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Iron Maiden, armed with new album, plays Athens January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Vocalist Bruce Dickinson joined Iron Maiden in late 1981, debuting on the 1982 album ‘The Number of the Beast,’ a number one hit in the UK.

Iron Maiden, the veteran British heavy metal act, have confirmed that they will be returning to the Greek capital as headliners at the Faliron Pavilion Indoor Arena on March 11 to promote their latest album, “A Matter of Life and Death,” during a short run of dates in mid-March that will also take them to the Dubai Desert Rock Festival.

Bassist Steve Harris founded Iron Maiden on Christmas Day in 1975, when the London rock scene was firmly dominated by punk music. The group got its first recording deal with EMI on the strength of their EP “The Soundhouse Tapes.”

In late 1981 singer Bruce Dickinson joined the band, infusing it with energy and debuting on the 1982 album “The Number of the Beast,” the band’s first number one record in the UK.

In Iron Maiden’s 30 years of making music, it has developed a hardcore worldwide fan base of heavy metal loyalists who pack their explosive live shows and still worship trademark albums such as “Killers” (1981) and “Piece of Mind” (1983). Their two latest recordings “Dance of Death” (2003) and “A Matter of Life and Death” (2006) prove that the band is still going strong.

On the band’s official website, Dickinson says: “Greece has always given us such great support and we understand that ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ was the number-one album for four weeks and we will of course be playing some songs from that album. We were sadly unable to arrange a date in the first part of the tour so we are all very pleased to be now able to play in Athens and we expect to bring with us the full staging we have been using so far on this tour. The Greek audiences are amongst the craziest anywhere and we look forward very much to playing the show.”

Tickets are available at Ticket House (www.tickethouse.gr) and online at www.ticketpro.gr.

Archive makes a quick return to play full sound January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Reggae veteran U-Roy and Ojos de Brujo’s DJ Panko among the week’s acts

An elusive act whose sound has continued to change since 1996’s debut release ‘Londinium,’ Archive returns with a full lineup for two shows this week, not long after a well-attended in-store acoustic set in Athens last November.

A rush of local gig activity, imported and domestic and catering to various tastes, lies in store for later this week, one of the highlights being two shows by the innovative and elusive act Archive. The band, returning to Greece after a well-attended acoustic in-store show at FNAC’s Athens outlet last November to celebrate the retail chain’s first year of operations here, will be returning to present a fuller sound, beginning with a night in Thessaloniki on Friday at the Ydrogeio Club and followed by an evening at the capital’s Fuzz Live Music Club (22 Vouliagmenis Avenue, Athens) on Saturday.

Other shows this week include cult reggae stars U-Roy and Junior Murvin at the Gagarin Club (205 Liosion Street, Athens) on Saturday, as well as a DJ set from DJ Panko of the immensely popular Spanish flamenco-rap outfit Ojos de Brujo, about a month after this band performed a fiery show here.

Nearly a decade has elapsed since Archive emerged with an interesting debut album, “Londinium,” a dark and moody work that contrasts starkly against the band’s latest effort, last year’s “Lights,” a far more radiant work, as its title implies. Though Archive has maintained a stylistic identity over the years, its course from album to album has indicated a willingness to experiment with different sounds.

The band’s upcoming visit’s second show, in Athens, will coincide with a big multi-bill reggae night at the capital’s Gagarin Club. Jamaican reggae veteran U-Roy started out as a DJ in the early 60s and recorded two albums with Lee “Scratch” Perry not long after. Over the years, U-Roy has worked with a host of other reggae acts, including Alvin Ranglin, Bunny Lee and Glen Brown.

His long list of records and influence on American rappers is considered to have proven instrumental in putting DJs on the musical map. Also on the evening’s bill, Junior Murvin has churned out considerable work, some of it with Perry as producer. Trojan Sound System, the show’s other act, was formed recently, in 2004, by several London-based reggae buffs to represent Trojan, a record label intertwined with Jamaican music. The team’s ranks includes DJs, MCs and an assortment of guests.

DJ Panko of Ojos de Brujo, a band that began by playing on the streets of Spain before gaining wider fame, will play two sets featuring funk, hip-hop, drum’n’bass, techno, dub and other dance styles, at the downtown Booze club (57 Kolokotroni Street, Athens) on Friday and Saturday.

Berlin act Dictaphone plays a free show to present its second album, “Vertigo II,” combining live jazz with pre-recorded electronica and other elements, at Bios (84 Pireos Street, Athens) this Thursday. On the same night, three young and dynamic local rock acts, Absent Mindead, Modrec and Zebra Tracks, join forces for a triple-header at the Gagarin club.

Photos shed light on dark worlds January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Two shows by acclaimed Yannis Kontos offer insight into nightmare of Sierra Leone, North Korea

The human casualties of the Sierra Leone civil war and the isolation of the North Korean regime are the chief focuses of two arresting new exhibitions of photography by the internationally acclaimed Yannis Kontos which are to be inaugurated tomorrow at the Frissiras Museum in Plaka by Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis.

The exhibition “North Korea: Red Utopia” comprises some 50 photographs from one of the world’s most secretive societies while the images in “A-pories”, a play on words between the Modern Greek word for “questions” and the Ancient Greek “insurmountable”, suggest an absurdity behind global developments.

Speaking to the media about the images from North Korea, Kontos said: “It took me three years to get access to the country and my photographic documentary managed to escape from the regime’s censorship.

“The pictures provide their own answers to the ‘major riddle’ of Asia and shed some light on this country which is the focus of global debate after conducting its first nuclear test,” said Kontos who has produced some of his most powerful work during assignments in inaccessible and dangerous locations including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Kosovo.

As for the “A-pories” collection, the 35-year-old artist and award-winning photojournalist described it as “a series of images which go beyond documenting developments in some of the most critical parts of the planet to hint at the existence of an absurd world.”

According to the museum’s curator Thanassis Moutsopoulos, in Kontos’s work “the certainties of this world appear to collapse together with the monuments of the ex-Iraqi leader or the cities of former Yugoslavia.” The constant presence, and, perhaps, intrusion, of the media in the modern world is a recurring theme in many of Kontos’s photographs. “The television is omnipresent, in huts and ruins, in solitary apartments and hotel rooms, conversing with the subjects of Kontos’s photographs,” Moutsopoulos said.

One of the most interesting features of the “A-pories” exhibition is Kontos’s documentary “Life as an Amputee”, an insight into the life of one of the thousands of people maimed in the Sierra Leone civil war, whose striking images have been reproduced in countless major international publications.

Another arresting, and disturbing, highlight of the same exhibition is a series of photographs taken in a psychiatric institution for children in Aleksinac, Serbia.

Kontos, who has received 19 international awards for his work including first prize in the “Contemporary Issues” section of the World Press Photo competition last year, said he was flattered that his new work is being showcased in a venue previously committed to more conventional art forms.

“This exhibition gives a different dimension to my work as it is being shown in a museum which has traditionally been dedicated to European painting and is showing photography for the first time,” Kontos said.

Both exhibitions are to run until May 13. Frissiras Museum, 3 & 7, Monis Asteriou and Kidathinaion Street, Plaka, Athens, tel 210 3234678, 210 3316027. For further information visit www.frissirasmuseum.com.

Greek Handball team to miss Euro 2008 event January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Baseball Handball Volleyball.
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The men’s National handball team, which had ended a respectable sixth at the 2004 Athens Olympics and Worlds, a year later, tumbled out of Euro 2008 qualifying competition yesterday following a 24-20 loss against Portugal.

This campaign’s failure confirmed fears that the team was ailing in unity as a result of player transfers to major European clubs, in countries such as Germany, Spain and Switzerland, which boast the sport’s leading club-level leagues.

The majority of the national team’s players moved abroad following Greece’s impressive appearances at the Athens Olympics and Worlds. But this has come at the cost of unity as the federation juggles to coordinate the disparate commitments of players in various leagues ahead of national team duty.

Greek Royal artefacts > Up for auction January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Works of art and other objects, many of which come from Tatoi and belonged to the collection of former King George I of the Hellenes (1845-1913), are being auctioned at Christie’s in London this Wednesday and Thursday.

royalflasks.jpg  Sale 7381, Lot 303, King Christian IX of Denmark’s Silver Wedding Gift, A pair of massive Victorian silver pilgrim flasks. Estimate: £80,000-120,000

Altogether 850 items, with estimated values ranging from 100 to 250,000 pounds sterling, are to go under the hammer.

Silver, Faberge designs, furniture, paintings and Chinese porcelain are some of the objects that have appeared after years in storage. They were taken from Greece to London in the early 1990s.

Now is a good opportunity for someone who can afford it to offer some of these pieces to be housed in a history museum that could be built at Tatoi, the former Royal summer Palace.

An 1866 pair of pilgrim flasks (photo) by the famous English goldsmith Robert Garrard, estimated value 80-120,000 pounds, is, according to Christie’s, the best example of the Royal collection to appear in the market.

Related Links > http://www.formerkingofgreece.org and http://www.greekroyalfamily.org/el/index.cfm

http://www.christies.com/home_page/home_page.asp

Tatoi former Royal estate > Four buildings in need of immediate intervention January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Arts Auctions.
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tatoihotel.jpg  The hotel on the Tatoi estate was finished in 1893. It was built to a design by leading architect Anastassios Metaxas in the Austrian style. Metaxas also clad the Panathenaic Stadium in marble.

Studying the history of Tatoi has been the lifetime work of Costas Stamatopoulos. His lavishly illustrated two-volume book “The Chronicle of Tatoi: 1800-2003,” published by Kapon, is both a pleasure to read and an exemplary piece of research.

The author is well known to the Culture Ministry and other public offices involved in the matter for the serious, well-founded proposals he has presented through the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage but which have never been implemented.

“We wrote to the ministry in early autumn,” Stamatopoulos said, “pointing out the need for immediate emergency work on at least four buildings, the forestry official’s residence, the workers’ cottages in the two wings dating from the 1870s, the dairy built in 1898, and the gardener’s house, which is almost in ruins.” He explained that the original 19th century roofs of the workers’ houses and the dairy have barely survived, but will soon need replacement with manufactured tiles, which will create “a completely different aesthetic effect.”

There is talk, said Stamatopoulos, that the state “is preparing a plan which it has not yet announced. It would not be good for the public to be surprised by a decision that concerns it. This requires cooperation. Just think that the person who knows every inch of Tatoi, agriculturalist Christos Lelingos, who worked on the estate from 1954 to 2003, can offer his valuable experience.”

Tatoi, former Royal estate > Leaders avoid the issue because… January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Arts Auctions.
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Leaders avoid the issue because of its taboo ties with deposed monarchy

tatoiestate1.jpg  tatoiestate2.jpg  The steps near the main Palace building at Tatoi lead to the swimming pool and tennis court. The vegetation is still lush. At left, most of the 40 listed buildings on the Tatoi estate have fallen into ruin. Yet sound management and a strategic plan could secure EU funds for an overall refurbishment involving architects, historians, botanists, agriculture specialists and conservators.

After seeing Tatoi, the visitor returns to Athens, lungs full of oxygen and a mind full of ideas, knowing full well that the trash, ruins, dead plants and collapsing 19th century roofs reflect the real picture.

Though the Greek state is responsible for the estate, it is secretive about its intentions for the estate. This is tragic because the public is being deprived of a unique architectural and natural park.

A Council of State ruling has discouraged plans for construction on the estate, but that does not rule out unpleasant surprises. There is also the question of aesthetics and its relation to history and nature.

People familiar with Tatoi say the silence of successive governments shows that those responsible do not realize what a treasure the property is and do not want to be the ones to make decisions regarding its future.

In 2007, the taboo of the Royal past persists in Greece. More than three decades have passed since the referendum on the abolition of the monarchy was passed, but politicians still don’t want to touch the topic. However Tatoi, which is an estate with the seal of the Greek state, must be detached from the psychological complexes that condemn it to ruin.

Most Europeans would likely be appalled or genuinely perplexed at how badly the Greek state has managed the Tatoi matter.

If the Greek administration had a strategy it could secure ample funds from EU programs for an overall refurbishment involving architects, historians, botanists, agriculture specialists and conservators. Apart from the buildings scattered around the estate, from Palaces to a dairy, nature plays a prime role at Tatoi.

The slopes were densely planted with trees in the last decades of the 19th century, and many bushes and flowers from different parts of the world were cultivated. Queen Olga missed the lavish greenery of Russia so she brought in seeds and trees from the milder climate of the Crimea that could survive in Attica.

What was once the huge botanic garden of Tatoi, with its specially designed pathways, clearings and supports, can only be restored if there is a plan.

The buildings have not fared much better. Some, like the hotel built on the edge of the slope overlooking the vast plateau, were designed by leading architects. It was built in 1890 by the eminent architect Anastassios Metaxas, who clad the Panathenaic Stadium in marble. The smaller buildings on the estate, which present a central European notion of rural economy, a small army of people worked on the estate, are mostly in ruins.

Movable objects have been looted or damaged. The cars and carriages are rotting away. The vehicles alone are enough to stock a small transport museum.

Tatoi is a museum in itself. And the Greek state must demonstrate the maturity to protect what, after all, belongs to the Greek public. A trip to Tatoi would be a gift for those stuck in suffocating Athens.

If the estate were refurbished and supervised as an independent organization with its own income and specific obligations, Athens would acquire one of the most handsome parks outside a city in Europe.

It is right next door to the capital, and the Greek public service must bear the blame for having lacked the daring to manage it.