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How does it feel to visit the new Bob Dylan Center? In a word: terrific

Jon Bream, Star Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

On this weekend, Mark Davidson was masked and wired. As chief archivist and curator, he's been researching and collecting items ever since Dylan sold his personal archives in 2016 for a reported $20 million to the George Kaiser Family Foundation to establish this center.

"As much as Bob sort of distanced himself from [his early life], it's a thread that shoots through his work," Davidson said. "When I think of the Upper Midwest, I think of people who are not showy, don't mince words and have an ethical sense of what work means. They're diligent and hardworking and dedicated to their craft."

Venerable singer Taj Mahal paused at the exhibit for "Like a Rolling Stone."

"You heard the songs, you saw them in concert, you got to read some stuff in Rolling Stone or Crawdaddy or Spin or Mojo," Mahal told me, "but this stuff is invaluable because it expands what you know about a person."

Immersive experiences

Who's that kid with a Will Rogers hat and Buddy Holly glasses, reading a book by the stairway?

 

Max Nobel, a recent college grad, was helping to promote the center's reading alcove, curated by U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo. She's selected "Moby Dick," "Grapes of Wrath," collections by Allen Ginsberg and James Baldwin, and all kinds of books about Bob, including "Dylanologists," Nobel's choice on this day.

Author Lewis Hyde saw his own book "The Gift" on the shelves. A retired professor and a University of Minnesota graduate, he has a few things to say about that school's most famous dropout.

"Fame is not his friend," Hyde observed. "He is not interested in the history of his career. This is a snapshot of 70 years of hard work."

Or as a quote from Dylan himself declares on a wall: "Life isn't about finding yourself or finding anything. Life is about creating yourself and creating things."

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