Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Helena Modjeska and Modjeska Club Events

It is the middle of the summer and it is time to look back at our activities in the 2010-2011 season. We had a very busy and exciting year, with 15 events, ranging from concerts, to lectures, to film screenings, to poetry readings, and meetings with politicians and scientists. The documentation of our events is on the Modjeska Club Website, with links to event programs, announcements, photo albums and reviews.

After working on the publicity for our events and operations, I realized that the largest gap in our public presence is that of Helena Modjeska herself - our website did not include any information about her. I decided to not write a new entry, but rather use existing material. Therefore, I requested a right to reprint the entry on Modjeska from The Polish American Encyclopedia, edited by James Pula for McFarland Publishing and published in 2011. The entry was written by Krystyna Cap and provides a basic introduction to the life and legacy of Modjeska, including a limited list of references. I added some illustrations, and voila - here's our patron, Helena Modjeska. I am often asked if I am Helena, so I'm happy to be able to put that rumor to rest. No, I was not born in 1840!

However, I did visit Modjeska's Historic Home with actress Ewa Boryczko who wrote a wonderful play about Modjeska and performs the solo work herself. With Kris Cieply, the founder of Helena Modjeska Society of Orange County and the future Modjeska Museum we were interviewed about Helena Modjeska's presence in California for a Polish TV Polonia broadcast "Polska24", now available on YouTube. Lukasz Sochur previously recorded the Modjeska Prize Ceremony and a brief interview with Jan Nowicki.



A full list of events in 2011 is, at this time, only available in Polish as a PDF download on our website: Spis Spotkan PDF.

  • July 21, 2011 - Memorial Service for Tadeusz Bocianski (1935-2011), Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, Los Angeles.

  • June 19, 2011 - Poles to the South Pole, A travelogue by Bogdan Plewnia and Andrzej Jagoda (Antarctic) and Witold Fraczek (Chile), South Pasadena Public Library.

  • April 16, 2011 - "Milosz in My Life" with poets Dr. John Z. Guzlowski and Cecilia Woloch (USC), and special guest Marek Probosz reciting Milosz's poetry in Polish. A celebration of the Milosz Year. Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.

  • March 26, 2011 - "Cosmos - the Real Poetry” presented by JPL/NASA scientists - Artur Chmielewski, Andrew Dowen, David Lehman, Witold Sokolowski and Marek Tuszynski, JPL Van Karman Auditorium, Pasadena.

  • March 12, 2011 - Meeting with Jan Kidawa-Blonski, including a conversation with Andrzej Maleski and fragments from The Little Rose film, Beverly Hills.

  • February 19, 2011 - "Mickiewicz Today" with Professors Roman Koropeckyj (UCLA) and Leonard Kress (Owens College), featuring a special guest appearance by eminent actress Beata Pozniak Daniels accompanied by pianist Sue Zhou, Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.

  • January 22, 2011 - "Travel to Tibet" with Edward and Maria Pilatowicz, screening of film and conversations with long-time club members and past-presidents. Home of Monique and David Lehman, Pasadena.

  • December 31, 2010 - New Year's Eve Ball at the Long Beach Petroleum Club, based on a theme "In a Winter Wonderland..."

  • December 11, 2010 - Christmas Concert, Caroling and Reception with guitarist Arek Niezgoda, violist and jazz singer Karolina Naziemiec, and Bulgarian cellist Irina Chirkova. Residence of Jolanta and Alex Wilk, Anaheim Hills.

  • November 21, 2010 - “To Save from Oblivion: The Cabaret of Jeremi Przybora and Jerzy Wasowski” illustrated with songs from the Old Gents’ Cabaret (Kabaret Starszych Panów), performed by members of Club PIE, Poles in Inland Empire. Long Beach Petroleum Club.

  • October 17, 2010 - First Annual Modjeska Prize for Jan Nowicki. Meeting with Jan Nowicki and Malgorzata Potocka, in conversation with Maja Trochimczyk. Residence of
    Helena and Stanley Kolodziey, Beverly Hills.

  • October 16, 2010 - Conversation with Leszek Balcerowicz and Consul General Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, Residence of Helena and Stanley Kolodziey, Beverly Hills.

  • October 10, 2010 - "Concert of Romantic Music" by Marta Wryk, soprano and Adam Kosmieja, piano, Celebrating the Chopin Year, South Pasadena Public Library.

  • September 11, 2010 - "Kapuscinski and Domoslawski" - screening of a documentary by Gabrielle Pfeiffer and interview with Artur Domoslawski by Dorota Czajka-Olszewska, Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.

  • August 13, 2010 - Premiere of a documentary "Labyrinth" about Auschwitz survivor and artist, Marian Kolodziej, Arclight Hollywood.

  • August 6, 2010 - Premiere of "A Fantasy on Polish Airs" - ballet to Chopin music by Stefan Wenta, by the Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles, Ford Amphitheater.



    The Polish-American Encyclopedia is a monumental, multi-author effort, the largest recent project of the Polish-American Historical Association. This encyclopedic reference work has three types of entries: thematic essays, topical entries, and biographical entries. The essays synthesize existing work to provide interpretations of, and insight into, important aspects of the Polish American experience. The topical entries identify specific places, events or organizations. The biographical entries identify Polish Americans who have made significant contributions at the regional or national level either to the history and culture of the United States, or to the development of American Polonia. There are over 1,000 entries prepared by more than 120 authors who have contributed to the project. The final manuscript is over 630,000 words, which equates to 1,000 typed pages, single-spaced.

    More information about the Encyclopedia on McFarland Website. The encyclopedia was sponsored by the Polish American Historical Association that also published several news items about the Modjeska Club's activities in its semi-annual newsletters (Fall 2010 on Nowicki and Labyrinth and Spring 2011 on Milosz and Mickiewicz). My paper on the 40 years of history of the Modjeska Club was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America and will be repeated at the meeting of the Polish American Historical Association in January 2012.



    Fragment of Helena Modjeska's portrait by Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz, 1880.

    Ewa Boryczko and Maja Trochimczyk in Modjeska's garden at Arden, Silverado Canyon, Orange County. Photo by Lukasz Soczur, 2011.
  • 1 comment:

    1. Maja, the Modjeska article is wonderful. Thank you for posting it.