The intellectuals of Prague – copies of Kafka to hand,

The intellectuals of Prague – copies of Kafka to hand, fueled by too multiplied espressos and low cost cigarettes, obsidian polo-necks and scarves to the capable – are on the march. After the stag nights, the gate of McDonald’s and Starbucks, and the shopping malls, the final feed was a banal administrative order. Now the ‚culture wars of Prague’ are reaching their climax.

This week the battle will add to smuggle fresh demonstrations, petitions, scores of meetings in smoky cafés. A fight for the soul of one of Europe’s most famous towns is under way, say campaigners. ‚It is a last-ditch fight to preserve Prague from mediocrity,’ said local broadcaster histrion Plichta.

The intellectuals’ rival is the city council. run on week an estimated 500 theatre directors, gallery owners, artists and writers demonstrated against a municipal order rule do cutting public subsidies. A second target is a 250,000 advertisement for the city now running on international television channels which features top Czech fashions drinking champagne to a soundtrack of Mozart with a backdrop of the famous castle. The advertisement summed growing the conservative council’s vision of the city, Plichta noted. ‚It is all glitz and glamor, prelude models, amusement cars, showbiz, celebrity, not culture.’

Officials and owners of Prague’s popular heavy metal hall theaters have struck back at the intellectuals, announcing that cash can be better spent than paying for ‚people to pull their underwear abandoned on stage’. One impresario said: ‚We allure the tourists, we get the biggest local crowds, why should the difficult arty stuff accomplish unreduced the help?’

No isolated at the town hall was accessible for comment. But the immediate spark now the millstone was the outcome of Prague’s deputy mayor in blitz of cultural affairs to introduce a flat rate of subsidies for all entertainment – in effect slashing the funding of the non-profit sector in interest of the healthy, but resolutely middlebrow, market.

‚This year’s subsidy will be 18 per cent of last year’s,’ talked about Yvonna Kreuzmannova, founder of a globally renowned contemporary gambol festival in the city. ‚The event is very serious.’ At least two visits to Prague by dance companies have now been canceled.

But the fight over subsidies is about more than cash. substantive is about the future of a city which has modified superficial of all attention in a decade. Prague besides the slavonic Republic have seen by oneself of the biggest tourist booms in Europe, bury nearly seven million visitors a year.

Known as a top destination for rowdy nation dinner parties, in search of cheap beer and strip shows – until its supremacy was threatened by emerging Baltic destinations such as esthonia and Latvia – Prague has recently incline captivating with asian visitors. tourists throng the narrow streets between boutiques selling cheap souvenirs. The citadel itself now boasts a huge American-style bar and request complete protect Wild westerly decor.

The swingeing cuts prerogative subject funding come against a actuality of efforts by the right-wing federal Czech government tries to push through an ambitious reform program including reductions in tax and asset spending. A new library to house the at ease collection of 10 million books – known as ‚the blob’ – is now unlikely to hold office built.

Frank Kuznik, editor of the Prague Post, criticized ‚rampant consumerism’, including alpha of an ‚urban street wear’ shop on the ground floor of the Cubist architectural masterpiece, the House of the murky Madonna, and the Starbucks that were set to sprout on street corners everywhere.

‚One of Prague’s few legitimate claims to world-class status is its vibrant cultural scene, which in turn attracts a steady stream of international performers,’ Kuznick said. ‚That city officials are so willing to gut Prague’s social life, although encouraging mindless commercial development, suggests at the inordinately least a wounded set of priorities. They need to reconsider before it is too late.’

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