Thursday, May 7, 2009

who inspired Bob Dylan?

Last fall at KAXE we had the great great fortune to host the StoryCorps project in Grand Rapids. We not only got the chance to meet different people in our community, see the effects of listening to loved ones and watch the StoryCorps crew in action, but we also got the chance to show them what Northern Minnesota is all about. Sometimes it takes showing people where you live to really get how unique it is. I'm grateful to StoryCorps for their visit that reminded me why I live here.

Alex Kelly, one of the StoryCorps faciliatators and I went to Hibbing one day. We saw the Greyhound bus museum, the Hull-Rust mine pit and we did a "Dylan" tour.

Luckily, I have my connections (thank you Aaron Brown) and he was able to spice up our Dylan tour. We journeyed to the home of B.J. Rolfzen, Bob Zimmerman's high school English teacher. Over the years many historians, documentarians and fans have contacted Mr. Rolfzen because Dylan has cited him as a great influence on his writing. On Realgoodwords you can overhear our conversation with B.J. here.

For the past five years Hibbing has held "Dylan Days" as a celebration of the influence of the Iron Range on Bob Dylan's career. Held around his birthday, every year there's the hopes that Bob Dylan may actually show up to some of the events. This year is a high school reunion that may attract him. Who knows? Stranger things have happened, like Doug MacRostie getting ahold of Dylan's cell phone number and leaving him messages.

Sometimes I wonder why towns celebrate their giant balls of twine or their local legends - either people who left town at a young age or never really want to admit where they came from. But lately I get it. It's how we show our pride and it's an excuse to get together and build community. It's not necessarily about Judy Garland or Bob Dylan. It's about celebrating this place where we live...

From the Dylan Days website:
The following excerpt from the May edition of Rolling Stone's Douglas Brinkley interview with Dylan explains why we organize Dylan Days:

“I ask Dylan if he minds people visiting Hibbing or Duluth or Minneapolis searching for the root of his talent. ‘Not at all,’ he surprisingly says. ‘That town where I grew up hasn’t really changed that much, so whatever was in the air before is probably still there. I go through once in a while coming down from Canada. I’ll stop there and wander around.’"

Dylan Days is May 21st - 24th check here for the complete schedule.

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