from the far side and wove through the gathered masses toward the very front.

Kemp shows Armory director Mark Poirier the door he and Bobby
entered that night. The wind chill was 44 below outside.
Louie then pointed and walked over to the spot where he believes that they were standing that fateful night. “As close as possible. There was nothing between us and the stage,” he said. “The goal was to see the concert, not to dance and kibbitz.”

Armory director Mark Poirier brought to Louie a star with the Armory insignia in it that had been created by the Forging Community which is housed in the Armory Annex. The star was placed on this that spot Louie indicated.

Some of what Kemp shared had been mentioned in other stories, how “Bobby listened to the radio stations coming out of the South late at night.” And the story of how Bobby would say he was going to be a rock and roll star. Other stories were new, and the book has many of those. Kemp shared that as teens the tight-knit Jewish community would have a lot of open houses. Many of these homes would have pianos and it wouldn’t be long before Bobby was at the piano, playing. But while playing he’d push the boundaries and, according to Kemp, “Every open house we went to we’d get kicked out of.”

A forged star with the Armory logo was placed on the floor
where the two young chums watched the concert.
While interviewing the author Karen Sunderman kept asking questions about Dylan, and Kemp would always rebuff, stating, “Dylan is a persona. To me he was Bobby.”

“I’ve met lots of big names with big egos. Bobby Zimmerman has no ego,” he said. “He knows he has a gift from God. He’s just a conduit.”

Of the book itself, Kemp states that he wanted people to see the human side of Bobby Zimmerman. He was prompted to write it by a friend who was dying, who had heard many of these stories. “When are you going to write this book? Promise me you’re gonna write this book.”

Karpeles from the balcony. Photo credit: Michael Anderson
AFTER an hour at the Armory there was a trip to the Jewish cemetery where Louis Kemp’s parents and grandparents lay, about 20 paces from the grave marker for Abe and Beatty Zimmerman.

From there we drove to the neighborhood where Louie grew up. The house sits in the middle of the block across the street from a park on the East Hillside. Bobby used to come to this house and visit during their teen years, play in the park or Monopoly upstairs. (I have it on good authority that Bob's favorite Monopoly piece was the Scotty dog.)

A little after 5:00 we arrived at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum for the main event. The former Christian Science church building was already collecting a good crowd by the time we arrived. The reception, sponsored by Valentini's and Super One Liquor, included music by Gene LaFond, Amy Grillo and Dave Bennett while Louie autographed copies of his book.

This was a reunion of sorts, as Gene used to perform with Larry Kegan, who is prominently featured in the book, another friend from Herzl Camp. Gene also had a chance to be on a portion of the Rolling Thunder Revue of which Louie was the producer. (Bob said to him, "You can sell fish. You can sell tickets.)

The event itself was sponsored by the Duluth Dylan Fest Committee and a continuation of the John Bushey Memorial Lecture Series, honoring the legacy of John Bushey, who hosted the Dylan-themed Highway 61 Revisited on KUMD for 26 years. We were calling this an Encore event.

It also signified the final night of Bill Pagel's exhibition of Dylan memorabilia, which included handwritten lyrics to Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues and Desolation Row. It was a nice touch when Gene sang Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues.

August 15 was also the 50th anniversary of the start of Woodstock. In my opening remarks I made note of this and reminded everyone that the emergency room to St. Luke's Hospital is directly across the street, in the event that they failed to heed the warnings about the brown acid.

With that Louie Kemp came to the microphone and spent 45 minutes to an hour reading favorite passages and stories from his book.

His shirt reads, "Duluth Minnesota. It's Where My Story Began."
Bob Zimmerman's story began here, too. Six years in the upstairs of a duplex
in the Central Hillside and where Louie would spend the night.
With Jim and Barb Bushey, brother and sister of the late John Bushey, 
* * * *
Even some of Louie's former employees from Kemp Fisheries came out.
* * * *
Matt Steichen and clan. He and his wife Jennifer met at a Dylan concert.
* * * *
Geno, Louie, Amy and the author of Ennyman's Territory.
Learning something new every day. It's all good.

All the evening event photos were taken by Michael Anderson 
with the exception of the Matt Steichen family.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Woodstock Story in a Bottle: Another Defining Moment of 1969

Insignia that appeared on Yasgur Farms milk bottles.
That summer two men walked on the moon. And in August 400,000 people saw stars.

Just as a good movie is made of memorable scenes, so history is remembered by its defining moments. For Americans, the year "1968" brings Viet Nam, assassinations (Bobby, MLK, Jr), and riots to mind

In 1969, two very different images were impressed upon us, that "one giant leap" for mankind and that escapist utopian dream, Woodstock.  (It's convenient to keep Altamont off-camera when we want to feel good about this Woodstock music and love experience as a culmination of the Sixties.)

There were many ironic features of the event, one being this one: the song we've all associated with it, "By the time we got to Woodstock," was penned by someone who wasn't event there. Joni Mitchell was in New York City to be on TV that weekend.

Here's a second irony. As every Dylan fan knows, Woodstock's most famous resident-in-hibernation, who many considered the hippest cat on earth, was packing his bags to head to England for an Isle of Wight concert.

* * * *
I'm going down to Yasgur's Farm
Gonna join in a rock and roll band
Got to get back to the land and set my soul free

Yasgur's farm was actually 43 miles Southwest of Woodstock, in Bethel NY.
Photo courtesy Bill Pagel.
How many farmers can you think of, besides Old MacDonald, have been memorialized in song? Here's an excerpt from his Wikipedia account, by way of introduction.

Max Yasgur was born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants Samuel and Bella Yasgur. He was raised with his brother Isidore (1926-2010) on the family's farm (where his parents also ran a small hotel) and attended New York University, studying real estate law. By the late 1960s, he was the largest milk producer in Sullivan County, New York. His farm had 650 cows, mostly Guernseys. 

Though Yasgur was a conservative Republican, his conscience also told him that older folks need to do something to bridge the generation gap. He was motivated by his principles and did not yield to those who were pressuring him to call off the festival.

* * * *

When I saw this bottle from Yasgur's farm, I couldn't help but think of the Old Testament Psalm 56:8 in which the psalmist/poet writes, "You put my tears in Your bottle." I think of all the tears that were shed during the 60s, from JFK to all the grief and sadness caused by Viet Nam. And sadly, worse was yet to come.

My next thought was even stranger. What were bottles like 3,000 years ago? King David wrote this song when he was captured by the Philistines. Whatever shape they took, for the psalmist it was not a time of music and celebration.

* * * *
Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash
Woodstock took place from August 15 to 18, 1969. The performers most of us remember most were the ones on the album and the film. Some were excluded due to contract issues.

Here are some stories that go deeper and provide more perspective than I have time to produce. If you have time, check them out.

A New York Times account of one of the iconic photos.

A good summing up of Woodstock by the NYTimes

Rolling Stone interview with Bob Weir, who was shocked. (Literally)

Time Magazine published this review of the latest Woodstock documentary

Here were a couple thought-provoking paragraphs from the above.

For those who were coldbloodedly watching numbers, even in 1969, Woodstock simply identified a big, promising segment of the youth market, ready for the commercial exploitation that would ensue almost immediately. “Woodstock Nation,” despite Abbie Hoffman’s hopes when he coined the term, turned out to be a demographic rather than a political force.

This one is also barbed.

But forget the nostalgia. Millennials have every right to point out how Woodstock represented baby boomer privilege in crystalline form. We got a free marathon all-star concert. (I don’t begrudge my $18.) We swarmed a previously unspoiled dairy farm and its surroundings. We absolutely thought we were the center of the universe. And afterward, someone else had to clean up the giant mess we left behind. Insert the global-warming analogy.

You can insert a number of alternative messes here.

Were you there? What was your story?

Related Links
For Carlos Santana, Woodstock was a Trip
Surviving Woodstock, a New Yorker story by Hua Hsu

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Louie Kemp Book Signing Agenda for Thursday Evening at Karpeles

Joan, Louie, Bob and a pooch.
C.S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, dissects the meanings of the four Greek words that have been translated as "love" in the English language. They are Storge (Affection Love), Phileo (Friendship Love), Eros (Romantic Love) and Agape (Divine Love).

Friendship love begins as a kind of companionship. What I remember most about Lewis' description of Phileo is how you may go separate ways, but when your lives cross again ten years later, that resonance, that special bond you shared will pick up precisely where you left off.

When I moved to New Jersey in 1964, the year I turned 12, it was the beginning of a companionship relationship with the kid next door who was 11 and a grade behind me. The six years Tom and I were neighbors we shared many adventures, some pretty wild ones. After graduation, his life and mine diverged significantly. I was college bound, he was to become a biker.

Over the course of many decades we may have gotten together once every ten years, but that special bond we built as kids had been established. As different as our lives were--I had a career in advertising and PR, he a borderline outlaw with a heart of gold--it was always good to re-connect.

This is what I saw in Louie Kemp's Dylan & Me. For myself, the big takeaway was how Bobby Zimmerman never got so famous that he was too cool for her Herzl Camp companions Larry and Louie. Their lives were not parallel, but they periodically intersected, most notably in the Rolling Thunder Revue.

* * * *
Duluth Armory, where Louie and Bob went to see Buddy Holly
and the Winter Dance Party.
Tomorrow evening, August 15, Louie Kemp will be speaking at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum as part of the John Bushey Memorial Lecture Series.

The event will kick off at 5:30 PM with music by Gene LaFond, Amy Grillo and Dave Bennett, followed by the lecture from 6:30 to 7:30 PM. Following the lecture Louie Kemp will be on hand to sell and sign his new memoir hot off the press.

Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is located at 902 East First Street in Duluth. The evening’s agenda is:
5:30-6:30 PM Reception and Music with Gene LaFond and Amy Grillo (includes refreshments and appetizers courtesy Valentini's and Super One Liquor.)
6:30-7:30 PM Louie Kemp Lecture
7:30-8:30 PM Book signing

The event is free.

This will be the last chance to see the 2019 Bob Dylan Exhibit from the William Pagel Archives.
Books will be for sale that evening.

 To learn more about Louie Kemp’s book visit:

Promo Copy from Announcement
This uniquely intimate lecture and memoir of a lifelong friendship with Bob Dylan offers never-before-told stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses, rare photos, and affectionate anecdotes about one of the key figures in American music and letters. With a cast of characters that includes Marlon Brando, Cher, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Dennis Hopper, Louie's mother, and many more, Dylan & Me is a "backstage pass" to Louie and Bob's life, friendships, and music by the guy who was there every step of the way.

* * * *

Karpeles will be Louie Kemp's fifth stop on this Minnesota Tour, having signed books at four locations in the Twin Cities this week. You can read some of the reviews and interviews that have been shared by clicking on the following links:

Bob Dylan’s Best Friend Louie Kemp Breaks Silence With New Book ‘Dylan And Me’

Louis Kemp Memoir Pulls Back the Curtain on Bob Dylan

From summer camp to stardom, his friendship with Bob Dylan spanned 50 years

10 things we learned about Bob Dylan from his friend's book

The Astonishingly Menschy Side Of Bob Dylan . by Dan Epstein

WCCO Interview: Louie Kemp Details Bob Dylan Friendship In New Book

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Director Sara Collins Offers Insights About the Bayfront Art Festival

Sara Collins
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that Duluth's hospitality industry is a-hoppin'. This weekend, the Duluth News Tribune dispatched a headline that implied tourism had reached a plateau, but a deeper look shows that there was still growth and only the weather (chilly and cold) crimped the tourism a tad.

One of the things that has amped tourism over the years, in addition to the beauty of the region itself, is the quantity of activities here from spring to fall. This past weekend included the Blues Fest, an outdoor art show at Brighton Beach and the Tall Ships event that parks in our harbor every three years.

This coming weekend, among other things, there will be Art in Bayfront Park. As one who follows the local arts extensively, it seemed good to catch up with festival director Sara Collins and learn more about this ongoing August tradition. The photos on this page are of some of the artists who were selected as winners in each of their respective mediums.

Dan Arnold, Wood
EN: Please explain how your event came to be, and how is it different in character from the Park Point Art Fair?

Sara Collins: Three years ago we acquired the festival from the original owner. We also produce the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in Minneapolis. The opportunity to work in Duluth at the spectacular Bayfront Park felt like a no-brainer. The North Shore has a strong history and reputation for supporting the arts which we’ve found to be very accurate. I’m not sure how we differ from Park Point. I think we both have a strong roster of talented artists. Our roster differs a bit with our two speciality markets, The Culinary Arts Market and Vintage & Vinyl Market. Those two additional markets are a lot of fun and really compliment the artists' work, creating a vibrant festival experience.

Daniel Fenn, Glass
EN: What kind of things do event promoters do behind the scenes to ensure a good event?

Darcy Horn, Beadwork
SC: Behind the scenes, our team starts working on the festival in December. Our artists are selected through a jury process. Applications start coming right away in December.

We work hard at creating a platform where artists shine and attendees discover something new. Also this year we joined efforts with Save the Boundary Waters organization and are hosting their fund raising music festival on Friday night. So that added a layer of challenges and great opportunities, too.

EN: What’s your favorite part of Art in Bayfront Park? The setting seems ideal for a show of this nature with its infinite circular walkabout.

SC: My favorite thing about the festival is meeting the artists. They are a never ending source of amazement! Their skills and dedication to their craft is really endearing.

EN: The weather is always a challenge for outdoor arts events. What other kinds of challenges do you face?

SC: The challenges are finding the balance between traditional aspects of an art festival and offering new and entertaining elements. Also we want to be a place for people to discover an appreciation for hand-crafted, one-of-kind art pieces. To attract those folks, we need to reach a broad audience.
David Ettedgui, Mixed Media
EN: Are you an artist yourself? What prompted you to create (if you did) or take over Art in Bayfront Park?

SC: I am not an artist. I am an art lover and art cheerleader! My husband and son are both artists so I “get” artists. I understand that business and art are not always happy companions. I hope our work helps artists reach more people and build their customer base.

* * * *
For more details about Art in Bayfront Park visit their website:

Monday, August 12, 2019

How Much More Can Human Nature Endure?

We often talk about stress and the pressures of modern life. 
When I saw this blurb a few years ago, 
It helped to put things in perspective. 

The world is too big for us, too much is going on, too many crimes, too much violence and excitement. Try as you will, you get behind in the race in spite of yourself. It's a constant strain to keep pace... and still, you lose ground. 

Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment. 

The political world is news seen rapidly, you're out of breath trying to keep pace with who's in and who's out. Everything is high pressure. Human nature can't endure much more.
* * * *
Can you believe it? The above was first published 
in the Atlantic Journal
June 16, 1863

Maybe we don't have it so bad after all.

"Keep on the sunny side..."--Mother Maybelle Carter

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Geno and Amy to Open for Louie Kemp @ Karpeles Thursday Eve Here in Duluth

When I heard that Gene LaFond and Amy Grillo would be performing this Thursday to "open" for Louie Kemp's lecture and book signing, the news struck a chord for me. It was an "oh-so-right" decision.

Louie Kemp will be in Minneapolis this week to promote his just released book Dylan & Me, a story which begins at the Herzl Jewish summer camp when Louie was 11 and Bobby Zimmerman 12. After four book signings in the Twin Cities Kemp will return to his original home town to relive a few moments, and then share his story at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum  on the corner of First Street and Ninth Avenue East.

Kemp's book is a collection of memories and anecdotes beginning at camp and weaving through 50 years. In addition to the Kemp-Bobby Zimmerman connection there emerges a third character who was part of this early saga, Larry Kegan, a friend whom "Bobby" (as Louie calls him throughout the book) also remained loyal to over the decades. 

All this to say that Gene LaFond is a musician and songwriter himself who regularly performed with Larry Kegan in the Twin Cities music scene. 

LaFond first saw Dylan as a teen when Bobby was not yet Dylan. "I used to see him at The Scholar in Dinkytown when I was in high school. I didn’t know him then. He was still Bob Zimmerman at that time. Then I met him in 1975 on the Rolling Thunder tour with Larry."

The Rolling Thunder Revue brought the trio of Herzl Camp trouble-makers--Kegan, Kemp and Zimmerman--together once more. Kemp was producer of the ground-breaking tour (now a documentary by Martin Scorsese) and Kegan was along for the first part of the ride, with Gene LaFond his sidekick. 

For LaFond meeting Bob and being on the start of the RTR was a zeitgeist. "It was amazing to meet somebody that I’d idolized all that time and then to realize he’s just a human being. It was a real eye opener. And it gave me a lot of confidence that I could write songs, too. It was the start of my inspiration to write songs. I’d been playing for years but not really doing a lot of original stuff."

This past week I was listening to Gene and Amy's 2016 CD The Northland Sessions featuring a cover shot reminiscent of a good cop/bad cop pair in Hollywood films. The black and white, grey with a touch of red color scheme is identical to Dylan's Love & Theft. (Not intentional, Gene says. They liked the photo, taken by Geri Johnson Pudrug--an old friend of Amy's-- at the Chisholm Discovery Center.)

Amy Grillo grew up in Hibbing. Gene said, "We met at Dylan days in Hibbing when I brought Ramblin’ Jack Elliott up there to perform. Mutual love of music led us to start writing together. We moved to the north shore about 5 years ago."

Their modest home is walking distance from the Nelson French property just up the road. Music is central in both homes, with French assembling periodic concerts at what he calls Rocky Wall Productions. Courtney Yasmineh was the most recent featured artist there.

Grillo likewise said that music has been the centerpiece of their relationship, "a love of music, songwriting and Bob Dylan."

At least eight of the songs on The Northland Sessions are collaborations between the two. Since I just happened to be reading about how Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote songs together* I had to ask what the process was for she and Gene. Grillo stated that for her "collaboration is a practice in trying to stay out of the way of each other’s ideas and welcome together the creative spirit when it decides to grace us with a visit." She added, "Gene is a really talented melody maker."

Two of the songs are her own compositions, and many give the impression that they're glad to have found one another later in life.

It's noteworthy how many others contributed to this CD, including the late Lonnie Knight and our dear Northland friend Scarlet Rivera. (No she's not from here but everyone here is always happy to have her be part of our extended family.)

* * * *
Cropped book cover shot.
Louie Kemp's talk and book signing is part of the John Bushey Memorial Lecture Series. It's being billed as a Memorial Encore for the lectures usually held in conjunction with Duluth Dylan Fest each May. The event will run from 5:30-8:30 pm. Here is the FB Event Page for more details.

Related Links
Gene LaFond Talks About Larry Kegan
Louie Kemp's Memoir: Dylan & Me (Grateful Web)
More to come.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

What Happens When We Don't Write Letters Anymore?

As is my periodic custom I am perpetually attempting to organize and downsize. The current prod has been re-doing floors in several rooms of our home, which means I had to remove everything out of my office for a week. Some of those removed files and folders, knick knacks and junk, will not be returned to the small space that is my unique version of a man-cave.

Which means that I am also re-arranging things in the storage area of my garage, so I can still save what I want (and hopefully not all).

All this re-arranging resulted in my finding a number of things I haven't seen in a while including items I had placed on these shelves when we moved to this house in 1993. Hence this photo of letters from my brothers, parents and grandmother, which I discovered last night.

It's strange to think that people seldom write letters any more. Instead we email, call or occasionally Skype. And yes, we do still send cards on special occasions. This letter writing business, however, seems to fallen by the wayside in our new digital world.

Here's something I've noticed. Most people generally don't go back and re-read old emails, unless it's  work related and there's some strategic importance in the communication.

I'm not suggesting that I will proceed to read all these letters just because I found them, but I'm going to place them where I will have them for that future time when I've slowed down a step or two. It's an almost certainty I will not review my old email correspondence from the past thirty years. In point of fact, I wouldn't even know how to find most of it older than two or three years. I had a different email address and am certain any correspondence not printed is lost in cyberspace.

Remember Pen Pals? Nowadays I suppose it's replaced with "Friend Requests." But it's not really same, because the quantity of new "friends" diminishes the possibility of real depth, or the special feeling associated with receiving the next letter in your mailbox.

Many of my letters home from college or when I lived abroad had little personal touches, a doodle in the margin or maybe a drawing I'd done would be enclosed. The dizzying array of emojis is an attempt to make personalization possible, but it's really not the same. Or at least it doesn't feel that way to me.

I'd like to believe that letter writing was more thoughtful than what passes for written communication today (as in texting). Today we dash off a few sentences and hit send. Or maybe we "speak" our message into our iPhone and hit send, often in haste and frequently without even reading it to notice the incorrect (sometimes ridiculous) messages we've just sent.

I decided to ask Google to feed me a few article links regarding this decline in letter writing and it seems I'm not the first to have noticed. One link led to a letter to the editor about this issue, with the following sentiment expressed regarding social media not being quite the same.

"Facebook is akin to being perpetually trapped in small talk at a party."

Another comment in this letter to the editor was how he felt like a vanishing breed of people who could still write in cursive. What is sad about that is that I half wonder if the next generation will even be able to decipher their grandparents' cursive handwriting?

All this to say I've found batches of letters that I'd forgotten I had. I read a few and was touched. I'm curious what the future will bring.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Art Fairs and Tall Ships: Duluth Scene Is Lively This Weekend, with Dylan Soundtrack Woven In.

A model tall ship, one of many at Karpeles Manuscript
Library Museum where a portion of Bill Pagel's Dylan
Archiveis on display through August 15.
Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin’
Like the stillness in the wind
’Fore the hurricane begins
The hour when the ship comes in

Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking

This song should certainly be the anthem for Duluth's Festival of Sail (FoS) when the tall ships arrive this weekend. Penned by Duluth native son Bob Dylan when he was a youth of 22, it's been covered by more than two dozen artists including Arlo on his lovely Hobo's Lullaby album (1972). It became one of Dylan's selections sung with Joan Baez during the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. He also performed it with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood for Live Aid in 1985.

The Festival of Sail is the re-named event that was called Tall Ships Festival in years past. A harbor full of tall ships is still a harbor full of tall ships, whatever name you give it.

One difference from their last visit is that the Bayfront Art Fair took place the same weekend. There was some confusion at that time. THIS YEAR there will again be an art fair in conjunction with the FoS but more as a part of the whole.

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they’ll be smiling

And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they’re spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean

One of many new, never-seen-before images that
Ryan Tischer will have on display
this weekend at each of the art fairs.
Preceding this will be Lake Superior Art Fair up on Brighton Beach. It was a much larger show than I expected when I attended last year, and you can hardly beat the location. LSAF will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The FoS will be Sunday through Tuesday.

I do not know the schedule but it certainly would be cool if the tall ships started coming in on Saturday. Brighton Beach would be a spectacular place to view them gliding toward the safe harbor of Duluth.

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin’
And the ship’s wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin’

As I was suggesting, wouldn't this be a great anthem for the Festival of Sail? The lyrics are so rich and uplifting, inventive and delicious.

If you're from out of town and have never been past the original home of Bobby Zimmerman on the Central Hillside, where he lived till age six before the family moved to Hibbing, you can find the home located a half block up the hill from Third Avenue East and Fifth Street. It's the yellow duplex on the upper side of the alley. (There's a placard on the front above the porch and a small emblem in the sidewalk.) If you need to punch in an address for your GPS, 519 N. Third Avenue East will get you there.

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real
The hour when the ship comes in

Then they’ll raise their hands
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharoah’s tribe
They’ll be drownded in the tide
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered
Copyright © 1963, 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music

* * * *
Related Links
Festival of Sail Map and Schedule of Events
FRIDAY AT 5:30 P.M.: Opening Reception at AICHO for The Art of Huuc Co & Wakatatlihuni
The Bob Dylan Project: When the Ship Comes In

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Photographer JoAnn Jardine Talks About Google Street View, Location Shooting for Catalyst and More

Photo courtesy JoAnn Jardine
This year many of us have been following the story of Catalyst, the festival for independent developers of episodic television content. Formerly ITV Fest, the new name coincides with its move to a new home base: Duluth, MN.

JoAnn Jardine is a career photographer who has recently become involved with the Catalyst team. Her role is scouting out and capturing locations for a directory that can help producers identify locations for filming independent television. She has also been a Google Street View photographer. Haven't you sometimes wondered how Google got all those pictures of your house and street and the store you were in last week?

Here's JoAnn, to share some of her career and life experience.

EN: How did you come to take up a career in photography? What were your earliest influences?

JoAnn Jardine: My Father passed away when I was ten years old. He was a hobby photographer. I picked up his old Exacta 35mm camera and taught myself how to use it. I was intrigued by the camera and photographed everything from barn cats to my friends having their senior portraits taken.

Proof that Hollywood has passed this way.
Judy Garland Museum, Grand Rapids.
After earning my degree at the U of MN Minneapolis in Mass Communications, (minor in film history and public relations), I worked as a special event photographer and planner for Patty Meshbesher at Your Special Event, Inc. Then I got married and we moved to Southern MN where I was the chief photographer at the New Ulm Journal for a few years.

One of my early influences was Margaret Bourke White, She was a WW2 photographer and the first woman photographer for Life Magazine and on top of that, she was also an incredible industrial photographer. As a kid, I wanted to be a war photographer and instead, I became a wedding photographer, almost as exciting!

This year marks my 25th anniversary of owning my own studio. I had a business partner for 12 years (Kathryn Nordstrom) and together we built up Studio One Photography, we were shooting about 50+ weddings in the summer. We were the first woman-owned and operated portrait studio in the region (now women rule the business market).

In 1998 our studio burned to the ground along with 14 other businesses. When the Old Roth's Department Store office building on Tower Ave (Superior) burned down (sometime later the cause was determined to be arson), I photographed the building in flames throughout the night.

We took what photo gear we had in our vehicles and moved into our second historic building, thanks to a generous new landlord. A few well-known photographers showed up with backgrounds and studio supplies so we could get right back into our grad season. We occupied the beautiful corner space in the Trade and Commerce (now the Spirit Room) in Superior.

I was a primary photographer for the following magazines for more than twelve years: The Woman Today, Duluth-Superior, Mom's and Dad's Today and

Being a magazine photographer was always interesting and had the variety that I loved: fascinating people, incredible architecture in the featured homes and lots of swanky events. When the family owned magazine was purchased by a local newspaper that work dried up for me.

Iron Range scene off the beaten path. Photo JoAnn Jardine.
EN: How many Google Street View photographers are there in the world and how did you get that gig?

JJ: Sorry, I'm not sure how many Google Street View Photographers there are and I don't drive the Google Car. I create hi-definition 360 virtual tours of business interiors. A couple of my favorite projects: Duluth's Bentleyville-Holiday Tour of Lights and the University of WI- Superior, almost all their sidewalks and much of the building interiors now have virtual tours.

In 2014 I was contacted by Google and asked to become a Certified Google Street View Photographers for business interiors. After I completed their training and testing I became the first photographer of this kind in the region. Today I shoot 360 tours for hotels and venues for national companies as well as photographing for businesses regionally.

Last fall I moved from a small studio in the Old Post Office Building to a larger, more elegant natural light studio on Banks Ave in Superior. I love having my studio in historic buildings as some incredible backgrounds are readily available in the buildings. I do a lot of the normal studio stuff like pets, kids, families, seniors, corporate portraits, weddings, and team sports photography. I'm always trying to offer a little something different this year I added "Red Carpet" birthday parties for kids- including mini modeling sessions and a doggie boutique day.

EN: Based on your knowledge of the region and skills, it’s easy to see how you would become involved with Catalyst. What is the nature of your assignment

We have railroads, we have watefron locations, we have nature.
Photo: JoAnn Jardine
JJ: This summer I have been very busy photographing locations for the Catalyst Production Guide. I am building a library of some of the most beautiful hidden gems and some not so nice places also. Some of the areas I have photographed: Duluth, Grand Rapids, Ely, Grand Mara, Hibbing, Virginia, Superior and everywhere between. I get tips from the Chamber of Commerce, businesses, and citizens. Almost everyone has a good idea for me it just a matter of time at this point. Even after the Production Guide is put to bed I think I will continue to follow up on location leads as we will want to update the Catalyst website and build the library for next year.

A good location has a good staging area for trucks, gear and all the baggage a movie grew needs. The location should be easily accessible- not a 3-mile hike. It could be fabulous or just an average neighborhood street. Movie producers like it when they don't have to go through a lot of red tape to get permits so a private lake, forest, farm or a privately owned old manufacturing site are desirable locations.

Looking for lakefront property? We've got plenty.
EN: And how do you decide what locations are worth cataloging?

JJ: I have worked a little in the movie industry in recent years besides location scouting, I have worked on props, production assistant and behind-the-scenes movie stills. Riki McManus from the Upper Minnesota Film Office has taken me under her wing here and there to show me the ropes and has referred me to some projects to get my feet wet in the industry. I greatly appreciate that!

I have a supportive husband and three two sons in college and one son in high school. I try to get them involved in everything I do. (They don't always appreciate it.) Today two of them helped sweep and clean the new Catalyst office, which I know they enjoyed very much. I also have a Golden Doodle- the dog breed of choice at the Catalyst office.

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JoAnn Jardine is a member of the Catalyst Festival team. This year is their 14th annual event, October 9-13 here in Duluth. For information about how to participate or get involved visit the Catalyst website here.

HERE IS A LINK to the PRODUCTION GUIDE Page that lists the kinds of skills and needs they want to have listed in the guide, as well as contact information for Katie Strand, Riki McManus and Keely Gelineau.

Related Links
Forbes' Blake Morgan on The Future of Television
Catalyst Home Page

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Television's Third Golden Age: What Is It and Where Is It Going?

One of the events we host during Duluth Dylan Fest each year is a Dylan-themed Trivia Night at Carmody's, a pub in downtown Duluth. The event is usually well attended and sometimes even packed.

This year's Trivia Night was different. The place was nearly empty. Why?

As it turns out, it was the last night for this season's Game of Thrones, which averages over 25 million viewers every Sunday night for HBO. Zounds! This incident speaks volumes about the power of series television.

* * * *
In the mid-90s, when Michael Crichton spoke to the National Press Club he declared that because of the Internet, television would be a dinosaur in less than ten years.

What really happened was the emergence of what many are calling the Third Golden Age of Television, characterized by season-long stories year after year. The innovation and long-form story telling combined with multiple methods of streaming media has generated a wide range of new opportunities for creative expression.

This past year I read the book Difficult Men by Brett Martin, a deep dive behind the scenes a deep dive into the inner workings of television characters and storytelling, and cultural influence, in what he terms the Third Golden Age of Television. The book's aim is to examine the elements and era "that made it okay for intelligent people to like television again."

For most of my adult life I've avoided television. Privately, however, I became immersed in the show Mad Men, following it through six seasons via DVD.

One of the big surprises in this era of series television is how big screen stars have been swimming back to this form of storytelling. It used to be that television was where you started, hoping to be cast as a "big name" on the silver screen. Today there's no disrespect for assuming roles in series television.

Some, such as French scholar Alexis Pichard, prefer to call this the Second Golden Age. All agree that the Fifties was an explosive golden era where producers relentlessly explored the possibilities of this new medium.

I asked Hollywood insider Katie Strand to weigh in on all these thoughts.

EN: What's your take on what's happening in Hollywood today as regards series television?

Katie Strand: I’m very curious to see how the film and television industry evolves considering how drastically different things are than they were – not only since the 50s, but even since the late 90s when the internet became ubiquitous.

Almost everything is related, and nothing evolves in a vacuum. Television's changes are directly related to the invention and rise of increased internet speed and bandwidth. It’s also related to the advent of video tape, making television a more affordable medium, accessible to creators and consumers.

The entrance fee to make a project went from tens of thousands (for the camera, film stock and processing), to thousands (for the more affordable consumer video-cameras, tape stock, analog and digital processing/editing), to now being able to shoot and edit a project with a device that fits in your back pocket, that you already own for other reasons, and then stream it directly online! It’s unprecedented! Never in human history have we been able to directly and quickly reach this large a worldwide audience with our visual ideas and stories.

The actors making the move to television, or episodic projects, may not have all of this in mind, but they’re certainly doing what artists throughout history have done…

You’re correct that actors used to take TV roles to gain notoriety so they could act in films. Now, we see many movie actors working on series projects. People like Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Billy Bob Thornton, who were pretty exclusively film actors on movies that played in movie theatres, have all made the transition to work on streamed and episodic projects.

The same is true behind-the-scenes. Many Directors, Producers and DPs (Directors of Photography) who only worked on theatrical films are switching to episodic projects. What do artists do? Myself included!? We go where the work is… Where we can not only make a living as an artist, but also (hopefully) do our best work. We’re looking to thrive. We’re looking to explore and evolve in our creative work, expression and collaboration…

The talent and workers are…. Going where there’s work. Right now, that’s in “television,” or episodic projects, the majority of which are available streaming immediately or shortly after their premiere.

Additionally, I’ve experienced and heard from industry colleagues and friends that many of the newer streaming platforms (though they’re currently being bought-up by bigger entities, for example Disney’s purchase of Hulu), give creators more freedom. Netflix is notoriously more hands-off on the creative process.

One of the chief complaints of creatives working on network projects is the “notes” from the executives to change their story, dialogue or characters… Most creative view these “notes” as a nuisance, from uninformed and uninspired “suits” or banking-type-businessmen who “don’t know the first thing about storytelling or filmmaking.” (Here I’m using filmmaking as a generic term for any TV/film medium.) With some of these new “networks” (“streaming platforms” is a more apt title, henceforth SP) like Netflix and Amazon, the creator’s experience seems to be less protracted and disrupted, with these SPs being more hands-off, fluid and supportive when there are “notes.” These SPs who don’t have traditional corporations or production studios, but have a platform and direct-to-consumer distribution, have become big-players in an industry that was extremely difficult to be any kind of “start up,” being that six major companies (like Time Warner and Comcast) essentially own the multitude of cable stations and media outlets.*

What all this means is: we may not only be in the Third Golden Age of Television, we might be experiencing and witnessing a whole new ballgame as far as the production of image-plus-sound-based storytelling and how those stories get to our viewers.

I remember as a child being fascinated and curious about many things, but especially my senses and storytelling. I longed to smell what Julia Child was cooking and touch what Bob Ross was painting or pet the squirrel he rescued. I wanted to go on a field trip with Mr. Rogers to smell the wood and hear the sounds of the pencil factory. I wanted to raise my hand and ask Carl Sagan questions about stars and planets and the Cosmos. I wanted to be in the scene in the Wizard of Oz, singing and dancing with Dorothy and the munchkins… It’s worth noting here that we were a PBS-household when I was a kid – our TV perpetually stuck on the local WDSE. My parents rules and TV time-limits didn’t apply to PBS shows!

I thought we’d have smell-a-vision by now. For anyone living in a cave (how are you reading this?), we don’t! We’ve had virtual reality and 3D video systems for a few years and 360° cameras, but they haven’t taken-over the way streaming “shows” or episodic projects has… The future of Hollywood and television is exciting and multi-faceted and we probably can’t fathom how it will all evolve. Perhaps there will eventually be smell-a-vision. Perhaps with virtual reality we can experience things (way) more exciting than one of Mr. Roger’s field trips. All I know is, I remain curious, and largely grateful to be a part of an industry and time in history where we’re seeing such rapid and monumental changes and shifts in our creative communications and storytelling.


* * * *

Katie Strand is a member of the Catalyst Festival team. This year is their 14th annual event, October 9-13 here in Duluth. For information about how to participate or get involved visit the Catalyst website here.

HERE IS A LINK to the PRODUCTION GUIDE Page that lists the kinds of skills and needs they want to have listed in the guide, as well as contact information for Katie Strand, Riki McManus and Keely Gelineau.

Related Link
New York Times: 20 Best TV Dramas Since The Sopranos

Monday, August 5, 2019

Medicare for All: The Achilles Heel of Democracy

"Many things that are desirable are not feasible."--Thomas J. Sargent

"Feeling Pinched." Line drawing from high school
As I was retiring 18 months ago, an older friend who'd retired a few years earlier said to me, "You're going to love Medicare." Evidently the good vibes everyone feels toward Medicare have filtered down through the masses. Not only do we find a majority of this year's candidates supporting the notion of "Medicare for All," we're also seeing polls showing that a majority of Americans favor the same. This poll, for example, at states that 70% favor Medicare for All.

These number have me more than a little concerned.

Last summer while in a reflective mood and cleaning my garage, I began asking myself a "what if " question. "What if I'm wrong?" I was applying it to a variety of issues, including assumptions about my self. I found it an enlightening engaging exercise.

One question I asked was especially catalytic. What if we're wrong about Democracy? What if democracy is not really a good form of government.

Since everything has its pros and cons, what is the downside of democracy? The Colonialists who founded our nation did so in response to what they personally had experienced regarding the downside of Monarchy.

Several events followed these meditations which helped stir the pot on these matters. One was reading a bio of James Madison, our fourth president and a primary architect of the U.S. Constitution. Even though the nation was founded on the ideal of Democracy, Madison's private journals reveal that he had internal reservations about the American experiment.

The second event that help stir my doubts was seeing, and then reading, Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. 

I've shared the above with the hope that you will follow the links which lay a foundation for the point in my recent Medium article: The Basic Problem of Medicare for All.

One reason issues like this win so many advocates is because most people are fairly ignorant when it comes to economics. They've never studied it so they do not really grasp the issues at stake. Most are not stupid. It's just an area of public education that gets short shrift, and makes us more easily manipulated.

For what it's worth, I am not suggesting that there's no problems with health care in this country. It's a serious mess, and it's my hope things can be addressed in such a way so as to truly be a win-win-win for all. I do not have an answer here. I only know that Medicare for All seems untenable.

Meantime life goes on... until it doesn't. All things must pass.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sy Hersh Story Reveals Common Issue Writers Face

I'm currently reading Seymour Hersh's memoir, Reporter, for the second time. The first time was last month, and I am extracting so much from the book that I may read it again as soon as I am done.

The book details his early Chicago and South Dakota years in which he developed the work habits that later made him a serious force to be reckoned with as a journalist. He learned to develop sources, build trust, gain access to information, and all the necessary preparation required to really break open a story. He had good mentoring and learned how to work hard.

As a result of his Chicago days, it startled him when we went to Washington D.C. and found much of the Washington Press Corps to be essentially notetakers absorbing whatever pablum the Pentagon and White House fed them. Since this was the Viet Nam War era, he found this appalling.

Reporter goes into detail describing what it took to really unearth the first major story he broke, the My Lai incident. The book is worth reading just for the details on how he found Lt. Calley. For the record, every journalism student should read this book.

The following decades included many important stories. Hersh's career included stints with the New York Times and The New Yorker as well as the Washington Post. In general, however, he hated the boxed in feeling that came with being somewhat shackled by editors. As an author he wrote books on My Lai, Henry Kissinger, The Dark Side of Camelot, the shooting down of flight KAL 007, Israel's nuclear arsenal and U.S. foreign policy, the killing of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Ghraib, among others.

In 1983 he published his book The Price of Power after four years of research. The book rips off all the candy coatings that conceal in order to unveil the ugly truths beneath the surface during Kissinger's years inside the Nixon White House. Overthrowing democratically elected leaders who the U.S. didn't like, the illegal bombing activity inside Cambodian borders, bugging the phones of his staff, contributing to the horrors of Bangladesh, and other deeds that reveal Kissinger to be anything but a hero.

Of the book, Noam Chomsky wrote Hersh a note saying, "It is really fabulous, apart from the feeling that one is crawling through a sewer.

Kissinger at the time was still on a pedestal in many peoples' minds. The degree to which this was so hit Hersh full force when he was guest on Ted Koppel's Nightline for a full hour the day after the book had been published. It was brutal.

The previous night Koppel had had Kissinger himself on the show, and the former Secretary of State was furious about the book, calling it "a slimy lie" even though he claimed he'd never read it.

Once Hersh was on the show Koppel let his stance be known early on by the questions he asked. "Sy Hersh, what's the point? What purpose is served by this book?" Koppel hadn't read the book either though.

Koppel then brought two guests on with more mud to sling at Hersh, Larry Eagleberger and Winston Lord. Each dismissed everything Hersh had written, each praised Kissinger and each said they had not read the book.

Writes Hersh, "I had been exposed to tough love from CIA operatives...and a variety of thugs in my career, but nothing would match the face-to-face hostility generated by Koppel and the others, with millions watching on television."

As the saying goes, it is what it is. 
Moral: Be careful when attempting to knock over sacred cows.