Again as an overview, I decided to add some of my travel to this blog.  This is the final section of my Prague trip in 2005.

In 2005 I was in “gradual school,” finishing an MFA in theatre design at The Ohio State University.  I took a course on Czech Theatre Design and ended up heading out the door to Prague – not for a bead shipping trip as many of my beady friends have done, but on a tour of some of the arts/theatre and cultural aspects of the city.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Part of the requirements of the trip were to keep a journal.  This is the last part of that trip.

Italics are items I added when I uploaded this to the blog.  
Small text is stuff I just ripped off of my guide books.
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2005 – Friday, December 16th, Evening

*     Ministry of Culture
Ondrej Ĉerny, director of DU (at this point I have no idea what that stands for), meets with us at a local coffee shop.  I’m going to miss the coffee here – its wonderful.  What I didn’t know was that the Metaphor & Irony book that Joe has written is as much a political affair as a cultural one.  I’m glad I went along.
After a quick meeting, we head back to the Nostic Palace. Mr. Ĉerny and others give a presentation, in Powerpoint, about Theatre in Czech Republic, and about the theatre institute:
 
Interesting, and a great web site, but perhaps should have been briefed beforehand on some of the levels we were at already with Czech Theatre knowledge…  
After a wait, we are given a very short tour of the Nostic Palace, where the Ministry of Culture meets. I head home to grab a shower and decide to miss the scheduled afternoon tour of the Theatre Institute because Dan and I want to see the Decorative Arts Museum.  The weather is turning really bad as we head over the museum; my umbrella turns inside out. 
*     Decorative Arts Museum
Dasha has already told us that if we hop into the restrooms we can get a wonderful view of the Jewish Cemetery.   I have, of course, forgotten my camera, but she’s right; the view is wonderful.  I’m really turned around by this city – if you’d asked me, I would have thought that the Jewish quarter was a completely different direction.  The museum is smaller than I expect from the outside –a whole floor and a number of wings seem to be closed off.  I wonder if they are setting up new shows, or generally you can only see a small portion.   There’s a clock exhibit, which is extra admission, but totally worth it.  I’m especially interested in the furniture and the jewelry.  
*     Laterna Magica – “The Wonderful Circus”
Laterna Magika began in 1958, created by the director Alfred Radok and stage-designer Josef Svoboda for the world exhibition EXPO 58 in Brussels, Belgium. In the 1970s, it became part of the National Theatre in Prague, with artistic director Josef Svoboda.  This special medium does not use the words, only the combination of film projection and life stage media’s – dance, sound, lights, pantomime, black-theatre.

Wow.  My first reaction to the actual production was that I hated this.  Everything listed above was an interesting set of multimedia. The combined effort of interaction between dance, movement, blacklight theatre, live theatre and filmed pieces is a wonderful idea and well executed.  While it looks like it might be meaningful and new in a piece like Odysseus, is nothing more than a crass piece here about entrapment and slavery, and two clowns trying to get it on with a mostly naked woman.  Photo is from the internet.  Here’s more information about the theatre (not the show, though) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laterna_Magika.  The photo at the top of the page is the theatre from outside – I took it off the wikipedia article.

  Its snowing out when the show is up.  Huge, perfectly white flakes everywhere.  Its beautiful.  I’m in bed pretty soon afterwards. 

Saturday, December 17th
I wake up to a city covered in snow.  Its just perfect. 
*      Vystaviŝte
We meet for a bus Trip to Holesovice, a small suburb of Prague.  The first stop is the Vystaviŝte, a large convention and fair center, where PQ07 will be held.  They are having a Christmas Market there, divided into three sections.  The central section, where the “Tower of Bable” will be build for PQ07, has a fantastic ceiling, and ironwork that might be able to hold pieces of sceneography. The right section has handmade art objects, and I enjoy it.   

I buy some little trinkets, including a snail that looks an awful lot like he ought to be a muppet.  I’m going to try making a glass bead that looks like him sometime over the holiday.  I can’t believe his eye stalks actually make it home in one piece.   

Added December 2012:  I actually made him into a glass bead/pendant, but not until June 2012.  And after I made one, I just couldn’t stop and soon I had a whole village of little snails and they just keep getting cuter.  They are too much fun to make.  Pictured below.  If you’re dying to buy one, they might well be for sale on my Etsy here.  And there you go – I’ve just gone into bead-land again.

 

*      National Gallery in Holesovice: Veletrežni
There’s a fantastic exhibit here of scenographers’ works. I wonder if we can’t get photos of some of the models for the book, since it’s a political maneuver to get the thing published anyhow.  There is a photo of Troester’s Government Inspector that would make a great endcap for the rendering.  In addition, I enjoy the Czech surrealism.  The post-1960s stuff loses me in most museums, and does again here…  It looks like there’s a great impressionism exhibit here, but by the time I get to it, I’m done – too much to learn.  I want to touch the Trnka stop motion animation sculptures ….
I head back to the hotel for a nap – lunch was heavy and late in the afternoon and I know that there’s a big dinner coming up.
*     Farewell Dinner at the Blue Duck

I’m expecting this to be a sad occasion, but its not – its wonderful food, and I’m sitting next to King Joe, and across from Mary T, who is heading out to Paris (I’m jealous) and is funny.  I haven’t had much of a chance to talk with her all trip.  The food is the best yet. 

§         Menu: 
¨       Red Wine – Joe bought it.  I repay him in Euros, which I’m sure isn’t completely helpful, and still owe him a bit more for it.
¨       Venison Pate with Wild Berry Sauce
¨       Wild-Game Bouillon with chanterelles & Veggies
¨       Roast Boar in Rose Hip Sauce, Dumplings with bacon
¨       Raised Pancakes with Blueberries
Sunday, December 18th
*      The Trip Home
My theory is that I’ll stay awake this trip, watch Skeleton Key and Polar Express, read the rest of THE INFERNO, which I brought (light reading), and then should be able to work out the whole jetlag thing in the USA. 
Souveniers I wish I’d bought:

§         A few more garnets and moldavite pieces for gifts – they are ridiculously inexpensive in Krumlov.

§         Another bottle of Beckerovka, for my dad.

§         A silly marionette from one the shops we visited 12/10…  I found a photo of the artist’s work online (right), but not the actual one I wanted, which was less creepy and more charming. 
§         Something silly, like clogsat the Amsterdam airport. 
Damn it!  My digital camera just went haywire and started deleting photos!  I’d lost 20 of the 34 by the time I managed to remove the memory card.  With the loss of the film from Krumlov, that means I may have lost a full day’s worth of photos…  And now I remember that I’ve checked the rest of my film in with the luggage!  I think I’ll try to get the photos developed myself of the camera that Mary gave to us – and get two sets of prints made. I took doubles on my own camera and on that camera at the National Cemetery, so at least I’ll get some photos back.
I never did buy any beads… Or roasted chestnuts.  Guess I’ll have to go back.
Thursday, December 22nd
Amount of $$ in my “TRAVEL” bank account the Thursday after I return = $85.00
Amount of developed photo rolls available at the store at 1pm = 0
Amount of developed photo rolls available at the store at 3pm = 0
Amount of developed photo rolls available at the store at 4pm = 0
Amount of developed photo rolls available at the store at 5pm = 6
Amount of ruined rolls = 1
Amount of photos my crazy digicam deleted = 20
So… things I forgot: 
            To try grog.
            To stay in Prague
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