Andy Warhol: The Carpatho-Rusyn King of American Pop Art (4/21/2017)

April 21, 2017 
Embassy of the Slovak Republic 
3523 International Ct NW
Washington, DC
6:30 PM

Dr. Elaine Rusinko will make a slide presentation on “Andy Warhol: The Carpatho-Rusyn King of American Pop Art”

Andy Warhol is the world’s most famous American of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry; the icons of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church were his first exposure to art.  The fall of communism in Eastern Europe (not long after Warhol’s unexpected 1987 death) gave rise to the Rusyn identity movement, which embraced the flamboyant pop artist, filmmaker, and jet setter as an iconic figurehead. Rusyns—traditional, religious, provincial—have reconstructed their own unique image of Andy, emphasizing aspects of him that have gone largely unnoticed. In turn, Warhol has had a significant impact on the Carpatho-Rusyn movement, and on the recognition of Rusyns worldwide.

This slide presentation establishes Warhol’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity and explores its influence on his art and his persona. It also looks at the Rusyns’ reception of Warhol, with a focus on the Warhola family’s ancestral village and the Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Slovakia. The presentation will demonstrate to art scholars and fans of pop culture that recognition of the Rusyn Andy Warhol contributes to a distinctive perspective on the American Andy Warhol.

Elaine Rusinko is Associate Professor of Russian in the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After completing a Ph.D. in Russian literature at Brown University, she wrote numerous articles on modern Russian poetry. Upon the emergence of the Rusyn movement for identity in Eastern Europe in 1989, she turned her attention to Carpatho-Rusyn culture.  Rusinko is the author of Straddling Borders:  Literature and Identity in Subcarpathian Rus’ (2003). Her translations of present-day Rusyn literature were published as “God is a Rusyn”: An Anthology of Contemporary Carpatho-Rusyn Literature (2011). Her interest in Andy Warhol stems from their common Carpatho-Rusyn ethnic background. She is currently writing a biography of Andy’s mother, Julia Warhola.

Copies of Dr. Rusinko’s monograph, “We Are All Warhol’s Children”; Andy and the Rusyns, will be available for purchase.

Please send your RSVP to rsvp@dcslovaks.org

This event is co-sponsored by the National Capital Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society.

 

 

 

Accidental Hero at Ford’s Theatre – April 2nd

Ford’s Theatre Society, the American Friends of the Czech Republic, and Mr. and Mrs. Frederic V. Malek cordially invite you and a guest to attend a special performance of “The Accidental Hero,” a miraculous true story about freedom, World War II, and the inescapable question, “Who am I?”

Ford’s Theatre
511 Tenth Street, NW,
Washington, DC
Sunday, April 2, 2017

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Performance followed by a conversation with the artist.

“The Accidental Hero” is written and performed by Patrick Dewane, telling the true story of his grandfather, a World War II officer who miraculously liberated his own grandparents’ native villages in Czechoslovakia. 

Patrick Dewane’s grandfather refused to talk about his service in the war. Yet when he died, his basement yielded a treasure trove of typewritten accounts, photos and rare film footage. 

Dewane brings this archival material to glowing life as an enthralling, humorous and heartwarming tale of miraculous escapes and astonishing coincidences. Dewane takes on a dozen different roles as he powerfully recounts his grandfather’s journey from Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, and the end of WWII.

Reserve tickets online at www.fords.org/productions/accidental-hero/

Book Talk: Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity (2/23/2017)

socialist-modernity

Kimberly_Zarecor_web

February 23, 2017
Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW
Washington, DC
6:00 PM

Professor Kimberly Zarecor of Iowa State University will give a talk on her recent book, Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960.

Eastern European prefabricated housing blocks are often vilified as the visible manifestations of everything that was wrong with state socialism. For many inside and outside the region, the uniformity of these buildings became symbols of the dullness and drudgery of everyday life. Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity complicates this common perception. Analyzing the cultural, intellectual, and professional debates surrounding the construction of mass housing in early postwar Czechoslovakia, Zarecor shows that these housing blocks served an essential function in the planned economy and reflected an interwar aesthetic, derived from constructivism and functionalism, that carried forward into the 1950s.

With a focus on prefabricated and standardized housing built from 1945 to 1960, Zarecor offers broad and innovative insights into the country’s transition from capitalism to state socialism. She demonstrates that during this shift, architects and engineers consistently strove to meet the needs of Czechs and Slovaks despite challenging economic conditions, a lack of material resources, and manufacturing and technological limitations. In the process, architects were asked to put aside their individual creative aspirations and transform themselves into technicians and industrial producers.

Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity is the first comprehensive history of architectural practice and the emergence of prefabricated housing in the Eastern Bloc. Through discussions of individual architects and projects, as well as building typologies, professional associations, and institutional organization, it opens a rare window into the cultural and economic life of Eastern Europe during the early postwar period.

RSVP by February 22 to https://booktalkwithkimberly.eventbrite.com

Please Note: No bags or suitcases allowed at the Czech Embassy. Only small purses are permitted, but will be checked at the door. You must pass through security for entrance. RSVP confirmation and photo ID required. Doors open at 5:30 pm and close at 6:15 pm.

Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity is available through AmazonSmile. Please click on the link below whenever you shop on Amazon and you’ll help support the SASW.

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1906440

Contributions to the SASW will only be made on purchases through the AmazonSmile website.

Book Discussion: Out Of This Furnace (June 2017)

Dr. Charles Sabatos will discuss Thomas Bell’s classic historical novel, Out Of This Furnace, which tells the tale of a Slovak/Rusyn family in Braddock, PA from their migration in 1881 from Austria-Hungary to the United States and their lives until World War II.

Out Of This Furnace is available through AmazonSmile. Please click on the link below whenever you shop on Amazon and you’ll help support the SASW.

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1906440

Contributions to the SASW will only be made on purchases through the AmazonSmile website.

 

Svätý Mikuláš (St. Nicholas) Party

mikulas5sPlease join us on Sunday, December 4th, to celebrate the tradition of Svätý Mikuláš at the Slovak Embassy from 2:00-5:00 pm. We will have a delicious Slovak buffet dinner prepared by the Slovak Embassy Chef, live music by Orchester Praževica, a silent auction for City University, and of course a visit from Svätý Mikuláš.

In 2016, the SASW funded five scholarships for City University students, and we would like to surpass that number in 2017.  This year, thanks to a generous anonymous donor, proceeds from our book sales, silent auction, and your donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $1,500.

The ticket prices for this year’s party are as follows:img6

$30.00 – SASW Individual Member (One adult + children)

$40.00 – Individual Non-member (One adult + children)

$50.00 – SASW Family Membership (Two adults + children)

$70.00 – Family Non-member (Two adults + children)

Those attending with small children should bring one small gift per child (wrapped and clearly labeled with the child’s name) to receive from Svätý Mikuláš. Drop off gifts at the front table, as you enter. Please encourage your child to learn a short poem or song, in Slovak or English, to present to Svätý Mikuláš, as is the Slovak custom.

Please send an email to info@dcslovaks.org to receive a reservation form. Your prepaid reservation is due at 6 pm on Wednesday, November 30th. Mail your reservation form and check made payable to the SASW, to the following address:

SASW

P.O. Box 2502

Springfield, VA 22152-2502

Book Talk: “Dreams of a Great Small Nation” by Kevin McNamara

October 22, 2016
Slovak Embassy
2:00 – 4:00 PM

Following our annual meeting on Saturday, October 22nd we are hosting a talk by the author Kevin McNamara about his recent well-received book, “Dreams of a Great Small Nation” at the Slovak Embassy.

In 1917, two empires that had dominated much of Europe and Asia teetered on the edge of the abyss, exhausted by the ruinous cost, in blood and treasure, of World War I. As Imperial Russia and Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary began to succumb, a small group of Czech and Slovak combat veterans stranded in Siberia saw an opportunity to realize their long-held dream of independence. While their plan was audacious and complex, and involved moving their 50,000-strong army by land and sea across three-quarters of the earth’s expanse, their commitment to fighting for the Allies on the Western Front riveted the attention of Allied London, Paris, and Washington.

On their journey across Siberia, a brawl erupted at a remote Trans-Siberian rail station that sparked a wholesale rebellion. The marauding Czecho-Slovak Legion seized control of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and with it Siberia. In the end, this small band of POWs and deserters, whose strength was seen by Leon Trotsky as the chief threat to Soviet rule, helped destroy the Austro-Hungarian Empire and found Czecho-Slovakia. British prime minister David Lloyd George called their adventure “one of the greatest epics of history,” and former U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt declared that their accomplishments were “unparalleled, so far as I know, in ancient or modern warfare.”

Kevin J. McNamara followed the path taken by the Czecho-Slovak Legion shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, traveling almost 2,000 miles along the Trans-Siberian Railway. He was subsequently awarded research grants by the Earhart and Tawani Foundations to acquire and translate from Czech to English first-hand accounts by the men who had served in the Legion, which were published in Prague in the 1920s, but were suppressed following the Nazi and Soviet conquests of Czecho-Slovakia.

A former journalist for Calkins Media Inc., and a former aide to the late U.S. Congressman R. Lawrence Coughlin, McNamara is an Associate Scholar of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and a former contributing editor to its quarterly journal, Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs. He earned a B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in international politics from Temple University, where he was a student of the noted military historian, Russell F. Weigley.

http://www.fpri.org/article/2016/06/epic-misadventure-historic-achievement-remarkable-story-czecho-slovak-legion/

 

Book Talk: Confessions of A Refugee

September 17, 2016
Jenkins’ House
Great Falls, VA
2:00 – 4:00 PM

Have you ever wondered how some Slovaks have come to be here? What twists and turns their lives took? Some of them could fill a book…and here’s one that has. The SASW invites you to hear the interesting story of how George and Judy Mesko left their home in then-Czechoslovakia for a short-term trip in 1968 that turned into the journey of a lifetime.

georgemesko