Culture

Zsuzsa Koncz-. Photo: Balogh Zoltán / MTI.

Zsuzsa Koncz, Hungary’s iconic singer speaks out on not being subservient

Zsuzsa Koncz knows from personal experience what it’s like to be a performer, singer and artist in a dictatorial regime. In 1973, even though Hungary’s Kádár regime was more liberal than any other Eastern bloc country when it came to cultural and artistic expression, Zsuzsa Koncz’s album entitled Jelbeszéd (Sign Language) was suddenly pulled from the shelves of record stores and […]

by · June 7, 2017 · Culture
Team Raff design

Canada’s Victims of Communism memorial proceeds with new design

The Victims of Communism memorial, a monument initially spearheaded by Canada’s previous conservative government and a community group of Canadians of Eastern European and Asian origins called Tribute to Liberty, will proceed after the selection of a design by architect Paul Raff. The Toronto-based architect’s central design element is a massive arch, running from east to west, and comprised of […]

by · May 17, 2017 · Culture
March of Science in San Francisco

March of Science in San Francisco

Tens of thousands hit Market Street in San Francisco on Saturday to march for science. My wife and I attended the lively event which was part of a nationwide call to celebrate Earth Day 2017. Clever, sometimes funny posters criticized Donald Trump and raised alarms over his budget plan which would cut federal funds from research. The Department of Health […]

by · April 24, 2017 · Culture
Keep Quiet

Keep Quiet — A review of a poignant documentary on Csanád Szegedi

This month, I was invited to watch a private preview screening of the documentary Keep Quiet, which will have its Toronto premiere at the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation Festival on May 8, 2017. The film, directed by Joseph Martin and Sam Blair, focuses on the political coming of age of Jobbik and Hungarian Guard co-founder Csanád Szegedi–a young man who represented […]

by · April 18, 2017 · Culture
Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk – Don’t be Orbán’s poster boy!

Viktor Orbán’s authoritarian government plans to turn the Budapest International Book Festival (April 20–23) into a political propaganda event. The festival is supposed to be for book lovers. It is an annual four-day extravaganza with panel discussions, book signings, readings where thousands of newly published and older books can be purchased. (Click here to see this year’s program of the […]

by · April 15, 2017 · Culture
Lukacs after

The Viktatorship strikes at dawn – the removal of the György (Georg) Lukács statue

It was still dark last Tuesday morning at Szent István Park, Budapest, when the trucks arrived. At dawn as the first light appeared workers dismantled the György (Georg) Lukács statue. They were quiet, fast and efficient and it seemed that they had lots of experience. In a short time the statue of the renowned Marxist philosopher was gone. There is […]

by · March 31, 2017 · Culture
Team space2place

Canada’s Victims of Communism memorial moves ahead

A Canadian national monument dedicated to the victims of dictatorial communist regimes moved forward in an important way this week, with the publication of proposals submitted by the five finalist design teams. The new monument differs in a number of ways from original plans submitted by the Tribute to Liberty group and approved by the previous Conservative government. The monument […]

by · March 4, 2017 · Culture
From left: Dorottya Hais (red dress), Dorka Gáspárfalvi and Zsófia Szamosi, with producer Anna Udvardy.  Director Kristóf Deák (with glasses) with music composer Ádám Balázs.

Hungarian short film Sing receives Oscar

I was in disbelief when my wife, who was watching the Oscars, told me that The American Academy of Motion Picture gave an Oscar to Hungarian short film Sing in the Live Action Short Film category. The 25-minute film was directed by 34-year old Kristóf Deák. It takes place in a Budapest school (Bakáts Téri Ének-Zenei Általános Iskola) in 1991 […]

by · February 27, 2017 · Culture
Coercion / Sergey Sidelev

The Canadian Red Cross and deplorable fundraising tactics

The Red Cross has been present in Hungary since 1881 and much like in Canada, it provides important educational programs on emergency care, as well as offers vaccines, organises blood drives and trains volunteer nurses. Yet after an encounter with the Canadian Red Cross last night, I left very disappointed with their deplorable fundraising and pressure tactics and wrote them […]

by · February 25, 2017 · Culture
Rianás – the cracking sound of ice at Lake Balaton

Rianás – the cracking sound of ice at Lake Balaton

It has been an unusually cold winter in Hungary and country’s largest lake, Lake Balaton, is frozen. Gábor Kardos came up with the idea to have a “Slide across the Ice of Balaton.” It took place a couple weeks ago between Badacsony and Fonyód, a narrow part of the lake. (The event was called in Hungarian – Balaton Átcsúszás 2017) […]

by · February 21, 2017 · Culture