The 6-Minute Challenge, Vol. 15!

Join us for our signature program since 2014, when artists, professionals, scholars and scientists of Czech or Slovak descent are challenged to introduce their talent, the subject of their work, project, research, or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.
You will learn, laugh, and enjoy impressive performances!

Thursday, December 7, 2023
Moderated by Christopher Harwood


In our 15th edition, we will welcome the following presenters:
Matej Cíp (cimbalom player, student at Berklee NYC), Ilona Kohlová (graphic designer, artist), Aneta Kohoutová (Fulbright- ethics of public spaces), Jana Krupková (arts management & production), Pavel Liska (immersive artist), Barbora Lišková (event producer), Luboš Náprstek (luthier), Alicka Pistek (communications & emerging technology), Yvette Vašourková (Fulbright-architecture and public spaces), and Klára Zíková English (mezzo-soprano)

6-Minute Challenge, Vol 15, Dec 7, 2023- edited recordings on YouTube


Jana Krupkova

Klara Zikova English

Lubos Naprstek

Ilona Kohlova

Alicka Pistek

Aneta Kohoutova

Yvette Vasourkova

Barbora Liskova

Pavel Liska

Matej Cip

Bonus performance

Q & A

Alumni Toast and Cake

Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter with the support of BBLA.

Against Everything: The Brothers Topol and the Second Generation of Dissent 🗓

A TALK BY DANIEL W. PRATT, PhD, McGill University

November 16, 2023
Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan


This talk discusses two prominent figures of the Czech 1980s generation, brothers Jáchym and Filip Topol. Filip was the lead singer of Psí vojáci (Dog Soldiers), a legendary band that played its first concert for Havel himself. Jáchym became a popular author of stories and unconventional novels. He was also an editor of Revolver Revue, an underground periodical. His apartment was the site for numerous dissident happenings. Although both brothers became dissidents, and both signed Charter 77, they rejected the notion of a pre-political self and projected an almost nihilistic stance against everything.


When scholars discuss the story of dissent in Czechoslovakia, the conversation usually hovers around the usual suspects: Václav Havel, Ivan Klíma, Jaroslav Seifert, The Plastics, Ivan Martin Jirous, and Egon Bondy. This group, along with the great filmmakers of the Czech New Wave, all born between roughly 1930 and 1950, still constitute the basis of most discussions of Czech culture under Socialism. To a certain degree, their innovations, cultural value, and international appeal justify their position. What has received a great deal less scholarly attention, however, is the generation that came next, that had never known the relative freedom of the “Prague Spring” and grew up in the fallout of Charter 77. That generation, as exemplified by the Brothers Topol, and also including Vít Kremli?ka, Petr Placák, Anna Wágnerová, Jirí Hášek (JH Krchovský), and others, worked with different values, trying to position themselves not only against the Communist government but also against the previous generation of dissent.

Daniel W. Pratt is Assistant Professor of Slavic Culture at McGill University. He works on Czech, Polish, Russian, Austrian, and Hungarian literature and culture, and his interests include narratology, dissent, nationality studies, aesthetics, and the intersection of literature and philosophy. His current book projects are Against Narrative: Non-narrative Constructions of Temporality in Central Europe and Bruno Jasie?ski, Internationalist, and he has written on Czechoslovak dissident punk rock, Gombrowicz’s interactions with Gilles Delleuze, and the meaning of history in Central Europe, amongst other topics. For the Fall semester of 2023, he is the István Deák Visiting Assistant Professor of East Central European Studies at Columbia University

Jaroslav Josef Polívka, Frank Lloyd Wright, and New York

September 28, 2023, at 7 PM
Bohemian National Hall, Manhattan

A talk by Ladislav Jackson, PhD

The talk presented the lesser-known facts about the design and construction of the Guggenheim Museum between 1946 and 1949 when a Czech structural engineer, Jaroslav Josef Polívka, invented the iconic spiral diverging ramp without inner supporting pillars. Between 1946 and 1959, Polivka designed structural constructions for another eight of Frank Lloyd Wright’s projects. The speaker discussed Polivka’s unique influence on Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, specifically the Guggenheim Museum and Belmont Racetrack Pavillion in New York City.


Ladislav Jackson (formerly Zikmund-Lender) is a visual arts and architecture historian. Since 2018, he has been an assistant professor at the Department of History and Theory of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology (VUT Brno), where he teaches global and local 20th-Century Art courses and critical theory (feminist, queer, and critical race studies). His research focuses on 20th-century architecture and design; and gender and queer studies in art history. In 2016, he was a Fulbright scholar University of California in Berkeley. Jackson also curates exhibitions on architecture and design and wrote, edited, or co-edited about twenty books, including Hotel Praha (2019), Villas and Family Houses in Hradec Králové (2020), Myth of an Architect: Jan Kot?ra 150 (2021), The Church of the Divine Heart: 1928?1932 (2022) and his latest Philosopher of Structures: Architect and Engineer Jaroslav J. Polívka (1886–1960). He is an executive director of the Society for Queer Memory in Prague.

This event was organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) in New York with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association.

Czech History in Brooklyn

June 4, 2023, at 11 am
First Unitarian Congregational Society
119-120 Pierrepont St. @ Monroe St.
Brooklyn Heights, NYC

We joined the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn to commemorate the 100th anniversary celebration of the Flower Communion ceremony introduced in 1923 by Dr. Norbert Capek, founder of Czech Unitaria in Prague. It was the home church of Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1923), the Brooklyn-born First Lady of newly formed Czechoslovakia in 1918. Both her husband, Tomáš Masaryk, and her son Jan spoke from this church’s pulpit. Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk was instrumental in developing close ties of this church with the Czechoslovak Unitaria. The ninth reverend of this Brooklyn church, John Howland Lathrop, headed a relief program in Czechoslovakia following World War II. You can find some memorabilia and photos in the church. A glass window depicting Jan Hus was donated by Alice Masaryk.

We were joined by Mr. Scott Fredrick, a great grandson of Norbert Capek!

The full-service streaming on Facebook.

15:40 Singing the hymn Mother Spirit by Norbert Capek
34:52 Rev.Meagan Henry about Norbert Capek
1:25:00 Singing a Czech folk song Aj lucka, lucka , in Czech!

In Czech
Story of the Flower Communion made in 1993 for Radio Free Europe by Suzanna Pakesova Halsey. She added images to the original audio-only recording.

(Czech) Photography of the New Millennium

Photography of the New Millennium
An illustrated talk and book presentation
by Marian Beneš, Ph.D., MQEP

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 7 PM
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd Floor
321 E 73 St, Manhattan

The award-winning Czech photographer and educator Marian Beneš will present his photographic work, including the fascinating images of the Bohemian National Hall renovation and the portraits of Czech compatriots living in New York City. He will also offer historical insight into the beginnings of digital photography and its specifics in the Czech Republic. We will learn about his collaboration with Prof. Miroslav Vojt?chovský, the doyen of Czech photography, and their work with students as reflected in his new book Photography of the New Millennium: From Technical Mutations to the Poetics of Authorial Creation. For this book, he received in 2022 the prestigious Best Publisher Title prize in the FEP European Photo Book Award competition in Rome.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD


Marian Beneš is a photographer, university educator, curator, juror, a holder of the Master Qualified European Photographer title (MQEP) awarded by the Federation of European Professional Photographers.
He is a Head of the Studio of Photography and Audio-Visual Arts at the University of Creative Communication in Prague and a vice-president of the Association of Professional Photographers of the Czech Republic. He also teaches at the Institute of Creative Photography at Silesian University. He graduated from the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and received his doctorate from the Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyn? University. As a Fulbright scholar, he studied at the International Center of Photography in New York City. His work includes digital photography for communication campaigns, advertising, editorials, and exhibitions. His award-winning photography has been widely exhibited and is included in the collections of private collectors, galleries, and institutions.


MARCH 22, 2023, at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, Manhattan

Scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals of Czech or Slovak descent are challenged to introduce the subject of their work, project, research or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. A signature program of SVU, New York Chapte, since 2014. In English.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood

Presenters: Jaroslav Bendl (Assistant Professor, Icahn School of Medicine – bioinformatics), Jaroslav Borovicka (Associate Professor, New York University – economics), Viktor Dvorak (counselor, EU delegation to the United Nations), Eva Giannone (Baker and Energy natural medicine consultant), Tomas Jamnik (violoncellist, Fulbright Scholar), Eva Jamnikova (violinist), Michala Metzler (Founder OYA New Earth), Irena Michalcik (OCR athlete and educator), and Pavel Semerak (Bohemian National Hall renovation manager.)


Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter.


Bedrich Feuerstein: Prague-Paris-Tokyo and New York

An illustrated talk by Helena Capkova, PhD

Tuesday, FEBRUARY 28, 2023, at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73 St, New York



Bedrich Feuerstein was an influential member of the Czechoslovak and European avant-garde of the interwar period. He was a cosmopolitan figure, always on the move seeking inspiration and inspiring the rich network of his collaborators. He spent two years at the Perrets’ atelier in Paris and four years working with Antonín Raymond in Japan. The key project of his career developed for Raymond was the St. Luke’s Hospital in Tokyo. As a part of the design process, Feuerstein visited the US and studied the most progressive hospitals, such as the Presbyterian and Mt. Sinai in New York. The talk will introduce Feuerstein’s rich and diverse design work focusing on his American research trip and its outcomes.

HELENA CAPKOVÁ, PhD, is a Czech Tokyo/Kyoto-based curator, researcher, and art history professor at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. She studied transnational visual culture and Japanese studies in Prague and London. As a PhD candidate, she collaborated on international and interdisciplinary research projects such as Forgotten Japonisme (2007-2010) and later Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism, and the Arts, c.1875-1960 (2013-2015). Since 2010, she has published and lectured extensively about the specific nature of Japanese modernism and avant-garde, which she considers an inherent part of art history, traditionally perceived as Western. Her publications on this topic include ” Believe in socialism!: Architect Bedrich Feuerstein and His Perspective on Modern Japan and Architecture (2016) and “Careless Shell “– Transnational exploration of Czechoslovak and Japanese Surrealisme (2015). In 2017, she designed a series about architect Antonin Raymond at the Tokyo Czech Center. The successful series led to the book Antonín Raymond in Japan (1948–1976), which she edited with architect K. Kitazawa.

In 2022, Dr. Capková curated an extensive exhibition, Bedrich Feuerstein, Architect: Prague-Paris-Tokyo and New York, at the National Technical Museum in Prague. There will be a few copies of the catalog available for sale at the event. Catalogs are also available online from the National Technical Museum:

A recording of Dr. Capková’s 2021 SVU NY Zoom talk about another important Czech architect Antonin Raymond is available on SVU NY YouTube Channel.

This event is organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).

Texas Czech Legacy Project

Preserving the Czech Language around the World

An illustrated talk by Lida Cope, PhD
Sunday, January 22 at 3 PM (EST)


Linguistics professor Lida Cope talks about her efforts to document a dying dialect of Czech Moravians who started arriving in Texas in the second half of the 19th century, about Svatava Pírková Jakobson, who gathered a unique archive of folklore from immigrants in New York City’s “Czech village,” Texas, and elsewhere, and about the challenges in promoting and preserving Czech language, culture, and identity in the English-speaking world.

Lida Cope is a professor of applied linguistics at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Her areas of expertise include first language attrition, language contact and diaspora, and language documentation. Her research examines the questions of language, culture, and identity in historically Czech Moravian communities in Texas. Dr. Cope directs the Texas Czech Legacy Project, housed at the University of Texas at Austin, whose main objective is to build an open-access corpus of Texas Czech speech. Her publications include a comprehensive overview of Czech communities around the world Language loss: Czech in the diaspora (co-authored with Robert Dittmann of Charles University, BRILL 2020) and Taking Stock and Looking Forward: Documenting a diasporic variety of Czech in Texas (Naše ?e? [Our Speech] 2021).