This much is certain: well into Dylan's performance of "Love Sick," a man with the words "Soy Bomb" painted on his bare torso appeared from behind the singer and then began a flailing, jerky dance next to Dylan. The legendary performer paid the uninvited dancer little mind as he writhed next to Dylan for what seemed to be forever until he was hustled away by security.
Beyond that, the story is as bewildering as the dance itself. On Thursday, the "New York Post" identified the man as 26-year-old Michael Portnoy, a self-described "multigenere mastermind artist" who also told the paper that he is "almost a vegetarian."
Portnoy told the "Post" that he was on stage as one of the young people recruited by the Grammys to sway and bop approvingly in the background during Dylan's performance, and that he cooked up his impromptu dance number as "an act of pure revolution."
Asked about the meaning of his cryptic "Soy Bomb" message, Portnoy told the "Post" that it refers to
"sort of life and death and explosion."
According to the "New York Daily News," Portnoy said his true message was about commercialism's intrusion into the world of art, and that somehow, "All art should be soy bombs."
The "Daily News" report also counters the "Post" report that Portnoy was invited to the Grammys. The "News" reports that the man (who despite his best efforts to shock the world didn't even wind up being the evening's top story thanks to Ol' Dirty Bastard) paid $200 to attend the ceremony.
Portnoy also told the "Daily News," "Bob Dylan is the past, and I'm the future of music."
Maybe not, but Portnoy has secured a spot in music history as a curious footnote.