For much of Bob Dylan's meteoric career arc, most people in his Iron Range hometown of Hibbing called him Bobby Die-lin and wondered what he was singing about. Some still do, but by now the practice is reserved as a sort of passive-aggressive protest by people who wish they could get paid that much to warble into a microphone.
I was born in Hibbing in 1979, raised nearby. I've edited the city's newspaper and now teach at its community college, all long after Dylan had become a household name across the world. This puts me in the position to say, yes, things have changed. Dylan was quoted saying, "I've been around iron all my life," this year, and he talks more about his Range roots than ever before. Meantime, Hibbing is commemorating its role in the Dylan story in ways the city would not have considered when I started out.
This weekend, May 23-24, 2014 Hibbing, Minnesota, welcomes people from all over the world to join with artists, writers and musicians in celebrating the accomplishments of Bob Dylan and the interesting North Country mining town where he grew up.
- The Friday Dylan Days 2014 Literary Showcase at 3:30 p.m. at Howard Street Booksellers - Featuring winners of the B.J. Rolfzen Dylan Days Creative Writing Contest and David Kinney, author of the acclaimed new book "The Dylanologists."
- The premeire event for the GRAMMY Museum's traveling exhibit "Daniel Kramer: Photographs of Bob Dylan" at the Paulucci Space Theatre on Highway 169 by Hibbing Community College. Doors open at 5 p.m. Friday with a 6 p.m. reception at the HCC Theater. The exhibit will remain open through the summer, thanks to the city of Hibbing.
- The Friday night Dylan Days 2014 singer/songwriter contest (spots on the playlist still available)
- The Saturday morning Dylan Days 2014 bus tour (seats still available)
For the complete list of Dylan Days 2014 events, see the schedule. Souvenir buttons, which cost $5 and serve as our unofficial "tickets," will be available at events. If you have any questions during your stay in Hibbing check in at Howard Street Booksellers, where you can also get your button any time during the event.
The Kramer exhibit will be on display all summer in 2014, and it is a must-see event for any Dylan fan looking for a Hibbing experience. The Times are a' changing' in Bob Dylan's hometown.
With the closure of the iconic Zimmy's Restaurant in Hibbing, this year's Dylan Days will take on new look. That same closure is causing the Dylan Days organization to plan a hiatus until new organizers with a modified mission step forward to keep the event going. Personally, I've been trying to interest area musicians in throwing a music festival during the same weekend next year. If you have any ideas or interest, let me know.
(PHOTO: Daniel Kramer, for promotional use with GRAMMY Museum exhibit "Daniel Kramer: Photographs of Bob Dylan," on display in Hibbing through Aug. 23).