Roxy - justifiably approved


I had the opportunity to Party at the experimentalni prostor or experimental space of the Roxy in Prague. And you may ask yourself, what exactly do I mean by experimental? Well, how's an indoor snowboarding competition, coupled with a photo exhibit, and a live punk hardcore band performance for starters-Did I mention there were cheerleaders?

As the competition began, I spoke with Jan Svachovec, nickname Svachy, one of the organizers of this event to give me some of the details of the evening.

"Ah, right. Tonight it's one of the Four Elements Parties, and it's produced by Four Elements Productions and we do these events for the Roxy maybe three or four times a year. And it's always special because we try to combine the streetstyle of freestyle sports with underground culture and music. This means in the first half of the evening people will see some kind of a sport. In the previous Four Elements we had freestyle BMX, skateboarding, and this is special because tonight we're going to see freestyle snowboarding."

O'kay. Now this is not just normal snowboarding because we are indoors...what is going on?

"Well tonight we had to bring in some snow from the ice skating rink and we used some chemicals so that it stays frozen in such warm temperatures. And it may not be snowboarding as people know it, as a jump, or quarter pipe, or a half pipe - it will be jibbing, which is a big part of the freestyle scene. It's close to skateboarding in the city because skateboarders slide on obstacles like handrails. So we have one of the handrails over here. We have a ramp with fresh snow and we have a landing so hopefully this will be ok no?"

But metal and snow don't go very well together do they? Isn't it very slippery to slide on the handrails?

"Yes, it is." (he laughs)

I couldn't help but ask. But alongside the sporting nature of the evening, there's a gallery space exhibiting snowboarding photography. The room was appropriately decorated with the "cool" theme of the evening. Seats where like blocks of ice. Gallery viewers will get to judge which photograph is most impressive. If you need some other source of stimulation, you can also visit the playstation 2 room.

The Roxy is truly a multi-faceted space. Opened 11 years ago, it was transformed from virtually a dirty smelly hole, to a hub for experimental events from music, visual art and theatre. The upper level consists of what is called the NoD theatre attached to a funky internet-café with gnarly metal furniture. The space on the lower level where the snowboarding took place has endless possibilities for transformation. In fact on Wednesday night the Roxy held a Public Enemy concert. There's enough variety to satisfy a wide demographic of musical appetites from drum and bass, house or tech house, and zen. I spoke with Michal Ruman, a regular Roxy-goer about what he thinks about the Roxy.

"Well I think the air quality is poor, but in terms of music production I think it is one of the best places in Prague."

Is it always like it is tonight, I mean is there always snowboarding here?

"Oh no. Sometimes there is also bicycles or some skateboarding, but normally it is more of a dance place."

What's your favorite aspect of the Roxy?

"My favorite aspect is the balcony."

The balcony. Why the balcony?

"Because it is very useful."

Thank you very much. Is there anything else you'd like to say?

"Peace to everybody."

Indeed the balcony is a wonderful asset. But back to snowboarding, they're just about to start the finals...

Alright, you're just about to go for a jump. How do you feel?

"Nice. I like it here."

Are you nervous?

"No, I'm not. It's the finals there is nothing to lose you know."

Certainly, this extreme sporting event only attracts a certain demographic. I asked a couple if they came here often.

"Not very often just once a year."

Just once a year- Do you like it here?

"Yes but just once a year."

Why is that?

"It is because of this event. We only come here for this event."

The Roxy, quite simply, a venue that tailors to many a party appetite. The punk-hardcore band called Suffer played on for the rest of the night. They are from a Czech town called Strakonice- a town where a lot of Czech punk bands originate.