Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 30, 2009

Best New Dylan Magazine

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:27 pm

I think I’ve already done a post on how Gardener is Gone is the best new Dylan blog.. Now the blogger “eruke” and some Brooklyn based Dylanophiles have produced the best new Dylan hard copy magazine, Montague Street (A “Tangled Up in Blue” –and Brooklyn–reference.).

Check it out and read the blog which has some consistently inspired writing on it.
Some of it–did I mention?–about me.



  1. Nothing beats the late John Bauldie and “Wanted Man”. All else is watered down love

    Comment by charlie finch — December 30, 2009 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  2. If you haven’t checked out Bob’s “Must Be Santa” video on YouTube, don’t miss it. His best work since “Hurricane”

    Comment by charlie finch — December 30, 2009 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks Ron, “eruke” is a gem, to be added to yourself and Sean “rightwingbob” Curnyn as must-read Dylan commentators.

    And Charlie Finch, the first time I saw “Must Be Santa” I just about fell off my chair laughing. The whole “Christmas In the Heart” album is pretty cool–listening to Bob’s version of “Christmas Island” made me think about my father hearing that song after serving in the Pacific during World War II. He and my mother held it as a favorite. Talk about bringing it all back home. Gawd, my dad used to rail at Dylan…!

    Happy New Year to all!

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — December 30, 2009 @ 8:25 pm | Reply

  4. Ron, according to A.J. Weberman Montague St. refers to McDougal St.

    Comment by MonkeyShines — December 30, 2009 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  5. you can get a nice view of Bob’s Malibu digs during his commentary on the Joan Baez PBS special (“American Masters”)…Joanie still has the best take on Bob, to wit, he’s full of shit but the shit is made of gold

    Comment by charlie finch — December 31, 2009 @ 4:06 am | Reply

  6. Loved the Baez bits in Scorcese’s Bob doc… I will have to watch the American Masters, but does it confirm that Dylan wanted no part of the Hippie bs Baez was trying hard to sell?

    Comment by bryan — December 31, 2009 @ 9:17 am | Reply

  7. My best wishes to you, Ron, may your book be a BestSeller in the coming year…
    and to
    Charlie Finch, who has cheered the place up no end!
    Happy New Year from the Cold, but Clear, North. And gosh is it cold. And Clear. Very traditional, by the way. Not at all Warmest.

    Comment by heathermc — January 1, 2010 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  8. Thanks, Heather

    Comment by charlie finch — January 2, 2010 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  9. Joan Baez is a person of tremendous integrity and rare humor who, regardless of what you think of her opinions, commands respect. Like A.J. Muste, who was willing to trespass on to nuclear weapons installations and get arrested repeatedly, Baez has put her body and soul on the line in places all over the world as readily as any brave soldier in Afghanistan, for what she believes. A small example of this occurred in 1975, when the lefties such as Cora Weiss, were celebrating the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. Baez vocally condemned the Khmer Rouge, buying an ad in the NY Times, and was denounced by the left. The main condition for discourse in America, one which maximizes our First Amendment freedoms, is the acknowledgment of our fallibilities, changes and contradictions in the life of the mind. Figures as different as Edmund Wilson, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Sidney Hook, Karl Hess, Bayard Rustin, even Eldridge Cleaver (who endorsed Reagan) and Eugene McCarthy (who also endorsed Reagan) have lived their doubts and foibles in public. Joan Baez (and Bob Dylan and Ron Rosenbaum and Christopher Hitchens and Stanley Fish, who just praised Sarah Palin’s bio in the Times) is one of these. To dismiss her as “hippy BS” shows a profound unwillingness to study a person in full and is all too symptomatic of the intolerance manifest in our intellectual culture these days. It msy seem peculiar that I can acknowledge that Noam Chomsky is right in his assertion that the United States has militarized space and that it dominates the world militarily, while at the same time wanting to use that power to destroy Islamofascism and shame Islam into a new reality. I admit that my analysis may be wrong (and it is certainly a minority view), but the incrementalism of this war from the thousand thousand pockets of fascism and murder strung out like skulls across the desert from Qom to Detroit demands it.

    Comment by charlie finch — January 2, 2010 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  10. you are absolutely right Charlie. I wrote without thinking… kind of my knee-jerk to so many artists of that era. However, I should admit that I quite like Baez and find her personality, passion, and (sometimes) music engaging…
    I think that if she was honest (which I’m sure she is) about her feelings during the mid to late sixties she would be equally disappointed in many others in the movement.
    I just love the fact that Dylan really wanted little to do with them. He did not want to be a “message” man. He wanted to write about what he wanted to write about.
    The fact that others that were supposed to be part of the Dylan/Folk family were so dismayed by Dylan’s lack of interest makes me smile. The “artists” wanted lock-step ideas. To fight for one idea. To have ZERO originality of thought. Bob Dylan did not fall into that. Similar to the leftists in the NY Theatre in the ’30s with the WPA. Tow the line and you will get your play produced. Go against us and you will be ostracized.

    Comment by bryan — January 2, 2010 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  11. Though Ron never reads, I would like to point out that I haven’t a clue what he was talking about with Me & Orson Welles. Fine, very fine performance by Christian McKay.. but a “meditaion on genius”? Not even close. The movie is about Zac Efron and a terribly boring and uninspiring story of a kid with no obvious ambitions being thrown into the theatre world. There is no passion. No nothing in his story. It was completely pointless. We do not see what makes Welles tick. We get a small glimpse into his enormous appetites but nothing satisfying… We saw little of how thin he stretched himself, how much he was actually doing, why he was doing it. No meditation at all. Highlight clips in passing is more like it. If Ron is a Welles fan, I can not understand how this is remotely satisfying.
    What truly pisses me off is that Linklater has taken an incredible story and one of the most important moments of American theatre and made it a subplot.
    This story of Welles putting on Ceasar will never be made again. Linklater ruined it. Like Oliver Stone taking on Alexander. Make a pile of sh!t and its ruined for a generation.
    We will never see the young Welles again. at least not for a long time…
    I always wanted to see this story told. It finally is and it gets 20 minutes of a 1:40 movie… Efron can NOT act. maybe he is serviceable. Danes was also terrible.
    Linklater normally gets quality performances. He typically chooses interesting stories. This was just awful. so very very very disappointing.
    The true Wellesian moments in the film and near the end when they showed parts of the Ceasar production were wonderful, but only made me sad/very angry that there was not more.
    The story of Welles at that time is not interesting enough so we need to throw together a “fish out of water” story with Zack F’ing Efron! sucks.

    Comment by bryan — January 2, 2010 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  12. But again I must say again that I do not find Baez to be remotely false in her ideas and her convictions, and I am sure she was pure in her disappointment having misjudged Bob Dylan.

    Comment by Bryan — January 2, 2010 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  13. Thanks Bryan for your always generous response and for giving me a reason not to see the Linklater flick. For Welles, try the Dick Cavett interviews on YouTube for the Welles who combined bombast and modesty, yet was always forthcoming and surprisingly authentic. Welles’ wonderful story about Churchill (to Cavett): after the war, Welles was hustling a Russian backer at Lake Como for 50 grand. At dinner, Churchill strolled by, giving Orson a slight nod of recognition. The next day, Welles was paddling next to Winston in the pool, saying to Churchill, “I cannot thank you enough. That nod got me fifty thousan dollars!” That night at dinner, Welles relates to Cavett, Churchill gets up from his table, walks over to Orson and the Russian and delivers a full bow to the waist!!

    Comment by charlie finch — January 3, 2010 @ 5:28 am | Reply

  14. Reading the blog link Ron cites above, concerning a talk Ron gave last July about his 1977 interview with Dylan and his new book on Dylan and Judaism, I gotta tell ya (thank you, Bob Hope!), that Ron’s hidebound certainties about Dylan run contra to his shifting opinions on just about every thing else. I have tried to get Ron to watch Dylan’s Massey Hall concert 1980, available in its entirety on YouTube and to my mind Dylan’s greatest live performance, and, as Ron states in the link, he still feels betrayed by Dylan’s dalliance with born-againism. As this concert proves, Dylan’s strategy was to immerse himself in the black gospel milieu, partly for carnal reasons, and alot of his testifying was a mimesis of the gospel tent. This gets to another misconception of Rosenbaum’s in the link, that Dylan showed weakness in looking up to what Ron characterizes as his (Dylan’s) inferiors, Allen Ginsberg (!!!!) and the painting guru Norman Raeben. This rather churlish view ignores the whole magpie function of Dylan’s art (very close to my pal David Bowie, to drop a name). I mean Dylan’s whole schtick is to scramble the world and rergurgitate it into rainbows and, for that, he needs material. Ron also evinces a truculent reluctance to absorb Dylan’s post 1997 recordings. In 2008, I gave Ron a prized possession: a pristine, three disc, soundboard quality recording of two Dylan concerts at Wolf Trap in 1997, a master performance, featuring “Absolutely Sweet Marie”, “Cocaine Blues”, “Man in a Long Black Coat”. I’ll bet you that Ron, God bless him, has yet to listen to it.

    Comment by charlie finch — January 3, 2010 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  15. Heads up, folks, this is a good one: I have been haranguing everyone here for awhile with my firm conviction that we have a liberal elite in this country whose sole interest is to protect and preserve their privileges. Today, in “The New York Times”, Maureen Dowd has a column in which she interviews Janet Napolitano and gives her a pass on everything. Napolitano digs herself an even bigger hole by saying that the system is not 100% fail safe, that everyone has a duty to defend themselves and so much other cant. Dowd does not even ask Napolitano about the bomber’s father’s complaint to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria. This whitewashing of Napolitano by Dowd was so extreme that I asked myself “What is it about Napolitano that is so inviolable that the elites must rise up and defend her at all costs, even those of competence and risk to the rest of us?” So I read Napolitano’s bio on Wikipedia. BINGO!!! In 1991 Napolitano was an attorney for Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas crucifixion. Hence, she has been advanced, coddle and promoted by her elitist confreres. Folks, all you have to do is look at thirty seconds of Napolitano on TV to realize that she is an asscovering, PC, whining moron (or why did she preside over all those swine flu press conferences last fall trying to brand swine flu as “a national security issue” when she should have been tightening our defenses!?!). We have truly entered an Orwellian universe in which the Dowd/Napolitanos of the world are going to define the language, the rules, the threat and our very existences out of a uniform contemp for the rest of us. It must be stopped!!

    Comment by charlie finch — January 3, 2010 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  16. Charlie, as you well know, it can’t be stopped. I am young and already remember a much better time. I also had the privilege of going to a Catholic school where I actually got a classic education. Latin, Shakespeare, advanced algebra etc etc all by 7th grade… We did spend time on our religion, but did not waste time on any pc bs multiculturalism. (however I did learn about world religion and to respect others belief systems)
    We learned right and wrong with few gray areas. College was terrible and I can only imagine what my sisters and brother went through at much more elite institutions than my humble little film school.
    The liberal dogma has infiltrated all aspects of media and education from pre-school through grad. there has been a systemic brainwashing of American youth for some time. There is no going back. It will only get worse.
    Is there a more original thinker than one who can go through 13 years of public school, attend Yale, and then Harvard Law or something similar (this is no reference to GWB and his Yale/Harvard MBA) and wind up conservative?
    I know you are not conservative Charlie… but I am glad there are some out there who can recognize the “Orwellian take over” when they see it.

    Comment by bryan — January 3, 2010 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

  17. I had a front row seat at 9/11. God Bless America

    Comment by charlie finch — January 4, 2010 @ 4:53 am | Reply

  18. I may not be conservative, Bryan, but I used to write letters to “The Weekly Standard” a couple of times a year, wondering why they, too bought into the “no WMD” handwringing in Iraq. One time I confronted “Weekly Standard” editor Bill Kristol at the Yale Club, saying, “It is GOOD NEWS that there were no WMD in Iraq”, you should be celebrating it, not issuing mea culpas about Colin Powell’s UN speech. Kristol looked at me like I was nuts. So it is not just the liberals but there conservative enablers who also want to get invited to the right cocktail parties. I was watching the great Rick Brookhiser on CSPAN recently, and he remarked bemusedly that his wife is a “liberal Democrat psychoanalyst”. How civilizesd, that people can actually differ on politics and even love each other. William F. Buckley Jr. (whom I met a few times and disliked intensely) befriended Al Lowenstein, Michael Kinsley, the big phony Ken Galbraith, and, because of Buckley’s salutary efforts, his “Firing Line” interviews, on YouTube, are still riveting. Now, it is as if, along the lines of a Philip K. Dick scenario, the Eastern bloc commies infiltrated the West, after the Berlin Wall fell, and took over the reins of power, raining down their masochistic bureaucratic directives on the rest of us.

    Comment by charlie finch — January 4, 2010 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  19. i certainly agree. Growing up in New Jersey and living in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, NYC and now DC and being an actor means that almost everyone I meet is liberal… I am not friendless. Every one of my friends is moderate Democrat or much further left.
    Though I care deeply about my beliefs, they have never gotten in the way of friendship… family is another thing altogether.
    There are some liberals I respect greatly as there are many conservatives I don’t.
    I don’t think I would have like Buckley the person at all. But I have enjoyed some of his books, respect his thought, and love watching the old “Firing Line”s.
    Was that a “Man in the High Castle” reference? or was it just general Dick?
    My response earlier to you was regarding a pc thugness I think is going to destroy this country because the ideas are so ingrained in our elites that they will never be able to see threats, disregard what is great about America and what our responsibilities are to the rest of the world, and will waterdown society into a collective consciousness.

    Comment by bryan — January 4, 2010 @ 8:00 am | Reply

  20. Charlie, saw the Hurt Locker again this past weekend and admit I was wrong in my original assessment of Jeremy Renner. He was very good and deserves to be recognized.

    Comment by bryan — January 4, 2010 @ 8:12 am | Reply

  21. Yes “Man in a High Castle”, and also thanks for your reassessment of Renner, Bryan. A perfect example of how the elite mindset works is the Green Movement. The elite mindset (and I hesitate to continue to use the word “liberal”; “progressive” is Orwellian, as the elites are really “regressive”) is relativistic in every sense except for the absolute of reifying its own comforts and self-regard (“let them eat Brie!”). Evil does not exist for them, so when evil manifests itself as in the 9/11 attacks, the elites react masochistically by blaming themselves and then maneuvering their guilt onto the rest of us through social control. Thus, the Green Movement (with all its attendant corporate shilling and hypocrisy) was a method for the elites to deny the reality of evil by finding some bogus natural phenomenon to spread the blame on all of us and then slap us with a raft of legal constraints while they continue to fly their Jetstreams and build Al Gore mansions. Because they “deserve” their perquisites this elevates the elites to be philosopher kings over the rest of us. I mean, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were raving about the same stuff thousands of years ago, so it is nothing new. As improbable as it sounds something tells me that there is going to be open revolt in the US, in the event of the crash of the dollar and another terrorist attack. There are alot of unanswered questions about the Nigerian bomber (conveniently wisked away and lawyered up by Obama the Hawaian). No one points out that wide swathes of Nigeria are under sharia law. Witnesse report that an “Indian diplomat” assisted the Nigerian in getting on the plane in Amsterdam. Passengers on the plane swear someone filmed the aborted attack throughout and that the FBI interrogated another suspect in Detroit who was taken off the plane. The next day another Nigerian just happens to lock himself in the bathroom for an hour on the same flight, Amsterdam to Detroit. Was this whole episode some sort of Al Qaeda test run, whose significance was not just the success or failure of the actual bombing, but the preparation of a whole system for further attacks. And is the US government’s public downplaying of the attack a way of doing what it does best, concealing information from the American people? Obama adviser Brennan was all over the chat shows yesterday repeating the Napolitanisms that the “system is not foolproof” as if they are expecting more attacks that they cannot protect us from. When the powerful weaklings meet evil, the rest of us suffer.

    Comment by charlie finch — January 4, 2010 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  22. There is so much exegesis of Dylan that you get a headache instantly, so here is my selection of the best, available online, or in various anthologies, or in the last used bookstore in Hibbing: “Dylan: Behind the Shades” by Clinton Heylin, the best bio by far; “Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions” also by Heylin, the only guide you need to the records (until 1990); Christopher Ricks’ essay on “Caribbean Wind”; “Bob Dylan and Death”, Paul Williams, on how Howard Alk’s suicide affected Dylan; “Like a Bullet of Light” (can’t remember the author), first hand account of Manchester 66; “Wanted Man” ed. John Bauldie, the best Dylan book ever, with chapter reminisces from Clapton, Ron Wood, Ginsberg,et. al., especially Raymond Foye’s account of Dylan and Harry Smith in Ginsberg’s EV pad; Jonathan Cott’s notes to the Biograph set, full of Bob’s evasions; the Hentoff Playboy interview, which became the template for the more celebrated Rosenbaum interview; “The Warfield Theater Performances”, Paul Williams, a you are there account of the Christian tour; Ratso Slomen’s book on Rolling Thunder Revue. If you dip into this stuff, you can avoid the blogs, zines, etc and get back to the tracks!!

    Comment by charlie finch — January 5, 2010 @ 6:55 am | Reply

  23. Charlie Finch:

    Re: 22) You’re thinking of “Like the Night,” by C.P. Lee–that’s his book on Manchester ’66. Great book.

    “Like A Bullet of Light” is Lee’s book on Dylan’s films.

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — January 5, 2010 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  24. Thank you, Fred, I have both books and just got lazy and should have, of course, credited C.P. Lee. Much appreciated

    Comment by charlie finch — January 5, 2010 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

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