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Tarpon Springs Cultural Center features Kerasia Aravanopoulou January 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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“Colors of Greece” by Kerasia Aravanopoulou is on display at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center through February 28.

Born and raised in Volos, Greece, Aravanopoulou earned a degree in Tourism Management from the School of Management and Economics in Larissa, Greece.

A multi-faceted artist, she is equally occupied with music, specifically singing, as with painting. She also studied at the School of Fine Arts at New York University: drawing at the Met of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with instructor Meera Thompson and painting with instructor Betty Tomkins.

Her works reflect the physical simplicity of the subject as much as the simplicity of the artist herself. There is no room for “misunderstandings” in her landscapes, full of clarity, color, and light. Balanced, detailed, and at the same time, light and playful visions of a place that has and continues to leave its mark on people’s lives.

The exhibit is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Tarpon Springs Cultural Center is at 101 South Pinellas Ave. Call 727-942-5605.

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Constantinople promises an utterly captivating musical experience January 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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How many times have you heard a tune over the airwaves and become utterly captivated by it?

It almost becomes an obsession as you try to find out the title, artists and composer. Such teasers often promote a forthcoming concert featuring the whole work and, should your aural senses have been tickled sufficiently, you will probably be in the audience.

Just such a scenario occurred in Toronto some six years back when a couple of movements from Christos Hatzis’s Constantinople were played on radio to advertise the work’s premiere. So successful was the tease that the performance has gone down as one of the most successful premieres in Canadian musical history.

The music-driven, multimedia theatre event will reach these shores in the new year and receive its European premiere at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre on March 21, followed by three further performances on March 23, 24 and 25.

Despite taking its name from the old Byzantine capital and the great crossroads between Europe and Asia, Constantinople comes to London not from the Middle East or the Balkans, but from the pen of a Greek musician who has lived in Canada for the past 25 years.

Hatzis says the title should not be taken literally. Rather its eight scenes and 85 minutes use music, both live and recorded, words, movement and visuals to explore the convergence and tension between cultures and ends in a celebration of cultural and religious diversity.

Toronto, whose name is thought to come from the Huron word for meeting place, is home to both the composer and the Gryphon Trio, the group that commissioned the piece. All four musicians teach at the University of Toronto.

Hatzis, who left his native Greece when it was still under the rule of a handful of colonels, recognises that “second-generation immigrants in Canada do not subscribe to a ghetto culture, they become part of the country’s cultural mosaic”.

Indeed, the members of the Gryphon Trio are themselves something of a cultural mix. Violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon is of Thai and German descent, pianist Jamie Parker is Japanese-British and cellist Roman Borys stems from Ukrainian stock.

“We originally chose the name Gryphon because it embraced a range of possibilities, the hybrid creature of mythology and the capacity to grow in different directions,” explains Borys. For all the work’s theatricality, it is the music that, as Hatzis says, is the central protagonist.

“While the words are not a libretto in a conventional sense, the music and words tended to materialise at the same time, although some of the texts were chosen or created after the music had been written,” he says.

Hatzis’s previous London premiere was in 2004 at St Paul’s Cathedral during the Byzantine Festival. The Troparion of Kassiani, commissioned for the festival, was performed by Patricia Rozario and the English Chamber Choir.

Hatzis draws on a Byzantine rather than specifically Greek heritage. “As I was raised in Greece, I experienced both the Classical Greek tradition of reason and the more instinctive and spiritual influences of the Middle East. When I left Greece during the military junta, I was disillusioned about what was going on politically in my country. It’s very important for me to understand both sides of any debate and I have been drawn to musical explorations of cultures as diverse as those of the Inuit and the Armenian.

“Constantinople acknowledges the dark aspects of cultural confrontation over the centuries and the tragedies caused by narrow-minded allegiances. But the work clings stubbornly onto the positive effects of cultural and religious diversity and it celebrates the richness of that diversity. There is a spiritual inheritance for each and every one of us.”

Performances of Constantinople are at 8pm on March 21, 23 and 24and at 4pm on March 25. Tickets are £9-£18 (standing), £10 for students. For more information, go to www.roh.org.uk.

Business > Big firms create jobs January 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Greece has more than 715,000 private enterprises. Of these, 646,500 employ less than six people and 704,500 up to 20. That is, 98.6 percent of private businesses are not subject to the legal restrictions concerning layoffs, up to 2 percent annually, the small enterprise can hire and fire more or less at will.

The data regarding the size of Greek enterprises are impressive indeed, highlighting the basic difference between the Greek economy and more developed ones.

But the fact remains that firms with 21 and more employees, representing 1.4 percent of the whole, account for 36.7 percent of employment.

The particular weight which the relatively few large enterprises have on employment often feeds the myths about the need to seek greater labor flexibility, belittling the unrestricted flexibility in small enterprises. In these, labor inspections are much less frequent. Indeed, businesses with just one employee can make use of the subsidized “work experience” programs and hire staff temporarily without cost. This may be one of the reasons why temporary employment in Greece is on the rise, particularly in the sectors of wholesale and retail commerce.

But as a study by the Manpower Organization’s Employment Monitor, issued a few days ago, points out, the rise in employment in the small enterprise is brief and without prospects. Characteristically, only 11.3 percent of businesses employing between one and five people forecasts a rise in employment in the next three years. By contrast, 31.3 percent of large enterprises, employing more than 100 people, foresee an increase in hirings. The big firms, although in the minority in the private sector, continue to be those that create more and more lasting jobs.

A different look at the city, nature January 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Volos harbor in 1954, a photograph by Zimenis

Costas Zimeris (1886-1980) stood out from other photographers in the city of Volos and a selection of his photographs and paintings are currently on display until January 11 at the municipal Giorgio de Chirico Arts Center of Volos.

Like other photographers who hailed from the prefecture of Magnesia after the 1890-1900 period, Zimeris developed a very personal style, especially after 1916, when he was finally able to become more actively involved in his photographic pursuits after returning from the United States and serving in the Greek military.

His multifaceted work, which is open to different interpretations, continues to stand out today for its sensitive depiction of the urban and natural world.

A student of Antonis Rafanidis, Zimeris was a prolific photographer who captured hundreds of scenes of Volos and Mount Pelion, many of which have used for postcards.

Through his photographs and paintings, Zimeris created his own unique scenes, capturing the people of the city, its streets and environs. He followed in the footsteps of Stephanos Stournaris, an artist who spearheaded the local artistic style of the region, and was helped by the financial and urban development of the area.

His work that is on show in the exhibition represents the ongoing efforts by the city of Volos to promote its cultural heritage and its artists. 

A visual history of Volos, told in photographs January 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek.
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The new publication “Volos Then and Now” is the third in an attractive series from Olkos that contrasts the past and present of Greek cities in photographs.

In a concise introduction, historian Aegli Dimoglou outlines the history of the city, which grew in the early 19th century around a natural harbor at the foot of Mount Pelion to become a dynamic financial center and port. Since then Volos, located about halfway between Athens and Thessaloniki, has seen growth, decline, accelerated by earthquakes, and revival.

The black-and-white photographs taken in identical locations then, by Costas Diamantopoulous, Ippocratis Zimeris, Costas Zimeris, Nikos Stournaras and Stefanos Stournaras and now by Leon Mourtzokos, document that growth and the losses and gains that come with time.

Volos, notes Dimoglou, “embraced the Modern Movement” in domestic architecture, and some of that legacy as well as some examples of neoclassicism have come down, little changed, sometimes even enhanced, to the present day. Other vistas are virtually unrecognizable. The once-handsome Beautification Club of Volos, saved from demolition and partially reconstructed, now surrounded by a crowd of multistory apartment blocks, is a case in point.

Informative endnotes provide useful historical context. The book is available in Greek and in an English edition translated by Judy Giannakopoulou.

A grand gateway into the architecture of Ernst Ziller January 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Books Life Greek.
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Ernst Ziller1Ernst Ziller2  New album published on 19th  century German’s works in Athens > Kardamitsi-Adami’s research for this publication also led to official recognition of the ‘Little Palace’ in Haidari (left) and the Mela Hotel in Kifissia as being the work of architect Ernst Ziller.

A newly released photography album, “Ernst Ziller, 1837-1923: Art of the Classical,” depicting work by the 19th century German architect, provides great charm from a previous world, one that feels both familiar and distant, Greek and international.

Written and compiled by Maro Kardamitsi-Adami (Melissa Publishers, 70 euros), an architect, this anthology presents 50 works by Ziller, an architect often described as the most Greek of 19th century Germans, with accompanying photographs by Giorgis Gerolympos.

A productive, charismatic individual, who loved antiquity and was well connected among the Athenian society of his time, Ziller elevated Greek neo-classicism to its peak, ahead of its ultimate demise.

The architect, who is credited with over 500 projects around Greece, among them theaters, mansions, city buildings, churches and public buildings, spearheaded the neo-classical movement, which was infused with elements from the Romantic, Renaissance and Pompeian periods.

Kardamitsi-Adami’s research for this publication also led to official recognition of three Athenian structures as being the works of Ziller. These are the “Palataki” (Little Palace), as it is referred to, in Haidari; the Mela Hotel in Kifissia, northern Athens, and the Stathopoulos residential building in Psyrri, downtown Athens.

Compiled in a fashion that assures pleasant reading, the album, which is aimed at the general public, offers precious information and directs the reader toward understanding of a cultural heritage that remains unknown to most.

“It would be gratifying for me if this publication makes some people look up and remark, ‘There’s another Ziller,’” said Kardamitsi-Adami at the title’s recent presentation. “There’s such an abundance of Ziller’s work, both in Germany and Greece, that I will occupy myself with him again,” the architect added.

Born on the outskirts of Dresden, Ziller, who arrived in Greece as a young assistant to Theofilos Hansen, designed some of the most notable mansions in Athens and numerous other Greek cities. Projects by the architect in Athens include the Iliou Melathron, formerly the residence of the philhellene German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann which houses the Numismatic Museum today, the national theater, the Mela Mansion, and the Italian and Egyptian embassies.

Ziller is also partially credited for certain projects, either via collaboration or completion of work initiated by others. These include the Archaeological Museum, the National Library and Zappeion Hall.

The German architect also designed residential mansions on the outskirts of Athens, at that time, in Kifissia and in Kastella, the hill in Piraeus. Works by Ziller beyond Athens include Syros Town Hall in Syros island and the theater in Patras, western Greece.

The images by Gerolympos for this publication, which show increasing maturity and control by the photographer in the domain of architectural photography, blend effectively with the writer’s fresh, thorough and knowledgeable text that depicts true appreciation of Ziller’s work. This is a high-quality publication in every respect. It could be likened to passing through a grand gateway leading to Ziller’s world, or a regrouping for a new attempt at shedding further light on this man’s work.