A partial transcript of Episode 18 of THE ART MOVEMENT. To listen to the full radio show, CLICK HERE.
“That was the music of Frank Zappa. I remind you that for a full list of the songs played on the show, you can head on over to inartematt.com, where I post a full list of the songs during the week.
I love me some Zappa but I also played him for another reason. As I mentioned, the Historical Building of the Museum of Prague had that exhibition on the Velvet Revolution and among other incredibly cool things, including the democratic election Vaclav Havel, a dissident playwright, to president, Czechoslovakia named Frank Zappa as a cultural ambassador.
The reason why he has been on my mind quite a bit lately is because in that exhibition, on one of the screens showing images of people celebrating the rise of democracy in the country and everybody just happy to be alive in such a beautiful historic moment, there was footage of Frank Zappa being passed a bottle of Becherovka and actually taking a good swig of it. Which was shocking to see, given that Zappa did not drink — he was a renowned teetotaler — and yet here he was.
The atmosphere was so infectious that he too had to take a swig of alcohol and join in the frenzy. I think that goes to show just how amazing it must have been in Czechoslovakia at the time.
But that’s the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and of course, democracy had been a long time coming in the country. In 1968, there had been a Prague Spring, an odd period of liberalization that was, however, short lived when the Soviet Union decided to strengthen its stronghold on the country once again and resign it to the purgatory-like state that it had been under since the hell of Nazi German occupation.
The 20th century truly was a tough time for a land that was once one of the wealthiest jewels in the world.”