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Spanakopita > Greek spinach pie February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
Melted butter, to grease
2 bunches (about 2kg) silver beet, white stems removed, coarsely shredded, washed with water clinging to the leaves
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, halved, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 green shallots, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
400g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1 lemon, rind finely grated
4 eggs, lightly whisked
6 sheets Greek filo pastry
60g butter, melted

Method >
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 16.5 x 26cm (base measurement) ovenproof dish with melted butter to grease. Place half the silver beet in a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until silver beet just wilts. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Repeat with remaining silver beet.
Heat oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft.
Use your hands to squeeze excess liquid from silver beet. Combine silver beet, onion mixture, green shallot, feta, dill, lemon rind and egg in a large bowl.
Place filo sheets on a clean work surface. Cover with a clean tea towel, then a damp tea towel (this will prevent it drying out). Brush 1 filo sheet with melted butter. Top with another sheet and brush with butter. Top with another sheet, then fold the filo stack in half crossways. Repeat with remaining filo and half the remaining butter to form a second stack. Fold the filo stack in half crossways. Line the prepared dish with one of the filo stacks.
Spoon silver-beet mixture into the dish and smooth the surface. Top with remaining filo stack. Fold edges over and press down firmly to enclose filling. Use a small sharp knife to score the top of the filo diagonally. Brush with remaining butter. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Cut into slices to serve. Serves 8.

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Greek tragedy inspired ‘Exiles’ to play LaMaMa in March February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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Acclaimed puppet artist and director Theodora Skipitares presents The Exiles, a new adaptation of the Orestes/Electra myth about a brother and sister who avenge the murder of their father and become outcasts in their own city, at La MaMa Annex, 74A East 4th Street, with previews beginning March 22, prior to an official opening on March 25.

Designed, directed and adapted by Skipitares (Trilogy at LaMaMa), the production is produced by LaMaMa E.T.C. and Skysaver Productions.

The Exiles tells the tale of Orestes and Electra, siblings who execute a grisly plot of vengeance against their mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, for the horrific murder of their father, Agamemnon, upon his return from the Trojan War.

“Based on Euripides’ Orestes, and inspired by John Paul Sartre’s The Flies, The Exiles unfolds using video projections, masks and puppetry, including five-foot Bunraku puppets strapped to the front of actors’ bodies at the head, the chest, the waist and the knees. Veiled actors speak lines from behind the puppet, much as an actor might have spoken lines from behind a large Greek mask in ancient Greek theatre,” state press materials.

Nicky Paraiso, winner of New York Innovative Theatre Awards for his performance in Ms. Skipitares’ Iphigenia and for his solo play House/Boy, leads the ensemble as Orestes. Sonja Perryman, who played the title role in Iphigenia, costars as Electra. The cast also includes Sheila Dabney, Chris Maresca, Alissa Mello, Aneesh Sheth and Amanda Villalobos.

The show features an original musical score by Tim Schellenbaum, lighting design by Pat Dignan and video by Kay Hines. The puppets are designed by Cecilia Schiller and Ms. Skipitares.

Performances of The Exiles run March 22-April 8 at La MaMa Annex (74A East 4th Street), Thursdays-Sundays at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm. Tickets are $18; call 212-475-7710 or visit www.lamama.org.

“Greek Mythology Now” opens at The National Arts Club, New York February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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Exhibition on view February 18 until February 24, 2007

John Woodrow Kelley, painter of new classicism, the bright artist and founder of the mytho-realist movement will debut an exciting solo show of his new works “Greek Mythology Now” at the architecturally striking Historic Landmark, the National Arts Club, located in the illustrious Tilden Mansion at 15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan, 20th St. between Park & Irving Place, on the southwest corner of Gramercy Park. 

This exhibition will be on view February 18th to 24th.

On Thursday, February 22, 2007 The National Arts Club will host an invitational reception for the artist and this show between 6:00-9:00 p.m.  

In July, 2004 Kelley had a one-man show at the The Parthenon Museum of Nashville, Tennessee. That Museum, a concrete replica of the ancient Greek temple, was originally built in Nashville in 1897 for the Centennial Exposition. His work appropriately joined the Parthenon’s collection of plaster casts of the great 5th century BC statues by Polykleitos and Pheidias. Immediately after the Parthenon show, Kelley’s work moved to “One Gallery,” in the River North section of Chicago, that great city’s “Gallery District.”

Mr. Kelley was graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in art history.  He completed his studies in architecture from Pratt Institute in New York before devoting himself to painting and drawing at the Art Students League and the New York Academy in New York.

Morgan Library, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Yale University are among the institutions to have commissioned and own Kelley’s works. His art is represented in the private collections of such distinguished persons as senior vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ashton Hawkins, and the writers, Reynolds Price and David Halberstam.

Kelley has shown his work at, among others: the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, and Fischbach Gallery in New York, and is currently showing in the More Gallery in Philadelphia, and Pandora Old Masters in Milan, Italy.

His work has been published in the New York Times, the American Arts Quarterly, the Italian magazine, Amica and the architectural publication, The Classicist. Kelley is a fellow of the Morgan Library, and a fellow of the Institute of Classical Architecture. He divides his time between his studios in New York City and Knoxville, Tennessee.

David Ebony of Art in America writes: “Kelley pays homage to the collected knowledge of the past while imbuing the ancient myths with new meanings. In this way, the enduring values of antiquity that he evokes may resonate with the emotional vitality of the present moment.”

Related Links > www.JohnWoodrowKelley.com

Punk’s coolest cat in Athens February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Malcolm McLaren, impresario, designer, Sex Pistols’ creator, UK’s Andy Warhol > describes himself as ‘a pop culture visionary.’

An artist, a visionary or a kook? Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols and father of punk, is in Athens today to present an interactive performance inspired by none other than himself, at Fuzz.

One of the most misunderstood characters in the history of punk rock talked about the punk movement, art in a postmodern world and the stories he tells his granddaughter. Bragging that he is the “UK’s Andy Warhol,” the astute manager/artist gives advice on what it takes to become rich and famous in the world of pop culture: Sell yourself as an explosive package.

Impresario, musician, fashion designer, artist: Who is Malcolm McLaren after all, and what does he do?

Malcolm McLaren is a visionary of pop culture, but at the same time he has also been the image of it for the last 30 years. He is an artist in the postmodern sense of the word. He uses all media and without a doubt has the imagination of an art school hooligan. He is the closest thing to Andy Warhol the United Kingdom has ever produced. He is always on the cutting edge. And he is recognized for the fact that he melded fashion with music: “The look of music and the sound of fashion.”

Is there anything left of the punk explosion of 30 years ago?

What’s left is the most exciting cultural and artistic movement to emerge in the last 30 years. Everything provocative that came after punk measured itself up against it and lost. Without punk rock we wouldn’t have artists such as Damien Hirst, designers like Galliano, hip-hop wouldn’t have existed and neither would films such as “Blade Runner” and “Reservoir Dogs.” Finally, we wouldn’t have bands such as the Killers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Babyshambles.

Would the Sex Pistols have existed without their manager?

But the manager was the Sex Pistols: The name came from my desire to transform these kids who used to hang out at my store on Kings Road in London into the sexy killers of a decomposing world. I dressed them, designed all the scandals that made them famous, liberated them of all artistic restrictions and made them fearless. In this way, the noble art of being a loser became a weapon that changed the face of pop music ever since.

What is the weirdest question you have ever been asked in an interview?

A short while ago an American magazine asked me how many men and women I’ve slept with and if I can remember any of them individually.

How would you like to be remembered? As the “father of punk rock,” perhaps?

That would be very nice indeed, as long as you removed the word rock from the title.

You tell your granddaughter bedtime stories. Who’s her favorite character?

Me, of course! Everything about me, because, you see, I am just a big child.

We seem to have gone from the age of the musician to the age of the disc jockey. Would you agree?

This is a world where art can be anything you choose. And music is no exception.

Malcolm McLaren, born Malcolm Robert Andrew Edwards, has been one of the most important and controversial figures of pop culture for the past 30 years. Most know him as the manager of the Sex Pistols, and the man who conceived the group’s punk-rock image. McLaren was born in London in January 1946 and was raised by his grandmother, a wealthy Sephardic Jew. After being kicked out of a string of art schools for his “inappropriate behavior,” he gave up the idea entirely and moved to Paris, where he became intrigued by the Situationist International movement.

In 1971, along with the designer Vivienne Westwood, his partner of many years, he opened a boutique on Kings Road in London called Let It Rock. He also designed clothes for films and plays. In 1974, McLaren moved to New York as the public relations manager of the New York Dolls.

A year later, after having called his store, simply, Sex, he created a band from a group of boys who used to hang out at his store: He called them the Sex Pistols and in their three years on the stage they were involved in numerous shocking scandals and responsible for one of the greatest albums in the history of rock, “Never Mind the Bollocks” as well as the entire punk movement. The band later accused McLaren of stealing their royalties.

After the breakup of the band, McLaren continued to manage other bands, from Bow Wow Wow in 1979 to Jungk in 1998, and released a series of his own albums, including the lyrical “Paris” on which he collaborated with French actress Catherine Deneuve. Recently, he was one of the producers behind the documentary “Fast Food Nation” and composed the jingle for British Airways.

At the Fuzz Venue, 22 Vouliagmenis Avenue, Athens, tel 210 9224641, 210 9220802. The show starts at 11 p.m.

‘Nabucco’ at the Greek National Opera February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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Soprano Maria Guleghina is Abigaille.

For its latest offering, the Greek National Opera has opted to go the way of a well-known production, Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco”, the opera widely regarded as the work that established Verdi’s reputation as a composer, performed by a high-profile cast. To be performed over four nights, this Sunday, February 28 and March 2 and 4, the production brings to Athens two world-famous opera figures, the soprano Maria Guleghina and baritone Leo Nucci.

Guleghina, cast for the production’s demanding role of Abigaille, has performed over 100 shows at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, as well as 14 new productions at Milan’s La Scala.

Nucci, a leading exponent of works by Verdi, will perform the production’s title role over the two final nights. Mark Rucker will perform the first two evenings. Nucci, who made his Metropolitan debut alongside Luciano Pavarotti in 1980, has since returned to the prestigious venue for performances at least once a year.

Julia Pevzner, the production’s director, approached “Nabucco” with a modern perspective aimed at offering a view on war and its victims, the recklessness of power, and the consequences felt by the masses.

“Nabucco” first performed at La Scala on March 9, 1842, follows the plight of Jews as they are assaulted and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco, Nebuchadnezzar in English. When first presented, the opera’s success exceeded expectations. Contrary to legend surrounding the opera, “Nabucco” was never subject to censorship.

The stage set for the National Opera’s upcoming production was designed by Antonis Daglidis, the costumes are by Tota Pritsa, and the choreography is by Petros Gallias.

At the Greek National Opera, Olympia Theater, 59-61 Academias Street, Athens, tel 210 3612461 and 210 3643725.

Opera stars at Pallas in charity gala February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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Elena Kelessidi recently starred in ‘Orphee et Eurydice.’

An opera gala scheduled to take place next week reunites an orchestra with a landmark Athenian theater. The Athens State Orchestra returns to the recently refurbished Pallas Theater, now part of the CityLink complex, for a night of glorious arias and good causes on Tuesday, February 27. The event, whose proceeds will benefit charity organization I Agapi (Love), features three exceptional musicians, soprano Elena Kelessidi, tenor Julian Gavin and maestro John Apeitos.

Fresh from her recent appearances at the Greek National Opera’s “Orphee et Eurydice”, world-renowned Kelessidi is back in Greece, for a short while at least. A diaspora Greek, Kelessidi grew up in Kazakhstan, attending the Almaty Conservatory. Following political unrest in the country, she moved to Athens before landing in London’s Covent Garden. She has appeared in major theaters around the globe and is scheduled to appear in an Athens Festival production of “Carmen” this summer.

A prominent conductor, pianist and cellist, John Apeitos was born in Melbourne. Following his studies at the University of Melbourne, the artist moved to Europe, studying in Italy, the Czech Republic and Greece, before moving to the United States. A specialist in the opera field, Apeitos taught at the University of Notre Dame.

Australia-born Julian Gavin graduated from the University of Melbourne followed by postgraduate studies in conducting at the Victorian College of the Arts and the National Opera Studio in London. Covering a wide repertoire, the tenor has appeared with major orchestras around the world and has recorded various albums.

At the Pallas Theater, 5 Voukourestiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3213100. For credit card reservations call 211 1086050. Tickets set at 15, 25, 30, 40, 50 and 75 euros. The performance starts at 8.30 p.m.

Greek telecom sector plagued by inadequate rules, high costs February 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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The situation seems to be improving with considerable recent investment

Greek Telecommunications Organisation OTE and alternative telecom providers seem to agree that seven years after the full liberalization of the sector, the market still operates under the law of the jungle and blame the policies of the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).

“The existence of some 20 fringe providers in a small market with space for no more than three serious companies puts pressure on EETT to force OTE to maintain them by supplying them with its infrastructure below cost, at prices EETT arbitrarily determines without taking into account OTE’s real costs,” said the President of OTE, Panagis Vourloumis.

Alternative providers argue that the persistence of OTE in violating competition rules contributes to “the companies’ suffocation” and has driven Greece to rank last in Europe in broadband Internet connections.

The current administration of EETT, under Nikos Alexandridis, has noted that the fake liberalization and the weak institutional framework applied by the previous governments allowed the operation of several impostors; they did not make any substantial investment toward developing their own networks and thought they would prosper by buying connections at wholesale prices from OTE. Indeed, some 20 companies were set up which for several years remained barely alive with just a handful of customers.

The delays in investment have been attributed to the inadequate institutional framework for market liberalization and the inability of the EETT to restrain OTE which was trying to maintain its clientele. Greece was actually condemned by the European Court for the delay in applying the institutional framework, and after years of studying the relevant law it has finally been voted in by this government.

The new law and the will of the current EETT administration have changed the situation Vourloumis referred to, although some fringe players have remained in the market and OTE often clashes with them, citing the debts they refuse to pay.

Yesterday Vourloumis told the Greek Parliament that “EETT obstructs OTE from receiving overdue debts by service providers, creating bad debts of more than 50 million euros.” He also noted, however, that “it is not the current administration of EETT which is responsible for that, although it maintains it.”

Yet at the same time, four or five serious companies have made significant investments in private networks and have created hundreds of new jobs. Total investment by the major players in the sector, Tellas, Forthnet, Vivodi and newcomers such as On Telecoms comes to hundreds of millions of euros. More than 250 million in investments has been announced by Forthnet, 150 million by On Telecoms and Vivodi recently suggested that so far it has invested about 90 million. The new owners of Hellas On Line (HOL) have also promised a serious investment.

Telecom market observers argue that the truth lies somewhere in the middle: “OTE was late in reorganizing and modernizing itself, while the regulations allowed the operation of firms profiting on the margins between wholesale and retail prices for phone lines.” This year promises to be very interesting, as some OTE competitors are promoting new services at very attractive rates.