Tuesday, August 12, 2008
He's Right Here
If you haven't seen I'm Not There, which is quite good, and even more interesting and discussion-worthy than it is good, the central figure and force of it is Cate Blanchett as the 1965-66 Dylan Gone Electric and beset with restless leg syndrome. As with some of the other material, director Todd Haynes treats the infamous Newport Jazz gig a bit hamfistedly - Cate and her band literally come out and machine-gun the audience - but Cate's performance never wavers. She could have been the whole movie.
The key to her characterization, and to the Dylan of the period, is Nat Hentoff's Playboy interview from January 1966, with Dylan at his fastest and funniest. That interview is online, and comes highly recommended by me (and I plan to use Taco Pronto as a pseudonym as soon as possible), although I make no claims as to the propriety of any possible copyright violation.
Here's Dylan describing that Newport scene:
I was kind of stunned. But I can't put anybody down for coming and booing: after all, they paid to get in. They could have been maybe a little quieter and not so persistent, though. There were a lot of old people there, too; lots of whole families had driven down from Vermont, lots of nurses and their parents, and well, like they just came to hear some relaxing hoedowns, you know, maybe an Indian polka or two. And just when everything's going all right, here I come on, and the whole place turns into a beer factory.
I dunno, Bob; a beer factory sounds kind of fun. Plus, you won't want to miss this exchange:
PLAYBOY: Do you think Lincoln wore his hair long to keep his head warm?
DYLAN: Actually, I think it was for medical reasons, which are none of my business.