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September 28, 2005

No direction home

• First things first, once again our hopes of a special session are being dashed. And what really surprises me about this is the fact that it isn't just the Twins the legislature is screwing over, it is the Gophers. The Gophers recently released new figures that indicated that due to the delay of stadium construction, it already costs $13 million more. I can't imagine what this delay does to the Twins stadium costs.

Yesterday Pawlenty passed around a special session questionnaire of sorts which asked legislators in the House and Senate which issues they would be willing to vote on, including all three stadium requests (Twins, Vikings, Gophers). In addition, he gave legislators three different scenarios for a Twins stadium specifically:

The three Twins stadium proposals are the Hennepin County proposal for a downtown Minneapolis ballpark paid for in large part by a new county sales tax; the same plan with a guarantee that Hennepin County voters could decide whether to impose the tax; and an alternative that would allow any other community to schedule a referendum and try to raise taxes for a ballpark if legislators rejected the Hennepin plan.

Hmmm ... I wonder which scenario will be the one everyone can agree on.

Based on T-Paw's recent move, both Matt Entenza and Dean Johnson (it seems) are not very optimistic that a special session will be called. I will have to say I agree with them. This is especially true considering that Pawlenty wants the session to end in 2 days. That is a tall order and everyone knows it.

Hopefully Pawlenty will reveal the results of the questionnaire, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, I think you can stick a fork in the chances for a special session, and, of course, any resolution or leadership concerning stadiums in this fine state.

But what else is new?

• But that isn't actually what I wanted to talk about today. Over the past two nights I have been watching the PBS documentary "No Direction Home" about Bob Dylan, and I must say it has been wonderful. I've never really been the biggest Bob Dylan fan, but his impact on rock and folk music is undeniable. The documentary covered his childhood, his move to New York, his song-writing and creative explosion, his switch to electric, and his motorcycle accident in 1966. It was absolutely riveting.

Througout the show I was struck with what a genius this man was/is, and how subtle his message was. Dylan abhorred labels, or people trying to categorize him, and as a result his songs are truly timeless. His lyrics are beautiful, and haunting, and they are as true and appropriate today as they were in the 60s. Seriously, if you want to be absolutely blown away, if you are in the mood for overwhelming poignancy or stunning simplicity, take a listen to The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, his second album. "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall" ... absolutely beautiful.

I was struck by one of the comments of an interviewer in the show who said that God didn't speak through Dylan as much as he kicked Dylan in the ass. Dylan had no choice but to heave up his amazing output of material. It flowed out of him almost effortlessly, as if he had no say in the matter. The interviewer went on to say that just looking at him you could see the Holy Spirit surrounding him. Amazing to think about.

I was also struck with Dylan's relationship with his audience. Dylan seemed to care about his audience in the beginning, but as he became more and more popular it was almost like he purposefully tried to alienate himself from the people who cared about him the most. Again, his audience tried to box him into the label of a "protest" singer, and Dylan rebelled. They tried to make him into only a "folk" singer with only the permission to play an accoustic guitar. Obviously, Dylan would have none of that. In a way, it seems Dylan went out of his way to confuse and tick off his audience. Or did he? Again, he wrote the music he wanted to write. If you like it great, but if not then don't listen.

Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this, so I'll just stop for now. If anyone else watched this documentary please by all means let me know what you thought of it. I was blown away.

See you all later...

Posted by snackeru at September 28, 2005 8:36 AM | Stadiums


I agree the Dylan documentary was absolutely fascinating. I wished they had spent a little more time on his time at the U/Dinkytown, however. Chronicles Vol 1. has some great stuff in there about that time.

What thrilled me the most about the Doc was the concert footage. As a big fan who was too young to experience the "pre-motorcycle accident Dylan" that stuff was thrilling for me.

If you liked the PBS doc you should track down the movie "Don't Look Back" -- there were snippets of it in last nights episode and it's a lot of fun to watch. The commentary track is great too. Besides Chronicles, Vol.1, an excellent book you should check is "Positively 4th Street" by David Hadju. There's a lot of stuff about the same time period covered in the PBS doc and also focuses on Dylan's relationship with Joan Baez (who, btw, was a babe in the early 60's!)

Posted by: Anonymous at September 28, 2005 9:55 AM

Thanks for the comment anonymous commenter! I, too, loved the concert footage. Dylan sang effortlessly, and I was surprised with how well he could remember some of his own complex lyrics.

I'm going to have to check out Chronicles Vol. 1. I've heard too many good things about it.

Posted by: Shane at September 28, 2005 10:59 AM

Oops that first comment came from me. I guess I was so upset at the stadium bill chances that I forgot to fill out my name.

Posted by: freealonzo at September 28, 2005 12:16 PM

Is "No Direction Home" the Dylan doc directed by Scorsese?

Posted by: bjhess at September 28, 2005 1:08 PM

Yes, Scorsese directed "No Direction Home." In fact, after last night's show they had a nice interview with him about making the documentary.

Posted by: Shane at September 28, 2005 1:35 PM

I've seen only Part 1 so far. All the performance footage is a treasure, but I was particularly taken by the 1966 Manchester film. It's interesting to see him as he takes the abuse from the hecklers, until he finally responds in song--by delivering a loud, biting performance of "Ballad of a Thin Man" ("Something's happening and you just don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?") And it was great to see some of the kids arguing afterwards (A couple complain that they didn't come to see a pop band; another young guy replies, 'There aren't many pop bands like that one.') Also Dylan backstage worried about a threat to shoot him, and in the limo afterwards wondering why they complain and yet snap up all the tickets....

Posted by: frightwig at September 29, 2005 3:51 AM

EDIT: by "Manchester film," I meant "Newcastle." But I had the Manchester bootleg recording in mind as I was typing. You can hear some heckling on the Manchester bootleg, but to see footage of it in yet another town, with subtitles to make the heckling all the more clear, really packs a full punch.

Posted by: frightwig at September 29, 2005 3:56 AM

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