Sunday, October 23, 2011
Dylan Symposium at UPenn
In celebration of Dylan's 70th birthday, PennSound presents a Dylan symposium by some self-proclaimed Dylanologists. I was a bit surprised Jonathan Cott wasn't included, as I would name him one of the top Dylanologists of our day. If you're a huge fan, this is probably both fascinating and horrifying. And the video is both, as poets and fans try to pin down the elusive aesthetic of a legend as well as present some examinations of an occasionally off-Dylan in the 80s. It concludes with a sing-along of "I Will be Released," which is both endearing and a bit hard to watch. What the participants don't lack is enthusiasm and, in some cases, bold insights into the language of Dylan. The irony, of course, is trying to package, in the university, talks on such a character. These discussions and talks, as well as these sing-a- longs in all their vulnerable glory, should happen in smoky bars and at late night parties when everyone is feeling quite mellow. So, the medium is a bit forced and a bit awkward, but the intention is true. And for any Dylan fan, the enjoyment is real. At about 90 minutes, this video is certainly worth a watch if Dylan lyrics have been spinning through your head most of your life.
Dave and I saw Dylan here in New Orleans right after he turned 70, and the concert he gave was the liveliest I've ever seen him. So, enjoy PennSound's Dylan Symposium: