The first German speakers settled in the Czech lands in the 13th century, and in the interwar period there were around three million ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia. That changed completely after World War II, when almost all of them were forcibly expelled from the country. Now, however, their history is being reclaimed – with plans to open the first museum in the Czech Republic dedicated to the country’s former German minority.
The charming and historic West Bohemian town of Bečov nad Teplou has just hosted its third international symposium showcasing the blacksmith’s craft. The two-day event gave the public the chance to get up close and feel the heat of the braziers as a series of top smiths showed that this is very much a craft making a comeback.
The long-awaited video game Mafia II, produced by the Brno-based 2K Czech studio, came out last month and has since become a huge success with gamers around the world, acclaimed for its mature and realistic story line and top-notch graphics. In this week’s Talking Point, we explore the world of Vitto Scaletta and his adventures in the American underworld of the 1950s.
Once the shining stars of the 1960s Czechoslovak pop scene, singers Helena Vondráčková and Marta Kubišová have turned into bitter foes over thwarted plans for a comeback of their former band, the Golden Kids. Ms Vondráčková accused her colleague of breaking a contract, and demanded more than a million crowns in compensation. A Prague court has dismissed the claim, but the war may not be over.
The hugely successful American musician Kanye West was in Prague recently making what is being described as a movie to accompany his as yet untitled new album. The rapper kept fans informed about his time in the Czech capital via Twitter, saying he had been doing 16-hour shoots and describing filming here as “like a child’s delusions become reality!”
It is not often that school plays get to be performed at international theatre festivals, still less so when it involves taking performers, props and scenery hundreds of miles half way across a continent. But this is just what happened when a group of teenagers from Britain brought a brand new play to Prague’s Fringe Festival in 2008. And it was not by chance that this play was brought to Prague. In this week’s Czech Books, David Vaughan finds out more from the play’s author.
Though it only began last year, the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Ostrava is fast becoming an important part of the cultural calendar in the old industrial city in the north-east of the country. With the 2010 edition due to kick off in just under a fortnight, I caught up with two of its young organisers in Prague: programme director Jakub Felcman, and Anna Kopecká, who is head of the programme department.
The Czech city of Plzeň – best known for its world-famous lager – has reason to celebrate: on Wednesday shortly after 4 pm, members of an international jury announced that it – and not rival Ostrava in the east of the country - had won the bid to become 2015’s European Capital of Culture. It will share the honour with the Belgian city of Mons.
A controversial sculpture known as Entropa, by the famous Czech artist David Černý, has found a permanent home in Plzeň. The giant artwork was unveiled this week at the Techmania Science Museum, which acquired it for 10.2 million crowns. Some will remember that Entropa caused something of a scandal last year when it was unveiled in Brussels as part of the Czech EU presidency. It offended some in the manner in which it ridiculed national stereotypes – depicting Bulgaria, for example, as a Turkish squat toilet. Since then, the controversy has abated,
In this week’s Music Express my guest is the talented singer, rapper and composer Radek Banga, the frontman for one of the Czech Republic’s best-known bands Gipsy.cz. The four-member group first broke onto the scene six years ago and quickly rose to the top with an unusual mix of traditional Romany music crossed with rap, hip hop, pop and r n’b. They have only grown in popularity since.