Compact archive October 2007

Statues of Astronomical clock go to Revision and Repair

astronomical clock Prague astronomical clock, built 1410 by the clockmaker Mikulas of Kadan, is going to have its statues undergo a general repair the whole November 2007. Its 17th Century statues are going to be protectively coated against hard weather conditions.

Otakar Zamecnik, the ‘orlojnik’, said: “to lift down these takes about three hours, while the Astronomical Clock will be still working. We have to do everything in the morning, so we won’t be disturbed by tourists too much.”

death and turk Conservators are going to lift down first four statues today, and the next four in two weeks. Vanity, Miser/Jew, Turk and Death, the statues placed at the lower position by the astronomic clock-face, go to workrooms as first. The second wawe takes the lower statues by the Claendar- Chronicler, Angel, Astronomer and Philosopher.

Czech Railways New System Changes

EC travelling a little cheaper Czech Railways cancel the system of zones, starting 9th November 2007. The price of a ticket is going to be dependent on the actual kilometers traveled.

What’s more, the 60 CZK (2 €) surcharges for EuroCity or InterCity trains are to be canceled too. This is a trend of the European Union. Covering of the losts is going to be paid by the Ministry of Transportation. Though, the state should pay approx. 600 millions CZK (20 mil. €)

The changes reflect to a customer’s life positively, if he/she uses mentioned EuroCity or InterCity trains. For example, to go from Prague to Ostrava costs 484 CZK (16 €) now, after the changes it is supposed to be 40 CZK (1,3 €) less. Traveling with a discount card will be a little more expensive, as well as a purchase of a ‘Kilometricka banka’ (1600 CZK/53 € for 2000 km)

And finally – train smoking rooms are to be abandoned and train smoking will be banned completely.

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Skoda Fabia Cake advertisement scores in Britain

Skoda Fabia Cake Skoda cake advertisement won top British Television Advertising Craft Award of 30 October 2007. The TV ad shows pastry-cooks baking a Skoda Fabia cake in life size. They have swapped rivets for raisins, metal for marzipan and spark plugs for sugar. The video was filmed at West London’s Shepperton Studios, and Skoda even includes a recipe for the cake. The ad was placed by British representation of Skoda. It lasts approximately a minute and cost about 1 million £.

The agency who made the ad actually wanted to give the huge cake to charity, but at the end they gave it up because of possible health risks, coming from long stay of Skoda Fabia cake in the heat of studio reflectors.

For a Skoda Fabia cake you need these ingredients:
10kg white chocolate chunks
20kg raisins
3kg orange peel strips
25kg dried apricot
12.5kg raspberry jam
5kg cocoa powder
100kg wheat flour
180 fresh eggs
100kg caster sugar
90kg brown sugar paste
50kg icing sugar
40kg black sugar paste
20kg glacier cherries
50kg white sugar paste
30kg brown almonds
42kg chocolate fudge

Did you know Skoda starts production of its first SUV?

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Dog Restaurant in Czech Republic

A dog restaurant? Do you mean for dogs or offering dogs? The answer is b. The restaurant offers German shepherd steak with dumplings and cream sauce, Sausage dog on cranberries, or grilled Labrador on garlic. It opens soon in the Czech Republic second largest city Brno. Wonder what the prices are? From 259 CZK (8,6 €) for Chivava starter, to 999 CZK (33 €) for fifty grams of Yorkshire delicacy.

Do you feel sick already? Do you even feel like suing? You don’t have to. This time it is just an Internet project of an imaginary restaurant, that should demonstrate it is not possible to prioritize some animals on account of others. According to its author (one of them) Ales Leznar:

“We buy tidy packages with anonymous carcasses in supermarkets, but if it was saying ‘neighbor’s Max’, hardly anybody would buy it. If humanity wants a really fair world, they should reduce or abandon meat consumption”

It is really a project that should provoke discussions. However on the web www.DogHeaven.cz it wouldn’t seem so – it is even decorated with advertisements like ‘Invite your Asian business partner to lunch’ or ‘Visit dog meat festival’. But soon the manifesto appears – this is an appeal on human hypocrisy, which looks down upon maltreatment of pets, but tolerates mass meat-works.

Based on jih,miš, Lidove Noviny

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Dolores O’Riordan in Prague Lucerna

The singer of the legendary band Cranberries goes on her European tour with an accompanying band (while her band Cranberries probably rests in Ireland at the moment). O’Riordan’s first solo album “Are You Listening?”, released on 2007, will be possible to hear there, but probably most songs will be the good old songs of The Cranberries.

Dolores O’Riordan performs in Prague on Monday 26th November 2007 in Prague Lucerna.

For more information visit this

Less High School Students Tried Marijuana

Meanwhile five years ago 30% of asked fifteens had experiences with marijuana, last year it was six percent less, according to the Drug report of 2006 which was given by the Ministers yesterday.

The file says the number of narcomaniacs didn’t grow past years. Official numbers of addicts to Pervitin (Czech name for methamphetamine) and opiates are 30 200, a number similar to past years.

For the last year only, the state invested 363 millions of CZK (12,1 mil. €) to anti-drug policy projects. Other 140 millions (4,7 mil. €) were donated by regions and cities.

First concert of 50 Cent in Prague

Current number two of American rap is comming to Prague within the scope of his European tour (he didn’t cancel his tour, just moved it for two months). Tickets for his performance, which is going to take place on 21st November in T-mobile Arena, are on sale.

Click for more information

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Harlem Gospel Choir concert in Prague State Opera

harlem gospel choir The world-famous gospel choir, cooperating with the biggest stars of the world of music is coming back to the Czech Republic after its great successful last year.

Harlem Gospel Choir is comming to Prague on 1st November 2007 with their World Tour 2007 – God Bless The Children.

Last year, Harlem Gospel Choir’s visit to the Czech Republic was something like a “trial run”. Gospel music has never had a tradition in this country and its music scene, so no one expected the choir to have such a success at the local audience. However enthusiasm and euforia which accompanied the whole Czech stage of the choir’s tour could not escape the attention of the Czech press and other media. All tickets were sold out for every tour’s stop and the choir performed something unexpected.

Get more information on Harlem Gospel Choir concert Prague here

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Will Viktor Kozeny ever be convicted?

“Viktor Kozeny won’t be given to the USA to be judged there” That is the verdict of the Bahama supreme court of this Wednesday. And we weren’t very surprised, because Kozeny’s history is a history of scams and tricks.

Just for the case you have never heard of the most famous Czech thief, who in the early ’90s ran one of the greatest scams of the post-Communist era; Viktor Kozeny is by the media often called “the pirate of Prague”.

Viktor Kozeny During the Communist regime, it was common for the state to steal companies from its citizen and to ‘communize’ it. When the Communist regime fell, the solution of this situation seemed in the so-called coupon privatization. In this enterprise, Czech state assets were supposed to be handed over to Czech citizens through a system of coupon vouchers, which could then be used to buy shares in companies.

This later appeared quite rush, as there was insufficient system of control at the time. Mutual funds were founded, most successfully the one started by Kozeny: ‘Harvard Capital and Consulting’ (Kozeny gained an economics degree at Harvard University, than he decided to simply steal the name).

Kozeny used the fact Czechs became gullible during the past era, and offered them 1000% rate of return on investment. Only this fact seems incredible from today’s point of view, doesn’t it. Harvard Funds bought shares in a number of companies, stripped assets and transferred the money abroad to offshore tax havens like the Bahamas. This scam turned out to be a huge success for Kozeny and his cronies, who allegedly stole millions of dollars from investors in his funds.

During the next decades, he repeated this scam and invented other, usually abusing obvious imperfection of post-communist countries and his perfect genius, and making additional billions. The ‘American scam’ because of which he should be delivered to the USA, was based on US investors handling their money to him in Azerbaijan, (over $400 million in total from clients such as AIG and Columbia University) and he escaping to Bahamas afterwards.

Will he ever be given to the US justice? It’s doubtful, because of his obvious intelligence and his level of possession. Will he ever be given to the Czech justice? Improbable. Unlike the United States, the Czech Republic has no extradition treaty with the Bahamas.

And will the investors see any of their money back? The courts have frozen those of his accounts they know about, so he could later pay off his debts. Kozeny claims that he lost everything in his past three divorces.

Die Happy concert in Prague

Die happy in Prague Die Happy is a German hard-rock band. The group was founded in 1993 by Czech singer Marta Jandova and Thorsten Mewes. Even though the band is based in Germany, their songs are written and performed almost exclusively in English.

They are going on European tour with their new album called No Nuts No Glory. During their tour they make 8 stops in the Czech Republic, 4 times with Czech hard-rock group Divokej Bill.

With “No Nuts No Glory”, Die Happy has managed a surprise where the title is the motto: The band has dared to set off on new paths, where the emphasis is on pure rock music far removed from squeaky clean MOR with guitars.

7th November 2007, Prostor Abaton, Na Kosince 8, Prague. Tickets at Ticketportal, 290 CZK (10 €)

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Andalusia festival Nouba in Rudolfinum

andalucia evening prague Prague Philharmonic, conductor Michel Swierczewski
Anne-Sophie Schmidt – soprano
Ginesa Ortega Cortés – flamenco vocals
& musicians from Morocco and others

The Arab-Andalusian festival, Nouba, will be re-enacted here, joining together two opposite shores of the Mediterranean, and two traditions in music, “academic” and popular. The Rudolfinum will be decked with tones, colors, tastes Strings of Autumn - Nouba at the Rudolfinum and scents of old Andalusia.

Traditional Súfij music, Sefard songs Maurice Ravel or Manuel de Fall music, recitation of Maroqui poetry. All these under the baton of Michael Swierczewsky meet in the original project festival ‘Strings of Autumn’ in Rudolfinum, Prague.

30th October 2007, 19:30, Rudolfinum, Alsovo nabrezi 12, Prague 1. Tickets at Ticketpro.

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Czech National Medal Ceremony in Prague

The ceremony takes place annually in Prague Castle on 28th of October, which is a national holiday celebrating the constitution of the independent Czechoslovak state, 28th October 1918.

24 people were awarded this year. From these we choose 5 for you;

Plk. Stanislav Hnelicka
Order of White Lion
The colonel belongs to great heroes of our foreign military of the WWII. He fought in the Middle East and the West Front. He participated on most of the dangerous missions of his column.

Marie Goretti Boltnar
Distinguished Service Medal
A member of Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of Saint Karel Boromejsky. She devoted her whole life to care of the sick, seniors, mentally and physically handicapped and victims of natural catastrophes. She has been in the order since her age of fiveteen.

Miroslav Fiedler
Distinguished Service Medal
Professor Fiedler is a world-wide recognized Czech mathematician, focusing on linear algebra and graph theory. His papers have gained exceptional reward. He has already been awarded for his international activity.

Plk. Jiri Formanek
T.G. Masaryk Medal
The colonel fought against the totalitarian regime in the former Czechoslovakia. He joined the news office against the communist regime. He established a news net on our territory. As a consequence, he was imprisoned and got 14 years in the worst communist prison.

Jiri Stivin
Distinguished Service Medal
A remarkable personality of the Czech music scene. He is a multi-instrumentalist, music composer and a pedagogue. He is an author of many works of various music areas.

What Badges and Medals are in the Czech Republic and why?

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Badges and Medals of the Czech Republic

The main badges given in the Czech Republic are : Order of White Lion, T.G. Masaryk Medal and Distinguished Service Medal. Honored persons are chosen by the president. The ceremony takes place in Prague Castle on 28th of October, which is a national holiday celebrating the constitution of the independent Czechoslovak state, 28th October 1918.

MWP White Lion Medal The Czechoslovak Order of the White Lion and Medal of the White Lion :

The Medal is given for merit to the Czech state. The Order was established as an award for foreign citizens for merits for the (former) Czechoslovakia.

The Order of the White Lion was established in five classes. (The same person could have only one class or the Order of the White Lion. The Order of the White Lion is awarded in two divisions, civil (with two crossed palms above the badge) and military (two crossed Roman swords above the badge).

T.G.Masaryk Medal T.G. Masaryk Medal
The medal is given for persons who have contributed in a significant manner to humanity, human rights and democracy development.

Distinguished Service Medal Distinguished Service Medal
Medal given to personalities for merit for the state in business, science, technique, culture, arts, sports, education and schools, defense, state and citizens safety.

Those special medals are stamped on the unique machine from 1937, in a small workshop in Prague.

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First debates of National Library Commission

blob team started to debate The National Library Team should solve the problems of the new NL construction. They held their first meeting in the residence of the Prague Mayor on Saturday morning. Vlastimil Jezek, National Library manager, have informed: “We have agreed on the sum of questions for the expert commission… the Team should finish their work until the Christmas.”

According to the Prague Mayor Pavel Bem, the possible construction on Prague Letna has five problems – property, municipal plan, adhering to the rules of the International architectonic competition, keeping with The National Institute for Heritage Preservation and construction money.

“There is one main task – to try to move Octopus on some other place. It could me moved on new grounds on Letna, or some other place in Prague.” Pavel Bem stated last week.

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Cirque du Soleil performed 'Delirium' in Prague

cirque du soleil Cirque du Soleil (French for “Circus of the Sun”), an entertainment empire based in Montreal, Canada, performed in Prague this weekend. Sazka Arena hosted about eight thousands of people. The performed piece was Delirium; ‘a multifaceted event of unprecedented proportion featuring a state-of-the-art mix of music & stunning acrobatics infused with multimedia & awe-inspiring gigantic visuals.’

Cirque du Soleil ranks among so called ‘Cirque Nouveau / New Circus’, which is a theatre genre, connecting locomotive art, street theatre, dance, music, puppet shows and cirque (without animals).

No ring and no animals helped to make Cirque du Soleil the modern circus as it is described today. Each show is a synthesis of circus styles from around the world and has its own central theme and storyline, which brings the audience into the performance by having no curtains. It is accompanied by continuous live music and performers changing the props. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s the Cirque expanded rapidly and went from one show with 73 employees in 1984 to currently 3,500 employees from over 40 countries, doing fifteen shows, touring every continent and having an estimated annual revenue exceeding $600 million USD.

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Milan Kundera awarded Czech National Literature Prize: “I'm moved”

Czech National Prize for Literature and Translation are prizes given annually for an outstanding Czech literary work and a translation into Czech.

The National Prize for Translation was won by Antonin Pridal. 72 nowadays, Pridal translates from Spanish and English, he translated e.g. Federico Garcia Lorca and William Shakespeare dramas. According to the jury, he significantly contributed to the ‘culture in translation’.

Czech National Literature Prize goes to Pavel Kundera. On 25th of October 2007 the ceremony hall was full, even when everybody knew in advance Kundera won’t be present. However he at least send a voice file, which was played at the ceremony. He emphasized work of Zden Skvorecka, who „… selflessly managed a poor little publishing house in Canada … knowing the worst curse of Czech cultural history: systematic breaking of continuity … she published all the forbidden authors … Everything would be different without her.“

At the end he thanked everybody for the prize and admitted he is moved deeply, even when he couldn’t be there.

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Czech Radar Referendum Rejected

radar, an illustration photo The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, according to expectations, rejected the possibility of referendum about American radar base in the Czech Republic. It is being promoted by the KSCM (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia) and CSSD (Czech Social Democratic Party).

The draft law about the referendum to the base, prepared by CSSD and KSCM representatives, had minimal chances to pass in the first place. It would ask for 120 votes (to pass), however CSSD and KSCM do not dispose with so many seats; in the end 76 of the total 144 present voted for.

According to a sociologic research, most of Czechs do not like the idea of an American radar in the Czech Republic. Washington wants to hear the decision next year. Parliament will be, most probably, the decision maker for the radar question.

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New 'National library team' committee should decide the fate of National Library in Prague

Prague council discussed Kaplicky’s Blob yesterday. Few dozens of fans of the Octopus (National Library design by Kapilcky) have gathered in front of the building, where they wanted to hand the petition for support of Blob over to Pavel Bem. There are already three thousands of people signed under it.

When the demonstrants were told about the idea of a committee, formed of more than thirty people, that should decide the fate of the National library, they didn’t sound very happy. However the presidium of the so called ‘National library team’ are eager to debate.

‘National library team’
Pavel Bem – Prague Mayor
Vlastimil Jezek – Director of the National Library
Jan Kaplicky – Author of Blob project
Borek Votava – Manager of Prague City Development Division
Jan Knezinek – Director of Preservation of Monuments Board
Bohdana Stoklasova – National Library

For this presidium works three expert groups architects, preservationists, lawyers. According to Mayor Bem the groups should work for two, three or four months.

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Get Punked in Prague

get punked prague club night dnb On Friday 26th October you can witness the skills of Shimon of RAM Records (playing in the Czech Republic for the second time). This night is the Czech premiere for Kenny Ken of Mix and Blend Recordings.

The renowned event of broken beats called Get Punked will take place in Prague for the first time ever. In the previous years, GP was situated in Olomouc where the reactions of the crowd were more than great. A lot can be now expected from the Prague premiere.

Previous Get Punked parties hosted artists such as Simon Bassline, Ed Rush, Grooverider or Fresh, to name a few.

26th October 2007 at Abaton, Na Kosince 8, Prague 8. The price is 250 CZK (9 €).

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New Law Proposal on Artificial Insemination of Czech Republic Lesbians

Lesbian laws in the Czech Republic. The new draft law which allows to ask for a test-tube baby for women who have no heterosexual partner. That means either lonely, or lesbian. Such an act is not possible yet. Only heterosexual couples can ask for the so called assisted reproduction so far.

Speaker of the Ministry of Health Tomas Cikrt announced the law was prepared especially for lonely living women, who pine for a baby. “…but if the baby grows up with a lesbian couple, I see no problem in it. There is no proof it would have a negative influence on the child’s development.”

A practitioner from Prague center of artificial insemination Gest said, he can imagine such a practice, but he also stated the law skips one level. Adoption by a couple living in registered partnership should be allowed first. Once it would be legal, he sees no problem in artificial insemination law.

If the bill would be passed, it could be valid since 2009. However there can be one significant obstacle of such a law – the KDU-CSL party (The Christian and Democratic Union) who are long-term supporters of the ‘traditional family model’.

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Concert of Laibach in Prague

laibach concert prague Laibach is a music group iconic of industrial music. Being a Slovenian experimental music group, Laibach formed 1980 in Trbovlje. Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984. The name “Laibach” is the German name for Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana.

Laibach has frequently been accused of both far left and far right political stances due to their use of uniforms and totalitarian-style aesthetics and also due to the Wagnerian influence found in some of their music, notably the thunder in “Sympathy for the Devil (Time for a Change)” and releases such as Macbeth.

Richard Wolfson wrote about the group: “Laibach’s method is extremely simple, effective and horribly open to misinterpretation. First of all, they absorb the mannerisms of the enemy, adopting all the seductive trappings and symbols of state power, and then they exaggerate everything to the edge of parody… Next they turn their focus to highly charged issues — the West’s fear of immigrants from Eastern Europe, the power games of the EU, the analogies between Western democracy and totalitarianism.”

You can come to their concert to Lucerna Music Bar, Vodickova
36, Prague on 19th December 2007. Tickets available in advance at Ticketpro, 440 CZK (15 €)

NATO discuss about the USA radar.

In Noordwijk, Netherlands, ministers of defense of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) hold a conference from 24th to 26th October. Main topic of discussion are planned USA military bases in Poland and the CR.

The meeting of defense ministers was initiated by a round-table discussion. Vlasta Parkanova, the Czech defense minister, participles as the deputy of the CR. The main aim of the Czech delegation is the problematics of USA European bases in the middle Europe.

The American anti-missile silo in Poland and the Czech radar are, beside figting the extremists, the main topic of NATO meeting. On 24th, the ministers dealt with fighting Afghani Taliban. USA wants more EU soldiers in Afghanistan, however the concerned EU countries are under long-term public pressure. Anyway, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have already promised widening their contingent of about 160 soldiers.

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Olympic Games Prague: Referendum seems Probable.

referendum olympics prague The matter of Olympic Games should be decided in a referendum. This is the result of the STEM agency and Factum Invenio study. In both cases the absolute majority stands for a referendum. If the referendum about the summer Olympics would take place now, (from the total number of 965 respondents) the supporters would win with 54% of voices. One quarter of the asked don’t know how they would vote.

61% of the respondents are afraid the Olympics would be financed of smaller cities and villages budgets. Their mayors, who assigned the research see “…the organization of the Summer Olympics at this time of bleeding town budgets as inappropriate. It is our justified concern for all the public sources, which will, at the moment, be directed to Prague and its megalomaniac action.” says a vice-mayor of Vysoke Pole Stanislav Polcak.

Completely different opinion than the mayors and majority of interviewed has the leader of Praha Olympijska (Prague Olympic community) Tomas Petera: “We do not agree with the referendum. It is even not supported by the International Olympic Committee. We don’t want the idea of Olympics to became a political theme.”

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We will resist, say Prague Jews

neo nazis prague march Determination to fight the right-wing extremists’ march is strengthening among Czech Jews. While some want to protest the march in a peaceful way, some have already organized a protest-march, and among Czech Jews is growing a tendency to defend against neo-nazis by force.

The radical group includes i.e. Arnost Lustig, (a Czech writer who survived Nazi despotism) known especially for his stories that take place during the Holocaust. “I wouldn’t mind a conflict. Both sides can win.” The writer is disgusted by the judgment, according to which the neo-nazis can march in Prague Jewish town on the Crystal night anniversary. According to him the march is sadism, induration and disregard.

The president Vaclav Klaus also protests against the extremists’ action and in his announcement yesterday he appealed to “all the responsible authorities, not to allow such a politically and morally unacceptable event, which dispraise the memory of Nazi crimes and which is not possible to tolerate under cover of freedom of speech and assemblage.”

How would the police act on a possible battle is not clear. In the meantime they wait for a definitive confirmation of the march.

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Plans for help non-EU laborers to get to Czech Republic

The Czech government announced last week there are plans for the ‘green card’ system. It came as a response to the Czech economy booming, while there is not enough workers in many companies. Some of the employers are increasingly turning to foreign workers, though the process is often held back by lengthy and complicated bureaucratic procedures.

According to Labor and Social Affairs Minister Petr Necas, about 220,000 foreigners are now working legally in the Czech Republic, with many employers asking for more. The Czech economy is estimated to grow by 5.8 percent next year, which will come with even greater demand.

Petr Necas announced there is a lack of qualified labor, from manual laborers to university graduates, but as a matter of fact, there is also a lack of unqualified workers as well. As the Czech economy needs foreign labor at the current rate of growth, it cannot do without liberalization of the labor market.

The current procedure for getting a job in a Czech company is something quite complicated. First, a company has to offer the job for three months to Czechs and other citizens of the EU. Only after the employer can ask for a special permit for labor-looking abroad the EU. Furthermore, the non-EU job applicants have to get visa and work permits. This can be really lengthy.

The new ‘green card’ system would offer possibility for non-EU applicants to find a vacancy in the central job database. Than they could get the ‘green card’, which would serve as a job and residency permit, in a Czech embassy in their country.

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PACO DE LUCÍA with his group in Prague

paco de lucia concert prague Flamenco is a blend music, with elements of Romany, Arab and Jewish sounds that co-existed over the years in Andalusia, Spain. There may be debates about its origin, but there’s little debate over its great figures. The greatest contemporary figure in the music, and certainly the best-known internationally, is the virtuoso guitarist Paco de Lucía.

If you wish to crown your stay in Prague, you have a chance of getting to the Master’s flamenco concert, that takes place on 2nd November 2007 in Prague Congress Centre, 5. kvetna 65. Tickets at Ticket Pro, 1190,- / 2200,- CZK (40,- / 73,- € )

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What is Blob? Why is it called so?

Norman Foster Philosophical library in Berlin We hear the word Blob every day. Almost everyone has an opinion about Kaplicky’s new National library. But what does the word blob mean?

Among the creators of such buildings it is common to talk about ‘Blobitecture’ or ‘Blobism’. It is a kind of architecture originating in late 20th – early 21th century. It is significant for anti-urban, anti-contextual buildings resembling large blobs with reptile-like carapaces.

Frank Gehry - Guggenheim museum For this style typical are buildings in organic, amoebic shape. Sometimes, it is called green, or ‘environmental’ architecture.

In the Czech Republic, Blobism was first discussed Birmingham Selfridges building by Kaplicky at the end of 90’s. Names connected to the term are those of world-top engineers. For example Norman Foster with his Philosophical library in Berlin (top left). Famous Frank Gehry, the author of Prague Dancing House with his Guggenheim museum (middle right) and finally, Jan Kaplicky, with his controversial, but famous building Selfridges in Birmingham (left).

Those are probably the most famous Blob buildings. Whether Prague will have its Blob, remains a question, as Blobitecture is unspeakably ugly for some, visionary for others.

For the complex information about Prague Blob Library click here

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Palladium Opening Ceremony

palladium opening ceremony Palladium is located in Prague, Namesti Republiky square (at a metro station of the same name). It opens on 25th October 2007 and customers can start shopping at 5 p.m. There are two hundred shops to be opened gradually. The biggest supply is of designer boutiques offering fashion and shoes.

New brands are going to enter the Czech market, and to have their first shops here. Those are i.e. Adams Kids, Mothercare and Italy’s fashion retailer Conbipel. While Palladium is expected to profit from its advantageous location in the city center, (just a minute from Prague’s shopping street Na Prikopech) the customers will have to expect the prices to reflect the center position. Rents at this location are one of the biggest in the Czech Republic.

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Prague neo-nazis still want to March

neo-nazis prague march danger demonstrations Jewish town There may be ‘war’ coming to the streets of Prague, as the right-wing extremists do not seem to give up their March on Crystal Night in Jewish quarters of Prague

Zidovska liberalni unie (Jewish liberal union), stands out as a Jewish organization which invites “young healthy sportsmen and soldiers to active resistance” to Prague. Police is probably going to go through some hard time, as there is also a demonstration of anarchists on 10th November in the surroundings of Jewish quarters.

Prague City Hall has banned the neo-nacist march, however the organizers have addressed a court, which lifted the ban because of “case errors”.

Jewish Community of Prague have summoned, to the day of the Crystal night jubilee, a gathering which is supposed to honour by prayer the tens of thousands death Jews, who died in the massive pogrom, which started on 10th November 1938.

According to the speaker of Prague Police Eva Brozova it is not clear, whether the march of neo-nazis will be realized or not. “If yes, the police will take action”

What is Jewish town in Prague, and why it attracts extremists?

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The Mystery of wet walls of Astronomical clock Solved.

Dampness that threatens the complex mechanism of Prague Astronomical clock has a simple originator: salt. It results from the chemical analysis, made by the laboratory of The National Institute for Heritage Preservation.

“Astronomical clock is in a locality that is seasonally salted on a long term basis” Ivana Kopecka, the manager of the laboratory explains. The other source of salt are nitrates in the floor of the building, originating from decaying biological material. It is for example domestic waste from times of no sanitation system. Earlier harsh repair works (including improper plaster) also contributed to the present state of the walls.

The National Institute for Heritage Preservation analysis also suggests, how to get the Astronomical clock rid of salt and so of dampness: “We suggest to put the present plaster off the walls, and to put on a special plaster which would absorb salt and is easily changeable for a new one.

Damp stains extends from the ground floor to upper floors. They appeared after the floods in 2002 for the first time. Wetness can be the reason of increasingly frequent malfunctions of the sight.

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The Best of Support Lesbians

support lesbians in Prague roxy Support Lesbians is a Czech music group. It should be said, they are male-only group. Why did they choose such a name? They say they wanted to provoke a little, and also to help the situation of Czech homosexuals. As a matter of fact, nowadays same-sex marriages are quite normal here, but two years ago it was considered impossible (and it was illegal). They probably just enjoy the flushing that follows them, anytime somebody introduces them and read the name of their group.

They started playing in Prague clubs in 1992, this year they plan a return to their roots. Support Lesbians have been on stages of the Czech music for 15 years, and they made lots of famous songs, like Sweet little something, You Are My Star, In Da Yard or English Stereo. 18 of these songs are now placed on their album called simply Greatest Hits 1993 – 2007.

If you would like to listen, how the Lesbians bring off concerts, you should visit any bigger Czech festival (where they usually are), or you have a chance in Prague Roxy, Dlouha 33, on 20th of November 2007.

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Shop for left handed in Prague

shop for left handed in prague If you are left-handed, and going to Prague, it may be good for you to use the constantly profitable exchange rates of the Czech crown, and to do some shopping. Where? In the special shop for left-handed.

It is in Krizikova 109, Prague 8, and it is the only left-handed shop in Prague. Even when almost every 10th person is left-handed, office equipment that would fit him/her in work, for instance, weren’t sold in Prague. Where is the difference? For example, a ruler starts at a higher number, or a kitchen knife has a blade on the opposite side.

The first company ordering these stuff was, according to the owner, Microsoft CR. And you can check the shop here

One Closure ends, the Other Starts

traffic jam in prague Starting tomorrow, the usual traffic can come back to Paladskeho namesti (Paladskeho square) in Prague. Thanks to Pavel Bem’s lobby on Proznak constructions it is more than a week before the set term. Paladskeho namesti (Paladskeho square) was jammed since September, and there was a traffic jam every day.

Starting 24th October, tramways 3, 4, 10, 14, 16, 17, 52 and 54 go on their normal lines. Reconstruction of Karlovo namesti (Karlovo square), as we have informed you before, will be a little experiment. For the first time in the history of the metropolis there will be construction works during the nights. By this solution, the traffic should be limited for just a few days.

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Astronomical Clock of Prague has Mysterious Problems

Staromestsky Orloj (The Old Town Square Astronomical clock), that is one of the greatest sights of our metropolis, admired by millions of tourists every year, has a serious problem – the walls of the ground floor are growing steadily wet, independently of rain.

The Prague Office and The National Institute for Heritage Preservation are struggling for months to find out whether the rising humidity interrelates with increasingly frequent malfunctions of the clockwork.

The ground floor walls of Staromestsky Orloj, 600 years old clock, didn’t grow wet until quite recently. Why? That’s a mystery even for Otakar Zamecnik, the Prague ‘orlojnik’ (the Astronomical clock specialist who inherits the function from his father, which has been going on for centuries now) who comes to control the Astronomical clock every week. “The dust from the falling plaster rises up, and when it reacts with bearings oil, they can stuck. The clockwork can stop, and that foretells no good” (last time it stopped in 2002, and devastating floods inundated Prague afterwards)

The National Institute for Heritage Preservation took samples of its plaster and they hope laboratory tests would relieve the mystery. According to a legend, when the Orloj stops, there are bad times coming to Bohemia.

What was the reason? Read on.

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Petrin funicular back to track

petrin funicular On Monday 28th October, Petrin funicular goes back to track. It wasn’t possible to use it since 15th October because of the routine check. It ends on Sunday 27th, and since Monday 28th October, 9 am. it goes according to the schedule.

petrin funicular in first half of 20th century Petrin funicular is a funicular railway in Prague. It links the Mala Strana district with the top of Petrin hill. The funicular has three stops: Ujezd (at the bottom of the hill), Nebozizek (the middle station) and Petrin (at the top of the hill). According to Czech legend, the name of the middle station stems from an incident in which Emperor Charles IV, requesting food, was unable to properly pronounce the Czech words “nebo řízek” (meaning, “or schnitzel”). – the word Nebozizek means diminutively one of types of auger.

petrin funicular clockwork in first half of 20th century The funicular has the following technical parameters:
Length: 510 metres
Height: 130 metres
Maximum gradient: 29.5%
Cars: 2
Configuration: Single track with passing loop
Track gauge: Standard (1435 mm)
Capacity: 100 passengers per car
Traction: Electricity

For more information about the Prague funicular click Here

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Apocalyptica Prague Concert

Apocalyptica Prague Congress center Apocalyptica is a Finnish Cello metal trio (formerly a quartet), composed of classically trained cellists and, since 2005, a drummer. All three cellists are graduates of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.

Apocalyptica are a singular voice in music. From their days as a cover band in Finland to one of the most original metal bands in history, they’ve long since left their days as a musical curiosity behind them. Sold out venues the world over say it all – the band that closed the chasm between Shostakovich and Metallica, between concert halls and rock venues – has become one of the most respected groups on the planet.

This world-wide famous group comes to introduce their new album Worlds Collide, in Prague Congress Center, Trida 5. Kvetna street 65, Prague on 5th November 2007. Tickets at TicketPro, from 770 CZK (26 €)

President Vaclav Klaus' essay on Kaplicky's Blob library

Vaclav Havel, the ex-president of the Czech Republic, has criticized Klaus’ attitude to the building of National Library, by publishing an essay on this topic. The present president Vaclav Klaus has answered – by an essay. The following article is a shortened transcript of Vaclav Klaus’ piece, published in MF DNES.

vaclav klaus see kaplicky attacking democracy Vaclav Klaus: I have already stated my opinion on the construction of the new National Library Blob earlier, and I don’t wish to change it. Neither I wish to interfere to the technically-administrative arguments, whether the project comes up to the terms of assignment or not.

I just want, as a Prague citizen, point out it is a debate about ‘the handling of Prague’. The often mentioned comparison of the Blob project with the Dancing house is erroneous, because it was a case of one block of one street.

What is much more important: we get again into an argument of the very foundation of our democracy, about decision making in public matters. This whole dispute is about private and public property. If a private submitter orders a construction, nobody will ever infirm he has the right to say whether he likes the design or not. And if he wants to carry it out, or not. Concerning the public constructions, it is not possible to say it is the opposite; it is not possible to say, that the decision about the project is a matter of professionals, or even a professional.

If I am not mistaken, it has never happened that an architect would enter a public decision-making like in this case. It is necessary to realize one trivial thing – the decision making of The professional committee is about the design itself. Decision about the building realization, financed from public sources, is a different matter. To not differ those two fact would be a fatally wrong.

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Varttina in Prague

varttina in Prague Värttinä (Finnish for spindle) is a Finnish folk music band which was started 1983 in the village of Rääkkylä, in the southeastern region of Finland.

Many transformations have taken place in the band since then. Värttinä shot into fame with the release of their 1990 album Oi Dai. As of 2006, the band consists of three lead female vocalists supported by six acoustic musicians.

Their list of concerts and successes are quite impressive, but not least impressive are the members themselves. Their musical education is something the author have never seen to form a World music band. Let’s go through.

SUSAN AHO – vocals. Playing accordion since the age of 13, she played accordion on Värttinä‘s Vihma album before moving to vocals.

MARI KAASINEN – vocals. Her first public performance took place at the age of 2 ½. During her career she’s studied classical singing, accordion and fiddle and majored in folk voice in Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. Partly because of her own North Karelian roots and dialect, she’s always been keen on Kalevala poetry and has become the main lyricist for Värttinä.

JOHANNA VIRTANEN – vocals. Johanna studied folk music at the Central Ostrobothnian Conservatory in Kokkola and is now studying folk music and singing at Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. Also plays harmonium, kantele and 2-row accordion.

varttina in Prague2 JANNE LAPPALAINEN – bouzouki, soprano saxophone. Janne is involved over the years with Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. A wind instrument specialist.

HANNU RANTANEN – basses. Hannu Rantanen is one of Finland’s top bassists. Having studied and now teaching at Helsinki Pop Jazz Conservatory and brilliantly skillful on double bass and electric bass, Hannu has been involved with numerous Finnish groups and orchestras.

MARKKU LEPISTÖ – accordions. Playing Ostrobothnian folk music on accordion since age five, Markku Lepistö later entered and graduated at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department before finally joining Värttinä in 1998 just after the Vihma recordings.

LASSI LOGREN – fiddle, jouhikko, nyckelharpa.
Also playing nyckelharpa and jouhikko, Lassi graduated from Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department in 2002.

JAAKKO LUKKARINEN – drums, percussion.
Jaakko “Jaska” Lukkarinen is one of Finland’s most versatile and energetic drummers/percussionists. Having studied under Jukkis Uotila, Marko Timonen and Mika Kallio in Sibelius Academy and also in Espoo Pop/Jazz School and Helsinki Pop/Jazz Conservatory, Jaska has developed a personal musical style that accentuates and propels Värttinä‘s rhythmical music to new directions, particularly those with jazz leanings.

ANTTO VARILO – guitars, stringed instruments.
A professional Helsinki guitarist since 1985, Antto joined Värttinä in 1993. Has performed with numerous rock, Afro and jazz artists and bands including Hasse Walli, Badu N’Djay. He played in Finnish National Theatre and with singing star Reijo Taipale.

From this impressive list it clear their show is of such professional standards that are anything but ordinary. For the Czech settings it can, however, be very unusual, so our recommendation is to youtube it first. If you know what is good for you, you can go to their concert in Palac Akropolis, Kubelikova 27, Prague, on November 1th 2007.

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Petition for Referendum to Prague Olympics

olympics prague Czech Mayors of smaller cities and villages demand a referendum to the Prague Olympic Games. They are afraid the Games would suck money out of their budgets. A petition for a national referendum with more than a thousand signatures was brought to the Municipal office by a Senator Jana Jureckova today.

Jana Jureckova states the signing action was initiated by Pavel Bem, when he said last year. “If there must be a referndum to the Olympics, so national only.” Jureckova stated that they just took him at word; “indebted Czech Republic is not able to pay for the Olympics”.

According to the speaker of the Municipal Office Jiri Wolf the petition should be discussed by the deputies in two months. The law proposal on Olympics in Prague was prepared by Stanislav Polcak. The mayors believe if people voted for the Olympics, it would be their decision made with awareness of the Games will be at the expense of other needed things.

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Gwen Stefani's last solo concert...?

GwenStefani in prague On 22th October 2007, Gwen Stefani made her solo performance in Prague for the last time, as she is planning a comeback to her group No Doubt, after getting back to the USA.

Not just by her voice, but also by her direct show she just overpowered her Czech fans. Just a few empty seats and the huge Sazka Arena of Prague would be completely sold out. She started her performance by getting out of a golden cage in a ‘custodial dress’, and singing the song that gave name to the whole tour: The Sweet Escape.

Gwen Stefani (1969), is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer and occasional actress. Stefani debuted in 1992 as the frontwoman of the third wave ska band No Doubt, whose 1995 album Tragic Kingdom propelled them to stardom, selling sixteen million copies worldwide.

Stefani recorded her first solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. in 2004. The album was primarily inspired by music of the 1980s, taking Stefani’s work further into pop, R&B, and dance music, and enjoyed international success with sales of over seven million. The album’s third single “Hollaback Girl” became the first U.S. digital download to sell one million copies.

Blob, New National Library Discusion

blob interior What started as a revolutionary architectural design has now become a full-blown political dispute …or should that be farce? Jan Kaplicky’s design for a new National Library building a few hundred metres from Prague Castle was controversial from the beginning, but the issue no longer makes everyone angry as we have entered a new level – debates.

Until yesterday it seemed there won’t be any new post-modernist Blob building of library in Prague. However, Pavel Bem in the TV Duel at TV Nova agreed with Kaplicky that there will be at least a discussion.

Kaplicky admited, for the first time, there is a possibility of lowering the “eye” of the Octopus, which height is probably the biggest problem. Bem repeated his proposal of putting the Octopus to some other place in Prague. Where, it should be selected by an expert commission where the deputies of the city, National Library, architects, and Mr. Kaplicky would sit.

blob prague There is, however, still the problem with lawyers of National Library, who “absolutely excluded” this option. If there would be a new place, there would be a new contest of the building. The other contestants would than challenge the regularity at a court.

For the complex information about Kaplicky’s library check this site

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MOFFOM - Music on Film festival Prague

moffom 2007 film on music music on film festival prague.jpg

The festival is founded on the philosophy that music in all its varieties is an enormously inspiring art form that can be explored in new and interesting ways through the medium of film. All types of films (documentary, experimental and feature) are screened. Movies from around the world where the central theme is music- following the stories, that emerge as the creative energies of musicians and filmmakers, intersect.

The 4th year of Music on Film – Film on Music
MOFFOM was established in 2004 as a non-profit organization designed to bring together the community of filmmakers engaged in such production and to promote their projects to a wider public in a non-competitive, accessible and friendly festival environment. It was also determined from the start that the festival would be based in the historic center of Prague, with its headquarters proudly located in Palace Lucerna, one of the oldest functioning cinemas in Europe and a local cultural landmark.

European Premieres of several award-winning films from all around the world, including Favela Rising (Brazil, 2005), The Human Hambone (USA, 2005), Mariza and the Story of Fado (UK-Portugal, 2006), Live at the Kyttaro – Rock Scenes (Greece, 2006), On Tour With Neubauten.org (Germany, 2006), and As Old As My Tongue: the Myth and Life of Bi Kidude (UK-Tanzania, 2006)

Live performances by Dub Cartel Sound System (UK), Anjali (UK), Banning Eyre & Papis Nyass (USA / Gambia), Omar Ka (Senegal), Loud Samba (Brazil), Cassis (Germany), Chodská vlna (CZ), Il Parto de Nuevo Pesanti (Italy), Son de Cuba (Cuba), Berg Chamber Orchestra (CZ), A Moving Sound (Taiwan), Central Asian Prague Ensemble with Bakyt Chytyrbaev (Kyrgyzstan / CZ), Jiří Pavlica and Hradią»an (CZ), Madala Kunene (South Africa), Plastic People of the Universe (CZ), Pavel Fajt (CZ) and many more

MOFFOM is based primarily in the landmark Palace Lucerna, now also cooperate closely with Kino Svetozor, the most successful and innovative art house cinema in the Czech Republic, as well as several intimate cinemas in the heart of Prague, all within walking distance of each other.

The 4th year of Music on Film – Film on Music October 18-22, 2007, Prague Lucerna, Svetozor, Vaclavske Namesti

more info HERE

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Iranians showed interest for Czech tramways

Deputies of the Iran International Committee prolonged their visit of the Czech Republic, as they wanted to see Skoda factory, where the new tramways are made. “The members of Iran delegation wanted to go through the factory, see how the tramways are made, Metro trains reconstruction and locomotives construction.” The speaker of Skoda holding Radka Pistoriusova announced. She also informed there was no contract signing at the time. Skoda do not export to Iran yet.

Iran chargé d’affairs Madzid Nili said their endeavor was to find out the possibility of cooperation. It concerned mostly the new Skoda tramways.

The speaker of the Ministry of Business and Industry of CR Tomas Bartovsky accepted the Iran market is interesting for Czech Industries, however they have to respect regulations and limits embedded in OSN and EU resolutions.

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Vaclav Havel stands for Kaplicky's National Library

Vaclav havel ex presiden czech republic octopus kaplicky for letna little people stupidity Vaclav Havel in his interview for Lidove Noviny Explains, why he intervened the debate, which concerns the whole Czech Republic today: the matter of “The Octopus” or “Blob”; the building of the new National Library.

The following text is a selective transcription of Vaclav Havel’s essay on this theme, given for Lidove Noviny.

I was Happy, that Prague, the city obviously so poor in interesting modern buildings (as it is behind almost all the metropolis I saw in past few years, from Bangkok, through Moscow to Leblanc) will finally get a highly interesting house continuing in the tradition of Organic architecture and reaching beyond our age by the type of its function. I was happy, that Prague panorama will get something else, and more spiritual, than just randomly placed skyscrapers.

I had the feeling that the eye of the library, blinking over the green of the park, looking to Hradcany, could stand like an embodiment of the past centuries. I was happy that the suburban taste Prague leadership, stigmatized by lobbyist concerns, could finally reach to something that could positively make a point in the history of the city.

I was happy prematurely. Averageness and banality triumph again, in the same way as triumphed in the cubics of office mass without an idea, that disfeatured Karlovo Namesti (without making any furor).

Kaplicky’s idea is irritates lots of people by the impression of certain randomness or inappropriateness of its placement. Like if this very original or certainly noticeable building could surpass its gray and basically hardly defined neighborhood. Yes, it is so. But neither the architect nor his plan are to blame. To blame is the Prague itself – even when it proclaims the opposite – it has no conception of Letna. It has no idea, what tis space in the center of Prague is, it is not able to entitle its identity, it is not able to give it any meaningful frame, to say what it is and what will be going on there. This is the reason, that whatever appears up there, good or wrong, is outside the context.

Letna shouldn’t be a place of one architect, to stand as a project of pride like Braziliana. Letna should be a space of freedom. But before, it is at least approximately necessary to know, which rules freedom has. Without any rules, freedom changes into neglection. Because Letna has no comprehensible rules of game, it is in danger it becomes an opportunity for quick money; what we can look forward to? For example enormous aquarium for sharks and huge new stadium, when both are supposed to be some kind of a decoration for the gigantic crossroad, that should give a death strike to the Prague Castle by cutting it from Dejvice (a city part) and destroy Jeleni street, the interesting challenge to make an European boulevard of it. It is already in progress and I am afraid, it will be a construction comparable only to the notorious separation of the National Museum from the Vaclavske Namesti by the highway.

The city musts have an opinion about this space, after, and only after, it is possible to say what is a nonsense and what belongs to the place or not. How it is possible to say the Library doesn’t belong there. What if it could become a key to inspiration for the whole Letna?

One picant detail: at the time when stadiums are build in city suburbs, the new stadium must be in Prague center, but the library can’t be in the center as it is probably supposed to be build somewhere in fields. And I don’t mention the Station Strahov, the biggest stadium in Europe, which is probably left to fall, because it is easier to build on a green field.

Letna is an example of how does it end, when we left everything on the ‘invisible hand’. It is possible live up to very visible nonsenses. It seems to me, that the ODS representatives (if it is possible to ask them for it) should understand.

What do you think about it? You can add your comment at the end of this article.

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Steve Smart in Prague Mecca

Steve Smart in Prague Mecca “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental like on a breeze, but maybe both things happen at the same time “

Steve’s reputation has led to his show being host to the cream of Dance Music’s heavy hitters including Sasha (who really doesn’t do much radio at all, but supports Steve’s show) Mark Knight, Tom Neville, Darren Emerson, Nic Fanciulli, James Zabiela and Carl Cox to name just a few. The tunes that Steve plays are also a reflection of his ability to foresee future dancefloor hits. Past tracks that Steve has exclusively aired on radio include the D Ramirez mix of Bodyrox, Calvin Harris and more recently Groove Amada’s infectious ‘Get Down’ which have all gone on to be big hitters.

Steve’s unique approach to radio and DJ’ing is refreshing to say the least: “I play according to the dance floor, that is my most important aim. Too many DJ’s stick to one style, one formula and then when that formula doesn’t work they struggle to re-invent themselves… I maintain my sound which can be melodic at times”

The style of music, which Steve incorporates into his sets embraces funky house, and Electro induced house stepping up to progressive. His knowledge of music expands further and even enables his Djing to incorporate wider genres at times. His ability to easily adapt is one of his greatest forte’s.

And You can enjoy Steve Smart concert in Prague Mecca, U Pruhonu 3, 19th October 2007 at meccamix, Prague. Tickets:290 CZK & VIP : 490 CZK

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Milan Kundera won Czech National Literature Prize

kundera awarded literary prize Milan Kundera became this year’s laureate of Czech National Literature Prize. And he has also other primacy – in the modern history, there has never been awarded anyone, who wouldn’t pick it up.

Milan Kundera, born 1929 in former Czechoslovakia, is a Czech-born writer who has written books in both Czech and French. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and The Joke.

The gala evening with the prize presentation, handed over with 10 000€, takes place on 25th October. The expatriate, nowadays in France living writer is hoverer not going to pick it up. The same situation repeats as

in 1994, when he gained prestigious Jaroslav Seifert prize, for his novel Nesmrtelnost (Immortality), Kundera excepted the prize, but haven’t picked up. In his explanatory letter he wrote he would like to donate the prize, together with the monetary award, to memory of the Czech poet, Jan Skacel.

Foreign readers hesitate, if he is still a Czech author, or if he is already a French one. In the 90s Kundera started to write his novels in French, so there are still some pieces that haven’t been published in Czech. Kundera gradually translates into Czech just his essays.

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BU-SHI-DO Taiko Drummers of Edo in Prague

taiko drummers BU-SHI-DO in Prague Traditional music from old Edo, classic rock, trance and many other styles from the Japanese Taiko drummers BU-SHI-DO.

The Japanese Taiko drummers BU-SHI-DO are visiting Czech Republic for the first time as part of their European tour. This expressive rhythmic cyclone will be blowing through Archa Theatre on Friday the 19th of August.

During the concert, the traditional Japanese drummers will be presenting classic Japanese music, jazz, rock, trance and many other styles. In the first part of the show, the drummers will appear in traditional kimono and hakama trousers. In the second part of the show, audiences will get to hear BU-SHI-DO’s own compositions, fusing traditional instruments with western influences and modern genres. The group belongs to a new wave of Japanese artists, who are approaching traditional instruments in a new way.

Taiko drums have served many purposes in history, in particular during wars, when they were used by warriors to frighten their enemies. Thanks to their massive size and the long reach of their sound, Japanese warriors also used them for navigation and leading their troops. Taiko found their place in the Imperial Court and during religious ceremonies in Japanese temples. They were also used as a means of communication in villages, where drumming warned of danger or heralded the start of harvest. Taiko gained widespread popularity in the 1960’s with the start of group drumming shows.

Featuring:
Motofuji Mitsumasa – AJO (taiko)
Michiaki Shirata (Tsugaru shamisen)
Takayuki Hashiguchi (taiko)
Kiyomasa Hanahara (taiko)
Hidemasa Hanahara (taiko)
Yuichiro Furusato (taiko)

Concert organised in cooperation with the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Embassy.

Concert. With no language barrier.

19th October 2007, 20:00, Na Porici 26, Prague 1. Tickets: Seated: 350,- Kč / students + seniors + Archa.klub members 245,- Kč / standing 200,- Kč

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From Airport by Prague Underground in 2018

New stations on the way from Prague Green Line station Dejvicka to the Ruzyne International Airport are already projected and have their definite looks.

Yesterday, the Prague Office has publically viewed, together with Metroproject, technical data of stations, budgets, and images of its appearance.

The mining works will start at its best in two years, first travelers will go 2018 at the latest. There are going to be eight stations, two hollowed, and six mined. The whole track will have about 13 kilometers and the approximated costs are 15 milliards CZK (500 millions €)

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Czech Press Photo awards 2007

The winner of the Czech Press Photo contest is the one depicting child execution.

Dan Materna from MF Dnes Newspaper won this prestigious contest with all the jury voting for his shot. Its theme – the worst personal drama of human life – war within a family.

Amanda Hopkins from the jury declared: “It is a pivotal problem of contemporary civilization; crisis of values, where everybody lose: mather, father, child, society and offices. Emotively strong picture holds up a mirror and gives questions. We have agreed with single voice the picture shows a problem that is all-European” Moreover, it could help with solving of those case cases in general.

The winner of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) prize is Jan Sibik, for the picture of Refugee camp in Uganda. This photography is his only awarded picture of this year, the previous years he took away usually various prizes for his pictures of war conflicts or places stricken with a humanitarian catastrophe.

To see the winning pictures, click here.

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Czechs Sealed Qualification for Euro 2008

The Czech Republic made a mockery of Germany’s unbeaten record in Euro 2008 qualifiers with an amazing 3-0 away win at Munich’s Allianz Arena to seal their qualification.

The Czechs overcame Germany’s defence with all three goals coming from their midfield as coach Karel Brueckner’s tactic of playing a 4-2-3-1 formation paid off.

The Czech national football team has advanced into Euro 2008, that takes place June next year in Austria and Switzerland. It is a great news not only for sport fans, but also for mangers and owners of companies.

Last time, in the European championship 2004, the Czech team was led by the same coach, Karel Brueckner, and we gained bronze. It is his third successful qualification in a row.

Over five thousand Czech fans arrived into Munich and had a great time. Such a contest was won by a Czech team in Germany for the last time in 1964 . Germany is not used to such loses – they have been beaten with a difference of three goals just six times since the WWI. Will the Czech team be able to keep its winning spirit into the end of Euro 2008?

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Pee Wee Ellis concert in Prague

Pee Wee Ellis concert prague Pee Wee Ellis was born to play music. In Texas Pee Wee got to see blues greats like Bobby “Blue” Bland and Fats Domino. With clarinet and sax lessons in school, he was skilled on reeds as well as piano when his family moved to Rochester, New York at age 16.

Pee Wee joined James Brown in 1965 and soon came up with the first pure hardcore Funk hit, Cold Sweat, followed by 26 others that defined what we think of as Funk to this day. Pee Wee has been called The Man Who Invented Funk.

Pee Wee’s effect on music was huge, leading directly to George Clinton, Sly Stone and, in a circular twist, Miles Davis 70s work.
By 1970 Pee Wee worked as arranger and musical director for CTI-Kudu records, the most popular jazz label of the 70s. He worked with Esther Phillips as well as George Benson, Hank Crawford and dozens of other CTI artists.

The Pee Wee Ellis Assembly regularly tours and he has worked with UK jazz singing sensation Clare Teal. In 2005 he visited Japan with the Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and in 2006 they played together again, in South Africa and at Yoshis in Oakland.

The father of Jazz you can see and hear in Prague within the International Jazz Festival 2007, in Lucerna Music bar, Vodickova 36, 25th November, 2007.

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Prague Porsche Tramways back to Fabric

Ultra-modern tramways Skoda 14T, or simply ‘Porsche’ as it is called because of its Porsche design, are undergoing some changes, before they come back to track.

Before new 14Ts series will return, the Plzen Fabric has to fix some of its problems. Exemplary would be (if we omit the angry-lizard-design) tiny space for legs, that can be really uncomfortable for longer traveling, and the loud noise, that the undercart does; a noise similar of the Nazgûl from the Lord of the Rings movie.

The undercart hopefully fixed
prague tramway porshe2 Marek Herbst from the Skoda Transportation comments, that he has no idea why people complain when they are being persuaded by a noise of a movie wraith – “We are quite surprised by the negative reaction of Prague citizens. We also deliver those tramways to Wroclaw and they just love them.” When asked about the specific noise, he adds: “Prague citizens complained about the hissing sound, but that was because of the poor track quality. We did some measuring, and we found out alteration of the brake system should fix it. So we have fixed that by now.”

There is twelve 14T being fixed, another 15 should be ready at the end of the year. They have approx. 30-years life-span, and they make about 100 thousands kilometers a year.

Concerning the very new model of tramways, which design is kept secret, and should be revealed until the end of 2007, these should come in 30 copies. We are going to inform you about the development. Hopefully, they won’t represent any other kind of a monster.

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Princess Anne in the Czech Republic

The daughter of British queen Elizabeth II, The Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visited Czech Republic from 10th to 17th October 2007. As she is famous with her liking of horses, she started her visit at the Velka Pardubicka steeplechase.

The police had a lot of work to do, when they tried to keep the princess’ safety. Especially, when she, after the end of the race, went to congratulate the winner; Dusan Andres on the 7-year old mare Sixteen. To the stadium arrived 30 thousands people that day.

Before she arrived to the Pardubice steeplechase stadium, she visited our National horse-breeding farm, where they breed the special kind of Kladrubsky belous (White Kladruby Horse), which are very popular at the European Courts; i.e. Danish or Swedish Courts use them for the king’s carriage.

On 15th October she opened a new building of English International School in Prague, and on 16th she participated at the opening ceremony of British studies at the Faculty of Social Studies of Charles University.

The Princess Anne flew to the Czech Republic by the Royal jet BAe 146, which is used by the whole royal family.

In Prague by S-Bahn train

Trains S-Bahn Prague Prague gets its own city railway lines soon. 9th December 2007 is the day when the lines connecting city parts and urban areas surrounding the metropolis under new labels and in shorter intervals start to work.

Prague joins European cities, where the so called S-Bahn forms an integral part of the public transport.

The new railway tracks are going to be highlighted in the public transport plan, in metro stations and stations of surface transport. Travelers will hear announcements about changing stations in the transport speakers.

S-Bahn trains are:
S1 Prague – Kolin
S12 Prague – Poricany
S2 Prague – Nymburk – Kolin
S3 Prague – Vsetaty
S4 Prague – Kralupy nad Vltavou
S41 Prague – Roztoky
S5 Prague – Kladno
S6 Prague – Rudna – Beroun
S7 Prague – Beroun
S8 Prague – Dobris/Cercany
S9 Prague – Benesov

The ticket system goes unchanged. That means, within the city is possible to go by train with a MHD (Prague Public Transport) ticket.

Train transport, within the metropolis, is used by 100 000 people every day, the MHD net is used by 2,75 millions. S-Bahn, according to the specialist, can gain trust by the dense rail net and by its speed, that should be faster than the underground.

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Pilsner Urquell International Master Bartender of the Year 2007

Pilsner Urquell International Master Bartender of the Year competition

Hundreds of contestants throughout the Czech Republic, Poland and South Africa had endured a grueling selection process in the preliminary rounds. Written examinations tested their knowledge of the traditional development of Pilsner Urquell and the brewing practices that create this distinctive beer. Each of the contestants had been required to choose a photograph depicting the embodiment of Pilsner Urquell and to write an essay explaining their selection.

The subsequent test was to demonstrate their ability to consistently perform the “perfect pour.” Such an art requires finesse, patience, and a steady hand. Technique differs for draught and bottle pouring, but either can be a difficult task. The contestants were judged on the draught technique, since this is the greater challenge.

Twenty-one-year old Erik Jönsson from Norway excelled in beer tapping with huge diligence. He did not allow so that the beer would owerflow. After that he hit the right rate.

Erik Jönsson gained a prestigious title Pilsner Urquell Master Bartender 2007 and he was introduced into the hall of fame of the Pilsen Urquell Brewery. “It is a great honour for me, the victory came as a surprise, even when I was prepared. The Czech representative was definitely a favourite .”

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Czech Fried Cheese 'Smazak' among national foods?

smazak czech typical food, unhealthy, tatarka, great, oil, fried, yummy, vegetarian Smazak is possible to find on an every menu of an every common Czech restaurant. Usually it has its place booked in the ‘vegetarian’ section, and it is quite common that it stands there almost alone. The food of Czech vegetarians? Certainly. And now, maybe even one of the Czech national foods.

Smooth Cheese Flow
According to our member of the European parliament Jan Brezina, we could let Smazak be our Czech protected trademark. “It is a good business article and an original Czech idea.”

According to the organizer of the Prague Food Festival, Pavel Mauer we could get the trademark of traditional Czech food, however: “Important chefs consider Smazak a total hybrid, but really it is an opinion of the high specialized society. Folks like it… and me too.” And we just add: we in abc too.

It is true that we have not seen Smazak anywhere in the world; Edam cheese in paste of flour, egg and roll-crumb; fried gold; with Tartar sauce mmm. Served with potatoes croquettes or in a bun like a cheeseburger… There is indeed not a country, where you could get Smazak, only here.

What a bite of Smazak is like?
Maybe this free verse poem, written by an American called Butthead could bring some light into the matter (Smazeny syr is the whole name of Smazak).

Smazeny syr
By Butthead

the sunlight shines through the window
the beads of sweat lazily drip down my pivo
The syr arrives
golden brown
the oil catches the sun like crystals
glistening and glittering
First bite:
the syr oozes across the plate
mixing with the hranolky
“mmm just right.”
spoon on the tartarska
savoring
clogging arteries be damned
you’re only human once.

Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation concert in Prague

Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation concert in Prague In the era of overproduced Pop and electronic DJ superstars, the Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation (RSJF) keeps it real. Taking the music of the sixties as a starting point, they start where others have left. But be careful! The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation is NOT a retro band in any perspective. Armed with drums, bass, guitar, piano, organs, and a wide range of horns, the Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation has been refining their mix of Ska, Jazz, Rock-Steady, Reggae and Soul over the past seven years.

The Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation has recorded an EP single and two full length studio albums. All released on the Grover Records (Germany). Their latest album ‘Sunwalk’ is recorded by Max Bolleman at his famous Studio 44 in Monster, and is recently also released in the United States by Megalith Records. Furthermore, their music appears on various sampler CD’s and LP’s throughout the world. However, the best way to experience this lubricated off-beat locomotive is live on stage. Let the intricate melodies and harmonies of the horns and the steady grooves of the rhythm section seep into your system. Rocking Ska-Jazz with a rough edge. Check out this Motiv Loco live! Don’t worry about a language barrier, let the music of the Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation do the talking.

Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation concert in Prague within the XXXI. International Jazz Festival Prague 2007,
27th November, Rock Café, Narodni Trida, Prague

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Prague Nights, Prague Nights!

If you are thinking about coming to Prague for the first time, and you are looking for one article to sum all the (legal :) joys that evenings and nights in Prague offers, you should go for this one: Experience Prague during the evening, which does it in nice and decent way, like in this sample:

A beautiful historical city in the heart of Europe offers a wide range of activities that can be enjoyed after the sunset. You can enjoy your dinner in one of Prague’s fabulous restaurants, have a drink in a bar near the Old Town Square and spend the night dancing in a fancy club. You can also enjoy the spectacular view of Prague’s castle, National Theatre or Charles bridge while strolling in a historical district in Prague 1. An evening boat ride on Vltava river will become an unforgettable memory.

And we just add – if there is more of a clubber inside of you, check this out: Prague Clubs.

Prague ZOO Baby Gorilla TATU is a Boy

tatu is a boy It was very hard to find sex of the new baby gorilla Tatu, as it is not possible to see simply by eyes. It took some time, before they found a suitable faece for DNA analysis. And the result? It’s a boy. With 95% probability.

The exposé of the 4-months old baby gorilla sex was one of the surprises of the evening, prepared for the baptizing ceremony. The honoree got a basket full of presents; foot ball, plush monkey and a wooden car for instance. The car was the biggest success at the end.

Lucie bílá, the godmother of the gorilla baby wished him to have a family, just like his father Richard. When Tatu grows adult, he will have to leave the ZOO, as his older sister Moja. Male gorillas have to go to their new packs in their 7th or 8th year, females in their 6th or 7th year.

Number of wild gorillas gets smaller every year of approx. 7%. The reason is rainforests getting smaller, and numbers of poachers, hunting them for meet. The number of gorillas living in captivity is approx. 1000 worldwide. “Each baby gorilla is worth of gold, and we are happy we can help” says Prague Zoo manager Fejk.

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Czech Republic Cannabis Discussions - Decriminalize or Not?

Penc propagating marijuana Discussions of specialists about cannabis use in the Czech Republic has been opened once again.

The initiator was Stanislav Penc, a member of Strana Zelenych (The Green Party). According to his words, the contemporary laws criminalize too many people for nothing.

He made a leaflet where he, in an exemplary way, stands in a cannabis patch with a legend: ‘Healthy living, Free thinking’.

In his opinion, every society has its drug, in our ‘civilized’ one it is alcohol, especially beer. Thousands of people get drunk every day, every Friday hundreds of thousands, and every second family ritual can’t go without alcohol, where are so very often kids present.

He adds that politicians who now, or some other time, fight against marijuana should realize, that when because of their own ineffectiveness to solve economical, ecological and pension reforms the whole county will go into poverty, marijuana as the most easily made drug will replace alcohol in its position.

European cannabis laws And now, a cherry on the cake: There may be discussions in our country, but the in-a-sort-of-way official (it is everywhere on the Internet) European document made by cooperation of many servers from various countries (server erowid.org was the initiator) shows the Czech republic as a ‘decriminalized’ country (click for enlargement). ‘Large amount’ of cannabis may be still illegal, but the practice differs.

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Battles of Prague Letna Constructions

Approximately fifty skater boys demonstrated on 14th October 2007 against the project of the giant oceanium at the place where huge Stalins’ statue used to stand. They are protesting against the massive commercial building taking away from them one of the few places of Prague, where it is possible to do this sport. And it is probably the only large place, where they can skate for free, and do not brake any law.

Patronage for this action were taken by the Strana Zelených (The Green Party) as this party fights not only against the oceanium building, but against the Sparta stadium changing into the biggest Czech football stadium, against the Blob library and criticizes the construction works of the city beltway. Letna is one of the few places in the city center, where is still some grass and trees. Yet.

Oceanium with eight hundred sea creatures, stadium with 40 thousands places/seats and tunnels with 1300 parking spaces. Ambitious projects are prepared to change our Letna into another commercial zone, but this time at the upper place that is seen from the rest of the city. In other words, the massive oceanium is to stand as a kind of castle, and prove to us all, that communism with all its symbolics (huge Stalin’s statue) have been replaced by aggressive capitalism (enormous oceanium). Is there just a possibility for an open discussion? Vaclav Havel, the ex-president and a symbol of the Velvet Revolution have, with other 1500 people, signed a petition “Save Letna”. They demand Letna question to be open: “It is a matter of wider national, expert and political discussion.”

Development of Letna is nowadays very interesting to watch, and for anybody interested it is indirectly an independent scale of our democracy. If there is not a place for Blob, which was legally chosen and could bring profit of education to all of us, will there be a place for oceanium, which will, at the place, take a significant part of our park away, and bring profit only to few elite persons?

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Modern Design of New National Library 'Blob' denied by President

blob in prague has problems It almost resembles the situation, which is commented in one Czech movie: “What is nice is not decided by you, but by the (communist) party” This time, it isn’t the communist party, though, but surprisingly the liberal ODS (Civic Democratic Party) that stands against the architecture project, which won not only the Czech design competition for the most original designs, but also an award at the Summer Exhibition in London.

Blob in Trouble
The president Vaclav Klaus, who backs his party opinions, stated “In the fashion of eco-activists, I am ready to use my body as a shield on the very spot, to prevent the construction.” The construction on architectonically not significant Letna could give it a chance to get a jewel. However at the moment the Prague ODS is against, and suggesting Blob should be moved, lowered and possibly in some other color. Their behavior made angry not only Blob supporters, but also their opposers.

The whole situation resembles fires, fanned when Dancing House of Prague was build. At that times some citizens called for immediate demolition, and replacement by something more ‘decent’. Shortly after finishing (the architects are Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic) It gained prestigious prize by Time magazine and became a world-wide famous building, which is being admired by tourists and locals every single day. Gehry stated, that he wanted to make a house, which is in balance with its surroundings, but different at the same time. Gehry:

“The problem of our age is, people accept trivial buildings as something inevitable, but if somebody tries to do something more respectable, it differs and is questioned.”

This leitmotiv repeats in the very case of Blob. The Czech society looks only at itself, and not outside of our borders. Something that represents serious and courageous architecture and so represents creative freedom, is being a target. If it is moved or changed, Prague will lost one of its possible dominants.

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Pankrac Open-Air Free-Entry Festival

cehomor on pankrac This Saturday at Pankrac you can enjoy concerts of popular bands, as well as various workshops, and entertaining ‘family’ shows. If you have kids, this would be an opportunity to let them enjoy pony-riding or games, or (if they are very young) let them in the ‘games tent’ with professionals.

And for you? You can enjoy climbing wall, or compete in arm-wrestling, or other chosen activities. There is a Hummer show, and free concerts starting 14:00. What we would particulary recommend is the concert starting 20:00 – Cechomor (Czechomor) Czech and Moravian music ansamble. Information about this famous group follows.

Czechomor
Four years after their breakthrough album “Transformations” (Promeny) which won them three Czech Music Academy Awards (Best Album, Best Group, Best Song). There is no substitute for Czechomor, cult World Music band from the Czech Republic. Deeply rooted in Moravian village music, their repertoire reflects the passion and anguish of a region moulded by centuries of Ottoman raids, Napoleonic battles and folk ballads.

Czechomor have sold over 200 000 album units.

As ex-president Václav Havel’s favorite ensemble, Czechomor entertained celebrity audiences at charity concerts. They brought Czech folk music to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

By the end of 2000, their new album Czechomor was a platinum success and sold over 20 000 copies. Reaching a mainstream audience was a challenge. After “updating” traditional songs, Czechomor embarked on an ambitious project. The musicians met up with Jaz Coleman from the British punk band Killing Joke, who had turned to classical music. Coleman helped them produce their next album, Transformations, recorded with the Czech Philharmonic Collegium. The album was a tremendous success with over 80 000 copies sold. Transformations went on to win three Czech Music Academy Awards for Best Album, Best Group, Best Song.

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Prague Aquapark Barrandov

Aquapark Barrandov For all the water- lovers there is a possibility to enjoy the Prague Aquapark Barrandov. It offers many ways to make sport or relax; for children there is a wading pool with a mini switchback and mini spouters. If you are courageous you can try the 115 metres long, red switchback. For those who have yet more courage there is the blue 62 metres long switchback, which you slip down on two-seat inflatable crafts. But if you only want to relax, try a whirlpool, massage jets and waterspouters. And when you are fed up with water, there are massage beds with massage air. For better swimmers there is wild river with artificial back flow. In the centre there you can also find a 25 metres long swimming pool.

The area is accompanied by the restaurant Mirage Blue, which is located in the area of aquacentre on the first floor with view of the swimming pool and switchbacks. This restaurant is opened not only for visitors of aquacentre, but also for the general public.

If you want to see complete information, you will find it Here

XXXI. INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL PRAGUE 2007

XXXI. INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL PRAGUE 2007 Information right here The same as Prazske Jaro (Prague Spring) festival of classical music represents for the Czech scene of classical music, the International Jazz Festival represents for the lovers of jazz. And what is it? It is The Event.

This autumn is the 31st expedition into the deep waters of jazz. It is true, though, this year the waters are much vaster than usual. The past years were mostly concerned about the classical forms of jazz, but this year’s dramaturgy turns the direction on some more progressive jazz forms, such as jazz rock, acid-jazz, world music, blues, ska, funky, soul and others.

The greatest moments of the festival are taken care of by:

For the complete information about the place and time of the concerts just click.

Thematically arranged evenings are going to take place in the halls of the Congress Center Prague, Lucerna Music Bar, Rock Café and Reduta Jazz Club, the whole festival is from November 23th to 30th 2007.

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Krazy Baldhead in Prague

Krazy Baldhead in Prague Club scene of last two years is being dominated by the Paris label Ed Banger Records. It is not true, that whatever they do is genial, however the concentration of interesting things they launch with their logo is not possible to ignore.

One of the most significant of this label, DJ and producer Krazy Baldhead is going to play for us in the Prague club Rock Café at the party he will be accompanied by a Canadian DJ Noot, a Czech project Ventolin and the residents The Models a fh.

Krazy Baldhead belongs justly to the top stars of French electronic music, he mixes electro with breakbeats, old school hip-hop with the grace of a mash-up terrorist. You wouldn’t believe, that his favorite vinyls include jazz classics.

If you want to party tonight, go to Rock Café, Narodni Trida Prague, today 12th October 2007. source: Karel Vesely’s article for EX

The following passage is based on Ben Osborne’s interview with Krazy Baldhead from 2006.

What’s your Production name and real name?
Krazy Baldhead / Pierre-Antoine Grison.
 
Where are you from?
Marseille, France

How would you define your style?
Twisted beats and hiphop.
 
What got you into DJing and or making music?
I don’t know, i’ve always been playing music. so i’d say my parents.
 
What are your earliest musical memories?
Falling asleep on my parent’s legs during a performance of the 9th symphony of Beethoven.
 
What are the best clubs you’ve ever played?
Le Triptyque (Paris), le Plug (Bordeaux), D! Club (Lausanne).
 
What was your worst club experience?
Performing: none. Attending: too many…
 
Which DJs/ Producers do you most admire?
Aphex Twin, Prefuse73, Funkstorung.
 
Which labels, artists and genres are impressing you most at the moment?
Labels: ed banger, obviously
Artists: Trentemoller
Genres: minimal stuff
 
What will be the next big thing?
Nostradamus.
 
What is you all time favourite record and why?
Miles Davis: ‘E.S.P’. When it comes to Miles, I can’t really pick up a single record, but this one is really intense and beautiful, so I chose it.

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Clare Woods until 20th October in Prague

Clare Woods exhibition in Prague The young English painter Clare Woods’ paintings is possible to see in Jiri Svestka Gallery, Prague. Woods’ paintings celebrate contested space. The space is at the same time intimate and desolate. These are locations devoid of any particular focus and yet they are places of possible significance – places where someone might be conceived and, as likely, someone might expire.

Woods’ interest in depicting such ambiguous space, so often hidden or overlooked, is in that it is here where wider interests and concerns can be seen to overlap. For example: popular and folk traditions, the pagan and the orthodox and what we understand as urban and as rural.The paintings are derived from photographs of undergrowth.

Taken at night using a camera and flashgun, these images capture the bright colours and reflective surfaces of pockets of scrub. Other images record vegetation obscured not by nightfall but by snowfall. These are abstract paintings and yet within the endless possible readings of the forms that they contain they are somehow psychologically charged and, are uncanny – familiar and yet somehow sinister.

Jiri Svestka Gallery, until 20th October, Tue – Fri – 12.00 – 6.00 p.m. Sat – 11.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. Biskupsky dvur 6, Prague.

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Jan Svejnar for the President of the Czech Republic

jan svejnar for the president Jan Svejnar was offered by Vaclav Havel the prime minister’s post of Vaclav Klaus, freed when Klaus’ government fell in 1997. He couldn’t accept it, because he didn’t have Czech citizenship at that time (he emigrated at the age of 17, otherwise his passport would be confiscated according to communist law). Josef Tosovsky became the prime minster. Now, being a Czech citizen, he may became the new president of the Czech Republic.

Finally a Worthy Opponent for Klaus

Professor Svejnar graduated from the Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relationships and obtained a PhD. in Economics at the Princeton University. His academic interests are in the areas of economic development and transition, labor economics and behavior of the firm.

Jan Svejnar (born in 1952) is a US-based, Czech-born economist. An adviser to former Czech president Vaclav Havel for almost a decade, Professor Svejnar is the Director of the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the Everett E. Berg Professor of Business Administration, and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Strangely enough, his excellent career lowers his chances to became the president. He may be handicapped that he didn’t live in the Czech Republic and now he doesn’t permanently stay at the country. However his economic institute CERGE in Prague is quite significant – it is a joint workplace of the Charles University in Prague and Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, that offers an American-style PhD. program in economics. The idea is to educates the new generation of elite economists for Central-East Europe and the Newly Independent States.

He gained support of all the political sides except for the ODS (Civic Democratic Party), whose candidate is the present president Vaclav Klaus. Even when liberal, he is supported by the left-wing parties, because of his criticism of Klaus’ policy; namely the equal tax, post-revolutionary economical reformation, supporting of the rich on the account of the poor and he is for deep integration into the EU.

Laurent Garnier's Techno Music again in Prague

laurent garnier prague Laurent Garnier likes it in Prague and often visits it. You can hear his techno show, today in Prague Akropolis. Laurent Garnier, born 1966 in Boulogne-sur-Seine, is above all a French techno music producer and DJ. Why techno? In one interview he gave to D. A. Rodriguez in 1997, he stated, that he has a clear idea about common French music style:

“The whole so called French House Scene is nothing but a group of posh kids from Paris. The real sound of French electronic music is somewhere else today, and it is not house, but techno.”

He is a proud French with perfect English, as he begun DJ-ing in Manchester during the late 1980s. By the following decade, he had a broad stylistic range, able to span classic deep house and Detroit techno, the harder side of acid/trance and jazzy tracks as well. As the widely-known-French-producer-outside-France founded F-Comm label, he produced Mr. Oizo or Shazz.

His music videos are the best and most hilarious, what was available in dance music of that times. Flashback, Crispy Bacon, Man With Red Face or The Sound of Big Babou are entertaining even today, just youtube it. The concert is 11th October 2007 in Palac Akropolis, Kubelikova 27, Prague.

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Russian Drug Addicts of Prague get Sick

Prague officers have a new, significant problem with the Russian-speaking community in Prague. There were cases of groups, suffering from jaundice and even HIV. Those are probably spreading the diseases, and the experts are worried, because there is no evidence how many people are involved.

Groups of foreigners from one country are usually very closed. To get in their lines and get trust is really hard. Many of foreigners (now not just Russians) stay and work in the CR without permission. But the experts need to know as many information as possible.

“There is accrual of HIV virus and jaundice A, B and C. And because we don’t know, how large the Russian community in Prague is, we are trying to map it.” Prague Mayor Pavel Bem announced about the city project and the anti-drug association Sananim.

The survey of Russian population using drugs by the doctors of Center for addictology, that should bring significant support, is being finished. The leader Tomas Zabransky warns of possible incendiary campaign against the Russian speaking community: “They could get frightened and stop to cooperate. That would cause an epidemic catastrophe and not only in Prague” he explains.

Posters Supporting Olympics in Prague

advertisement for the Olympics 2016 The Czech capital starts a new campaign for support of the idea of Olympic Games in Prague 2016. In the whole country, we are going to see posters of famous personalities doing sports; actors Jan Triska, Pavel Liska and Vaclav Vydra, singers Helena Zetova and Richard Krajco.

The speaker of Czech Olympic Committee Karel Tejkal stated: “We want to emphasize the Olympics is a matter of all Czechs, not just sportsman”. According to him, the campaign has three goals – to introduce the logo, slogan : “Vsichni jsme v národnim tymu” (we are all in the national team) and to remind Prague stands as a candidate for the Olympic Games.

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Dee Dee Bridgewater Concert in Prague

Dee Dee Bridgewater in Prague Photo shoot from Mali for Red Earth photos by Philippe Pierangeli There are not many artists, that would avoid Pigeonhole principle as much as Dee Dee does. She has basically gained real depth of artistry in every medium she stepped into. If you are interested in things that are really special, you should buy a ticket in advance for this performer, singer, actress and UN Ambassador, a person who left Broadway and London’s West End astounded, Ms. Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Woman of Heart, Woman of Soul

Indeed, it would be hard to find an artist, whose list of awards would be so diverse; She has been rewarded with Broadway’s coveted Tony Award (Best Featured Actress in a Musical – The Wiz), nominated for the London theater’s West End equivalent, the Laurence Oliver Award (Best Actress in a Musical – Lady Day), won two Grammy® Awards (1998’s Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal for “Cottontail” – Slide Hampton, arranger – “Dear Ella “), and France’s 1998 top honor Victoire de la Musique (Best Jazz Vocal Album).

Dee Dee’s new album Red Earth is definitely a jazz step towards African native music. She comments it that it was, above all, an important step for her self-understanding:

“ … For so long, for so many women of color, we’ve been afraid to embrace our ‘blackness’ fully, whole-heartedly … but my spirit grew restless, my physical being began to make visible statements, my music began to turn to rhythms, to the drum. I instinctively knew it was time…time to find my way home. And so, as it is impossible for me, like so many of my sisters and brothers of the darker hue, to trace my past, I decided to let the musical universe be my guide. Africa was calling, but I was not sure which part of Africa. Not until I heard a particular music, from a particular land, did the call become distinctively clear.”

She brought new African musicians into her group, who added even more spice (to the already spicy jazz she does), by djembe drums and other instruments of the African tradition.

If you are interested, her concert takes place in Prague within the annual Jazz Festival, 24th November, 20:00, Congress Center, Vysehrad, Prague. Tickets: 390 – 1.190 CZK (13 – 40 €)

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Prague Legendary Architecture Hidden

Usually the first thing a visitor of Prague comments, is the architecture. Prague was founded in 880, and as the time flew it gained architect gems, that tourist come to admire every day. The biggest number of historical building would be from renaissance and baroque periods. But time-flew has something negative, too; its ravages.

It is not only that the city has to invest millions every year in order to stay good-looking; sometimes it seemingly changes into a giant reconstruction site. Sometimes, there is not possible to see everything one might want. For example we informed you about the Jan Hus statue case before – now the media announced it is going to take even more time to finish.

More about this topic is described HERE.

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The Prague Airport brings in Fast Track service

airport prague business class Prague Airport, in cooperation with the Foreign Police, has extended its offer directed to the segment of business travellers.

So-called Fast Track opened the shortest possible way for an interested person from the check-in counters as far as the aircraft. Fast Track represents a priority lane that allows a swift transition through the passport and security screening controls.

Concerning the other services, the General Manager, when asked about the completing services, announced that there were present on the airport before the actual service :

The Prague Airport, evaluated as the best in the Middle and Eastern Europe, has the ambition to get to the top 10 of top-flight European air ports. That’s why we extend our service portfolio for various travel groups. This specific offer is for passengers who prefer comfort travelling. It properly integrates with the already established system of i.e. dedicated counters and the business lounge.

So, at last now the service is complete, as it should be in any larger airport in western countries. Mr Radek Latal, Air France station manager and president of Airline Operators Committee AOC commented on the introduction of Fast Track saying it is not so common, but pleasant:

“It is not a rule that airports would offer this service, so we are glad that the Prague Airport launched such initiative. This leads to further improvement of quality of services rendered at the Prague Airport and a significant sale support in that attractive segment for the network carriers who operate the business class”

But the author cannot imagine i.e. Berlin International Airpot without this service. Prague simply shows, that its standarts are comparable with the ‘very well’ standard.

If you are interested in using Fast Track, you have to buy business air ticket, or be a member of the “frequent flyer” programme. You will receive a boarding pass at business class airport prague check-in adorned with a round “FAST TRACK” sticker. Than you take a specially marked dedicated lane taking you immediately to the passport control and the gates. You will, of course, get a priority access.
 
The airport also informed The new service will not slow down the passport and security controls provided by other counters. The Fast Track dedicated counters were there before, as they served diplomats and aircraft crews.

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Bambini di Praga still popular

Bambini di Praga was established after WW II. It was a concept of post-war Czechoslovak radio. The official title of the choir was the Children‘s choir of Czechoslovak Radio, but they were called “Kulincata” (Kulinsky’s Children). This choir originated in Ostrava – Hrabuvka in Moravia. Young teacher Bohumil Kulinsky founded his first choir and called it the Hrabuvka singers. It was an excellent choir and in the year of its foundation it won a country-wide anonymous competition of children choirs. It was the competition which was announced by School radio in the then Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. And so the choirmaster of the victorious choir was invited to the post-war Czechoslovak radio. It happened in September 1945. Since then the children’s choir could be heard on waves of Czechoslovak radio for almost 30 years.

The members of the Bambini di Praga’s concert choir are children from 5 to 12. They studied choral singing, music theory, intonation and rythm and also English language and motion training.

More information on Bambini di Praga here

N.O.H.A. Prague concert

Minerva Diaz Perez N.O.H.A in Prague N.O.H.A (The noise of human art) is a band developing its own vision: a living breathing mixture of breakbeats, drum & bass, electric jazz, pop and 100% club grooves. This 21st century group performs in Prague.

Noha (meaning ‘a foot’ in Czech) returns
N.O.H.A. remain cosmopolitans. Minerva Diaz Perez – the new singer is from Gijon, Spain. Her expressive vocals, with an erotic undercurrent, create incomparable depth and atmosphere on the live performance. Minerva’s voice is the perfect contrast and complement for New York rapper Chevy’s energetic, charismatic MC performance.
Prague born sax-player Philip Noha and native German Jochen Eickenberg on keys, are the producers of the international collective and create the creative pool of this band. For their live shows Tim Rashid (bass) and Tobias Belker (drums) join the line-up for a powerful live-band-experience.

When it comes to performance, N.O.H.A. stands out as a band that really knows how to bring their complex sound on the stage, shifting and reshaping the border of club-scene and live performance. N.O.H.A. have already proven in various gigs with the likes of, Armand van Helden, Goldie, J. Majik, Malachi/Herbalizer or Andy Smith/Portishead that they can match the dynamics of any DJ set with their live show… beat for beat.

Noise Of Human Art, within Jazz festival Praha 26/11/2007. 20:00, Rock Café, Narodni Trida, Prague, Tickets: 390 CZK

Listen free sample here source: mp3-ke-stazeni.cz

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Czech Olympic Logo has Changed

old olympic logo author-abl The original logo, that arrived to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in Lausanne, together with the applicant letter had to be slightly changed.

According to the IOC the original graphic design was confusing. They proposed a slight adjustment, where the numbers move to the bottom of the picture. The Czech Olympic Committee agreed. The laurel twig is as in the original design, bounded with ribbons of red, blue and yellow. Red and yellow are the colors of Prague, blue symbolizes Vltava river.

Praha applying city 2016 Olympics new logo author-abl Together with the new logo, we also have our national slogan; “Vsichni jsme v národním tymu” (we are all in the national team)

And concerning the Olympics preparations? Prague Olympic Association presented new chapters of their plan; the placement of the sports fields – approximately 130 Olympic sports fields should spread to 75 places of the Czech Republic, with efforts to put as many places to the Metropolis as possible. Speaking about Prague, nowadays there are three new sports fields in the project – the Ceremonial Stadium in Letnany, an aquapark in Stuka and a cyclist velodrome.

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Prague Public Transport Fare Increase, Yet Again

more and more expensive Not a lot of time has passed since the dramatic price increase of Prague public transport tickets in July 2005 when transfer tickets went up from 12 Kč to 20 Kč and single-use tickets from 8 Kč to 14 Kč. According to Hospodářské noviny, Prague public transit fares are already higher than those in Vienna or Paris when compared to the average salaries in those countries.

Read the rest of the article here

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Prague Mayor Bem met with Sir Nicholas Winton

sir winton in prague Sir Nicholas Winton, being respectable 98 old, met with Pavel Bem in his Prague office. Nicholas Winton was appointed a honorable Prague citizen in 1991.

Sir Nicholas Winton (born 1909) is a Briton who organized the rescue of about 669 mostly Jewish Czech children from their doomed fate in the Nazi death camps prior to the outbreak of World War II in an operation known as the Czech Kindertransport.
His achievement went unrecognized for more than half a century until 1988. For fifty years the children did not know to whom they owed their lives. The story of Nicholas Winton only emerged when his wife Grete came across an old leather briefcase in an attic and found lists of the children and letters from their parents. He hadn’t even told her of his efforts.

During the ceremonial meeting, Pavel Bem stated: „It doesn’t happen very often, that I would be able to shake hands with somebody, who has such credit for human lives saving, as you do. Even when since the moment, you have abled those kids to live and grow old, almost 70 years have passed, the power of your deed is unchangeable. Forever.“

During Sir Nicholas Winton’s stay in Prague, he was given a petition with signatures of students, nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Bem added „I have a feeling you will get it, you deserve it without any discussion.“

Godmother of TATU Lucie Bila

(Lucie bila, prague zoo)! Prague Zoo prepares for the baptizing ceremony of the baby gorilla TATU, that takes place this Saturday. The quest of welcoming the animal to the society lies on a Czech pop Singer Lucie Bila. The name TATU was chosen regarding the TATU concert that took place at Zoo Prague at the time the baby gorilla was born.

As in the first case of gorilla baby born in the Czech Republic (little Moja), the sex of the animal remains unknown at the time of its baptism. Even when the zoo is trying to take a DNA sample from its poo, for some reson there is no poo sample that could be use for this kind of analysis. However there are presumptions it is a male.

The baptism is planned to be a party, public personas were invited, for example those from Cesky rozhlas, whose Leonardo station transmits the gorilla pavilion live to the famous Reality show Odhaleni where the participants of the big-brother-kind-of show are gorillas. Gorillas themselves got a new ‘living room’ last week, and are reported to be fine.

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Petr Kolar on tour to his 40th birthday

Petr Kolar is one of the most popular singers in the Czech Republic. He is also a holder of a brilliant voice. If you would like to see and hear this charismatic man, you are lucky. On 24th September, he started a tour called “Petr Kolar 40” which is related to his jubilee. This tour will finish on 7th November in Prague.

If you want to hear romantic rock balads, a lot of hits and a great show, come to Letna in Prague on 7th November. The concert will take place in AC Sparta’s basketball hall. Tickets are available at Petr Kolar official websites.

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DJ Richard Bart and co. this Friday in Prague

Richard Bartz in Roxy Richard Bartz can be definitely considered an important representant of the German electronic scene. As a producer and as the owner of the label Kurbel, Richard has constantly collaborated for the consolidation of a music guided by many different influences: techno, house, electro, synthcore, hi nrg, among others.

A regular of the electronic music clubs since the end of the eighties, Richard started his production career as co-producer on DJ Hell’s album “Geteert & Gefedert”, released by Disko B in 1994. At that time he became also very much addicted to the raves, and started his Acid Scout project: his first single, “4 Degrees” (considered a classic, the same way as “Balance”), dates from 1993 and the “Safari” album was released in 1994. Just one year after, he made another long play, “Sci-Fi”, with a combination of techno and acid elements. One of his most appreciated oeuvres appeared in the “Subway” twelve inch, which came out by Heiko Laux’s Berliner label Kanzleramt at the new year’s day of 1998. Richard constructed a very impressive reputation on the European scene, with an agenda full of lives in many different events and countries.

12-10-2007, Roxy, Dlouha 33, Prague: “Elektra” – DJs Richard Bartz, Airto, Weki, Bo.Dan and others

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Czech Housing 30 year ago during communism

husakovo 3+1 There is a very interesting exhibition in the Gallery of Prague Academy of Art, Architecture and Design, which is situated at Palachovo namesti (Jan Palach Square), close to Staromestska Metro (green line) or tram (no. 17 and 18) station.
Some of the students of the Academy prepared here an exhibition called Husakovo 3+1 (Husak´s 3+1).

This Blogger has found out about this event, and we are sure glad she did! The rest of the article is here.

Krivoklani 2007 – A medieval festival train leaves from Prague

krivoklani 07 On Saturday and Sunday, 13th and 14th October, at 9:24 you can catch a steam train Albatros made in 1947, going from Prague train station Branik, to the Krivoklani Festival at the Krivoklat castle.

Have you ever gone to a festival by a steam train?

Krivoklani is a presentation of medieval tournaments, Gothic music, and crafts. The whole event is annually organized by the Krivoklat Castle and the professional fencing group Merlet. To such an event a fair belongs inherently, so masters of blacksmithing, pottery, glass-makers, wood-carvers and many others come to present their skills. Taverns serves mead, mull, home-made plump spirits, and other traditional medieval drinks or foods.

The castle of Krivoklat belongs to the oldest and most important castles of the Czech princes and kings. merlet krivoklani The history of its construction starts in the 12th century. You can see a beautiful castle chapel, the Great Royal and Chivalric Halls with an exhibition of Gothic paintings and sculptures, the castle library containing over 52.000 bands, a rich museum and a painting gallery of the Fürstenberg, a famous castle prison with torture chambers and torture instruments, a monumental tower with a collection of hunting trophies and a view of the surrounding area, a pleasant walk around the castle walls, the tower Huderka with an open-hearth kitchen and an observatory gallery, the seat of the captain with temporary exhibitions…all of this and much more belongs to Krivoklat, a national cultural monument.

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The first express filling stations in the CR: Tank&Go

tank and go in the czech republic The first express gas station of the Czech Republic started to work in Prague, Pruhonice. It was opened by W.A.G. minerální paliva (mineral fuels). Some of the strategic business commodities belonging to W.A.G. minerální paliva, a.s. are motor petrol and diesel. The company also supplies bio-diesel, certain types of heating oils and special oil products depending on specifications of individual customers.

Tank&Go is so the leader in introducing new technologies into the process of purchasing and distributing fuels. This kind of gas stations is common in Germany and Switzerland, distributing more ecological liquid mineral fuels, and high-class services. A customer simply drives in the station, inserts his/her credit card into a machine similar to a cash dispenser, enters his/her pin, chooses a maximum amount to spend, and refueling can proceed.

Considering their low prices of Natural 95, and their ‘ecological’ nature, they want to compete with the big chain companies, in which proximity they intend to build their stations. The other big companies however do not plan to compete in the same, express, field. Benzina speaker announced, they are interested in complex services for the customer, like food or rest, that won’t be available at Tank&Go stations.

The Yardbirds, 9th October, Prague

The Yardbirds The Yardbirds are a British rock band, noted for starting the careers of three of rock’s most famous guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. A blues-based band whose sound evolved into experimental pop rock, they had a string of hits including “For Your Love”, “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” and “Heart Full Of Soul”. They were a crucial link between British R&B and psychedelia; their guitarists were extremely influential in music.

The Yardbirds were pioneers in almost every guitar innovation of the ’60s: fuzz tone, feedback, distortion, improved amplification, and were one of the first to put an emphasis on complex lead guitar parts and experimentation. The term, “Yardbird” is used in the southern United States as slang for ‘chicken’ (as in poultry), and it is a slang expression for “prisoner”.

The bulk of the band’s conceptual ideas, as well as their songwriting, came from the quartet of singer Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja, and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith, all of whom co-wrote the Yardbird’s original hits and constituted the core of the group.

Today, The Yardbirds consist of original members Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar) and Jim McCarty (drums), who reformed in the 1990s and have continued to produce music under the name.

Surprisingly, the band has maintained a dignity that is usually all too absent from reunited classic rock line-ups.

9th Oct 2007, Retro Music Hall, Francouzska 4, Prague, Price: 370 CZK (13 €)

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Pavel Bem, Prague Mayor

Prague Mayor Pavel Bem Mudr. Pavel Bem (born 1963 in Prague) is the Lord Mayor of the Capital City of Prague, reelected 2006. In 2006, he was also elected a Deputy Leader of the ODS (Civic Democratic Party).

Pavel Bem studied medicine at Charles University in Prague, specializing in psychiatry and subsequently devoted most of his medical career to the treatment of drug addiction. He served on a government anti-narcotics commission.

A member of the Civic Democratic Party, since 1998 he has been the mayor of the 6th district of Prague, and since 2002 has become the mayor of the entire city of Prague. Skilled in dealing with media, he presents himself as a “hands-on reformer” and a “sportsman” (On May 18th 2007, Bem fulfilled his “boyhood dream” of reaching the peak of Mt. Everest).
Prague Mayor Pavel Bem on Everest
When asked if he will move to the posh mayor’s residence in the centre of Prague, he said he had not considered the possibility for a single minute.

The following passage is based on an interview given for Krajske Noviny in 2005

Your original profession is Psychiatry. Are you in touch with it now?

“Yes, I am. I read the specific literature, I lecture, and I try to keep in touch with clinic practice. The reason for it is simple – I think a politician should not stick to his function too much, so he could come back to what he can do the best. It gives great freedom.”

The general public started to recognize you after you started to work as the general secretary of the Anti-drug committee of the Czech Republic. Does your liberal attitude to the Drug abuse changed over the years in politics?

“I was labeled as a liberal by media in the first place. They call me so, because I always declare drug addicts shouldn’t be criminalized, unless they do any harm to the society. They should be cured, instead. It is more practical and effective approach. And no, I haven’t changed my attitude a bit.”

You were the Mayor of Prague 6, now you are the Mayor of the whole Prague, de facto a commandant. Where is the end of your political ambitions?

The Prague Mayor takes care of 11% of Czech population, 15% of Czech workforce, and 25% of economical strength of the Czech Republic. It is Prague, where the CR gets its 25% GDP. As you can see, the Mayor position is one of the highest executive offices in the country. And no, my ambition is not to be the new leader of ODS (Civic Democratic Party). Prague is a fantastic city and we have lots of work and projects, that need finishing. My place is here.

Czech Government Hesitates with Supporting Olympics

Praha applying city 2016 Olympics The vice prime minister Jiri Cunek conceded the Olympic Games, Prague would like to host in 2016, can be unprofitable. And that the government hesitates with their support. According to his opinion we cannot afford to spend the milliards we need for supporting European funds on the Olympics.

Cunek also added that Prague didn’t ask for the government support, so they can do what they wish, but without any help. According to the words of the Czech Olympic Committee chairman, Milan Jirasek, the city cannot organize the Olympic Games just by itself. “The Government support is one of the criteria. Without government support, either financial or organizational, to organize the Olympics is impossible.” he conveyed to LN.

Pavel Bem told CTK in a short message that there is no need to hurry, and that he prepares the official document for the half of November.

Some of the senators have already lost their patience. “This whole think can end up in an international scandal. How it is possible, that the Prague candidacy was decided just on the basis of a decision of two people? It is an economic concern of the whole country.” Josef Novotny asks, and he thinks of Pavel Bem, and Mr. Jirasek. He reacts on the situation, when they were the only signers of the Candidate List a month ago. They invited the legendary sportswoman Dana Zatopkova, but not the prime minister.

Mayors of town and cities have expressed their discomfort earlier, demanding national referendum, or Prague as the sole financier of the event.

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The Race Of The Office Rats = Pencil Pusher Race in Prague

Pencil Pusher Race 2008

The Race Of The Office Rats Pencil Pusher = Kancelarska krysa in Czech (OFFICE RAT)

The Race Of The Office Rats is not only a sporting event, but a social event too. Representatives of different companies and institutions compete in a friendly atmosphere, regardless of whether they are from the private or public sector.

The first three years of this event attracted an incredible amount of interest from competitors, audience and media alike. Last year, 2006, the mayor of Prague, Mr. Pavel Bem, joined in the action as well. Reports appeared in the main daily news broadcasts on all three Czech national TV chanels. There was a huge amount of coverage by radio stations, press and internet medias as well.

The very name of the race itself indicates that the event takes place in a spirit of fun. More importantly, though, the event provides opportunities for informal meetings and team-building. And, of course, the entire competition gives a chance for stressed out office workers to relax and have fun, while at the same time providing amusement for members of the public.

The Race Of The Office Rats features participants who run in their traditional work clothes – men in business suits (jackets and ties) and women in dresses and skirts. Only one exception is allowed – sport shoes. Another essential prop is a mobile phone in one hand and a file folder in the other.

The start and finish of the race is always in the centre of Prague. Traditionally, the Master of Ceremonies oversees the races and competitions from a stage situated in the Fruit Market (Ovocny trh). He also has the right to call the runners on their mobile phones, in order to find their actual locality and physical condition. These phone calls, which are transmitted to the sound system, have become a favourite part of the event.

The categories of the competition are the men´s race, the women´s race and the mixed relay, which is very popular because of the possibilities for „company to company“ skirmishing. In the breaks between the races, there are side competitions such as a file and folder-throwing, a slalom on office chairs, and rope-climbing by the clerks.

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165th Anniversary of the Czech Beer Pilsner Urquell

The Day Lager was Born The Day Lager was Born

The well-known Czech lager was made for the first time on 5th October 1842. The main reason was probably the brewing crisis, going as far back as to 15th century. In the city of Pilsen was not only good beer, that was mostly sold away from the city, but much bad beer, sold inside the city. In 1838 it ended in a demonstration, during which citizens of Pilsen emptied 36 beer barrels on the main square. As a consequence, the Mestsky pivovar(City Brewery) was founded.

In 1842, the first brewage of a lager, as we know it today, was made there. Its author was the brewer of German origin, Josef Groll. He combined German advanced technology of brewing, combined with our local ingrediences – unique barley, local hops and soft water. By doing so, he set the basis for the new type of beer, that forms about 2/3 of the world beer production. Pilsen Urquell became the world first international beer.

Of course, the beer preparation came a long way until today. For example, for the quality check was used a simple test – the beer was poured on a bench, and one sit on it, wearing leather pants. If the pants stucked, the beer was considered of a good quality.

Of which quality the Pilsen Urquell beer is today, you can find out in Prague restaurant Kolkovna, where the celebrations of the anniversary take place today, 5th October.

By: Pavla Kozakova

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Right-wing extremists' march banned

Officially “a protest against the participation of the Czech Republic on the occupation of Iraq”, this wasn’t probably intended to be so. The organizers were clearly right-wing extremists, and the march was supposed to take place in Prague Jewish town, on the anniversary of 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom.

The Prague authority explained that the announced purpose of the march leads to the incitement to intolerance and hatred against citizens on the basis of their ethnicity, origin and religious conviction, which is one of the legal reasons for banning such an event.

Few days ago, the right-wing extremists have reputedly changed the date from 10th to 17th November, however Jiri Wolf, the spokesman of the city hall announced they haven’t officialy reported any changes. But at the same time, there were actions taken against this group. It ended in a ban of the whole event.

One of the arguments for banning was the organizer Erik Sedlacek’s membership in The National Resistance movement. It is a neonacist organization, that sprung from the Prague branch of militant neonacist organization Blood and Honour. That is a branch of the international neonacist movement based on the superiority of the white race and supports the National Socialism ideology openly.

The ban can be lifted only by a law-suit now.

Tina B. Festival of contemporary art in Prague

Tina B. Tina B. enters the main part of this year’s festival volume. Videos, music and digital installations are to be presented together with performances of more than 70 artists from over 15 countries; mostly Czech, German, Korean, Italian and American.

The Prague Contemporary Art Festival, Central Europe’s latest international contemporary art event, strives to combine the creative energy of the cultural scene in Central and Eastern Europe, with emerging talents and trends from around the world. The festival is held under the auspices and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague.

From the events we choose two for you;

Mobile Video Art
Those are installed in the screen-glass of Prague Laterna Magica, on Narodni trida street. You can see short videos, that were filmed by mobile phones, given to the artists by the organizers. The theme is: “Intimate life in a global village” the main platform is the webpage www.mobilevideoart.com

Lapidarium Project
The project is based on confrontation of classical statues, that are permanently exhibited in Lapidarium, with installations of Czech and Italian artists, that present contemporary art.

Tina B. Festival goes until 20th October. If you are interested, visit he webpage www.tina-b.com

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Float on Music Styles with David Sylvian, in Prague

Float on Music Styles with David Sylvian, in Prague David Sylvian is an English singer, musician and composer who first gained attention as the lead vocalist and songwriter in the band Japan. His subsequent solo career has been influenced by a variety of musical styles and genres including jazz, ambient, electronic, and progressive rock.

During his activity in the band Japan in the 80’s it was him, who invented a new romantic way of music. After Japan, he cooperated with other musicians, like R. Sakamot, with whom he made music to the movie Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, or with famous guitarist R. Fripp, whom he converted to funk and more aggressive attitudes.

David Sylvian combines ballads, electronic and romantic pop, his rich discography is diverse with experiments, based on instrumental sections or ambient installations, which he gets to “mythical” perfection. His last album is called When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima, and he introduces it on 10th October in the Prague theater Brodway, Na prikope street 31. More info at: www.palacakropolis.cz

Based partly on: EX

The Best Premises in Prague

According to this year’s contest, organized by Prague 1 City Hall, the best commercial premises situated at Prague 1 are:

The best Restaurant in Prague: Kolkovna, V kolkovne street.

The idea of the Kolkovna restaurant was to create a unique environment with an inspiring and original atmosphere that would link the best of the Czech brewing tradition and Czech cuisine adapted to the requirements of a modern day life style. This has been achieved thanks to the liaison of the Kolkovna Group and Pilsner Urquell Original Restaurants. The idea of the project is to offer a unique, uniform and harmonised interior style and food, not to mention the excellent quality of Pilsner Urquell beer.

Apart from the traditional Czech food and beer specialities, international cuisine and culinary specialities are available. For example, a roast duck served in a roasting pan is worth a mention. The Restaurant can seat 150 guests inside, 90 guests in the cellar premises and 50 in the front beer garden that is open in summer till 22:00. One can enjoy the atmosphere of this historical place and Pilsner Urquell lager every day between 11:00 and 24:00.

The best Shop in Prague: Maso, uzeniny (meat shop & smokehouse), Jindrisska 32.

The best Services in Prague: Pradelna Na Starem Meste (Old Town Laundry), Rybna street.

A Million € ? Easy to Steal, Easy to Spend.

David Borkovec, a former employee of Prague 1 city hall, confessed he have stolen 34 millions CZK (1,1 millions €) over the last 9 years. His method was so simple a child could do it.

Working as an officer, his monthly salary was 18 000 CZK (600 €) (that is close to the ordinary salary of 20 000, the Czech Republic applies the politics of low salaries and low prices). He didn’t complain about it. He lived a very modest life – his biggest leisure hobbies were Sokol training (athletics) and writing of fantasy books, which have actually been published and red. He lived in a small flat and didn’t even buy a car.

What was his trick? It worked like this: he opened an account at the same bank as the city hall he worked for, and put its number into the form, instead of the city hall number. When a company wanted to rent a public space, they sent the rent to his account. This has been working just fine for the past nine years. Fatal for his enterprise became this years’ audit, that doesn’t have anything in common with his defraudations.

The police suspect him that almost the whole amount remains hidden somewhere, because they find only 2 millions CZK yet. What happened to the other 32? “It was easy to spend” Borkovec answers plainly. The maximum number of years he can spend in jail is 12. And concerning the repayment? “I will repay something. Definitely not the whole amount, that is impossible, but something for sure.”

Vltava Promenade Closing up for Winter

Vltava Promenade As we informed you before, there is a large project going on by the Vltava river, that should, by 2010, change the face of the right Vltava bank into something common in other cities of Europe like Paris or Berlin; into a promenade, where it is possible to relax, eat, or shop.

The whole project started 10 years before, by an expensive reconstruction of the whole bank. As a result, it nowadays shines with gray stone, and it is decorated with art benches and other details of functional art.

Prague lies in the area of temperate climate, which means that you can enjoy walking in your shorts on such a promenade in summer, but it will be covered with snow in winter. So, Vltava promenade officially announced closing yesterday. For the next year, there are new stands already prepared, and we can look forward for ‘series of events’. Prague definitely knows, how to make the life more colorful for its citizens.

The Cure in Prague on 21th February

The Cure concert in Prague is on 21th February, Sazka Arena, in Interkoncerts production. On 21st February 2008 The Cure are once again performing in Prague. Their performance will be possible to see and hear in Sazka Arena, as they are on their European tour. It is for the 4th time we in Prague can welcome those legends.

The group with the original name Easy Cure was formed by the charismatic singer Robert Smith. Only the guitarist Port Thompson from the original formation stayed in until now; their contemporary mates are the drummer Jason Cooper and the bassguitarist Simon Gallup. The debut album Three Imaginary Boys came out in 1979. In the following decades it was followed by other records, as Faith, Pornography of Caterpillar. Music of The Cure forms the background for movies, such as The Crow or Judge Dredd.

The Cure concert in Prague is on 21th February, Sazka Arena, in Interkoncerts production.

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Testing the Sirens

sirens - build by the communists as a propaganda tool, are usually silent, which we appreciate As George Orwell puts it; “To see what’s in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle” and we have to agree with him. Like in this case, when an American blogger Julia finds how weird can be something, we all take for granted. Let’s find out, what lurks in Prague for an un-prepared Southener.

The first time I heard them go off, June 1999, I was working in our office alone, skipping lunch. The noise was deafening and I thought Prague was under attack. It wasn’t something you could ignore, so I climbed to the cat walk on top of our building and looked out over the city and down the highways heading out of town, wondering how fast I could get to the nearest metro in case anything really was happening, wondering how Will and I would find each other in the melee.

Read the whole article HERE.

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Olympic Games in Prague, Fact or Fiction?

On September 5th, the Mayor of Prague Pavel Bem together with the President of the Czech Olympic Committee Milan Jirasek signed the letter in which they applied for candidature for organizing Olympic Games in 2016. Is it an unreal dream or a good and achievable idea? The Czech nation is riven. Some people believe that Olympic Games could make the Czech Republic visible and that we can make a profit on it. On the other hand there are opinions concerning corruption and economic collapse. We will write some informations about this “big action” for you to make your own opinion.

Read the whole article HERE.

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Joe Cocker comes to play for us in Prague

Joe Cocker comes to present his new album Hymn for my soul on 12th December to Prague. This charismatic British singer is called “the father of white soul”. He will play music from his new album and also songs which made him famous.

So come and see this rock legend in Sazka Arena in Prague. Buy the tickets in Sazkaticket and Ticketrpo. Prices range from 790 CZK (26,3 €)to 1290 CZK (43 €).

Read the whole article HERE

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Interested in winning a digital camera in Prague?

Ákos Sass, from metro competition global challenge If you are a tourist coming here to Prague, or an expatriate, it doesn’t matter. What is important is, whether you are able to interpret “Colors of my City” by a photography, or not.

The contest is organized by Metro newspaper, and to participate is easy – all you have to do is to make a shot, send it to the web www.metphoto.org/ceskarepublika, and to hope to win a NIKON D80 in the ‘Local Winner’ contest.

The 5 most popular photos, as voted by the public and a panel of judges, will win a prize. If this is your case, you can win even more in the contest ‘Global Winner’ where you compete against photos from all over the world.

New Prague Bikelines... Will bring changes...?

new bikelines in prague Prague opens new bikelines – one heading from Modrany to Zbraslav and the second one (in the final stage of construction) from Liben to Horni Pocernice. The new sector to Zbraslav runs by Vltava, has two kilometers, three quarters are for pedestrians and bikers.

The new bikeline in Prague 9 goes from Freyova street to Horejsi rybnik (Upper pond) and the bikers will ride on a deserted rail. Another three kilometers are to be ready in 2008. The metropolis heads have promised 80 km of marked bikelines in Prague countryside, and 150 km in the city.

The question remains, how much of those bikelines will be useful for those who want to travel by bicycle instead of a car. The poor situation of bike roads in the center of Prague calls more people to demonstrate every year, but it seems to left a little impact on the face of inside Prague. The author knows, how dangerous it is to travel by bike in Prague. Compared to other cities of Europe there is a lot to gain. The bikelines grow in numbers only on the suburbs, and no one had the guts to enforce construction to the inside of the metropolis yet. We will see, what the future development brings.

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Prague Vintage Festival Reportage

As we informed you before, annual Prague Vintage Festival is a famous Prague event. Now, we bring you a report by a devoted burcak fan, who went for the quest for you;

Our Saturday objective was to get to Gröbeho vila, drink as many burcaks as possible, and spend the rest of the money on burcak in bottles that we would drink later at home. This pocket money was specially devoted to this event and was taken from a piggy bank. There was a grape harvest festival in Havlickovy Sady, and since I love this young wine, I couldn’t miss this event.

Finally, when we got there, the real fun begun. I mean, we started drinking burcak. And I’ve never thought how quickly can one glass of burcak bring a smile to one’s face. But the other program was good, too. Lots of mead, roasted pig, lots and lots of traditional products made at the spot, people in historic costumes, entertainers, original medieval beggar, jugglers, castle parade, swordplays, archery range, etc. Ideal for children. And for old children like us, back to the wine quest. The prices were very friendly, 2dcl cup for 18 CZK, or 1 litre for 70 CZK. It was a pity that you could buy red burcak only at one stall, where was an endless queue. We drank a litre there and brought another two home each of us.

Read the whole reportage HERE

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Designblok 2007. A Must. Prague. Best Design.

Designblok 2008 here

Marysa Cattle, Prisc Porcelain, photo from EX The action that goes through all the spheres of design. Only the size of the action sounds great; 158 Czech and foreign authors; 177 enterprises at 60 places in Prague. This year’s Superstudio is going to be located in Thamova street. There is going to be this year’s base, which offers seminars, conferences, fashion catwalks, and of course organizers placed lots of installations from the best designers of the Czech Republic and world.

This action is annual; 9th in the line, and every year it is bigger and bigger.

Designblok 2007 occupies fronts of most of Prague event calendars, which do not save their superlatives. For example Barbora Klimova from EX defines it like this: mega design action, trendy, in, fresh, hot, original, grand design, showrooms, design guide, design icon, life style, fashion session… ABC Prague certainly recommends to go to see it with your own eyes.

And what do they say about Designblok the organizers? “Fairs similar to Designblok are very well known in Europe. Producers of Designblok were inspired by Saloni Interni and Fiori in Milano, 100Guaranteed in London, Designroutes in Antverpen, Designparcours in Munich and DesignMai in Berlin. The main idea is that the participants present their design news in the authentic space of their own showrooms and they also produce and organize their own special events.”

Superstudio and accompanying programme will be at the old factory hall, Real Estate Karlín, Thamova street 14.

Designblok ’07, 9th year of annual design days in Prague 2th – 7th October 2007

If you want to go, get your guide-book with a map, either in the Superstudio, or from www.designblok.cz (and yes, there is no ‘c’ in the Czech version of the word block).

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Want to Buy a Palace in Prague?

palaces for sale Even in the very center of Prague, it is possible to see darkness behind windows. The Office of Historic Preservation (Pamatkovy urad) counted the buildings in decay, located in the historic center, and found out the worst owners are municipal corporation and private companies.

In Prague site area, that is on the UNESCO list, you can find total of 32 buildings/palaces, that that are deserted and decayed, some of them even for quite a period. Those are buildings build in baroque and classicist style, and some contain remains of the old city walls.

The Office of Historic Preservation informed it is a great shame and sadness, but compared to the situation ten years ago it is quite better; there were hundreds of deserted buildings. If you are wealthy and you are interested in buying a house that is situated fourth in line left from Astronomical Clock on Old town Square, you can. Beautiful baroque and renaissance house U minuty (At the Minute) has been empty for over a year.

Source: Lidove Noviny

Prague Public Transport Buses Burn

3rd Bus was burning this month in Prague. Finally, Prague Public Transport (MHD) decided to do something about it, otherwise maybe we would see even more of them in fire. The representatives affirm it is nothing more than a coincidence, but finally instructed strict control of wagon lines.

The question of the MHD heads is: are the buses obsolete, or somebody failed in his controlling task? And the outcomes of the control should reveal it. In the meantime, they try to persuade us it was only a bad luck. “We are definitely concerned about the frequency of these accidents, that’s why we try to toughen up the control mechanism, that should eliminate such threads.” The question, when the outcomes of the control will be revealed, was not answered.

The spokesman of Prague’s fire department excluded the possibility of old buses being the reason of it all. “The 3 buses that ignited were all of different date of construction, the newest was in function for only a year and a half.” The truth is, that Prague’s buses were largely modernized, and our public traffic system proudly belongs to the Europe’s elite. Is is really just a bad luck, causing harm to the buses?

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Elements of life, by Tiesto, in Prague

dj_tiesto_in_Prague On 24th November, 2007, Tiesto comes to Prague. Tickets are available at ticketpro.cz and for more informations about Tiesto look at www.djtiesto.com.

On March 2007, Tiesto released his third author album called “Elements of life” and started his worldwide tour over totally 56 capitals and Prague is going to be one of the stops. The tour “Elements of life” is considered a professionally perfect and giant show, which is able to satisfy the most demanding fans. A concept of the tour is built on four basic elements of life: air, water, earth, and fire.

Read the whole article HERE

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Graffiti gets more space in Prague

graffiti by prague artists ZBK and JOE83.jpg Graffiti is a 20th Century cultural and artistic phenomena, that will certainly be no less famous in the century 21th. This art, based partly on vandalism, is favored by some, hated by others. Among those, who certainly hate it, are the Prague Public Transport (MHD) officials, who have to spent over 15 million CZK (500 thousands €) every year to clean it up from the trains. The other case is, when you live in i.e. Jizni mesto in Prague, where the only surroundings of your gray “panelak” (pre-fabricated houses made in the USSR) are other gray panelaks.

And it is the Jizni mesto heads, that decided to organize a competition for the best graffiti makers, who could decorate the local gray face. Of course there are some critics, stating that this only helps to develop the unwanted illegal graffiti. But common locals are more or less for the idea of organized graffiti, with some kind of quality guarantee. “For the artists themselves it means self-realization, an adrenalin sport, and possibility of making large projects with their crew. Lots of them continue to some art school, where they can profit from what they have learned in the streets”, points out a journalist Martina Overstreet.

“Legals” are in the whole world. Somewhere, like in N.Y., it belongs inherently to the color.

Czechs honored st. Vaclav

On Friday, in Czech and Moravian cities, it was possible to see the skull of st. Vaclav. It is a traditional ceremony, that is concluded by a pilgrimage to Stara Boleslav, where st. Vaclav was murdered. For the remains of st. Vaclav and the divine service came about 1000 people.

What interests the author is, in what are those celebrations different from the so called Cult of the Dead. In this cult, tombs are build, and people are celebrated after they die, more than when they are alive. The presentation of a skull to the whole nation is a little symbolic, isn’t it?

28th September became the national holiday in 2000.

Good news everyone! David Cerny has a home-center!

David Cerny Pink Tank The well-known Czech artists, probably the only contemporary artist (if we exclude Knizak), whose greatness ranges over the Czech pond, has finally his own, long-expected center, here in Prague.

David Cerny, became “famous” after being locked-up by the communist side. At the time of dark communism, he expressed his artistic feeling by painting the Red Armada Tank on former Victory square pink (viz photo, he also erected the middle finger on it). After the wall came down, he made lots of project in the public space. My personal favorite were black, 3 meters long babies, with an air-conditioning shaft instead of a face, crawling up the Zizkovska vez (Zizkov Tower).

His Multicultural center MeetFactory, placed in a fabric hall at Smichovske nadrazi, will be presenting theatre, musicians, films and artists. But there are many other facilities; bookshop, video shop, café, dance club and many, many others.

The opening ceremony is 01th October 2007, and you can come to visit in the street Ke sklarne 15 ever since. The first exhibition is called “The Lost Innocence” and presents graffiti from artists, who painted it in there for the first time.

We are going to inform you about new MeetFactory projects from now on. Its homepage is www.meetfactory.cz

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Supporters of Democratic Burma Gathered in Prague

A few dozens of people came to express their solidarity with Burma demonstrators, to disapprove violence and to honour those who were shoot to death.

The demonstrators laid flowers and candles to the memorial of events of the 17th November 1989, that evokes the beginning of the Velvet Revolution. The situation in the former Czechoslovakia however, proceeded without casualties- unlike in Burma, where the army was more or less ordered to corporeally punish anyone, who doesn’t conform with injustice.

Czechs brought banners like “Free Burma“ or “Stop the Bloodshed in Burma”, photographs from Burma and the unofficial flag, that symbolises the Burma’s folks desire for democracy. Some of the demonstrators came dressed in red, that symbolises monks’ robes.

From the politics came Marek Benda, stating that during 17th November any support was needed. It is necessary to show they are not alone there, and to appeal to China representatives. „It should be they, who intervenes“

The next demonstration is planned on Thursday, in front of the China embassy in Prague. Similar demonstrations take place in other cities of Europe.