Piano Concerto “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC” with Brian Connelly

The Czech Center Museum Houston cordially invites you to “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC” with Brian Connelly on the Czech Centers Petrof piano.

An intimate evening of romantic piano music by Czech composers Antonin Dvorak and Bedrich Smetana, inspired by the songs and dances of the Bohemian countryside.

Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7 PM.

Complimentary Valet Parking.
Cash bar of the Czech Apple Strudel served during intermission.

Seating is limited.
Advanced reservations are recommended.

Thank you

The Czech Center Museum Houston celebrated our annual St. Nicholas event. Everyone had a great time enjoying it together with our St. Nicholas, Angel and Devil. We of course couldn’t had had such a wonderful evening without the delectable dinner and especially the support of all members that helped to create the  delightful atmosphere. Thanks again to everyone who came and made it such a special event.

 

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Thank you.

“To The Day of Lilacs”

 

Travel Back in Time “To The Day of Lilacs”

Even 70 years after U.S. Gen. George S. Patton‘s Third Army liberated the city of Pilsen from Nazi occupation on May, 6 1945, the city, in what is now the Czech Republic, still celebrates the historic event the first week of May.

The annual Liberation Festival draws thousands of people from around the world each spring.

Darrell Hancock, of Kingwood, received the opportunity of a lifetime when he was granted press credentials allowing him to photograph the 70th anniversary Liberation Festival in May 2015.

“It was an astonishing experience,” Hancock said. “It’s something that I had never experienced before and may never again. The celebration lasts for several days. The two big events were a re-enactment of the liberation and a very long parade: the Convoy of Freedom. It was about two miles long; and all along the path, Czech people were lined up waving American flags and cheering. This is the third generation, at least, since the liberation and they’re still celebrating it.”

On Saturday, Nov. 19, from 6-9 p.m., the Czech Center Museum Houston will host a reception and grand opening for “Day of the Lilacs: A Celebration of the Liberation of Pilsen by the United States Army, May 6, 1945.” The photography exhibit will remain open through January 2017 and features the photographs Hancock took at the festival.

During the grand opening, Hancock will deliver a lecture discussing the historical context of the liberation, the lasting effects on the Czech population and his personal experience witnessing the celebration.

“In the lecture, I will explain what they did and explore how that joy of liberation managed to stay alive for seven decades,” Hancock said. “The interesting thing is that the liberation was militarily insignificant. The war was going to end anyway in just two more days. There was a strong argument not to do anything in Czechoslovakia and just wait. But Patton desperately wanted to go in.

“It was not a bloody liberation. There was relatively little resistance, but an enormous reaction. Entire towns turned out and they put lilac blossoms on the U.S. tanks and trucks. Lilacs, which were in bloom at that time, became a symbol of liberation.”

Day of the Lilacs will be Hancock’s first photography exhibit.

From photos of living American veterans of the liberation to Czech re-enactors of U.S. soldiers liberating Pilsen, Hancock is excited to share his experience of the Liberation Festival with others through his exhibit.

Hancock’s journey to Pilsen was inspired by his father and made possible with the help of the Czech Center Museum of Houston.

“My father served during World War II; and one of my goals is to go to all 11 countries he served in overseas,” Hancock said. “Czechoslovakia was the last country he served in. My father was not at the front of the liberation force; but he was right behind it. My wife and I wanted to go visit what is now the Czech Republic in May 2015 when Pilsen was having the 70th anniversary of their Liberation Festival.”

Hancock’s love of photography began at the age of 10 when he received his first camera. Although he still considers himself just an advanced amateur photographer, Hancock wanted an opportunity to photograph the Liberation Festival from close range.

He reached out to the Czech Center Museum of Houston’s founder, CEO and Chairman Effie Rosene, who wrote to authorities in Pilsen to acquire the credentials he needed.

“When he told me his cause, it struck a bell,” Rosene said. “It’s an incredible story; one that’s re-enacted and relived every year. It’s a story of interest not only for Czech people, but for anyone interested in history.”

The exhibit is free, but donations are welcome.

Thank you

The Czech Center Museum Houston celebrated its 9th Annual Czech Oktober Fest this last Saturday. Everyone had a grand time dancing the night away to the Rusty Steins. We of course couldn’t had had such a wonderful evening without the delectable food and drinks provided by our community sponsors Rudi Lechner’s, The Kolache Shoppe, and Karbach Brewery. Thanks again to everyone who came and made it such a special event.

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9th Annual Czech Oktober Fest

Friday, October 28, 2016

9th Annual Czech Oktober Fest from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Back by popular demand with dancing to the Rusty Steins, good Czech and German food provided by Rudi Lechner’s Restaurant, camaraderie, wine and Czech Beer and craft beer tastings provided by Karbach Brewing Company. We celebrate many events, and this is our most popular. Admission is $25. We also celebrate the historical circumstances acknowledging the founding of the state of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918 as Czech National Day. Book now by calling 713- 528-2060 or email to events@czechcenter.org.

Time: 6:00-9:00PM
Date: October 22,2016
Location: Czech Center Museum Houston
Ticket: 25, RSVP by email or phone (713) 528-2060.

Josef Lada

By Sandra Samolik, October 20, 2016

Josef Lada, a painter and writer, is especially known for his illustrations, which accompany Czechs from their cradle, through their holidays and later age. Czech children grow up with his illustrations of fairy tales and children’s readers, such as ‘Kocour Mikeš’ or ‘Mikeš the tomcat’. His landscapes adorn thousands of Czech Christmas cards and calendars. Thereby, his satiric illustrations of the World War One novel “The Good Soldier Švejk” by Jaroslav Hašek’s, give the character a face, that amuses the adult readers.

Who was ‘Kocour Mikeš’ or ‘Mikeš the tomcat’?

Mikeš, is a black cat, that lives with the shoemaker Pepik, grandmother and his friends in the village Hrusice. The intrepid tomcat, Mikeš, decides to explore the world and the readers get to follow him on his journeys. Eventually, he returns to his safe hometown and enjoys his time with his family and friends again.

Josef Lada himself was born in a cobbler’s family in Hrusice and left his village to start a training as a bookbinder and worked later as editor-in-chief for the Sunday issue of České slovo – Kvítko z čertovy zahrádky in Prag. After 1924, he started returning to his native village with his family where they spent their summer holidays. There, he decided to buy a piece of land and built a house in 1930. Four years later, he started to write the adventures of the talking cat, Mikeš, and completed his story in 1936. It has been translated into 30 languages and published around the world.

Lada has a very characteristic style, but the artist shouldn’t be confused with his simple visual style. His work concentrates on the simple things in life, gatherings, landscapes, very romantic, quiet and poetic scenes. But this doesn’t mean that he was simplistic or unsophisticated.

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Josef Lada, Landscape with family, 1954

According to art historian, Dr. Pavla Pečínková:

“Josef Lada does paint a world of his own…. All sorts of artists were doing this in the 1930s, and throughout both of the World Wars. The artist had the choice of using his art to engage with his surroundings, or to escape them. Lada was one of these introverts and sought inspiration from within.”

He was very productive through his lifetime and created hundreds of landscapes and quaint scenes. Nonetheless, Lada also took on a serious topics, by creating illustrations for the satirical novel ‘The Good Soldier Švejk’ in 1923. He confronts the viewer with the events of World War I. However, his images allow readers to face the topic from a critical, satirical point of view, without being confronted with the cruelty of war. The storyline is set during World War I in Austria-Hungary, a multi-ethnic empire full of longstanding ethnic tensions. This war caused the deaths of about fifteen million people; one million of them were Austro-Hungarian soldiers, which included around 140,000 Czechs.

In 1925, the satirical war novel was banned from Czechoslovak army libraries and was suppressed in Bulgaria. The Polish version was confiscated in 1928 and the German translation was burned on Nazi bonfires in 1933.

What made ‘The Good Soldier Švejk’ so unacceptable?

It explores in a hilariously subversive depiction, the pointlessness and futility of conflicts and military discipline, Austrian military discipline in particular. Many of its characters, especially the Czechs, are participating in a conflict they do not understand on behalf of an empire to which they have no loyalty.

The main character, soldier Josef Švejk, is a symbolic representation of this theme, undergoing many amusing and surprising adventures. Through idiocy or incompetence, which is possibly feigned, he repeatedly manages to frustrate military authority and exposes its stupidity in the form of passive resistance. The reader is left unclear whether Švejk is genuinely incompetent or acting deliberately with dumb insolence. Nonetheless, these absurd events reach a climax when Švejk, wearing a Russian uniform, is mistakenly taken prisoner by his own troops.

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Josef Lada, Soldier Svejk (left side)

Due to the contentious political situation in Europe after WWI, the controversial character of soldier Švejk became inadmissible for nations that were opposed to minorities (e.g. Czechs) or supported the military or monarchy. Although all the given disapproval against soldier Švejk, Josef Lada continued to develop his soldier character and edited his illustrations until 1954.

This novel is the most often translated Czech book worldwide and one of the most popular anti-war novels. Art historians assume that Josef Lada’s style was influenced due to his work as an illustrator for newspapers, conditioned by the black and white printing techniques, and permitting simple, clear lines.

However, he kept this narrative, picturesque style with an idyllic accent also in his oil paintings. Lada’s work is clear and understandable for all age groups, therefore, put in context, it receives an absolute different resonance, what makes his images so popular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preserving and celebrating Czech and Slovak heritage with the goal of promoting a global community