There are thousands of Westerners in Prague, but it’s highly likely that none of them are as well known to ordinary Czechs as Dan Brown. He’s a Canadian-born theatre director and actor who for the best part of a decade has been regularly appearing on one of the Czech Republic’s most popular soap operas, TV Nova’s Ulice, or The Street.
The Brno band Poletíme? describes itself as an original banjo-punk-future-jazz-band. Established in 2007 by artist and musician Rudolf Brancovsky it soon became a regular at clubs and festivals around the country. Its songs are a colourful mix of genres and are based on witty and often shocking texts –what the band calls “simple songs about a complicated life”.
Three theatre groups from Prague, Budapest and London joined forces last year to create a multidisciplinary project called home:scape. Combining interviews, blog entries and a multimedia theatre performance the creators looked at the theme of home, trying to find out what defines that ambiguous concept for different people – those who had lived in one place their whole lives, and those who are in constant flux. I asked Jonathan Kennedy, the executive director of one of the theatre troupes - Tara Arts in London –how the idea for the project came
It was meant to be the pride of Brno - the town’s own astronomical clock to rival Prague’s famous Orloj and attract tourists to the Moravian metropolis. Located on the city’s Freedom Square the shiny black six-metre-tall, phallus-shaped clock has attracted praise and insults in equal measure since its unveiling two years ago. As Brno City Hall hoped, it has become the talk of the town but in a slightly different way than expected.
A new documentary has just opened in Czech cinemas looking at the life of the country’s greatest jockey: eight-time Pardubice Steeplechase winner Josef Váňa. At 59, Váňa competed against riders more than half his age. The film “Váňa – The Greatest Race is Life Itself” reveals not only the racer’s success but the hard work behind all the victories.
Jaroslav Hašek is known the world over for his epic satirical novel, “The Good Soldier Švejk”. It tells of the adventures of a Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, drawing richly from the author’s own experiences. But Hašek was also a prolific writer of short stories. Even though he died before his fortieth birthday, he produced nearly fifteen hundred stories, and we can now enjoy a selection of these in English in a new translation by Mark Corner. David Vaughan reports.
A new festival called Proudy 2012 (or Currents 2012) organised by students for students (or generally anyone up to the age of 30 or so) kicks off later this month. The highly ambitious project, bringing together numerous schools from ČVUT to Charles University as well as the private sector, centres primarily on multimedia – an amalgam of live music, screen projections, live drawing, dance, and even silent disco, relying on a combination of technology from new apps to robotics. Entry is free and if you are interested in new media, Proudy 2012 is
According to an old Czech saying, ‘každý správný chlap’ (every real man) should at some point build a house, father a son, and plant a tree. Viktor Filipi, our guest in this edition of Czech Life, isn’t quite there yet in the first two departments but the last category he knows a lot about. The 24-year-old – a student in his final year in the Masters programme in Landscape Architecture at Mendel University – began working on his family’s garden more than ten years ago; just recently it was voted by readers of idnes as “the country’s most