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Christmas Events > In Greece December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Special Features.
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THESSALONIKI > Thessaloniki Concert Hall, 25th Martiou Street, Paralia, tel 2310 895800.

– Tomorrow: Traditional Christmas carols from Austria and the rest of the world, with the St Florianer Sangerknaben Choir, pianist Matthias Giesen and the Melos Brass ensemble.
– Saturday: The Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra, under Nikos Athinaios, will interpret Handel’s “Messiah” with soprano Majella Cullagh, alto Iris Vermillion, tenor Thomas Michael Allen and bass Tamas Bator, in aid of the Hellenic Society for Disabled Children (ELEPAP).

PATRAS > 2006 European Cultural Capital > For information, call 2610 368000 or log on to www.patra2006.gr

– Saturday: Children’s Christmas concert, with works by Beethoven and Yiannis Psathas. (8 p.m. at the Art Factory)
– Christmas Eve: Christmas concert with carols and other festive works, by the Melos Brass ensemble and a children’s choir. (7 p.m. at the Art Factory)

ATHENS > Small Music Theater, 33 Veikou Street, Koukaki, Athens, tel 210 9245644.

– Tonight: Christmas concert by the Small Music Theater music school. Admission is free. Alavastro Cafe, 78 Damareos street, Pangrati, Athens, tel 210 7560102.
– Christmas Eve: Greek Reggae and ska by Locomondo.

At the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333.
– Christmas Day and December 27-30: “The Magic Flute:” Mozart’s opera, adapted for children, is staged in Greek with interpreters Haris Andrianos, Antonis Koronaios, Vassiliki Karayianni and Christophoros Staboglis, the Fons Musicalis Choir and the Camerata Orchestra under Alexandre Myrat.
– Gloria Theater, 7 Ippocratous Street, Athens, tel 210 3609400.
‘Golden and Silver Christmas Night’
In his fairy tale, Manos Kontoleon sheds a different light upon Christmas Night, with narrations, theater improvisations, music and songs. Adapted and directed by Anna Kontoleon, the production stars Stavroula Thomopoulou and Alkmini Stathatou. On stage Saturday, Sunday and December 26 at noon and December 27-29 at 5 p.m.


Attis group’s absurdist take on a Patras urban legend December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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Theodoros Terzopoulos interrupts classics for all-male staging of a prostitute’s story

Director Theodoros Terzopoulos explains that his actors all appear dressed in suits and ties, and carrying steel buckets on their heads, meant to symbolize the washing of the city’s dirty laundry.

A mid a brainy series that included some Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Muller along with a few ancient Greek tragedies, Theodoros Terzopoulos’s Attis Theater company has decided to stage a popular Greek urban legend about a notorious jilted Patras prostitute who murdered her lover’s child in revenge and later became a ghost haunting the city. “The Last Mask-Fallimento” by Costas Logaras is based on true events that took place in the 1960s.

What is even more interesting about this production is that the prostitute, Patrinella, is played by seven male actors, offering the audience a captivating spectacle and even considerable humor. The staging allowed Terzopoulos to practice his very particular sense of the absurd, and also won him the Union of Theater Critics award.

“Patrinella is a Patras folk legend and she appears in the work of many of the city’s writers,” said Terzopoulos. “Known as Maria or a plethora of other names, she killed her lover’s son after he left her, a result of his bowing down to the pressure of society that mercilessly condemned the relationship. The crime had shocked society at the time and the matter did not end there either. Until the very day she died, in prison, she never stopped cursing the people of Patras and the city itself. Her curses were terrible and are still talked about today, while Patrinella became a ghost that parents would summon to frighten their children if they misbehaved. There are those in the city who still say they can hear her in the summer, dragging her chains along the walls of the castle. A few times during Carnival, they even burned effigies of Patrinella rather than the usual Carnavalos. This is where the play begins: Patrinella’s effigy comes to life with a great cry while she is being carted around on the float and she begins to act out her passions.”

All-male cast > But why hasn’t a woman been cast for the part?

“There was a risk that a woman would identify with the role of Patrinella too strongly and we wanted to avoid any possible melodrama that is inevitably inherent in such a story,” the director said. “I preferred the role to be performed by men; indeed a chorus of men. We took our cue from Brecht, where the man functions as the woman’s mask. I find this very interesting.”

While exorcising the melodramatic elements of the story, the casting of men for the part may also make the production appear somewhat farcical.

“Of course, but what prevails at the end of the performance is emotion, and anyway I did want a certain element of parody,” he said. “For example, Savvas Stroumbos performs a version of Patrinella the prostitute who is also deeply religious, who prays for her brothel to do good business. Every actor renders a different aspect of the character’s personality,  except for Tassos Dimas, who narrates. Meletis Ilias is the Patrinella who curses the city, Giorgos Symeonidis is the sadomasochist who rejoices when the city’s sewers back up, Nikiforos Vlassis the fiery and passionate one, Dimitris Kartokis embodies the streetwalker who chats up johns in the alleys, and Antonis Myriagos is the Patrinella who begs to be burned so that she may be released from her misery. That’s what the performance is all about, just as you’re about to suck in your breath, you keel over laughing!”

What’s more, he added, the actors are not dressed the part. They are all dressed in suits and ties, and carrying steel buckets on their heads, meant to symbolize the washing of the city’s dirty laundry. “The goal of the performance,” Terzopoulos explained, “is to highlight the bright and dark aspects of the human soul and of a city. The audience leaves the production feeling somewhat lighter, more at ease. To tell you the truth, I was a bit worried that the Patras public would chase us out of the theater. But the production seems to have had a cathartic, conciliatory effect.”

Bios showcases innovation in electronic games, sounds December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals, Music Life Live Gigs.
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The Modern Pioneers festival focuses on groundbreaking British ways

DJ and producer Jimmy Edgar, a leading figure on the electronica circuit, plays at Bios tomorrow as part of the monthlong Modern Pioneers series, showcasing musical innovation.

Back for the second year running, the Modern Pioneers festival, a monthlong series co-organized by the British Council and the downtown Athens venue-cultural center Bios, was launched last Friday and continues tomorrow with a DJ set from Jimmy Edgar, a prominent figure on the electronica circuit.

Staged with the aim of showcasing British innovation, this year’s series will focus on the theme of electronic games and will include various live shows to demonstrate an innovative trend in music today, the circuit-bending technique, or transformation of electronic games into seminal music instruments.

Though Edgar is an American artist from Detroit, his work is currently being marketed by a British record label, Warp Records. At 23, he ranks as one of the most promising producers and DJs of the electronica circuit.

Edgar, who dropped out of studies in fashion and design to concentrate on making music, has a background in art production that carries a heavy urban landscape influence. Influenced by various aspects of his native Detroit, such as the city’s decay, urban fashion, as well as the city’s eclectic music scene, Edgar has created unique and provocative ultra-modern sound environments.

Influenced mostly by jazz, funk, street-beat and R&B during his earlier years, Edgar launched his musical endeavors by playing drums in experimental bands and by making tape recordings.

«At first it was mostly experiments in sound, acoustic space, pretty minimal stuff, things like tape loops and tape manipulation,» Edgar noted on his website. These efforts formed the basis of his learning process as a producer. His keen musical interest also led Edgar to learn how to play any instrument he could get his hands on, including string instruments, saxophone and percussion.

A little over three years ago, Edgar released his first full-length release, «My Mines I,» on a Miami label, M3rck Records. This album helped generate some attention for Edgar and led to touring in the US. His live shows, which incorporated visuals such as synchronized projections, were well received.

Having grown up in Detroit, the birthplace of techno, Edgar has developed an affinity with the style, and, considering his work so far, is well placed to help its development and that of new branches emerging from techno such as «intelligent dance music» and electronified hip-hop.

Other upcoming Bios club events for this year’s Modern Pioneers festival include the British avant-garde group Die Trip Computer Die and the cross-media artist Kaspar Koenig on December 27. Koenig will also conduct a circuit-bending workshop in which participants will be encouraged to creatively «bend» circuits of old machinery for noise production. The festival, which runs through January 14, will also feature screenings of two classic British television series, «The Prisoner» and «Doctor Who,» as well as special installations that reinterpret popular video games through new media tools.

Jimmy Edgar, tomorrow, 10.30 p.m., Bios, 84 Pireos Street, Athens. For festival info, call 210 3425335.

Louis heads for Red Sea December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in News Cruises.
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Louis Cruise Lines announced yesterday that it would be starting cruises in the Red Sea as of this month until next April aboard the Sapphire.

Operating from Safaga port in Egypt, the cruise includes visits to Aquaba in Jordan, Sharm El Sheik, Suez and Hurghada in Egypt.

With a capacity of 12,263 tonnes and a length of 149 metres, the Sapphire can accommodate 660 passengers in 290 cabins. The cruises begin every Wednesday and include one night’s stay in a five-star hotel and well as transport to and from the Sapphire. Sights include Luxor and St Catherine’s Monastery.

Louis Cruise Lines > Louis started operating short cruises out of Limassol, Cyprus to the Eastern Mediterranean from the early 70s, a programme that is still in force. Louis Cruise Lines, a subsidiary of Louis plc, listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, has over the years evolved and expanded its cruise programmes. Today with a fleet of 13 cruise ships the company also operates cruises from the ports of Genoa and Marseilles to the West Mediterranean, North Africa as well as to the Eastern Mediterranean. From the port of Piraeus, Louis Hellenic Cruises sails to the Greek islands and Eastern and Western Mediterranean.

Four of the cruise ships, namely M/V Thomson Destiny, M/V Thomson Spirit, S/S   The Emerald and M/V The Calypso are chartered to Thomson Cruises of TUI AG and another one, the Arielle, to Transocean of Germany.

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

Gekas voted round’s MVP December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Fanis Gekas, on loan from Panathinaikos to German Bundesliga struggler Bochum, was named the previous round’s MVP by the popular German magazine Kicker for an impressive performance in his side’s 2-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach that also produced an elegant goal from the Greek striker. Gekas was also picked for the publication’s Team of the Week.

Besides his sturdy performance, Gekas picked up a misplaced pass late in the first half to produce a perfect chip over the opponent’s keeper to help Bochum win a crucial relegation-zone clash.

Victory in the final league match before the Bundesliga’s long winter break took the club to 14th place and dropped Gladbach into the relegation zone.

Gekas has been a regular scorer with Bochum since joining the German club this season.

Athletics, basketball top Greek polls December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics, Athletics, Basketball.
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Track and field’s Iakovakis, Devetzi and Greek hoopsters and coach named picks for 2006

Pericles Iakovakis was named the year’s best male Greek athlete by sports journalists for his 400m hurdle gold medal at the Europeans.

Two track and field athletes, Pericles Iakovakis, the current European champion in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, and Chrysopygi Devetzi, the silver medalist in the women’s triple jump at this year’s Europeans, were voted the country’s best male and female athletes in 2006 by local sports journalists. Results were announced at an awards ceremony in Athens yesterday.

Iakovakis and Devetzi were both clear winners in the voting cast by members of the Greek Sports Press Association (PSAT). Amassing 1,850 votes, Iakovakis ended well ahead of his nearest rival, the basketball player Dimitris Diamantidis, a key player for both Greece, this year’s runner-up at the World Cup, and domestic powerhouse Panathinaikos, who attracted 1,036 votes.

Devetzi, who drew 2007 votes, finished well ahead of second-placed Fani Halkia, a silver medalist in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at last summer’s Europeans.

The men’s runner-up, Diamantidis, however, was not left empty-handed. The men’s national basketball squad, which lost to Spain in the World Cup final last summer after stunning the USA in the semifinals, was named the best Greek team for 2006.

The team’s coach Panayiotis Yiannakis was voted the country’s best coach.

With the exception of Iakovakis, all the other aforementioned winners won their awards for the second successive year. Yiannakis and the national basketball team had topped last year’s polling for winning the European title in Belgrade.

Greek basketball player Thodoris Papaloukas, a key contributor to Greece’s Eurobasket and World Cup triumphs over the past two years, and a reigning club-level European champion with CSKA Moscow, had been heavily tipped for the Best Male Athlete award. But he ended third with 869 votes, 166 votes behind Greece teammate Diamantidis. It can be assumed that many journalists saved their preferences for these two by including them in their votes cast for the national team.

Swimmer Haralambos Taiganidis was named the country’s Best Disabled Athlete.

Original Faliron plans sacrificed December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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The landscaping and development of the Faliron coastline was one of the most interesting projects associated with the 2004 Olympic Games.

This project was supposed to soften the impact of the coastline’s gradual spread seaward during the reclamation works of the 1970s and 1980s, help restore access to the coastline for municipalities along the coast and provide flood control.

Unfortunately it was also one of the first projects sacrificed; it was postponed indefinitely and to date the Environment and Public Works Ministry has said little about its future.

The main goal of the project, designed by Faliron 21, one of some 10 design firms, is to link the residential areas with the coast. The only link at the moment is via the Esplanade. The plans provide for the existing coastal highway to be moved 90 meters southward and lowered. Two bridges will be built as crossings.

On the site of the existing highway, a sea canal 35 meters wide would be dug, bringing the sea back toward the city and resolving one of the area’s biggest problems, where to drain floodwaters from the surrounding low-lying suburbs. Smaller flood control works are also provided for.

The total project is budgeted at 50 million euro. Olympic Properties has provided the land. All that is needed now is the will.