Once the shining stars of the 1960s Czechoslovak pop scene, singers Helena Vondráčková and Marta Kubišová have turned into bitter foes over thwarted plans for a comeback of their former band, the Golden Kids. Ms Vondráčková accused her colleague of breaking a contract, and demanded more than a million crowns in compensation. A Prague court has dismissed the claim, but the war may not be over.
The hugely successful American musician Kanye West was in Prague recently making what is being described as a movie to accompany his as yet untitled new album. The rapper kept fans informed about his time in the Czech capital via Twitter, saying he had been doing 16-hour shoots and describing filming here as “like a child’s delusions become reality!”
It is not often that school plays get to be performed at international theatre festivals, still less so when it involves taking performers, props and scenery hundreds of miles half way across a continent. But this is just what happened when a group of teenagers from Britain brought a brand new play to Prague’s Fringe Festival in 2008. And it was not by chance that this play was brought to Prague. In this week’s Czech Books, David Vaughan finds out more from the play’s author.
Though it only began last year, the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Ostrava is fast becoming an important part of the cultural calendar in the old industrial city in the north-east of the country. With the 2010 edition due to kick off in just under a fortnight, I caught up with two of its young organisers in Prague: programme director Jakub Felcman, and Anna Kopecká, who is head of the programme department.
The Czech city of Plzeň – best known for its world-famous lager – has reason to celebrate: on Wednesday shortly after 4 pm, members of an international jury announced that it – and not rival Ostrava in the east of the country - had won the bid to become 2015’s European Capital of Culture. It will share the honour with the Belgian city of Mons.
A controversial sculpture known as Entropa, by the famous Czech artist David Černý, has found a permanent home in Plzeň. The giant artwork was unveiled this week at the Techmania Science Museum, which acquired it for 10.2 million crowns. Some will remember that Entropa caused something of a scandal last year when it was unveiled in Brussels as part of the Czech EU presidency. It offended some in the manner in which it ridiculed national stereotypes – depicting Bulgaria, for example, as a Turkish squat toilet. Since then, the controversy has abated,
In this week’s Music Express my guest is the talented singer, rapper and composer Radek Banga, the frontman for one of the Czech Republic’s best-known bands Gipsy.cz. The four-member group first broke onto the scene six years ago and quickly rose to the top with an unusual mix of traditional Romany music crossed with rap, hip hop, pop and r n’b. They have only grown in popularity since.
The central Bohemian town of Kolín, some 60 km east of Prague, was the scene of an unusual ceremony on Sunday. Local enthusiasts unveiled a memorial to two cartoon characters – two bears, who allegedly met outside the town, and whose adventures captured the imaginations of several generations of Czechs since their creation in mid 1960s.
August 5 was the 20th anniversary of the death of one of the most important Czech 20th century poets. Ivan Blatný spent his last years in Clacton-on-Sea, a resort on the east coast of England. He had spent more than half his life in exile, and most of that time as a patient in various psychiatric hospitals. It was in these unlikely circumstances that he wrote some of his best poetry, after being virtually forgotten as a writer for several decades. David Vaughan has more in this week’s edition of Czech Books.
Thursday saw the premiere of a new documentary on HBO Czech Republic by respected filmmaker and cameraman David Čálek. Called Heaven, Hell – the film was aired as part of HBO’s Bez Cenzury (Without Censorship) series tackling issues rarely examined on the big or small screens. Heaven, Hell is a year-long look into the lives of four people deeply involved in the BDSM scene – that is bondage, domination, and sadomasochism.