For the newfound Albuquerque crowd too lazy to go out and pick up the morning paper and too impecunious to subscribe (you know who you are): I commend your attention to Leanne Potts’ story in this morning’s paper (secret decoder ring link) about the Wild West show opening at Magnifico downtown next Friday.
I’ve always had a vague understanding of the power of Wild West iconography in German culture, on account of the German tourists one always meets traipsing about the desert of the Four Corners (a friend jokes that you can always tell the German tourists – they’re the ones wearing sandals and dark socks). Leanne’s discussion with Stefka Ammon, the German artist who organized the show, added a great deal to my vague understanding:
So why does the mystique of the American West hang on long after we all should know better?
“I think it is- oh, my Native American friends, forgive me this – because people still perceive (the West) as open and empty, a screen for all our imaginations, like a promised land,” Ammon says. “Like, ‘If I only were there I could be doing what I really wanted, I could really be myself.’ ”
That speaks volumes, I think, to our own understanding of The West.