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.
For the first time ever, non-Czech audiences have the chance to get acquainted with Jára Cimrman, a unique phenomenon of Czech culture. The fictional character has enjoyed immense popularity with Czech audiences for more than five decades. One of the Jára Cimrman plays - The Stand In – was recently translated into English and is now being staged in Prague’s Jára Cimrman Theatre by a group of Prague-based, English speaking actors. I went to see the final rehearsal.
Never Sol is essentially the solo project of Sára Vondrášková, a songwriter and keyboardist whose rich, smoky voice belies her tender years. Her Jan P. Muchow-produced debut LP Under Quiet – which occasionally brings to mind the likes of Portishead or Muchow’s The Ecstasy of St. Theresa – has been nominated for Best New Act and Best Female Act in the Czech music industry’s Anděl music awards.
A couple of generations ago, certain young Czechs opposed to the communist regime’s re-writing of history engaged in the smuggling of books and other materials, determined to thwart official acts of revisionism and the suppression of information. Today, Petr Harmáček, a 26-year-old English teacher from the city of Pilsen, is engaged in a somewhat similar fight, albeit related to American film history. Going by the Internet nickname “Harmy” he has devoted hundreds of hours to trying to restore the original Star Wars trilogy – namely “Star Wars”,
Fans of urban fantasy may be interested to learn more about “Come Hell or High Water” a trilogy written by New York-based author Stephen Morris – a former Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. His series, set in Prague, not only blends past legend with the present, but meticulously works with occult European magical practices and beliefs.