Peter Sis’s On Flying and Other Dreams is one of the exhibitions of the year in Prague. It places in a fresh context five books focused on freedom by the US-based author and illustrator, including The Wall – Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain, The Three Golden Keys and Robinson. The show was conceived by the team of Michaela Šilpochová, Leoš Válka, Ivana Brádková at venue DOX, and at the opening I asked Sis what he had made of their approach.
Brno’s Martin Reiner is an award-winning poet and novelist. He also works closely with some of the Czech Republic’s other leading writers as head of the publishing house Druhé město (Second City). Our tour of “his Brno” begins in the tree-lined district where Reiner grew up, Černá Pole, around half an hour’s walk from the centre of the Moravian capital.
Released in 1964, Starci na chmelu is the first and perhaps most famous Czechoslovak film musical. The film’s songs were written by Vratislav Blažek and were recorded with some of the country’s most popular singers at the time, including Karel Gott, Josef Zíma, Jana Petrů and Karel Štědrý. With a story that transcends time, Starci na chmelu was one of the country’s commercially most successful movies and initiated a period which would produce many more film musicals.
Jan Šibík 1989, a photography exhibition now running in Prague, brings to life some of the most dramatic moments of that momentous period. Šibík, who was then in his mid-20s, succeeded in capturing the police brutality that sparked the Velvet Revolution – as well as events that foreshadowed and followed it.
The Czech rock-pop band Jelen has released a new album paying tribute to the Czech country music legend Michal Tučný. The LP, called Půlnoční vlak Michala Tučného, contains eleven cover versions of the singer’s biggest hits. Tučný’s daughter Michaela appears as a guest singer on several of the songs.
National Theatre artists, mainly opera singers, are threatening to strike if the newly appointed culture minister rejects their demand to open selection process to replace their current bosses and increase “transparency” at the institution. With some artistic licence – and apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber – one could call this Act II of ‘The Phantom of the Czech Opera’.
One of the world’s most acclaimed surrealist filmmakers Jan Švankmajer turned 85 on Wednesday. His signature surreal style, which relies on stop-motion animations and exaggerated sounds, has not only created many world renowned films in the genre, but also influenced other major artists such as Terry Gilliam and Jose Garcia Moreno.