Mysterious Italian (maybe) parade, 1966
October 23, 2014 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone tell me what's going on in this photo?
posted by ryanshepard to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The photo description says "Viareggio 1966". Googling "Viareggio" reveals that it's a city in Italy, known for its annual carnival, featuring papier-mache floats.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:47 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks, escape from the potato planet - I'm also curious to know if this float depicts a particular character / program, etc.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:50 PM on October 23, 2014


FWIW, TinEye doesn't recognize the image (direct link to the image).
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:51 PM on October 23, 2014


You might enjoy this.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:53 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The float in the photo appears at 4:01 in IndigoJones' link. Can any Italian speakers understand what the narrator says about it?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:55 PM on October 23, 2014


For what it's worth, the letters along either side of the float appear to spell "BORS". The first letter is obscured in the photo, but definitely looks like a "B" at 4:33 in the video.

"BORS" does not seem to be an Italian word, place name, brand, etc. It could stand for something.

Here's a photo from a slightly different angle.

The woman at the front of the float appears to be wearing a bandleader's outfit and holding a baton.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:12 PM on October 23, 2014


The video describes the float as "L'ape regina di Silvano Avanzini" (Silvano Avanzini's "Queen Bee", I think) but my Italian is not good enough to translate the rest.
posted by magicbus at 4:36 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Confirmed—this other video captions the float as "L'ape regina — S. Avanzini".

There was a 1963 Italian film named "L'ape regina", but it appears to be unrelated.

And it actually looks like there's another letter below "BORS"—an "O", perhaps? So, "BORSO"?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:40 PM on October 23, 2014


My Italian is good enough to make me think this is the correct description of the float, but not good enough to translate it:
Silvano Avanzini e Francesco Francesconi, nel Carro "L'incendio di Roma", propongono in primo piano un novello Nerone che preso dalla sua passione per la musica ha sostituito la lira con il dollaro americano; tigellini e innocenti poppee, dopo aver fatto appiccare il fuoco, anziché incolpare i cristiani per farli sbranare dai leoni, gridano invece in coro "evviva i demo...cristiani!".

I soggetti allegorici in questi anni prendono parte anche alla disputa sul boom economico. "L'ape regina" (S.Avanzini) offre l'immagine della donna liberata dalla macchina, grazie alla quale può adesso soggiogare l'altro sesso, la donna infatti ha ai suoi piedi un'infinità di robot che si affannano come schiavi nei lavori domestici; ma il Complesso Mascherato "Donne e motori" (G.Lazzarini) denuncia come la donna sia divenuta, al contrario, una vittima delle nuove tecnologie, al punto di trasformarsi anch'essa in una macchina. Arnaldo Galli ("Mondo Pulito", 1965) affida alla lavatrice un'allegoria liberatoria, Re Carnevale si è trasformato in un gigantesco lavandaio, e la sua lavatrice uguale Progresso dovrebbe significare pulizia del mondo da tutti i panni sporchi; da un oblò ruota l'immagine di Mao, sopra ci sono i Beatles, sulla sinistra Goldwater ed un mafioso, tutti presi dal medesimo capogiro, anche l'evasore fiscale è stato finalmente scoperto e incatenato. Purtroppo, però, il Carro passa e la parte posteriore presenta al pubblico un mondo ugualmente stracarico di panni sporchi, e dentro ad un armadio nel quale dovrebbero trovare posto gli abiti senza macchia dondolano solo cruccette vuote.
posted by jaguar at 4:43 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Crude translation from Google Translate:

"Silvano Avanzini and Francesco Francesconi, in Carro "The fire of Rome", a new offering in the foreground Nero, who took his passion for music has replaced the lira to the dollar; tigellini and innocent poppee, after having set the fire, instead of blaming the Christians to get them torn to pieces by lions, instead shouting in chorus "cheers the demo ... Christians."

The allegorical subjects in these years also take part in the dispute over its economic boom. "The queen bee" (S.Avanzini) offers the image of the liberated woman from the car, thanks to which can now subjugate the other sex, the woman was in fact at his feet an infinite number of robots that toil as slaves in housework; but the complex Masked "Women and engines" (G.Lazzarini) complaint as she has become, on the contrary, a victim of the new technologies, to the point of becoming too in a car. Arnaldo Galli ("Clean World", 1965) relies on the washing machine allegory release, King Carnival has turned into a giant washerman and his washing machine equals Progress should mean cleaning the world from all the dirty clothes; through a porthole rotates the image of Mao, over there are the Beatles, on the left Goldwater and a mafioso, all taken from the same mind-boggling, even the tax evader has finally been discovered and chained. Unfortunately, however, the Chariot passes and the back presents to the public a world equally overrun with dirty clothes, and inside of a closet where the clothes should find a place unblemished swing only cruccette empty."
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:45 PM on October 23, 2014


Could the BORS be the first part of the italian word BORSA, meaning "stock market"?
posted by telstar at 4:46 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


(The word that Google is translating as "car"—"macchina"—can apparently mean either "motorcar" or "machine". "Machine" seems to make more sense—the liberation of women by machines, i.e. labor-saving devices—which are symbolized here as robots, I guess?)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:48 PM on October 23, 2014


I don't know where the military dudes fit in, though. What military events would have been on the minds of Italians in 1966?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:57 PM on October 23, 2014


And the Google translation of "demo...cristiani" is confused. It presumably refers to the democristiani, aka members of the Democrazia Cristiana political party.

The military men look like carabinieri, who would probably just have been doing security.
posted by katemonster at 5:10 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The quoted italian text contains several float descriptions. Here is the relevant portion:

I soggetti allegorici in questi anni prendono parte anche alla disputa sul boom economico. "L'ape regina" (S.Avanzini) offre l'immagine della donna liberata dalla macchina, grazie alla quale può adesso soggiogare l'altro sesso, la donna infatti ha ai suoi piedi un'infinità di robot che si affannano come schiavi nei lavori domestici;

The satire in these years also focused on the debate on economic development. 'The Queen Bee' offers the image of the woman liberated by machines, thanks to whom she has subjugated the other sex, the woman in fact has at her feet an infinity of robots who acts as her domestic slaves.

Hence the dog collars on the guys with the yellow shirts.
posted by bq at 6:08 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]




The man himself
posted by bq at 6:15 PM on October 23, 2014


Yeesh. So women, liberated by their armies of murderous robots vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens, have turned men into docile slaves?

Not Carnevale di Viareggio's finest moment.

The last letter of "BORS—" doesn't look like an "A" in bq's photo—maybe an "E"? Wiktionary tells me that "borse" is the plural of "borsa".
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:32 PM on October 23, 2014


Yeesh. So women, liberated by their armies of murderous robots vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens, have turned men into docile slaves?

Not Carnevale di Viareggio's finest moment.


Carnevale (aka Mardi Gras) celebrations and costumes are generally based on the inversion of the social order. Poor people ordering rich people around, whites in blackface, blacks in white face, men subjugated to women. The joke was really much more likely intended as "Wouldn't it be totally ridiculous if women were doing something other than housework?"
posted by jaguar at 7:51 PM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thanks, everyone - this was even more interesting that I'd anticipated.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:34 AM on October 24, 2014


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