Prague’s Old Town Square is a location so full of historical sights that one almost doesn’t know where to look first. But at the moment, one of the landmarks, a monumental sculptural group on the north side of the square, is hidden from sight. The bronze memorial to the Czech church reformer Jan Hus is under scaffolding and covered by a tarpaulin because it is undergoing much needed renovation. The sculpture, unveiled in 1915, is the best-known work by the Czech sculptor Ladislav Saloun.
Our guest for One on One this week is Scottish artist Stewart Kenneth Moore who has been living in the Czech Republic since 1994. In that time, he has built up a reputation as one of the city’s most capable artists and draughtsmen, who is particularly well respected for the portraits he has done of many members of the city’s business community. Besides painting, Stewart also has a keen interest in graphic design and his illustrations have been used by a number of publications, including Esquire and Elle Magazine.
Some time ago, several Czech newspapers and magazines started including film DVDs in their editions, following the example of various foreign publications.Earlier this year, the daily Lidove Noviny released ‘The Shop on the Main Street’, the first Czechoslovak Academy Award winning movie that I have since seen many times over. A brilliant psychological study, shot in 1965, the film is set in a small Slovak town during the Second World War and offers a thrilling yet chillingly calm view of the Holocaust. Another Czech newspaper, Mlada Fronta Dnes,
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.