I'm looking exhausted after the conference, which was rich and extremely stimulating but kept us going from 8:30 a.m. through the day. The presentations covered a vast range of topics relating to country music and threads radiating from and around it. Check the conference web site for the full list of papers and presenters.
At night, I supplemented the intellectual intake by catching music -- a concert by Johnny Western and Rex Allen, Jr one night then, the next, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, followed by sort of honky tonking at a club called the Basement. (I marvel how a place like this is smoke-free.) Thanks to Holly George-Warren, for getting us in to these places and taking me along! Holly's biography of Gene Autry was awarded ICMC's book of the year prize.
For several years I've been exploring the imaginary wild west in contemporary Europe -- observing and experiencing the many ways that Europeans embrace the mythology of the American Frontier to enhance, imbue or create their own identities. (Or, indeed, just have fun.) On this blog I will post pictures, stories and links relating to this multi-faceted subculture, from European country music to rodeos, theme parks, round-ups and saloons....
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years and currently coordinate the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant. In 2015 I was the Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, SC.