You Walk into the Room With a Pencil in Your Hand…
Well, here we are folks. We’ve somehow made it to the end of the veritable whirlwind that has been 2016. This cruel mistress did the entertainment world few if any favors not to mention how she treated the rest of the world at large, but I digress… However, that old clock keeps turning and we all sully forth. But somehow, I find myself ending the second year of JMLC coming full circle to where I started it… with the inimitable Bob Dylan.
As many of you are aware, the Minnesota-born musical icon is still making headlines and breaking barriers even today, certainly after being added to a list of names with such auspicious company as William Butler Yates, George Bernard Shaw, T.S. Eliot, and William Faulkner when he was named the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first songwriter ever to receive the honor. Further ink was generated when the ever elusive and private Dylan all but seemed to ignore the announcement initially and eventually released that he would not be attending the awards ceremony in Stockholm.
Needless to say, this drew some rough opinions of the 75-year-old Dylan, including a bit of ire from members of the Nobel Committee itself. This also came after many critics frowned upon the nod, saying that “he didn’t belong,” essentially. And while many others rallied behind the choice (Steven King, one of the most vocal supporters) Dylan himself sounds like he would be more inclined to agree with the dissenters. Speaking to The Telegraph in October, Dylan said “It’s hard to believe. Whoever dreams of something like that?” and he furthered that sentiment greatly in his Nobel Banquet address that was presented by U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji in his absence.
“I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn’t have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken, not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?”.
But like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years.
Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?”
So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.”
To add to the oddness of it all, Dylan also sent along early New York scene contemporary Patti Smith (of “Because the Night” fame) to accept the award on his behalf and to perform the Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” However, the early punk rock queen actually forgot a lyric of the famous tune, prompting her to stop and apologize to the audience saying that she was “so nervous” before taking the song back and finishing out the performance.. Just one more little quirky little hiccup in this altogether unusual tale.
And, there’s more still to be written. Just today, Dylan announced three new Swedish dates on his upcoming European tour and that leads many to believe that he may be getting a bit more public on the issue. Every Nobel laureate is supposed to give a lecture on their field of expertise in Sweden within six months of receiving the award. Now, that would seem odd, with as stand-offish as he’s been, but it would be the requirement for him to receive the $870,000 cash prize that comes with the award, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether he takes advantage of the opportunity while he is over there this coming April.
Knock, Knock Knocking on Heaven’s Door…
I can only say that this seems a fitting end 2016 for me. So many great losses and so much dreary news couldn’t be punctuated by something as epic as Bob Dylan winning a Nobel Prize without weirding it all up a bit. But I’ll admit, I’d rather go out on weird good note than another bad one.
Another Prince. Another Leonard Cohen. Another Glen Frey. Another Paul Kanter. Another David Bowie… No sir. We’ve had quite enough of those to fill many years’ worth of “In Memoriams” in these dastardly last 12 months now. And while 2017 will no doubt have its own perils and pitfalls, for my sake and the for the sake of us all, I do hope the brighter days outnumber the darker ones this go round and give us all something to smile and sing about.. something worth writing a song about, maybe. You never know. I hear those things can win you the Nobel Prize, these days.
Something Is Happening Here…
Of course, you can’t welcome the New Year without properly seeing the old one off, so that means it’s time for some New Year’s Eve celebrations! Good ol’ Chuck Vegas has a number of different hip and happening “So Long ’16” events going, on so depending on your speed and rhythm, there sure to be something out there for you! Such as….
The Void: Year One
This unusual little gathering caught my attention and is something that only seems to fit the odd and unusual vibes of this outgoing year. Year One is an all-night camping, art and music experience happening somewhere here in the Lake Area. That’s right–somewhere. The location is secret and password protected and is limited to 200 attendees. Seems safe to say that at least some of the entertainment will be courtesy of The Iceman Special (as they are the ones that created the Facebook event) but I see a few other names I recognize attending, so you never know. But if this “chance to be surrounded by likeminded individuals seeking new change via “positive, creative and artistic influence” and some early winter camping sound like your cup of tea search “The Void: Year One” on Facebook to find the event page.
JD’s New Years Eve Party with DJ Paws teh Cat – Jack Daniels
L’Auberge’s Jack Daniels is ready to turn it up this New Year’s with their annual NYE party, this year featuring beats from Paws teh Cat. This one always fills up fast, but the party starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $25.
New Year’s Eve With Frankie Moreno – Blue Martini
The Nugget’s hot nightspot is bringing Las Vegas to the Lake City with two- time “Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year” Frankie Moreno on NYE. This child prodigy pianist and Star Search winner has had lengthy residences in Sin City and has toured the world and sold out such famed venues as Carnegie Hall with his all original “Sinatra-styled” show. Admission is $55 and the party kicks off at 8 p.m.
And for any of you not left completely ruined from the previous night’s activities…
January 1, 2017 – The Temptations and The Four Tops – Golden Nugget
Start the year off right with not one, but TWO acts that were easily among the cornerstones of the Motown sound: The Temptations and The Four Tops! This dynamic soul duo will be taking you back with countless classics like “My Girl,” “I’ll Be There,” “Can’t Help Myself,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and sooo many more! Tickets start at $45 and are available at ticketmaster.com
Any Day Now, I Shall Be Released…
Well, I guess that about wraps it up, folks–both 2016 and the second year of JMLC! A heartfelt thanks to all of you who keep up with us here and I am very much looking forward to bringing you all of my various and sundry artistic musings again in 2017.
Until then, I’m wishing you all a Happy Holidays and a safe and Happy New Year’s! I’ll be looking forward to seeing you at the show!!!