In the late 1980s, the city of Brno boasted a vibrant rock scene with one of its major fixtures being the band Dunaj. The group formed in 1987 by the singer Iva Bittová, drummer Pavel Fajt and other renowned musicians, and went on to release four studio albums before their eventual break-up a decade later. Dunaj, whose music style has been described as intense and challenging, had a lasting influence on the Czech indie scene of the 1990s.
Adam Štěch writes for the leading Czech design magazine Dolce Vita, as well as high-end international outlets like the website Coolhunting and Mark magazine. He also takes part in projects around Europe as part of the Okolo design collective, which produces an impressive magazine of its own. Our tour of “Adam Štěch’s Prague” begins downtown on the plaza beside the National Theatre and behind the institution’s futuristic New Stage building.
Nika Kupyrova has traversed Europe from East to West and back. Born in Ukraine and having grown up in Prague, she went on to study art in Edinburgh and Iceland. Now Nika lives and works in Vienna, and partly in Prague, creating installations and photographs of dream-like creatures and spaces. Currently, the young artist has an installation at the Windows Gallery in Vienna - the new art space of the Czech Center in Austria.
The sorry state of hundreds of Czech historical buildings and other registered landmarks has prompted a radical proposal. Deputy Czech ombudsman Stanislav Křeček has suggested that regardless of who owns a monument the authorities should pay for its renovation – and then demand that the owner foots the bill. In the most severe cases, the state should be able to confiscate the properties.
Communist Party deputy chairman Jiří Dolejš is perhaps not somebody one would expect to be a fan of The Plastic People of the Universe, an underground rock band persecuted in the 1970s and ‘80s by the Communist regime. Some of his followers are angry after Mr. Dolejš posted their photo on his Facebook page and have slammed the group in language reminiscent of pre-1989 propaganda.
Last year the placing of pianos in public places became a huge hit in Prague and other Czech cities. Now the man behind the project, Ondřej Kobza, has made a fresh move – on Monday the urban activist and café owner unveiled a public chess table at Prague’s Náměstí Míru, with other sites are set to follow soon.
Led by singer and keyboardist Pavel Kabelík, Prodavač ("shop assistant") are an ‘80s influenced alternative group whose intimate synthpop is complemented by thoughtful lyrics. After releasing an EP in 2011, the band returned in February with a very well-received debut album, Malý ráje (Little Paradises).
Anyone interested in the history of athletics will have heard of Emil Zátopek, the greatest Czech long-distance runner of all time. His life story is the subject of a short novel by the Prix Goncourt winning French writer, Jean Echenoz, called simply “Running” – “Courir” in the original French. The book is an account of the life of an athlete whose quiet, determined attitude towards his sport contrasted with the complex political dramas going on around him in mid-20th century Europe. David Vaughan looks at the book and at the life of Emil
The casemates of Brno’s castle Špilberk, once the most feared prison in the Habsburg Empire, will be open to sleep in for one night this Saturday. The offer is part of weekend celebrations of the 369th anniversary of the defence of Brno against the Swedes during the thirty years war. The project is in its pilot stage but, if successful, organisers plan to make it a permanent part of the castle experience.
A travelling exhibition “Kdo postavil Libušín” (Who built Libušín) has just opened in the town of Valašské Meziříčí. One of its aims is to support the restoration of historical chalet in the Beskydy Mountains in the east of the country, which was seriously damaged by fire this March. The reconstruction of the national heritage site is expected to cost some 80 million crowns.