Ursula Martinez' stories and emails

It’s been a while since we have really taken advantage of living in this cultural hub but now we are getting into a stream of events again and hopefully I’ll get around to blog about them.

This weekend started off with a visit to a black box. Not just any box however it was Miroslaw Balka’s Box of Darkness at Tate Modern. A huge steel box that as you entered it completely covered you in darkness. It is 30 meters deep and as you walk in you can’t see anything – until you hit the back wall. A quite eerie sensation produced by simple means.

Last night we went to a sold out Pit at the Barbican to see Ursula Martinez. If that name doesn’t ring a bell you might remember the video of her doing a magic striptease trick that made it’s rounds on the interweb around 2006. She never intended for her act to be film but it did and eventually ended up online which caused a torrent of attention and fan mail.

Ursula Martinez : My Stories, Your Emails

Now she has turned this unsought celebrity status into a new show called My Stories, Your Emails which we saw last night and it was hilarious. First part was her telling embarrassing and funny stories from her life unrelated to the video. Then she showed the infamous clip and second part was her reading emails she received as response to the video. She did this while showing pictures sent along by the emailers and she impersonated the different accents of the people who have written her. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and so did Ann and who knows when I can watch striptease with her again without complaints 😉

We didn’t really know anything about the show before we went but it has been interesting to read up on the reviews and criticism of the ethics – or lack thereof of the show.

Zizkov celebrations

We live 100 meters from the city hall in Zizkov (Prague 3) and Tuesday was Masopust in Czech which means goodbye meat – they last day before lent.

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In Zizkov this is celebrated with people dressing up and walking in parade from Jiho z Podebrad to Zizkov city hall where the city provides free food and beer. So we had to check it out.

As in other Christian celebrations, Masopust has elements of much older traditions involving fertility rites and celebrating the coming of spring. In Masopust these elements take form in the masks and costumes traditionally worn by revelers, representing various mythical characters and creatures. Like the guys in this video with wipes and strange face paint and costumes:

Later on the parade made it down to the town hall and the party got an extra lift from the free beers and food that plenty of teenagers and hobos also seemed to enjoy. Here is a cheeky Czech guy who offers Femi a drink of vodka and then later asks him for money:

Because of the cold weather (sigh!) we only stayed for one beer and by then we had seen a lot of the gimmicks. A funny thing was the odd mix of people with old women, students, young school children, expats and tourists – everyone with a big smile on their face.

Wednesday offered more entertainment in our neighborhood as Helge, a Danish friend, had invited us out to Akropolis. An Nigerian artist calledTony Allen was playing afrobeat with his band.

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It turned out to be a fantastic concert and Akropolis has great atmosphere much in the same way as Vega in Copenhagen. After the concert we all went to a bar to celebrate Helges birthday, more people joined and the good times continued. We were about 8 or 10 Danish speaking people so it almost felt like being home.

In 10 hours Im on the plane to Stansted. Ann and I are spending a weekend together in Cambridge :)