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Visually impaired to experience art September 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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On October 8, visitors to the National Archaeological Museum will enjoy a performance featuring fairy tales and myths about Eros, as well as being able to touch an original sculpture of the god of love.

For the first time ever, Greece’s largest museum, the National Archaeological Museum, will participate in an event celebrated every October by museums and art centers worldwide – Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. The event, an initiative of the New York-based international organization Art for the Blind (AEB), is dedicated to blind or visually impaired people who are usually excluded from appreciating works of art in museums.

Benefits of art

With specially adapted programs and educational materials, a visit to a museum and contact with art in general can be very fruitful for visually impaired people. Such contact can help them to create mental images and lead to the development of linguistic and other skills. It can cultivate a critical mind, boost self-confidence and can also provide learning opportunities in a stimulating environment.

Therefore, on October 8, the National Archaeological Museum will host a performance by the Paramythosendouko group between 11 a.m. and noon. The group, which consists of narrator Niki Kapari and musicians Yiannis Pseimadas and Evi Mazi, will narrate fairy tales and myths about Eros, the naughty son of the ancient goddess Aphrodite, for visually impaired primary schoolchildren.

After the performance, the children will have an opportunity to touch one of the museum’s original sculptures of the young Eros sleeping and then make up their own story about the character.

National Archaeological Museum, 44 Patission Street. Admission is free of charge and reservations can be made by calling 210 8217724, 210 8217717.

Video games, a staple of today’s digital culture September 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Games & Gadgets.
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Thessaloniki show highlights how interactive programs changed entertainment

The Gplay exhibition is on at the NOESIS Science Center and Technology Museum in Thessaloniki until November 12. It includes the games Magnavok Odyssey and Pong, which started off as military research projects.

There must be very few people over 25 years of age who have never played any arcade or video games, such as the Atari 2600 or even Pong, which one saw in cafes in the 1980s. Although they never became a mainstream activity in Greece, because of the general fear of computers and because people considered them childish, there is more to it than that. The history of video games is inextricably linked with the history of computers, television and our digital culture in general.

Starting off with the computers and video games of the 1970s and 80s, the concept of interactive games changed the future of television, cinema and entertainment on the whole, but also had a profound effect on issues such as sociability and war.

That is what makes the Gplay exhibition, on at Thessaloniki’s NOESIS Science Center and Technology Museum until November 12, significant. Visitors have an opportunity to follow the evolution of video games through a rich collection containing machines and software but also all of the promotional material of the era, from Atari and Pong to Nintendo, XBox 360 and Playstation.

The 140 exhibits are part of a larger collection, comprising 480 pieces, which curator Vassilis Haralambidis and the Bios group have been maintaining for years. This is the first time the exhibition is being presented in its complete form, as smaller exhibits have twice gone on display at the Bios venue in Athens. At the European level, it ranks as third in terms size, following two exhibitions in Germany and England.

The exhibition is divided into six sections, starting off with the ideas behind the creation of the first games and going as far as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions which are available today. It focuses on the games’ technological, commercial and theoretical evolution.

After World War II and while research for the development of the Internet for military purposes was being conducted in the USA and Europe, scientists from both sides of the Atlantic began working on the graphic representation of computer data on screen and on the development of simulators for the US Army. Within that context, Ralph Baer, the so-called “Thomas Edison of games,” had 500 technicians working on what turned out to be the first widely circulated game, Odyssey. Odyssey was first released in 1966 and was later mass produced in 1972.

From early on, video games were considered to have many uses: They were seen as training and planning materials for military, as an extension of television, or just as commercial entertainment products.

“Video games first appeared in an attempt to create interactive television, long before the Internet and the computer era, of course,” says Haralambidis.

At the Thessaloniki exhibition, the organizers present all the ideas that have been put into development so far, with a slightly critical approach, but without pushing visitors toward any firm conclusions.

“The games phenomenon is also sociological. We are interested in how they influenced their times, especially the 1970s, which is why we individually present some of the main characters, such as Sonic, Super Mario and Lara Croft, as well as the advertising campaigns for them. We are also interested in the reasons behind why, in the end, what prevailed was the entertainment aspect and mass production instead of a trend towards the more artistic. What video games definitely did was to take high technology out of the laboratories and into our homes.”

Video games made new technology accessible to everyone, giving a strong boost to what we call digital culture. It should be noted that all the exhibits are interactive.

The NOESIS center is situated at the 6th kilometer on the Thessaloniki-Thermi National highway, tel 2310 483000.

‘The Myths of Ancient Greece’ at the Herod Atticus this week September 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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Ancient myths ala Martha Graham > Company performs at Herod Atticus tomorrow, Wednesday

“As dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company, we feel that part of us is here in Greece… We have spent so much time in the world of classical mythology and it is very special to present these myths in the country in which they were born,” said Janet Eilber, artistic director of the celebrated Martha Graham Dance Company, at a recent press conference.

The company, which is celebrating its 80th birthday this year, is back in Greece for five unique performances. The troupe presented three shows at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall at the end of last week and is now scheduled to perform at Athens’s Herod Atticus Theater tomorrow and Wednesday.

A dancer and a teacher, Martha Graham became a pioneer of modern dance, establishing her own company in 1926. Through its distinctive understanding of movement, Graham’s work as a choreographer soon became a signature style of dance. In 1936, the artist came up with the landmark “Chronicle” choreography, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the world of modern dance. It was 16 years ago that the company last appeared in Athens, in 1990, when the public rose in heartfelt applause to Graham as she bowed to the Herod Atticus Theater.

The group’s anniversary is dedicated to the work of its legendary founder that was inspired by Greek mythology. For this special occasion, Eilber has selected four pivotal works from the great choreographer’s career which are presented for the first time in a single performance, titled “The Myths of Ancient Greece.” The program consists of “Cave of the Heart: The Legend of Medea,” “Errand into the Maze: Ariadne and the Minotaur,” “Visions from the House of Atreus: Scenes from ‘Clytemnestra’” and “Sketches from ‘Chronicle:’ A Call to Democracy.”

“We are very excited to be dancing at the Herod Atticus Theater again,” said Eilber, who danced in the company for 30 years. “What stood out in Graham’s genius was that she sought international truths that everyone relates to. She did not focus on swans, fairies and flowers,” she added. “She found these truths in the works of ancient Greece. That is why our presence here gives us a powerful energy.”

When asked whether the choreographies in the program have been revised, Eilber replied that when Graham was alive she was constantly revising her work. “The energy of the dancers changes as the years go by and that was something she paid attention to. What interests us now is to pass the message of Graham’s dance and choreography,” she replied. The Martha Graham Dance Company’s performances in Greece take place within the context of World Tourism Day on Wednesday.

‘The Myths of Ancient Greece’ > The production features four of Martha Graham’s landmark compositions, “Cave of the Heart: The Legend of Medea,” “Errand into the Maze: Ariadne and the Minotaur,” “Visions from the House of Atreus: Scenes from ‘Clytemnestra'” and “Sketches from ‘Chronicle:’ A Call to Democracy.”

The production will be performed by the Martha Graham Dance Company tomorrow and Wednesday. For ticket information, contact the Hellenic Festival box office, situated at 39 Panepistimiou street, tel 210 3272000 and the theater box office. On stage tomorrow and Wednesday.

At the Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou street, off Acropolis metro station, tel 210 3272000. 

Vardalos to shoot on Acropolis September 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life, Movies Life Greek.
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A very rare backdrop, the Acropolis will be the setting for Nia Vardalos’s latest film after the Greek Central Archaeological Council (KAS) gave its approval for filming to take place at the ancient temple.

KAS is notoriously strict in granting permits to film production companies to use the sites under its jurisdiction and does so very rarely. The last time the Acropolis was allowed to be used for a film shoot was for the 1989 film “New York Stories,” and even then it was only granted for the story directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

According to a recent publication in The Guardian, shooting for the latest film by the star and writer of the hit romantic comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” will begin some time in mid-October. This latest film is another comedy, titled “My Life in Ruins,” and is to be produced by Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson who is of half Greek origin.

The same team was also behind “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which became one of the most successful independent films in terms of sales of all time.

In “My Life in Ruins,” Vardalos plays a tour guide who takes groups of tourists around the archaeological sites of Greece and becomes involved in all sorts of adventures.

The actress and screenwriter, whose “Big Fat Greek Wedding” earned her an Oscar nomination, pushed KAS for months to grant her crew a permit to use the Acropolis. Other sites where filming will take place are Delphi, Epidaurus and Ancient Olympia.

Rare icon on its way back to monastery September 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Police & Crime, Religion & Faith.
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A priceless icon which is thought to have the power to work miracles has been recovered some five weeks after it was stolen from a cliff-side monastery in the eastern Peloponnese, police said on Saturday.

The icon was found after officers arrested an unnamed 28-year-old Romanian man in the village of Falakro in Laconia, southern Peloponnese, on Thursday. He had votive offerings, which had been stolen with the religious painting, in his possession.

The suspect is said to have admitted to stealing the icon and led officers to the spot where he had hidden it – inside an outdoor wall next to a small church in Falakro.

“The recovery of the artifact and the arrest of the thieves was a matter of honor for the Greek Police (ELAS),” said police chief Anastassios Dimoschakis.

The icon, which is some 700 years old, was stolen from the Elona Monastery in Leonidio last month. Police mounted a massive operation to find it.

The renowned image of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus attracts thousands of pilgrims to the monastery and its theft stunned the religious community and locals.

Police indicated the 28-year-old probably acted on his own. Another Romanian was arrested and later released on Crete after it emerged that the main suspect had been using his motorcycle. But officers said it is unlikely the second Romanian was involved in the daring theft.

The 28-year-old has lived in Greece for the last seven years and officers are investigating whether he was linked to any other crimes.

Police said the icon, which measures 40 by 50 centimeters, will be returned to the Elona Monastery on October 1 and Dimoschakis suggested that a chapel be built on the spot where the image was found. He said the police were willing to pay for its construction.

Dimoschakis said that a number of people had offered money to the police to be used as a reward for anyone providing information in connection with the theft. The police chief said that people could now donate money to the monastery instead.

Cyprus Rally final results September 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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Sebastien Loeb clinched his third successive Rally of Cyprus victory on Sunday to stretch his lead in the World Rally championship to 35 points.

1. S Loeb (Fr) Citroen Xsara 4hr 40min 50.4sec
2. M Gronholm (Fin) Ford Focus @ 21.2 secs
3. M Hirvonen (Fin) Ford Focus @ 5:16.1
4. M Stohl (Aut) Peugeot 307 @ 6:39.7
5. T Gardemeister (Fin) Citroen Xsara @ 8:40.4
6. X Pons (Sp) Citroen Xsara @ 10:05.9
7. H Solberg (Nor) Peugeot 307 @ 14:40.0
8. P Solberg (Nor) Subaru Impreza @ 15:21.5
9. C Atkinson (Aus) Subaru Impreza @ 17:15.0
10. M Wilson (GB) Ford Focus @ 25:21.0

Overall driver standings:
1. S Loeb (Fr) 112 pts
2. M Gronholm (Fin) 77
3. D Sordo (Sp) 41
4. M Hirvonen (Fin) 39
5. M Stohl (Aut) 33
6. P Solberg (Nor) 23
7. T Gardemeister (Fin) 20
8. H Solberg (Nor) 18
9. G Galli (It) 15
10. C Atkinson (Aus) 14

Overall constructor standings:
1. Kronos Citroen 142
2. Ford 135
3. Subaru 79
4. OMV-Peugeot 59
5. Stobart-VK Ford WRT 30
6. RedBull-Skoda 22

Related Links > http://www.cyprusrally.com.cy/default.htm