Tag Archives: Peter Roloff

Bossel in Bay

Join us in Bay. Tour the historic Bay Mercantile Store and meet others with the help of the very social game of Bossel on Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 12 noon to 4 pm. What is Bossel? It is played by Germans who live in the northwest of Germany at the Northern Sea. It is very popular there and the people of East Frisia dream of Bossel becoming an Olympic sport in the very distant future. The game is played on small streets with round Bossel balls. We will have four teams Red, Blue, Yellow and Black as we have four balls. The distance from start to end is about one mile. The goal is to be the team that reaches the end, with the fewest number of throws. Each throw ends and is counted from the point where the Bossel ball comes to a standstill on the street. Join one of the Bossel ball teams, all ages, sexes, incomes, and hair colors are welcome! Or simply accompany the players. German refreshments are provided during the game to protect participants, both mentally and physically, against the chill of a November day in Missouri! Warm-up after Bossel, enjoy bread & soup and an Award Ceremony for the Missourian Bossel Heroes.
Our Meeting point is the former Bay Mercantile in Bay, located on County Route K, just south of the intersection with Fowler Road. Bay is south of Hermann Missouri in the very heart of Gasconade County.  Also that day you can Tour the Bay Mercantile and residence currently in the state of renovation. View numerous historical artifacts and learn more about the process of historic preservation. Google Maps for Bay Missouri

This day is planned in memory of Scott Ruffner, who passed away unexpectedly in May of this year. We will gather to celebrate what would have been his 67th birthday on November 5 in the Bay Mercantile store. It was Scott’s dream to establish a museum about Bay in the former Bay Mercantile and post office building, which he bought for this purpose. He hoped to recruit both volunteers and funding to make this a reality. This restoration project continues with support from his friends and family!
Join us in Bay.

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Peter Roloff playing Bossel
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1917: The Real October

In 1917 St. Petersburg, the frontline of the global war moves closer every day, and the Russian people are hungry, worried, and angry. When the tsar is overthrown in February, the revolutionary poets, thinkers, and avant-gardists are euphoric — freedom at last! — but those hopes are dashed when, starting in October, the Bolsheviks rule by themselves. An inventive telling of the Russian Revolution that employs a combination of archival footage and cut-out animation, “1917: The Real October” offers a smart, complex, and playful version of history, focusing not on Lenin but on an array of Tsarist critics, including the bourgeois writer and critic Zinaida Gippius, the social-realist revolutionary Maxim Gorky, the art and culture preservationist Alexandre Benois, and the rebellious futurist artist Vladimir Mayakovsky. Using these individuals’ own words and writings, the film provides intriguing detail about the messiness of the insurgent process and the constant jockeying between different types of revolutionaries. Providing a welcome break from its dense, multifaceted history of Russia, filmmaker Katrin Rothe also self-reflexively incorporates the creation of her animation into the storyline, with the featured characters springing to life from the director’s piles of books.

1917 THE REAL OCTOBER  Film Showing: See Trailer

Thursday, November 9, 2017 6:45 pm  Plaza Frontenac Theater

The 26th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF)  continues to provide the opportunity for St. Louis filmgoers to view the finest in world cinema — international films, documentaries, American indies, and shorts that can only be seen on the big screen at the festival.

We also present our usual array of fest buzz films and Oscar contenders, including “The Ballad of Lefty Brown,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Darkest Hour,” “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” “Last Flag Flying,” “The Leisure Seeker,” “My Friend Dahmer,” “Thoroughbreds,” “The Upside,” and “Walking Out.”

SLIFF honors a quartet of significant film figures with our annual awards: Pam Grier (“Bad Grandmas” and “Jackie Brown”) with a Women in Film Award; Sam Pollard (“Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” and “ACORN and the Firestorm”) with a Lifetime Achievement Award; Marco Williams (“Tell Them We Are Rising”) with a Contemporary Cinema Award; and Washington U. grad Dan Mirvish (the Jules Feiffer-written “Bernard and Huey”) with a Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award.

For a Complete listing http://www.cinemastlouis.org/

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Utopia – and the Power of Partnership

During the summer of 2009, I received an unusual email from Peter Roloff asking “if there was anything left of the Germans in Missouri?”  Not knowing Herr Roloff, I thought the question strange, wondering where on earth was this person that they would ask such a question.  Roloff was in Berlin, Germany and was head of the Traveling Sommer-Republik, a group of Germans interested specifically in the Giessen Emigration Society. I answered his email immediately with “of course! Missouri is very German!”.

The TSR had come together, after a question from Roloff’s close friend and script writer, Henry Schneider, asking him if he was aware of a group of over five-hundred Germans called the Giessen Emigration Society who had fled Germany in 1834. There had been summer

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meetings in Bremen of Germans focused on the GES since 2004. Back in 1833, an emigration society had been formed by two young Germans, Paul Follenius (brother of Karl Follen) and Friedrich Muench, best friends, brother-in-laws, and former students at the University of Giessen. After reading Gottfried Duden’s Report on Missouri in 1829, and several years of youthful energy and involvement in the failed Revolution of 1832 Follenius had agreed to join his friend Muench if their project could be “done on a grand scale” so that many could benefit.

When founders Muench and Follenius published A Call for an Emigration at Large hoping to convince a few of their youthful friends to join them in September of 1833, they were amazed when thousands from all walks of life, and religions, wanted to join them. Plans began in earnest, the rules and Statutes were established and the lives, and the lives of their descendants, would be changed forever. Murphy’s Law establishes that everything does not always go as planned, and this group was certainly no exception. Their story as emigrants is dramatic and inspirational, as an example of what emigrants from Germany to the U.S. experienced in the 19th Century. It is the power of over 500 Germans who came together with one dream. The Germans that would remain behind, as their descendants today will explain, described the group as going to “their Utopia.” A fact that many Americans today have forgotten, is that America would ever even be considered such a place.

The TSR’s own adventure began that summer with their own visit to Missouri that they called “A Trip to a Forgotten Utopia” that was filmed for their fellow researchers A Trip to A Forgotten Utopia(writers, artists, screen writers, photographers) back home. When the film was released at the next gathering of the TSR in 2010 I was invited to join them in Bremen. I was amazed to find myself in a film of my own back yard, explaining history of Missouri, to hundreds of Germans who were extremely interested, knowledgeable and aware of the story!  In the days that followed our conversations led to a discussion to doing more collaborations. In 2011, the TSR would return to Missouri and with the Missouri Germans Consortium, would share the story and generate even more interest in the collaborative project..

The discussions, and back and forth and subsequent visits, led to a decision to produce a collaborative book, in both English and German, that was about the GES, by writers and scholars who had studied the group and the subject. Then, Roloff secured funding for the

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Utopia: November 1, 2013 – April 19, 2015

project from Germany!  This led to the exhibit Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America being produced and touring across Germany. Friends in the U.S. at the German-American Heritage Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis Missouri wanted to bring the film, book, and exhibit to America, and the collaborative cooperation between Germany and the U.S. continued. The entire project was successful, as it toured, bringing the subject of German emigration to the U.S. and using the Giessen Emigration Society as an example, to nearly 100,000 people across both countries.

This story reminds us that we were all most likely, once an emigrant. To flee one’s country, the only home one has known, and to leave one’s family, friends and treasures behind, is not a decision made lightly. To place faith and hope in a dream that they will find refuge in a safe haven for one’s family is all one dares to wish for. My favorite quote, by Winston Churchill is “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” speaks to this issue. As I look back today on the close of Utopia, just one year ago in America, I see a Germany experiencing a similar situation to what Missouri and the U.S. did in the 19th Century, as millions of refugees seek a safe haven.

The pride that we Americans feel in being considered a Utopia when we hear the story of the Giessen Emigraton Society, is the same pride that the thousands of Germans welcoming refugees today feel, and one day thousands of their children will feel. They will be descendants of those today in Germany that are “stepping up to the plate” as we Americans call it, to “do the right thing”. The entire world watches, and hopes and dreams for peace. A lasting peace that will allow those who have fled to return to their homeland safely.

America no longer has the open door that allowed the Giessen Emigration Society and millions of more emigrants to come in the 19th Century. But I believe that the American spirit that makes us want to help our fellow man is still alive. Hopefully, while some choose to help those here at home, some will recall their ancestors and their struggle. German is still the largest ethnic group in America, and if they can look back, then the vision going forward could really be a brighter one for millions of refugees. While an emigrant chooses a destination and is hoping to make a new home, a refugee flees for many of the same reasons, only with hopes to return home someday. I believe that the human spirit  and desire to help, no matter what one’s race or religion, remains alive in people of all countries. The Utopia exhibition is an example of what can happen when a few people work together in a collaboration, just imagine what the world would be like today if entire countries could work together in a partnership like this.