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Mutual Inspirations Festival 2019

The Embassy of the Czech Republic announces the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2019-Marta Kubišová, celebrating freedom through the arts, with over 20 events in the Washington, DC, community from September 12 – November 19, 2019.

2019 Mutual Inspirations Festival Banner


“Now in its landmark tenth year, the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2019 highlights the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which restored freedom and democracy to the nation, as well as features Czech singer Marta Kubišová who helped lead the way through her artistry,” said Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček.

The festival pays tribute to Kubišová’s life through the many roles she played: singer, dissident, mother, human and animal rights protector, and leader. Her song "A Prayer for Martha," became a symbol of national resistance against the occupation of Warsaw Pact troops in 1968 and later served as the ballad for the Velvet Revolution in 1989 that ultimately overthrew the communist regime. She was one of the most popular female singers in the 1960s, winning the Golden Nightingale Award three times and recording over 200 SP records. In 1970, the communist regime banned her from performing in the country. She was a signatory and spokesperson of the human rights manifesto Charter 77 and later helped lead the 1989 Velvet Revolution with her signature ballad.          

The main festival highlight is the conference Velvet Revolution @ 30: A Legacy to Uphold with keynote speaker former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, reflecting on the Velvet Revolution and how it continues to serve as an example with a distinguished gallery of panelists who led the way.                  

Theatrical highlights of the festival include the performances of former Czech President Václav Havel’s plays Audience performed by the Kašpar Theatre Company at Georgetown University and Protest performed by Alliance for New Music Theatre at the Dupont Underground, concluding with a Velvet Party in mid-November. On the music front, the admission-free, two-night EUROBEATS brings cutting-edge electronic music talent from ten countries to Union Stage. The Czech Embassy will showcase the rock band Garage & Tony Ducháček, a force on the underground music scene. In regards to films, the Embassy will host a preview of Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me? with documentary director Petr Jančárek. Most of the festival events are free and open to the public.

The Mutual Inspirations Festival (MIF) is an annual initiative organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic, concentrating on the mutual influence between Czech and American cultures and the feats of personalities who have led the way. For more information about the festival, please visit www.mutualinspirations.org.

This September through November, delve into the folds of freedom at the annual Mutual Inspirations Festival this fall!


  • On November 12, at 9 am, Georgetown University, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, will hold the conference Velvet Revolution @ 30: A Legacy to Uphold with keynote speaker former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at Georgetown University. Ambassador of the Czech Republic Hynek Kmoníček and Ambassador of the Slovak Republic Ivan Korčok will open the discussions, marking the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which brought freedom and democracy back to Czechoslovakia in 1989. Limited tickets will be available to the public. For additional information, please visit www.mutualinspirations.org.                                 


  • On September 12, at 6 pm, the Czech Embassy launches the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2019 – Marta Kubišová with the opening of the exhibit The Velvet Effect. The exhibit, created by students from the University of West Bohemia, illustrates the Velvet Revolution and dissident leaders such as Václav Havel and Marta Kubišová. To complete the program, Czech mezzo-soprano Pavlína Horáková and pianist Camilla Mráz will perform Marta Kubišová’s most renowned songs. Free | RSVP required:

HAPPY HOUR          

  • On September 14, from 4-6 pm, the Czech Embassy and City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties will partner to hold a Happy Hour: Barks & Beer with the opportunity to adopt local dogs and cats at the Czech Embassy. Free | RSVP required: https://barksandbeer.eventbrite.com


  • On September 27-28 (from 6 pm to 1:35 am, each day), the EUROBEATS Festival will feature 10 European electronic musicians from 10 countries at Union Stage. The festival highlights top European artists at the forefront of the electronic music scene. The two-night, admission-free event brings together an eclectic group of talent, such as: double platinum recording artist DJ SPILLER (Italy); 18-year-old newcomer ZAGAMI JERICHO (Czech Republic); Afro-Portuguese electronic producer and DJ NÍDIA (Portugal), among other talented acts. Free | RSVP required: www.unionstage.com.                 
  • On October 8, at 7 pm, the legendary Czech rock band Garage & Tony Ducháček will perform at the Czech Embassy. In the 1980s under communism in then Czechoslovakia, the band was a popular underground group, a symbol of total artistic and uncompromising freedom. Jam with Garage & Tony Ducháček to the sounds of rock that inspired generations to rise up against totalitarianism thirty years ago. Free | RSVP required: https://garagetonyduchacek.eventbrite.com                


  • On October 2, at 7 pm (post-show talkback), the Davis Performing Arts Center will host Kašpar Theatre Company’s performance of Audience written by Václav Havel, featuring director/actor Jakub Špalek and Jan Potměšil, who was a student activist in Prague in 1989. Taking place in the brewery’s office, Audience is a meeting between the brewery’s manager Sládek and employee Vaněk. While the manager is clearly opening too many beers and inducing binge drinking, it is less clear what he wants from Vaněk. Free | Tickets required: https://playaudience.eventbrite.com.                                   
  • On October 30, at 6 pm, the renowned puppet theatre company LokVar will perform Daddy is Hero at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. This is a humorous, immersive story about a family: love between parents and a brother and sister who stick together even though they fight. Love helps them to overcome dragons, illnesses, and more. The one-hour show is performed live to music in English. Free | Reservations are not required.                  
  • On November 5, at 8 pm (post-show talkback), Alliance for New Music-Theatre will open the doubled bill of Václav Havel's seminal play Protest and Susan Galbraith's Vaněk Unleashed (with music composed by Maurice Saylor) at the Dupont Underground. In Protest, Vaněk pays a visit to the lavish home of former colleague Staněk, who has invited the renowned activist to help him secure the release of a jailed radical musician, fiancé to his daughter. Vaněk Unleashed is a uniquely American response to the same, most beloved central character of Vaněk. Tickets will be available at: https://www.newmusictheatre.org/the-havel-project.               


  • On October 5, from 11 am – 2:30 pm, creator and director of The Jüdische Kulturbund Project Gail Prensky and associate producer Mark Haney will lead the workshop Exploring Issues of Oppression through Music, Art, and Literature at the Czech Embassy. This day marks the anniversary of the birth of former Czech President Václav Havel, who through his leadership, helped to peacefully overthrow the communist regime. Free | RSVP required: https://exploringoppression.eventbrite.com.          

BOOK TALK       

  • On September 19, at 6 pm, the Czech Embassy presents the US launch of the illustrated book ABCZ or All You Need to Know about Czechia and the Czechs with author Denisa Šedivá. The book, meant for all ages, explores modern Czech cultural identity, using each letter of the alphabet to represent keywords in topics such as history, technology, gastronomy, geography, art, and design. Free | RSVP required: https://abcz.eventbrite.com.
  • On October 3, at 6 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm), Josef Pazderka will present the book The Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, The Russian Perspective, at the Delegation of the European Union. The edited collection is the first attempt to take a more coherent look at the Russian perception of the Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Free | RSVP required: https://sovietinvasion1968.eventbrite.com.                          


  • On September 17, at 7 pm, Bistro Bohem will screen director Jiří Menzel's Larks on a String (Skřivánci na niti). In the film, a group of middle class citizens are sent to work at an industrial junkyard in order to be “rehabilitated.” The film was initially banned and released in 1990 after the fall of the communist regime. Free | RSVP required: bistrobohem@gmail.com. (Jiří Menzel, 1969, 100 min., Czech with English subtitles)        
  • On September 24, at 6 pm, the Czech Embassy will screen the documentary Magic Voice of a Rebel (Magický hlas rebelky). The film chronicles the life of Marta Kubišová, a talented singer and three-time winner of the Golden Nightingale music award. Her signature ballad united the people during the Velvet Revolution. Free | RSVP required: https://magicvoiceofarebel.eventbrite.com. (Dir. Olga Sommerová, 2014, 85 min., Czech with English subtitles)             
  • On October 9, at 8 pm, the Avalon Theatre will screen the film Talks with T. G. Masaryk (Hovory s TGM). The film follows two leading men of the 20th century - Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and visionary writer Karel Čapek. It reconstructs a single conversation between the "father of the nation" and the author. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at www.theavalon.org. (Dir. Jakub Červenka, 2018, 80 min., Czech with English subtitles)         
  • On October 17, at 6 pm, the Czech Embassy will screen the documentary King Skate, which garnered the Czech Lion Award for Best Documentary of 2018. Under communist Czechoslovakia, skateboarding was seen as a “capitalist sport.”  For the few who dared to ride, it was a revolutionary form of the search for freedom, protest, and a way to connect with the Western world. Free | RSVP required: https://kingskate.eventbrite.com. (Dir. Šimon Šafránek, 2018, 80 min., Czech with English subtitles) 
  • On November 3, at 10 am, the film Fairy Tales for Emma (Pohádky pro Emu) will screen at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens. One month before Christmas, a call changes one man’s life forever. He has been identified as the father of an eight-year-old child named Emma. He can’t believe it, but what if Emma really is his daughter? In Prague, he meets Marie, who offers her help during a critical time. Will this be a “fairy tale” ending after all? Free | Tickets required: https://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/events/kids-euro-festival-fairy-tales-emma (Dir. Rudolf Havlík, 2016, 112 min., Czech with English subtitles)      
  • On November 6, at 6 pm, director Petr Jančárek will present a preview of his new documentary Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me? at the Czech Embassy,  followed by a panel discussion with distinguished guests. The film captures the public and private moments of the last three years of former Czech President Václav Havel’s life. Free | RSVP required: https://havelspeaking.eventbrite.com. (Dir. Petr Jančárek, 2019, Czech with English subtitles)             
  • On November 17, at 4 pm, the National Gallery of Art will screen two films: The Uninvited Guest and Case for a New Hangman, as part of the series Welcome to Absurdistan. Produced at the Czech national film school FAMU, just months after the Warsaw Pact invasion crushed the Prague Spring, the dark-humored The Uninvited Guest portrays a couple in an apartment block who face a gruff intruder. (Dir. Vlastimil Venclík, 1969, 22 minutes) Case for a New Hangman is unique among the works of the Czech New Wave. Pavel Juráček adapted part three of Gulliver’s Travels into a sci-fi journey through socialist Czechoslovakia. Free | Reservations are not required. (Dir. Pavel Juráček, 1969, subtitles, 102 minutes)
  • On November 19, at 7 pm, Bistro Bohem will screen the film Listopad: A Memory of the Velvet Revolution. Listopad is the story of the spirited friendship between three teenaged boys swept up in the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and bound together by their desire for freedom. Based upon true stories from the Velvet Revolution, Listopad is a timeless story of political and artistic courage. Free | RSVP required: bistrobohem@gmail.com. (Dir. Gary Griffin, 2014, 90 minutes, in Czech with English subtitles)