One of the most precious items from the archives of the National Museum, a sculpted Celtic head dating back to the Iron Age, is currently on display at the Regional Museum in Olomouc. The valuable sculpture, which was transported to the museum under heavy security, is the highlight of a two-week exhibition of Celtic art.
No fewer than 23,000 fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror attended the first ever Prague Comic-Con at the weekend. And the biggest guest at the inaugural edition was Hollywood actor Ron Perlman, who has appeared in superhero movies such as Hellboy and Blade II, both of which were shot right here in Prague, a city he avowedly adores.
The Bohemian town of Kladruby is famous worldwide for its horse stud farm, founded by the Habsburg emperor Rudolf II. It is also home to a spectacular 12th century Benedictine monastery where the martyred saint of Bohemia, John of Nepomuk, was tried and tortured. An effort is now afoot to have the cloister and Czech Baroque Gothic style church named a European Heritage site.
Karel Čapek was a leading Czech interwar novelist, playwright and journalist and is perhaps most remembered for works of science fiction such as The War with the Newts and R.U.R., which gave the world the word “robot”. But did you know that Čapek was also a travel writer? His pieces from around Europe are the focus of the book In Search of a Shared Expression by Mirna Solic, a lecturer at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow. I spoke to her on the phone from Scotland.
Essayist, educator and debut novelist René Georg Vasicek was conceived in communist-era Czechoslovakia, born in Austria a year after the Soviet-led invasion of his parents’ homeland, and raised in the pine barrens of eastern Long Island, New York. His novel The Defectors is a self-described book of odd and uncanny episodes about people, many of them Czechs, trying not just to escape reality but “defect” from it.
Singer, dancer and former Czech pop idol finalist Benny Cristo will represent the Czech Republic at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the Afro pop song Kemama. The 32-year-old singer of Czech-Angolan heritage won the Czech national round, leaving behind six other finalists. I spoke to him about his success and started by asking about the song he has chosen to compete with.
Ivan Král, a celebrated Prague-born musician, composer and producer who immigrated to the United States in the mid-1960s, died on Sunday at the age of 71. Early in his storied career, he played with Patti Smith, with whom he co-wrote ‘Dancing Barefoot’, named among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. Král also wrote for rock icons such as Iggy Pop and David Bowie, while bands such as U2 and Pearl Jam covered his songs.