Simple Twist of Fate

The incomparable Ralph Ellison published an article for Esquire in 1959 called “The Golden Age, Time Past.” Eulogizing Minton’s Playhouse, the small performance space from which bebop would emerge and change music history forever, this was a major piece by Ellison, capturing a significant moment in African American culture. Ellison started the piece with linesContinue reading “Simple Twist of Fate”

Series of Dreams

In 2001, the director Richard Linklater released a film called Waking Life, which centers on one man’s experiences as he interacts with a variety of different characters who share observations, memories, and theories with him. These scenes are interrupted by the protagonist waking up and realizing that some of the exchanges he is having withContinue reading “Series of Dreams”

Patty’s Gone to Laredo

Because of Bob Dylan’s prolific songwriting talents, one of the biggest draws for Dylan obsessives is that there are always songs to be discovered. Like Coronado seeking the lost cities of gold, the completists are always on the search for an undiscovered Dylan song. With the ongoing success of Dylan’s Bootleg Series and the regularContinue reading “Patty’s Gone to Laredo”

Romance in Durango

The film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum set the parameters for Acid Westerns as a film genre in his review of Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 film Dead Man. Rosenbaum writes in this seminal piece that Acid Westerns “confound much of our mythology about the western — reversing some of its philosophical presuppositions by associating a westward journey withContinue reading “Romance in Durango”

Isis

The idea of the film genre “Acid Western” was created by the film critic Pauline Kael in her 1971 review of the film El Topo in The New Yorker. She wrote: “The avant-garde devices that once fascinated a small bohemian group because they seemed a direct pipeline to the occult and ‘the marvelous’ now reachContinue reading “Isis”

If You See Her, Say Hello

Since the release of Blood on the Tracks in 1975, it has been one of Dylan’s most acclaimed and loved albums. Detailing the ins and outs of a relationship, many critics and fans thought that  Dylan was embracing the California confessional singer/songwriter style and musical approach, exhibited most beautifully and successfully on Joni Mitchell’s 1971Continue reading “If You See Her, Say Hello”

Brownsville Girl

When I first started listening to Dylan, the received wisdom was to ignore his mid-80s music and to focus on the major works in the 60s and 70s. The consensus was that by the mid-80s, he had lost his fastball. Albums such as Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded, Down in the Groove – the periodContinue reading “Brownsville Girl”