Bob Dylan: Desolation Row – The Marionette Performance part 1 & 2

Cool video.. created by Roderick Smith.

I love the song (off course) & Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a one of the great northern renaissance painters.

From youtube comment:

This 10 minute film is a collage of music and imagery set down by two artists who lived 450 years apart in history. The unexpected union of these visionaries was a chance encounter late one night while perusing through an old book of engravings by the Flemish artist, Peter Bruegel the Elder while listening to the song “Desolation Row” by Bob Dylan. In an instant an uncanny collaboration was taking place. The wildly strange visual imagery of Bruegel was illustrating the equally bizarre lyrics of Dylan. They were in tandem. Yet neither medium violated the unique vision of the other. This unusual film captures this creative apparition through the use of marionettes, engravings and music.

From Wikipedia:

Pieter Bruegel (Brueghel) the Elder ( c. 1525 – 9 September 1569) was a Flemish Renaissance painter and printmaker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so called genre painting). He is sometimes referred to as the “Peasant Bruegel” to distinguish him from other members of the Brueghel dynasty, but he is also the one generally meant when the context does not make clear which Brueghel is being referred to. From 1559 he dropped the ‘h’ from his name and signed his paintings as Bruegel.

His greatest painting – The Tower of Babel:

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row


part 2:


10 thoughts on “Bob Dylan: Desolation Row – The Marionette Performance part 1 & 2”

  1. Have you read Ian Bell’s book ‘Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan’ ? In Chap 4 he researches a postcard of 3 negroes lynched in Hibbing in 1919 allegedly for rape… just up the street from where Bob was raised… it puts ‘They’re selling postcards of the hanging’ lyric into a stark context … can highly recommend this well researched book…

  2. Most amazing visuals and perfect matching song, thanks to Bruegel (the Elder), Dylan and you (for posting the clips)

  3. I agree, harmonica does not sound like Dylan, amazing artwork, and a great post Egil !

  4. Beautiful work.
    Question for you, though: who’s playing the harmonica at the end of the song? That doesn’t sound like Bob — plus it sounds like Bob is riffing on the guitar at the end. Did you overdub the harp?


    1. Hi Bruno,

      The harmonica is surely overdubbed.. and I agree it doesn’t sound like Dylan.

      The venue was Five Season center (Cedar Rapids) on April 3 – 2000.


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