Hold It All

Category: Music

Bob Dylan Approximately: Summer 2019 Course

“That’s all we did in those days. Writing in the back seat of cars and writing songs on street corners or on porch swings, seeking out the explosive areas of life.”
—Bob Dylan, 1977

“I wrote ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ in 10 minutes, just put the words to an old spiritual.”
—Bob Dylan, 2004

“Elusive, oblique, mercurial, and always in motion, he has resisted in both his life and his work being categorized, encapsulated, finalized, conventionalized, canonized, and deified.”
—Jonathan Cott, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews

This summer I invite you to join me in exploring the works and worlds of Bob Dylan, 2016 Nobel Laureate in Literature. One critic said that Dylan “brought the linguistic beauty of Shakespeare, Byron, and Dylan Thomas, and the expansiveness and beat experimentation of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Ferlinghetti, to the folk poetry of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams.” His influence has been planetary. (One of my favorite Dylan covers is the Magokoro Brothers’ “My Back Pages,” featured in the film, Masked and Anonymous.)

In our time together we will be listening, reading, listing, sharing, interviewing, memorizing, researching, and writing, as we sample a tiny fraction of of Dylan’s work over almost sixty years. Themes we may explore include dreams, aggression, lineage, social injustice, camaraderie, spirituality, impermanence, performance, masks, multitudes, mystery, writing, influence, heartbreak.

We will meet on eight Monday nights, starting June 24 and going until August 12. We will gather at 6:30 p.m., and wrap up by 8:15.

We gather together in the lovely home of Marty and Jerry King at 830 Demun (third floor) in Clayton (63105).

You’ll need the following—
A device with which you can listen to music
A notebook of some kind for writing
A book of your choosing by or about Bob Dylan. I recommend his Chronicles, v. 1 or Cott’s collection of interviews. Pick something you’d enjoy dipping in and out of, and sharing your reflections throughout the course.

His lyrics are available online.

Tuition: $175, payable to me by check or Paypal. Online: $125, if anyone is outside of Saint Louis, and wants to connect with this [somehow], email or message me.

If interested in joining us, let me know by June 17 to markjchmiel@gmail.com.

“Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing”

Mark

Literature has become, for me and many others, a crucial way to fill ourselves with the blessing of more life.
–Harold Bloom, Possessed by Memory (2019)

 

 

Share the Wealth with Lorraine Glass-Harris: Exploring the Un-Conducted Life–Life after the St. Louis Symphony

Lorraine Glass-Harris retired her 43-year-long career with the St. Louis Symphony in 2015. From early childhood, following the family’s dream of a generation of professional musicians, she studied the violin and contemplated the role of music in our society, as she played concerts, traveled the world with the orchestra, and performed with the great conductors and soloists of our times.

Now on the other side of this performing career, she explores her life on its own terms, at her own tempo, to her own script. She shares what it means to go slow, grab the joy, find one’s own pace, create the future from within, some Lessons from the Stage, from Paying Attention, from Living Horizontal.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week

What I’m Reading This Week
Raul Hilberg, The Politics of Memory: The Journey of a Holocaust Historian
Aharon Shabtai, War & Love, Love & War: New and Selected Poems
Nathan A. Scott, Mirrors of Man in Existentialism
Pierre Hadot, N’oubile pas de vivre: Goethe et la tradition des exercices spirituels

What I’m Listening To
Talking Heads, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II
Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Mahler, Symphony #8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”)

The River Boat Captain, He Knows My Fate

My mother was chagrined when I went from listening to the Beatles at age 13 to Bob Dylan at 14. “At least the Beatles can sing; how can your ears stand that?”

Neither she nor I could have conceived that four decades later Bob Dylan would be a Nobel laureate of literature.

Some of his songs that have put me in a trance over the years: Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, Brownsville Girl, Series of Dreams, Highlands, Like a Rolling Stone, Not Dark Yet, Absolutely Sweet Marie, Thunder on the Mountain, Blind Willie McTell, When the Levee Breaks. And the Japanese cover of My Back Pages by the Magokoro Brothers. Oh, and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.

I recently went back to Jonathan Cott’s collection of Essential Interviews with Dylan over the years. (I must have given that book as a graduation present to two or three SLU students. For some reason, “Girl from the North Country” comes to my mind.) What follows—first, what some of the interviewers said about Dylan; second, some classic Dylan musings; third, a list of singers he cites, worth getting (re)acquainted with.

__________________

Elusive, oblique, mercurial, and always in motion, he has resisted in both his life and his work being categorized, encapsulated, finalized, conventionalized, canonized, and deified. Xii

He has a superb ear for speech rhythms, a generally astute sense of selective detail, and a natural storyteller’s command of narrative pacing. 22

He has more presence that anyone I’ve ever met. 340

He brought the linguistic beauty of Shakespeare, Byron, and Dylan Thomas, and the expansiveness and beat experimentation of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Ferlinghetti, to the folk poetry of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams. 368

During a recording career that now spans 35 years, Dylan has been a cornucopia of inconsistency. Visionary and crank, innovator and conservator, irritant and stimulant, skeptic and proselytizer, rebel and sellout, pathfinder and lost patrol: Dylan has been all of those things, and many more. 392 Read the rest of this entry »

“I Want to Write a Song Like Dylan…”*

November 1987 I attended the world premiere of Louisville band Led Pelvis in Lexington, Kentucky.

Led pelvis

*from “Country Metal”

The Beatitude of Playing Bach

Arnold Steinhardt, Violin Dreams, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006

Like the hundreds of other people who had gathered at Saint Pius V Church for Dan Horkheimer’s funeral last August, I was moving between despair and disbelief in trying to assimilate the fact of his murder.  As I walked into the church, I saw at a distance a familiar face—Cece Weinkauff, who was playing violin before the Mass.  Eleven and a half years earlier when she was 14, Cece played Massenet’s Meditation at Mev’s funeral in Saint Francis Xavier College Church.

A few weeks later, she and I visited at Kayak’s on Skinker.  She enthusiastically recommended Arnold Steinhardt, Violin Dreams, which I promptly ordered and read. It’s a captivating memoir detailing his quest for the perfect violin, his journey to becoming  a world-class violinist, and his routines and rituals, such as carrying photos of the greats in his violin case to remind him of the nobility of his calling (like Heifetz). There’s so much in the book he doesn’t address, as it evidently isn’t relevant to his dream life, his real life, that is, his immersion in violins, their power, pedigrees, “personalities,” and magic. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good News of Bach, 3.14.2017

Listening to the Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043, performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter and Salvatore Accord (English Chamber Orchestra).

 

Start to listen here at 20:02 m.

From Cheryl Sullivan in Santiago, Chile

la tumba de Víctor Jara
que alma más apasionada
que letra más bella

The tomb of Víctor Jara
What a passionate soul
What a beautiful letter

victor-jara-tomb

War Isn’t Over

Dear Laura

Last night I was reading Frances Fitzgerald’s Fire in the Lake:
The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

This afternoon I listened to a playlist I made
Of songs from the Vietnam War era

(Or, as the Vietnamese call it
The American War)

One of the songs I first heard in 1975
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Read the rest of this entry »

Band name ideas 

You could make a fortune.

Maybe Curiosity Saved the Cat

I feel like I have a wealth of strange and unique band names inside of my brain. So I am going to share some.

  • Day Old Sangria
  • Poor Man’s Bruchetta
  • Parked at a Walmart

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