Here's the poster
SW Location Cinecitta Studios, Rome, Italy
7 hours ago
Sturm, Twang and the Imaginary Wild West in Europe
|Lubos Malina plays banjo with the Czech Band Druha Trava, at Dobrofest, Trnava, Slovakia, 2006|
Born in Florida but raised in Georgia by a Baptist preacher, Asbury played Sambo in stage productions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin before becoming a noted vocalist with the original Unique Quartette and a celebrated banjoist on the vaudeville stage. His banjo songs were popular in phonograph arcades all over the country in the early 1890s, years before phonographs went into people’s homes. He did yeoman work for the infant phonograph companies–churning out wax cylinders, a few at a time, for seven years–before disappearing abruptly from the annals of the stage and recording history[...].
The oldest recording on the set dates to about 1891, making it the oldest known banjo recording in private hands. Asbury played in the old minstrel “stroke” banjo style that virtually disappeared from the vernacular and has only in recent years been rediscovered and reinvigorated by scholars of American banjo music.
|Me at the Western Park in Boskovice|
|My first view of Wild West City, in 1997 - out of season|
Some people compare Europe's current interest in Jewish culture with the United States' interest in Native Americans. To be sure, I have seen Indian dolls wearing beaded costumes for sale in the Denver train station that reminded me of the "Jewish" puppets and figures I have photographed in Prague, Krakow, and Venice.
I was not surprised, therefore, by two posters I found on display in the Boskovice tourist office. One is for a jazz festival whose proceeds are to go toward renovation of the Jewish quarter. The other advertises a rodeo at a place called "Wild West City: Boskovice's Western Town." It features photographs of people dressed up like American Indians riding horses, with corrals, rickety wooden structures and even tepees in the background. A handbill shows a seductive Indian maiden looking over her shoulder.
I found Wild West City on my map, the edge of Boskovice, and stopped there on my way out of town. It is a theme park set up in an old quarry that resembles a stage set from a John Ford movie, replete with a flimsy wooden saloon and general store. A sign at the entrance reads, "Indian Territory." Another notes the kilometers to various spots in the American West -- most of them spelled incorrectly. It's off-season The place is deserted. The only sound is that of hoofbeats, as a costumed employee rides a horse round and round the repro corral.
|Boskovice's Wild West main street|
|In the Boskovice "Indian Village"|
|Performance at Boskovice Wild West city in 2004|
|Twin Pigs main street, toward saloon|
|Twin Pigs Indian Village|
|Twin Pigs ferris wheel|
|Twin Pigs Main Street|