Martin Chodúr, a Czech singer and the winner of the 2009 Czech Pop Idol, has released his first Christmas album called Hallelujah. It contains cover-versions of some of the best-known Christmas songs, such as Oh, Holy Night or I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, as well as a couple of traditional Czech carols. Martin Chodúr is accompanied by the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra headed by Marek Prášil.
The Czech Film Fund will spend CZK 64 million on supporting eight upcoming feature films. The largest amount, some CZK 14.5 million, will help fund an upcoming biographical film about Václav Havel. According to the fund’s director Helena Bezděk Fraňková, the films cover a wide range of genres including historical pictures, those covering present day issues and a film for children.
US-based Czech photographer Marie Tomanová is known for her striking portrait work and often nude images of her own body interacting with nature. Right now Tomanová’s career is on the up and up. She made a splash in New York with a solo show this year, has her first monograph coming out soon and is also set to be the subject of a documentary. When we met, I asked the Moravian-born artist what had led her to the US almost eight years ago.
The Prague funk group Monkey Business, known for their highly entertaining live shows, have just launched their ninth LP, Bad Time for Gentlemen. Fronted by singer and keyboardist Roman Holý and showman vocalist Matěj Ruppert, the band have been around for almost two decades and released their debut LP in 2000. The titles on their newest album – including Worst Lover Ever, Too Fat to Work and Sweet Years of Procrastination – show that Monkey Business still possess the sense of fun that won them fans around the country in the first place.
When the novel The Glass Room by the British writer Simon Mawer was published in 2009 it was an instant hit, and it was no surprise when it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The book was widely discussed in the Czech Republic as it revolves around the story of one this country’s most remarkable twentieth century buildings, the Villa Tugendhat in Brno. This was not Simon Mawer’s first novel set in the city. Over a decade earlier he wrote Mendel’s Dwarf, which took its inspiration from Gregor Mendel, one of the fathers of genetics and the
When I visited New York in September I heard nothing but praise for the work of the city’s Czech Center in recent years. Much of the credit for this belongs to Barbara Karpetová, its tireless director, whose tenure is now coming to a close. The Czech Center is located in the magnificent Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When we spoke at its well-stocked, stylish library, I asked Karpetová who the institution’s visitors tended to be.
Karel Gott is unquestionably one of the most successful figures in the history of Czech show business. Over the course of his career, spanning over six decades, he collected more than 40 Golden Nightingales Awards as the country’s most popular singer and recorded over 100 albums. At the age of 79, Karel Gott is still going strong. He has successfully overcome cancer to return on stage and release a new album.
You may be surprised to hear that one of the events to mark the hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia was held at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University in Britain. On October 29 a plaque was unveiled commemorating a secret academic link set up between the university and Czechoslovakia at the height of normalisation in the 1980s. Czech and Slovak students who found themselves unable to go to university because they or their families were out of favour with the communist regime were given the opportunity to study secretly
David Kraus’s administration building in Strančice won this year’s annual Czech architecture award. The building was praised by an international jury for its regional uniqueness and received the prize on Monday at a ceremony, in Prague’s Forum Karlín. The design, along with the winners of partner prizes, will be shown at special exhibitions in Prague and Brno.