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

Jon Bream, Star Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

Hyde curated an exhibit on creativity that showcases vintage photos by Jerry Schatzberg, including powerful portraits of Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones in drag and, of course, Dylan. Schatzberg shot the cover of "Blonde on Blonde," Dylan's revered 1966 double album.

Rock Hall of Famer Elvis Costello, who performed as part of the opening festivities, programmed an interactive jukebox featuring 162 songs by Dylan, his influences and interpreters. Chatting with a handful of music journalists, Costello said he once discussed songwriting with Dylan at a party in the Minneapolis loft of video maker Chuck Statler, circa 1982.

Costello told Dylan he was concerned about fame preventing him from fading into the background to observe people — a necessity in songwriting. "I was naïve enough to ask that," he recounted. "It was nice that he took the time. I don't remember what he said, but it was so weird because everybody in the room was getting quieter and quieter and trying to listen, and then everything stopped and Bob said, 'I gotta go.'"

Another visitor to the center, Minnesota singer-songwriter and Dylan pal Gene LaFond, recalls that party, too: "Bob must have stayed for two hours talking to Elvis. Two of his kids were with him and they knew to hide under a table."

There is plenty of stuff for kids at The Bob. They might dig the interactive devices that play music and interviews, and a remarkable digital display that flips through drafts of "Tangled Up in Blue."

In a re-creation of a recording studio, visitors can listen to Dylan talking to his producers and musicians during sessions. You can hear multiple approaches to the song "Mississippi" and play engineer, adjusting the volume for vocals and various instruments.

All this and more for $12 ($10 for students and people 55 and older; free for 17 and younger) — a modest fee for a museum.

A few quibbles: The first-floor history timeline is too heavy on enlarged reproductions instead of original artifacts. A mere three explanatory kiosks for 92 uncaptioned displays on the second-floor archive wall are not practical; a printed list should be provided. More seats for tired museum legs would be welcome, too.


Two Bob-goers who had no complaints were Barry Duffy and Lauren Sheffer, opening-day visitors in T-shirts proclaiming their Gopher State roots.

"I loved the interactiveness of the whole center," said Duffy, now retired to Florida. "And I love how Dylan was never satisfied. He was always striving."

"Always creating," Sheffer interjected.

"We just scratched the surface in two hours," he said.

"We're definitely going to come back," she said.

Me, too.


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