Sturm, Twang and the Imaginary Wild West in Europe
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Exhibit on Lucky Luke opens June 2
An exhibit on the cartoon cowboy Lucky Luke opens June 2 at the Karikatur Museum in Krems, Austria -- I'm hoping to get there to see it. Lucky Luke is an immensely popular comic book series created in the 1940s by the Belgian cartoonist Maurice De Bevere, better known as Morris.
The exhibition will run until November 17. It will include original drawings as well as material about the Imaginary Wild West (and -- maybe -- the historic one) and there are various events connected to it.
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.