I was spellbound for two hours last night watching Martin Scorcese’s Bob Dylan documentary “No Direction Home.”
Maybe it’s because of my age — I was sort of there for the original events — but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. What a thrilling time that was, and how exciting it must have been for young Bob and the others who speak in this film: Dave Van Ronk, Maria Muldaur, Suze Rotolo (she’s on some of the old LP covers), Liam Clancy, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples – more than I can recall. New York City, 1963. The baton is being passed from the Beat Generation to Dylan and his circle. There are a million places to play. Dylan and the others are sponges, soaking up the old guys like Woody Guthrie, and each other, learning new music, new styles, new voices, and actually saying something in their songs. It’s not a concert show, but I was still fascinated and hugely entertained. Catch Part Two tonight (Tuesday, September 27, 2005) on PBS. In Los Angeles it’s on KCET, Channel 28 at 9:00 PM, but I think it’s a national presentation. This is history, folks, but fresh enough to feel contemporary. Most of the original players are still with us.
While I’m at it, I just want to say “Hurray!” to National Public Radio’s coverage of the ongoing hurricane disasters on the U.S. gulf coast. These stories, mostly on the afternoon news show “All Things Considered,” are precious documents. Heart-warming, heart-wrenching, visceral, surprising, maddening, informative, in ways I just don’t see the mainstream media doing. The 79-year-old woman who lived alone, floating inside her one-story home on her Stearns and Foster mattress for eight days before she was rescued (“It must have a lot of wood in it…”). The New Orleans pump station worker caught by NPR’s reporter dozing on the job – because he had not deserted his post for three weeks nonstop. The man who sent his family to safety and doesn’t even know where they are, while he stayed behind to assist whomever he could in his 9th Ward neighborhood. This is why we need public radio and television, my friends. Tune in and see for yourself.
As always, my heart is yours alone. And again, I might owe some of you an apology. Please forgive my transgressions. I am socially inept, and I should know better.