You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Return of “Renaldo and Clara?”

By Steven Gaydos

In the nearly 50 years of Bob Dylan’s avidly-observed professional life, his semi-autobiographical 1978 film “Renaldo and Clara” is viewed by his faithful fans as either a somewhat embarassing Achilles Heel that reveals Dylan’s inability to translate his musical genius into cinematic gold or a Holy Grail of revealing personal insights and visual and aural poetic rhapsodies woefully unappreciated by those who haven’t reached the 9th Level of Dylanology.

So when the culture site LitKicks.com announced on January 19 (http://www.litkicks.com/RenaldoAndClaraToBeFinallyReleased) that the film, unreleased since a disastrous and quickly aborted theatrical run in the late ’70s, was about to get the Dylan camp’s blessing for commercial DVD release, the Dylan fan sites began reverberating with excitement and renewed debate about the artistic merits of Dylan’s rambling blend of psychodrama, concert footage, blackout skits and cinema extremely verite.

“Dylanologists rejoice!” proclaimed Levi Asher on the site, announcing “I’ve heard from a semi-reliable source that Renaldo and Clara, a much-discussed and little-seen 1978 epic film by Bob Dylan, will soon be finally released on DVD.”

Well, I have bad news for Levi Asher. I’ve heard from one extremely reliable and high-placed source inside the Dylan team and from another source outside the team, but very much in touch with them on a regular basis, that “It Ain’t True, Babe.”

When asked about Asher’s report, the Dylan associate (who requested anonymity, which is of course SO Bob), said simply, “Nope.”

There are, however, reports that the original footage is getting worked on in New York City to hit Blu-Ray standards. One knowledgeable source speculated “maybe (Dylan honcho) Jeff Rosen is going to do a Rolling Thunder Bootleg Series project and this is why T-Bone Burnett (another illustrious Thunderer) and Roger McGuinn have recently done film interviews about Rolling Thunder.”

In the meantime, there’s a great new book about the “Renaldo and Clara” project and corresponding Dylan tour called the Rolling Thunder Revue to keep Dylan fans immersed in both the arcane and the awesome work of ’70s era Dylan. It’s called “Shelter From The Storm”  (http://www.sidgriffin.com/2010/02/07/sheter-from-the-storm-by-sid-griffin/) penned by Mojo contributor and ace musician-sognwriter himself, Sid Griffin.

And if you JUST CAN’T WAIT for Sid’s book to hit your mailbox, here’s a little taste of the mayhem and music that was Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder tour.

First, witness Bob in his Marcel Marceau meets the Munch Scream face paint phase from the film:


This other clip features my favorite Byrd Man, Roger McGuinn, who was one of the many Rolling troubadors, a gang that included poet Allen Ginsberg, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Mick Ronson from David Bowie’s Spider from Mars and more. I’m sure the long sober McGuinn must find it hard to watch today because he could get high all over again just from the Peruvian vibes that positively blast out of the screen all these decades later.


More Music

  • Childish Gambino Concert Review

    Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, J Balvin, Chainsmokers Join Lollapalooza 2019 Lineup

    Lollapalooza announced its full lineup this morning, which sees headliners Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, the Strokes, Flume, the Chainsmokers and J Balvin joining previously announced performers Ariana Grande and Tame Impala. The long-running festival will feature more than 170 bands on eight stages across four days, August 1-4 at Grant Park in Chicago. The [...]

  • Jay-Z

    Jay-Z's 'Blueprint' Named to National Registry, Along With 'Schoolhouse Rock,' 'Superfly,' Nina Simone and More

    “Minnie the Moocher,” meet “The Blueprint.” The recordings being inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry for 2019 range from Cab Calloway’s 1931 signature single to a landmark 2001 Jay-Z album, with stops along the way for Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly,” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s [...]

  • Little Mix Star Jesy Nelson Making

    Little Mix's Jesy Nelson Making BBC Documentary About Mental Health and Body Image

    Little Mix star Jesy Nelson is making a one-off documentary for the BBC in which she will explore issues surrounding body shaming and mental health in the age of social media. “Jesy Nelson: My Story” will launch on the BBC’s youth-skewed online channel BBC Three and then play on BBC One. Girl band Little Mix [...]

  • Michael Jackson R Kelly

    'Leaving Neverland,' 'Surviving R. Kelly' Composers on How They Scored Sexual Abuse Docs

    How do you put music to child sexual abuse — especially if the accused predators are musical icons? That’s the challenge composers Chad Hobson and Nathan Matthew David faced as they scored HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” respectively. The documentaries are built around interviews with the alleged victims of Michael Jackson (two [...]

  • Camp Flog Gnaw, Day 1

    Lollapalooza Reveals Some of 2019 Lineup: Lil Wayne, Tame Impala, Janelle Monae

    Tired of learning about a festival’s lineup by scrutinizing a tiny jpeg of a poster with miniscule fonts? Apparently Lollapalooza’s organizers are — they’ve come up with the novel approach of revealing part of the lineup via a video in partnership with the Chicago-based animal shelter PAWS, which mixes in clues about 2019 Lollapalooza performers in [...]

  • Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer,

    Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles Join Strip Club Drama 'Hustlers'

    STXfilms has signed Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, and Mercedes Ruehl to join strip club drama “Hustlers,” starring Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. The film will be directed by Lorene Scafaria (“The Meddler”). Mette Towley and Trace Lysette (“Transparent”) are also in negotiations to join the film. The project, originally set up [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content