Late 1943. The cold barracks of the Terezin ghetto stand against an autumn sky. Although deportations to the camp had come to a standstill earlier in the year, the overcrowded conditions, disease and hunger still remained. As did the ever present threat of the gas chambers. But on this occasion the usual sounds carried through Terezin's bleak corridors were interrupted by very different strains.
This week the people of Prague have a chance to hear Frank Zappa's music, thanks to the efforts of the American rock musician's sons, Ahmet and Dweezil. They have organized a European concert tour called "Tour de Frank", and are performing in honour of their father, who died in 1993. There is a special connection between Frank Zappa and the Czech Republic. Zappa's music belongs to a repertoire once-banned by the communist censors, and Frank Zappa himself gained huge acclaim in Prague following the Velvet Revolution.
This week's edition of Czech Books is bit of a departure from our usual format. We're still looking at a writer, but Alice Nellis is more than that. An award-winning film director and producer of several theatre productions, she brings her words to life on screen and stage alike. She and Radio Prague's Brian Sabin discuss her newest work - Zaplavy, or "Floods" in English - which is now showing at Prague's Theatre on the Balustrade.
The punk rock band The Sex Pistols outraged many in 1970s Britain with their foul language and obnoxious behaviour. Their clothing - held together with safety pins, often adorned with offensive images and slogans and sometimes simply adapted bondage wear - was also controversial. It was made by Vivienne Westwood, who is now one of the world's most respected fashion designers. In Prague for a show on Wednesday night, she recalled the impact of her punk clothing.
One of the most famous attractions of Prague's Old Town is the former Jewish Ghetto, a witness to the long and rich Jewish history of the Czech capital, and also to centuries of discrimination. The gradual emancipation of Prague's Jewish population began with the Enlightenment in the 18th century. As some Prague Jews grew wealthier and more self-confident, as well as more secular, the first portraits began to appear. Some depicted the spiritual leaders of Prague's Jewish society but others showed well off members of the community and their families.
Datatransfer is the name of a festival of contemporary visual culture being held at Prague's Archa theatre this weekend. Organisers say the festival, which is taking place for the sixth time this year, aims to present progressive trends in digital film, graphic design and photography. Jana Zielinski, one of Datatransfer's curators, told me more.
Award-winning director and Czech native Alice Nellis has a new play making its debut this Sunday at the Theatre on the Balustrade in Prague's Old Town. Her films Eeny Meeny and Some Secrets both won a host of trophies, but since 2002 she's stayed away from the silver screen and worked mostly on stage. Her newest work, titled Zaplavy or "Floods" in English, a comedy inspired in part by the catastrophic floods of 2002, is her first original production to appear onstage.
This Thursday saw the start of the famous Prague Spring Festival opened by the Czech Philharmonic performing works by J. B. Foerster, Otakar Ostrcil, and Antonin Dvorak, conducted by Zdenek Macal. The repertoire echoed the first historic concert in 1946, while Friday will see a performance of the more traditional "Ma Vlast" - Bedrich Smetana's "My Country". The festival - as always - is taking place at a number of important and architecturally stunning venues including Prague's Rudolfinum Concert Hall, the Estates Theatre, the National Theatre,