Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category


Communist TV show on the day of Havel’s funeral?

In Entertainment,Media on December 23, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

Czech TV station TV Barrandov is known for airing pre-1989 communist TV shows.  In today’s terms, they would be called TV drama series. Usually they tell a story of a prominent communist who has to deal with “everyday problems”, which include people who are not true communists. These shows were produced by an order of the pre-1989 party leadership which controlled everything. Twenty-one years after the Velvet Revolution, some people still live in the past, mistakenly believing that life was better back then. And they watch these programs, even though they glorify injustice, oppression, censorship etc.

On December 23, the day of the late Vaclav Havel’s funeral, the station aired one of the worst examples of the above, a series entitled Muz na radnici (A Man at the City Hall) despite the fact that three days ago Czech PM Petr Necas asked media to alter their program to reflect the three-day national mourning period and the funeral.

True, TV Barrandov did alter their program by observing the minute of silence at noon and by airing a special documentary. These two changes were “proudly” announced in a press release on Wednesday. The management had enough time to plan and implement one more change. It could have been Havel’s favorite movie… or just anything… but the commie show was aired anyway. It is like airing a terrorist flick on a 9/11 anniversary.


Bazinga! Television catchphrases are good for business

In Culture,Economy,Entertainment on December 18, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

I don’t think there has ever been a U.S. TV show that would be so popular that it would stimulate secondary business activities in the Czech Republic. But now there are two hugely favorite programs that are amazingly good for business: How I Met Your Mother and especially The Big Bang Theory. Catchphrases from these two shows made their way onto T-shirts. And there are at least four small companies that offer them for sale. Not surprisingly, the “companies” are in fact small businesses owned and run by enthusiasts. And their T-shirts are unique and their owners stick out in their respective crowds. is one of them (the photo above is theirs). The T-shirt motifs are, well, geeky. One would expect they would be total rip-offs, but they are not. True, two of them imitate the actual T-shirts worn on the show (Leonard/Sheldon), but that is not illegal. And then there is that focuses, of course, on HIMYM. The T-shirts sold by are more the Barney-style (they are tighter and they seem to look good together with Tommy Hilfiger jeans).

Sure, one could argue that these businesspersons are just milking other people’s cows. But you can say that just about everything that is related to showbusiness, even a hot-dog vendor who sets up his cart across the street from Universal Studios.


Communist song used in TV Prima’s Polar Express teaser

In Culture,Entertainment,Music on December 8, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

TV Prima’s “secondary” channel named Prima Cool is known for unorthodox visual style, so as to appeal to younger audiences. However, today I saw a teaser trailer for Polar Express, which is a family movie, if not a Christmas fairytale for children. For some reason, the background music for the teaser was The Internationale, which is the official “anthem” of social democrats, communists, the former Soviet Union (1922 to 1944), etc. I will have to ask the spokesperson of the TV station about it…



Prague Flash Mob 2010 at the main train station

In Culture,Entertainment,Music,Prague on December 2, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,


Czech-Slovak Got Talent winner: a duo of gymnasts DaeMen.

In Culture,Entertainment,Media,Music on November 28, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

[VIDEO INSIDE] Normally, the “Got Talent” shows search for talented artists in their respective countries. This country is an exception. TV Prima (Czech Republic) joined forces with TV Joj (Slovakia) in search for “Czechoslovak” (or “Czecho-Slovak”) talent. And the winner is: a duo of gymnasts DaeMen. The other two of the three “top finalists” were magician-entertainer Richard Nedved and operatic pop singer Marian Zazrivy.

Fourteen finalists included solo singers (e.g. daughter of NHL goaltender Dominik Hasek), duets, dance formations or magicians. This time the three judges had no say because the winner was announced based on the highest number of SMS votes sent by TV viewers. The prizes include EUR 100,000 and a contract for some performances in Las Vegas.

The show background is very interesting. TV Nova (the biggest player on the Czech TV market) missed its chance to obtain the license from FremantleMedia, so they immediately came up with the very same concept of their own. They call it Talentmania… and it is broadcast on the same days as Got Talent.


The Harlem Gospel Singers to perform in Prague

In Culture,Entertainment,Prague,Religion on November 25, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

Czech music enthusiasts will once again have the opportunity to see and listen to the Harlem Gospel Singers. They will perform at the Prague Congress Center on December 14. The interesting aspect of their performances in the Czech Republic is the fact that many audience members don’t even understand the lyrics and their real message, i.e. they fail to realize they are clapping to the rhythm of a church song. 

Crowd participation is a very important part of the live performance of the Harlem Gospel Singers. They sing hymns and Czechs crowds follow even though they have no idea about the meaning. Oh Happy Day is a good example. The most recognizable text is easy to comprehend and seems to have nothing to do with religion. But it is, after all, a part of a 1967 gospel music arrangement.

Sure, it is entertainment – but it is also a little disrespectful. The question is: to whom. Dancing and clapping and singing in churches is a key aspect of religion in Alabama and other Southern states, so when a religious Czech person does it at a HGS concert here, it is kind of like cheating on their religion…


Bus To Bohemia: witty observations by an Englishman in Prague

In Culture,Entertainment,Language,Life,Media,Prague,Travel on November 14, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

I am a fan of witty books written by foreigners about a country they visit, or about their new (temporary or permanent) homelands. I liked Stephen Clarke’s Merde books and I enjoyed For the Love of Prague by Gene Deitch.

Bus To Bohemia by Posh Parker is another one of these works of art that are, in my opinion, written mainly for the author’s fellow citizens who are less fortunate and have not had the chance to visit a foreign country and dive into its everyday life by attending local bars and communicating with local people, instead of just eating at KFC and shopping like ordinary tourists. Of course, just like most authors of all genres (be it comedy or university textbooks) there are a few very minor cases of jumping to conclusions — but hey, we ALL do it.

Books like this one may also be of interest to Czechs who want to know how the nation is perceived by foreigners and who do not take things personally. Many Czechs do take things personally and any comments and remarks regarding aspects of everyday life result in their unspoken remarks “Go back to (insert country here)”.

Of course, one has to have in mind that books written by the author’s foreign experience are often written from one specific perspective. Had the author arrived as a first-class British Airways passenger and stayed at the Radisson and dined in the Alcron’s La Rotonde, it would be a different — and boring! — perspective. 

The author’s website is here. You can also buy his book.


New regulation will ban street performances. Artists protest

In Brno,Culture,Entertainment,Music,Travel on June 4, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,


Hundreds of artists, performers and ordinary people are going to protest against a new regulation in the streets of Brno on Friday afternoon. The lawmakers meant well: they wanted to get drunk individuals who beg for “some change” out of downtown Brno. The regulation would apply to drinking in public in general, i.e. to foreign tourists who would enjoy a can of beer on a park bench (even though the Mayor of the borough argued that the purpose of the regulation is not to harass tourists, a cop having a bad day could fine them…).

The regulation equally applies to buskers – i.e. to people you can find in every major city in the world. You can’t even imagine some cities without them, e.g. Kenny G.-like saxophone players near Pont Neuf in Paris.

While some cities encourage street performances because they contribute to their atmosphere, any guitar case on a sidewalk with coins in it will mean trouble for the amateur musician who does not beg. He or she just lets people decide themselves. If you like it, your kind contribution will be appreciated…

It is a common thing in the Czech Republic that laws and regulations have unwanted side effects. When a new regulation was adopted according to which it was illegal to hold a cell phone while driving, I found out that the regulation would equally apply to drivers of siren-and-light emergency vehicles en route to accidents, crime scenes etc… The same seems to be the case here… the councillors wanted to eliminate begging for money and they ended up harassing street performances.

The Mayor of the City of Brno (not to be confused with the aforementioned Mayor of the borough) admitted that should the regulation cause trouble he is prepared to amend it… How typical…


Prima Cool: a place for unsuccessful sitcoms

In Culture,Entertainment,Media on May 25, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Not so long ago, during the pre-digital TV era, CEO’s of Czech commercial TV stations faced repeated requests from viewers to air, or re-run, numerous favourite TV shows. And the directors had to answer that their programs (i.e. the 24-day, for that matter) were not inflatable and that people had to wait for digital broadcasting that would bring new possibilities.

TV Prima’s “secondary” channel is Prima Cool. It is channel for sitcoms, reality TV, occasional magazines etc., for which there is no time and place within the main program.

And there is one very interesting thing about this channel. On one hand it airs hugely famous programs like The Simpsons, Frasier, or Top Gear. But on the other hand, it fills some slots with numerous sitcoms that used to be aired in the United States and were canceled after one season! These include The Class, Back To You or Son of the Beach.

It is more than obvious that these shows were cheap and their role is to kill time between, let’s say, Frasier and Mad About You. Ordinary Czech sitcom viewers are very loyal and whenever a TV station stops airing something that still has a few seasons to go, people are furious and start writing angry letters. That being said, it is a little irresponsible to let viewers used to their favorite characters and then just stop… Of course, the aforementioned ordinary viewers have no idea why that is… since they grew up (as TV audiences) watching endless Dallases and Dynasties, they would never even consider the possibility that a TV show can have only one season…


Ryanair passenger wins 10,000 euro, eats the winning scratch ticket

In Entertainment,Travel on February 27, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

Idiot of the month… too bad it did not happen on the Brno-London flight… (via press release)

Ryanair, the world’s favourite airline, today (26th Feb) confirmed that the winner of a €10,000 Ryanair scratch card, on Thursday’s FR1724 flight from Krakow to East Midlands, ate the €10,000 winning ticket after crew confirmed he had won the €10,000 prize.

When the delighted crew congratulated the winner and advised him how to claim his prize he apparently became upset that Ryanair’s cabin crew could not pay him the €10,000 there and then on the flight. When the crew explained to him that these very large €10,000 prizes needed to be verified with, and collected directly from, the scratch card company the prize winner became angry and decided to digest his win – literally!

Since this €10,000 prize will now go unclaimed Ryanair and Brand Force, the scratch card company, have decided to offer the cash to charity and have asked Ryanair passengers to vote on (until Fri 5th Mar) for which type of charity Ryanair should donate the €10,000 prize to, from the following list:

1.      An Anger Management Charity
2.      An Eating Disorder Charity
3.      A Gamblers Charity
4.      A Disruptive Children’s Charity
5.      A Mental Health Charity

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