Documentary records Dylan imitators in 'It Ain't Me, Babe'

August 03, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- Bob Dylan devotees listen up. Dylan purists, cover your eyes.

Future film audiences will see imitators of America's rock poet performing such hybrids as a rap version of "Like a Rolling Stone" and a Dylan-Joan Baez cover of "It Ain't Me, Babe" in an upcoming documentary from director Ken Kwapis ("Vibes," "He Said, She Said.")

Tentatively titled "It Ain't Me, Babe," the film is a look in on the contestants for the annual Bob Dylan look-alike contest held each July at the Speakeasy club in New York's Greenwich Village. Mr. Kwapis, with producers Sarah Jackson and Coleman De Kay and a handful of New York University film school grads, just returned from Manhattan after a week's worth of shooting the event on two 16 mm cameras.

"I wanted to make a film about quirky Americana," Mr. Kwapis said of the 10th annual Bob Dylan Imitator Awards. "It seemed to me to be the most perverse idea for an event, but a wonderful thing to document."

Would-be Dylans competed in five categories: Folk Dylan, Amphetamine Dylan, Post-Motorcycle Accident Dylan, Born-Again Dylan and Freestyle Dylan, where the competitor can sing any Dylan song in a non-Dylan style -- or any non-Dylan song in the Dylan style.

Kwapis said that Freestyle was the most popular category among the 40 entrants; only one entrant sang in the Born-Again category. There were also female Dylans and a black Dylan. The favored attire was frizzed hair, dark sunglasses and a black leather jacket, Dylan's trademark outfit from his "Blonde on Blonde" days.

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