Bea Aaronson's Lectures.



Thursday September 24 at 3:00 central time


Bohemes: Myth, Art & Reality. The Representation of Gypies, Gitanos, Tsiganes, The Rom


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by Béa Aaronson PhD


You’ve all heard of La Vie de Bohême! Maybe through Puccini’s opéra, or maybe through reading Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Balzac and Zola! The artist anti-bourgeois way of life, making love amidst canvases, colors and brushes, wine stained music partitions and poems on the floor, in a cold attic room, with a meager fire burning in an old poêle, with candle light and a plate of watery soup and bread? Ah! Vivre d’amour et d’eau Fraîche...A romanticized view of poverty and creativity if there is one! In this presentation, I invite to meet the first ones, the real ones, Les Gens du Voyage, the itinerant Bohemians, the nomadic Gypsies.


There are many questions. Why and when artists, poets, musicians were called Bohemians in the first place? Who are the Bohemians? Is it the appropriate term? And then what about the Gypsies, the Gitanos, the Tsiganes, the Cingany, the Manouches, the Rom? Who are these people? Where do they come from? How are they perceived and represented?


Art can indeed create myths and stereotypes. I will attempt to dispel the myths and reveal the reality about the Gypsies, erroneously named because there were believed to descend from Egyptians!


Through a vastly documented lecture, I shall unravel for you the power of art in creating and sustaining myths. I shall reveal the reality about these resilient, awe-inspiring Travelers who today still suffer the malevolent blows of prejudice.


From the fortune teller, thief, dirty, untouchable stereotyped image created throughout centuries by governments and artists, to the 19th Century romanticizing and then the persecution of Gypsies during the Holocaust, to the glory days of Django Reinhardt, Manitas de Plata, and the mercantlization of the Gypsy image in the 20th Century, to the social, political status of the Rom today, I will attempt to  offer you a truthful panoramic understanding of these lovers of freedom and life. This lecture will harmonize together Art, Cultural, Social and Political History. Be ready for an emotional journey!