Lubomír Dorůžka, who sadly died on Monday at the age of 89, was one of the all-time great Czech music writers. He started out during WWII, producing a clandestine magazine on his greatest passion, jazz, a genre that was also later frowned upon by the Communists. However, in the relatively liberal 1960s Mr. Dorůžka was able to edit music magazines and play a very active role in international jazz organisations. What’s more, he was also a renowned translator of American and British authors – and as a young man did many translations with his lifelong
US musician Lou Reed, who died in October, is set to be remembered at a special tribute concert at Prague’s Archa Theatre on Wednesday featuring local acts such as the Plastic People of the Universe. Entitled “From the Velvet Underground to the Velvet Revolution”, the event also marks the second anniversary of the death of Czech president Václav Havel, who was a friend of Reed’s.
Much travelled musician Gary Lucas was in Prague last week to provide live accompaniment to a screening of the cult 1930s horror movie known as Spanish Dracula. Described by Rolling Stone as “one of the best and most original guitarists in America”, Lucas also did a show reviving The Ghosts of Prague, an LP he recorded here in 1996 with local band Urfaust. The musician, perhaps best known for his work with Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley, has a long association with the city, and with Czech music. What’s more, Lucas has roots in this part of
The Czech family has changed in many ways in the past two decades, with new values and gender models entering the homes, and Communist-era mentality and standards partly waning. One growing phenomenon that few want to talk about is the increasing number of single mothers. Currently, about one in every five children in this country grows up with a single parent. And most of the around 200,000 single caretakers are women. Within the EU, the Czech Republic has one of the highest percentages of single mothers within its population.
Karel Och, who hails from a small town in the Vysočina region, is artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. For most of the year, Och and his colleagues are based in a building on Panská St. in downtown Prague, directly behind the Holy Cross Church on the bustling Na příkopě. Our tour of “his Prague” begins in his cosy office, which at present overlooks a construction site on Panská.
American film historians recently came across a fascinating discovery when they found the Czech National Film Archive has the only surviving print of the 1929 US movie, the Mysterious Island. The archive in Prague stores around 500 films from Hollywood’s early days, proof that the global dominance of American cinema goes all the way back to the birth of the film industry.
The Czech Republic and Hungary are countries of similar size with plenty of history in common, whether we look back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the common experience of invasion in more recent decades: in 1956 for Hungary and 1968 for Czechoslovakia. And you don’t have to look far to find parallels in the literature of the two countries. In Czech Books, David Vaughan looks at some of these Czech-Hungarian literary links from the point of view of a Czech who is steeped in contemporary Hungarian writing.
Ten historic synagogues in Bohemia and Moravia are undergoing massive renovations and are set to reopen in all their former glory next year. The Ten Stars project includes such gems of Jewish heritage as Baroque synagogues in Mikulov and Jičín and neo-Romanesque ones in Plzeň and Krnov, as well as several other minor Jewish monuments.