Three years and three trips to New York later – not to mention innumerable hours spent editing about 60 hours of footage – The Ballad of AJ Weberman is the result of their labour. In their own words, it’s a “feature length documentary that chronicles the life, times and crimes of AJ Weberman the notorious Dylan obsessive and inventor of ‘Garbology’.”
To help promote the film, ArthurSteenHorneAdamson (ASHA) has created, in collaboration with Ralfe, a promotional pack of stickers, badges and other bits of printed ephemera that celebrate the characters that appear in the film – such as Lower East Side beat poet David Peel and Weberman’s friend Jay Byrd – along with some of the phrases and soundbites they use when recalling past escapades.
“Oly originally wanted a poster,” recalls ASHA’s Marksteen Adamson, “but we thought it would be fun to create an identity that could be badged onto other stuff. Here in the UK, no one really knows about Weberman and his invention of the term ‘Garbology’ (sifting through someone’s rubbish to find out more about their lifestyle),” he explains, “But in New York he was often on the news or on chat shows.” Weberman dedicated a large part of his life to interpreting Dylan’s lyrics – an area of study he felt could be helped by rummaging through Dylan’s trash. “So,” Adamson continues, “we wanted to create a smörgåsbord of rubbish to make up the press pack for this film – as if we had rifled through Weberman’s bin, but hopefully it’s stuff that you don’t want to throw away.”
The contents of the pack include a DVD of the film designed to look like a Dylan record – which references a scene in the film where Weberman takes an axe to a Dylan record in order to “free Dylan”. A brown, ripped-open envelope complete with English postmark, houses an invite to the Slamdance screening of the film. ASHA designer Sion Phillips even sourced an old Dylan gig poster which he faithfully pastiched to create one for the film. All of the materials were created at ASHA on a shoestring budget. Ralfe took around 400 of the press packs to the Slamdance film festival in Park City, Utah and gave them away to promote the film.
A sheet of 12 Ballad of AJ Weberman stickers is included in each copy of Creative Review this month