The management of Prague’s National Theatre this week symbolically launched planned renovation of the State Opera, located not far from Wenceslas Square. The project is set to cost 858 million crowns and will take more than two years, during which time the State Opera will put on productions at other venues. It is the first major renovation job on a large state-owned theatre since 1989.
Petra Dočekalová is a graduate of the Typography Studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Her calligraphy thesis, in which she developed her own handwritten scripts, has recently won two prestigious international awards, including the certificate of Typographic Excellence 2017 from the Type Directors Club. I met with Petra Dočekalová in her studio, hidden in a backyard just a few steps from Prague’s Old Town Square, and I first asked her why she chose calligraphy as the topic of her thesis:
How do you write poetry in the age of the tweet? Tomáš Míka has an answer. His latest collection is called Text Messages: it doesn’t quite go so far as to reduce everything to 140 characters, but the book does have its roots in the disembodied fragments of language that today form so much of our electronic communication. Tomáš talks to David Vaughan.
Czech Radio has just launched Zhasni!, or Turn the Lights Out!, the station’s first dedicated podcast series. The move is aimed at boosting Czech listeners’ usage of podcasts, a delivery system particularly popular in the US via which subscribers automatically receive audio files – including, of course, radio shows – on their smartphones or other devices. To find out more about this drive I spoke to Edita Kudláčová and Robert Candra from Czech Radio’s Creative Hub group. My first question: What is Zhasni! and how did it come about?
Kayos, which came out last year, is the excellent fourth LP by the Olomouc-based outfit Flash the Readies. They started out in the mid-2000s as an indie group but today have a post-rock sound that should appeal greatly to fans of Mogwai or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Though comprising only five tracks, Kayos takes listeners on an atmospheric, psychedelic and frequently epic, journey.
Final preparations are underway for the One World human rights documentary film festival, which starts in Prague on Monday. This year’s edition, the 19th, will turn the spotlight on the lives of migrants who have settled in Europe – and deliver all kinds of captivating stories from around the globe. Ahead of the opening, festival director Hana Kulhánková filled me in on this year’s curtain-raising film.
Taking part in the carnival parade in Rio is an unforgettable experience and all you need to do is don a mask and costume and join in the revelry. But only the very best dancers have the privilege of dancing at the Sambódromo. Among the few foreigners to join this elite group of Brazilian dancers for the 2017 parade competition was Czech actor and dancer Viktor Polášek.