Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reading Dylan

Succot coincides with the first days of autumn and is, in theory, a wonderful time for taking trips: still warm but not burning. And indeed, it seems that much of the country (those who are not abroad) are racing from the Haifa film festival to the Acco alternative theatre festival to the hot air balloon fest in the Negev or the Susiada horse show near Beit Shean (partial list). We too took a short trip - to a buffalo dairy and to Idi's, Ashdod's famous fish restaurant, but with am yisrael tearing up the roads, the best place to be is of course close to our succah-like rooftop.

The free time I gained by not traipsing all over the country allowed me to finally polish off the 29th and last interview in 'Dylan on Dylan' (collected by Jonathan Cott). One of the inspiring things about the unpredictable and mercurial Mr. Zimmerman (65ish) is not only the length of his career but his resolute (not always successful) search for songs that resonate in that particularly Dylanesque way. If there are other Dylan fans out there, take a look at this list of links from what looks like his official website.

As we devote Succot to indulging our tastes, all around us the different players in our little Middle Eastern puzzle are jostling for better positions ahead of the November peace conference: the settlers are trying to set up 5 more illegal outposts (how many do they need?); the Hamas wants a truce and the large gaps between Olmert's and Abu Mazen's positions are beginning to show.

Meanwhile, let the escapism continue and what better way to escape the reality of the Middle East than by painting sensitive fantasy out of it as in the award-winning Israeli film The Band's Visit (bikur ha-tizmoret) we saw this afternoon. It was human and touching but to my mind, laid on a bit too thick. Worth seeing though. For a taste go to

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