There is a long tradition of poets writing about Prague, such as Jaroslav Seifert and Vítězslav Nezval, and I was interested to find out how contemporary, rapidly changing, Prague has inspired one of the most interesting poets of the younger generation to find new ways to express the spirit of the city. Vít Janota has written a collection called, Praha zničena deštěm or Prague Destroyed by Rain, and its subtitle is Praga caput regni, the ancient Latin motto of the city.
Vít Hořejš established the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre in 1990 after coming into possession of old puppets that had been gathering dust for decades in the attic of an old Czech church. The group’s performances – often based on classic Czech tales – feature both puppets and live actors. When I visited its studio in Brooklyn, Vít, a Czech who’s been living in New York for decades, told me all about the origins and activities of the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre.
Lída Baarová was one of the most famous and successful Czech actresses to have ever lived. Her career spanned over 70 years, in the course of which she starred in a whole number of both Czech and German film classics. She even made it into Federico Fellini’s ‘I Vitelloni’ in 1953. But she is perhaps best known for her life off-screen, as one of Czech film’s most unhappy characters. Lída Baarová’s beauty attracted the attention of Joseph Goebbels, and her career - tragically for her - reached its peak in Nazi Germany shortly before World War
Recently on Radio Prague we reported on the Czechs as a nation of dog-lovers: Ruth Fraňková reported about many peoples’ affection for our four-legged friends. Well, this week, in the Czech capital, many dog fans came into their own, with the return of Czech Pes Photo (Czech Dog Photo), which opened at Prague’s Josef Sudek Chamber Gallery on Tuesday. The show, now in its fourth year, parodies the prestigious Czech press photography competition known as Czech Press Photo. Traditionally it is put together by respected dog photographer Antonín Malý,
Chances are that you are familiar with the inane, smiling face of the Good Soldier Švejk – one of Czech literature’s most famous characters – immortalized in the sketches of artist Josef Lada. Well, Švejk has been sent back to the drawing board, perhaps somewhat controversially. Jaroslav Hašek’s literary hero has been redesigned by artist Petr Urban, a man famous for his bawdy cartoons often featuring beer and busty women. The new edition of Švejk is being brought out by XYZ Publishers - its boss, Robert Kubánek, explains his choice of
The American musician Tom Waits has won legions of fans around the world with his distinctive, growl-like voice and evocative lyrics. This week, Czech music lovers finally got to see the singer live for the first time, when he played two sold-out shows at Prague’s Congress Centre. I caught the second concert, on Tuesday.
On Tuesday organisers in Prague launched the official tender for the design of the Czech entry at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, a site to be visited by an estimated 30,000 people every day for six months from May – December 2010. From now until the autumn, Czech firms - in tandem with top designers, artists and architects - will be able to put forward proposals for the Czech site. There is one limitation: unlike Expos in the 1960s and earlier, they will not be designing an entire pavilion but will operate within a given space in an industrial hall.
Prague is one of the best preserved cities in Europe, and it is not unusual to come across a striking variety of architectural styles – from Baroque to functionalism – in the space of a few minutes. But how has the Czech capital fared when it comes to contemporary architecture? It is the subject of a new exhibition entitled The New Face of Prague, which has just opened at the city’s Czech Centre.
Few writers are more closely identified with Prague than Lenka Reinerová, who died last month at the age of 92. Although in the course of an adventurous life she travelled the world, she loved above all to write about her home city, and with her death Prague has lost one of its most important literary witnesses. In Czech Books this week, we remember Lenka Reinerová and her literary legacy.