Are you happy to see the spring finally come? You can celebrate on the first day of spring, 21 March, as many events take place around the country. One of them requires a trip to Moravia, but it is well worth it. Wine cellars of five southern Moravian wine areas will open their doors to visitors who want to taste local wine and regional dishes. More than 40 vintners from five municipalities, including Velké Pavlovice, Bořetice, Němčičky, Kobylí and Vrbice, will take part in the weekend festivities.
You can go for a day or spend the whole weekend and explore more than just one village. There will be bus transportation connecting the festival areas but since they are only a few kilometers apart, a walk is almost a better choice. You will get to taste local wines and dishes and learn about winemaking. The ticket (CZK 1,000 for both days) includes free tasting at all participating cellars, a CZK 300 voucher for the purchase of wine of your choice and further discounts. The festival opens on Saturday 9am in Velké Pavlovice (where you also get the tickets) and closes the following day at 6pm with a concert of the Moravian dulcimer band Hradišťan.
If you are in Prague this weekend, you can check out the festival in Kampa park organised by the local community centre. Food tasting (possibly wine) will not miss, however, the event is designed primarily for children and the main attractions will be the carnival march, threatre, a photo exhibition and boat trips on Vltava. And kids who come the following Sunday in waterman costumes will get free entry for the events at the Museum Mysteriae Pragensis in Malá Strana.
Two more tips for weekend outdoor activities include an open door day at Prague’s Botanical garden on Saturday and the running race up the New Castle Stairs (already the 38th edition!). The race starts at 9am.
The Creative Africa festival also known as We All Are Africans is opening today in Prague and five other Czech cities with an aim to introduce African culture. Works by African playwrights and filmmakers will be presented and several panel discussions will take place throughout the festival lasting until 28 March. Archa Theatre presents a French stage rendering of Barack Obama’s speech on the race question in America today at 9:30pm (with English transcript). The African night Kititi, presenting world music, Malian dishes and African theme market, will close the festival on 28 March.
For more African art, try Habib Koite in Akropolis on Monday. The Malian songwriter and guitar player combines west African and western instruments in a very innovative style. His Monday show starts at 8pm. French techno producer Laurent Garnier will play live in Palác Akropolis on Saturday, presenting his album Tales of a Kleptomaniac. Following the live set at Akropolis, Garnier will move to Roxy for a late night performance.
The National Theatre stages the latest adaptation of Peter Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin on 20 and 22 March. The romantic opera, inspired by the book of Alexander Pushkin, will be conducted by the US conductor John Fiore. Romanian-American stage director Andrei Serban is the opera’s director.
If you can’t celebrate the 125th anniversary of New York’s Metropolitan opera in NYC, you can try one of the Czech movie theatres (Prague’s Kino Aero is sold out) on Saturday at 5:45pm, to see the screening of Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez.
A large neon thorn crown over Prague’s Rudolfinum and a giant red neon heart over Prague Castle. Both of Jiří David’s artworks drew much controversy several years ago. A selection of works, this Czech influential artist has created since 1983, is now on show at the Municipal Library gallery in Prague under the name Předběžná retrospektiva (anticipatory retrospective).
A collection of portraits by Prague-based photographer Jiří Chocholáč will open at Kavárna Lucerna (foyer of the cinema Lucerna) on 24 March, 6pm.
Do you have an opinion on civil society development in post-communist central Europe? Maybe you would like to learn more about dissident movement and the impact of civil society on the fall of communism and the quality of democracy today. You are welcome to join a conference organised by the New York University in Prague on 20 March. You can share ideas with former dissidents, journalists, professors and diplomats. Check here for more information.
Pass the Popcorn
Prague cinemas Kino Aero and Světozor will play movies about Tibet from Monday till Wednesday next week as part of the festival of Tibet held on occasion of the 50th anniversary of Dalai Lama’s forced exile. A documentary about the last three Tibetan shamans living in a refugee camp in Nepal and a story of a young Tibetan refugee crossing the Himalayas to deliver a video message recorded by Dalai Lama to the people of Tibet are in the movie selection.
Czech film by Zdeněk Tyc, El Paso, focuses on problems minorities are facing in the Czech Republic. The movie may be a picture of what is currently happening in Chomutov and some other Czech towns, which are taking measures to clamp down on rent delinquent tenants. El Paso tells a story of a Romani family and its hopeless fight with bureaucracy. It is entering the theatres on Thursday.
Apart from that, there is Battle in Seattle coming to Czech theatres this week. Stuart Townsend’s film centres at the 1999 events in Seattle when thousands of people gathered in the streets to protest a meeting of the World Trade Organisation. Sex Drive, The Unborn and He’s Just Not That Into You are also about to hit the Czech distribution.
This year’s One World festival of documentary film is ending on Thursday, at least in Prague. You still have a chance to catch some of the featured films abroad. Click here for more information.