Josef Lada’s paintings have reached iconic status here in the Czech Republic, and you may be familiar with them too, without even knowing it. Lada was the illustrator who gave the smiling, rotund, Good Soldier Svejk his form. In the course of his career, he illustrated over 200 books - some, fairytale anthologies for children, others, like Svejk, intended for grown ups. Now Josef Lada is the subject of a major new retrospective in Prague.
The original US television series, Star Trek, was in re-runs for years before it was revived in the cinemas, and years more before the series inspired successful spin-offs like Star Trek: The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine. But all inceptions continue to be popular among fans even today. In the Czech Republic, members of one fan club, Kontinuum.cz, decided to take their fascination a step further, to “boldly go” where none here had gone before: they shot their very own amateur film based in the Star Trek universe.
Cash-strapped Czech filmmakers have found a new source of income for at least the next three years. Last Thursday, President Klaus signed a so-called digital amendment, which will secure income from advertisements shown on Czech public television. The subsidies will be available until analogue broadcasting is switched off, which is going to happen in October 2010. Altogether they should amount to at least 425 million crowns (24 million US dollars). I spoke to Tomas Baldynsky from the State Fund for Support and Development of Cinematography and
The New York-Ukrainian rock group Gogol Bordello describe their music as “Gypsy punk”. It is perhaps appropriate then that they have hooked up with Gipsy.cz; the Czech Romany rapper has done a special remix of the track Alcohol on the Czech release of the band’s latest LP. I discussed that collaboration and more with Gogol Bordello singer Eugene Hutz.
This weekend a painting by a famous French Fauvist painter Maurice de Vlaminck was sold at an auction in Prague’s Dorotheum for 5.3 million crowns (approximately 280,000 US dollars). Even though it was valued at 7 million crowns, in the end it only slightly exceeded the starting price. Vlaminck’s “Landscape with Buildings”, dating back to 1914, has thus become the 13th most expensive work of art to be sold at a Czech auction. The head of the auction house Marie Galova says it is not easy to explain the lack of interest on the part of buyers but
It is not often that we have a guest on Czech Books who studied at military academy, but that is the case of our guest today, the novelist, poet and publisher, Martin Reiner, from the Czech Republic’s second city, Brno. We shall be looking not just at Martin’s unusual literary career, but also at his home town’s special relationship to poetry.
Prague’s National Theatre is one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. Located by the River Vltava at the end of Narodni trida, the 19th century Neo-Renaissance building, with its distinctive gilded cupola, is also one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. But today it is landmark in need of a facelift. Some work has already begun on the roof, while the main reconstruction work on its facades will get underway in around a year and a half’s time.
At this time of year, Prague’s cemeteries are carpeted with red and yellow leaves, and in this chilly weather, you are quite unlikely to bump into that many other visitors. Prague’s thirty-or-so city maintained cemeteries offer a step back from the hustle and bustle and traffic jams of the metropolis - and provide the visitor with a glimpse into the Czech capital’s history as well.
Jaroslav Jezek, who died in wartime exile in New York at the age of just 35, is one of the legends of twentieth century Czech music. He is best known for the songs he composed for the famous pre-war satirical cabaret, the Liberated Theatre, and he was also one of the pioneers of Czech jazz, fearlessly crossing the borders between popular and classical music. In November 1934, the young composer – he was 28 at the time - came into the radio and talked about jazz.
This month, the first lesbian publishing house opened in the Czech Republic. LePress has a portfolio of two titles so far, both translations from American originals. The aim of the publishers is to introduce Czech lesbians to the sort of lesbian fiction that is being written overseas. The woman behind the project is Marketa Navratilova. She told Radio Prague where the idea came from: