Jesse Jarnow

Archive for September, 2008

proust, no. 2

Later in my life, in Venice, long after the sun had set, thanks to the imperceptible echo of a last note of light held indefinitely over the canals as though sustained by some optical pedal, I saw the reflections of the palaces unfurled as if for eternity in an even darker velvet ovver the twilight grayness of the water. One of my dreams was the synthesis of what my imagination had often tried to envisage, during my waking hours, of a particular landscape by the sea and its medieval past. In my sleep I saw a Gothic citadel rising from a sea whose waves were frozen still, as in a stained-glass window. An inlet of the sea divided the town in two; the green water came right up to my feet; on the opposite shore it lapped around an Oriental church, and around houses that already existed in the fourteenth century, so that to move across to them would have been to go backwards through the centuries. (The Guermantes Way, 139-40)

statistical musings & getting sold out

“Meet the Mets” (organ version) (download)

The winners of the division pennants and Wild Card slots are determined by the best winning percentage. In mathematical and actual truth, minute fuck-ups and come-from-behind victories in April count exactly as much as they do during these last, fraught weeks in September. It’s an existential thing, all this drama, coming to appreciate emotionally of what every turn of the game really means, statistically speaking.

Watching the Mets unscrew towards statistical insignificance against the Cubs the other night–hopefully not my last Shea outing, though possibly–I returned bitterly pissed off at the Mets for selling off the last week at Shea for some bullshit VH1-type promotion looking back at the decades and therefore not playing “Meet the Mets.” WTF guys?

the son of the return of the FROW SHOW (late night monday)

I’ll be sitting in for Stan’s show on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

Check it, peeps:
The Frow Show, 2 am – 6 am, September 29th/30th, WFMU, 91.1,

Hope to see you (or merely sense your presence in the ether) around that time.

it’s so cold in alaska

“Stephanie Says” – The Velvet Underground (download) (buy)

In the last New Yorker, George Saunders’ merciless Sarah Palin parody, “My Gal,” and Philip Gourevitch’s remarkable dispatch on Alaskan politics, “The State of Sarah Palin,” are fine companions. Under an Obama administration, perhaps they could even marry.

On one hand, Saunders’ insane language games are probably a perfect embodiment of the cabalistic eastern elite that Palin and company often rail against. On the other hand, reading Gourevitch’s piece–for which Palin was interviewed before her VP candidacy–one can’t help but get the impression that Sarah Palin is a Coen brothers character placed on the public stage for the purposes of setting up some cruel, violent prank. Certainly, when she speaks, she sounds like she could be from Fargo. Even more, though, it’s the rhythms, the constant self-interruptions. via Gourevitch:

Palin continued, “Our security detail, when I first got elected, met with us and said, ‘Do you guys got any issues with any threats?’ ” To which Palin replied, “ ‘Yeah, well, by the way, there happens to be—the only threat that I knew of was one of your own troopers.’ And they’re, like, ‘Geez, this doesn’t sound good, you need to go tell your commissioner that.’ So I did. I shared that with the commissioner. So did Todd, and then Todd followed up to say”—at this point, Palin seemed to be quoting her husband: “ ‘We were interviewed back in ’05 before Sarah was even a candidate—what ever happened to that investigation, that interview? We know that the trooper’ ”—Wooten—“ ‘got to see the interview notes; well, we never have, and that’s kind of a scary position for us to be in. We complied with your request to bring you information on this trooper forward, and did we put our family in jeopardy by letting him see the interview notes about the illegal activities?’ ”
Palin insisted that Wooten “did have illegal activities. We witnessed them, and people have come to us with complaints. He Tasered his eleven-year-old stepson. This trooper, he was pulled over for drinking and driving and a witnessed open container in his car, and he did threaten to kill my dad—I heard him—and illegally shot a moose, which is a big darned deal here in Alaska.”

If that doesn’t sound like Jerry Lundegaard reincarnated as an Alaskan governor, then–well–geeze, I just don’t know what to say, Bob. via Saunders:

I know that many times, in my life, while living it, someone would come up and, because of I had good readiness, in terms of how I was wired, when they asked that—whatever they asked—I would just not blink, because, knowing that, if I did blink, or even wink, that is weakness, therefore you can’t, you just don’t. You could, but no—you aren’t.


Now, let us discuss the Élites. There are two kinds of folks: Élites and Regulars. Why people love Sarah Palin is, she is a Regular. That is also why they love me. She did not go to some Élite Ivy League college, which I also did not. Her and me, actually, did not go to the very same Ivy League school. Although she is younger than me, so therefore she didn’t go there slightly earlier than I didn’t go there. But, had I been younger, we possibly could have not graduated in the exact same class. That would have been fun.

I imagine if Sarah Palin read this–and, especially, Saunders’ glorious conclusion about a moose, which I shan’t give away here–she’d be all WTF? And that’s not a comment on her intelligence, so much as her sensibility. We’re dealing with a language barrier here, I think.

frow show, fmu-02

Listen here.

Detailed playlist.

1. “Jungle Drum” – Emiliana Torrini (from Me and Armini)
2. “Frow Show Theme” – MVB
3. “The Two O’Clock Spot” – John Baker (from The John Baker Tapes, v. 1)
4. “Tomorrow is A Long Time” – Elvis Presley (from From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential ’60s Masters)
5. “Shake Sugaree” – Elizabeth Cotton (from Shake Sugaree)
6. “Train Leaves Here This Morning” – Gene Clark (from No Other)
7. “The Locusts” – John Baker (from The John Baker Tapes, v. 1)
8. “Crickets” – Akron/Family (from Love is Simple)
9. “September Song” – Willie Nelson (from Stardust)
10. “Jugband 2000” – Jackie O Motherfucker (from Wow/The Magick Fire Music)
11. “Venus” – Proyecto A (from Proyecto A)
12. “Going the Distance” – Menahan Street Band (from Make the Road By Walking)
13. “Anak Jalanan” – Yockie Suryprayogo (from untitled Indonesian cassette mix)
14. “Blues Subtitled No Sense of Wonder” – Gastr Del Sol (from Camoufleur)
15. “These Few Presidents” – Why? (from Almost Live from Eli’s Live Room CD-R)
16. “Vote For Nixon-Lodge” – Clancy Hayes Dixieland Band
17. “2 Under Par Off the Coast of Africa” – Christian Kiefer feat. Tom Carter (from Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs For 43 U.S. Presidencies)
18. “Original Material” – Richard Nixon
19. “Richard Nixon Died Today” – Negativland (from Thigmotactic)
20. “Computers In Business” – John Baker (from The John Baker Tapes, v. 1)
21. “(Tape Composition), Evening Drones, Dusk at Cubist Castle Closing Theme” – Olivia Tremor Control/Black Swan Network (from The Tour EP)
22. “Stephanie Says (1.15.91)” – Lee Ranaldo (from Fifteen Minutes: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground)
23. “Sign of the Times” – Petula Clark
24. “Love Loves to Love Love” – Lulu
25. “Strange Lights” – Deerhunter (from Cryptograms)
26. “Take the Cash (K.A.S.H.)” – Wreckless Eric (from The Wonderful World of Wreckless Eric)
27. “Magnolia” – Apollo Sunshine (from Apollo Sunshine)
28. “I Saw a Hippie Girl on 8th Avnue” – Jeffrey and Jack Lewis (from It’s the Ones Who’ve Cracked That the Light Shines Through)
29. “Love Can Tame The Wild” – The Monks (from Black Monk Time)
30. “Sad and Lonesome” – RANA (from Here in the USA)
31. “You Don’t Know Me” – Richard Manuel (from Whispering Pines: Live at the Getaway)
32. “Telescope” – Tristan Perich
33. “Theme From Ulcerative Colitis” – Yukio Yung (from Valborgmassoafton)
34. “Threnody for the Victims of Louisiana” – Col. Bruce Hampton (ret.) (from Give Thanks to Chank)
35. “QWERTY Waltz” – Boston Typewriter Orchestra (from The Revolution Will Be Typewritten)
36. “Brood X” – Tucker Martine (from Broken-Hearted Dragonflies: Insect Electronica From Southeast Asia)
37. “Rapacite Nocturne” – Camille Sauvage (from Fantasmagories)
38. “Pop Electronique No. 11” – Cecil Leuter (from Pop Electronique)
39. “Pop Electronique No. 8” – Cecil Leuter (from Pop Electronique)
40. “Mating chorus of Southern Leopard Frogs with Cricket Frogs” – Charles Bogert (from Sounds of North American Frogs: The Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs)
41. “Mating call of the Gulf Coast Toad” – Charles Bogert (from Sounds of North American Frogs: The Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs)
42. “The ‘territoriality call’ of the southern race (the Bronze Frog) of the Green Frog” – Charles Bogert (from Sounds of North American Frogs: The Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs)
43. “An Occupation Grooms Me” – Makers of the Dead Travel Fast (from Early Recordings)
44. “Window To Mars” – Elf Power (from In A Cave)
45. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” – Them
46. “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes (from Fleet Foxes)
47. “Think Small” – Tall Dwarfs (from Fork Songs)
48. “Static #1” – Beck (from Radio 1 session)
49. “As We Go Along” – The Monkees (from Head OST)
50. “Can’t Leave Her Behind” – Stephen Malkmus and Lee Ranaldo (from I’m Not There OST)
51. “Visions of Johanna” – Bob Dylan (25 February 1999, Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME)
52. “Rainy Windows” – Bonnie Dobson (from Bonnie Dobson)
53. “That Dream Machine” – Trey Anastasio (from One Man’s Trash)
54. “Anarchy Village” – The Lift Boys (from Anarchy Village/Anarchy Way 12-inch)
55. “Adding Machine” – Arnold Dreyblatt (from Adding Machine)
56. “Lazy Suicide” – Megafaun (from Bury the Square)
57. “Terrapin” – Syd Barrett (from Radio One Sessions)

a trip to shea, 9/08

Went to Shea on Saturday for the lazy doubleheader against the Braves, arriving midway through the first game, and stealing a nice seat in the loge. I’m gonna miss that dump, both for nostalgic reasons and aesthetic ones. Built-in to being a Mets fan–and this, built-in to Shea–is the notion of hangdog tradition.

So, instead of a noble pinstripe continuity of God-like champs from Babe Ruth to Joe DiMaggio to Reggie Jackson, like the Yankees, the Mets’ lineage traces back to something even more basic: the desire for baseball. The official reason given for the team’s 1961 incorporation was the city’s need for another team. What were Dodgers and Giants fans supposed to do when their teams moved west? Root for the Yankees? It didn’t matter if the Mets won. It only mattered that they existed, that there was baseball to attend to. It’s why they could still draw many fans when they lost 120 games in 1962 and why Casey Stengel biographer Robert Creamer could declare the early Mets to be “countercultural” three years before Dylan went electric.

I think all of that is built into Shea, in its eternal Space Age funkiness, built as part of the World’s Fair across the Meadows. It even used to have weird, modernist plates adorning its sides. (I wonder when those disappeared.) At the very least, Shea’s humble funkiness was made even clearer when I headed up to the Bronx with RK & co. to see the Mets crush the Yanks, 11-2. There, I saw the Valley of Monuments (or whatevs) in centerfield, saw the entire bleachers engage in some kind of call-and-response with a Yankee outfielder, who replied by waving at them. I saw the stands erupt into a twinkling storm of popping camera flashes when Hideki Matsui batted. Give or take the “Jose, Jose, Jose” chant and the battered Home Run Apple, Shea has none of that.

But Shea is also Shea. Because the Mets (apparently) aren’t America’s team, terrorists pose no immediate threat to Shea Stadium. Thus, you can bring in backpacks, and don’t have to transfer your book/iPod/hoodie into a plastic bag (a clear bag, as I discovered, when I aided the Enemy by trying to recycle a white one) or check it at the bowling alley across the street. More importantly, at Shea, you can get tickets. Shea Stadium is big. It almost never sells out. There are ushers, sure, but–if you can find the empty seats–you can sit almost anywhere. There are still nights when you can get into the ballpark for $5.

And next year, at CitiField, who knows? There’ll be fewer seats, more luxury boxes, and higher prices. Will there be ushers forcefully guiding people to their assigned spots in every section? More, how will the new stadiums express the differences between going to a Mets game and the feeling of going to a Yankees game? Will there be any?

‘the time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to speak of the FROW SHOW this wednesday.’

Dearest Frowsketeers:

The time has finally arrived for me to stay up very late.

Should you find yourself awake between the hours of 2 and 6 am EST this Wednesday night/Thursday morning (Sept. 17th/18th), the Frow Show will be filling in for Sue Per on WFMU.

The program will likely include some weird shit from an Indonesian cassette tape my friend Michael hipped me to, some Richard Manuel solo cuts, at least three songs about Richard Nixon, a dignified celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the ’86 Mets’ Eastern Division championship, and three-and-a-half hours of other material. But who’s to say, really?

You can listen live at, 91.1 FM in the NYC area, or in your iTunes under the ‘eclectic’ section.

See you then, I hope.


Should you not be up then, you’ll be able to hear it here later.

some recent articles.

Congo Fury, Kasai Allstars profile (, RIP)
The Thick, Wild Mercurial Movie, Todd Haynes profile (Paste)

Shall Noise Upon – Apollo Sunshine (Paste)
Fate – Dr. Dog (Paste)
All Alone in an Empty House – Lost in the Trees (Indy Week)
Indie Weirdo Round Up, featuring: Anamanaguchi, The Lift Boys, Negativland, Sonic Youth with Mats Gustafsson and Merzbow, Space Oddities (

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (Paste)

666: The Coming of the New World Government” – Apollo Sunshine (, RIP)
Lebah” – Suarasama (, RIP)

Bob Dylan at Prospect Park, 12 August 2008 (Village Voice blog)
Yo La Tengo at McCarren Park Pool, 24 August 2008 (Village Voice blog)
Silver Jews at Music Hall of Williamburg, 6 September 2008 (Village Voice blog)

Patti Smith: Dream of Life (Paste)
Trouble the Water (Paste)
Hamlet 2 (Paste)

Columns & misc.:
BRAIN TUBA: Space: Still Totally the Place (
Mike Gordon v. Phish (Indy Week)

o Paste #46 (Best of What’s Next cover): album reviews of Apollo Sunshine, Dirty Laundry compilations, movie reviews of Trouble the Water, Hamlet 2
o September/October Relix (Conor Oberst cover): album reviews of Okkervil River, Christian Kiefer/Matthew Gerken/Jefferson Pitcher, DVD review of Gary Wilson
o Signal to Noise #51 (Concordia Salus! cover): live review of Rhys Chatham


More summer reading, this time Nabokov.

It was getting quite dark on the sad campus. Above the distant, still sadder hills lingered, under a cloud bank, a depth of tortoise-shell sky. The heart-rending lights of Waindellville, throbbing in a fold of those dusky hills, were putting on their usual magic, though actually, as Pnin well knew, the place, when you got there, was merely a row of brick houses, a service station, a skating rink, a supermarket.

proust, no. 1

Over the summer, I read Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. In places, I underlined. More forthcoming.

At first, he had experienced only the physical quality of the sounds secreted by the instruments. And it had been a keen pleasure when, below the little line of the violin, slender, unyielding, compact, and commanding, he had seen the mass of the piano part all at once struggling to rise in liquid swell, multiform, undivided, smooth, and colliding like the purple tumult of the waves when the moonlight charms them and lowers their pitch by half a tone. (Swann’s Way, 216)

Swann had regarded musical motifs as actual ideas, of another world, of another order, ideas veiled in shadow, unknown, impenetrable to the intelligence, but not for all that less perfectly distinct from one another, unequal among themselves in value and significance. (Swann’s Way, 362)

“as i went out one morning” – why?

“As I Went Out One Morning” – Why? (download) (buy)
from Our Unusual Animals, v. 4 7-inch (2008)

Every time I tried to imagine Why? leader Yoni Wolf doing Bob Dylan, as was announced a few months back, my brain started to hurt. It’s not that I thought it would be bad–I didn’t–so much that I just couldn’t conceive of Dylan’s melody parceled by Wolf’s metrics. But, here it is, a 7-inch b-side in Asthmatic Kitty Our Unusual Animals series, and it makes sense, of course: a nice addition to the contemporary Dylan cover canon. It’s an interesting little window into Wolf’s singing in general, too. He manages to fully articulate the melody while creating the illusion that he is speaking, never singing at all. It is casual, even conversational, and all in the annunciation. Sleight-of-hand. Or sleight-of-tongue, I suppose. The arrangement helps immeasurably, shifting the chords with lush authority, and doing much of the work.

early pennant drive links

o The Enduring Popularity (and Ubiquity) of the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Card . I never had one.

o Baseball, meth, and home games. Misleading title. Dude just means pills. Not, like, middle relievers getting cranked and scrubbing the bullpen bench clean with toothbrushes. Still, interesting (and probably correct) theory that I’ve seen floated more informally elsewhere, notably by radio color dudes.

o Horace Wilson and the beginnings of Japanese baseball. (And, somewhat related: baseball in Japanese internment camps during World War II.)

o A (relatively) recent interview with contrarian Oakland As’ general manager, Billy Beane: part 1, part 2.

o Hell freezes over and time stops. Not surprisingly, A-Rod is there.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 19

o A solid guide to Sun Ra. Szwed highlights two of my fave Arkestral excursions (1978’s Lanquidity and 1967’s Strange Strings). Looking forward to checking out his other recommendations.
o A gallery of Al Jaffee’s Mad fold-ins. Lovely interface.
o Generic names for soft drinks by county: a map.
o Jim O’Rourke: old-time ballplayer. (Thx, Artis.)
o The Beeb reports that “nearly 500,000 people in developing nations earn a wage making virtual goods in online games.”
o Akron/Family’s Daytrotter session, taped during South by Southwest in March. I’m one of the auxilary chanters/finger-snappers/pot-bangers. Great sound quality.

paris hilton’s vagina bites penguin (ordovician archives, no. 6)

Dr. Tuttledge shares his disappointment that the email did not actually contain a link.

From: baxter Mol

Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 17:49:25 +0100

Subject: Paris Hilton’s Vagina Bites Penguin


the thick, wild mercurial movie: todd haynes & the weirdness of bob dylan

“What Kind of Friend Is This?” – Stephen Malkmus and Lee Ranaldo (download) (buy)
from I’m Not There OST (iTunes-only) (2007)

“Bessie Smith” (live) – The Crust Brothers (download) (buy)
from Marquee Mark (1999)

“Visions of Johanna” – Lee Ranaldo (download) (buy)
from Outlaw Blues, v. 2 (1993)

“Goin’ To Acapulco” – Bob Dylan and The Band (download) (buy)
from The Basement Tapes (1967/1975)

(files expire September 9th)

This is an expanded version of my October 2007 Paste profile of I’m Not There director Todd Haynes, intended for the web, but which somehow never made it there. A year later, I still love the movie, maybe even more. Though, I suppose, I’m also the target audience. Of all the things the film did, it reintroduced The Basement Tapes to me–the official, cleaned-up two-disc version–as a concept album about running away to a weird, self-isolating internal place.

And some INT-related tunes to go with: an iTunes-only Stephen Malkmus/Lee Ranaldo cover of “What Kind of Friend Is This?” (from the ’66 hotel room tape) left off the official soundtrack, Malkmus’s piss-take version of The Basement Tapes‘ Band-penned “Bessie Smith” with Seattle’s Silkworm live in ’97, Ranaldo’s reading of “Visions of Johanna” from 1993’s Outlaw Blues, v. 2 compilation (with Mike Watt, Steve Shelley, and the late Robert Quine), and–finally–the Dylan version of “Goin’ To Acapulco,” pretty much the theme song for my summer.


The Thick, Wild Mercurial Movie: Todd Haynes and the Weirdness of Bob Dylan
by Jesse Jarnow
(originally published in shorter form in Paste #38)

Todd Haynes is affable, enthusiastic, and forthcoming — in other words, the complete opposite of Bob Dylan, the subject of the 46-year old director’s recently released I’m Not There. This, of course, does not mean that the six different Bob Dylans that occupy his film’s non-linear plot (none of which is named ‘Bob Dylan’) and two-plus-hour running time are any easier to grok than Dylan’s work, nor — for that matter — any less dense with magpies’ bags of allusion and theft. Haynes is just more willing to talk about his than Dylan.

“Ray Charles’ music couldn’t be further from Johnny Cash’s, so why put them in the same-shaped box?” asks the former semiotics major, who rendered Karen Carpenter’s anorexic demise with Barbie dolls in 1987’s Superstar. Though he expresses admiration for Ray, Haynes says, “Dylan is more like dropping acid than reading a Cliff’s Notes, and that should be true for all these artists at one level or another, if it’s possible to find a cinematic language to get to the core of what their music is about.

“All biopics combine fact and fiction, and this one does it, but lets you in on the process,” continues Haynes, who turned David Bowie into Brian Slade in 1998’s Velvet Goldmine. “You know [Dylan] wasn’t really a black kid who called himself Woody Guthrie” — as sweet-voiced newcomer Marcus Carl Franklin does in the film — “so then you have to think ‘why are they doing it this way?’ That’s saying something about what Dylan was at this time.

“What was so remarkable is the unstated joke in all the accounts of him is how none of these unbelievable tales of his past made any calculable sense to anybody listening, but the sheer performance was so compelling that no one cared. That idea, of projecting yourself so passionately that nobody added it all up, I thought to take that one step further, and make the joke a visual joke where he’s also a black kid and nobody mentions his color through the whole time.”


Todd Haynes has never met Bob Dylan, though — in the fall of 2000 — the songwriter approved a two-page proposal titled “Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan” which quoted French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud and declared a “strategy” of “refraction, not condensation.” Haynes’ Dylans are amnesiacs all, Cate Blanchett’s thin, wild Jude Quinn trapped in a lush Felliniesque black-and-white and unable to reach Richard Gere’s heavy-handed Billy, exiled in Riddle, a town comprised of Dylan’s characters and indebted to Greil Marcus’s Old Weird America and Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (in which Dylan appeared).

For all of its flaws, and it has many, it is obvious that Haynes is a stone Dylan freak, a fact that lends a certain charisma to the proceedings. He gets Dylan right, to the point where one could imagine a mash-up integrating I’m Not There with sequences from 1978’s Renaldo and Clara and 2003’s Masked & Anonymous, Dylan’s own garbled autobiopics. As an anthology of myths fashioned from interviews, liner notes, song lyrics and hearsay, I’m Not There might be daunting to non-fetishists, but it’s exactly this half-knowledge that Haynes wants to play from.

“People probably know more about Dylan than they know they know,” Haynes argues. “Whether it’s songs that we grew up singing and thinking ‘was that a traditional or did somebody write that?’ to literal things like ‘right, there was a crash! That sounds right!’ or how that echoes James Dean’s crash. And that’s fine. That’s actually so correct to see a repercussion of events in these very self-conscious anti-heroes that they themselves were the key architects of.”

For all of its shattered intentions, I’m Not There remains a series of a storylines, each character driven by his own boundaries, personal and cinematic. Some, like Blanchett’s Jude, ring with enough emotion to keep the runes of Dylan’s cryptic life aligned. Others are kind of hilarious, like Ben Whishaw’s Zoolander-like reading of the weary Dont Look Back-era press conference surrealism.

“I’m a consumer of biopics,” Haynes says, “and I think mostly what they offer as their raison d’être, and it’s a good enough one, is an extraordinary vehicle for performances, where an actor gives you something unique to bowl you over or frustrate you. That’s true for all those films. The performance Sissy Spacek gives in Coal Miner’s Daughter is one of the most astounding performances on film and makes whatever limitations the genre has, the formula has, pale at the power of that extraordinary performance.” But even if it is a good enough reason to exist, Haynes has his sights aimed much higher.

Like Dylan’s catalogue, I’m Not There frustrates. As Haynes points out, though, as experimental as it might be, it does deliver the “hit songs, the hit moments.” It gives enough of the songwriter that it makes perfect sense to talk about the film in the same breath as Martin Scorsese’s equally flawed No Direction Home, though in many ways the two semi-official features are opposites — Scorcese’s the Approved Baby Boomer Myth, Haynes’s a more gleefully modern and imploding deconstruction.

“He’s yours,” the Weavers’ Ronnie Gilbert introduced Dylan onstage at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, and he has been for over 40 years now. While Dylan might miss himself, as he suggested in his 2004 autobiography Chronicles, his listeners probably don’t. One can keep discovering bootlegs, session tapes, outtakes, rehearsals, film clips, interviews and miles of other musical arcana from a functionally infinite body of work, all capable of yielding something seemingly new.

I’m Not There does exactly this, its name calling attention to one of the great, lost basement tape ballads recorded with The Band in 1967. The film plays by Dylan’s rules and is enjoyable for many of the same reasons his music is. Finding the real Bob Dylan isn’t the point. There’s probably a song or two about that. “It’s not all in there,” Haynes says. “It’s not all there.”