The New York-based company Tamizdat brings music from central and eastern Europe to an American audience. They also act as an agency helping musicians get work visas to perform in the US, and handle the applications of virtually every Czech musician who plays in America. For that reason, Tamizdat owner Matthew Covey has an extensive knowledge of Czech artists and the US – which groups visit the States, where they play, and who they play to.
A major new exhibition entitled “Biedermeier Art and Culture in the Czech Lands, 1818 to 1848” has just got underway at Prague Castle. Indeed, organisers are saying it could well be the Castle’s biggest show of the year. The term Biedermeier takes in literature, painting and even life-style, though it is most closely identified with elegant furniture which was made for central Europe’s emerging middle classes in the first half of the 19th century. Kateřina Horníčková of Prague Castle’s culture section told me a bit about the phenomenon of Biedemeier,
Anyone familiar with Czech photography in recent years will have come across the name of Adolf Zika – highly respected in the world of fashion for his commercial and artistic photographs. At 36, Zika has represented the Leica Gallery in France, has shot campaigns for major brand-name clients and done shoots for glossy magazines including Playboy.
This Tuesday sees the opening of a new exhibition at Prague’s Jaroslav Fragner gallery featuring the work of renowned Czech architect Martin Rajniš. He is one of the co-authors of the famous Máj building, now Tesco, on Prague’s Narodní Street as well as the architect who designed a famous wood and glass post office, on the Czech Republic’s Sněžka Mountain. Increasingly, the architect has focused on the incorporation of natural materials. The aim of exhibition, in many ways, is to show visitors they don’t have to accept the status quo.
Hundreds gathered outside Prague’s National Theatre on Sunday to witness an eight-hour-long protest against the way the arts are funded in the Czech capital. The event - comprising of performances, speeches and concerts staged by Czech stars - marked the opening of the ‘Dny neklidu’ (‘Days of Unrest’). The festival, which calls on Prague City Hall to change the way it deals out its culture budget, has been largely masterminded by actors and producers at the capital’s Švandovo Divadlo. I paid this Smíchov theatre a visit to talk to event organiser
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” The opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s story Metamorphosis is one of the most famous in world literature. But the writer himself will always be something of an enigma. Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and spent nearly all his life in the city, dying at just 41 in a sanatorium near Vienna. A Kafka symposium was recently held in the Czech capital and one of the most interesting talks was given by the US-born Canadian academic, Anthony
Prague’s seventh annual Fringe Festival, a marathon of theatre, dance, comedy, music and film from around the world, gets underway in the Czech capital on Sunday. Running for eight days, it will offer 227 English, Czech or non-verbal shows performed by 39 companies. Steven Gove, the man behind the Prague Fringe Festival, told me what is on offer this year:
In this week's Arts, a look at the first new play by former Czech president Václav Havel in twenty years. "Leaving" - about a politician's painful adjustment to a new life after leaving politics - opened at Prague's Archa Theatre on May 22nd, marking a return to the stage for Mr Havel, a world-renowned playwright when he entered politics in 1989.
Last-minute rehearsals before the long-awaited world premiere of Václav Havel’s latest play at Prague’s Archa Theatre on Thursday night. Leaving or Odcházení, is the first play the former Czech president has written in more than two decades. It tells the story of a high-ranking politician who leaves his post and sees his world fall apart. The play is inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard and is about the passage of power from one generation to the next. The former dissident insists that it is not based on his own experiences,
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.