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Greek Food Festival begins Friday October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Everybody shout “opa!” It’s time for the Tallahassee Greek Food Festival from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church, 1645 Phillips Road.

There’s a special wine-tasting from 5 p.m. to closing Friday. The fest is about more than food, Greek culture, arts and crafts share the spotlight as well. Admission is free. Food will be sold for various prices. There’s a small additional charge for the wine-tasting. Call 878-0747.

There will be a parking area on the grassy south side of the church and attendants will be on hand to direct visitors to other parking areas. Handicapped parking will also be available.


Cyprus gets its own cardio unit October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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Nicosia’s Aretaeion private hospital yesterday opened its cardiac surgery department, giving Cypriots the chance to have heart surgery at home instead of going abroad for treatment.

The department’s head, as well as the head of hospital’s intensive care unit, is cardiac surgeon Dr Martinovic Dragos and his vice head is Dr Fathi El Ghetmi. Both surgeons had previously practiced at Bad Neustadt in Germany, Europe’s third largest cardiac surgery centre.

The department, made up of two cardiac surgeons, three anaesthesiologists, three theatre nurses, three technicians, two anaesthesiology nurses, and 14 nurses for the intensive care unit specialised in cardiac conditions, will perform all adult heart surgery, as well as electrophysiological examinations and implantations of multi-site stimulation devices in patients with congestive heart failure.

Greece secures rights to ouzo October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Food Culture, Wine And Spirits.
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Ouzo and tsipouro are to be recognized as Greek products by the European Union and will be regarded as drinks that can only be produced in Greece, Agriculture Minister Evangelos Bassiakos said yesterday.

Following an EU meeting of agriculture ministers in Brussels, Bassiakos said that the legal protection of the drinks will be secured across the 25-nation bloc.

“The minister succeeded after difficult negotiations to register the drinks ouzo, tsipouro and tsikoudia as geographically protected,” the ministry said.

According to an Agriculture Ministry official, Greece had also allowed fellow EU member Cyprus the right to make ouzo when it joined in 2004. Cyprus also produces zivania, similar to tsipouro and tsikoudia.

The EU ministers also agreed yesterday to give Cyprus the exclusive right to produce zivania, a colorless alcoholic drink with a light aroma of raisins.

The EU has previously granted brand protection to other drinks, such as champagne from France.

Greeks avoiding fast food despite modern lifestyle October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece, Health & Fitness.
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Poll also shows traditional diet on wane

The dietary habits of Greeks are changing to suit increasingly fast-paced lifestyles but a growing number of consumers are declining fast food for healthier fare, according to survey results presented yesterday.

The research, prepared by the Consumers’ Protection Center (KEPKA), found an 18 percent increase since the last study in 2003 in the number of people who eschewed fast food.

Press coverage highlighting the negative impact fast food has on health has helped raise awareness of the issue, said Evangelia Kekelekis, KEPKA general secretary.

“People have started to realize the role of diet in health. Based on data from the World Health Organization, heart problems are responsible for half the deaths in Europe. One third of them are connected to bad dietary habits,” said Kekelekis. An improved diet reduces the chances of cancer by 30-40 percent,” she added.

In the survey, carried out from July last year through last month, 51.7 percent of those questioned said they changed their diet for health reasons or because of more demanding work commitments.

Data also showed that the traditional Mediterranean diet of lentils and fruit has given way to potato chips and cakes. Pulses feature on the dinner table only a few times a month and meat is consumed more often. Food supplements appear to be more in fashion as 25 percent of respondents said that they have used them, though often without a doctor’s recommendation.

Meanwhile, food safety has also become a main issue for consumers. Almost daily, the news shows health inspectors turning away tons of food that is unfit for consumption but consumers are still not convinced that these crackdowns are effective. Eight in 10 respondents believe that the government is not doing its job properly with the market checks while 60 percent questioned the results of food inspections.

Because people are more pressed for time these days, they are also spending less time grocery shopping. More than a third (37.5 percent) of respondents said that they go to the supermarket once a week and 16 percent said they shop for food every day.

Weight-loss centers are also becoming popular options to shed extra kilos, despite the steep costs. Half of the respondents said they tried to lose weight by going on a diet; of that portion, 73 percent said they had sought the services of a weight-loss center.

The survey questioned 880 people between the ages of 18 and 75.

Opera season starts with Mozart October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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GNO presents daring ‘Don Giovanni’ at Acropol Theater for year celebrating composer

Mozart’s Don Giovanni is a subversive libertine who does exactly as he wishes wihout paying heed to the social consequences or to the price he will have to pay with his soul.
The Greek National Opera has embarked on the new season under difficult circumstances but with the reassurance that the staging of its first production at the Acropol Theater instead of the usual Olympia Theater currently undergoing renovations is only temporary.

The premiere of Mozart’s popular opera “Don Giovanni” took place yesterday with further performances scheduled to be held tomorrow, Sunday and November 1, 3 and 5.

The new production, which is part of events celebrating the Year of Mozart, includes the collaboration of various top artists from Greece and abroad. It is directed by Eike Gramss, who has previously worked with the Greek opera ensemble on Verdi’s “Macbeth” and Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre,” while sets have been designed by Eberhard Matthies and costumes by Renate Schmitzer, both of whom have worked with numerous international ensembles.

The orchestra is conducted by Hans Drewanz and the lead roles are performed by Dimitris Tiliakos (Don Giovanni), Dimitris Kavrakos (Il Commendatore), Loukia Spanaki (Donna Anna), Eugene Akimov (Don Ottavio), Mata Katsouli (Donna Elvira) and Peter Sidhom (Leporello).

Mozart was commissioned to compose “Don Giovanni” by impresario Pasquale Bondini, who was impressed by the resounding success of “Le nozze di Figaro” in Prague, where the composer conducted the premiere performance in December 1786.

Mozart returned to Vienna and arranged a meeting with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, during which the two collaborators decided to use the theme of Don Giovanni, a popular character in music and literature at the time, as the basis of their new work.

Don Giovanni was an especially compelling character as he embraced the principles of the Enlightenment and challenged divine law. Mozart’s Don Giovanni is a subversive libertine who does exactly as he wishes without paying heed to the social consequences or to the price he will have to pay with his soul.

The first presentation of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” took place on October 29, 1787, at the Estates Theater in Prague. Its success was equal to that of “Le nozze di Figaro” and Bondini was eager to commission a third opera from Mozart, who, however, preferred to leave for Vienna, where he wanted to make a few adaptations to the score before he could present it in his hometown, as he knew the public to be more eclectic there.

The Viennese public’s reception of the opera was lukewarm; sources even say that the emperor found it too difficult for the singers on a technical level and too indigestible for the Viennese public. Mozart, however, simply answered that the people of Vienna needed more time to mull it over.

Acropol Theater, 9-11 Ippocratous Street, Athens, tel 210 3643700. Reservations by telephone can be made Monday-Saturday from 9.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on tel 210 3643700 and 210 3608666.

Looking at spectators looking October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics, Books Life Greek.
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Photographer Ilias Bourgiotis’s new book reveals another side of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens

Photographer Ilias Bourgiotis’s “Spectators” is an intriguing take on the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Turning his camera away from the predictable focus of attention, the athletes and their achievements, he focuses on the spectators.

Published by greekworks.com 2006 with a perceptive essay by New York Times international sports journalist George Vecsey, “Spectators” invites us to watch people watching.

Pictured in black-and-white, often framed by the striking shapes of the celebrity-designed Games venues, his spectators are a study, for the most part, in quiet absorption. We do see some jubilant flag wavers and ticket holders, but the majority of the shots record moments of stillness, observation and reflection.

That portrayal of interiority is wedded to a sharp sense of composition. Take the jacket photo: A deceptively simple shot of a row of empty plastic seats and a spectator taking pictures, it repays closer attention.

The empty seats, a set of right angles, describe the faintest of curves, cutting the picture in two at a slight angle, wedging the spectator between them and a screen that partially conceals or reflects the next tier of seats. The figure of the woman, seen from the knees up, forms an upright and another right angle. The crisp sharp contrast of the foreground with the shiny light plastic against a dark background recedes into a background of grays. But the real focus is on the woman observing, apparently unaware of being photographed herself.

Even the crowd scenes often focus on the delight and suspense of individual spectators as they watch the events. These are the many private moments in the big public one, images of individuals brought together by one of the world’s greatest sporting occasions.

Athens born and based, Bourgiotis has exhibited widely in Greece and abroad and his work has been published in several books including “Unseen Greece” “Neorion – Shipyards of Syros” and “European South.” “Spectators” is his first collection to be published in the USA.

greekworks.com > As the name suggests, greekworks.com started life as a website, to which business partners Peter Pappas and Stelios Vasilakis brought extensive experience in Greek media, culture and education. They have since branched out into conventional publishing.

In town last week to promote “Spectators” Vasilakis said that the next big thing is a joint venture with the Greek publisher Estia, due in the spring. The website continues to thrive: A current highlight is Tehran-based filmmaker, photographer and writer Iason Athanassiadis’s account of Lebanon in the aftermath of the recent war.

‘Taste of Greece’ begins tomorrow October 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Traditional Greek delicacies will be among the joys of the annual “Taste of Greece” at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Luke at 400 Prospect St., East Longmeadow, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

Lunch and dinner will be served at 11 a.m.-9 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and at 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, with meals priced at $5-$10.

Souvlaki, lamb shanks, stuffed grape leaves, spinach pie and other authentic Greek dishes will be on the menu at the “taverna” in the church’s Pappas Fellowship Hall. Guests can purchase this glorious grub à la carte or as meals which come with salad and bread. Grecian gourmands can also buy packaged food, ready for reheating, to take home.

Other highlights of this cultural experience will include Greek dance demonstrations by the St. Luke Youth Dancers. The dancers, who range in age from 6 to 16, will perform in costume at 5:30, 7 and 8:30 p.m. on Friday, at 1, 3, 6 and 8 p.m. on Saturday and at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The gift shop, or “agora” as the ancient Greek marketplace was called, will include pottery from the Aegean Islands, statuettes, jewelry and such food items as olive oils, figs and honey, direct from Greece via the suitcases of globe-trotting parish members. A book store will feature books by Greek authors, travel books on Greece, Greek cookbooks and more. At the “youth booth” children of the parish will be selling novelty items, such as Greek dolls, and aprons and T-shirts emblazoned with Greek sayings.

Proceeds from the annual Taste of Greece have allowed St. Luke’s to add new classrooms and meeting spaces to their Fellowship Hall. Co-chairs of the Taste of Greece are Beatrice Syner of Agawam and Bill George of Longmeadow. For more information or a full menu, call St. Luke’s Church at 525-4551.