Culture

Mari Törőcsik

Actress Mari Törőcsik on racism and refugees

One of Hungary’s most celebrated actresses, Mari Törőcsik, is turning 80 this month. When she was approached by the conservative Mandiner website for an interview, she indicated that speaking about contemporary politics was not something with which she felt comfortable. “One side kicks me, while the other lifts me up onto a pedestal–that’s not something that I need,” said Ms. […]

by · November 2, 2015 · Culture
111 Sussex Drive, the venue for the 2015 Embassy Chef Challenge.

Embassy chefs compete in Ottawa competition

This is a lighter, although I think still meaningful, story for a Sunday. The Canadian capital is getting ready to hold its second Embassy Chef Challenge on November 5th, 2015 at Victoria Hall, where each year a handful of chefs employed by foreign missions in Ottawa compete and showcase their culinary art. All proceeds from the event go to the […]

by · November 1, 2015 · Culture
Máté Kocsis

Calling someone a homosexual is defamation in Hungary

In a landmark case, a Budapest court ruled that calling someone a homosexual in public can be seen as defamation of good character. The decision is astounding, even if the justice argued –somewhat strangely–that it has nothing to do with the court passing moral judgment on sexual attraction, as such. We have written before about the public polemics between Fidesz […]

by · October 30, 2015 · Culture
László Farkas, also known as gypsyROBOT.

Homophobia in Hungary’s Roma community

Dezső Máté is a Junior Research Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Minority Studies whose work focuses on the fate of a minority within a minority: namely the treatment of Gay Roma in Hungary within their own ethno-cultural community. In the past, he has also explored the survival of Roma languages and the representation of minorities  within […]

by · October 29, 2015 · Culture
Magdolna Rózsa

My hero, Magdolna Rózsa – free haircuts for refugees in Hungary

Magdolna is a hair stylist in Budapest and that is the only thing I know about her. On a hot day she went down to the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest where thousands of refugees were stranded. She set up a chair and started to give free haircuts for kids. She had a sign: Free Haircuts. And that is the […]

by · September 7, 2015 · Culture
The famous May West revue with muscle man.

Mickey (Miklós) Hargitay – California’s Hungarian muscle man

Mickey Hargitay was probably the first Hungarian immigrant who became the quintessential Californian, the idol of an entire generation of bodybuilders. His determination helped to make the sport respectable in the United States, and Mickey also became a celebrity, one of the “beautiful people” of the Southern California crowd. Hargitay was born in 1926, into a poor family in the […]

by · August 30, 2015 · Culture
István Örkény in the late sixties, with his wife Zsuzsa Radnóti.

István Örkény: Professors before the bench

Twentieth century Hungarian author István Örkény (1912-1979) was known for his bitingly sharp social commentary. As a Hungarian Jew, he survived the Holocaust and served in one of Hungary’s forced labour units during World War II, only to be captured by the Russians in 1943. István Örkény spent over two years in a Soviet labour camp, before being allowed to […]

by · August 24, 2015 · Culture
Oakland Symphony Chorus performs at Matthias Church.

California choir performs at Budapest’s Matthias Church

Each year we spend a couple of weeks in Hungary. Generally we go in May to beat the heavy tourist crowds and the unbearable heat of the summer in the city. Just before we left, a friend called and told us that he was coming to Hungary to sing with his choir. Since we would be in Budapest he invited […]

by · August 15, 2015 · Culture
French photographer Bruno Bourel, who relocated to Budapest in 1993, created a series of photos on Jégbüfé.

Jégbüfé: Reflections on an authentically retro Budapest confectionery

Amidst all the kitsch, the tacky souvenir shops, the tourist traps and the overpriced “traditional Hungarian” restaurants along Váci utca, Budapest’s main pedestrian mall, there’s a little haunt called the Jégbüfé (Ice buffet), located just a block away, right near the foot of Elisabeth Bridge. When you go to the Jégbüfé, think more communist era retro, rather than old world […]

by · July 31, 2015 · Culture
Sister Margit Slachta

Angel of Mercy in Canada – a film about Sister Margit Slachta

In 1949 when Sister Margit Slachta arrived to the United States and asked for temporary refuge, she had no idea that she would never return to Hungary. She died in Buffalo, New York, in 1974 and the local paper headline read, “Sister Margaret Slachta Dies; Champion of Rights.” Indeed, she was an uncompromising fighter of human rights. George Csicsery arrived […]

by · July 30, 2015 · Culture