Tag Archives: Czech Republic

Executive Director – Debby Garman …Prague Astronomical Clocks !…

These days Portland Revels has so many wonderful community programs going on year-round that it’s a constant staff press of planning and event presentation. Especially challenging and FUN is searching for and identifying experts to present the rich cultural information offered at our Salons. I hope you will partake of one of our salons if you haven’t already done so!

One of the staff tasks I most enjoy is the annual quest to find delightful and thematically relevant gifts for our gift boutique store at the theatre. This year the quest began with a wonderful spring trip to Europe to see a brand-new grandson. As long as we had crossed the Atlantic, I wanted to visit the Astronomical Clock in Prague, which was one of scriptwriter Gray Eubank’s inspirations for this year’s show story. Prague was really fun, and the clock was simply amazing. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world – and the oldest one still working! The clock has a mechanical process that takes place on the hour and draws huge crowds to see it in action. There were many tourist goodies based on the clock and I was inspired to see if we couldn’t present some Prague clocks for sale at our gift store. I succeeded in finding a supplier located in Prague, and you’ll be able to shop from our selection of special clock imports in December.

Prague clock

Scriptwriter Gray mentioned that another influence on his creative script process was a delightful book he read as a child. That book is “The Wonder Clock,” written and illustrated by Howard Pyle. We discovered that the book was recently reprinted and will have copies for sale at the gift store.

In addition, our team of staff shoppers has located stunning and whimsical fair trade Revels-perfect Christmas ornaments and toy suppliers in Thailand and Mexico. The gift store will offer books, calendars, greeting cards, as well as party jewelry and cool personal holiday gifts for every shopper’s budget. Be sure to visit us to take a look!

Debby Garman

Debby G by David Kinder Nov 2013

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A Kukeri? What is That?

If you are from that Eastern European neck of the woods you might likely know but for the uninitiated…

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If that image is not ringing a bell, Wikipedia says:

Kukeri is a traditional Bulgarian ritual to scare away evil spirits, with costumed men performing the ritual. Closely related traditions are found throughout the Balkans and Greece (including Romania and the Pontus). The costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. Around New Year and before Lent, the kukeri walk and dance through the village to scare evil spirits away with the costumes and the sound of the bells, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year.

Never knew they existed? Most folks likely will not unless they grew up or visited that part of the world. This year’s Christmas Revels will give the audience member a chance to see several kukeri acting as part of a mumming competition as mentioned in our previous post. (If you are curious about the tradition of mumming, take a look at our webpage that provides some of the Revels traditions, including mumming.)

There was a recent National Geographic Article, Europe’s Wild Men (published April 2013) that provides not only a fascinating read but also some amazing pictures of kukeri, some of which you might recognize.

What do kukeri look like in real life? Below is a YouTube video of a Bulgarian Mummers festival that will show them in action:

A short video about the annual “Shiroka Laka” mummer carnival in Bulgaria. The mummers (called “kukeri”) dress up with spectacular clothes and masks to scare the evil demons. They dance at the sound of traditional Bulgarian music. The whole festival is pretty amazing and we hope you can feel the spirit through this video.

In a future post we will explain some of the details of how the Portland Revels kukeri were made and also provide some photos of the in-process machinations. Come back soon to check out kukeri construction!

Don’t forget, order your tickets now from Box Office Tickets or call the Portland Revels Box Office 10-4 PM Monday-Friday at (503) 200-1604.

Until then we will leave you with a few more photos of the wild and wonderful kukeri!

From National Geographic

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Portland Revels and Community Outreach

625663_542032979150267_1205170143_n Community outreach is an important tenet of the Revels organization as shown by our mission statement:

Portland Revels celebrates the seasons through song, dance, story and ritual of the past and present, creating community across generations and cultures.

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Traditional Polish dance costumes

Portland Revels recently participated in two distinctly Portland community building activities, the 20th annual Portland Polish Festival (September 21 & 22, 2013) organized by Portland Polonia and the Visegrad Festival (November 9, 2013) at the Polish Hall in Portland. The members of this vibrant community including Polish, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian and other cultures have participated in the Polish Festival for nearly 20 years. This year some of the Portland Revels board attended the Polish Festival to help celebrate these ethnicities and invite them to attend this year’s Christmas Revels production of A Christmas in Old Europe. Several of the board members also attended the inaugural Visegrad Festival held at the Polish Hall to hand out show flyers and raffle away music, tickets to the Christmas Revels show and to the upcoming Eric Stern Concert on Friday, November 22nd.

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Margo Norton, Portland Revels Board Member

For the Visegrad Festival, members of the Czech, Polish and Hungarian communities in Portland gathered to celebrate the 95th anniversary (1918) of independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. To honor that milestone in their collective countries, these three communities gathered for the first annual Visegrad Group PDX Festival at the Polish Hall in north Portland on Saturday, November 9, 2013, 1-7 PM. There was food, music, singing and dancing and a great time was had by all! IMG_4842

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Polish participants

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Polish dancers

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Czech School children’s choir

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The Christmas Revels 2013: A Christmas in Old Europe

2013 Flyer Art

The box office for the Christmas Revels: A Christmas in Old Europe, is open as of October 23rd!

Tickets are available from Box Office Tickets anytime of the day or night. Tickets are available via phone from the Revels Box Office – 503-200-1604 – Monday though Friday 10 AM to 4 PM PST.

Group sales discounts of 10% are available through the Portland Revels Box Office for orders of 10 or more tickets for a single performance. Check the Revels website at portlandrevels.org for details on ticket prices.

The shows run from Friday, December 6th and continue through Sunday, December 15th. See below for all 11 show times.

Friday December 6 - 7:30pm
Saturday December 7 - 1pm matinee and 7:30pm
Sunday December 8 - 1pm matinee and 7 pm**
Thursday December 12 -  7:30pm**
Friday December 13 -  7:30pm
Saturday December 14 - 1pm matinee and 7:30pm
Sunday December 15 - 1pm matinee and 5pm **ASL interpreted performance

What’s the show about? It seems there is a wondrous clock built to celebrate the solstice and the cycle of the seasons. It’s so amazing the mayor throws a party to coincide with the town’s annual Mummers competition. Mummers and townsfolk from Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Russia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia and Poland gather for the unveiling of the clock before the Empress, who makes a hasty decree which will leave time itself hanging in the balance. Sounds exciting doesn’t it!

Come see the magic that the Christmas Revels yearly offers including their guests for this year:

Get your tickets today!

Related content

  • An Oregon Music News review of the Appalachian Christmas Celebration, the 2012 stage production of the Portland Revels.
  • Another review of the Appalachian Christmas Celebration posted on the blog, ut omnia bene, in 2012.
  • Artslandia (file requires Adobe Reader) article on the Portland Revels

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