Community Grapevine

More live music coming to the capital

Cool jazz and red-hot blues have arrived at Hotel Danube's Monaco Club. Jean Daniel Angibaud, the club's manager, said the "Absolute Concert" series makes for a new venue where Bratislava's music-lovers can dig the sounds of international and local talent.

The British Council and the French Institute have agreed to help book shows for the club, which premiered its series last month with Slovak jazz musician Peter Lipa, and has since presented Chilean classical guitarist Ferdinand Gonzalez, and the Czech Republic's Electric Blues Band.

Angibaud said he hopes to bring performers from London and Paris to the Monaco Club for 12 to 25 concerts a year. The first three performances were videotaped for VTV and TV Markíza, while Radio Fun is expected to join the promotion circuit by providing free tickets to listeners.

Before each gig, the Club sends a message on the Internet to the University Student Syndicate in Bratislava, which distributes courtesy tickets to students. For example, 25 students got tickets to hear Gonzalez, and about 90 to Electric Blues Band. Angibaud says he gives away the other tickets to employees of big companies. "I can say that 80 percent of Absolute Concerts will be free," Angibaud said. "I want students to receive priority, and not to be afraid of the prices here."

While admitting that the business executives on parade through the Hotel Danube's interior could send shoestring nightclubbers fleeing for their pocketbooks, Angibaud said that fans of good music shouldn't be misled by first impressions. "For this idea to work, we need prices like Charlie's Pub and Harley Davidson," Angibaud said. "Perhaps our Coke will be 5 crowns more expensive, but the tickets are free, and our whisky costs the same" as at most discos, Angibaud told The Grapevine. For more, contact Angibaud at Hotel Danube, tel. 07/534-0502.

Slovak-Italian singer releases album

A new album by Italian pop-singer Roberto Durkovíc has hit Bratislava music stores. Durkovíc, born in Milan to an Italian mother and a Slovak father, didn't lay eyes on Slovakia before he was 25, but says his songs draw on personal experiences to comment on the political and social changes in ex-Czechoslovakia since 1989. The singer's isolation from his Slovak heritage reflects the separation of the Czechoslovak state from western Europe, says Durkovíc, who after meeting his father in the 1970s, returned to Bratislava twice a year until his father died in 1991. "He got to see freedom," Durkovíc says, "but by then it was too late for him." The new album, titled "The Local Train Comes" costs 260 Sk. Check it out at Bratislava's Opus Trading music shops at Laurinská 11 and Kollárová 20.

A store to make James Bond proud

For a holiday change of pace, check out Bratislava's 007 Shop, which specializes in paramilitary hardware for the do-it-yourself commando. Skeptical tots seeking corporal proof of Santa can paralyze the arctic benefactor with an electronic "taser" gun the moment he slides down the chimney. Used by the Los Angeles Police Department, this item disables its victim for 20 minutes, and is festively priced at 19,870 Sk. While St. Nick shudders and kicks on the hearthstone, mischievous imps can establish the metallurgical grade of his elf's handiwork with a metal detector, or in more permissive households, with a drug test kit for cocaine, marijuana and hashish for 1,965 Sk.

Mikuláš may be advised to carry 007's moonlight night vision goggles for seeing from 60 meters to 1 kilometer, in the event that any bad-seeds come equipped for Christmas Eve with Tasco polarized glasses, designed for hunters and presumably effective in reducing the ambient glare from carbon-arc street lamps. That way he can avoid juvenescent snipers drawing a bead with their BB-guns at his airborne reindeer. Another device which the ho-guy may want to get hold of is the Navigator GPS, which tells you where you're at, what speed you're doing and the quickest escape route (it's connected to a satellite).

007's manager, Peter Rey, reasons that his shop at Trnavské Mýto 1 (near Istropolis), which opened for business last month, will serve those in the community concerned about "the nihilism here. We hope our merchandise will only be used defensively so that people can protect their information and themselves."

Other feel-good items include voice-scramblers for foiling phone-taps, and ultraviolet pens for safeguarding ownership of sensitive property. Much of the merchandise is produced by the Scandinavian firm Bang & Olafson, famed for high-tech audio-visual creations. 007's collection is worth approximately 631,132 Sk. For more inquire at 07/540-8735 (no scramblers, please).

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