The Czech Embassy in London will on Friday evening celebrate its reopening after a two-year renovation project. The large-scale event will see performances by singer Lenny and artists František Skála and Petr Nikl, a light show provided by Prague’s Signal festival and drinks from the world-renowned bar owner Pavel Tvaroh. Ahead of the celebration, I caught up with Ambassador Libor Sečka at his newly remodeled office.
The annual Czech Press Photo competition, which evaluates both professional and amateur journalistic photographs from around the world, has selected the winners of the 2017 competition. And for the first time, the winner is a photograph taken not with an expensive camera, but with a simple cell phone.
The Museum of Decorative Arts in the centre of Prague has finally reopened after a protracted renovation. The largest Czech museum dedicated to applied art and design, which boasts one of the most extensive glass collections in Europe, had been closed since January 2015. It opened to the public with a new exhibition called Director’s Choice, presenting an exclusive selection of items from its collections.
František Vláčil, Karel Kachyňa, Vojtěch Jasný, Jiří Menzel and several more of the greatest ever Czech film directors honed their craft in the army during the communist period. And as the Czechoslovak New Wave was blossoming, the country’s military were producing the kind of short films that were the envy of their counterparts elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc. That’s according to historian Alice Lovejoy, author of the book Army Film and the Avant Garde. We spoke when Lovejoy, who teaches at the University of Minnesota, was in Prague recently.
The prestigious British magazine Songlines, which is distributed in 65 countries, has issued a free CD bonus, featuring Czech world music. The 16-track album, titled At the Heart of the Bonfire was released in the October edition of Songlines and features many of the country’s top artists including Iva Bittová & Čikori, Jiří Pavlica & Hradišťan and Clarinet Factory.
Jana Počtová’s documentary Non-Parent offers an intimate exploration of unorthodox family life in the Czech Republic today. A follow-up to her earlier film Generation Singles, it tells six stories of non-nuclear family setups, from a lesbian couple who conceive with the help of gay friends to a heterosexual pair who have made a conscious choice not to have children. When Počtová came to our studios the conversation took in everything from the challenges of step-parenting to the experiences of her 99-year-old grandmother. But I first asked the director,
Prague’s O2 Arena is set to see a very special concert next week. One of the most popular Czech bands Chinaski will team up with the Whakaari Rotorua group from New Zealand to perform a traditional Māori dance, called haka, trying to set a new record for the largest-ever haka. Whakaari Rorotua will also mark the visit of the late Czech president Václav Havel to New Zealand in 1995 with a special program at the Václav Havel library.
The renowned British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is set to make her debut with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague’s Rudolfinum on Saturday. The graduate of the Royal College of Art and this year’s recipient of the ECHO Rising Star Awards will be performing a world premiere of a piece by the award-winning British composer Richard Blackford.