Welcome to World at a Glance, yet another infrequent series here on Sophie’s World. These are intended to be short posts, with a photo that is either curious or evocative, that gave me pause; pause to think, laugh, cry, wonder… Let’s begin with curious.
Frank Zappa in Vilnius
What is Frank Zappa doing in Vilnius? What is the connection? The unconventional singer died in 1993, just a few years after the break-up of the Soviet Union and Lithuanian independence. Had he managed to visit this tiny country towards the end of his life? Was his family from Lithuania?
Turns out Frank Zappa had no association at all with this little Baltic country – apart from an enthusiastic fan. And a desire to replace Soviet icons with, well, something else.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania, like other countries in the region, couldn’t be rid of Soviet symbols quick enough. Down they went, statues of Lenin, Stalin, Karl Marx and others, leaving heaps of empty pedestals. But what to replace Lenin with? Something to mark the end of communism, obviously.
Enter Saulius Paukstys, a civil servant, photographer and founder of the Frank Zappa Fan Club. Amazingly, he managed to convince city authorities to erect a statue of the dead singer in the centre of Vilnius. In 1995, the statue was unveiled to the tune of a Zappa hit parade by brass band.
Wow! I haven’t known that there is a Zappa sculpture in Lithuania, we also have on in my hometown. Ma father has been such a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, and so do I:)
A statue of Robert Plant, perhaps… 🙂
I never would have guessed that there was a Frank Zappa statue anywhere in the world let alone in Vilnius – definitely a great quirky fact!
Very quirky 🙂
Love the story. I came across a Charlie Chaplin statue in a little town on the west coast of Ireland – turned out he used to visit (maybe he had some fans there too) – and often enough that they erected a statue.
I’d like to see that Chaplin statue.
I love the randomness of it all and wonder what other out of place statues there are in ex Soviet Block countries. The mind boggles.
Would be fun to explore that, wouldn’t it…
Beautiful statue 🙂
quite a good likeness
Love unusual and unexpected things like these — they make traveling so much fun.
It also makes me appreciate the power of an idea and how one person can create change in the world. Pretty darn cool!
Well said, Marcia.
[…] read a blog post today on a travel blog about a statue of American musician Frank Zappa that is in Vilnius, […]
If you ever get to Seattle, head to Fremont. You’ll have a month’s worth of these types of curiosities to post. . .this is a great series. You’ve given me an idea!
Cool. Seattle it is then 🙂
Looooove Zappa – John and I are HUGE fans. I love stumbling on things like this too, especially when it’s an artist I really like.
Zappa was quite a character, wasn’t he…
I think it’s great that the council agreed to build the statue…what fun!
Mr. Paukstys must be a persuasive type, I think.
That’s hilarious. I read the title of your post and was thinking “What in the world?”
Pretty much what I thought when I saw it…
This struck me as very funny! I guess weirder things could happen. 🙂
I guess 🙂
How fun, and unexpected!! Quirkiness at its best.
Now I want to have a statue dedicated to Saulius Paukstys. Good for him! Love this little slice of Lithuania you’ve shown us.
Well, who’d have thought you could meet the father of ‘Titties and beer’ in Vilnius. “The world is a wonderfully weird place”.
Tom Robbins is spot on there 🙂
Hilarious! What a random statue to have. I appreciate the idea of replacing all the communist symbology but you would have thought there were a few more famous musicians they could have chosen if they wanted a statue like this. Still, it’s got all of us talking, and maybe that was the point!
Interesting what a man with mission can achieve.
I love discovering little things like this! Nice find.
So do I 🙂
Our guidebook had mentioned this so we went off in search of Frank, expecting a huge statue. We walked past him three times. 🙂 Isn’t Vilnius just a fab city. Wish we could have stayed longer.
Surprisingly diverse city, Vilnius – and lots to do.
This is awesome! In my first apartment we had a poster of Zappa sitting on the toilet, flipping off the camera. What a great mix of musical talent and biting humor. I
He certainly was an unusual artist who I’m sure would have provided even more food for thought had he lived.
Wow, I’m only nine years late! However I do want to set the record straight about Frank Zappa – he was indeed a singer, but that would be like calling Beethoven a pianist.
The late Frank Zappa was (and still is of course) a highly respected American composer, conductor, and band leader who occasionally sang. His music was quite alternative, to put it mildly.
To Zappa aficionados such as myself, this statue is well-known and celebrated.. He was very popular in Eastern European countries for some reason. There is another statue of him in his hometown, Baltimore MD.
Thanks for stopping by and for the additional info on Frank Z. 🙂