Interview courtesy of the Ephemera Blog, Marty Weil’s great information resource on ephemera collecting and collectors, and a member of our Hall of Fame. Mark Scalie’s site Dylanstubs.com is also a member of our Hall of Fame.
Mark Scalise grew up in Southern California before moving to Boston a few years ago. He’s been going to Bob Dylan concerts for more than 20 years. In the following interview, we talked about the Web site he’s built to house his vast collection of Bob Dylan concert ticket stubs and other ephemera.
Q: First, I should tell you that I’m also a huge fan of Bob Dylan, especially his recent work. I also really enjoy his radio program on XM, which I’ve profiled in an earlier post. When did you become interested in collecting Dylan ticket stubs?
A: I was collecting a lot of Dylan concerts on CD a few years back, and liked making my own jewel case artwork. A ticket stub for that particular show seemed like a really cool thing to include in the art, so I started scouring the Web for them. I discovered a number of sites that had some stubs, but no one seemed to be archiving them in bulk, so I decided to create a site for that purpose. It’s grown from a CD artwork thing to a fascination with the ticket images themselves, as well as the concert posters. They are tangible aspects of Bob Dylan’s 45+ years of performance history, and represent a lot of performance venues which no longer exist. It’s also fascinating to see the upward trends in ticket prices over the years!
Q. (Weil/ephemera): Yeah, he’s played everywhere. And ticket prices have skyrocketed over the course of his career. What challenges or obstacles do you encounter in collecting? How do you overcome these challenges?
A. (Scalise): I know there’s a lot of folks out there who collect actual ticket stubs, and might be willing to share images with other Dylan fans. Connecting with these people and getting them to create and contribute images has been the hardest aspect of this project. First and foremost, I need to make people aware that the site exists. I try to post regularly on various Dylan message boards, and include the URL to my site. I have also contacted people I see regularly buying stubs on eBay. On the flip side, I’ve also made contact with collectors who have been extremely generous with scanning or photographing their collections for me. I cannot thank them enough for sharing their materials with the site, for everyone to enjoy.
Q. (Weil/ephemera): What are your favorite items in your digital collection?
A. (Scalise): Well first of all, I guess it’s sort of a weird thing to collect JPGs and other digital images. It’s not like collecting hard goods, where you can actually hold and admire the items. My collection is really about creating a digital archive for Dylan fans worldwide to enjoy, and to share these images which have been freely shared with me. That said, I really love the materials from the 1960s, since they tend to be fairly rare. The Newport ’65 stub image made me really happy, and was sent to me by the woman who actually attended the event with that particular ticket. I was thrilled to talk with her and add it to the archive.
Q. (Weil/ephemera): These are little pieces of people’s memories that you’re collecting. I’ve only seen Dylan live once, on the campus of Northwestern University. I wish I’d kept the ticket stub. What’s your advice for achieving success as a collector?
A. (Scalise): I think most successful collectors would describe themselves as fanatics for the materials they acquire. You have to really be fascinated by the material you collect, and this leads you to seek it out wherever you go, and to try and be the best in your particular niche, however silly it might seem. I’ve spent more time thinking about my Web site than I care to admit, but I feel like I can say that my site is the best of its kind, whatever kind that is!
Q. (Weil/ephemera): It’s a great site. You should be proud. What resources and tools do you recommend?
A. (Scalise): Since my hobby is digital in nature, I’ve had to spend a lot of time learning how to search the Web for images. I’ve discovered that many Web site images do not index at all on search engines, so when you do a Google image search for instance, you’re maybe getting 10 percent of what’s really out there. There’s also shared photo databases like Flickr and Webshots where you can find a lot of materials. You do have to wade through a lot of sites to find nuggets.
Q. (Weil/ephemera): Well, I hope people will find this interview and then surf on over to your site for a look around. Thanks for sharing these images, Mark. Again, it’s a real treat to feature ephemera related to Bob Dylan.
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