The poet, playwright and novelist Irena Eliášová spent her early childhood in a Romany village in south-western Slovakia. The memory of this time has become the defining experience in her writing. But Irena does not write just about the lost world of her childhood in the 1950s and 60s. She has also written powerfully and poignantly about the life of Roma in the Czech Republic today. Yet even when she writes about the present, her work is permeated with a sense of family and community that also draws us back to an older world of Roma tradition. David
The 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, celebrated earlier this week, was marked not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. On Sunday, for example, the Czech Philharmonic headed by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, played its final North American date in New York at none other than Carnegie Hall, performing Antonín Dvořák’s From the New World Symphony, written during his stay in America.
For Semafor is a unique album initiated by the Czech music journalist Pavel Klusák on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Semafor Theatre in 2009. It features 20 cover versions of the most famous hits by Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr interpreted by some of the best known Czech indie bands, such as Květy, OTK or Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
Gary Keith Griffin is currently in Prague presenting his new Czech-language movie Listopad (November), which explores the Velvet Revolution from the perspective of young participants in the street demonstrations of that time. Griffin also had personal experience to draw on, having himself been in the city as those historic events were unfolding at the end of 1989. When we met on Národní St., where the revolution began on November 17 that year, I asked the Oscar-winning cameraman what he had found when he arrived in Prague on an NBC news
Jiří Jírů developed a love for photography from his uncle, the avant-garde Czech photographer Václav Jírů, before studying the discipline in Brussels and working for US publications such as Time and Newsweek. In the course of his career, Jiří Jírů has snapped celebrities ranging from the Bee Gees to Queen Elizabeth II, and spent almost a decade working as President Václav Havel’s official photographer. Jírů divides his time between Prague and Brussels, which is where he found himself on August 21, 1968:
Countless events across the Czech Republic – and indeed across the globe – are taking place over the next four days to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. These are scheduled in key places associated with the Revolution, such as Wenceslas Square or Národní třída in Prague, as well as in locations such as Washington D.C. and London.
E-books have been slow to take off in the Czech Republic with taxes, a local penchant for piracy, and caution from some of the traditional print publishers some of the factors in its slow roll-out. But the optimists are still sticking to the script that e-books can elbow themselves a much greater share of the market.