Monday, August 1, 2022

Three Days at the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa


In March 2017 I reported in this journal that the Bob Dylan Archive opened at the University of Tulsa.  I got this information from an article in Rolling Stone stating that select items from the collection will eventually be exhibited at the Bob Dylan Center, the primary public venue for the archive.  The Bob Dylan Center opened to the public in May 2022.  Of course, I had to go.

Lee is standing in front of the entrance

Since I became a member of the Center, I was able to get in for free.  I gave them a donation of $100. All visitors are given an iPod used to listen to recordings and see videos and recordings throughout the center. You enter through the gift shop and then into a corridor where there is a big picture of Bob and Suze Rotolo.

There is a large room where there are continuous videos of Dylan in different stages of his 60-year career.  There are some interviews of him taken from the documentary No Direction Home.  From there, visitors enter a large room.  Artifacts from Dylan's career are arranged in chronological order on the wall.  In the middle of the floor, there are kiosks devoted to several songs including:
  • Like a Rolling Stone
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • Chimes of Freedom 
  • Jokerman
  • The Man in Me
Each kiosk describes the song in detail and shows typewritten lyrics with handwritten revisions.  Visitors can also hear alternative versions.
Lee is Standing at the Kiosk for
Tangled Up in Blue, his favorite Dylan Song

Elvis Costello provided a jukebox where he chose Dylan songs, covers of Dylan songs, and other recordings he thought would be of interest to visitors.  In the corner, visitors can view how recording sessions for 5 songs progressed.

Above is my favorite photo from the first floor.  This may be an outtake from the documentary Don't Look Back as Dylan brought a typewriter to a gathering.

Now up to the second floor where there is a long wall with 92 items that include Christmas cards from the individual Beatles and a sack of fan letters that were sent to Dylan in 1966-67.

There was also an exhibit titled Jerry Schatzberg: 25th & Park.  This exhibition of photographs and related materials provides a look inside the studio at 333 Park Avenue South, a nexus of New York art and society where Jerry Schatzberg created some of his most extraordinary images and influenced the trajectories of photography, pop music, fashion, cinema, theater and literature during the turbulent, culturally rich 1960s.  Schatzberg also took photos that appeared on the Blonde on Blonde album cover.

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