The word culture has several different meanings. It may be used to speak about a group of people who share the same beliefs and attitudes, e.g. youth culture and political culture. But the word is also used to speak about music, art and literature that are parts of our lives. For many people today, culture and cultural life is represented by fine arts, art exhibitions and museum exhibits, as well as going to the cinema, the theatre and concerts of classical or pop music.
How rich your cultural life is depends on both your interests and hobbies, as well as where you live. If you live in a large town, you have a good choice as cultural facilities are plentiful. There are several cinemas offering films twice or three times a day and special weekend matinees for children. If you feel like going to the cinema, you don´t have to book tickets, you can buy them right at the cinema about half an hour before the film begins. Although the price of admission is quite high today, many cinemas try to attract visitors by offering the latest films, often action-packed star-studded Hollywood blockbusters. Going to the cinema is an important part of youth culture in today´s society. Young people like the cinema and see it as an excellent place to meet friends. After the film, they enjoy chatting about the plot, cast and scenes they liked the most.
You can usually find one or two theatres in a large town. Keen theatregoers follow what is on the programme and usually choose the performance (a drama, a comedy, an opera, a musical or a ballet) they want to see according to its director and cast. Going to the theatre is a social event for most people and it often is necessary to buy tickets in advance because the best performances are sold out long before the open. Theatre performances usually have a special type of sophisticated or class atmosphere since they are often in the evening and theatregoers dress up in their best clothes. They leave their coats in a cloakroom, are shown to their sears by an attendant or usher and during intermissions, between acts, can get refreshments in the theatre bar. When a performance is over, the audience applauds and the cast may even get a standing ovation if people think the performance was especially brilliant.
Those who like fine art enjoy going to galleries to see exhibitions of classical or modern art (e.g. photographs, paintings, sculptures and book illustrations) that are held all year round. They can compare the works of art made by artists throughout the centuries. It seems, however, that there are not many people who are keen on going to galleries these days, especially among teenagers. Museums, on the other hand, are full of visitors at any time as people like to learn about the history of their region or country and look at the exhibits showing them what the lives of their forefather were like. Of course, there are also natural science museums which display exhibits from natural world around us and even the galaxies beyond our own planet.
Cultural events that are most popular among young people are concerts and music festivals. Concerts of classical music are usually held in the spring and autumn whereas live pop concerts and folk festivals are held in summer, at sports stadiums, open air theaters or even in some farmer´s field so the hundreds of fans can all get in.
If you happen to live in a small town or village, there probably aren´t many opportunities to have a rich cultural life. The only facility available is usually the local “house of culture” or community center, or a village club where discos or balls are held on special occasion several times a year. People living in a village want to see a good film or a theatre performance; they have to go to the nearest town which can be expensive and time consuming. The only choice for them is television, videos which are a bit cheaper and more convenient.
Whatever your cultural preference and wherever you live, your life with works of fine art, music, film and theater will be pleasant and rich. Culture and the arts challenge your imagination, influence you positively and bring joy to life, helping to broaden horizons and making life more interesting.
1. Say what in your opinion art is and whether it is or it is not important in your life.
2. What are some of your favorite cultural events?
3. What makes great music festivals?
4. Can photography be considered art?
5. Have you seen a movie based on a book? Did you spot any differences?
6. Which do you prefer: contemporary or traditional art? Give reasons for your preference.
7. Explain how your taste in books has changed with your age.
8. What is Andy Warhol famous for?
9. Is music an essential part of a person´s life? Explain why.
You are in an agency and you want to buy a ticket for a rock concert. You are not satisfied with the agent who is very busy phoning his/her friend and does not respect the queue, selling tickets to those who are rude and jump the queue. You have decided to complain.
You are an agent selling tickets for a rock concert but a friend of yours has some problems and needs you on the phone. You see that some people misuse the situation and jump the queue but your friend needs your attention and you do not want to lose your temper with those people. One customer starts complaining.
A friend of yours never listens to the lyrics of songs. Explain to him/her why the lyrics are important and what might be the main idea of the song. Explain why people compose songs and how songs help people with their everyday problems.
Look at the pictures. Do you know what artists painted them and what artistic period they belong to? Compare some of their features.
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4. Bérešová J. (2005) Nová maturita - Anglický jazyk - Interná časť
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