The list of those who have stayed at the Chelsea Hotel in the New York district of the same name reads like a kind of Who’s Who of 20th century western culture: Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Tennessee Williams, William Burroughs, Sid Vicious, Arthur Miller, Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac, Brendan Behan, Miloš Forman, Robert Crumb. I could go on for a lot, lot longer.
Film versions of fairytales are hugely popular in the Czech Republic, with the likes of Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, The Golden-Star Princess and Once There was a King staples of the television schedules around Christmas time. Many of the best loved film fairytales were made during the communist era at Prague’s famous Barrandov studios. A year ago, an exhibition organized in collaboration with Barrandov for the first time gave Czech fairytale fanatics a chance to take a peek at the original costumes used in their favorite films. This year, another
This year marks the 60 year anniversary of the famous children’s books publisher Albatros, which had a monopoly on the market before the end of communism in 1989 and remains to this day the publisher of the most popular titles in children’s literature. As part of the anniversary, an exhibition in the Prague National Library gives children a chance to experience the adventurous world of their favorite cartoon characters firsthand.
It was the literary sensation of the season, but now it has turned out to be little more than a hoax. The novel ‘Bílej kůň, žlutej drak’ (‘White Horse, Yellow Dragon’) by a young Vietnamese girl living in the Czech Republic won a prestigious literary prize for first-time authors and was hailed by the critics as the first testimony of her generation. But in fact the first Vietnamese novel was written by a middle-aged Czech man. Ruth Fraňková has more:
In 1977, a mailman, a math analyst and an actor got together to make some rather strange and wonderful music. Jablkoň, as they called the band, started off playing gigs in places around Prague that didn’t insist on specific genres. For as you’ll hear in today’s Music Profile, Jablkoň’s music rather defies easy explanation; a brand of distinctive folk blended with jazz, rock and more that’s often called world music. Except when it isn’t…
Exactly 20 years ago, during the Velvet Revolution, the country was flooded with posters, both home-produced and professionally printed, calling for change. They bore slogans like Free Elections, Teacher You Don’t Have to Lie to Us Anymore, and Havel to the Castle. Now many of those posters have been gathered in a fascinating new book.
Last month Prague’s famous Semafor Theatre, which launched the careers of numerous Czech performers, celebrated its 50th birthday. Now a new compilation album featuring remakes of original songs by Semafor’s classic singing/song-writing duo of Jiří Suchý and the late Jiří Šlitr is set to be released. The CD features contemporary musicians popular on today’s music scene, including Tata Bojs, Jiří Burian, and the electronic trio MIDI LIDI. The latter worked on a re-make of 1965 hit “What I had for Dinner Today”.
Just a few days after the Czech film Protektor took a prize at a festival in Denver, another ambitious project is just entering the cinemas across the country. Thursday night will see the official premiere of 3 sezóny v pekle or 3 Seasons in Hell. The feature debut by Tomáš Mašín, a Czech, Slovak and German co-production, has already received praise by Czech reviewers.
The concept of the library needs some spicing up, it seems. Too drab, too grey, too asexual, say student bookworms at Brno’s Masaryk University. So how to improve the situation? How about taking off the librarian’s clothes? Guerrilla Readers, an association whose primary aim is to promote reading, has printed a calendar to give some sex appeal to libraries in 2010.