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]
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]
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]
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.)
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! → → →
Kashmir...Palestine...Sudetenland?? If you've been suspecting that old territorial squabbles never go away, you're probably right.