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"We're both so happy! Say that we're happy."

"One of the most exhilarating cinematic works of the Czechoslovak New Wave is Vera Chytilová's 1966 film, Daisies, the story of two young women who declare the world is spoiled and rotten, and so make a pact that they will be too." -- Katarina Soukup, "Banquet of Profanities." "In a 1966 interview, Chytilová described Daisies as a 'philosophical documentary in the form of a farce,' a 'bizarre comedy with strands of satire and sarcasm.'" -- Bliss Cua Lim, "Dolls in Fragments." [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Aug 1, 2014 - 8 comments

Heck, it's Tex-Czech!

If you're going to listen to a brass band play a waltz, it might as well be a joyously exuberant one, with a unabashed sense of humor and a firm conviction that notes were made to be bent. Right? Oh, and it might as well be played, by, say, a Texas Czech (yes, a Texas Czech) band. Right? OK then, here's Circling Pigeons Waltz by the Joe Patek Band of Shiner, Texas. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 31, 2013 - 20 comments

Aging face transformation gifs

Young to old, gifs showing the transformation of age. One noticeable thing in all photos is the known ‘random fact’ that the ears and nose are 2 body parts that never stop growing and getting bigger – from birth to death. All on one page, where you can click the hand icon in the corner of the image and slide the bar back and forth manually. Video from dovga. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Oct 13, 2013 - 25 comments

Time travel, green faces, comedy Hitler, and a suitcase full of lingerie

Were you one of a handful of geeky teens watching BBC2 at 9.35pm on Saturday January 16th 1982? Or perhaps you were one of the sports fans who tuned in by accident when the football was cancelled. If so, you caught the first and last British television screening of a surreal, pitch black time travel farce from the pen of Czech sci fi maestro Josef Nesvabda, and you have probably never forgotten it. Now thanks to the Internet, you can watch Zítra vstanu a oparím se cajem, or Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up and Scald Myself With Tea again at last, after more than thirty years.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Sep 1, 2013 - 17 comments

A man of flesh and bone, who cannot be stopped!

Legie is a depressing Czech adventure game/dungeon crawler. The only record of it left is this Let's Play.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jul 25, 2013 - 19 comments

Filip Topol of the Czech band Psi Vojaci dead

Filip Topol - lead singer of the legendary Czech underground band Psi Vojaci (Dog Soldiers) - is dead (translation) at the age of 48. [more inside]
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy on Jun 19, 2013 - 2 comments

Czeched Out

Czeched Out—the Czech Republic decriminalized possession of all drugs, from mushrooms to meth, in 2010.
posted by Jehan on Mar 16, 2013 - 39 comments

The loss of translators...

Readers of literature from "small" languages treasure their translators, who are rarely recognized and poorly compensated for their months and sometimes years of lonely labor.

Two of the best translators from Czech died in the last month or so. Michael Heim translated not only from Czech but also Russian, Croatian, Serbian, German, French and Dutch. Less well-known and less polyglotish, Peter Kussi translated Milan Kundera as well as Jiri Grusa, Karel Capek, Josef Skvorecky, Bohumil Hrabal and others whose works might otherwise be lost to English readers. [more inside]
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy on Nov 12, 2012 - 21 comments

Jan Svankmajer: "Succumb totally to your obsessions; Keep interchanging dream for reality and vice versa"

"Jan Švankmajer is a major figure of contemporary East European animation whose surrealistic, often macabre work owes more to the nightmarish visions of Kafka and Buñuel than to the sunny daydreams of Walt Disney and his creative progeny. Noted for investing otherwise ordinary objects with ominous overtones, Švankmajer reached his widest audience to date with a feature-length adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" (1988) which blended animated and live-action footage--a technique he had earlier used to hair-raising effect in "Down to the Cellar" (1983)." -- TMC. Often credited with influencing the Brothers Quay, they hadn't actually seen his work until relatively late in their careers, as they mentioned in an introduction to their documentary on Švankmajer (YT playlist). More of Švankmajer inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 23, 2012 - 21 comments

Michal Ajvaz

“The beast sets me riddles every evening, and when I fail to guess them, it kicks and bites me. It is like a small leopard and in other circumstances I should say it looked quite charming. So far I haven't solved a single one of these riddles…”—Michal Ajvaz. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Aug 10, 2012 - 19 comments

Couldn't they just go with "Czech It Out"?

The result of a search for a logo/slogan/identity for the Czech Tourist Authority is, like, well... *
From the brand identity blog "Brand New"** at Underconsideration.com, which liked the new Canadian identity theme better; well, at least better than MeFi's Own dabitch did. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jul 20, 2012 - 19 comments

Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen 1912-2011

Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen, son of Charles, last monarch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, died on July 4 at the age of 98. [more inside]
posted by dhens on Jul 5, 2011 - 24 comments

Kuky Returns is an astonishingly beautiful and eerie new Czech film

Kuky just wants to go home. Directed by Academy Award winning Czech director Jan Sverak, this yet to be released film is loosely based on stories of the flooding of Bohemia in 2002. With design elements reminiscent of the beautiful flash games created by Amanita Design, it is visually stunning. No word on any North American distribution (boo), but opening on May 20 in the Czech Republic (yaay!).
posted by Ohdemah on May 15, 2010 - 10 comments

Imperialist Beetles

The American Imperialists have sent potato beetle by clouds and air to our Republic. He May Be a Communist.
posted by Gratishades on Nov 22, 2009 - 23 comments

Poland Approves Mandatory "Chemical Castration" Drug Treatment for Convicted Pedophiles

In response to an incest case in which a man imprisoned, raped and fathered two children with his own daughter, Poland's Lower House of Parliament has approved an amendment to their penal code which makes chemical castration of pedophiles mandatory in certain cases. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 26, 2009 - 127 comments

Pat & Mat, lovable Czech puppetmen who have complex solutions to simple problems

The puppets Pat and Mat are beloved everywhere their Rube Goldbergian antics have been shown on TV. A couple of inventive handymen they consistently solve simple problems in outlandish fashion. Pat and Mat traveled far afield from their Czechoslovakian origins thanks to their short running time and silence, which made translation unnecessary. Considered ideologically impure by Czech authorities, creators Lubomír Beneš and Vladimír Jiránek were allowed to make around 30 episodes by the Slovakian arm of the state television corporation. They continued making new episodes after Communist rule ended and production was kept going after they passed away. First, let me present my sentimental favorite, Wallpaper. Below the cut are all the episodes I could find online. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Sep 7, 2009 - 27 comments

Historical postcards from Opava, CZ

Historical postcards from Opava, CZ
posted by yegga on Jul 26, 2009 - 6 comments

Bringing Nails to Life

Scenes sculpted with nails by Czech photographer Vlad Artazov. (via)
posted by netbros on Jul 6, 2009 - 14 comments

If anybody could ever put a soundtrack to an epileptic porno, it would be Uz Jsme Doma.

Music in Czech lands in the 20th was tumultuous, to say the least. The artistic freedom of the early 20th century shifted during World War I under Nazi occupation, flourishing again after the war. With the rise of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, arts were "destined to play a great role in the socialist education of the masses," which meant artists were to portray "life as it should be according to Marxist theory." Some bands shifted to more politically acceptable performances, while others went underground. The Velvet Revolution lifted limitations, and artists who had performed illegal shows in private now shared their underground sounds and sights with the world. The Plastic People of the Universe (who some credit with bringing the Revolution) could be considered to embody the Communist repression of the 1970s and 1980s in their gloomy, despair-driven music, with Už Jsme Doma showing a different side of Czech music, representing the exuberance of liberation. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 4, 2009 - 17 comments

Czech Surgical Castration for Sex Offenders - Good Idea?

The Czech Republic offers surgical castration as a "voluntary" option to sex offenders, whose rate of recidivism in some studies then drops precipitously. Officials at the Council of Europe are outraged, calling the punishment "invasive, irreversible and mutilating." Atul Gawande noted 10 years ago that, despite his reservations, castration works - at least against a subclass of offenders: the pedophiles and sadists.
posted by shivohum on Mar 14, 2009 - 86 comments

Czech this out

If americans are compensating by driving SUVs...then what the hell is up with these europeans?
posted by 445supermag on Oct 23, 2008 - 50 comments

Someone is peeling Kundera's onion for him.

The czech magazine Respekt, known for its investigative reporting, has published a story claiming prize winning author and anti-communist dissident Milan Kundera denounced a young exile who was back in Prague to the communist secret police. [more inside]
posted by lucia__is__dada on Oct 14, 2008 - 22 comments

WMD = Whoopie-cushions of Media Dysfunction

How To Fake An Atomic Bomb Blast On Public Television. [ YouTube] This past June, the early-morning live weather report on Prague television station CT2 was being delivered on top of live panning sweeps of the beautiful Czech Republci countryside and a seemingly par-for-the-course summery day. But as NYT reported today, "Then came the nuclear blast." The immediate reaction by the viewing public? Somewhere between a semi-collective shrug and minimally raised eyebrow. Yet months later, CR art-prankster group ZTOHOVEN [Czech] are presently enjoying international attention and wide-spread accolades for this classic piece of culture-jamming. [more inside]
posted by humannaire on Jan 24, 2008 - 18 comments

the blob invades prague!

The proposed new home of the National Library of the Czech Republic. The old one looks like this. The new one ... well ... is it an octopus? What the hell is this thing?
posted by pyramid termite on Dec 4, 2007 - 42 comments

"I could call them Labori, but that strikes me as a bit bookish."

The play R.U.R. (or Rossum's Universal Robots) and the novel The War with the Newts, both by the redoubtable Karel Čapek.
posted by Iridic on Jun 24, 2007 - 8 comments

Black Light Theatre

The Black Light Theatre of Prague ("Černé Divadlo" or simply Black Theatre) is a Czech performance style characterised by the use of black box theatre augmented by black light trickery. Although this performance style can be found in many places around the world, nowhere is it more prolific or specialized than in Prague. Some sample images: 1 2 3 4. YouTube: 1 2 3.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 8, 2007 - 13 comments

Da-Doo Ron RONJA

RONJA is an optical networking device that can be built by nearly everyone, using readily available components and using only free software.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 7, 2007 - 23 comments

The right to party ends in violence

In the Czech Republic over the weekend a free and legal techno party was stormed by heavily-armed riot police. One person died and dozens of participants were injured. The unprecedented attack has been heavily condemned by the League of Human Rights and the Czech Shadow Minister claiming it was politically motivated. See also 1 and 2. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek (Social Democrats, CSSD) defended the action stating: The core of the techno enthusiasts is made up of "obsessed people with anarchist proclivities and international links," who "provoke massive violent demonstrations, fuelled by alcohol and drugs, against the peaceful society".

Videos: 1 2 3 4 and 5

Photos: 1.
posted by urbanwhaleshark on Aug 3, 2005 - 30 comments

Nekkid Czech Nerds

Czech? Check. Tech? Check. Clothes? Not so much. [probably NSFW] via Gizmodo
posted by stonerose on Jan 27, 2005 - 32 comments

Good-lookin' books.

Czech book covers of the 1920s and '30s. Czechoslovakia was an amazingly creative place between the wars, and this Cooper-Hewitt exhibit showcases some of the book covers it produced. Here's an overview and descrption of styles; you can explore them here. I particularly like Sborník Literární skupiny, Jaroslavu Královi k padesátinám, Nejmenší dum, and the work of Karel Teige. (Via wood s lot.)
posted by languagehat on Dec 18, 2004 - 9 comments

It's naht zo bad

The Story of a Czech SuperStar Contestant. The Czech version of Pop Idol (or American Idol, if you prefer) is finally starting to get good. But it may not be for the reasons the show's creators wanted. Anna, known also by her SuperStar number 3469 or better yet as "Dajdou," has become the most famous of all the contestants so far, precisely because she is what the Czechs refer to as an "antitalent." (via Living in Europe)
posted by Ljubljana on Mar 14, 2004 - 9 comments

S&M Easter - whips, nails, but no bunnies

So how will you spend Easter? Are your plans just a tad pedestrian? If egg hunts leave you cold, perhaps you need a bit more edge. For many, things begin this week. In Czechoslovakia, men carry woven willow sticks and whip girls on the legs, but in Taxco, Mexico, it's all about self-flagellation. In the U.S., many go theatrical with a living last supper; in the Philippines they favor more authenticity - every year about 20 people re-enact the crucifixion, nails & all. If that's too real, you could order supplies to build a backyard corpus shrine for next year. - more -
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 14, 2003 - 23 comments

The Prehistoric art of Znedek Burian amidst a motherlode of large scans of Czech art and photography

Chasmosaurus, Giant Stag and Dire Wolf, Diatryma, Albertosaurus and an early Portuguese blogger--allow me to get a little Mesozoic, Creataceous and Pleistocene upon your ass with this cool archive of vintage Czechoslovakian prehistoric art: I found 11 pages of thumbnails for 258 large scan jpegs of Znedek Burian's work on the websites of the Petrs Hejna of Prague, the Czech Republic. Znedek Burian, as you will remember from my previous Vintage Dinosaur Art Archives thread, was state of the art in the 1950s. 258 scans of Znedek Burian is find enough to merit a post--But Wait! There's More! → → →
posted by y2karl on Feb 9, 2003 - 13 comments

Vaclav Havel retires as Czech president

Vaclav Havel is retiring as president of the Czech Republic this weekend. The former dissident and playwright-cum-politician is profiled in the Guardian, the Globe & Mail and Radio Prague's site; or you can browse the great man's website.
posted by plep on Jan 31, 2003 - 12 comments

Kashmir...Palestine...Sudetenland?? If you've been suspecting that old territorial squabbles never go away, you're probably right.
posted by gimonca on Jun 9, 2002 - 4 comments

The Ossuary in Sedlec

The Ossuary in Sedlec in the Czech Republic is a chapel, built around 1511, decorated in 1870 by a local woodcutter. His material? Human bones.
posted by fidelity on Apr 19, 2002 - 13 comments

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