April 3, 2014

7 April: Tom Draper

Tom Draper has been writing poetry since the age of five. He has won poetry prizes both in the United Kingdom and abroad. He is considered to be influenced by the Prague School of poetry. His hallmark is the postmodern use of established quotes and styles, in original work. He currently divides his time between London and Prague.

Praise for 'Traveller in an Asphalt Land': 'Sometimes shocking, often beautiful and always thought-provoking, this cornucopia of poetry has an honesty and freshness that is both exhilarating and unnerving in its audacity'.

 Tom will be performing at 7.30pm - see you there!

February 28, 2014

Jan Kotouč

An award-winning Czech writer, Jan published six sci-fi novels in Czech and has contributed to numerous anthologies. In 2011, Jan’s novel Tristanská občanská válka (Tristan Civil War) won the Aeronatilus Award for novel of the year. In 2012, he was awarded the Encouragement Award from the European Sci-Fi and Fantasy Association.

Recently Jan has stepped into the English market with his novella-in-translation Command Decision, available on Amazon. His first novel is currently being translated.

His author website (in Czech) is available at www.jan-kotouc.cz

Come to Napa Bar on Monday, March 3,  2014 at 7:30 pm

February 3, 2014

Shaan Joshi

This month, we were delighted to welcome Shaan Joshi, a resident of Prague and editor-in-chief of The Prague Revue. A graduate of Indiana University, Shaan formerly served as education coordinator for Ecole Shalom school in Haiti before coming to the Czech Republic. In 2012 he helped to re-launch The Prague Revue, a literary journal originally founded in 1995 but dormant since 2008. The huge success of the online version of the Revue, with its associated stream of bold, contentious and often provocative writing, led to a decision to return to print in 2014.  Shaan read from his own work in progress as well as two pieces previously printed in the TPR stream.

January 6, 2014

Ken Nash

To kick off 2014, Alchemy was delighted to feature Founding Father Ken Nash as our first performer. Ken played selected tracks from his new album, released November 2013, Human Creatures.

Following the sell-out success of his earlier disc, Magic Squirrels, Human Creatures showcases Ken's inimitable 'anti-folk' style. 'If squirrels is Nash's Sergeant Pepper,' one critic has written, 'then Creatures is his Abbey Road.'

A sample playlist of this album is available here

December 2, 2013

Buenos Aires, Final Destination!

This month's Alchemy featured extracts from a fantastic new production called "Buenos Aires, Final Destination!", currently playing to packed houses in Vinohrady. The play captures the life stories of people who emigrated to Argentina during the years 1900 - 1946. Using short stories, it attempts to show what was felt and experienced by Europeans in the 1st half of the 20th century.

What compelled them to emigrate? Was it the economic situation during crises and world wars, overthrowing of political regimes, persecution, lost love or only their desire for change and better life in their dream country?

These stories are about a strong and courageous group of people who were able to change their lives overnight, leave everything and undergo a long journey on a ship with an uncertain end. These people gave foundations to what is called today the Argentine tango.

The actors playing in this drama are advanced dancers and teachers of Prague's Buenos Aires Tango school.

See more about the play at http://divadlo.buenosairestango.cz/cs/node/712

The Facebook event page for this Alchemy special is https://www.facebook.com/events/494890477293073/ Please give us likes and share with friends :-)

November 4, 2013

Alexander Jorgensen

Alexander Jorgensen is a writer, visual artist, instructor, and adventurer. His writing and visual poems have appeared in such publications as Diagram, e-ratio, Big Bridge, VLAK, Drunken Boat, Noon: Journal of the Short Poem, Shampoo, Otoliths, and others.

Additionally, selections of his work appear in The Return of Kral Majales: Prague's International Literary Renaissance 1990-2010 and The Last Vispo Anthology: 1998-2008. "Letters to a Younger Poet," correspondences with the late Robert Creeley, appears in Jacket #31. He is currently completing a text-based installation for the 2014 Text Festival in Bury, UK.

October 7, 2013

Vinnie James

Vinnie James is hailed by music critics as one of today's most insightful singer-songwriters, having already received widespread critical acclaim for his groundbreaking soul-folk debut, "All American Boy (RCA/BMG),” as well as slots on major world tours, with artists such as Sade, Tina Turner, STYX, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, and many others.

A soloist in his father’s Baptist church choir at the age of 8, and nurtured on songs such as: “Oh Happy Day,” “Jesus, Lover Of My Soul,” and “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord,” Vinnie (the "son of a preacher man") developed an earthy, raw, dusky vocal style, and a vocal delivery that is often reminiscent of his father's raw pulpit preaching style.

Mike Bohem, music journalist for the L.A. Times, describes Vinnie James’ voice as: "a husky, soul-tinged voice..." that, "...bristles with vigor, alarm and a prophet's conviction..." And in another L.A. Times article, Bohem describes Vinnie James as being: "Full of fire and in your face passion."

Described as "a master wordsmith," by Maxine Jewett, President of the Southwest Acoustic Music Association, Vinnie James pens songs that take you from deeply moving, folk ballads, to powerfully raw, full-blown foot stompers, cradled in the soulful groove of drums, bass, church organs, and gospel choir backing vocals, all laced with Vinnie's soulful vocals and his signature "acoustic jackhammer" style of guitar playing.

September 2, 2013

Michael Rowland and Povetron

Michael Rowland was born in Vancouver and raised in the North of England. At the age of 19, he returned to his Canadian roots, seeking and finding inspiration in native American art forms and the vast Canadian landscapes. Through literature and painting, he attempts to deconstruct the damaging and manipulative elements of a world hell-bent on producing human beings who resemble nothing more than drones.

Michael is an artist, playwright, musician and novelist. He has written three novels, two musical plays and performs regularly in a three piece band called The Bill Murrays. He has had numerous exhibitions of his paintings around The Czech Republic and Ireland.
His Dadaist novel Elpsis Boo is an adult's attempt to emulate god/nature's 'joined up' writing; an attempt to return to the here and now and to his own playful, unquestioning, time traveling self.

Povetron (Czech for "shooting star") is a Prague-based indie rock band whose roots go back all the way to 2002 when it started as a semi-acoustic songwriter's duo. After multiple line-up changes and other twists and turns, the band now has the classic three-piece lineup with Lukas Holoubek on the bass, Jan Martinek on the drums and Jakub Mihalik on the guitar and vocals. The sound is occasionally enriched by guest-appearances of Alžbeta Tesitelova on the cello.

Povetron self-released its debut album "Apples & Oranges" in 2010 which was followed by the "Stories" EP two years later. Povetron puts a lot of emphasis on melodies and lyrics and cites The Byrds, Big Star, Talking Heads, Devo, The Replacements and Dinosaur jr as its influences.

Band site: http://bandzone.cz/povetron

Povetron photo: (c) Marek Holoubek

May 6, 2013

Julian Stannard

Julian Stannard has a Ph.D from the University of East Anglia and before coming to the University of Winchester, where he teaches English and Creative Writing, he taught Literary Studies for an Associate College of UEA and English and American literature at the University of Genoa. Julian’s publications include Fleur Adcock in Context: From Movement to Martians (Edwin Mellen, 1997) and The Poetic Achievements of Donald Davie and Charles Tomlinson: Expanding Vision, Voice and Rhythm in Late Twentieth-Century English Poetry (Edwin Mellen, 2010).

A study of the Northumbrian poet Basil Bunting will be published by Northcote publishers/British Council for their Writers and Their Work Series in 2012. He is presently co-editing The , Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann (CB Editions), which will be published in 2013. He is the author of three volumes of poetry: Rina’s War (Peterloo Poets, 2001), The Red Zone (Peterloo Poets, 2007) and The Parrots of Villa Gruber Discover Lapis Lazuli (Salmon Poetry 2011).

His work was represented in the Faber introductory anthology First Pressings (1998) and the Oxford Poets/Carcanet Anthology (2004) and he writes for the Guardian, Poetry London, PN Review and Nuova Corrente (Italy). He has read at festivals and literary venues throughout Europe and the United States and he was awarded the Troubadour Poetry prize in 2010. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

April 1, 2013

Thor Garcia

Thor Garcia was born in Long Beach, California, and has as lived in Prague since the mid-1990s. His story collection *TUND* was published in 2011 by Litteraria Pragensia. In 2012, his novel The News Clown was published by Equus Press. His new collection, Only Fools Die of Heartbreak, is being published in spring, 2013, by Equus Press. Garcia writes the DEATH SEX WAR GOD blog on goodreads.com.

What They're Saying About Thor Garcia:

"Thor Garcia . . . brings to mind the best bits of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces; the novels and short stories of Charles Bukowski; Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho and the gonzo journalism of Hunter S. Thompson, all made to feel at home within the unique, effortless likeability of Garcia’s own literary persona. . . . Highly recommended."

- B O D Y International Literary Review

“[Garcia's] panoramas may mesh together, the paranoias and detachments of the various characters may echo each other, but the overall result is a seductive, disturbing vision of life and one way of relating to it, as spectator to spectacle, as victim to one’s own agency, actions and inactions.”

- DecomP Magazine

“Presents fascinating ideas about society and the media.”  

- PANK Magazine

“Thor sets out to drink himself to death, a true booze-head living in a worm-infested apartment in the heart of a ghetto, alienating most of the women he encounters if given enough time, spurning the rest, often beaten up and otherwise brutalized while somehow carrying more than his load. . . . Sicker than what Celine presents, for certain, but then the world is sicker now than in Celine’s day by any rational measure.

- nthposition.com

“It's hard to imagine writing that is more energetic.”

- The Prague Post