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A Very Dylan Christmas:#3

Posted December 13th, 2011
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If this blog has a yearly tradition it is my ongoing efforts at photographing Bob Dylan’s Christmas Decorations. Not everyone thinks of Bob Dylan as a Christmassy sort of guy. I know I didn’t. But I do now.

It started because I like to inspect the neighborhood Christmas decorations every year and Mr. Dylan has a house in my neighborhood.  I grew up worshipping Mr. Dylan. Not too many artists had more impact on my development than he did. And now I believe the same holds true for his Christmas decorating style. Let us examine his approach. There is much to learn.

Of all the outdoor decorating styles on display in my neighborhood, year after year Mr. Dylan’s is  the most low key. It appears casual to the point of almost seeming unplanned. At first glance it may look thrown together without much forethought. Yet when we examine his efforts in years past,his astonishing consistency reveals the stylings of a very specific Christmas artist at work.

First: a brief trip down memory lane.

Here is Mr. Dylan’s decor in 2009.

Here is Mr. Dylan’s Christmas offering in 2010.

And now behold, The Dylan Christmas of 2011:

This year we see a variation on last year’s theme as he repeats his signature lack of formality. He has again hung the lights in what can now be referred to as a prototypical Dylanesque style.There is resistence to symmetry, the avoidance of an obvious pattern or design.  In the detail below we see the return of a classic Dylan touch: the low hanging loop, which some call ‘Dylan’s Necktie’. Others prefer to call it ‘The Crutch’.

Also this year the lights are higher up on the bushes than  in previous years, perhaps indicating  a more spiritual intention. Then again, they may be providing a comment about  the hopes of the common man in an economic downturn.

As with all of Dylan’s best work, ultimately we are left with more questions than answers.

Yet tears well up and there is a quiet joy. Or something.

Happy Holidays everyone. From me. And from Bob.

PS: No matter what the copy on the page reads, my new book is in stock again now. They just restocked them. Buy one, won’t you?


Barnes and Noble


A very Bob Dylan Christmas from me to you.

Posted December 12th, 2009
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Bob Dylan's Christmas Lights Bob Dylan has a new Christmas album out. Here is a link. Click on this:(  I’ll Be Home for Christmas) and let’s listen to him sing “I’ll be Home for Christmas” together as I tell you the heartwarming story of what Bob’s version of the song means to me.

Lets begin with Exhibit A…the photo above which I also use as my blog header. I’m that fond of it.

But first a little back story: I live in lovely Malibu by the sea; fabled in story and song.  I have a nice, kind of modest A framey home, but my neighborhood  also contains some private residences that look like The Pitti Palace .  And when the holidays roll around, some of the inhabitants of these homes spare no expense in terms of their decorating. They hire professional crews to  transform their grounds so that you  might easily confuse any of them  with the courtyard at The Helmsley plaza  or The Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  Their tree trunks and branches are evenly wrapped with mini lights. There are multitudes of inflatable  and electronic figures.

Down at the end of one of these streets , two years ago, I took the above picture of the Christmas lights out in front of the Bob Dylan residence. They were so casually tossed on to a vine out in front of the fence, almost at street level, that they made me laugh. As someone who grew up in awe of Bob Dylan (and my awe list is a very short one) I spent a lot of time that Christmas enjoying the idea of a drunken pissed off Bob begrudgingly trying to get those lights on to that hedge somehow to please someone or other , then getting frustrated and fed up because they were getting tangled and he couldn’t  make them look right, plus it was taking too much time, how much time was he supposed to waste on these damn things anyway? After all, he didn’t exactly know how  to fucking do it since he was raised Jewish and spent the other 364 days on the road , dammit.

(To be fair, I have no idea if Bob Dylan had a hand in putting them up. I know he owns a house that is hidden behind that fence. But all that is visible from the street are some old aquamarine dumpsters and a couple of rusting car corpses. I have no idea if he ever actually sets foot on these premises. That didn’t effect my enjoyment of his overall decorating prowess.)

Cut to 2009: Bob’s got the new Christmas album out. He’s Mr. Christmas now and its time to wrestle with the damn lights again. So  I went out tonight to see how he did. And I’ve got to give him some props. It looks to me like this year Bob apparently bought a ladder. The lights are higher up. They’re more evenly lined up,except in a few places. I think he’s definitely improving his over all decorating technique. I’m am very impressed, sort of.Bob Dylan #3Bob DYlan 2009 #1