Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Tommy Ramone

Hey -- this has nothing to do with anything normally discussed in this blog, but it's possibly the most fascinating DC event I've seen. If you're in the area, I can likely get you an invite.

Tommy Ramone and Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi to Speak at the Embassy of Hungary, Washington, D.C.

Dialogue to focus on rock music and its role in political change

Washington, DC -- In an event co-sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, D.C., Tommy Ramone of the seminal punk group the Ramones and Andras Simonyi, the Hungarian ambassador to the U.S., will speak at the Embassy of Hungary on November 18, 2004.

In the course of the evening, entitled "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World: Rock and Roll as a Force for Freedom on Both Sides of the Iron Curtain," Mr. Ramone and Amb. Simonyi will discuss their personal experiences with rock music and the impact that it made in their parallel lives on either side of the Iron Curtain. Mr. Ramone will be speaking about coming to America, the formation of the Ramones, and the beginnings of punk and alternative music.

Tommy Ramone, the only surviving original member of the Ramones, was born Tamas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, in 1952. He and his parents fled the communist dictatorship in 1956, when Tommy was only four years old. They settled in New York, where Tommy went on to become the first -- and some would say most influential -- drummer of the Ramones.

Ambassador Andras Simonyi was also born in 1952, a few streets down from Tommy's home. He learned to play blues guitar at an early age, even working with such would-be stars as Hungary's Lokomotiv GT group. Although he went on to become a diplomat, he has never abandoned the guitar. He now plays in a band with American friends.

Tommy Ramone and Ambassador Simonyi met earlier this year in New York. As members of the same generation, and as fellow musicians, they had much to talk about. Both have a strong conviction about rock music as a force for freedom, but Tommy grew up on the free, and Ambassador Simonyi, on the unfree side of the Iron Curtain.

The dialogue between Mr. Ramone and Amb. Simonyi will moderated by Chuck D. Young, a writer for Rolling Stone, who has covered the Ramones for the magazine since their early years.