Back in the mid 1990s Tomáš Zilvar quickly moved from putting together DIY fanzines to publishing glossy titles like Tripmag and XMAG, magazines that were focused on electronic music at a time when that genre was really taking off among young Czechs. Today Zilvar, who is still in his early 30s, has two jobs: running the Prague office of the hip New York-based magazine and website Vice; and offering digitalisation services to Czech media outlets and authors keen to enter the age of e-readers.
In his basement studio in the Šelmberkovský Palace in Prague’s Malá Strana, Oldřich Škácha is visibly amused as he points out a shot he took in 1991. It features then finance minister Václav Klaus, grinning broadly, flanked by two bunny girls at a Playboy ball. Škácha says he likes to exhibit the picture today as a little jab at the president.
A new school devoted solely to Irish dancing will soon open its doors in Prague. Lessons at Luas, Irish for speed, are due to start next month. Ahead of the start of the first course, the school’s director, Tereza Loužecká Bachová, invited all those curious about this dancing style to try it out themselves. She spoke to us before the sample lesson, about Irish dancing and why it fascinates her, and when classes will kick off.
There’s a bitter legal dispute at the moment over the fate of 20 massive paintings by the artist Alphonse Mucha, who created the style known as ‘art nouveau’ in the early 20th century. The cycle of 20 thematic paintings – known collectively as the Slav Epic - has spent the last 47 years in a crumbling castle in the town of Moravský Krumlov. Officials in Prague, however, now want them back, causing an uproar in Moravia, and elsewhere in the country.
Welcome to our first edition of Music Express, bringing you music and interviews with some of the Czech Republic’s brightest young stars and biggest names. Today: a group that first broke onto the scene just two-and-a-half years ago, called Airfare. Founded by Czech-American frontman Thomas Lichtag, now 23, the four-member band plays catchy, sometimes harder alternative rock, with all songs sung in English. The singer/guitarist came into the studio this week to discuss how the band got its start. He also talked about their first big hit Sorry Baby
On Thursday, Sázavafest kicked off in the Central Bohemian town of Kácov. Its site is located near the Sázava river, which provides both the name and the scenic backdrop for one of the country’s most popular music festivals. It drew some 20.000 visitors in 2009 and organizers are expecting a similar turn-out this year.
The 15th International Organ Festival got underway at Prague’s St James’ Basilica on Thursday night with a recital by the American organist John Scott. In a series of eight concerts over a month and a half, the city’s music lovers will have the chance to hear some of the world’s best players perform on greatest organ in the Czech capital.
This Wednesday saw the premiere of the highly-anticipated Czech crime thriller Kajínek, partly based on events surrounding one of the Czech Republic’s most notorious convicts. Found guilty of two contract killings in the ‘90s, Jiří Kajínek would probably have remained forgotten behind bars had it not been for a daring escape from the country’s toughest prison he has also always maintained he was innocent.
The former president Václav Havel has had many professions in his life – poet, playwright, dissident, revolutionary, president, and published author. Now, at the tender age of 73, he’s adding a new string to his bow – film director. He’s currently directing a feature film version of his most recent play, Leaving, which is about – what else? - a politician trying to adjust to a new life after leaving politics.
Daphne Carr is an American music expert and writer. The focus of her research is not classical but popular music, a field that only recently has warranted attention from academics. Carr’s passion for writing started within what is commonly referred to as the zine culture, zines being small and often underground publications that became popular in America in the 1980s and 1990s. She has stayed true to the underground and found a new favorite in the Czech Republic: the Plastic People of the Universe, who she learned about when she first came to Prague