Rena of Little Bohemia

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When I went to visit Rena in Lincoln Nebraska she gave me a poster advertising the Oktoberfest the University was holding. Her naked in the woods image filled most of the poster. It was very Teutonic. I wish I had not cut away the words. It would have been a collectors item.

When Rena came out of her dorm, she was wearing a large velvet green cape and tall boots. Again I had trouble breathing as she came at me, her head slightly down, her eyes fixed on me like her prey. The greatest tragecy of my life, is, we were not done playing. I told her I wanted to move to Lincoln, find an old farm, and paint large canvases of her.


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Above is a poster advertising a concert at Sokol Hall where the Hell’s Angels were in attendance. The poet, Michael McClure wrote a biography of Freewheelin Frank and invited the Angels to the first Human Be-In. McClure was a good friend of my good friend, who helped me investigate the death of my late sister who was inspired to take up art when she saw my large canvas of Rena – wearing a blue cape. I had Gloria make me a blue cape in 1975. I saw myself as Strider.

The Sokol was inspired by the Turnverien that my ancestors brought to the Bay Area, and later merged with them. The founder was a Art Historian.

Jon Presco

‘King of the Bohemians’

Copyright 2015

The name “Sokol” means falcon, a bird known for its strength, swiftness and energy, symbolizing the active, vigorous, strenuous, and independent life, which is the ideal of Sokol programs.

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Miroslav Tyrš (17 August 1832 – 8 August 1884) was a Czech art historian, sports organizer and founder of the Sokol movement.

Little Bohemia, or Bohemian Town, is a historic neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. Starting in the 1880s, Czech immigrants settled in this highly concentrated area, also called “Praha” (Prague) or “Bohemian Town”, bounded by South 10th Street on the east, South 16th Street on the west, Pierce Street on the north, and Martha Street on the south, with a commercial area went along South 13th and South 14th Streets, centered on William Street.[1] It was located south of downtown, and directly west of Little Italy.

The Bohemian Cafe, South 13th Street

Early Czech immigrants from Austria-Hungary found work in Omaha’s meatpacking industry, at the American Smelting and Refining Company lead smelter north of downtown, or at the Union Pacific shops.[2] Institutions in the community included the Prague Hotel, built by Gottlieb Storz in 1898; Sokol Auditorium, built in 1926 by one of Omaha’s four sokols, and St. Wenceslaus Church, a Czech Catholic Church. By 1919 the community also had a general store, grocery, dry goods store, a bakery, a shoemaker, saloon, milliner, and doctor.[3]

As South Omaha‘s meatpacking industry grew, many Czechs moved from Bohemia Town to South Omaha, closer to their employment. Later concentrations of Czechs developed on the east side of South Omaha.[3] The Immigration Act of 1924 was largely responsible for ending large-scale immigration of Czechs to Omaha.

Wensel Braskewitz

Born in Bohemia on 1851. Wensel married Christine Marie Roth and had 3 children. He passed away on 1921.

Family Members


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Freewheelin Frank Reynolds died at 1:00 in the morning on January 30th, 2003, at sixty years of age. He maintained his humor and enjoyment of living in his cabin in the redwoods by his beloved waterfall, in company with his cat, the deer, the foxes, and a passing bear. Those who have seen Frank recently, found him in clearness of mind, Zen expectancy of death, and manly resolution. Frank was the Secretary of the San Francisco Hells Angels in the 60’s, in his middle years he began practicing Zen meditation. He has been a Zen hermit for many years.


San Francisco 1966

Hell’s Angel Freewheelin Frank, Michael McClure and George Montana are rehearsing at Michael’s place for a local performance. They would put music to McClure’s poetry and play and sing their hearts out. It was in sessions like this that McClure’s “Oh lord, please buy me a Mercedes Benz” was developed as a political song, which Janis Joplin then turned into a pop song.

Tyrš did not study art or art history but he received proper education from Robert von Zimmermann, visiting art galleries in Germany, France, Italy and England and reading art history books (Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Friedrich Schiller, Arthur Schopenhauer, Hippolyte Taine, Herbert Spencer, Henry Thomas Buckle, Karl Schnaase, Gustav Friedrich Waagen, Franz Theodor Kugler, Anton Heinrich Springer, Johannes Overbeck and Giovanni Morelli).[2]

His first book on aesthetics was Hod olympický (Olympic Feast, 1868), an ode to Greek arts and sports. In his next book O zákonech kompozice v umění výtvarném (The Law of Composition in Art, 1873) he distinguishes three kinds of art work: 1. more content than form, 2. balanced, 3. more form than content. His study O zákonu konvergence při tvoření uměleckém (The Law of Convergence in Creating Art, 1880) he argues that both form and content should be submitted to the artist’s idea. The idea is influenced by external conditions which he described in his other important books O slohu gotickém (Gothic Style, 1881), Láokoón, dílo z doby římské (Laocoön, Masterpiece from the Roman Times, 1873), Phidias, Myron, Polyklet (1879) and the unfinished Raffael Santi a díla jeho (Raffael Santi and his work, 1873, published 1933). Tyrš saw an ideal type of Czechslavic men and women in the paintings of Josef Mánes but on the other side he did not think highly of Mikoláš Aleš.[2] His life interest and greatest monograph was focused on the life and work of Jaroslav Čermák (1879). Among the world painters he appreciated mainly Eugène Delacroix.[2]

In 1887 the Habsburg authorities finally allowed, after over twenty years worth of proposals, the formation of a union of Sokol clubs – Czech Sokol Community (Česká obec sokolská, ČOS). The union centralized all the Sokols in the Czech lands and sent Sokol trainers to the rest of the Slavic world to found Sokol institutions in Kraków, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and even the Russian Empire (mostly the Ukrainian lands).

In 1889, though officially forbidden by the authorities, members of the Prague Sokol went to the World’s Fair in Paris. There they won several medals and established strong connections with French gymnasts and the French public. The Sokols have been credited with establishing the beginning of the strong French sympathy for the Czechs and their subsequent political alliances on this trip[citation needed].

Members of Sokol who emigrated from Czechoslovakia set up small Sokol groups abroad. This Sokol migration, for a variety of reasons, began even before Czechoslovakia became a nation in 1918, intensified as a result of the World Wars and the Communist suppression, and continues to this day. Bohemian, Moravian, and Slovak immigrants and Czech-American citizens started the American Sokol Organization in St. Louis Missouri in 1865, only three years after the first Prague Sokol. Units quickly formed and by 1878, the United States had 13 Sokol chapters. By 1937, American Sokol membership rolls counted nearly 20,000 adults in areas as far-flung as New York City, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, St. Louis, Texas, Nyack and parts of Canada. Senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska, who was of Czech heritage, was a lifelong member of Sokol Omaha.

Hruska was born in David City, Nebraska. His ancestors were Czech immigrants, and he was proud of his Czech heritage. He was a lifelong member of Sokol Omaha, American Sokol Organization, celebrating his Czech heritage.

Even after Nixon resigned, Hruska defended him and claimed Watergate only became a scandal as part of a partisan effort to attack Nixon.[1]

History of Sokol San Francisco Unit

Sokol San Francisco was founded in 1904 as part of American Sokol. The founding members of the San Francisco Sokol were: J.J. Justice, Frank Lastufka, Bohumil Kantner, Antonin Matlach, Frank Budinsky, Karel Kotal, Josef Fousek, Josef Widerman, Jan Zak and Vaclav Storek. They met on August 22nd 1904 and formulated the preliminary steps for instituting the Sokol organization in Bay Area.

In January 1910, Czech women organized a new branch of Sokol called “Sokolice” San Francisco Unit, an independent unit of Sokol SF and held classes with gymnastics the German Turner Hall at the Mission Street. One year later, on January 31, 1911 the two units were combined, creating one unified – Gymnastic Association Sokol – San Francisco Inc.

  • By 1912 the Sokol Hall was built at 739 [Page Street in San Francisco. For many years it was the seat of the Pacific District of Sokol and many other Slavic organizations enjoyed the use of the building.
  • After the beginning of World War I in 1914, many of the young Sokol gymnasts were drafted and a large number of them never returned.
  • In 1918 Sokol SF raised $10,000 to help then Professor Thomas Garrigue Masaryk to create an independent new country, the Czechoslovak Republic.
  • Sokol SF was very active organization during World War II. $25,000 was raised to support the Red Cross during that difficult time.
  • In 1960, Sokol SF was proud to unveil a bust of the first Czechoslovak President Thomas G. Masaryk in the Rose Garden of the Golden Gate Park.
  • In 1968 the first Sokol Hall on Page Street was sold, and a Sokol SF purchased a new building in San Mateo.


The Little Bohemia neighborhood has had several important landmarks.[4]

  • Prague Hotel on the SW corner of South 13th and William Streets.
  • Bohemian Presbyterian Church at 1474 Hickory Street. There is a stained glass chalice above door, which is a symbol of the Hussite movement. Czech language services ended in 1980, and today it is home to Templo Victoria and Spanish language services.
  • Bohemian Cafe on the SW corner of South 13th and William Streets.
  • Famous Disney animator Art Babbitt lived at 1436 S. 13th as a child.
  • Tourek Engraving and Printing on South 13th Street.
  • Milacek and Sons Monument Company across from the Bohemian National Cemetery on Center Street.
  • Bohemian National Cemetery on Center Street.
  • Donut Stop on South 13th Street.
  • Tomasek Machine Shop, Inc. on South 13th Street.
  • Sokol Auditorium and Gymnastics Hall on the northwest corner of South 13th and Martha Streets.
  • Huser Printing, a Czech family printing business on South 13th Street.
  • Former Bohemian-American National Committee headquarters at 1211 South 13th Street.
  • St. Wenceslaus Church

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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