Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Václav Špála, Iva Bittová, and More Cafes

Even though my general impression is that Jesse and I spent most of the weekend eating and drinking (whether oatmeal, Czech dishes, Italian food, or still more coffee drinks and their accompaniments), it occurs to me that we did also get to the Václav Špála exhibition at the Moravské galerie v Brně and an Iva Bittová concert.

The Špála show closes November 27, but is described here with no pictures: http://www.moravska-galerie.cz/
The concert was excellent, although we weren’t given programs (apparently there were none in existence). At intermission, I got to meet Jesse’s Czech tutor, who told me that she had adopted him (something I had already concluded). During and after the concert, we had the opportunity to contemplate the interesting variety of concert-going attire chosen by the audience members (one always hears that Czechs believe more strongly in dressing up for concerts and theater than Americans, but I am skeptical). I would say that most audience members had made some effort to dress up, but in many cases this was not really a success from an aesthetic perspective. Jesse argues that this problem could be solved if everyone simply wore a dark color, as in an orchestra, but I cannot agree with this. Many people (especially those who perceive the world in a primarily auditory manner) simply have no visual sense and will proceed to wear some sort of dreadful fabric cut in a manner that does not suit their body type. Many other people do have a well-developed visual sense but take pride in choosing the ugliest thing possible as an anti-aesthetic statement or an expression of their sense of humor. In the Czech Republic as in the US, one is more likely to see an attractively dressed audience at the theater than at a concert, just as the opera brings in a more expensively outfitted crowd overall.
Anyway, as Iva Bittová is internationally known, you can actually read about her in English at these and other web sites:
The Ectophiles’ Guide
Also, Jesse has now added a more in-depth discussion of the concert.
There are a fair number of cafes in Brno, so in between our cultural investigations (well, we did also mean to go to IKEA to look for bookcases but didn’t quite manage to drag ourselves there; the same could pretty much be said for the grocery store except that there are no bookcases there) we have sampled the cafe scene. One of these had very impressive looking ice creams, only I thought it was too wintry to indulge in those. We also went to an attractive little spot that seems to regard latte as a warm milk beverage with a soupcon of coffee flavoring (perhaps Videnská kava would have been the safer choice).
We were very satisfied with the Zemanová kávarna, which is a reconstruction of a functionalist cafe (designed by Bohuslav Fuchs in 1925) that was destroyed in 1964 when the opera house was built.

The weather in Brno proved to be colder than that in Prague; it snowed on Sunday night, prompting us to go up to the attic first thing in the morning and take photos from there. I also got some nice pictures of the snow from the kitchen window. There was a very attractive dusting of snow along the way between about Brno and Kutná Hora or thereabouts, but none to be seen in the vicinity of Prague.

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Anonymous Jesse said...

I heard from my tutor today that there were a lot of other people at the concert who lamented the lack of a program. I've since figured out what almost all the pieces and will reveal this information at some point in a blog entry (I hope tonight). I'm quite sure they were all Bittová's compositions as she's been garnering a name as a composer/performer recently.

November 22, 2005 8:20 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Věra was wondering what was performed. I said that I thought they were mostly by Janáček but failed to mention the source of my information. She was interested to hear about the pumpkin pie and wants to sample the next one we make.

November 22, 2005 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

And what about the "spaghetti" sundae at that coffee house?! :)

November 22, 2005 11:55 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

That's best left out of the reckoning. It was the actual ice cream that looked so appealing, not the printed suggestions of what could be done with it. You will not find me putting any ice cream on my spaghetti. (Or vice versa.) Although, remind me to tell you about the Weird Food party that Mary Roach and I held once upon a time.

November 23, 2005 10:17 AM  

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