The Guardian on Szimpla and Other Kerts
We've just completed our fifth 'Budacast', Hungary’s first English language podcast dedicated to Budapest’s arts and culture scene. You can find our home page at www.budcast.hu (RSS feed: http://www.budacast.hu/rss/feed.xml).
This whole thing has been a long time in coming - maybe even 10 years in the making - as I have been longing to do more radio here, just like when we did Budapest Day & Night on Radio Bridge in the early 90s.
While Budacast will most likely remain a hobby for the forseeable future, maybe our podcast could be kind of a supplement to guidebooks and other information sources about Budapest. I can imagine foreign visitors to Hungary downloading a few episodes of our show and listening to them on their mp3 players on a transatlantic flight to Budapest. We'll see.
Recent segments on Budacast include a feature on the survivors of Hungary’s failed uprising against the Soviets in 1956, a tour of an interactive museum for kids, and a profile of a tawdry tabloid media star. One weekly segment called Time Off is basically a chat with a Budapest resident to find out what they’re doing on the upcoming weekend followed by some recommendations for concerts, theatre performances, or museum exhibitions.
Coming up in next week's show is an interview with Cold War crime novelist Olen Steinhauer, who lives in Budapest. If you correctly answer our trivia question you may be eligible to win a copy of his latest book '36 Yalta Boulevard'.
Czech Republic rivals Hungary for porn premacy
The Prague Post reports the Czech Republic threatens to rival Hungary for its most famous post-communism claim to fame.
E-N and Doovay are Back at Klub Vittula
Anyone looking for a place to catch some great music this coming weekend? If so, drop in at Klub Vittula (Kertész utca 4, near Blaha Lujza tér, Budapest) on Saturday October 15. Stripped of glitz and glamour, Vittula has a similar ambiance to Szimpla Kert and ranks amongst the favourite winter haunts of the more bohemian expats in Budapest.
Following a string of stone-grooving performances earlier this year, E-N and Doovay return to spin their blend of diverse and unapologetically unpredictable sounds. The dudes will be tipping their hats to Memphis but don't be surprised if they drop some punk rock, seventies' electronica or frenetic African funk. If it's good and they're in the mood almost anything goes! And that's just the way it should be.
As always, entry is free and lights dim around 9pm.
Carnaval de Klub Vittula
Hi to all the Budapest survivors out there.
This Saturday, Vlada and I will be raising the rafters at Klub Vittula on Kertesz utca. Join us for a Carnaval that will make residents of Rio blush.
We'll be mixing up some explosive Brazilian grooves with raunchy Latin rhythmns, and we here that some women are planning to discard their clothing (Vlada says they always do that when I'm playing and that I should pay more attention to the audience!). Don't say you weren't warned in advance.
Anyhow, the owner of the bar is a really cool guy by the name of Tim who has nothing to do with Sam Worthington. The last time we played in his bar, people were rocking until 4 am. A good friend says that the following poster more accurately reflects the bar:
Come on it's Carnaval! Look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
U.S. High School Students Suck at Math; on Par With...Hungary?
So, it's that time of year again for U.S. high school students to suck eggs in international math scores. But, this paragraph flattened me:
Among 29 industrialized countries, the United States scored below 20 nations and above five in math. The U.S. performance was about the same as Poland, Hungary and Spain.
What's wrong with that picture? Is it the mold in the paprika? Has McDonald's and mall culture just warped those once-promising little minds? Erdös and von Neumann are turning in their graves. Guardian reports.
Tommy Ramone & Hungary's U.S. Ambassador Punk Out for Peace
Rolling Stone writer Chuck Young
at Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC
Tommy Ramone, the sole surving member of the seminal punk band The Ramones, was born Tamás Erdély in Budapest and left at age seven in 1956 to live in Queens. Who knew? In some bizarre home-coming ritual, he appeared last week at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC, where he, the Hungarian Ambassador and wannabe rocker András Simonyi, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow, and Rolling Stone writer Chuck Young, cranked out tribute versions of "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Beat on the Brat" and "Let's Dance" in some friendship ritual from planet Zorg. Details, photos, video and sound clips variously on Bruner Blog, Pestiside, Index.hu, the Hungarian Embassy's site and NPR.
I remember back around 1994 or so, tainted paprika was a big story, one I thought was depressing as it was such a stupid topic to get Hungary in the news when the country was still then struggling with its politics and economy, which seemed like a much more pertinent story to me. What goes around comes around: paprika is back in the news again.
Then it was flour painted red; now it's mold (Reuters | Pestiside). Not sure which is worse. Hope it blows over soon and doesn't do too much damage to aggriculture and dining in the meantime. Paprika off the shelves! I can't imagine how restaurants are dealing with this blow.
Pestiside Stirs the Shit for AmCham and Peter Freed
Pestiside.hu's Erik D'Amato has stirred the shit in Budapest last week with a long, boring but heart-felt exposé about the election of the president and board members for the American Chamber of Commerce there. In the piece, which apparently got spiked by one of the expat weekly rags for which he originally wrote it (he didn't mention which, in an email he sent me), he points out that the Chamber of Commerce is American in name only, in that most of its officers are at this point from other nations, and most importantly, he skewers Peter Freed, a long-time Budapest expat with a special place in the hearts of many readers of this humble site for reasons I won't go into (oh, okay, he screwed me and the other co-founders of Budapest Week out of our rightful stake in that once-great publication), concerning perceived conflicts of interest, as both a candidate for president of AmCham and a vendor to that same organization. In a follow-up piece, D'Amato claimed a proud victory for his shameless agenda blogging, noting that Freed lost the election, with several readers crediting his investigation as a decisive factor. You go, boy! (And next time you see him, Erik, give Freed my regards, and a knee in the gonads, if you have a chance.)
If all that sounds too petty and tedious, check out his coverage of the Hungarian Playboy Playmate of the Year event instead.
Chris Condon on Hungary's New Prime Minister
Adrienne writes from Budapest:
Chris Condon's piece about our new prime minister. We're all very glad that Gyurcsany has won. Gives hope against Fidesz for 2006.