Resurrecting Woody

By Josh Tapper

Published May 12, 2010, issue of May 21, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Woody Allen has been called many things — misogynist, self-hating Jew, quintessential New Yorker — but at least one label, narcissist, can now be staked on hard material evidence. Kaliningrad, a western Russian exclave that sits between Poland and Lithuania, may soon become the home of a statue bearing Allen’s likeness. And the statue will be based on input from Allen himself.

Statuesque: The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) plans to honor Woody Allen (born Woody Konigsberg) with statue.
getty images
Statuesque: The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) plans to honor Woody Allen (born Woody Konigsberg) with statue.

Russian filmmaker Masha Vasyukova, while in New York in 2009, taking film classes, concocted the idea as a half-joking tribute to the former Allen Konigsberg. Vasyukova, 23, hails from Kaliningrad, which coincidentally was called Königsberg in its pre-Soviet days. Running with her idea, Vasyukova approached Kaliningrad’s local paper, which made a contest out of it and put out a call for statue design submissions. Despite being only half-serious and seeing middling interest, the paper encouraged Vasyukova to approach Allen.

Allen, known just as well for his misanthropic onscreen persona as for his sophisticated and sarcastic humor, agreed to meet Vasyukova while in Berlin, where she presented him with the submissions, according to an article in New York magazine. Of the bunch, Allen took to four, which include a tragicomic statue of Allen, hands in pockets and a pigeon on his balding pate, standing next to a dramatic statue of philosopher Immanuel Kant, who was born in Königsberg. Allen’s favorite, though: an irreverent option that calls for the filmmaker’s token Ray-Ban sunglasses frames to sit atop a life-size pole.

Befuddled by Allen’s decision to self-dedicate the statue, Vasyukova went back to Kaliningrad, and the city, unconvinced that the project would even get off the ground, began scrambling for funds. Vasyukova has joined the process and has even approached Ray-Ban about a potential sponsorship.

“I still don’t quite get why he did this,” Vasyukova told New York magazine. “I thought he hated Russia.” Maybe so, but Allen has a long history of quipping about Russian literati, like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. And his 1975 farce “Love and Death” has him starring as the hapless Boris Grushenko, who falls in with the Russian army during the Napoleonic invasions.

Woody made similar, albeit more controversial, headlines in 2008 when he got into a public spat with American Apparel over the unauthorized use of his picture on a billboard. Before suing the clothing company, Allen explained that he doesn’t endorse products in the United States. But endorsing himself abroad? That’s another story.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.