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About Smugtown USA and the Smugtown Stompers
About Smugtown U.S.A.
 
Originally published in 1957 by Plaza Publishers, Smugtown U.S.A. documents, in irreverant detail, the "foibles and fallacies" of prominent Rochesterians. As the author, Curt Gerling, notes in his introduction, the book "is intended to be amiable rather than derisive." It was dedicated to Morrie Silver (best known as the savior of the Rochester Red Wings), who Gerling described as:
         
          The Man Who
                          respects success only for its challenge, prefers moral values to mundane rewards
                          who believes civic usefulness superior to public acclaim and lasting friendships
                          the purpose of life ...

In his conclusion to the 1957 edition, Gerling observes:

                              Our newcomers who are smug by cultivation, rather than choice fail to recognize
                        one gift that we long-time residents have -- that is, a sense of humor.
                              We have that rare gift that enables us to laugh at our own weaknesses and foibles.
                        We may not change them, but we are aware of them. Thus, in our appreciation of
                        ourselves, we, with justification feel somewhat superior to those whose superficial
                        concepts of our ways make them so much smugger than we are.

Smugtown U.S.A. was republished in 1993 with new frontmatter by Gerling's son, William C. "Bill" Gerling. The younger Gerling continues to be an active member of the Smugtown intelligentsia, both as a business owner as well as political activist.

The publishers of the Smugtown Beacon gratefully acknowledge the historical perspectives Mr. Gerling has provided. It is our hope that the Smugtown Beacon is worthy of mention in a future update of Smugtown U.S.A.    

The "Smugtown Stompers"

In the days following the publication of Smugtown U.S.A. Curt Gerling received an unusual phone call. A local Kodak professional -- and part-time musician -- asked if he could borrow the "Smugtown" name for a jazz band he was assembling. With a handshake, Gerling blessed the founding of Rochester's own "Smugtown Stompers." Since their founding in 1958, The Smugtown Stompers have played "the Traditional Dixieland Jazz repertoire with emphasis on the "less-often-played" tunes written or recorded before 1930."

The Smugtown Stompers continue to play local concerts and are active supporters of the Flower City Jazz Society. With a 50-year history of toe-tapping Dixieland jazz, the Smugtown Stompers are a unique Rochester asset. They are truly a treasure about which Rochesterians are justified in feeling a bit, dare we say ... smug?

www.smugtownstompers.com


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