Česká centra, Czech Centres

Česká centra / Czech centres - logo


May 22, 2005 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Plastic People of the Universe

Plastic People of the Universe - concert. Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC; 7 pm & 9:30 pm.

"a Velvets-Beefheart-Zappa stew with Czech lyrics, free jazz saxophone, grungy viola, crunchy guitar solos, etc., but what makes it unique is the applause. This audience knows that rock & roll can start a revolution and set you free: It happened." —Steven Merritt, Time Out NY

The Plastic People of the Universe are best know for their crucial role in the political history of the "Eastern Bloc". The band formed in 1968 as Russian tanks rolled into Prague. Though the band was not overtly political, their radical improvised music and the culture which formed around them soon attracted the attention of the Communist State. Harassed, intimidated, and finally imprisoned, the band continued to persevere with their artistic vision. In 1976, when several members were arrested again, their trial became a lightning-rod for discontent throughout Czechoslovakia. The trial catalyzed the formation of a group of artists, students, musicians, and intellectuals, who joined together to draft Charter 77. Over the coming year, as the organization (and its leader, the dissident playwright Vaclav Havel) grew in international visibility, the Plastic People became a symbol for the dissident underground throughout the "Eastern Bloc". But twelve years later, when the movement the Plastic People inspired crescendoed with the Velvet Revolution (named in part because of the Plastics' reverence for the Velvet Underground), the Plastic People had been hounded out of existence. It was not until the end 1997 that the band reformed at Havel's request for a handful of legendary concerts in Prague. On the strength of these concerts, the band went to perform in New York in the summer of 1998, and again with a tour in the US and Canada in the spring of 1999. But to focus on the Plastic's history is to neglect the fact that they were and continue to be one of the most innovative and visceral musical groups in the world. The music of the Plastic People is like nothing else; it’s dark, rich composition spans musical influences from free jazz, hard rock, Slavic motifs, and ‘60’s and ‘70’s song-styling. Their music embodies a whole manner of thinking and way of life, and it demands that we reexamine the way we live our lives.

The music of the Plastics has absorbed something essential from this spirit of space and time.... encoded within it is an important warning, some highly specified information about the existential fine tuning of people who find themselves in a place where the knots of history are tied and unraveled. —Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic.

Tickets: $ 25 in advance, $ 30 at door.




321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


May 22, 2005 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM


Joe's Pub

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