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Mythology > Mythweb.com May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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What it is: Mythweb.com is a Web site that covers the basics of Greek mythology. Although it’s safe for kids and designed for use in classrooms, its offhand narrative style and comical cartoon illustrations make it an entertaining refresher for myth-lovers of any age.

What it’s all about: Writer Joel Skidmore and political cartoonist Mark Fiore teamed up to produce the most eye-catching portion of the site — the Heroes’ stories. Here, you’ll find short and snappy recaps of the stories of Hercules, Perseus, Odysseus and more, complete with colorful snapshot cartoons, some of which are animated. The site also features profiles on the major Greek gods as well as short takes on the familiar stories of King Midas, Atlas, Tantalus and others, explaining how they are still relevant today. And then there’s the encyclopedia, a handy (and searchable) index of characters and terms. So if you don’t have time for the full story and just need to know who exactly the Harpies were, or whatever happened to Orion, this is the place.

Why we like it: Certainly I’m impressed with the site’s usefulness and depth, but it’s the entertainment value that really lights my Prometheus-style fire. Skidmore’s quick and casual retellings of the old myths (“Heracles lopped off the one head that was supposedly immortal” or “‘Okay, okay, don’t get yourself into an uproar,’ he said to Perseus, though not perhaps in those exact words”) paired with Fiore’s dead-on funny illustrations make stories you’ve heard many times seem new again. And if you’re a bit rusty on your Greek lore, you’ll actually learn a thing or two while you’re grinning your way through the site’s archives. Now that sounds like a real gift from the gods.

grmythtantalus.jpg Mythweb.com’s illustration of the story of Tantalus


Jennifer Aniston grateful to be Greek May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston credits her Greek upbringing with helping her stay down to earth.

The actress insists a strong sense of family and community pointed her in the right direction at an early age.

Aniston, whose father John was born in Greece, says: “I think there’s a warmth to my family and to Greeks in general. How I grew up is creating little communities. My friends, who I’ve had since I was 14 years old, are still in my life today and they’re so important to me. It’s what keeps me grounded and keeps it on the real.”

And she loves the idea of growing old as a archetypical Greek grandma: “My grandmother was the centre of it all. I would love to be that person. The grandmother of the family, the godfather of the clan, sure.”

Greek beaches praised in European environment report May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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The high quality of Greek coastal waters and beaches, as well as the country’s high biodiversity, was praised in a report on the state and prospects of the environment in European Union countries carried out by the European Environment Agency, which was presented in Thessaloniki on Wednesday.

Greece fared badly with respect to its recycling efforts and the development of renewable energy sources, however, ranking last in Europe.

The EEA’s report was presented at the 2nd session of Thessaloniki University’s Environment Council focusing on the environmental problems faced by the city and surrounding region.

According to the report, 99.9 per cent of Greek beaches satisfied national criteria and 97.6 per cent satisfied EU criteria in the summer of 2004.

On the other hand, greenhouse gases have increased steadily in the country over the past decade, while the main sources of these emissions are the production and use of energy, the disposal of wastes and agriculture.

By contrast, renewable energy sources covered only 8 percent of the total use to generate electricity when the European average is 14 per cent.

At the same time, Greece ranks last among EU countries for the rate of recycling, while refuse and urban waste increased by 42.5 per cent between 1995 and 2003 due to economic development, intense urbanisation and increased consumerism.

The country is also slammed for its methods of disposing and handling wastes, which are judged unsuitable and lead to the degradation of surface and underground waters, but has made improvements in the handling of hazardous wastes.

Problems are also pinpointed in the distribution of water, which is seen to be particularly unequal. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, with demand for irrigation purposes double over the past 20 years.

Greek beaches fine and sandy May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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Greece has the second-highest number of clean and well-maintained beaches out of the 40 countries rated by the Blue Flag campaign in its annual awards, the results of which were made public yesterday.

The Denmark-based organization awarded Blue Flags to 404 Greek beaches (21 more than last year), as they fulfilled 29 criteria, including those for water quality, environmental management and safety. The campaign is run by the independent Foundation for Environmental Education, which is responsible for inspecting thousands of beaches around the world. Spain topped this year’s list.

Among the Greek islands, Crete was found to have the greatest number of suitable beaches, gaining 92 Blue Flags, followed by Corfu with 32 and Rhodes with 31. But Skiathos, in the Sporades, was this year’s big winner as 7 beaches on the island were added to the list for the first time.

Fall photo events seeking artists May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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For years now, the fall has meant the inauguration of photography exhibitions at city art galleries and cultural venues all over Athens.

At the end of September, the International Month of Photography, which is organized by the Hellenic Center for Photography and HCP’s founder Stavros Moresopoulos, will open in the capital. It includes exhibitions on international and Greek photography and looks into the history of photography as well as its contemporary aspect.

The central theme in the event, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is titled “On Faces” and explores the different aspects of portraits in photography.

Part of the program includes a large exhibition on the work of the late Voula Papaioannou, one of the classic names in Greek photography and a pioneer in human interest photography of the inter-war and postwar period.

Other highlights are an exhibition on Jens Liebchen’s work that explores the relationship of politics to art, and a presentation on the work of George Georgiou from his travels in Serbia, Cyprus and Turkey.

The program is not yet final and organizers of the event are inviting photographers to submit their proposals until June 20. The International Month of Photography will open on September 27.

Another event which will be held at the same time is the five-year-old Kythera Photographic Encounters, which photographer and writer John Stathatos established on the island of Kythera. Besides photography exhibitions, the event includes a conference, lectures and the Milos award, which each year is given to a short-listed Greek publication on photography (albums, monographs, anthologies, critical studies, books on the theory or history of photography as well as catalogs of photography exhibitions are all categories covered by the competition).

Authors or publishers are invited to submit their proposals.

Delphi’s Cultural Amphictyony May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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International meeting will focus on peace and culture and feature distinguished theater personalities.
The event will run June 30 to July 14 and will take place at Delphi.

Al Pacino may not make the expected appearance as King Herod in Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” at this year’s International Meeting organized by the European Cultural Center of Delphi, yet the program will make up for his absence with a variety of other events. The meeting will feature many distinguished theater experts, ranging from Anatoli Vasiliev and Maya Morgenstern, to Nikita Milivojevic and Michael Cacoyannis.

The festival, which will run June 30 to July 14, will focus on peace and culture. Events which fall under the general category of “Cultural Amphictyony” will include a conference, an exhibition, theater performances and concerts.

“Culture is a matter of the heart and mind and not of interest,” said Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, the Center’s President, at a recent press conference. “My presence here is indicative of how I perceive the European Cultural Center of Delphi,” said Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis. “The center ranks high on the ministry’s agenda, because we believe it can work on many levels for Greece and can also provide a lot, much more than what it has proffered so far.”

The official opening of the “Cultural Amphictyony” will take place on June 30, in the presence of President Karolos Papoulias.

It will be followed by the opening of Costas Tsoklis’s exhibition “Peace,” a monumental installation featuring two crashed cars.

On Saturday July 1, the conference, titled “The Role of the UN in the 21st Century,” will kick off with discussions on war and peace in the ancient Greek world. Participants at the conference, which will end on July 6, include Fanis Kakridis, Horst Dieter Blume, Oliver Taplin, James Diggle, Wang Xiao Chao, Stelios Papathemelis, Juri Rubinski, Paul Tavernier, Giorgos Kouroupos, Shlomo Avineri, Carmen Marquez Carrasco and others.

The artistic program will also begin on July 1, with the staging of Aeschylus’ tragedy “The Persians” by the Greek National Theater.

A performance of works by Greek poets and melodized poetry with Nena Venetsanou, Margarita Zorbala and Lakis Pappas will take place on July 2 and the School of Dramatic Art will present the production “Homer’s Iliad,” directed by Anatoli Vasiliev, on July 3. “My Homeland,” Nikita Milivojevic’s compilation of extracts from the tragedies “Seven Against Thebes,” “Antigone” and “Oedipus Rex” will follow on July 4 and Seamus Heaney’s “The Cure at Troy,” directed by Helen Eastman, will go on stage on July 5.

“Peace and War Through the Eyes of Children,” a theater adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedies “Ecclesiazusae” and “Peace” with primary school pupils from Greece and Turkey will be staged on July 6, to be followed by Swahili music and gospels by the Shangilia Children’s Choir of Kenya on July 9. “To Miss Electra Atreidis, Mycenae,” a work based on Stavros Vavouris’s poem and directed by Memi Spyratou, will be presented on July 14.

What is more, a tribute to “Cyprus and Democracy” will take place July 20 to 23, with a performance by the Adouloti Keryneia Choir on the 20th, Michael Cacoyannis’s “Lysistrata” with Maya Morgenstern on the 22nd, and a concert with film music and songs by Mikis Theodorakis on the 23rd.

The European Cultural Center of Delphi’s Athens offices are situated at 9 Frynihou, Plaka, Athens, tel 210 3312781-5.

The Acropolis restoration May 31, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Acropolis restoration work proceeding slowly but surely
Technical problems keep cropping up in the long, ongoing restoration project.

Professor Haralambos Bouras, chairman of the Committee for the Preservation of the Acropolis Monuments, has said it often enough before, but this time he is saying it with a lot more certainty: The three basic areas of the ancient temple's restoration will be completed by the end of the year. The rest of the restoration work will take another three to four years, while other plans to improve the look of the surrounding area and to work on the promotion and projection of the site will not be fully implemented until 2020. The fact is that restoration work on a monument as old as the Acropolis is never really over.

Some of the delays in the ongoing restoration are due to the fact that the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has not yet examined certain studies. There are also other unresolved issues, such as where to house a number of stone epigraphs that are still outdoors.

Temple of Athena Nike

The restoration of the Temple of Athena Nike is taking a good deal of time as new technical requirements keep cropping up. This time they are having to reinforce the old concrete slab around the temple and restore the frieze and the cornice as well as having to reconstruct a section of the eastern pediment.

The structural problems located in the peripheral walls of the Acropolis and noted in the annual report by the preservation committee are extremely complicated to deal with, according to Bouras, because a large section of the ancient wall is covered by another that dates to 1715, while other sections have collapsed and were rebuilt.

The professor also said that over 100 fragments from the Parthenon and the Propylaea were found in the area and those of special interest were handed over to be displayed at the Acropolis Museum.

Work on the northern colonnade – the greatest challenge facing the restoration committee – is ongoing, though here, too, there have been some technical delays.