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A Letter from your Editor > July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Editorial.
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Dear Valued Reader,

HomeboyMediaNews is a fast-growing blog. Both in respect of readership as well as the number of news we provide on a daily basis. And this, is due to you. Our loyal reader. Thank you for choosing and for entrusting us as your reliable source of information.

However, looking back at our different blog categories, we feel that these are not “friendly” enough enabling you to locate, in a more accurate way, the news and the information that you are looking for.

HomeboyMediaNews strives to provide high quality and perfection always caring to serve our readers in the best of our abilities.

Having said that, please be informed that as from today, we shall start re-arranging our categories section by adding more ones and/or moving older posts under the new categories to be created. We trust that in this way you will be able to search our news in a better and friendly way as opposed to the way you used to do so.

We apologise for any inconvenience you may experience during this process. We rely on your kind understanding. But please just consider this > HomeboyMediaNews is building for the future!

Thank you!

UPDATE > July 18th, 2006 (local Athens Greece time 20:15)

Just to let you know of my mixed feelings! Amazed, curious, proud, happy, responsible. Yep! All those nice words packed in one container. You want to know why? Simply because I have just fount out that HMN ranks among the top WordPress blogs! In fact, ranks at position No 89 (out of 100). Check it out at > http://botd.wordpress.com/

Did I say I feel responsible? That means that I do feel great responsibility towards our loyal current-and-future-to-be readers. Thank you all for being here with me!

Sailing Tetsis’ seas July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The artist’s monumental oils and watercolours take centre stage at Andros’ Museum of Contemporary Art through to September.

Having spotlighted the art of Picasso, Moore, Braque, Miro and others in the past few years, the Museum of Contemporary Art on the island of Andros returns this summer to the local artistic output with an exhibition of Panagiotis Tetsis, a genuine exponent of the post-impressionistic seascape tradition. Sixty monumental works – oils and watercolours that measure up to three metres long – make up the artist’s ode to the sea. Among these are Tetsis’ most recent turbulent winter seas which coincide with the mature period of his work.

Born in 1925 on the island of Hydra, where he spent his childhood and early teenage years, Tetsis moved to Piraeus in 1937 but would return to his birthplace every summer. The lifelong relationship between the artist and his subject-matter (also central to the art of Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika and Spyros Vassiliou) would be founded on these early years and was later on transferred to the canvas. But in turning memory into experience the artist is not merely nostalgic, points out the museum’s director, Kyriakos Koutsomallis. “His paintings rather reflect a resistance to decay and to the corrosive impact of time.”

“If I take a long voyage at sea, I get bored,” Tetsis says, “and I don’t agree with Cavafy that headed for Ithaca we ought to hope that the voyage lasts as long as possible.” And he adds: “I paint a large number of my seas from memory. I don’t need to paint them from life. And even if I do, I change them later in my studio, even changing them totally.” In this spirit the dazzling, at times oppressive, Greek light that can distort form by causing its contours to dissolve is counterbalanced in Tetsis’ compositions so as to preserve the form’s three-dimensional presence.

Though the artist depicts marine themes that are familiar to him – mostly set against the backdrop of Hydra and Sifnos – his rendering does not imitate nature by being realistic or identifiable, or cleave to the picturesque or folkloric. Tetsis’ seas have an abstract quality about them in the same way that the sea itself is not a clear blue but goes through often imperceptible transformations. These vary from subtle and dramatic variations of colour to the outbursts of its swiftly changing moods: serene and epic in its solitude, or raging wild and menacing. Applying generous brushstrokes on his surface, Tetsis avoids the trap of repetition by rejuvenating his chromatic palette. He captures the swift changes observed in nature.

Balancing discipline and emotion, Tetsis regards himself as a painter driven by the senses. His singularity, according to Koutsomallis, consists in his combination of “elegiac colour tones, compositional clarity and precision, thematic variety, a monumental character and freely, openly sketched contours”.

Panagiotis Tetsis’ Sea is on at the Basil and Elise Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros’ Hora (tel 22820 22444) through to September 24.

Parallel events include screenings on the artist’s life and work and a series of educational programmes in August for children aged 6-13.

Greek, Italian sculpture galore July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Modern Greek sculpture in the 19th and 20th centuries and a retrospective exhibition of Italian artist Marino Marini await visitors to the National Glyptotheque.

Mostly known for its promotion of painting, the National Gallery also has a keen eye for sculpture. As part of its undertaking to familiarise the Greek public with modern sculpture, two formerly royal stables at Goudi were turned two years ago into the country’s National Glyptotheque.

The sculpture gallery opened on an experimental basis in 2004 with a Henry Moore retrospective and an exhibition of Christos Kapralos’ totem-like wooden sculptures, which was followed in 2005 by Spanish/French sculptor Julio Gonzales’ exhibition. The Moore exhibit ran parallel to the National Gallery’s show Six Leading Sculptors Converse With Man, featuring works by Rodin, Bourdelle, Maillol, Brancusi, Giacometti and Moore.

On June 27 the National Glyptotheque officially opened its doors to the public with two shows: a permanent display of its collection of Greek sculpture and a retrospective exhibition of Italian sculptor Marino Marini.

In classical Greece, sculpture was considered the ultimate artform in the battle against death and the conquering of eternity. In recent history, sculpture would find fertile ground for its development in the last two centuries from when Greece gained independence onwards.

Featuring some 150 works from its holdings, the display is structured by theme, highlighting different phases in the history of Greek sculpture. The collection starts with the lintels created by the marble craftsmen of the island of Tinos, moves to neoclassical works of the early 20th century, records the influence of the French in the middle of the century and finally culminates in abstract pieces from the turn of the 21st century.

On permanent loan, Takis’ colourful Wind Signals are displayed in plein air next to a small-scale bronze cast of Yiorgos Zongolopoulos’ Zalogo Monument in marble and Thodoros’ wheel on a tight rope, reminiscent of Duchamp’s wheel. These are but a few works that fill the 6,000sqm open-air plot.

Thanassis Apartis’ classically rendered dog at the venue’s entrance finds its modern equivalent in Pandelis Handris’ Hunter, where the man-dog-bird triptych alludes to Freudian theories on the unconscious. Antonios Sohos’ wooden female figure mirrors the elegance and posture of the Louvre’s Lady of Auxerre; Bella Raftopoulou’s Couple bears striking resemblance to Brancusi’s Kiss; and Costas Dimitriadis’ Discus Thrower is executed in the style of Rodin.

In a Yannoulis Chalepas sculpture, Satyr plays with Eros under the gaze of Pavlos Prosalendis’ stoic Plato and Yiorgos Bonanos’ sensual Nana, the Zola-inspired sculpture marking the passage from classicism to realism. A whole section is dedicated to Tinos artist Yannoulis Chalepas, giving a taste of his upcoming retrospective show. Also on display are Magritte’s Le Therapeute, donated by Alexandre Iolas, Santiago Calatrava’s Flight and a recent acquisition – Antoine Bourdelle’s Apollo the Fighter.

Man, horse and rider take centre stage in the work of Marino Marini (1901-1980), whose sculptures are exhibited in the hall opposite the gallery’s permanent display. Born in Tuscany, Marini was originally a painter and printmaker before he turned to sculpture in 1922. He stayed often in Paris, where he became associated with Picasso, Braque, De Chirico and Kandinsky among others. In 1935, also the year of his first and only visit to Greece, he started working on two themes – his pomonas and his riders – which would stay with him throughout his life.

Marini’s sensual female figures were inspired by the Etruscans’ voluptuous goddesses, who were synonymous with fertility, prosperity and the succession of the seasons. Arranged in semi-circles, they stand for a period of bliss that is violently disrupted by the atrocities of war. Characteristically, Marini’s later pomonas are beheaded or armless, nevertheless still carrying a message of hope for humanity. Yet, unlike with classical figures, Marini’s horses and riders are no hymn to heroism, glory and immortality. In his work, the relationship between the animal and its rider undergoes constant transformation. The sense of balance in the sculptor’s early studies of the same theme is overturned in the difficult years of war with the staggering horse struggling to sustain its balance as the rider is about to fall off the animal’s back (in the Miracles series), the bodies of the two often forming a cross. Again there is a gradual transition from a classical depiction to an abstract, expressionistic one. Marini also turns to the world of the circus, capturing dancers and jugglers (giocoleri) and immortalising the moment before or after they perform their tricks.

Also on show are busts by Chagall, Kokoschka, Moore, Arp and Stravinsky among others, which strike the viewer with the way they bring out the model’s inner world. A handful of Marini’s paintings testify to the artist’s fundamental relationship with colour – he would not start working on a sculpture before registering it in colour.

Marino Marini’s retrospective is on at the National Glyptotheque in Goudi (off Katehaki Avenue, tel 210 7709855) through to October 30. Admission at 6,5 euro (students 3 euro).

Art blossoms July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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An exhibition at the New Benaki Museum traces contemporary renderings offloral themes – from the literal to the ironic and political.

Usually associated with beauty, innocence and harmony in nature, flowers have always been a popular choice for artists. From the traditional still lifes of Dutch Renaissance that reflected the social and financial status of a prosperous bourgeoisie to their idealised depiction in the impressionist paintings of Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard, and Warhol’s pop-art flower portraits, the flower continues to change its artistic guises.

Once again, with Flowers in Contemporary Art, a new exhibition at the Benaki Museum on Pireos Street (curated by Eleni Cypraiou and Stavros Tsigoglou), the flower is back in focus via a collage of works by 24 Greek and 18 international artists. Rendered in various media – from traditional painting and sculpture to video and photography – the works range from the literal depiction in the form of a colour-and-shape study to the more suggestive renderings that are often intentionally kitsch so as to convey irony or comment on gender issues and politics.

A landscape artist, Panagiotis Tetsis, is driven, like botany-specialist Niki Goulandri, to the flowers’ life-asserting beauty, which is often synonymous with the perfection of their form. In her emotionally-involved flower “portraits”, treated by the artist as organic entities, Anna-Maria Tsakali goes as far as personifying her delicate “companions” by giving them names. Deceptively optimistic, Thanos Tsigos’ bold compositions convey the artist’s existential concerns regarding the cycle of life. Apart from depicting the joy of life, they hint to the tragedy of death as a natural consequence of beauty withering away.

Springing out of plaster, Vlassis Kaniaris’ carnations imply an act of resistance to the military dictatorship of 1967-1974. Also politically coloured are Despina Meimaroglou’s lively but threatening Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil). First displayed at Washington’s Pyramid Atlantic Art Centre, her digitally processed flowers, seen from an uncomfortable, in-your-face angle, are meant as a comment on the war in Iraq.

Gender issues can been traced in Niki Kanagini’s installation Manuscripts and Venus in which flowery pumps step on a painted image of a male organ. In Kiky Smith’s Daisy Chain, mutilated female limbs are arranged on the floor in the shape of a daisy. Flowers play a decorative role in Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki’s erotic portraits of sensual young women, while Chris Ofili’s exotic, almost psychedelic, plants refer to the artist’s African roots. Among the show’s best known pieces, Jeff Coons’ kitsch artwork Large Vase of Flowers is an ironic blow to the baroque aesthetics of the nouveau riche.

‘Flowers in Contemporary Art’ is on at the new Benaki Museum (corner 138 Pireos and Andronikou streets, tel 210 3453111) through to August 27. Open: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 10am-6pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-10pm. A tour of the exhibition was planned for July 2, 9 and 15 (noon), while visitors to the museum’s gift shop can find jewellery, ceramics and art objects inspired by floral themes.

Acropolis restoration hits a hitch July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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The restoration of the marble temples of the Athens Acropolis has hit a new hitch which could further delay the decades-long project, Greek officials said on June 28. Restorers are trying to rescue the monuments, the crowning glory of the Golden Age of Athens, from the ravages of time, pollution and natural disasters but their efforts have been repeatedly beset by hold-ups.

The latest glitch has emerged in the 5th Century BC temple of Athena Nike, not far from the Parthenon, the monument dominating the hill.

The temple was dismantled in 2000 and was supposed to have been restored in time for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Now newly discovered problems with the foundation have further slowed a technical study relating to its reconstruction.

“There has in fact been another small delay,” Culture Minister George Voulgarakis told a news conference following a tour of the Acropolis. “The final study now needs to be implemented and new funding may be needed for the reconstruction.”

Since 1999, more than 28 million euros has been spent on the Acropolis restoration, with 86 percent coming from the European Union.

Movies > Cacoyiannis awarded top Cyprus honour July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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The Cyprus Government this week finally got around to honouring Michael Cacoyiannis, Cyprus’ best known and internationally-acclaimed artist for his work as a film and theatre director, a poet and translator of Shakespeare and other major writers.

Now in his eighties, Cacoyiannis has collected dozens of major international prizes, honorary doctorates and other awards for his life work but the Cyprus state held back until President Tassos Papadopoulos decorated him with the state’s highest award, the Grand Cross of the Order of Archbishop Makarios III, during a special ceremony on Monday at the Cyprus Cultural Centre in Athens during his visit to the Greek capital.

“I consider tonight’s award of this honorary distinction to Michael Cacoyiannis as only a partial writeoff of moral debt,” President Papadopoulos declared in an address extolling the work of the Cypriot artist, who lives in Athens, during the award ceremony that was attended by leading names of Greece’s artistic world.

President Papadopoulos added that “the moral debt of the state and of its citizens to the special people of letters and the arts is never settled in full, but only partially. Our debt to them must never be fully settled so that we are obliged never to forget, and to remain constant debtors to all those who through their creative inspiration raised us to the spiritual heights of the Greek sky and led us to the magical roads of the Greek dream” Papadopoulos said.

Ceaseless dedication to inform the world about the Cyprus tragedy > The President went on to praise Cacoyiannis as much for his internationally acclaimed artistic achievements as a film and theatre director, as for his ceaseless dedication to inform the world about the continuing tragedy of Cyprus and the need for its reunification through the ending of the Turkish occupation.

President Papadopouloos said that he did not go to Athens to praise Cacoyiannis, as this would be like “taking coals to Newcastle”. He stressed however that “as Greeks, we are, and will constantly remain indebted to Michael Caccoyiannis, the director, poet and translator of literary works, the intellectual and idealist. The Michael Cacoyiannis of opera and film”.

The Michael Cacoyiannis of the harmonious composition of inspired words with beautiful action. The true patriot who struggles for the future of his special homeland and the surival of the Hellenism of Cyprus….

“Michael Cacoyiannis did not choose the easy position and the irresponsible role of a passive spectator before the continuing drama of Cypriot Hellenism. He reacted, hurried, joined the ranks and continues to struggle to this day. The tragedy of Cyprus is a personal matter for him, not only because Cyprus is his special homeland, but because every Greek who respects himself and his history, has a duty to feel and to regard Cyprus as something that affects him directly as a person”.

Moving challenge to the collective national conscience > President Papadopoulos referred particularly to Cacoyiannis’ documentary “Attilas 74″ a film he shot in Cyprus immediately after the 1974 Turkish invasion that documents the plight of the ethnically-cleansed Greek Cypriot refugees.

The President said that this film “is not just an ordinary film that documents the facts and testimony of the involved and suffering people. It is a moving challenge of the collective National conscience. It is a substantive historical deposition on the crimes of the coup d’etat and the barbaric Turkish invasion, to those bitter months of July and August of 1974, when Cyprus, betrayed and abandoned by Gods and men writhed covered in blood from the blows of the junta of Athens and of Turkey’s invading Attila. Michael Cacoyiannis intervenes through his commentary in the cinematic presentation of history and delivers to the present and future time an authentic and proven testimony of the facts, before, during and after the catastrophe of Cyprus. A catastrophe that smashed through a vertical and painful blow the continuation of the 30 centuries of the troubled historical path of the island. The aftermath of the invasion constitutes a challenge, a message and a lesson that the policy of appeasement of the aggressor through concessions on our part, and the compromise with what cannot be compromised is neither a recipe for salvation nor an alternative for resistance to the occupier and his plans”.

The President also praised Cacoyiannis for his ceaseless efforts to keep the international community aware “of the issue of the missing of the Cypriot tragedy and the criminal looting and sacrilegious destruction of the our cultural heritage”.

“Through his prestige, intellectual standing and contacts, the great creator of great works will continue to strive with the stubborness of the tenacious fighter for the determination of the fate of our missing and the protection of our cultural monuments, at least of those that that have escaped the organised and systematic destruction by Turkish invader and occupier. Michael Cacoyiannis will continue to serve the holy case of Cyprus. A case that concerns, must concern every Greek individually and all Greeks as a whole”.

The President concluded his address saying > “The award being presented to you today for all the good and beautiful work that you have created has as much value as the value of the love that Cyprus as your birthplace has for you. I assure you that this love has a very high value, as it affects a worthy person like you. I thank you for everything. Cyprus thanks you for everything, and we all wish you to feel always well so that you can continue to create what is best”.

How the Athens Olympics were prognosed July 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics.
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How the Olympics spurred Greece to break its economic records
The country has confounded those who said the Games would be ruinous

It was, the doomsayers agreed, a tragedy waiting to happen. After hosting the Olympic Games, Greece would be heading into crisis.

Exhausted by staging the world’s biggest sports event, at €7bn (£4.8bn) the costliest ever, its economy was in dire straits. State coffers had haemorrhaged to the point of depletion. Short of cutting back, it could take years – even decades – to recover.

That was the prognosis two summers ago. This weekend, as the first of an estimated three million Britons fly into holiday resorts and far-flung islands, they will surely notice how fit the patient seems.

Rather than trailing its EU partners in economic league tables and indices, Greece appears to have bounced back. And, armed with a new confidence thanks to the Olympic Games, it is doing so with better infrastructure and better service.

‘Greece, economically, is turning the corner,’ says Ted Coloumbis, who heads the prominent foreign policy think-tank Eliamep. ‘It is going through a process of reform that, although painfully slow, is beginning to pay off.’ (more…)

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