Lukáš Houdek is a man of varied interests. As well as being a photographer who has explored the post-war massacres of Czechoslovakia’s ethnic Germans, he is co-curator of an exhibition entitled Transgender Me that gets underway in Prague on Monday. In addition, Houdek, a Romani Studies graduate, writes for a leading Roma affairs website; indeed, for much of our interview I was under the mistaken impression that he himself was a member of the ethnic minority.
If you are drawn to the rich Czech tradition of legend and fairytale, Marcela Sulak’s new translation of one of the classics of 19th century Czech poetry is a must. Karel Jaromír Erben’s collection of ballads, “A Bouquet” was first published in 1853, and since then has been read by generations of Czech children and parents alike. David Vaughan talks to Marcela Sulak about a translation that brings out the freshness, sensitivity and humanity of Erben’s poetic world of spinning wheels, water-sprites and witches.
In the recent decades, Fanta’s café at Prague’s central railroad station has been more of a mythical place, known mostly to a select few. Visitors to the capital who happened to find out about its existence had quite a bit of trouble finding their way out of the communist station up into its oldest, and arguably most beautiful parts. The search, though, is rewarding. The tall, ornate dome from early twentieth century is breathtaking, especially after the not-so-modern main part of the station with its low ceilings and until recently notoriously
Formerly a sleepy, in some parts grimy, neighbourhood, Vršovice has in recent times become one of the liveliest districts of Prague. Much of this activity centres on Krymská St., home to the very successful Café v lese and several other relatively new businesses. One of the people responsible for the rejuvenation of Vršovice is Kateřina McCreary, owner of the popular café-bar Sladkovský. When we spoke there, I asked McCreary what had inspired her to open the place three years ago.
The Czech Centre London has prepared a special Czech Dance Showcase for the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The showcase will present three highly acclaimed Czech contemporary dance groups, giving them a chance to show their stuff at the largest arts festival in the world. During her recent visit to Prague, I had a chance to speak to the director of Czech Centre London, Tereza Porybná, and began by asking her why they specifically chose contemporary dance as a medium to present Czech culture at the festival.
The band Docuku, based in the north-eastern town of Valašské Meziřící, rediscovers folk music of Moravia, Slovakia, Hungary as as well as Roma songs, and sometimes come up with their own creations, too. Docuku – meaning together in the local dialect – have put out three albums so far, including Kdybych já věděl which was released earlier this year and features singer Markéta Irglová.
Earlier this month, literatis in this country and all over the world marked the 130th anniversary of one of the most famous Prague writers – Franz Kafka. Outside of the Czech Republic this was a chance to take another look at one of the best known writers of the 20th century, but locally the occasion brought to the fore the unresolved relationship that this country, and particularly the capital, has with the German-speaking Jewish author.
Clowns, puppeteers, acrobats, mimes and many other striking, colorful and often frightening street artists will take over Prague’s center on Monday as part of the annual street theater festival Behind the Door (Za dveřmi). Around twenty troupes from more than 15 different countries will be performing next week in the afternoons and evenings in the heart of Prague, at Wenceslas Square. It will be the fifth year of Behind the Door, and for this week’s Arts, Masha Volynsky had a chance to speak to a member of the festival team, Adam Ondráček, about
One of Prague’s defining buildings of the late communist era is set for demolition, its new owners, the PPF group, have confirmed. Hotel Praha, a large, curved concrete structure, will make way for a park for pupils of an elite school run by PPF. However, many architecture enthusiasts say the building is of great value and are up in arms over the decision.