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Rivaldo to stay at Olympiakos for another year February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Career will end in Greece, says star
Rivaldo has been a leading performer at his club this season.

Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo says he will finish his career at Piraeus club Olympiakos. The 35-year-old player, one of the Greek club’s leading performers this season, said he changed his mind about leaving Greece this summer and will stay for another season and retire in June 2008.

“I’m very happy here, so is my family,” Rivaldo told state-run NET TV. “I’m very fond of Olympiakos and I would be delighted to end my career in Piraeus.”

Rivaldo, who starred in Brazil’s run to the 2002 World Cup title, joined Olympiakos in 2004. He helped the club win the 2005 and 2006 Greek league and Cup trophies. However, the Greek club has failed to take its domestic dominance to the Champions League.

Rivaldo is currently tied with Dimitris Salpiggidis of Panathinaikos for the league scoring lead with 13 goals. After 22 rounds in the 16-team league, Olympiakos leads the standings with 56 points, 11 ahead of Panathinaikos.

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Greeks take on the Spaniards February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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The latest round of Euroleague basketball competition pits Greece’s three representatives against Spanish teams in important Top 16 games tonight and tomorrow. Panathinaikos, a top performer in the previous round, hosts Barcelona tonight in an encounter that will produce a clear leader in Group F.

The Greek and Spanish teams began their second-stage quests last week with convincing home wins against Efes Pilsen and Prokom Trefl respectively.

Panathinaikos, the domestic league’s front-runner, goes into tonight’s game having lost at home to challenger and archrival Olympiakos. Also tonight, Aris, an 84-76 loser at home in its second-stage opener against Dynamo Moscow, will be hosted by Unicaja, which beat Benetton Treviso last week, in Group G.

Playing tomorrow, Olympiakos, in a good frame of mind following the weekend win at Panathinaikos which came just days after a win at Partizan Belgrade in the Greek club’s Euroleague second-stage opener, travels again, this time to take on Badalona club DKV Joventut in Group E. The top two teams from all four second-stage groups advance to the quarterfinals.

Shades of gray and dividing lines in places of conflict February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Art exhibit on areas in a troubled transition
For her project, Danae Stratou visited the border between the USA and Mexico.

The gray zones in our lives, those ambiguous areas that divide and create uncertainties in the political, social or personal realms, is the underlying theme in “Gray”, a group exhibition that is being held in two venues, is curated by Maria Marangou and produced by the Rethymnon Center of Contemporary Art.

“Cut – 7 Dividing Lines”, a project by artist Danae Stratou, is on show at the Zoumboulakis Gallery, and works by Yioula Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas Savvas and Socratis Fatouros are being displayed at the House of Cyprus.

The political content in the exhibition is one of its strongest aspects. It defines the work of both Stratou and Savvas. For her project, Stratou picked out and traveled to seven politically troubled areas in the world, which wars and socioeconomic or political tensions have divided. These “seven open wounds”, as the artist describes these areas, are the Green Line in divided Cyprus, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, a contested area between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the West Bank, the Line of Control in Kashmir and the border between Mexico and the USA. Stratou tried to get an insider’s point of view. She spent days traveling in each area, talking to the locals and taking a total of some 15,000 photographs. She edited her material down to 14 images, a pair for each region, which she arranged in an art installation that resembles a path set between two “walls” of photographs that depict either side of each region. A short text for each of the seven regions is written along this “gray-zone” path thus enabling the viewer to better understand the content of the images. Walled in between an array of images and along a path that has no escape, the viewer is likely to feel a lurking sense of uneasiness and constraint. Placed in an emotional gray zone, the viewer feels some of the tension and unresolved conflict that calibrates people’s lives across the globe.

In his work, Andreas Savvas contrasts the superpower of the USA with the position that Cyprus, his own country, holds in worldwide politics. The threads that Savvas has used to construct a huge, room-sized Cypriot flag suggest precariousness and instability. In a video, the image of the American flag takes the geographical shape of Cyprus and then is transformed into the Cypriot flag. The process is repeated the other way around.

Two videos and an installation by Yioula Hatzigeorgiou locate the gray-zone tension in the personal. In one of the videos, a face submerged under water moves upward, gasping for some air, and falls back again into the water. It is a recurring movement with no clear beginning or end. There is an ambivalence split between a sense of entrapment on the one hand and escape on the other.

Socratis Fatouros has painted a large, two-sided undulating wooden surface which brings to mind walls that divide and segregate. It is a visually commanding work that may express a willingness for bringing two opposing sides to an understanding.

At the Zoumboulakis Galleries, 20 Kolonaki Square, Athens, tel 210 3608278 to Saturday and at the House of Cyprus, 10 Irakleitou Street, Athens, tel 210 3641217 to Friday.

Six artists up for DESTE award February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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A photo by Yiannis Grigoriadis, is one of the nominees for the fifth DESTE Foundation prize.

The names of six artists appear on the short list of the fifth DESTE Foundation prize. Awarded biannually to a Greek artist living in Greece or abroad, the prize was established in 1999 as an integral part of the DESTE Foundation’s policy for the promotion of contemporary Greek art, honoring artists whose work demonstrates authenticity and innovation. Past recipients are Panayiota Tzamourani, Georgia Sagri, Maria Papadimitriou and Christodoulos Panayiotou.

This year’s nominees are the following: Loukia Alavanou develops video collages through samplings of images ranging from well-known cartoons, cult horror movies and early 20th century family photographs; Vienna-based Nikos Arvanitis uses a multitude of media such as video, music, drawings, installations, public action as well as a process of renegotiation of sociological definitions; Yiannis Grigoriadis examines aspects of reality and urban landscapes through his videos and photographs, while his findings are recorded via an archaeological process of research and classification; Eleni Kamma mixes copying and editing techniques in her drawings, resulting in the creation of utopian spaces as well as a critique of various ideologies and stereotypes; Socrates Fatouros develops large-scale palimpsests of illustrations and symbols; and finally Savvas Christodoulidis, who explores the tension created by opposites such as the handcrafted versus the ready-made.

The fifth DESTE prize selection committee is made up of Nadja Argyropoulou (independent curator), Harry David (collector), Elpida Karaba (art critic/curator) Margarita Pournara (Kathimerini journalist), Costis Velonis (artist) and Despina Zefkili (Athinorama art critic).

Works by all six nominees will go on display in an exhibition scheduled to open on May 23, while the award ceremony will take place on September 24. The jury comprises prominent personalities including DESTE Foundation President Dakis Joannou.

Hellenic Festival looking good for summer 2007 February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival.
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Events to feature renowned artists under Giorgos Loukos’s inspired leadership
Coming up this summer: ‘Quartet’ at the Pireos 260 venue, the Lyon Opera Ballet at the Athens Concert Hall and ‘Medea’ at Epidaurus.

The attitude of renewal that the Hellenic Festival embarked upon last year, with new leadership under Giorgos Loukos, seems to be continuing this year with a very promising program of events.

Prominent personalities from the international art scene, think Elvis Costello, Sylvie Guillem, Isabelle Huppert, the Lyon Opera Ballet, the China National Ballet and Ariane Mnouchkine, among others, as well as numerous Greek artists from different fields will feature in a festival which appears even richer and more colorful this time, without exceeding the new two-month limit, June and July, initiated last summer.

Although at the recent press conference Loukos could not provide a fully detailed program for the venues that will house the Athens Festival events, it appears that besides the Herod Atticus Theater, performances will once again be held at the Pireos 260 venue, the Faliron Olympic Complex, the tae kwon do stadium, the Porta Theater, the Irene Pappas School on Pireos as well as a new venue which will be created in another building of the Tsaoussoglou complex at 260 Pireos.

The Herod Atticus, Pireos 260, Porta Theater and tae kwon do stadium program was mentioned in detail but the existence of other productions that do not have a date or venue set for them yet can only mean that the second stage at 260 Pireos was only recently handed over to the Athens Festival by the Ministry of Culture which owns the complex.

This year’s festival will feature five main cycles of events: a tribute to Maria Callas marking 30 years since her death, a cycle titled “From Prose to the Stage” with a series of mostly Greek performances, a tribute to renowned choreographer William Forsythe, a tribute to 20th and 21st century music, with the participation of Greek and foreign music ensembles, as well as a tribute to Greek song with concerts dedicated to Manos Loizos, on the occasion of the 25-year anniversary of his death, Eftychia Papayiannopoulou, Akis Panou and others.

The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus will once more host six performances, one of which will be an opera production.

The program announcement was praised by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, who pointed out that the City of Athens has not given priority to culture so far. He expressed his desire for Athens to become a world cultural capital and welcomed close collaboration between the Municipality and the Athens Festival. Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis stressed the festival’s renewal under Loukos and added that the ministry fully supports that effort.

Elaborating on the continuing efforts to renew the festival, Loukos added that this summer there will be more performances for children and immigrants.

At the press conference, Voulgarakis also announced that the Ministry of Culture has succeeded in acquiring the Psyrri building that used to house the Embros Theater of recently deceased director Tassos Bandis. He noted that the ministry has responded in this way to the appeal of the local theater scene and assured those present that it will be used for art purposes, with a number of suggestions pending.

Voulgarakis added that he and Mayor Kaklamanis will soon hold a meeting to decide on a closer collaboration between the City of Athens and the ministry on matters of culture.

Louvre claims pressure from Greece on statue February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Greek officials have publicly presented no evidence that a controversial ancient bronze statue of Apollo bought in 2004 by the Cleveland Museum of Art was looted from Greece or any other country. Nor have they launched a claim to have the Apollo returned.

But according to the Louvre Museum in Paris, officials from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture threatened to withdraw the loan of 19 antiquities from an upcoming exhibition on the work of the great ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles unless the Louvre agreed not to exhibit the Apollo.

“Greece made the withdrawal of the Apollo of Cleveland a condition sine qua non of its participation and therefore its loans to the Praxiteles exhibition,” the Louvre said in a statement Friday. “The Louvre had no other choice but to withdraw its request” to borrow the sculpture from Cleveland.

The Louvre account, which differs in details from statements offered by Greek cultural officials, nevertheless shows how the Cleveland Apollo has become a focal point of the latest effort by Greece to halt the illegal trade in looted antiquities.

Malcolm Bell III, an art historian at the University of Virginia and a leading figure in the international debate over looted antiquities, said that Greece’s action regarding the Apollo “is a warning that unprovenanced antiquities should not be purchased. I admire them for taking that position.”

Timothy Rub, director of the Cleveland museum, said the institution has always acknowledged that the Apollo has gaps in its provenance, or ownership history. But he said it was wrong for Greece to raise its objections with the Louvre rather than by contacting the Cleveland museum directly.

In December, an unnamed source from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture told Agence France Presse that the Cleveland Apollo “was probably sold illegally after it was found in the 1990s by an Italian vessel in international waters between Italy and Greece.”

Rub has said the Cleveland museum’s research shows the Apollo did not come from the sea, and that “to have someone object to its inclusion in exhibition on basis of an unsubstantiated report is unfair.”

Until recently, Greece, Italy and other countries rich in ancient treasures have asked museums in Europe and America to return antiquities when they had proof that they had been looted. Soon, in fact, the Cleveland Museum of Art will send a delegation to Rome to discuss an Italian claim that objects in the museum’s collection were looted. Greece, however, took a harder line when it objected to a plan by the Louvre to exhibit the Cleveland museum’s Apollo at an exhibit starting March 23.

Maria Volioti, an archaeologist in the Greek culture ministry, said Thursday that Greece objected to the loan of the Apollo because of the gaps in its provenance, which raise the possibility that it may have been looted. She also said that the objections to the Louvre were stated gently and were not meant, in her words, to “threaten” or “blackmail.”

The Louvre, however, said that Greece delivered its ultimatum over the Apollo in the strongest possible terms, in writing and in person during a meeting in Athens in January. The Cleveland museum bought the Apollo in 2004 from Phoenix Ancient Art, whose principals, brothers Ali and Hicham Aboutaam, have run afoul of authorities in the United States and Egypt.

But the museum bought the Apollo only after scientific evidence showed that the sculpture was excavated more than a century ago, and hence was not subject to recent laws aimed at halting trafficking in looted antiquities. Furthermore, the museum says it has a written statement from a German lawyer saying the Apollo was in his family’s collection in the early 20th century.

Rub and other Cleveland museum officials have said it’s better to buy, study and exhibit works such as the Apollo than to let them disappear into private hands, perhaps forever. The Louvre has signed a 1970 UNESCO convention aimed at halting the illegal trade in looted antiquities, but it considered the Cleveland Apollo worthy of exhibiting.

Not being able to show the work “constitutes a major harm to the scientific community, which is losing a unique opportunity to evaluate this piece in connection with other works presented in this section of the exhibition,” the Louvre statement said.

Greek professor gives double meaning to the ‘sole’ of a Maverick February 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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If you ask Nicholas Stergiou to talk about himself, he’ll probably find a way to make it about UNO, its faculty or, more often than not, its students.

Stergiou is director of the HPER Biomechanics Laboratory and a UNO professor entering his 11th year at the university. But his relationship with UNO dates back to 1989 when he left his home city of Thessaloniki, Greece, to study for his master’s degree in exercise science.

“There was one professor here that did a study, which I had just happened to find, and so I read that someone in Omaha knew about insoles,” Stergiou said. “That was Dr. Burke. Chris Burke.”

Burke’s study was a rare find for Stergiou, who did his undergraduate thesis on how sports shoes prevent injuries. The study was also rare because it was the only study Burke ever did involving shoes.

“I said, well, they are experts over there at UNO,” Stergiou explained with a laugh. “When I came here I realized I couldn’t do a lot of things about shoe research, but I could still get a solid foundation in biomechanics.”

After graduation, Stergiou’s interest in shoes led him to a biomechanics Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon, which he called the “Mecca of running.”

“[It’s] where the legends run,” he explained. “Sure enough, I was right in the middle of it.”

After Stergiou completed his doctorate he returned to Greece. He joined the military while looking for jobs in the civilian world, but found none.

However, he soon got word of a job offer at UNO from Daniel Blanke, director of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, whom Stergiou had worked under during his time at UNO. He applied, got the job and never looked back.

“When I came back I really fell for the place,” Stergiou said. “The reason I like Omaha so much is because we are like a small-town mentality, but in a big town. I love that.”

Over the past 11 years, Stergiou has used his expertise in the field of biomechanics to solve clinical problems, particularly in infants and the elderly.

“I felt like, OK, sports shoes are great, they can prevent sports injuries,” he said. “But there are some really serious problems out there, so I figured I better use my talents towards those problems,”

Stergiou’s areas of research are vast, ranging from training surgeons to use robots to operate, finding treatments for peripheral arterial disease, determining the proper ways babies should sit and how diseases like cerebral palsy might affect their motor skills development.

“[Sitting] is so important because then the baby can sit upright and start exploring the environment, reach, see what’s going on,” he said. “We can see how a baby with developmental disabilities is sitting, and then provide them treatments in order for us to get them to sit. Then maybe they can stand better or walk better.”

The research, which is aided by fellow researchers at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is funded both by a five-year grant from the National Center of Medical Rehabilitation and a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Stergiou was quick to proclaim that it is “the only research of its kind on the planet.”

But his proclamation was followed by praise for UNO graduate students who help with the research.

“Here at UNO, we have the best kids, in my opinion,” he said. “Because our kids work full-time jobs and at the same time they go to school, usually. That’s spectacular.”

Stergiou’s students also help him with a niche service that has garnered him the name “the shoe guy.” As part of a way to raise funds for graduate students to visit conferences, Stergiou began offering to measure a person’s biomechanical movement to determine what their perfect shoe selection would be.

“We collect a lot of different data, dynamically and statically,” he said. “Then we send you home a report that details not only what types of shoes you should wear, with a list of different shoes, we also give you a stretching routine, some strength training advice and stuff like that.”

Over the 10 years Stergiou has run the service, it has reached more than 1,500 people, some as far away as Alaska. While he is happy with the success of the program, his work with shoes is increasingly becoming a distant memory.

“In comparison to what I’m doing now [it’s] like night and day,” Stergiou said. “I mean, I’m proud for what I did as a doctoral student, certainly, but what I’m doing now, it has so much more impact.”

Stergiou’s loftiest dream, if he could have his way, would be to make UNO world-renowned for its research capabilities.

“Personally, I love UNO. If you opened my heart you’d find UNO in there,” Stergiou said with a smile. “And I want every single one of our students to be proud of UNO.”

Stergiou is currently looking for children to particpate in his research. Those interested in helping must have a child less than one year old and can call the Monroe-Meyer Institute at 559-6415.