Prague Dog Eat Blog

Jeff Stroud @ The Globe, PLR V. 2.0 launch @ Shakespeare & Sons

Feb 2, 13:02 (Filed under: Prague events, People )

Those looking for something a little different to do in Prague this Saturday (February 5) have got some cool events to choose from.

First, at The Globe (Pstrossova 6, Prague 1), Jeff Stroud will be performing a set consisting mainly of original songs, with a few covers thrown in. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some of his latest material during our rehearsals. He plays guitar and sings with a warm confidence that is instantly likeable with clever and concise lyrics, and catchy and cool melodies.

Over at Shakespeare & Sons (Krymska 12, Prague 10) King Vitamin will be playing at the launch of the new version of the Prague Literary Review (PLR). Hopefully editors Joshua Cohen, Travis Jeppesen, Robert Gal, and Howard Sidenberg will produce something far more accessible than the PLR was under Louis Armand’s editorial vision.

The problem I, and many others, found with PLR version 1.1 (the content of the first issue was more miss than hit) was its density. Bloated academic essays, pretentious fiction and gutless poetry all added up to a headache-inducing bag of words. It was bad enough on paper, try reading it on your monitor if you dare (you’ll need to download a .pdf to get the whole thing).

However, it must be said that Louis Armand is an extremely prolific and talented poet, writer and artist. You can check out samples of his work here.

To add a little bit of drama to the launch, a debate has sprung up at prague.tv over the ownership of the name “Prague Literary Review.”

As for me, I’ll be missing out on both events – going to learn snowboarding in the Krkonose Mountains.

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To Search the City for its Meaning

Jan 30, 11:34 (Filed under: Culture, People )

This is a poem by Chris Coleman. Prague provided the inspiration. This piece really moved me when Chris read it at Alchemy about a month ago. Enjoy.

Is it for pizza crusts to congregate in corners?
For graffiti to liven up panelaks?
For streets to guide a man from home to place of duty?
Do stores merely move money from the hands of many
to that of few?

Were cities not created to save our wild souls in the woods
from loneliness?
Then why do some straight streets define the very word lonely?
Enclosed by a matrix of cubes built to confine not refine

cities were meant to cradle the human spirit
Not desiccate it from our very cavity!
Indeed nature is the very definition of spontaneity
can it survive in the city’s rigid parameters?

Oh let it sprawl inward!
To a central point then
spiral inward.
Let it collide with quotas
and status
then rest

for once rest
relieved from the wounds of construction
to lie like a finished work of art.

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In defense of Alchemy: part II.

Jan 22, 09:14 (Filed under: People, Personal )

Just a quick note about yesterday’s back-and-forth between me and Richard Body. He really is a great guy. We patched things up in the span of about an hour and learned a few valuable lessons in life and blogging along the way.

Of course, I’m not surprised – any Taylor Mali fan has got to be a good soul.

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King Vitamin at Blind Eye

Jan 20, 12:33 (Filed under: Prague events, People )

This is shaping up to be a pretty action-packed weekend, kicking off tonight with the Fatty Lumpkin gig at Akropolis (Kubelikova 27, Prague 3). I’m off to Strelice for a couple of days, then will definitely be catching King Vitamin and guests at Blind Eye (Vlkova 26, Prague 3) on Sunday, January 23.

Jeremiah Palecek

King Vitamin, aka Jeremiah Palecek, is an American experimental sound artist. He’s also a talented visual artist. I’ve seen him perform a couple of times. The first time, at Alchemy, was incredible – although he had to shorten his set because of a dull art-rock cover band called the Histrionics, who weren’t scheduled to play but somehow got put on the bill. KV more than compensated for the lacklustre opening act with his eclectic and exciting variety of dark folk (think Radiohead meets Elliot Smith with a dash of Nirvana Unplugged), gangsta rap, and spoken word – a blend he has dubbed powercore noise-hop. The second time I saw him perform was at the Provokator Christmas party, where he and his partner in rhyme, Matthew, threw down some excellent a capella freestyle and beatbox jams.

Within a soundscape of acoustic guitar and/or beats and loops conjured up on Fruity Loops and played through his laptop, KV puts on a show that is raw, yet controlled, chaos. If you’re looking for something fresh, hot, and way off the beaten path, stop by Blind Eye this Sunday. Start: 8 pm, free entry.

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Song of Sweepings & A Hundred Times Nothing

Jan 12, 08:20 (Filed under: Culture, People )

After having read Jaroslav Seifert’s Song of the Sweepings several times in the last three days (over half of these aloud), I still can’t help being deeply affected. It is the most powerful End of Innocence piece I have ever read. It hits the reader with a brutal verbal body blow halfway through the poem, then finishes the reader off with a clean uppercut that is arguably more horrifying than Kurtz’s dying words in Heart of Darkness.

I was planning on copying it in here, but it is too long for a blog entry. I plan on reading it at Alchemy some day. Here is Seifert’s A Hundred Times Nothing instead:

Maybe once more I will be driven mad
by your smile
            and on my pillow gently as a feather
will settle girlfriend love and mother grief,
always the two together.

Maybe once more I will be driven mad
by the bugle’s tune
and my hair will smell of gunpowder
as I walk like one who’s dropped from the moon.

Maybe once more I will be driven mad
by a kiss:
           like a flame in a reluctant lantern I’ll begin
to tremble
as it touches my skin.

But that will only be the wind on my lips
and in vain will I try
to catch its incorporeal dress
as it flits by.

translated by Ewald Osers, taken from The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert, edited by George Gibian, Catbird Press, 1998

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drift

Dec 10, 10:00 (Filed under: Personal, People )

Last year I started performing my poetry with a very good friend of mine, a British guitarist named Chris Parsons. We called ourselves drift and took spoken word out of the cafes and bookstores to restaurants, pubs and bars. Highlights included opening for friends and local rockers Freak Parade at the Stromovka Music Garden, and for Stan the Man at Thirsty Dog (which is now a crap yuppie bar that’s best left unnamed here). Like most expat projects of an artistic nature, it sparked, blazed, and petered outâ?? for a while.

drift at Thirsty Dog
Not feeling very sorry at the Thirsty Dog
(with Jeni Swerdlow on percussion)

After a long break, during which Chris and I did our own separate projects, we decided to start drift up again. If you happen to be in Prague on December 20, we’ll be doing an extended open mic set at the next Alchemy (Tulip Cafe, Opatovicka 3, start: 8 p.m.), and I’m sure we’ll be delivering our groove-enhanced spoken word around town in the coming months.

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