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Greek dance classes September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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Beginning Greek Dancing class will start Tuesday at the Sunset Center (Carmel, Montery County) beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The one-hour-long class is designed to teach modern and traditional Greek dances from the mountains, mainland, islands and taverns of Greece.

Intermediate and advanced classes start at 7:30 p.m.

The classes will be held in Room 9 of the center at San Carlos Street and Ninth Avenue. Cost of the class is $24 a month.

For information, call Darold Skerritt at 375-2549.

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Go to the Greek festival September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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You can shop and play, but above all you can eat great food

Yiasou ’06. Time for the 29th annual Greek festival, named with a word that means hello, goodbye and cheers (pronounced yah-SOO), appropriate for the embracing feel of the place each year.

You’ll get a chance to check out the Greek culture, see dancing, tour the Orthodox church and its accompanying buildings, hear live music, browse an open-air market, and, of course, chow down on Greek specialties.

CULTURE: The agora (open-air market) introduces you to jewelry, crafts, books and more, while tours of the church offer a glimpse of history and the Greek Orthodox faith. Kostas Kastanis and his band play almost continuously, and children of the church perform traditional Greek dances on several stages.

FOOD: Offered for both eat-in (inside or outside, at tables under tents) and drive-through (at the corner of East Boulevard and Winthrop Avenue), specialties include the pita sandwiches called gyros and souvlaki, assorted pastries and dinner plates of Grecian baked chicken, Athenian baked fish or lamb, (including spanakopita, kefteda, dolmades, pastichio and salad — if you don’t know, just go with it!). A bakaliko (grocery store) sells Kalamata olives, cheeses and more.

FOR KIDS: A playground on the grounds offers face painting, games, rides and fair foods.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: 600 East Blvd. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Dilworth.

TICKETS: $2; free for those younger than 12 with a parent/guardian.

DETAILS: 704-334-4771.

PARKING: Street parking is available in the neighborhood, though you may end up walking a bit.

Tasso’s Greek Taverna September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Tasso’s Greek Taverna, Delray Beach

Address: 14802 S. Military Trail
Phone: 561-637-7671
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Dining facilities: Full service
Service: When the restaurant is busy, plan on a 20-minute wait as everything is cooked after you order. But the investment of time is paid back in good food.
Delivery: Available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday; call for specifics.

The Dish

Tasso’s has a separate takeout menu, but I like ordering from the larger regular menu. That’s where you’ll find delicious specialties such as trout stuffed with spinach and feta. This entree is partnered with a small Greek salad that comes with a perky herbed Greek vinaigrette in a separate container, rice pilaf and a choice of veggies. The day we visited it was wonderful green beans cooked soft with tomatoes and peas or Greek potatoes that are red skins infused with lemon.

Good as all that is, the fish is the real star. It’s a huge pristine meaty filet complemented by cooked spinach enhanced with tangy feta.

You might want to add a few of the Greek cookies, melomakarona or kourambiethes,  from the pastry case.

Ongoing worldwide tour of post-Byzantine icons September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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The Velimezis collection is now at London’s British Library

   A detail from ‘The Passion of Christ – Pieta with Angels’ painted by Domenikos Theotocopoulos (El Greco) in 1566.

The almost decade-long world tour of the Velimezis collection of post-Byzantine religious icons is currently on a stop at the British Library’s Sir John Ritblat Gallery. This is the institution that holds the “Codex Sinaiticus,” a manuscript of great scholarly interest in Byzantine studies.

The exhibition, which differs from the earlier ones that have visited other wordwide destinations, consists of 14 icons on the subject of “The Adoration and Passion” and is structured around “The Passion of Christ – Pieta with Angels” by Domenikos Theotocopoulos (El Greco). Among the roughly 90 works in the collection (of which 10 works have not yet been recovered), this icon dates from 1566 and is held to be the collection’s most important. It was identified in 1996 by the collection’s curator, professor Nano Hadzidakis. The exhibition opens with the “Triumph of Orthodoxy,” an early 16th century icon which refers to the restoration of the cult of icons by the Byzantine Empress Theodora.

The exhibition of the Velimezis collection at the British Library is being held on the occasion of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies which took place in London in late August. It is organized by the London branch of the Hellenic Foundation of Culture in collaboration with the Benaki Museum and the British Library.

The Benaki Museum owns 16 icons of the Velimezis collection which were donated by the collector’s heirs after his untimely death in 1946. A Greek of Alexandria, Emilios Velimezis was a friend and collaborator of Antonis Benakis. He began collecting post-Byzantine icons in the inter-war period and showed a preference for icons of the so-called Cretan school, in other words, icons produced in Venetian-held Crete during the 15th and 16th centuries which stylistically resemble Venetian Renaissance painting.

In 1943, Velimezis appointed Manolis Hadzidakis with the study of the collection and a publication of a catalogue raisonne yet the project was cut short with the death of the collector. It was completed by Nano Hadzidaki in the early 1990s. Since the collection’s first public showing in 1997 and thanks to the efforts of Christos Margaritis, a nephew of Emilios Velimezis, the collection has been shown in major museums abroad. This international tour, which fulfills Velimezis’s wishes to make the collection as accessible as possible to the general public, has included stops in Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, South Korea and Peru.

Forthcoming locales include an exhibition at the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum and in the coming spring an exhibition at Berlin’s Bode Museum (the third showing in Germany). One of the tour’s intentions is to enhance scholarly attention to the Byzantine period. The fact that the London exhibition ran parallel to the International Congress of Byzantine Studies makes it a success in that respect. A number of icons from the Velimezis collection have already been included in major scholarly works.

“Adoration and Passion, Icons from the Velimezis Collection” at London’s British Library to September 21.

A road less travelled September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Paphos.
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If you want a relaxing day out, take the coast road from Paphos (or Polis) to Pomos

The coastal route to Pomos is a road less travelled. This is a trip for those who haven’t the appetite or the wallet for purpose-built tourist strips and pricey restaurants; it’s a trip that brings back memories of a slower pace of life. Another bonus, the traffic on this beautiful coastal road is minimal, so take your time, drive slowly, relish the marvellous and relatively unspoilt scenery – on one side you have the deep blue sea, the other, lush vegetation and the cultivation of bananas, almonds, walnuts, avocados, olives, and pistachios.

There’s also clusters of small market gardens producing vegetables and citrus fruits and, despite a proliferation of new building which seems inevitable in the Paphos region, the area still maintains a dignified, traditional, feel.

Driving along the main road, if the urge suddenly hits you for a quick paddle it’s only a matter of parking up on the verge and you are a few steps away from the pebble beach that runs the entire length of the coastline. As you dip toes in the clean clear water, look behind you, there looms the imposing mountain range which falls almost vertically to the sea.

Our first stop is the Church of Saint Raphael in Pachyammos, just round the headland from Pomos. This is the famous church of miracles – the name Raphael means ‘God has healed’ – and it is here that hundreds of pilgrims come from all over the island to pray to the saint in the hope of being healed.

An imposing structure, the church of St Raphael is relatively new, having been built in the late eighties to replace the tiny white washed church still standing just a few metres distant. Its setting is absolutely perfect, hanging limpet like on the rocks with stunning views of the surrounding seascape. Inside bold, bright wall paintings illustrating biblical stories cover every available inch of wall and ceiling space.

In one corner rests a collection of discarded walkers, crutches, leg braces, and sticks abandoned by those whose prayers for a cure have indeed been answered.

Walking through the village, there are many picture postcard scenes, an old lady dressed in black, snoozing under a vine covered pergola made from an old brass bed which also doubles as a washing line. Small gardens back on to the narrow road filled with herbs and flowers growing in old olive cans and in the tiny courtyard women gathered, knees cradling bowls as they go about the daily task of peeling potatoes, stripping beans, and gossiping.

You can then drive on through the village and beyond Pachyammos there’s a rough road which takes you on a 45 minute detour to avoid the enclave of Kokkina, a Turkish army base. This area was one of the key flashpoints in 1964 which resulted in Turkish jet fighters strafing it, resulting in very heavy casualties throughout all the Greek villages in the area.

It’s not an easy route surface wise, but you do pass some long-abandoned, almost ghost-like, Turkish settlements on the way to the coast at Mansoura, where there is a small, almost deserted, beach and a picturesque medieval bridge.

Returning back either from Mansoura or from the Church of St Raphael, you have two good choices for lunch. The first is set right down on the spur of Pomos Point, follow the signs to the Kanalli Fish Restaurant and Porto Pomos. There is a small, man-made harbour sheltering around a dozen locally owned fishing boats, so the fish doesn’t get any fresher. A few metres away is a small, sandy beach for customers so you can easily go for a quick dip and get your appetite stimulated, before sitting down to eat.

We decided to carry on down the road, taking the turn off to Gialia aiming for lunch at the Mylos Restaurant, 2km from the turn off on the Gaila-Stavrou road. Again it’s well signposted, just follow the winding road to arrive at a sign directing you up a small hill. There, in the old converted schoolhouse you can sit on the veranda, drink a cold beer and enjoy the scents, scenery, and silence of this lovely forest based taverna. We enjoyed the best tasting and freshest selection of stuffed vegetables I have tasted in a long time, home made bread, crisp salad with deep purple succulent olives and a platter of very good, home-made sheftalia.

This is very much a chill out, no hassle, great for the soul type day trip, aided by the feeling that St. Raphael would indeed have agreed that healing is also about putting yourself in a mindset where good things do indeed happen, ours was experiencing this lovely day trip.

Milos Restaurant
Pano Gialia
Tel 26 342676
Open seven days a week lunch and evenings.

Opening their doors September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus.
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Over 40 artists in the Paphos region are throwing their doors open this month for the public to see first hand how they work

Open studios is one of the largest community art projects staged in Paphos. Every weekend in September over 40 artists from around the region open their studios and workshops. The public then has the opportunity to meet and talk to each of the artists and view their work.

Last week I went to a sneak preview. For the most part, the artists participating seem to be an extraordinary happy bunch and, despite a huge cross section of backgrounds and cultures, all seem to be pulling together to make Open Studios a success, and hopefully an annual event.

One of the organisers, David Lester, first took me to Lemba Pottery, where George and Soteroulla Georgiades will show visitors their lovely hand-thrown pieces.

Next, we went to visit the Blue Dolphin studio where John Sabry has worked as a painter in oils, pastels, and gouache for the past 75 years, recording a quite marvellous visual record of the changing countryside of Cyprus. Now 92, John still works every day in his eclectic studio.

Just outside the village of Tala, you can visit Aristotelis Demetriou. He works from a large airy studio attached to his home painting glorious and highly collectable abstract landscapes, great slabs of beautifully composed colours that seem to vibrate on the canvas.

Judith Gibbs has a small workshop beneath her house in Chlorakas – pull back a purple curtain and you enter into a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of colour, textures and aromas that will positively overwhelm you. Judith works only with natural fibres, she weaves, using hand dyes from flowers and plants. She also grows her own cotton in the back garden. It is amazing what a clever, creative person can do using totally natural materials all locally sourced.

Moving to Kallepia and the Village gallery you can view the work of Philip Duerdoth, a man fascinated by light and shade reflected on local old buildings. He photographs looming arches and crumbling ancient doorways, recording creatively some of past architectural glories that are now fast disappearing. His wife Jenny will also exhibit her watercolours and delicate porcelain painting.

Mary Lynne Stadler, from her home in Kallepia, is first and foremost a printmaker working on stone then printing the image off to create limited prints. Recently she has immersed herself in painting with a series of bold, flowing, figure work that captures the huge energy she once used when drawing directly onto stone.

Nic Costa, the man behind Tekni Art School, and a good selection of the artists will also exhibit during Open Studios. Nic, an accomplished artist in his own right, also teaches at Tekni where he has helped nurture some of the very interesting talent that will be on display.

The highly representational work of Michael Gorman can be enjoyed by visiting the artist’s studio in Peyia. Michael has, over the years, built up a strong reputation for excellence, featuring nude figures set against land and seascapes. Yet another interesting artist to visit and view his range of works to date.

David Lester, my guide for the day, is also opening his studio doors in Peyia to show his abstract and semi-representational paintings that have a haunting quality about them.

Collecting art is a bit like collecting friends or people, there’s an actual relationship to a work of art, an aliveness – even dialogue – that makes the Open Studios project a much more intimate way of viewing art.

Open Studios every Saturday and Sunday in September. 43 artists are taking part, throughout the Paphos region although they are not all open on every weekend. 10am- 6pm. Brochures giving info on all artists and opening times are widely available throughout the Paphos area. Tel: David Lester 26 621130, Nic Costa 26 933356, 99 143293, www.openstudioscy.com

Music > Jazz, brandy, sunset… paradise? September 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals.
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Jazz musicians from around the world, including Gilad Atzmon, gather in Pomos next weekend for a three-day festival

A few years back no one would have imagined that bands from around Europe would come together in a Cyprus festival offering the very best international jazz. Based on the Paradise Place philosophy ‘let’s do our bit to bring the world together’, dreams have become reality as the 7th Annual Jazz Festival is now set to take place, a chance to savour all that modern jazz has to offer on three continuous days in Pomos, from September 8 to 10. Bigger and better than any previous year, audiences can enjoy groups from Cyprus, Israel, Armenia, Greece, Holland and England.

How exactly did the idea for such a festival begin? Socratis Efstathiou, owner of Paradise Place recalls, “The idea came up as I sat with a friend listening to some jazz, drinking brandy, and watching the sunset together… it was a great moment and I couldn’t stop thinking that it would be beautiful to listen to live jazz here”.

From the very beginning, The Paradise Jazz Festival was envisioned as an important event that would have cultural significance and popular appeal. “I wanted to offer something really great to the people and bring music lovers together from all different places,” Socratis said. “The very first jazz festival was small, with only seven musicians who came to play from England but I hoped that it would grow to encompass more groups and a much wider crowd”. His wishes came true as word spread that The Paradise Festival was one of the premiere music events of the year, attracting foreigners and locals alike.

With so much to enjoy in the three days of the festival it’s hard if you have to pick and choose what to see. Not to be missed is a performance by world famous saxophone player and writer Gilad Atzmon on September 10. Those who have seen a previous performance by Gilad won’t really need an introduction to his work, that usually has the crowds left completely speechless. Born in Israel, and currently living in London, Gilad is one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe.

Mixing together sounds of the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe, he has chosen to dedicate much of his music to world peace and his latest album Exile, was named the year’s best jazz CD by the BBC. Gilad has also recorded and performed with artists such as Ian Dury, Robbie Williams, Sinead O’ Connor and Paul McCartney.

There will also be home grown talent that will also be gracing the stage. The first night of the festival will feature our island’s foremostbass player Irinaeos Koullouras with his North and South band in an experimental performance based local music. The band consists of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot musicians, who will bring together the sounds of the clarinet, saxophone, piano and guitar.

This performance will be followed by the sounds of Greek vibraphone player, Christos Rafalides, with his band Manhatten Vibes, otherwise known as the ‘super cool jazz band’. What’s so very cool about this band? Based in New York City, this percussive oriented trio features renowned drummer Steve Hass and Grammy award winning Latin jazz bassist John Benitez, both playing alongside Rafalides. Together they lay down absolutely everything to really get you ticking from traditional swing, R&B, funk, to Cuban and Brazilian rhythms. The group’s eponymous CD was hailed as “one of the top-ten jazz recordings of 2002” by the Jazz Times magazine.

If you feel like a little rhythm and blues, then September 9 will offer some great beats with ‘Juba’ and ‘Blink Too’ from Holland presenting glorious Latin jazz swings. Having just taken part in the Jerusalem Jazz Festival this summer, ‘Blink Too’ features Hans Van Oosterhout on the drums. Currently a drum teacher at the Jazz Department of the Rotterdam Conservatory, Hans has established himself as one of the most sought after drummers in Holland.

On the last night of the festival, Vassilis Rakopoulos from Greece with Haig Yazdjian from Armenia will be wowing the crowds with Oriental and Mediterranean music. As for a grand finale, the ‘jamming session’ is exactly what it claims to be where all the musicians will have their own little party as they come together for some wild stage action in front of the crowd.

This year all groups will be performing on a new stage overlooking the picturesque hills of Pomos and the wonderful sunset over the coast. “You don’t have to be a jazz fan to enjoy the festival, it’s a beautiful place to be for any music lover. It’s a great live show in a relaxed and inspiring place,” said Socratis. This should be one musical experience you won’t easily forget.

For those who are worried about getting to the festival and back, the organisers have planned a bus service between Pomos and Polis Chrysohous. So relax, chill-out, kick off your shoes, and sip on your favourite drinks as rhythmic sounds carry you away into paradise.

Paradise Place Jazz Festival > With local and international Jazz groups. Begins September 8, 8pm. Until September 10. £12 for one day, £20 for two, £28 for all three. Children under 12 years half price and under 6 years free. Tel: 26-342537/ 99-516932. email: paradiseplace@cytanet.com.cy, www.paradiseplaceproductions.com