Tag Archives: bob dylan

Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ lyrics top $2 million at auction

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Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ lyrics top $2 million at auction

Auction ServiceBob DylanPoetryAl CaponeSotheby’s Holdings Incorporated
Manuscript for Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ sets auction record for rock lyrics
Unidentified buyer pays $2 million for Dylan lyric manuscript
$2-million sale of Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ tops record of $1.2 million for Beatles’ ‘A Day in the Life’
How does it feel? Like a new record for the sale of rock lyrics at auction, as a handwritten manuscript for Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” sold Tuesday for just over $2 million at Sotheby’s auction house in New York.

The identity of the buyer was not released, but the purchase price bested the previous record of $1.2 million paid in 2010 for John Lennon’s lyrics to “A Day in the Life” from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Lyrics to another Dylan classic, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” sold for $485,000, according to Reuters, at Sotheby’s first dedicated music history sale in more than a decade.

Other items in the sale included memorabilia from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley, with pre-auction estimates ranging from as little as $200 to $300 to $1 million to $2 million for the draft of “Like A Rolling Stone” that Dylan wrote on stationery from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington.

According to Sotheby’s, the lyrics were put up for auction by a man identified only as a fan from California “who met his hero in a non-rock context and bought [the lyrics] directly from Dylan.”

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Bob Dylan sneers at his obsessive fans, but he may have more in common with them than he might think.

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The critic Greil Marcus once told an interviewer that, among musicians, Bob Dylan had the stupidest fans. “I think it’s because something in Dylan’s writing leads people to believe that there is a secret behind every song. And if you unlock that secret then you’ll understand the meaning of life,” he said. Dylan himself seems to agree. In 2001, forty years into his career, Dylan said, “These so-called connoisseurs of Bob Dylan music, I don’t feel they know a thing, or have any inkling of who I am and what I’m about. I know they think they do, and yet it’s ludicrous, it’s humorous, and sad.” A decade later, Dylan told an interviewer for Rolling Stone, “Why is it when people talk about me they have to go crazy? What the fuck is the matter with them? … May the Lord have mercy on them. They are lost souls.”

David Kinney’s new book, “The Dylanologists,” is a journey among these so-called lost souls. Kinney is a newspaper journalist and a Dylan fan; his first book, “The Big One,” from 2009, was about a different set of obsessives: the anglers who compete in an annual fishing derby on Martha’s Vineyard. Here, he travels to a Dylan-themed diner in the singer’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, which catered to visiting fans. (It recently closed, after losing its liquor license; the executive chef explained to the local paper that “people from Hibbing don’t like Bob Dylan as much as people not from Hibbing like Bob Dylan.”) He stands in line in the cold among a group of Dylan’s late-career tour regulars in order to get a prime spot in the front row. And he introduces a cast of Dylan disciples: circumspect keepers of secret bootleg recordings, feuding editors of Dylan zines and Web sites, literary detectives sourcing allusions in his lyrics, and a guy who owns Dylan’s childhood high chair.

There are plenty of creeps. In the mid-sixties, perhaps unnerved by his influence over his fans, Dylan fled upstate to Woodstock, where hopeful acolytes showed up at his house. One guy sneaked into Dylan’s bedroom to watch him and his wife sleep. Later, Dylan recalled thinking, “Now wait, these people can’t be my fans. They just can’t be.” Devotion can turn strange, and sour. After Dylan moved back to New York City, in the late sixties, he was dogged by a man named A. J. Weberman, who created a peculiar translation system to “decode” Dylan’s lyrics—“in Dylan’s language Texas might mean ‘Europe’ ”—and even went through his trash. Years later, still preoccupied by bizarre theories about Dylan, Weberman tells Kinney, “I wasted my fucking life on this shit.” Another parser of Dylan’s songs became convinced that his album “Time Out of Mind,” from 1997, foretold the death of Princess Diana. As Kinney writes, “Any fool could find whatever he wanted inside the vast Dylan songbook: drugs, Jesus, Joan Baez.”

Yet, despite these unnerving examples, most of the fans that Kinney talks to aren’t fools or stalkers. They have simply developed an usually strong affinity for an artist and his music. And though their ardor seems to make the artist himself uncomfortable, Kinney suggests that Dylan might be partially to blame for it—that his own aloofness and self-made mythologies have deepened his fans’ thralldom. “Dylan created personas and then demolished them, denied they had ever existed, and scorned the people who still clung to them,” Kinney writes. Political folkie, country farmer, travelling gypsy, born-again Christian, rustic dandy—Dylan has cycled through a series of musical characters as if playing all the parts in a one-man vaudeville act. It’s been thrilling and curious, and also—most of the time, at least—deeply persuasive. Can fans be blamed for coming under one of these spells—for believing that Dylan meant what he sang at the March on Washington, or wasn’t just messing around when he recorded “Self Portrait,” or for preferring one incarnation above the others and lamenting or resenting that version’s demolition by Dylan’s own revisionism? Kinney’s own fandom seems to have lapsed a bit into skepticism, yet he never mocks the continued devotion of those who still believe. By getting his subjects to talk about the moment, often years past, in which they were swayed by Dylan’s music, Kinney humanizes the archetype of the pop junkie.

It is risky to be an earnest Bob Dylan fan—the kind of person who is inclined to follow him around on his Never Ending Tour, which began in 1988 and hasn’t stopped, as Dylan plays on past his seventy-second birthday. Or someone like the music critic Lester Bangs, who found himself, in the seventies, using Dylan’s album “Blood on the Tracks” as “an instrument of self abuse”—something he put on after every heartbreak, a personal soundtrack of misery. Dylan might very well sneer at one of the hardcore fans whom Kinney talks to, who describes what he feels when he watches the singer onstage: “I just wanted him to know that I existed and that I loved what he did. But it goes deeper than that. I don’t know why, but if Bob is sad, or his music is sad, I feel sad, and I feel sad for him. When he’s singing and he’s hurting, it hurts me, too.” Another fan, who followed the tour as a young woman, told Kinney that she went out of her way not to meet Dylan on the road; she’d heard about his mercurial, often prickly personality, and couldn’t imagine how she could go on listening to his music if he were to shoot her an icy, dismissive stare.

Like a disappointed father—or an angry God—Dylan seems to lament the foibles of his followers. But Kinney argues that Dylan may have more in common with his obsessive fans than he might think. Like them, he is a collector of cultural ephemera, a hoarder of odd texts and phrases, and an avid, idiosyncratic student of the past.

In the summer of 2003, a schoolteacher from Minnesota was travelling in Japan and happened to pick up a book about the world of Japanese organized crime called “Confessions of a Yakuza.” On the book’s first page, he read a line, about a man sitting like a “feudal lord,” that stood out. He realized that it echoed a line from one of Dylan’s songs from the album “Love and Theft,” which was released in 2001. He brought the book home and found a handful of other, unmistakably reused phrases. Dylan had not credited his strange source, which seemed to have been selected almost at random. In the years since, with the help of Google Books, Scott Warmuth, a fan from New Mexico, has been delving deeper into Dylan’s recent writing and finding all kinds of odd, uncredited borrowings. Passages from Dylan’s memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One” (2004), were taken from disparate sources: from H. G. Wells, Jack London, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald; from Tony Horowitz’s nonfiction book “Confederates in the Attic,” a travel guide about New Orleans, and an issue of Time, from 1961. Listeners of Dylan’s album “Modern Times” (from 2006) found lyrics that came from the work of an unremembered Civil War poet named Henry Timrod. Some have called these plain cases of plagiarism; others have suggested that they diminish or else entirely scuttle the idea of Dylan as an original American voice.

But Kinney takes a different view of these discoveries. Warmuth’s reading of Dylan’s memoir has revealed that Dylan’s “appropriations were not random. They were deliberate. When Scott delved into them, he found cleverness, wordplay, jokes, and subtexts.” The thefts that Dylan made were part of the story—he had, as Kinney writes, “hidden another book between the lines.” Kinney remarks on an especially intriguing section of “Chronicles,” in which Dylan seems to be explaining the method behind his guitar playing. Dylan writes, mysteriously, “You gain power with the least amount of effort, trust the listeners to make their own connections, and it’s very seldom that they don’t.” If this sounds inscrutable as musical technique, that’s because it is lifted from a self-help book about gaining influence over others called “The 48 Laws of Power,” by Robert Greene. This, then, is a cunning bit of dark humor: Dylan purports to explain the magic behind his music, but he’s really just revealing how susceptible devoted fans are to this kind of florid nonsense.

This unpacking of Dylan’s memoir, and the increased scrutiny given to his recent albums, is a reminder that Dylan’s work has always been spurred on by his own fannish, idiosyncratic obsessions. Michael Gray, who has written extensively about Dylan’s songwriting, tells Kinney, “You want him to be this lone genius who came from another planet. He never pretended to be. He’s created something out of something else.” Dylan’s earliest songs borrowed chords and lyrics from traditional folk songs; he has lifted lines and licks from the blues; he has repurposed and reassembled the Bible, press clippings, English poetry, the American songbook, and a half century of cultural comings and goings to create a kind of ongoing, evolving musical collage. Dylan is an archivist and a librarian in addition to being an artist.

Before Robert Zimmerman was Bob Dylan, he was an eager music fan. As a young man, he couldn’t wait to blow out of Minnesota and meet his idol, Woody Guthrie. He was, Kinney writes, “earnest, embarrassingly so. He would talk and talk and talk about traveling east, meeting Woody, making it big.” Dylan, just nineteen years old, visited Guthrie at the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, in New Jersey, where Guthrie, suffering from Huntington’s disease, had been committed. Guthrie was debilitated by the illness—there wasn’t much he could teach Dylan. Perhaps Dylan learned that idols never live up to a fan’s expectations, and so it’s silly to expect otherwise. But Dylan had been a musical pilgrim long before he inspired others to make pilgrimages in his footsteps. Kinney tells another story, of the time when Dylan, years later, in 2009, showed up for a tour at John Lennon’s childhood home. Or the year before, in Winnipeg, when he was spotted at the house where Neil Young grew up. Another time, he was seen at Sun Studios, in Memphis, where Elvis had cut his first records. Someone stopped him and told Dylan what his music had meant to him. Dylan responded, “Well son, we all have our heroes.”

Credit: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Getty.

Bob Dylan’s 10 Craziest Fans

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Bob Dylan’s 10 Craziest Fans

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The wildest people from David Kinney’s new ‘The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob’

Bob Dylan

Val Wilmer/Redferns
By
James Sullivan
May 16, 2014 2:00 PM ET

The body of scholarship on Bob Dylan rivals that on Shakespeare or James Joyce. Literary critics like Christopher Ricks have written a books about him, Rolling Stone’s first reviews editor, Greil Marcus, has added three of his own and Princeton professor Sean Wilentz has served as the “historian in residence” at bobdylan.com.

And then there are the real fanatics – the Dylan obsessives who dig in the singer’s trash, buy the high chair he used as a baby and crash his sons’ bar mitzvahs. It’s those devotees who are the subject of The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob, a new book by Pulitzer Prize–winner David Kinney examining the well worn legacy of rock & roll’s biggest enigma through the theories and fixations of his most devoted zealots. Here are 10 of the weirder episodes in the long, not-so-distinguished history of extreme Dylanology.

20 Overlooked Dylan Classics

  1. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?
    Recent owners of Dylan’s boyhood home in Hibbing, Minnesota, replaced 19 windows and gave the old ones to various fans (including one guy who named his sons Bob and Dylan). “It’s like the 4,000 fragments of the true cross,” said one recipient.
  2. Motorpsycho Nightmare
    A.J. Weberman, the man Rolling Stone once called the “king of all Dylan nuts,” is notorious for digging in Dylan’s garbage. Dylan reportedly once roughed him up on the street, tore off Weberman’s “DLF” – Dylan Liberation Front – button and rode away on his bicycle.

  3. In the Kitchen With the Tombstone Blues
    A tape of Dylan made in St. Paul in 1960, then thought to be the earliest recording of him performing, surfaced in 1978. When fanzine writer Brian Stibal asked for a listen, the owner’s husband insisted on doing the dishes as they played it. As the husband suspected, the writer had hidden a tape recorder in his jacket. The subsequent bootleg became known as the “armpit tape” for its awful sound quality.

  4. One More Cup of Coffee
    Concert tapers have used many innovative methods to smuggle recording equipment into Dylan shows, with one obsessive who stuffed his gear inside a pillow, strapping it to his “pregnant” girlfriend’s belly. Another created a coffee thermos with a false bottom that would hide his video camera lens.

  5. Self-Portrait
    Dylan fanatic Robin Titus made her son a sweatshirt that read “Bob Dylan” on the front and “Won’t Let Go Can’t Let Go” (from his born-again song “Solid Rock”) on the back. The kid ended up wearing it in all his class pictures – she made bigger versions for him every few years.

  6. Throw Your Panties Overboard
    On one of the rare occasions when Dylan approached fans outside a venue, he bantered with a woman who claimed she’d brought red lacy underwear embroidered with the name Bob. The pleasantries ended abruptly when another female fan asked whether Dylan had been breast-fed as a boy.

  7. No Secrets to Conceal
    After confirming that chunks of Dylan’s memoir, Chronicles, were cribbed from other sources, Edward Cook told no one for a week. He wanted to feel like he had “a secret with Dylan.”

  8. You Cut Me Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
    Well-known fan and blogger Scott Warmuth, who decodes the sources of Dylan’s lyrics has studied puzzles, circus sideshows, magicians and cryptography to gain more insight. One description in Dylan’s memoir, Chronicles, was drawn from The 48 Laws of Power, Warmuth discovered: from a section called “The Science of Charlatanism, or How to Create a Cult in Five Easy Steps.”

  9. The Psychiatric Couch
    Fanzine editor Andy Muir spent his weekends in the office of his employer, British Telecom, photocopying 35,000 pages for his 750 subscribers. Running out of room for his vast collection of concert tapes, he hollowed out his couch for more storage space. It collapsed.

  10. Like a Complete Unknown
    One woman might have spoken for all Dylan freaks when she explained her lifelong dream to meet the man. “He and I have been through a lot together and he doesn’t know it,” she told the author. “I just think it’s not fair that it’s a one-way relationship.”

Related
The 10 Best Bob Dylan Bootlegs
Bob Dylan Releases Frank Sinatra Cover, Plans New Album
Quiz: Do You Know Your Dylan?

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylans-10-craziest-fans-20140516#ixzz31zPUdfdd
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I Have Nothing to Offer Anybody-Jack Kerouac

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I Have Nothing to Offer Anybody

Jean-Louis “Jack” Lebris de Kerouac (play /ˈkɛruːæk/ or /ˈkɛrɵæk/; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation.  Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder, Richard Brautigan, Thomas Pynchon, Lester Bangs, Tom Robbins and Will Clarke.  Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the Hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward it. In 1969, at age 47, Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-standing abuse of alcohol. Since his death Kerouac’s literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, among them: On the Road, Doctor Sax, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody and Big Sur.

Express Your Inner Hippie;

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Express Your Inner Hippie;

Counterculture of the 1960’s

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Express Your Inner Hippie;

the Art, Fashion and Music of the 1960’s

The counterculture of the United States brought on a new sense and philosophy of life and along with this, different and new ways of expression. The counterculture youth of the nation utilized their first Amendment rights to their full advantage in terms of protest, music, literature and art. The freedom of expression was the main attribute to the carefree, hippie lifestyle. The youth expressed their beliefs through freedom of expression by dawning eccentric clothing, creating new artwork and literature, and expressing themselves through song.

With new ideas about life came new designs for clothing and trends in the 1960’s. Designers fashioned new clothing for the expanding hippie culture whom were attracted to the bright, psychedelic colors and patterns. The drug culture and massive quantities of LSD being consumed fed the appeal of such bizarre fashion. “‘With acid, there was an emergence of young people dressed to die for’ –Christopher Gibbs,” (Miles 255). Designers purposefully created patterns and colors that imitated an “acid trip”.

“The patterns, suitably enough, were created by the burning of acetate colored slides with acid…Colors and materials floated, crossed over into one another and seemed to expand and blur as the wearer danced,” (Miles 255).

People made statements with their outlandish attire and attitudes. The clothing was a way in which the youth could express themselves to the public as free individuals who had no regard for what people had to say about them or how they dressed. Some hippies did not feel the need for such expensive, outrageous clothing. Some were content with less expensive or home-made clothing.

“The 1960’s describes hippies wearing flowers in their hair, dressing in second-hand clothes from thrift and army surplus stores. They wore ponchos, bell-bottoms decorated with patches and embroidered tie-dye shirts, leather sandals, bright colors, and intricate patterns…Women wore men’s clothes and ‘granny dresses’ without bras because they found them too restricting,” (Hoy 1).

Some hippies did not feel the need to spend so much money on the highest and fashionable trends of the era. Instead, they kept their attire simple and used what money they made for essential living and most times drugs.

The fundamental origin of the 1960’s hippie culture was derived from the “Beat Generation” of the late 1950’s. Generally known as “Beatniks”, these people started to really experiment in the field of art, namely poetry.

“Beatniks frequently rejected middle-class American values, customs, and tastes in favor of radical politics and exotic jazz, art and literature,” (‘Beatnick’ 1).

The “New Beats” developed into the Hippie Generation in the 1960’s as the culture in popularity and exposure increased dramatically. Beatniks were struggling artists, trying to find new ways to express themselves and quickly found an outlet in poetry. Aside from new literature which fed the public alternate ways of life and philosophies, the psychedelic poster business took form and exploded onto the scene. Bold, fluorescent colors and intricate patterns were also reflected in the art of poster making. The fascination with such bizarre patterns and colors was apparent through both the clothing and the posters.

“1966 was the year that psychedelic posters really took off…The letters were often so distorted that they were very difficult to decipher-unless you were stoned. This made the posters and the events they were advertising more appealing,” (Miles 100).

People would design these posters such as fashion designers created clothes and outfits for the hippie generation to wear. People of the generation were highly attracted to them, just as much as they were attracted to the drug culture that was thriving in the nation. Andy Warhol, a famous artist of the era, designed album covers for bands as well as works of art. He is known for many works, among them the psychedelic four-frame portrait of Marylyn Monroe and the can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Busses that transported hippies to the West Coast, such as San Francisco, were painted with similar designs and plenty of bright colors. Bright colors and intricate patterns, as well as deep thought were methods of effective expression during the counterculture era.

Throughout the decades of the 20th century, each has had their own label in terms of musical revolution. For example, swing was popular in the 1920’s, jazz and blues through the next two and a half decades, and rock ‘n’ roll in the conservative 1950’s. The 1960’s era is known for the emergence of psychedelic rock, a genre which hippies listened to when high on drugs, believing they could reach a higher place. The “British Invasion” of bands from England contributed to the explosion of this new rock genre in the United States. “Then came the Beatles, followed rapidly by the Stones and a whole explosion of beat groups that transformed rock ‘n’ roll, if not overnight, then in a year or so,” (Miles 76). The Beatles were a crazed sensation in the United States; they gained a solid fan base in the country amongst the youth. Amongst the most popular groups were the individuals who spoke out against issues with their music. People such as Bob Dylan expressed his protest point of view through acoustic singing and song-writing. He soon became “an electrified spokesperson for a generation in 1965.” (Miles 50). Artists such as Dylan were able to express their views on current issues of the country because they had a right to do so, and because they wanted to be heard. Janis Joplin, a female artistic activist, both for anti-war protest and feminisms in this era because she was able to express herself through music, much like the rest of the counterculture in the United States. The new-wave genre of psychedelic rock took firm hold on the nation and grew more defined as its popularity expanded and the hippie generation found another effective way to freely express themselves.

With a completely worry and carefree lifestyle, the people of the Hippie generation and counterculture used their rights as citizens of the United States to their advantage. They could outright ridicule America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and make statements against the restrictive society that possessed the previous decade. Counterculture youth made statements with their fashion sense, their creative and appealing artwork and through their own voice, either through poetry and literature or song. It was never uncommon to see people of this generation dressing bizarrely, or even simply, painting the flowers and peace signs on the side of an old bus in neon colors, and never without a guitar or flute. Through each of these means, the hippie generation effectively defines their views and purpose, and in turn, positively share it with the rest of society.

Works Cited

“Beatnik.” RetroGalaxy.Com. 2007. Online. Internet. 06.06.07. Available:

http://www.retrogalaxy.com/culture/beatniks.asp

Hoy, Rosemary. “Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle.” Borderlands.

Internet. 06.03.07.Available:

http://www.epcc.edu/nwlibrary/borderlands/14_flower_children.htm.

Miles, Barry. Hippy. New York. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, 2003.

HIWAY AMERICA -THE FAMED CHELSEA HOTEL N.Y.C.

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  • For more than half a century, New York City's historic Chelsea Hotel was a haven for writers, musicians and artists. Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Mark Rothko, Arthur C. Clarke and Bob Dylan are just a few of the scores of creative thinkers who spent time in the 12-story, West 23rd Street landmark.

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                      For more than half a century, New York City’s historic Chelsea Hotel was a haven for writers, musicians and artists. Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Mark Rothko, Arthur C. Clarke and Bob Dylan are just a few of the scores of creative thinkers who spent time in the 12-story, West 23rd Street landmark.

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  • The front entrance honors some of the hotel's many well-known residents, including Dylan Thomas, James Schuyler, Brendan Behan, Thomas Wolfe and Leonard Cohen. "I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel," Cohen wrote in his 1974 song "Chelsea Hotel No. 2."

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                      The front entrance honors some of the hotel’s many well-known residents, including Dylan Thomas, James Schuyler, Brendan Behan, Thomas Wolfe and Leonard Cohen. “I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,” Cohen wrote in his 1974 song “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.”

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  • The building was sold in May for more than $80 million to real estate developer Joseph Chetrit. Now, only long-term residents remain.

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                      The building was sold in May for more than $80 million to real estate developer Joseph Chetrit. Now, only long-term residents remain.

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  • Front desk manager Jerry Weinstein is shown on duty in June 2007. Since then, most of the Chelsea staff have been let go. "It was like we didn't have family anymore," says long-term resident Nicola L.

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                      Front desk manager Jerry Weinstein is shown on duty in June 2007. Since then, most of the Chelsea staff have been let go. “It was like we didn’t have family anymore,” says long-term resident Nicola L.

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  • The Chelsea's lobby, shown above in 2007, was once filled with the work of its residents.

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                      The Chelsea’s lobby, shown above in 2007, was once filled with the work of its residents.

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  • Former manager Stanley Bard, shown in his office in 2007, fostered the Chelsea's artistic community for more than 50 years. "He was kind of like a huge leaf that kids could go under away from the storm," says photographer turned bellman Timur Cimkentli. Bard was forced out by the hotel's board of directors in 2007.

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                      Former manager Stanley Bard, shown in his office in 2007, fostered the Chelsea’s artistic community for more than 50 years. “He was kind of like a huge leaf that kids could go under away from the storm,” says photographer turned bellman Timur Cimkentli. Bard was forced out by the hotel’s board of directors in 2007.

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  • Madonna lived in this room at the Chelsea after coming to New York in the early 1980s.

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                      Madonna lived in this room at the Chelsea after coming to New York in the early 1980s.

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  • The view from Madonna's former room at the Chelsea Hotel.

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                      The view from Madonna’s former room at the Chelsea Hotel.

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  • Ed Hamilton has lived at the Chelsea for 16 years. "I came here to be a writer, 'cause it seemed like the place to go," he says.

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                      Ed Hamilton has lived at the Chelsea for 16 years. “I came here to be a writer, ’cause it seemed like the place to go,” he says.

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  • A decorated stairway is just one of many art-adorned spaces at the hotel.

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                      A decorated stairway is just one of many art-adorned spaces at the hotel.

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  • Former manager Stanley Bard, standing in room 614, points out a photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller, taken in that same room. Miller lived in 614 for several years during the 1960s.

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                      Former manager Stanley Bard, standing in room 614, points out a photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller, taken in that same room. Miller lived in 614 for several years during the 1960s.

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  • The living room of 614.

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                      The living room of 614.

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  • Renovations to the hotel will be subtle, says architect Gene Kaufman. Everyone working on the project realizes that the Chelsea is a rare and special thing, he says.

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                      Renovations to the hotel will be subtle, says architect Gene Kaufman. Everyone working on the project realizes that the Chelsea is a rare and special thing, he says.

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  • Sherill Tippins has spent six years writing a book about the hotel. The Chelsea, she says, "has a spirit of its own. ... I don't think you can defeat this building."

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                      Sherill Tippins has spent six years writing a book about the hotel. The Chelsea, she says, “has a spirit of its own. … I don’t think you can defeat this building.”

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The fabled Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan was home to Mark Twain, Virgil Thomson and Brendan Behan. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, there. Jack Kerouac worked on On the Road. Bob Dylan wrote “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” Artists Larry Rivers and Mark Rothko, and scores of painters and photographers also spent creative time there. But now the future of the hotel is up in the air.

   Multimedia and performance artist Nicola L. has been at the Chelsea some 30 years. She came, she returned to France, she rented another New York apartment, and then she returned. “You come back to Chelsea like you go to your mother when something is wrong,” she says.

But the building has been sold. Once filled with art by residents, the walls and stairwells are mostly bare now. Only the long-term residents remain. The staff — some of whom had been there for decades — have been let go. When the staff left, says Nicola L., “the bellman, the people at the desk — it was like we didn’t have family anymore and we were in an empty boat. “

The Chelsea Hotel is unlike any other in New York. It’s split between rental apartments, and tiny hotel rooms where people could stay for a night. Ed Hamilton, author of Legends of the Chelsea Hotel, has lived there for 16 years. The first apartment he had cost him $500 a month.

hide captionA view from the room of 16-year resident and writer Ed Hamilton, who moved to the Chelsea in his mid-30s. “It seemed like the place to go,” he says.

       Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

A view from the room of 16-year resident and writer Ed Hamilton, who moved to the Chelsea in his mid-30s. "It seemed like the place to go," he says.

A view from the room of 16-year resident and writer Ed Hamilton, who moved to the Chelsea in his mid-30s. “It seemed like the place to go,” he says.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

“It must have been 100 square feet,” he says. Now he lives with his wife in a room that’s twice that size but seems minuscule: no kitchen, the bathroom is down the hall, clothes are hanging on the walls.

“I came here to be a writer because it seemed like the place to go,” he says. “I was in my mid-30s. We had always heard about this place because Thomas Wolfe had lived here, and the beat writers.”

The hotel is filled with ghosts. Not only those of Dylan Thomas, who drank himself to death at the Chelsea, or Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid Vicious, who was stabbed to death in their room, but all kinds of ghosts. Sherill Tippins has spent six years writing a book on the Chelsea. She once brought a friend to the hotel who claimed she could see ghosts.

The friend was up all night, talking to the ghosts, Tippins reports. “She told me, ‘They’re everywhere — in the elevators and in the lobby, and they want attention so much.’ ” Larry Rivers, the “leading ghost,” told the friend: “It is not about the art, it is about the life. That is the important thing here.”

hide captionThe view from Madonna’s former room at the  Chelsea Hotel, where she lived after coming to New York in the early  1980s.

       Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The view from Madonna's former room at the  Chelsea Hotel, where she lived after coming to New York in the early  1980s.

The view from Madonna’s former room at the  Chelsea Hotel, where she lived after coming to New York in the early  1980s.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

And that’s what most residents will tell you. Scott Griffin, a theater producer, is head of the residents association. He has lived at the Chelsea for nearly 20 years. He says Arthur Miller and Robert Altman nurtured him at the Chelsea and made his career possible. “The core value of the Chelsea is not in steel or in bricks, but is in the life force that it has,” he adds.

Originally built in the 1880s by Philip Hubert, it was a socialist utopian innovation with communal dining rooms, artists’ studios, even a hospital clinic; Tippins says it was the first cooperative to have a mix on every floor: “Large rooms that people with more money can afford, and people who are more successful mixed in with smaller rooms of aspirers and regular working people. That was a deliberate design,” she explains, “and I think it is the reason the Chelsea has managed to remain the way it is.”

The Chelsea was also unique because of its management. Everybody talks about Stanley Bard, the building’s former manager. Timur Cimkentli was a photographer who lived at the Chelsea, but in 1987, when he couldn’t pay his rent, he became the building’s bellman. Cimkentli says Bard told him: “Maybe you’re not a very good photographer, but I have a job for you.”

imagesRQOOZGOE
hide captionFormer Chelsea Hotel manager Stanley Bard shows off a picture of actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller taken in room 614 — where Miller lived during the 1960s. The artist community flourished under Bard’s leadership for 50 years, before he was ousted by the hotel’s board of directors in 2007.

       Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Former Chelsea Hotel manager Stanley Bard shows off a picture of actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller taken in room 614 — where Miller lived during the 1960s. The artist community flourished under Bard's leadership for 50 years, before he was ousted by the hotel's board of directors in 2007.

Former Chelsea Hotel manager Stanley Bard shows off a picture of actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller taken in room 614 — where Miller lived during the 1960s. The artist community flourished under Bard’s leadership for 50 years, before he was ousted by the hotel’s board of directors in 2007.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Cimkentli says it was a sanctuary for the artists, for kids who really couldn’t pay their rent on time. “Any other hotel would have kicked them out,” he says. “Bard allowed that to flourish; he was kind of like a huge leaf that kids could go under away from the storm, and that was the rarity of this hotel, that he would keep you on, he would see you, and you would owe him two months’ rent and you would cry to him and he would say, ‘Don’t worry, keep painting, keep painting.’ “

Bard was ousted four years ago after conflicts with the minority shareholders. Managers came and went. Then, in May, real estate developer Joseph Chetrit bought the building for some $80 million. Architect Gene Kaufman is in charge of the renovations, which he says will be subtle. Tenants are scared it will become a condominium, but Kaufman and others say it will remain a hotel. The first priority is to preserve, he says; the second, to make it safe and functional — issues like fire safety are huge; and then there is an obligation to the current residents.

Kaufman calls the Chelsea a rare and special thing, and says everyone working on the project realizes that. “We don’t have a lot of answers yet,” he says. “We are still thinking. So I do think it is going to take some time, and we don’t even have a schedule yet.”

Chetrit, the Chelsea’s new owner, was called by the New York Observer “the most mysterious big shot in New York real estate.” He almost never talks to the media, and calls to his office were not returned. Many people say they wonder whether Chetrit will fall in love with the Chelsea or run out of there screaming. Those are the exact words several people used, including Sherill Tippins. “People have run screaming from it, over and over, in the past five years or so,” she says, adding, “I, too, have been tussling with the building for years now; it takes you over and you struggle with it; it has a spirit of its own.”
But that makes her optimistic about the future of the Chelsea. “I don’t think you can defeat this building,” she says. After all, as Kaufman put it, “if this was just a nice building of the period, with no serious history, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”

FLOWER POWER AND THE COUNTERCULTURE

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FLOWER POWER AND THE COUNTERCULTURE

57h. Flower Power

Make love, not war. Don’t trust anyone over 30. Turn on, tune in, and drop out. I am a human being — please do not fold, bend spindle, or mutilate.

These and many more became slogans for emerging youth culture — a counterculture — in the 1960s. The baby boom was entering its teen years, and in sheer numbers they represented a larger force than any prior generation in the history of the United States. As more and more children of middle-class Americans entered college, many rejected the suburban conformity designed by their parents.

Grateful Dead concert poster The Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco gave rise to many of the popular rock groups of the era, including Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. This poster advertises a concert held at the Fillmore Auditorium, a popular San Francisco venue for psychedelic bands.

Never more than a minority movement, the so-called “hippie” lifestyle became synonymous with American youth of the 1960s. Displaying frank new attitudes about drugs and sex, communal lifestyles, and innovations in food, fashion, and music, the counterculture youth of America broke profoundly with almost all values their parents held dear.

The sexual revolution was in full swing on American college campuses. Birth control and a rejection of traditional views of sexuality led to a more casual attitude toward sex. Displays of public nudity became commonplace. Living together outside marriage shattered old norms.

In addition to changes in sexual attitudes, many youths experimented with drugs. Marijuana and LSD were used most commonly, but experimentation with mushrooms and pills was common as well. A Harvard professor named Timothy Leary made headlines by openly promoting the use of LSD. There was a price to be paid for these new attitudes. With the new freedom came an upsurge of venereal diseases, bad trips, and drug addictions.

Like the utopian societies of the 1840s, over 2000 rural communes formed during these turbulent times. Completely rejecting the capitalist system, many communes rotated duties, made their own laws, and elected their own leaders. Some were philosophically based, but others were influenced by new religions. Earth-centered religions, astrological beliefs, and Eastern faiths proliferated across American campuses. Some scholars labeled this trend as the Third Great Awakening.

Most communes, however, faced fates similar to their 19th century forebears. A charismatic leader would leave or the funds would become exhausted, and the commune would gradually dissolve.

One lasting change from the countercultural movement was in American diet. Health food stores sold wheat germ, yogurt, and granola, products completely foreign to the 1950s America. Vegetarianism became popular among many youths. Changes in fashion proved more fleeting. Long hair on young men was standard, as were Afros. Women often wore flowers in their hair. Ethnic or peasant clothing was celebrated.. Beads, bellbottom jeans, and tie-dyed shirts became the rage, as each person tried to celebrate his or her own sense of individuality.

The common bond among many youths of the time was music. Centered in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, a new wave of psychedelic rock and roll became the music of choice. Bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Doors created new sounds with electrically enhanced guitars, subversive lyrics, and association with drugs.

Timothy Leary Dr. Timothy Leary — seen here in his later years — encouraged people of the 1960s to “Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out” through the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD.a

Folk music was fused with rock, embodied by the best-known solo artist of the decade, Bob Dylan. When the popular Beatles went psychedelic with their landmark album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, counterculture music became mainstream.

It is important to note that the counterculture was probably no more than ten percent of the American youth population. Contrary to common belief, most young Americans sought careers and lifestyles similar to their parents. Young educated people actually supported the war in Vietnam in greater numbers than older, uneducated Americans. The counterculture was simply so outrageous that the media made their numbers seem larger than in reality. Nevertheless, this lifestyle made an indelible cultural impact on America for decades to come.

What happened to the ideals of the counterculture? Why weren’t they able to sustain their utopian views? In part there views were subsumed by the greater culture. Moreover, it’s one thing to say you want a revolution, quite another to try to affect one.

Bob Dylan to exhibit new artwork at National Portrait Gallery

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Bob Dylan to exhibit new artwork at National Portrait Gallery
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Bob Dylan will exhibit 12 new pastel portraits at the National Portrait   Gallery later this month.

Nina Felix, Bob Dylan Photo: Bob Dylan
A new collection of 12 pastel portraits by Bob   Dylan will be exhibited at the National   Portrait Gallery later this month, it has been announced.

The exhibition, called Bob Dylan: Face Value, represents the latest artwork by   the singer, who has been painting since the late Sixties but who only   started exhibiting his work six years ago. This is the first time Dylan’s   work will have been shown in a British museum.

Unusually for the National Portrait Gallery, the portraits are not of   characters from British public life, but are a combination of real and   fictitious characters, which have been constructed from Dylan’s imagination   and personal memories.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, said: “Bob   Dylan is one of the most influential cultural figures of our time. He has   always created a highly visual world either with his words or music, or in   paints and pastels.

“I am delighted that we can now share these 12 sketches which were made   for display at the National Portrait Gallery.”

Dylan, whose real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman, has previously had his work   exhibited at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany, the Halcyon Gallery in   London and the the Gagosian Gallery in New York.

Though Dylan is respected as an artist, the exhibition is also likely to   attract plenty of interest from music fans, keen to gain an insight into the   mind of a singer who has recorded 46 albums and sold 110 million records   worldwide. He is due to start a tour of the UK in November.

Art   historian John Elderfield described his art as “products of the same   extraordinary, inventive imagination, the same mind and eye, by the same   story-telling artist, for whom showing and telling – the temporal and the   spatial, the verbal and the visual – are not easily separated”.

Skip Sharpe, Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan: Face Value will be in the Contemporary Collection displays,   Room 40, on the Ground Floor Lerner Galleries, National Portrait Gallery,   London, August 24 2013 – 5 January 2014

A new collection of 12 pastel portraits by Bob   Dylan will be exhibited at the National   Portrait Gallery later this month, it has been announced.

The exhibition, called Bob Dylan: Face Value, represents the latest artwork by   the singer, who has been painting since the late Sixties but who only   started exhibiting his work six years ago. This is the first time Dylan’s   work will have been shown in a British museum.

Unusually for the National Portrait Gallery, the portraits are not of   characters from British public life, but are a combination of real and   fictitious characters, which have been constructed from Dylan’s imagination   and personal memories.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, said: “Bob   Dylan is one of the most influential cultural figures of our time. He has   always created a highly visual world either with his words or music, or in   paints and pastels.

“I am delighted that we can now share these 12 sketches which were made   for display at the National Portrait Gallery.”

Dylan, whose real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman, has previously had his work   exhibited at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany, the Halcyon Gallery in   London and the the Gagosian Gallery in New York.

Though Dylan is respected as an artist, the exhibition is also likely to   attract plenty of interest from music fans, keen to gain an insight into the   mind of a singer who has recorded 46 albums and sold 110 million records   worldwide. He is due to start a tour of the UK in November.

Art   historian John Elderfield described his art as “products of the same   extraordinary, inventive imagination, the same mind and eye, by the same   story-telling artist, for whom showing and telling – the temporal and the   spatial, the verbal and the visual – are not easily separated”.

 

 

ImageImageImageImage

 Dylan Paintings Draw Scrutiny
By DAVE ITZKOFF
Bob Dylan in the late 1980s. He has proved elusive when questioned on his sources.Gagosian GalleryBob Dylan in the late 1980s. He has proved elusive when questioned on his sources.
"Trade" by Bob Dylan.Marcus Yam for The New York Times“Trade” by Bob Dylan.
A Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph from 1948.Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum PhotosA Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph from 1948.

The freewheeling artistic style of Bob Dylan, who has drawn on a variety of sources in creating his music and has previously raised questions of attribution in his work, is once again stirring debate — this time over an exhibition of his paintings at the Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side.

When the gallery announced the exhibition, called “The Asia Series,” this month, it said the collection of paintings and other artwork would provide “a visual journal” of Mr. Dylan’s travels “in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea,” with “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape.”

But since the exhibition opened on Sept. 20, some fans and Dylanologists have raised questions about whether some of these paintings are based on Mr. Dylan’s own experiences and observations, or on photographs that are widely available and that he did not take.

A wide-ranging discussion at the Bob Dylan fan Web site Expecting Rain has pointed out similarities between several works in “The Asia Series” and existing or even well-known photographs — for example, between a painting by Mr. Dylan depicting two men and a Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph of two men, one a eunuch who served in the court of the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi.

Bob Dylan's painting "Opium," on view at the Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan.Marcus Yam for The New York TimesBob Dylan’s painting “Opium,” on view at the Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan.
Léon Busy's photo "Woman Smoking Opium," similar to the painting, is part of a debate about Mr. Dylan's work.Musee d’Albert KahnLéon Busy’s photo “Woman Smoking Opium,” similar to the painting, is part of a debate about Mr. Dylan’s work.

Observers have pointed out that a painting by Mr. Dylan called “Opium,” which is used to illustrate a Web page for the “Asia Series” exhibition on the Gagosian site, appears to be closely modeled on a picture by Léon Busy, an early-20th-century photographer.

Separately, Michael Gray, in a post on his blog, Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, points out that a painting by Mr. Dylan depicting three young men playing a sidewalk board game is nearly identical to a photograph taken by Dmitri Kessel.

Mr. Gray, an author who has written extensively about Mr. Dylan’s work and its artistic influences, writes on his blog:

“The most striking thing is that Dylan has not merely used a photograph to inspire a painting: he has taken the photographer’s shot composition and copied it exactly. He hasn’t painted the group from any kind of different angle, or changed what he puts along the top edge, or either side edge, or the bottom edge of the picture. He’s replicated everything as closely as possible. That may be a (very self-enriching) game he’s playing with his followers, but it’s not a very imaginative approach to painting. It may not be plagiarism but it’s surely copying rather a lot.”

Others commenting at Expecting Rain were less concerned, like one using the screen name restless, who wrote: “ ‘quotation’ and ‘borrowing’ are as old as the hills in poetry, traditional songs, and visual art.”

“There’s no need to be an apologist for that,” the post continued. “It’s often a part of making art, that’s all. Good grief, y’all.”

On Monday a press representative for the Gagosian Gallery said in a statement: “While the composition of some of Bob Dylan’s paintings is based on a variety of sources, including archival, historic images, the paintings’ vibrancy and freshness come from the colors and textures found in everyday scenes he observed during his travels.”

The gallery also pointed to an interview with Mr. Dylan in its exhibition catalog, in which he is asked whether he paints from sketches or photographs. He responds:

“I paint mostly from real life. It has to start with that. Real people, real street scenes, behind the curtain scenes, live models, paintings, photographs, staged setups, architecture, grids, graphic design. Whatever it takes to make it work. What I’m trying to bring out in complex scenes, landscapes, or personality clashes, I do it in a lot of different ways. I have the cause and effect in mind from the beginning to the end. But it has to start with something tangible.”

Mr. Dylan has previously proved elusive to critics and observers who have tried to pin him down on source material. In 2006 it was shown that lyrics on Mr. Dylan’s No. 1 album “Modern Times” bore a strong resemblance to the poems of Henry Timrod, who composed verses about the Civil War and died in 1867. Lyrics from a previous album, “Love and Theft,” were similar to passages from the gangster novel “Confessions of a Yakuza,” by the Japanese writer Junichi Saga.

In a 2008 essay for The New Haven Review, Scott Warmuth, a radio disc jockey and music director who has closely studied Mr. Dylan’s work, said that Mr. Dylan’s 2004 memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One,” had adapted many phrases and sentences from works by other writers, including the novelist Jack London, the poet Archibald MacLeish and the author Robert Greene.

Mr. Dylan did not comment on those similarities then, and a representative for him declined to comment on the Gagosian exhibition.

my favorite female folk singer Joan Baez and her relationship with Dylan

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JoanBaezHowSweettheSound

“DIAMONDS AND RUST”

http://youtu.be/GGMHSbcd_qI

Quick Facts
NAME: Joan Baez
OCCUPATION: Children’s Activist, Civil Rights Activist, Environmental Activist, Women’s Rights Activist, Anti-War Activist, Guitarist, Singer
BIRTH DATE: January 09, 1941 (Age: 72)
EDUCATION: Boston University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Staten Island, New York City, New York
Full Name: Joan Chandos Baez
ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn

thD05L3R6KJoan Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter and activist who is best known for her distinctive voice and for her role in popularizing the music of Bob Dylan.
Synopsis
Joan Baez was born in Staten Island, New York, on January 9, 1941. Baez first became known as a folk singer after performing at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She is known for topical songs promoting social justice, civil rights and pacifism. Baez also played a critical role in popularizing Bob Dylan, with whom she performed regularly in the mid-1960s.

“FOREVER YOUNG”

Quotes
“I’ve never had a humble opinion in my life. If you’re going to have one, why bother to be humble about it?”

– Joan Baez

JoanBaezBaezSingsDyl

Early Life

Singer, songwriter and social activist Joan Baez was born on January 9, 1941, in Staten Island, New York. Baez, a singer in the folk tradition, was a crucial part of the genre’s rebirth in the 1960s. She got her first guitar in 1956. Two years after her family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, Baez delved into the city’s burgeoning folk scene. Soon she became a regular performer at a local club.

Commercial Success and Activism

The 1960s were a turbulent time in American history, and Baez often used her music to express her social and political views. Her self-titled first album was released in 1960 and not long after its release she met the then-unknown singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

In the early to mid-1960s, Joan Baez became an established folk artist as well as a voice for social change. She sang “We Shall Overcome” at the March on Washington in 1963 organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to supporting civil rights, Baez also participated in the antiwar movement, calling for an end to the conflict in Vietnam.

Beginning in 1964, she would refuse to pay part of her taxes to protest U.S. military spending for a decade. Baez was also arrested twice in 1967 in Oakland, California, for blocking an armed forces induction center. Near the decade’s end, her autobiography, Daybreak (1968), was released.

Baez continued to be active politically and musically in the 1970s. She helped establish the west coast branch of Amnesty International, a human rights organization, and released numerous albums, including the critically acclaimed Diamonds and Rust (1975). In addition to touring, she also performed at many benefits and fundraisers for social and political causes around the world.

Later Work

Her most recent studio album was 2003’s Dark Chords on a Big Guitar. She followed up with a collection of live tracks in 2005 on Bowery Songs, which featured songs by Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as well as some traditional folk songs.

Personal Life

Once married to David Harris, Joan Baez has a son named Gabriel from that union. She lives in California and continues to speak out for causes that are important to her.

Folk Music

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez: The King and Queen of Folk

A story of the relationship between Joan Baez and Bob Dylan

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“BLOWING IN THE WIND” BOB DYLAN AND JOAN BAEZ

http://youtu.be/Ct7CGNiQuNM

By

Bob Dylan and Joan BaezBob Dylan and Joan Baez

© National Archives/Getty Images

For many, when you utter the words “folk music,” the first two people that come to mind are Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, the biggest stars of the 1960s folk craze. When 19-year-old Bob Dylan arrived in Greenwich Village in January 1961, Joan Baez had long been crowned the “Queen of Folk,” but within two short years, Dylan would ascend the throne as King of this musical monarchy, with the two wowing audiences from coast to coast with their live duets.

Two Talents Collide

In his 2004 autobiography Chronicles: Volume One (compare prices), Dylan wrote that, back in Minnesota, the first time he saw Baez on TV, “I couldn’t stop looking at her, didn’t want to blink. . . . The sight of her made me sigh. All that and then there was the voice. A voice that drove out bad spirits . . . she sang in a voice straight to God. . . . Nothing she did didn’t work.”

Baez, on the other hand, was unfazed by what she heard when she first saw Dylan perform at Gerde’s Folk City in 1961. However, by the time they finally met at Boston’s Club 47 in April 1963, Dylan had evolved into the scene’s most promising singer-songwriter, and Baez was blown away. Several weeks later at the Monterey Folk Festival, she would join Dylan onstage for a duet of “With God on Our Side” (purchase/download), marking the beginning of one of popular music’s most legendary stage partnerships.

Bob Who?

In July 1963, a still-unknown Dylan debuted the Newport Folk Festival, performing two  duets with Baez, one in her set and one in his own. By now smitten, Baez then invited Dylan along on her August tour, where she would bring him out for duets and give him short solo spots to hawk his wares. As she later recalled, “I was getting audiences up to 10,000 at that point, and dragging my little vagabond out onto the stage was a grand experiment… The people who had not heard of Bob were often infuriated, and sometimes even booed him.”

As the Queen of Folk, Baez’s endorsement played a huge role in Dylan’s early rise to success. But once his second album The Freewheelin Bob Dylan caught on, Dylan’s career soared as he stole the fire from his stage mate and lover. Soon the tables would turn, with Baez needing Dylan’s endorsement, which he gave by way of his sleeve notes for her second live album, Joan Baez in Concert Part 2 (compare prices). In his typical verse/commentary, he wrote that the “iron bars an’ rattlin’ wheels’ are real, the nightingale sound of Joan Baez’s voice an alien, smooth opposite… The only beauty’s ugly, man / The crackin’ shakin’ breakin’ sounds’re / The only beauty I understand’’

Later, during his 1965 tour of Europe, with Baez’s career on the slide, Dylan invited her along, promising to reciprocate that early exposure with spots during his shows. After she flew over, though, Dylan never followed through, in the process breaking Baez’s heart and ending their two-year music-fueled romance.

The Rolling Thunder Reunion

Despite Dylan’s snub, in 1968 Baez went on to release the album, Any Day Now: Songs of Bob Dylan (compare prices). And in 1972 she would write a song for Dylan titled “To Bobby” (purchase/download), with lyrics beckoning her former stage mate to get back into the action and help solve the problems of humanity. Then in 1975, Baez called out to Dylan again with her romantic reminiscence, “Diamonds and Rust” (purchase/download), singing the lyrics:

Now you’re telling me You’re not nostalgic Well give me another word for it You who’re so good with words And at keeping things vague.

If it was nostalgia Baez was seeking, she would soon get it after joining his 1975-76 renaissance road show, the Rolling Thunder Revue. As part of the opening set, Baez would do a couple songs, and then Dylan would join her onstage for duets ranging from Merle Travis’s “Dark as a Dungeon” to the traditional song, “The Water is Wide.” On top of her role in the Revue, Baez was also cast as The Woman in White in what would become Dylan’s 1978 four-hour film, Renaldo and Clara, which was shot throughout the 30-show tour across New England and Canada.

The King and Queen’s Last Hurrah

On June 6, 1980, Dylan and Baez would reunite for the one-off “Peace Sunday” concert that took place in Pasadena, California, where they did duets of “With God on Our Side,” Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” For hungry fans, a Dylan/Baez reunion tour had always been a sensational idea, and for some time, Baez had been urging Dylan to do just that. But Dylan wasn’t interested. That is, until 1984 when—most likely to amp up poor ticket sales—he invited her to join an already booked European Dylan/Santana package tour.

To get her on board, tour promoter Bill Graham promised Baez the world, but in the end delivered on nothing. To unsuspecting consumers, throwing Baez into the mix was to insinuate the much dreamed-of Dylan/Baez duet, but those who bought tickets on that basis would be as sadly disillusioned as Baez, who was promised not only top billing with Dylan, but a duet for each show.

With her name tacked onto concert posters as a mere “special guest,” Baez simply became the opening act for the headliners, Dylan and Santana. Livid and feeling used, Baez jumped ship halfway through the tour with Graham begging her to stay. But she’d had enough. “In the end I paid… a monetary forfeit, which I had expected to do,” wrote Baez in her 1988 autobiography, And a Voice to Sing With (compare prices). “But paying money was nothing compared to the battering my ego and spirit had taken for over a month.”

Dylan and Baez Today

Despite their ups and downs over the years, and the vitriol permeating Baez’s autobiography, when reminiscing today, both Dylan and Baez speak fondly of one another. Although very few of their duets have been released, Baez’s three-CD box set Rare, Live & Classic (compare prices) features “Troubled and I Don’t Know Why” from their August 1963 performance at Forest Hills. Previously unreleased duets of “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “With God on Our Side” can be heard on Baez’s 1997 disc, Live at Newport. For the visual experience, duets from all their Newport appearances can be seen in Murray Lerner’s The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival.

ON THE ROAD – JACK KEROUAC

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ROAD

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

By Shubhajit Lahiri on 17 November 2008

“What’s your road, man? — holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”

That’s not the kind of question that an everyday Joe would ask; that’s not an inquiry that would lurk in the mind of a 9-to-5 desk clerk. Hell, that’s not the kind of thought that someone scrubbing for a mere existence in a drab world, living just another static life, in his routine environment, and doing stuff that is decided through rote and careful rationalization, would even dare let his perfectly chiselled mind waver to.

That’s precisely the kind of belief one would be enticed by who adheres to the maxim, “Road is where life is.” And On the Road, for those crazy venture-addicts, is the greatest bible that there ever was. It is a novel that would make the most cocooned of creatures to be hit by the road bug and actually start ‘living’ life.

Written in 1951, by Jack Kerouc – the original King of the Road, was a novel that eulogized the free-spirited life where boundaries, confines and borders cease to exist. And in the process it kick-started Beat Generation – one of the most fascinating American movements where life is equated with jazz (viz. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong et al), hallucinatory drugs, free sex, smoke-filled cars, and above all, life on the road. For them there’s just one answer to the rhetoric question, “Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?”, and that being Heaven.

Though On the Road is considered the greatest book of this movement and Kerouac its unofficial spokesperson – which has been duly acknowledged by the venerated TIME magazine by including the book in its list of Greatest Novels of the 20th Century – Kerouac essentially formed a part of a hallowed trio also comprising of Allen Ginsberg and William H. Burroughs, the co-pioneers of the Beat Movement. And this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles Kerouac’s experiences on the road. Hence they are all there in the novel, with their names altered. However, it is someone called Neal Cassidy, a common friend of the enlightened troika, who formed the basis for the book’s most celebrated character – Dean Moriarty.

Narrated by Salvatore ‘Sal’ Paradise, an Italian-American resident of New Jersey, a writer by profession, and Kerouac’s terrific literary alter-ego, On the Road is a mesmerizing and one-of-its-kind travel-diary of the narrator, and its apotheosis is his unforgettable friendship with Dean, one of the craziest and alive characters one can ever hope to come across. It tells the tales of his journeys back and forth across America. It is a tale of New York, San Francisco, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Mexico City. It is a free-flowing account of ‘nowness’ – a word that defined the willingness to reside in present without a worry for the future or attachment to the past. It is a madcap poetry to the Beat life, where all you need to survive is a car that does its 90 mph, beer cans, an uninterrupted supply of cigarettes, friends with whom you can talk all through the night and into the dawn, a few Benzedrine tablets to give you the kicks, and the singular beauty of hitch-hiking.

The novel is peppered with some of the most atypical characters – Carlo Marx, Chad King, Old Bull Lee, Ed Dunkel, Remi Boncoeur, with each representing the various constituents of the Beatific and the free spirits of the world. But the two protagonists – Sal and Dean, are the ones who really draw the readers out with their contrasting lives and yet their common passion. Where Sal is a home-grown, serious, sensitive, college educated intellectual with a steady income – an otherwise regular guy who one can relate to and be in sync with, Dean is an impulsive, irreverent, wildly unpredictable, rebellious, thoroughly alienated soul with an infectious method to his madness. As Sal so brilliantly states in one of his many explanations of who Dean really is, “He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him.”

On The Road wasn’t just anti-establishmentarian in its outlook, it was also non-conformist in its style and composition. Legend has it that Kerouac wrote it in an uninterrupted and truly inspired Benzedrine-fuelled three weeks’ session on a manual typewriter in his New York City loft, on a long scroll over 100 feet long. The book is devoid of crisp, literary sentences. It is instead based on improvised, absolutely free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness style of writing, where the words form a direct representation of the writer’s unedited and unadulterated thought processes. It was a memorable kick in the belly for the purists and conservatives. In fact Truman Capote once infamously remarked about the prose, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” The book was a glorious tableau of a truly liberated form and style of narration.

The enormous impact of the book is as relevant today as it was groundbreaking then. Its tale of lost souls who dared to be free is timeless. Through its fascinating depictions of friendship, experiences on the road and the longing for ‘It’ – an expression that could signify anything from cigarettes and drugs to frenzy and exhilaration to salvation and bliss, the novel was way ahead of its time in its effortless and spontaneous jab at such bogus parameters like morality and preordained requisites for the so-called good and happy life sans adventure and enlightenment.

Some of the most iconoclastic stalwarts like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Jim Morrison have been enormously influenced by the novel. Dylan once remarked about the book, “It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s.” Lennon ushered a memorable tribute to the Beat legacy by including the word ‘Beat’ in the name of arguably the world’s greatest boy-band The Beatles, through a subtle change in its spelling. The book may also count such outstanding and legendary movies like Easy Rider, Paris Texas, Five Easy Pieces and Stranger than Paradise as part of its famous legacy. Indeed, the novel’s place in popular culture as well as among the pantheon of great literary works has been preserved for posterity.

“Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.” That sort of encapsulates the spirit and the essence of the book. I really feel a huge impulse to say to every bibliophile and lost souls and free people of this world regarding On the Road, “Dig it! Dig it!” And I’m sure, if Dean had been here with in my living room, he would have excitedly affirmed in his inimitable style, “Yass! Yass!”.