DVDylan ID: D011
Recording type: ProShot


D011 THE 1965 SF PRESS CONFERENCE ~ A PARTIAL WHO'S WHO

The press conference was organized by Ralph Gleason (see below) and staged at the 4th and Bryant Street studios of educational San Francisco TV station KQED on Friday 3 December 1965.

[X:XX] = DVD screenshot timing



(1) MICHELLE BASIL [28:08; Your songs are supposed to have a subtle message…] One of four junior year students - see also (24-26) below - from Redwood High School in Larkspur, Marin County. Described in 2008, under her married name of McFee, as "a core member of the Bay Area music and arts community".

(2) GARY GOODROW [4:30 - after D says Oh, yes… Oh, sure…, see him smiling, left screen, open-necked shirt.] Comedian and actor; founding member of SF comedy improv troupe The Committee.

(3) ROLLIN POST [22:34; When you stop making money?] Bay area political reporter (though a New Yorker by birth) working for KPIX in 1965, though later joined KQED (where we see him) then, in 1979, KRON where he stayed until his retirement in 1999.

(4) PHILIP ELWOOD (1926-2006) [11:16 - after the question is asked If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest…, Elwood can be seen, upper left screen, briefly raising his left hand to his mouth.] Jazz critic for the San Francisco Examiner (and later the Chronicle) for more than 35 years. His review of the first Berkeley show featured words like spiritless, mediocre, dour, shouting and wailing but concluded: It isn't emotionally or physically easy to attend a Dylan concert but it's provocative and rewarding in a degree seldom found elsewhere in American artistic expression.

(5) ROBERT SHELTON (1926-1995) [43:55 - see him, top right of screen, as speaker Post says You really have no idea…] D biographer and, while on the staff of the New York Times, an important early career influence.

(6) ALLEN GINSBERG (1926-1997) [6:49 - with beard and glasses, just after D name-checks him.] Poet, sometime collaborator, friend.



(7) RALPH J. GLEASON (1917-1975) [1:15 and throughout]. SF-based TV and print journalist, later co-founder (with Jann Wenner) of Rolling Stone and (after early reservations) staunch D advocate.

(8) ERIC WEIL [1:39] Asks the event's first question (about the cover photo of H61R) then takes many pictures.

(9) MARY ANN POLLAR (1927-1999) [5:00; Bob, you said you always do your words first…] Promoted many Bay area concerts in the early sixties, including some of D's. (She was clearly involved with his forthcoming run of five too, for, at the very end, after Bob has gone, someone jokingly hits on her for "better tickets" while to the question "Are they all sell-outs, Mary Ann?" she replies "No, not quite.") You can also hear her asking where the evening's (first post-show) party will be and, according to BM (see below), wound up hosting it herself at her Berkeley home.

(10) JIM MARSHALL [44:25; Do you feel that part of the popularity is because of an identification…] "One of the great photographers of musicians and entertainers, having more than 500 album and CD covers to his credit. His photographs of Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival, the final Beatles concert and the vibrant youth culture of San Francisco in the 1960s are among the most iconic images of the era."



(11) LARRY HANKIN [32:00; What do you bother to write the poetry for if we all get different images?] Actor; another member of The Committee - see (2) above - with well over one hundred IMDb credits dating from 1966 to the present day. (And what a lovely answer Bob gives him.)

(12) BILL GRAHAM (1931-1991) [25:50; Of all the people who record your compositions…] In December '65 was manager of a SF-based mime-troupe - indeed, the poster D holds up at [47:30] advertises a benefit concert organised by Graham on their behalf. (When Bob mentions that "someone" gave it to him, you can hear Bill shout: "I did!") It was the success of this venture that opened Graham's eyes to the possibilities of a career in promotion - by decade's end, having found his calling, he was the most forward-thinking and influential rock impresario on the block. Promoted D's 1974 and 1984 Tours, among others. A cross between Mother Teresa and Al Capone (Peter Coyote). See and hear a little more of him on D027.asu / D400.su.

(13) JONATHAN COTT [7:02; In Positively 4th Street you're pretty hard on the supposed friend…] Then a writer for Ramparts magazine (edited by Gleason). Went on to join Rolling Stone (for whom he interviewed D in 1978), produce Dylan (book) in 1985 and edit BD: The Essential Interviews in 2006.

(14) LISA HOBBS [13:28; Mr Dylan, you call yourself a completely disconnected person…] Journalist - wrote up this event for the SF Examiner, where she described D as "an under-nourished kewpie doll" [with] "little suede boots".



(15) MICHAEL GRIEG [34:30; For most of this dialogue, or monologue…] Another journo. Both headline - It's Lonely Where I Am - and content of his subsequent Chronicle piece neatly validate D's complaint to him that reporters in the main cannot be trusted.

(16) MICHAEL McCLURE [32:39, left of screen.] Poet, playwright, songwriter, novelist, born in Kansas in 1932.

(17) ELSA KNIGHT THOMPSON (1906-1983) [45:51, as voice says Other than the booing…] Influential radio documentarian and broadcaster. Worked for the BBC in London during World War II. Public Affairs Director at KPFA from 1957 to the early 1970s. "A pathfinder for women in broadcasting."

(18) CLAUDE MANN [15:36; You're considered by many people to be…] KQED staffer.



(19) BOB NEUWIRTH [12:53] Sitting quietly on the back row, wearing shades, visible over McClure's right shoulder. Singer, painter, associate, friend, the legs on the front cover of H61R and co-vocalist (the one without the mask) in Renaldo And Clara's opening song.

(20) RICK DANKO (1942-1999) [33:24] Band bassman, shades, behind Ginsberg.

(21) JEAN GLEASON (1918-2009) [14:32; Phil Ochs wrote something in a recent Broadside magazine…] Wife and widow of Ralph J.

(22) JERRY JENSON (1934-1984) [48:10] Brief left profile shot. News anchor on Channels 4 (1959-67), 44 (1967-9) then 7 from 1969 until his premature death in 1984.

(23) ROBERT N. ZAGONE [29:14] Floor director. Went on to score film/TV producer/director credits in 1967 and 1970; co-wrote and directed drama Read You Like A Book (2006).

[CONTINUES IN NEXT REVIEW]

Reviewed by tangledupindylan on 09th April 2009

This will probably be a bit redundant to some of the prior reviews of this dvd, but here goes anyway...

The songs are great, well known, and easily found. If you haven't seen them before, they are tasty appetizers. The 'meat and potatoes' of the dvd, both in terms of time and signifigance, is the SF press conference. Great entertainment on many levels, not the least of which is a snapshot of what America looked like just before the dawn of the age of Aquarius - in one of the places where the sun rose first - revolving around one one of the figures who first opened the blinds.

The event starts out with a very nervous and uncomfortable appearing Dylan being bombarded by a series of mundane and almost surreal, inane questions. Clutching onto only a cigarette for support, Bob stays the course and tries to maintain composure and courteousness without diluting his answers or back stepping. Finally, Dylan seems to start to relax and open up a bit as the questions become a bit more focused and on topic. Unfortunately, the session is cut short just as Bob seems to begin to enjoy himself.

There are nice cameo roles played by Allen Ginsberg and Bill Graham. There are also a couple of other characters in there that I swear I've seen before.

The press conference is beautifully situated in time right between the juggernaut of Highway 61 and the sweet swan song of Dylan's sixties on the road oddysey; Blonde on Blonde. We hear Bob speak eagerly of his new song 'Freeze Out', which was to become Visions of Johanna. We see a Dylan that, while frayed a bit around the edges, is not yet worn down to the bone by the ensuing six month world tour that would end with him falling off his ride somewhere in upstate New York. One gets the feeling that, on a very basic level, this press conference is a cross roads that neatly maps where Dylan has come from and suggests, in bold and graceful stokes, some of the places he may be heading to...

Many thanks to Mary for so generously sharing the dvd just for the asking.

Reviewed by c6sailer on 18th August 2005

Good menu, an improvement would be to list the songs in each segment. It’s an all-acoustic performance compilation. “Pawn in their Game” from DLB is great of course. The March on Washington has the quality you’d expect from live TV footage from this era. The Quest segment is wild; it’s set in a cabin with Bob supposedly just playing a few tunes to the guys after a hard day of work. It looks like it’s set in the depression era and is at some type of work camp. I’d like to know a little of the history of this program and who came up with this idea; just an evening hangin’ around the cabin listening to Bob play his folk songs – unique.

Steve Allen does a great job introducing an obviously amused and chagrinned Dylan. Bob supplies his classic Bob responses to Allen’s questions. Not sure why Hattie Carroll is repeated twice, seems to be the same performance only with one the clock/counter is blacked out. The SF press conference is very funny; a very young Bill Graham is there. I’m curious who the guy is with the dark shades and the hat with the feather that Bob jokes. BBC segment; he must have hated always being referred to as a protest artist. It cracks me up to see these guys in suits and ties with their slicked back 50’s style haircuts trying to relate.

A must have just for the press conference.

Reviewed by johnbrown on 18th May 2005

Pure gold.

This disc along with volume two are the must-haves of this sterling DVD series. Compilation #1 kicks off with the complete "Pawn In Their Game" (that we glimpse in Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back") in strong picture and sound, then shifts to the August 1963 civil rights demonstration at the Washington Monument.

This is the highlight of this disc, not so much for Dylan's performance of two songs (he plays fine) but for the larger historical value. Want to explain the American Civil Rights movement to your children? Show them this.

The QUEST program from Canadian TV is presented in superior form from the oft-bootlegged VHS tapes. Dylan plays a strong suite of acoustic folk songs, but the setting is downright bizarre: lumberjacks in a cabin smoking, playing cards and ignoring this folksinger in their midsts. Why Dylan consented to something so fake is beyond me.

The 1964 Steve Allen show offers us a rare and UNironic Dylan interview. It also includes two versions of his live "Hattie Carroll" from different video sources: one with editor's timecode visible on the bottom of the screen, the other greyed-out (I prefer the timecode version because it looks sharper). Sound quality is excellent.

Compare Dylan's interview on the Allen show with the 1965 press conference. Occasionally shown on PBS over the years, the lengthy press conference captures an exhausted, and jokey (but not sarcastic as in "Don't Look Back") Dylan, wearing the rock jester's crown. Dylan is light-years away from the baby-faced folk-king of the March on Washington footage and you wonder if he's heading for burnout. Seven months later, he'd get his answer.

An essential DVD with overall strong picture and sound quality.

- A. Tong

Reviewed by AL69 on 31st July 2004

Excellent DVD and if you are a big enough Bob fan to visit this site, this is truly ESSENTIAL (as is the whole compilation series in my view).

Qualtiy of picture is excellent. The only criticism I can give is that the transition between chapters/titles is not smooth, but hey, do we really care? I'd rather that than have no Bob at all....

Truly excellent!

Reviewed by hardinggr on 24th July 2004

I had previously seen some of these bits and pieces on video but the quality had been generally pretty poor, especially the audio tracks. This DVD is in amazing quality throughout.

This is the first time that I've seen the San Francisco Press Conference in its entirety and it is a real hoot. This is Dylan in his 'coolest man on the planet' era and the performance he gives is funny, witty and mesmerising.

I had always been a little ambivalent about collecting stuff on DVD (my experiences of too many really poor videos) but this has converted me completely.

Reviewed by Pugwash on 23rd June 2004

essential content in suprisingly clean quality. sharpness of picture and depth of shading is rich, and audio is clean and hiss free. excellent.

Reviewed by ceddy10165 on 17th June 2004

Includes all the essential stuff for the given timeframe (except of course "Don't Look Back" and "Eat the Doc").

Chronology is perfect, quality is superb - I had all this stuff on VHS at one time (as I've now given it all away) and though the video tape was indeed watchable the DVD quality is better yet; I couldn't be happier.

Lempi-Maki from Wisconsin USA

Reviewed by Lempi-Maki on 07th January 2004