American Socialist

Dir. Yale Strom | 98 min
Documentary United States 2017

Saturday, August 197:00 PM Edlavitch DCJCC

Bernie Sanders inspired a generation – but who inspired him? American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs is the culmination of five years of research and production. Its inspiration was the use of the word “socialist” as a political epithet, and director Yale Strom wanted to define and contextualize the term.

Most people in America do not know that the contemporary political movement to address income inequality began over 100 years ago with Eugene Victor Debs. This film traces the history of American populism, with the man who inspired progressive ideas – from FDR’s New Deal to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. This is an objective but passionate history of the movement as championed and founded by Eugene Victor Debs, a movement that continues to have an impact on our daily lives today.

Screening followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Yale Strom and writer Elizabeth Schwartz


Violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer and playwright Yale Strom was a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Roma communities since the early 1981. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. Over more than 3 decades and 75 such research expeditions, Strom has become one of the world’s leading scholar-ethnographer-artists of klezmer music, history and culture.

As a writer, Elizabeth Schwartz contributes a food blog, “Di Grine Cuisine: A Vegetarian Yiddish Eater, At Home and Abroad” to, co-created the award-winning audio drama “The Witches of Lublin”, contributed a chapter on klezmer vocal technique to “Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer” (Scarecrow Press) and has written the book for the musical “Chagall” (opening at the La Jolla Playhouse November 2015), in which she also performs.

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This event finished on August 20, 2017.