Tag Archives: Ribera

Another Self Portrait: In Conversation with Michael Simmons

By Rob Ribera

In August, Bob Dylan and Columbia Records released, Another Self Portrait, the tenth in a series of official bootleg recordings.  Collecting nearly forty tracks of unused takes, alternate versions, half-starts, and demos, the album provides a much clearer picture of one of the most divisive years in Dylan’s career.  After a motorcycle crash in 1966, the details of which are still relatively unknown, Dylan remained in Woodstock to recharge and continue creating music on his own terms.  The results were startling, which is saying a lot for an artist who at that time had successfully changed his musical persona so many times that it really shouldn’t have been a surprise.  John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, the Basement Tapes—these albums from the late 1960s capture an artist finding a new voice, experimenting with his style, and in the case of the oft-bootlegged recording sessions in the basement of Big Pink that he did with the Band, plain just having fun and getting back to his roots. Continue reading Another Self Portrait: In Conversation with Michael Simmons

The Ice Storm: An Interview with Rick Moody

In the 1990s, there seemed to be something in the air about the suburbs and small towns of America.  Many novelists, filmmakers, and photographers focused their attention on the darker side of the cookie-cutter landscapes, examining the homogeneity and boredom of it all.  This took shape in everything from Tim Burton’s outcast in Edward Scissorhands, Gregory Crewdson’s mysterious photographs of western Massachusetts, Tom Perotta’s darkly funny Election and Little Children, and many other visions of sprawl and ennui.  Of course, this was not new, but something gelled in those years.  Some may say that the crowing achievement came in 1999 with Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, which went on to gather up plenty of awards statues and critical accolades, but that film has not aged nearly as well as one that came a few years earlier.  The Ice Storm, Ang Lee’s quieter, tender masterpiece of American life, was released in the fall of 1997 and remains one of the best depictions of the suburbs ever committed to film.  And now we have a beautiful bluray release from the Criterion Collection to help us remember. Continue reading The Ice Storm: An Interview with Rick Moody