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Vote for the new Seven Wonders of the World December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For 7New Wonders.
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A new global internet campaign has recently been launched. A shortlist of the sites that could become the New Seven Wonders of the World was released and people from around the globe are now invited to vote for their favourites from a shortlist of 21 landmarks.

They include the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The only British entry is Stonehenge in Amesbury, Wiltshire, where substantial remnants of a monument erected between 3000BC and 1600BC still stand. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Sydney Opera House and New York’s Statue of Liberty are also on the list, which has been put together following a five-year campaign by the New 7 Wonders Foundation.

The main aim of this campaign by the Swiss group is to alert the world to the destruction of man-made heritage. The winners will be announced on January 1, 2007. Members include the former director general of Unesco, Professor Federico Mayor, and several leading architects.

You can vote by calling a telephone voting number, and enter the code of your chosen wonder. New 7 Wonders is aiming to use the popular and commercial success of this project to generate funds for good causes. 50% of all net revenues generated will go to the New 7 Wonders Foundation, dedicated to the restoration of the world’s cultural treasures. According to the rules, the new Seven Wonders must be man-made, completed by 2000, and in an “acceptable” state of preservation.

Related Links > http://www.new7wonders.com


Greeks state peaceful and happy December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness, Living.
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The average Greek person states that most of the time feels happy and peaceful although at times he is tired and under stress.

According to the European poll regarding mental well being, 61% of the Greeks asked said that they were happy and 58% peaceful, 56% said that they were full of life and 65% full of energy. A 36% said that they were feeling stressed and 30% tired.

A large percentage of Europeans feel happy and peaceful but a large number of people asked, said that they felt stressed and tired as opposed to the Greeks.

In new exhibition, Alpha Bank on modern Greek art December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Thessaloniki show draws from extensive collection
“Portrait of a woman” (180×200 cm) painted by Chronis Botsoglou in 1982 among the exhibits

It is a wall that is a work of art: In one of Alpha Bank’s central branches, a large, cement construction spreads across one side of the interior. The work dates from the mid-1970s and was a commission made by Credit Bank, now Alpha Bank, to artist Froso Michalea. Since then, each of the bank’s branches, not just in Athens but all over Greece, has been matched with a work of art, either large in-situ works that, once placed, cannot be removed or works that belong to the bank’s collection of Greek art. It is a rich collection of 5,000 works that includes paintings, sculptures, installations and prints.

Among the most impressive works to view while waiting in line at various branches of the bank are a 6-meter-long, mixed-media work by artist Nikos Kessanlis; Pavlos’s “Forest”,  an elegant composition of towering, slim tree trunks made out of wire; or a 5-meter-high wall woodcut by Tassos. They express an artistic aspect to Alpha Bank’s profile, the bank is also a major sponsor of cultural events, and the bank’s use of art as a refined tool of communication.

“The Alpha Bank Art Collection: Greek Art from 1920 to the Present,” an exhibition that draws from the bank’s art holdings and is now on show at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, reflects yet one more aspect of the bank’s extroverted cultural policy and expresses its support of the visual arts. Alpha Bank also owns a rare, by international standards, collection of ancient Greek coins.

The exhibition is a follow-up to the large anniversary exhibition on the bank’s collection which was held last year at the Benaki Museum. Irini Orati, the curator of the Alpha Bank collection, who together with Denys Zacharopoulos has curated the show, has included around 200 works that go through the main stages of 20th century Greek art’s history. What distinguishes this exhibition from the former presentation at the Benaki is its focus on the evolution of a modern style in Greek art and its emphasis on the contemporary period. Most of the works have been temporarily removed from the various branches for the purposes of the exhibition.

A iron construction by artist Giorgos Lappas, paintings by Achilleas Christidis and Kyriakos Mortarakos or prints by Lizzie Calliga are among the most recent works. Since 2000, when Alpha Credit Bank merged with Ionian Bank into Alpha Bank, acquisitions have focused on Greek art that dates from the postwar period to the present. Alpha Bank began to build on the existing Greek art collection that came to its ownership after the merger, the Ionian Bank was known for its important collection of Greek prints, enriching those areas that were empty or sparse.

Presently, Alpha Bank’s art collection is, according to Orati, particularly strong in the art of the interwar period and, thanks to recent acquisitions, in modern and contemporary art.

“Since we are not a museum, our primary purpose is not to make an exhaustive documentation of the history of Greek art,” Orati said. “Of course, this is still a collection that traces the course of Greek art. People often ask why we don’t open our own museum. Our objective is to build a collection that can be presented to the public in our branches. This also explains why the collection lacks in works like videos or installations that are hard to display.”

Risk of theft or damage has also excluded several of the smaller, interwar period works. The exhibition in Thessaloniki includes a number of gems of the period by some of the most important artists of the time. They are the artists who gradually helped pave the way for modern art and whose work is amply represented in the collection. Examples in the exhibition include the landscapes of Constantinos Maleas and the views of Mount Athos that Spyros Papaloukas painted in a style known for its distinctive use of light and color. There are also the symbolist-inspired, elongated forms in the art of Constantinos Parthenis and his contemporary Nikolaos Lytras “Red Boat in the Sea,” painted by Michalis Oikonomou, a recent acquisition of the Alpha Bank collection, is a small, atmospheric painting in which dabs of red animate the earthy tones of the painting.

In general, the Thessaloniki exhibition highlights the modern streak in Greek art. The classic works of late 19th century and early 20th century art, for example, those of the School of Munich, have been left out. Although the bank’s collection owns several of them, including many by Constantinos Volanakis, for example, Orati says that these works are also the hardest to find, at least with reasonable prices. “The market value of those works has escalated largely because of the Greek sale auctions that have been held in recent years,” she said.

In the Alpha Bank collection, one will also find that several artists are represented by entire series of their work. Thodoros Stamos, Chryssa, included in the collection is the entire series of the 12 marble “Cycladic Books,” four of which are presented in the exhibition, and Dimitris Perdikidis are among those artists in the collection’s contemporary period.

The exhibition in Thessaloniki puts on view only a fragment of the collection’s range. It is a well-balanced and elegant exhibition that travels through the course of 20th century Greek art and shows the route that modern art took in this country.

For specialists, it aids research by making public works that belong to a private institution. For the general public, it indicates the cultural profile of a bank and suggests the growing role that the private sector plays in the domain of culture.

At the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, 154 Egnatia Street, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 240002.

Assessing the Hellenic Festival December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival.
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A good attendance rate was noted this summer, both at the usual venues but also at the new ones.

Ariane Mnouchkine’s Theatre du Soleil shows were very popular.

The information recently provided by the Hellenic Festival regarding all of last summer’s activities was very striking, yet insufficient. The data covered all of the festival’s 11 venues, including the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, the Little Theater of Epidaurus and more.

It was announced that the overall proceeds from all of the events amounted to 3,823,943 euros and that, on the whole, 195,000 people attended the shows. The attendance rate for the Athens Festival was high, with an average of 75.61 percent and even 100 percent for most of the performances held at the Athens Festival’s new venue, 260 Pireos street. Ariane Mnouchkine’s performances at the Olympic Tae Kwon Do stadium in Faliron marked a 98 percent attendance, with 3,500 tickets.

The Hellenic Festival’s review mentioned the overall proceeds and the profits each theater made, but made no reference to substantial information, namely the budget and the final cost. The number of tickets sold for each performance was not announced either, although in the end, upon request, indexes with the proceeds, but not the number of tickets, from each show were sent out.

The festival announcement pointed out that the public, especially young people, responded very well, embracing all the shows and filling the venues. It added that the festival, under the direction of Giorgos Loukos, exceeded all expectations and presented an entirely renewed image with groups performing in Greece for the very first time. such as Mnouchkine, Sasha Waltz, Rachid Ouramdane and many others. It mentioned that most of the works were contemporary or older ones seen in a modern perspective and added that Athens was different this summer, with a great interest in cultural happenings and young people participating and discussing. It ended with the promise that the program of the 2007 festival, which will kick off on June 1, will be made public in January.

Regarding the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, Lefteris Vogiatzis’s take on Sophocles’ tragedy “Antigone” ranked first with 375,690 euros, followed by Sotiris Hadzakis’s “Thesmophoriazussae” (275,830 euros) and the National Theater’s “Persians” (directed by Lydia Koniordou, 266,990 euros). At the Herod Atticus Theater, Liza Minnelli came in first (278,139 euros), followed by Sylvie Guillem (246,805 euros), the tribute to Sofia Vembo (223,180 euros), the Hadjidakis concert (179,145 euros) and Diana Krall (who, in just one night, made 165,072 euros). At 260 Pireos, the Schaubuehne Theater, the Pina Bausch, the Compagnie Maguy Marin and other performances were very successful. An equally good attendance was noted at the Athens Concert Hall (with Sasha Waltz and the opera “Les Paladins”), the Scholeion (with Marivaux’s “L’Heureux Stratageme” and more), at the Lycabettus Theater (mostly the Thanassis Papaconstantinou concert) and the Little Theater of Epidaurus (Nikos Mastorakis’s take on “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Nikos Xydakis concert and more).

Films about war, its effects on the young December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Marina Razbezhkina’s Russian drama ‘Harvest Time,’ a 2004 production that won the Silver Alexander at the 2004 Thessaloniki International Film Festival, among other distinctions, is one of the highlights of the mini-festival.

Two days of films, documentaries and video art on the theme of “Young People & War” are scheduled for December 12 and 13 at the Philip movie theater in an event organized by the non-governmental organization Citizens for the Future.

The mini-festival brings together older and newer films that highlight the effects of war on the new generation and also includes a series of films created by children for the Zizanio magazine Camera Festival between 2001 and 2005.

The main screenings program includes highlights such as Gregg Tallas’s 1954 “The Barefoot Battalion,” which shows the plight of two Greek children during the Nazi occupation of Greece, and Marina Razbezhkina’s Russian drama “Harvest Time,” a 2004 production that won the Silver Alexander at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, the top prize at Trieste a year later and a FIPRESCI critics’ union award at the Moscow International Film Festival. The film tells of a family’s survival on a 1950s collective farm in the Soviet Union.

There is also “Jenin, Jenin,” a documentary on the Middle East crisis by Palestinian filmmaker Mohammed Bakri, and the Greek documentaries “The Truth About the Children of War” by Manos Zacharias and Giorgos Sevastikoglou, and “Brazil: Soldiers of the Hills” by Giorgos Avgeropoulos, who is also the director of the successful investigative journalism series on television Exandas.

The director will be present at the festival to discuss his professional experiences in war zones around the world with the audience.

The children’s section of the festival comprises 19 short films created by young filmmakers from Belgium, Norway, Greece, Scotland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Latvia, Armenia and Italy, all dealing with the subject of war and carrying a pacifist message.

Philip Cinema, 11 Thassou and Drossopoulou street, Amerikis Square, tel 210 8647444, 210 8612476.

A quick guide to varieties of olive oil December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Did you know this about olive oil?

• Extra-virgin olive oil is the strongest olive flavor of the four varieties of olive oil. It’s best used for drizzling, salad dressings, marinades, sauces, stews and soups.

• Virgin olive oil shares extra-virgin olive oil’s strong flavor but is slightly more mild. It’s best used for grilling, sautéing, drizzling, salad dressings, marinades, stews and soups.

• The oil simply labeled “olive oil” is much milder and better suited for cooking. It’s best used for baking, frying, grilling and sautéing.

• Light olive oil is the mildest of the four varieties and is best used for baking, frying, grilling and sautéing.

Tip: For baking, simply substitute equal amounts of olive oil for vegetable oil.

Tip: Remember to add in your shopping list to buy Greek produced Virgin Olive Oil, next time before you head to your grocery! Oh, and some Kalamata olives and Fetta traditional Greek cheece!

Exciting virtual reality on Pireos December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Stereoscopic theater constructed by Foundation of the Hellenic World inaugurated yesterday

It’s real. At the Foundation of the Hellenic World’s new Tholos theater, computer-generated graphics will allow the audience to participate in shows at the new state-of-the-art venue.

Tholos, a new virtual reality theater constructed by the Foundation of the Hellenic World on Pireos Street in central Athens is heralding in a new era in entertainment in the Greek capital. President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, presided over the inauguration ceremony of this impressive new venue yesterday.

Tholos, the Greek word for dome, is, without a doubt, an interesting marriage between culture and new technologies. What makes Tholos so special? First of all, there’s it shape, a round, futuristic edifice that seems to have landed among the old industrial spaces and gas stations on Pireos Street. The dome-shaped theater seats 132 spectators and is equipped with cutting-edge technology that allows stereoscopic three-dimensional projections to cover the entire dome. The spectator is thus fully enveloped in a virtual world, losing all sense of time and space.

Another asset of Tholos is its interactive potential. The audience can intervene in the show by using a special remote-control device attached to their seat, while there is also the possibility of incorporating real images of, say actors or presenters, into the simulated show. In contrast to the equally impressive projections at the Athens Planetarium, the screenings are not just a video, but computer-generated graphics that allow for audience participation.

Having explained all this in his introduction at a recent press conference, Dimitris Efraimoglou, the managing director of the Foundation of the Hellenic World and general manager of the project, was eager to get guests into Tholos for its maiden screening. The new virtual-reality production takes the audience to the Ancient Agora of Athens, revealing a precise panorama of the site’s architecture and layout.

The lights dimmed and a tour of antiquity began. Within the first 5 minutes of the impressive production, however, many began to feel a slight nausea; a result of the enveloping quality of the surrounding environment that shocks the senses. The effect is but short-lived.

Efraimoglou was reassuring. He said that only 10 percent of spectators are susceptible to the effect and added that the guides who will be presenting the material to the public are specially trained to deal with any possible malaise. Visitors are nevertheless advised to consult the ushers before attending performances.

On a different note, Efraimoglou said that Tholos, as well as other important venues that are in the works for the Foundation of the Hellenic World will, in the future, be used as creative tools by young artists and researchers. The managing director also added that Tholos intends to host school groups from around the country.