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Don’t Miss: The Skatalites, Picasso and the beginning of advent

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Old Town Square Christmas markets open on Saturday. (ČTK)Old Town Square Christmas markets open on Saturday. (ČTK)

While some of you are in search of turkey and pumpkin pie to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas preparations are in full swing. This year’s Prague Christmas tree was cut down Sunday in the Krkonoše area. The 30-metre spruce (shortened to 22 metres) was erected on Old Town Square to mark the beginning of Prague’s Christmas markets. Under the tree, you will find inspiration for your holiday gifts, music and mulled wine svařák.

A collection of graphics by Pablo Picasso from 1904-1905 is on display at the National Gallery in Holešovice. It’s one of the few occasions to see Picasso’s early graphics: Les Saltimbanques. Don’t miss your chance. You have time until 1 March. Prague Castle’s permanent exhibition The Story of Prague Castle has grown bigger. Jewellery from the 9th and 10th century that was been found during excavation works within the castle area is now part of the exhibition.

The International Jazz Festival opened Monday with Macedonian brass band Kočani Orkestar. If you missed the concert, check out the programme at Reduta, Rock Café, Retro Music Hall and the Church of St Salvador. Every day until 5 December, these stages will host a jazz concert. Invited are Bulgaria’s kaval player Theodosii Spassov, Jesse Ballard Band from US or High Praise Gospel Singers.

Melancholic cello playing is part of Wax Tailor's DJ performance. (Courtesy)Melancholic cello playing is part of Wax Tailor’s DJ performance. (COURTESY)

World music band Watcha Clan will play at Palác Akropolis on Thursday. The French group has a very eclectic approach, mixing reggae with drum and bass, Arabic and Hebrew with French and Spanish. Their support will be French hip hop DJ Wax Tailor known for mixing electronic beats with acoustic instruments.

To see what reggae was like when it started in the 1960s, Akropolis is once again the place to be. A ska band from Jamaica, The Skatalites, which had a big influence on Jamaican music and performed with such musicians as Bob Marley or Lee “Scratch” Perry, will take up the stage on Saturday.

And Palác Akropolis one more time: juggling workshop with Kamil “Dzielny” Dzilski as a special guest. See for yourself how they do juggling in Poland and give it a try; at Akropolis on Monday at 5pm.

American rocker Alice Cooper will spice it up at Rondo Hala in Brno on Tuesday. The passionate golf player will perform music from his latest album Along Came a Spider.

Feel like dancing? You can sign up for a weekend dance workshop run by studio ALT@RT and learn what modern dance is about. The workshop takes place in an industrial complex in Holešovice 29-30 and 6-7 December, each day from 10am until 2pm. To sign up, send an email to [email protected] or call 739 615 148. The price per weekend session is CZK 1,000.

Pass the Popcorn

This year’s winner of Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, a French movie Entre les murs (The Class) will close the French Film Festival in Prague today (Světozor 7:30pm) before hitting Czech cinemas on Thursday. Laurent Cantet’s documentary-style drama, based on a book by novelist and former teacher Francoise Bégaudeau, is a story of a high school teacher dealing with racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighbourhood.

A collection of three short stories, Tokyo!, directed by Frenchmen Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Korean Bong Joon-ho provides an insightful look at the Japanese capital and the people who live there: A strange creature who lives in the sewers of Tokyo or a shut-in who falls in love with a pizza delivery girl.

A new Filip Renč movie is opening this week. Hlídač č. 47 is a psychological drama about a railway station operator Josef Douša who in the 1920s is trying to forget about the horrors of the war. But an accident happens, making his life an even bigger misery. The film, based on a book by Josef Kopta, features Karel Roden, Vladimír Dlouhý or Slovak actress Lucia Siposova.

Entertainment from Hollywood this week includes Body of Lies, a new film by Ridley Scott, featuring Russel Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. It is about terrorist organisations, CIA agents, Middle East politics, explosions and the difficulties Muslim women have when dating a Westerner.

Teenage girls may fall in love with Robert Pattinson who stars in Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke’s new film based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer. But they better watch out: First of all, Pattinson alias Edward Cullen is crazy about Bella Swan. Second of all, he is a vampire.

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