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Sideliners with style take center stage in Athens December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Indie rock great Kid Congo Powers, Michalis Siganidis set for own shows

Distinctive guitarist Kid Congo Powers has not only played with underground greats such as The Gun Club and the Cramps, but was with them during their finest hours. He leads his own band for one show in Athens this Friday. Another important sideliner, Michalis Siganidis, leads his own band for two shows in the capital on Thursday and Friday.

Musical importance often comes from sideliners in bands or projects. Two musicians, one American, the other local, leading shows of their own in Athens this week rank very high in their respective circuits.

The contribution of guitarist Kid Congo Powers, who plays one show this Friday at the An Club (13-15 Solomou Street, Exarchia, Athens), to the history of underground rock cannot be understated. His endless stints with various peripheral acts that went on to become legendary include the post-punk band The Gun Club, the psychobilly band the Cramps, early-period Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and more recently, Angels of Light, a project started by the long-serving and respected Michael Gira after he terminated his Swans following 15 years of slowed-down, dark, and arty noise rock. For his pit stop in Athens, Kid Congo Powers will front his own act, the Pink Monkey Birds, to deliver some of his own work, a mix of garage punk, glam and dirty-sounding soul.

The guitarist’s career started back in 1979 when he formed The Gun Club with its late and revered frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce. From the start of his career, Kid Congo did not stick around with anybody for too long; he left the then-obscure Gun Club a year into the act’s life. When it recorded its now-classic 1981 debut album “Fire of Love,” Kid Congo had already joined the Cramps. But he helped write and develop many of the songs on this remarkable punk-blues album. He made three records with the Cramps, including its 1981 classic “Psychedelic Jungle,” and returned to The Gun Club three years later for 1984’s “The Las Vegas Story.” Kid Congo, whose open-tuned guitar playing rings a distinctive style, was also on board for 1987’s “Mother Juno” album that brought The Gun Club, including Kid Congo, out here early in 1988 for its first of two visits.

Other sideline activity has included guitar work on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’s “Tender Prey” in 1988 and “The Good Son” two years later, as well as the Angels of Light’s “How I Loved You” album in 2001.

From an entirely different scene, another important sideliner, Michalis Siganidis, a Thessaloniki-based musician who plays two shows in the capital this Thursday and Friday at Alavastron (78 Damareos Street, Pangrati, Athens), has been a key contributor, on double bass and overall creative line, to the renowned vocal artist Savina Yannatou’s backing band Primavera En Salonico. He is also a member of rebetika surrealists Himerini Kolymvites, and has put out several interesting absurdist-experimental solo records.


Star soloists gather at Athens Concert Hall December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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The Roland Petit’s choreographies, is part of the Athens Concert Hall tribute taking place this week.

A group of leading international dance soloists will pay tribute to French master choreographer Roland Petit at the Athens Concert Hall this week.

Lucia Lacarra, Wang Qinin, Svetlana Lunkina, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Cyril Pierre, Luigi Bonino, Lienz Chang and Li Jun will interpret celebrated pieces choreographed by Petit throughout his distinguished career.

Pieces from ballets include Georges Bizet’s “L’Arlesienne” and “Carmen,” Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek,” Maurice Jarre’s “Notre Dame de Paris,” Jules Massenet’s “Thais,” Leo Delibes’s “Coppelia,” Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Le Jeune Homme et la Mort” as well as Pink Floyd favorites provided with movement by Petit.

Born in Villemomble near Paris in 1924, Petit trained at the Paris Opera Ballet school before becoming a choreographer and developing landmark works such as “Paradise Lost,” “Les Forains” and “Les amours de Frantz.” In 1954, Petit married Zizi Jeanmaire, a dancer, who became his muse for a number of works.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, tel 210 7282333.

EU deadline for Turkey? December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Greek FM proposes giving Ankara 18 months to open ports and airports

Greece expressed its disagreement with European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn yesterday as Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that Turkey should be given an 18-month deadline to open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and airplanes.

Rehn urged European Union leaders yesterday not to press for a limit on accession talks with Turkey after the European Commission decided last week to partially freeze Ankara’s membership process.

However, Bakoyannis said that Greece’s views «do not converge with Mr Rehn’s.» She proposed setting a deadline for Turkey to meet its commitments to Cyprus which should not be linked to any efforts to begin reunification talks on the island. Bakoyannis said that the timetable was necessary otherwise «nobody knows when their commitments have to be fulfilled.»

Speaking from Brussels, where she attended an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting, Bakoyannis said the 18-month deadline which Greece wants to set Turkey should not lead to an end of membership negotiations if Ankara does not comply but should bring about a thorough review of EU-Turkish relations.

The foreign minister admitted that the views of the 25 member states on Turkey’s accession talks were not united. This divergence of views was evident during the visit of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi to Athens yesterday after he met with Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis. Prodi adopted a more conciliatory stance than Karamanlis toward Ankara.

«Our position is that we should leave the door open and ensure that the rules of EU integration are equal for all,» the Italian prime minister said. He added that the number of policy areas where membership talks have been frozen is «a technical issue.»

«Unfortunately, Turkey has not shown in real terms its will to adopt European values and principles and to take the steps which are necessary to progress on its European course,» said Karamanlis.

Archbishop to visit the Pope December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, will meet with the Pope at the Vatican on December 14 to try and further strengthen ties between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the Holy Synod said yesterday.

Christodoulos accepted an invitation from Pope Benedict XVI who visited Turkey last week. The pontiff met with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios during his trip.

The Holy Synod said Christodoulos’s visit to Rome aims to secure “more effective cooperation on major social issues.” The archbishop views his meeting with the pope as an opportunity “to create wider Christian cooperation and understanding,” the Synod said in a statement.

When Christodoulos travels to Rome, he will be fulfilling a long-held ambition. In 2004, the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece voted against allowing the archbishop to visit then pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

Parking fines hit 10,000 mark December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Municipal authorities have issued more than 10,000 parking tickets over the last two weeks to drivers who have violated the recently introduced parking system in central Athens as the City Council warns that strict policing of the measure will continue.

Mayor Theodoros Behrakis, who will be replaced by Nikitas Kaklamanis in January, said that no leniency will be shown to those hit with the 23 euro fine, with the exception of local residents that did not obtain the necessary permit in time.

The mayor said that only cases regarding residents fined in the first four days of the system’s operation will be re-examined. “We do not want to implement a money-making measure. We want people to understand that the parking system is here to stay. Strict policing sends this message,” Behrakis said.

Municipal authorities introduced the measure on November 20 in a bid to try and improve the city center’s heavily congested traffic conditions. Authorities claim that the measure has helped to ease traffic flow and increased the number of people using public transport to reach the city center. The system, however, has had its share of problems.

Kiosk owners have been slow in stocking up on cards entitling motorists to park in certain color-coded spaces, arguing that they have no financial incentive to do so. As a result, drivers may have difficulty in acquiring the card as they are not sold anywhere else.

“We do not have the capital to spend 500 to 600 euros per month for stock when no one knows whether it will continue to be sold next month. Parking meters have come and gone in Athens in the past,” said one kiosk owner. Kiosk owners earn a profit equal to 0.40 percent of the card’s price, revenues equal to that earned from the sale of bus tickets.

Behrakis said that he will call upon the company that handles the distribution of the parking card to help solve the shortage problem.

Greece gets UN boost on artifacts December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis called on the United Nations yesterday to adopt a resolution that antiquities be returned to their country of origin as Greece pushes ahead with efforts to recover its stolen ancient treasures.

“The illegal trade of antiquities is in the same category as the illegal trade of weapons, narcotics and people. It amounts to a form of organized crime that is directly related to mobsters and money laundering,” the minister said while addressing a plenary session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Voulgarakis added that a number of stolen ancient artifacts have recently been repatriated to Greece, since today both countries and museums are more willing to return them. “By working with other states and museums, Greece has already managed this year to obtain ancient objects that had been removed,” the minister said.

In September, Heidelberg University in Germany returned to Athens a fragment of the Parthenon’s northern frieze. A few days earlier, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles said that it will return two prized objects, including one that dates as far back as the 6th century BC. The Greek Government hopes that the return of the antiquities will bolster efforts to repatriate the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum.

The draft resolution, submitted by Greece, was approved by the assembly.