American Jeffrey Zamoff has been living in Prague for six years, earning his living as an English teacher and collecting and selling old vinyl records for pleasure. Two years ago, he decided to enlarge his offer with used English books for kids and discovered a hole in the market. His hobby soon turned into a small business, and besides running an internet shop, he has just opened a brick and mortar shop in the city. When I met Jeffrey Zamoff, I asked him how he came up with the idea in the first place:
Lukáš Houdek is a man of varied interests. As well as being a photographer who has explored the post-war massacres of Czechoslovakia’s ethnic Germans, he is co-curator of an exhibition entitled Transgender Me that gets underway in Prague on Monday. In addition, Houdek, a Romani Studies graduate, writes for a leading Roma affairs website; indeed, for much of our interview I was under the mistaken impression that he himself was a member of the ethnic minority.
Last month Prague’s FAMU placed a very impressive fourth in a Hollywood Reporter list of top international film schools. How has the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, to give it its full title, managed to acquire such a reputation around the world? That’s one of several questions I discussed the other day with the head of FAMU International, teacher and documentary maker Vít Janeček. But I first asked Janeček how the range of subjects in his programme compares to the “regular” Czech-language FAMU.
In a recent edition of Czech Books, we spoke to the Romany writer, Irena Eliášová. She mentioned that her novel, November, had been published earlier this year by an internet publisher. This inspired David Vaughan to find out more about Romany writing in the digital age, and he discovered that Czech Roma have embraced the social media in a big way.
A one-of-a-kind instrument called raketon made its first public appearance three years ago in a museum exhibit, but this week it had its debut in a contemporary classical music concert, together with Prague’s Berg Orchestra. I had a chance to speak to Raketon’s inventor Michal Cimala and to composer Jakub Rataj who mastered this simple and elegant instrument and wrote the first orchestral piece that includes it. Both of them perform on the raketon as well by plucking, striking and touching its two strings with bows, mallets and even milk
Employees at the country’s highly-respected National Theatre can expect a little extra next year when it comes to their monthly paychecks. Funds, allowing for a salary rise for the institution’s employees, were agreed recently by the country’s finance minister, Andrej Babiš, and Culture Minister Daniel Herman. At the same time, it is clear that salary bump, long-term, is being seen as not enough.