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Indian summer, Indian beats and Christmas at the Ivanovs

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Although indian summer is yet to come (and I hope it will) you can enjoy the Indian Summer festival this weekend, 12 September, if you come to the Mental Hospital in Bohnice. The open air festival of music and theatre, Babí léto, held within the Weeks for Mental Sanity will mark the festival’s 20th birthday and celebrate 100 years of the hospital’s existence. Music by Zuby nehty, Už jsme doma, Krásné nové stroje, Hm… and other Czech bands will take up the stage together with several theatre ensembles, including the homeless persones’ theatres from Slovakia and Hungary. Art workshops and psychiatric consultations are included. Starts at 12:30.

You don’t have to wait till Sunday to enjoy live action on stage. One of the country’s greatest theatre festivals, the International Festival Divadlo, is opening today in Plzeň. Held at a railway station, in the brewery or in a theatre hall, this event will give you information on the latest stage productions created in the central European region. You will see works of young authors and artists who began their careers after 1989, including the celebrated new circus performance La Putyka, as well as some renowned ensembles. One of the oldest public theatres in Poland, The Stary Teatre, will play their version of Oresteia on 9 September; Hungary’s best known theatre, The Katona József Theatre, will perform Christmas at the Ivanovs on 12 September. The festival runs through 17 September.

New outdoor theatre festival Za dveřmi brings Czech and international ensembles to Prague’s streets and other public venues for a series of street performances and circus acts from 13 to 19 September. Inspiration for the festival comes from foreign productions, such as France’s Charleville-Meziéres, Poland’s Sztuka Ulicy, Spain’s FITEC and Britain’s Watch this Space Festival. Žižkov and Karlín are the main festival venues. Tickets to selected shows are CZK 200, otherwise free.

The National Theatre will perform Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major and Bohuslav Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh, on Thursday, 10 September to mark the opening of the new season. The concert will be conducted by the new Music Director of the National Theatre, 32-year-old Tomáš Netopil.

Several new installations are opening in Prague galleries this week. The Rudolfinum gallery stages an exhibition of German Neo-Expressionist artist Georg Baselitz, who is known for his upside-down images and ranks among the world’s best-selling living artists. In the cellars of the Golden Ring House on Old Town Square, an exhibition called An Asymmetric Harmony has opened dedicated to Karel Teige, a major figure of the Czech avant-garde movement in the 1920s. The exhibit, opened through 1 November, presents Teige’s graphic designs and typographic works.

Czech hyperrealistic painting by Markéta Urbanová and Jan Jaroš will be displayed at The Chemistry Gallery as of 10 September. If you make it to the opening today from 7pm, be ready for a flamenco performance by Lolita Karpenka from Belarus.

Looking for a concert? The Canadian ensemble Autorickshaw brings their trademark fusion of western and Indian music to Prague for today’s show at Palác Akropolis. An artful weaving of jazz and world beat, the band’s music is not the exclusive pleasure of fans of these genres, and all should be able to rock out happily to the tunes.

On Saturday, a monster concert will kick off on Vypich (on the way from Dejvice to Bílá Hora) to mark the 20th anniversary of Kabát, a hard rock band which represented the Czech Republic in Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. As a European band they failed. But that should not be the case in their home country. Some 70,000 people are expected to come to the show which, given the sound effects and the size of the stage and auditorium, can be compared to large-scale productions staged abroad. Tickets are available for up to CZK 790. Traffic restrictions are planned for the Vypich area on the day of the show which starts at 8pm.

Three film premiers are entering Czech cinemas this week. Sophie Barthes’ Cold Souls with Paul Giamatti who plays a version of himself preparing to star in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya on Broadway. Many compare the film to Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich (although that’s reportedly what Barthes doesn’t like to hear).

Another film premier is Jánošík, the biggest central European co-production and the latest collaboration of Polish director Agnieszka Holland and her daughter Kasia Adamik. The film aims to present the legendary Slovak hero Juraj Jánošík as a historical figure and provide some true information about his life.

The film Louse-Michel from French directors Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delépine offers a solution to the situation which some may be facing now in times of the economic crisis. What to do when the workers of a factory have been laid off overnight? Go see the film but do not follow the example.

If you like comic books, don’t miss your chance to meet with Stan Sakai, the author of the legendary comic saga about the samurai rabbit Miyamato Usagi. The Japanese American, Eisner Award-winning comic book creator will be the guest at kino Světozor on Thursday, 10 September from 4pm.

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