Bronislava Volková is a woman of many talents. She has had numerous collections of her poetry published and translated into no less than eleven languages, at the same time as writing widely on linguistics and semiotics and teaching at a number of American universities. She has translated many Czech poets into English and for nearly three decades she was director of Czech Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. She is also an artist, working in particular with collage. In Czech Books this week David Vaughan meets a Czech Renaissance woman.
A two day series of seminars about media coverage of the refugee crisis in Central Europe and the Baltic States has just wound up in Prague. And most of the messages have not been complimentary about its performance which has often been described as shallow, seizing on disinformation, failing to present a wider picture, and too frequently falling in with local politicians’ take on problems.
A new book, Fashion Behind the Iron Curtain, released by Olympia and Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM) has taken on the task of mapping fashion in Czechoslovakia from 1948 – 1989, a period that followed the Second World War, the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, a brief window of democracy and freedom and itself was marked by 40 years of totalitarian rule.
Czech businessman Ivan Zach has become a majority owner of TV Prima, the second biggest commercial channel in the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. The Swedish company Modern Times Group has sold its 50-percent stake in TV Prima to Denemo Media, owned by businessmen Ivan Zach, who’s now got a 75-percent stake in the broadcaster with Vladimír Komár owning the remainder.
In today’s edition of Sunday Music Show we will be playing a new album by David Dorůžka, one of the country’s most distinguished jazz musicians and an exceptionally talented guitarist. The album, called Autumn Leaves, was released in December after a pause of eight years. Recorded in a trio with bassists Jiří Slavík and drummer Martin Novák, it features five new pieces by Dorůžka along with melodies from Jewish music, a song written by classical composer Bohuslav Martinů and an old jazz tune from the 1930s and two pieces by Jiří Slavík.
An exhibition of photographs of the internationally renowned author Bohumil Hrabal is currently on show at Lucerna Café in Prague. The collection of photos was taken by the Czech-born documentary filmmaker and photographer Jan Kaplan, based in London, who became friends with Hrabal in the 1990s, after giving him a tour of London. I spoke to him on the phone to London to find out more about how had come to befriend and photograph a man who valued his privacy and who rarely allowed strangers into his chosen circle of friends.
The 12th Prague Short Film Festival gets underway on January 18th. For the next four days visitors to Prague’s Světozor will be able to view some of the very best short films from around the world. Jan Velinger spoke to the festival’s program director Karel Spěšný, about some of the films being screened as well as the festival’s main aims.
In today’s edition of Sunday Music Show we mark the 90th birthday of Zuzana Růžičková, one of the world’s leading harpsichordists. Despite enduring three concentration camps as well as Communist persecution, Zuzana Růžičková pursued her dream of becoming a professional musician. During her long career, she released around one hundred albums and became the first person to record Bach's complete works for keyboard, which have just recently been re-issued.
When the translator Ewald Osers died five years ago, it marked the end of an era. This year would have been his hundredth birthday, so with a bit of quick mathematics we can work out that he was already a young adult when the Second World War brought an end to the multi-lingual and uneasily cosmopolitan Prague in which he had grown up. From 1938 until his death, Osers lived in England, where he translated much of the best twentieth century Czech prose and poetry into English. Remarkably, he was translating from his second to his third language,
Czech Games Edition is a small but internationally-respected firm which has published very well-known original board game designs, some of them in as many as 12 languages. Titles include acclaimed party games like Krycí jména (Code Names) or heavier titles like the civ-builder Through the Ages. CGE’s newest release, which got a lot of hype at this year’s Essen Game Fair, was Adrenaline, a game pitting futuristic combatants against each other in a tight arena of rooms. Think proverbial “knife fight in an phone booth”.