The renowned Czech writer Ivan Klíma, author of novels such as Love and Garbage and the autobiography My Crazy Century, turned 85 on Wednesday. Klíma became a dissident in communist Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion and was one of a number of Czech writers who were forced to publish in samizdat at home while simultaneously enjoying international success. I discussed aspects of Ivan Klíma’s work and life with Gerald Turner, who has translated a number of the author’s works, including Judge on Trial.
An exhibition of caricatures of Václav Havel opened at Prague’s Malostranská Beseda on Tuesday evening to mark the 80th anniversary of the late Czech president’s birth. The exhibition, called “World Draws Havel”, includes some eighty portraits by caricaturists from 30 countries. It will be on display throughout September.
Enjoy your coffee while listening to Beethoven, have a glass of wine while listening to Mozart and quench your thirst with contemporary music and mineral water, suggests a new project that brings classical musicians to cafés all around the Czech Republic. The series of concerts, which aim at raising public interest in classical music, was launched on Friday at a café in Prague’s district of Holešovice.
An exhibition on the Vltava river bank in the centre of Prague has launched a series of events called Old’s Cool. Organised by the NGO Elpida, the annual event aims to present inspiring seniors as role models and change public opinion in favour of old age. The main theme of the festival’s fourth edition is ‘Slow Up’ and the main event, a fashion show of recycled and upcycled fashion pieces presented by senior fashion models, is set to take place in mid-September at the National Gallery’s Veletržní palác.
In today’s Sunday Music we will be listening to early recordings by the Czech rock group Abraxas, founded in 1976. The band released a new two-CD “Best of…” compilation called Nekonečný Boogie covering nine separate albums. Over the years the group, developed in different musical directions, including New Wave in the 1980s.
Why do Czech men want to date Vietnamese girls? What do Czechs hate about the Vietnamese? And what to expect at a Vietnamese wedding? This and many more questions are the subject of a blog called Asijatka, which offers sharp as well as light-hearted observations on the coexistence of the Czech and Vietnamese communities. Written by a young Vietnamese Do Thu Trang, the blog recently received an award for journalists under 33 years of age, as well as a nomination for the Magnesia Litera Award for Best blog.
In this week’s Arts, our guest is up-and-coming Czech artist Jindřich Janíček, recent graduate of UPMRUM (Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design), co-founder of the small independent publishing house Take Take Take, and co-author of K večeru spustil se déšť (The Rain Started at Dusk). The book, which Janíček illustrated, is based on diaries kept by his great-grandfather Štepán Zadražil, who served in the Austrian army in WWI and deserted in Russia.
Radio Prague is today celebrating the 80th anniversary of its first, shortwave broadcast. Obviously the medium of radio has changed enormously since 31 August 1936, particularly in recent times with the advent of the internet. To look at where radio is at today, and where it may be headed in the future, I spoke to Graham Dixon, a former managing editor at BBC Radio 3 who is now head of radio at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in Geneva. My first question concerned the biggest changes Mr. Dixon has seen in his three decades-plus in the radio
Nearly a thousand cultural and historical sites as well as technical monuments across the Czech Republic will open to the public for free during the European Heritage Days starting this weekend. Over the course of nine days, people will get the chance to see hundreds of sites many of which are not normally accessible to the public.
A fire at Prague’s Barrandov film studios has destroyed the set for a blockbuster television series around the Knights Templar in the 14th century which was set to pump over a billion crowns into the local economy. Shooting of Knightfall, a ten part series produced by Hollywood star Jeremy Renner, was due to start last weekend. I spoke to David Minkowski of Stillking film production, which co-produces the series, about the extent of the damage: