Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The ghost of Elvis Presley emerges alive and well at a Budapest park

"Elvis Lives" photograph by Peter Fitz (2011)

As curator and Budapest Municipal Museum director Peter Fitz drove me to a metro station yesterday (21 June), we slowed to view one of the new marvels of Budapest.

A bright, new street sign: "Elvis Presley Park."

Fitz muses over the role of art and politics in Budapest.

"The new mayor has decided to create not only confusion it seems but a fair amount of humor," he says. 

Two weeks ago, in one of his first strokes of unilateral power, the politico decided to start renaming century old streets, a few of them.

Why Elvis?

Fitz tells this story.

Peter Fitz photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

In 1957, Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan television variety show in a fund-raiser for the Hungarian victims of the 1956 failed revolution against the Soviet-imposed regime.

The featured song: "Jailhouse Rock," appropriate perhaps as hundreds of Hungarians languished in jails, many awaiting trial and imprisonment or worse.

His Honor is an Elvis fan, like millions of us. Elvis did not have any Hungarian blood flowing in his veins. 

Because of the King of Rock's support for the Hungarian people, however, the mayor declared Elvis an honorary citizen, named a park and a street after him. 

Call it pop rock art?

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler™

Check out a sculpture or mosaics workshop or walking tour in our beautiful mountains. See: and

"Sierra Sky," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

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