A quixotic figure, Vasile Avramenko (1895-1981) used folk culture and modern media in a life-long crusade to promote Ukraine’s struggle for independence to North American audiences. From his base in New York City, he built a network of folk dance schools and produced musical spectacles to help Ukrainian immigrants sustain their identity. His feature-length Ukrainian language films made in the 1930s with Hollywood director Edgar G. Ulmer, the “king of ethnic and B movies,” were shown throughout North America. Orest T. Martynowych’s The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause is a fascinating portrait how culture can become a political tool in a diaspora community.
About the Author
Orest T. Martynowych is a historian at the Centre for Ukrainian-Canadian Studies, University of Manitoba. He is the author of Ukrainians in Canada: The Formative Years, 1891-1924.
Table of Contents
List of Photographs viii
Prologue: World Premier at the Orpheum 1
Chapter 1 The Man and His Mission 5
Chapter 2 Dance Master 23
Chapter 3 Motion Picture Producer 71
Chapter 4 Fugitive 122
Epilogue: The Legacy Tour 146
What People are Saying About This
“Martynowych succeeds beautifully at telling a life story that is captivating to read and powerfully convincing. Avramenko was a pioneer of monumental importance, yet his story does not fit the archetype of the Ukrainian immigrant. It is an edifying text for anyone interested in studies of folk dance and cultural production, and indispensable for those in Ukrainian studies.”