Friday, August 9, 2019
Notes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan with Allen Ginsberg during the Rolling Thunder tour. (Creative Commons photo by Elsa Dorfman.)
I finally got to see Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story on Netflix, which mixes fact and fiction in depicting Dylan's 1970s tour, and enjoyed it very much. I recently noted Oz Fritz' article about the movie, and one of Oz' comments is worth quoting again:
"This misdirection should come as no surprise. The film begins with old footage of a stage illusionist making a woman disappear then bringing her back. It seems part of the film's mission to ontologically shake-up assumptions about exactly what is going on. Editing and using sound and visuals in this way to create new contexts and factual illusions reminds me strongly of Orson Welle's F is for Fake 'documentary' that looked at art forgery through using the techniques of film forgery. Robert Anton Wilson wrote an excellent account of the sleight-of-hand in that film that could give some insight into how Scorsese constructed this Bob Dylan story."
Indeed, the mixture of truth and BS in Rolling Thunder Revue recalls what RAW did in Illuminatus! and I venture to guess that perhaps RAW might have liked the movie, despite his notorious loathing for Dylan as an artist. It's a much better movie that Dylan's own movie about the tour, Renaldo and Clara.
One other Dylan note: My favorite live performance is the one he turned in for the Concert for Bangladesh organized by his friend, George Harrison. Although the album of the concert does not seem to be commercially available, I noticed this posting on the Internet archive and shared it with a few friends. As I think of the people who read this blog as my friends, I'm sharing it with the rest of y'all, too. (The track listing is a bit wrong, "Hard Rain" and "Love Minus Zero" are Dylan performances.)