×

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:

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTY4ODQ3MjUy.html

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

  • Woodstock 50's Latest Plea Denied by

    Woodstock 50's Latest Plea Denied Unanimously by Town of Vernon

    The light is quickly fading on Woodstock 50, which in its latest plea to the town of Vernon, New York, was rejected in its effort to secure a permit to hold the three-day concert at Vernon Downs. The Syracuse area venue with a capacity of 35,000 was the most recent proposed site for the troubled [...]

  • Beyonce-HOMECOMING-Netflix

    Beyoncé, Sara Bareilles Vie for First Emmys as Ramin Djawadi Looks to Reclaim Throne

    Beyoncé and Sara Bareilles could add Emmy trophies to their awards shelves this year, having been nominated in key music categories Tuesday by the Television Academy. Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” special on Netflix was nominated in six categories, and four of those include a nod for the pop superstar herself. Only one of those is in a [...]

  • LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet

    LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet Dermot McCormack President

    Live entertainment digital media company LiveXLive Media today announced that AOL and MTV veteran Dermot McCormack has been named president of the company. According to the announcement, McCormack will lead the business and creative operations of LiveXLive, effective immediately. McCormack previously served as AOL’s Global President of Video and Studios, where he oversaw the video [...]

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly Ordered Held Without Bail

    R. Kelly has been ordered held without bond at a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The singer entered a not-guilty plea. The hearing, which follows the singer being hit Friday with a total of 18 counts of serious sexual misconduct and other charges in Chicago and New York, [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Emmy Queen Bey? Beyonce's 'Homecoming' Lands

    Beyoncé's 'Homecoming' Documentary Lands Six Emmy Nominations

    It’s going to be a busy awards season for Beyonce. She could be up for Grammys or Oscars in the next six months, but she’s already made a splash with the fresh crop of Emmy nominations. Her documentary/concert movie “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” has been nominated for six Emmys, and a win in most [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content