SURROUNDED BY BRILLIANCE
Currently I am reading Bob Dylan's "Chronicles Vol. 1" and I am completely absorbed by it. His stream of consciousness recollections are very compelling and I am utterly fascinated by his tales about the eccentrics, artists, poets and musicians that he was surrounded by during his pre-fame days in the New York City folk scene of the early 60's.
I love the stories about Cafe Wha? a subterranean venue that Dylan regularly attended when he first came to NYC. It featured a patchwork of performers during the day, including a comedian, ventriloquist, magician, and "somebody whose entire act was facial acrobatics".
Dylan mentions a guy named Billy Butcher who he describes as a "sad character", whose repertoire consisted of only one song called "High-Heel Sneakers", and who always introduced it by saying "this one is for the chicks". According to Dylan "he sang that one song pretty good though". This is great stuff!
Comedians like Woody Allen, Richard Prior and Lenny Bruce would perform at night. This is where Dylan would hang out with Tiny Tim, and would spend his time in the cafe kitchen , waiting to get stage time after some of the other more "known" performers would finish.
Needles to say, I am having one of my time travel fantasies, and this place and time is now officially on my list. I am awe struck by the number of creative (or at least interesting) individuals Dylan was surrounded by during his early years.
This reminds me that who or what you surround yourself with is very important. Admittedly, I miss some of the folks who I used to know who were of this caliber and helped bring out my own creative spirit. Thankfully, I have made a few re-connections recently via Facebook, and this part of me has begun to re-awaken (special thanks to Dave Dyment, an old friend and artist who I find very inspiring).
Anyways, I am completely taken with this book so far, so there will be definitely more thoughts and reflections to come...