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The eye of the century March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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A stunning photo exhibition by one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century opens this week in Nicosia

It is difficult to say whether legendary picture agency Magnum Photos would have been created if Henri Cartier-Bresson hadn’t been one of its co-founders.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that he would have become one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century even without it. After all, some of his most striking pictures, such as the rotund man caught in mid-leap across a Paris puddle with his reflection in it, had been taken long before he and his friends started talking about the idea. Similarly, some of his best landscapes and portraits, such as of Jean-Paul Sartre or Matisse, were taken after he quit Magnum in 1966.

Still, nobody can dispute the fact that when in 1947, five internationally recognised photographers, Frenchman Cartier-Bresson, Polish Jew David Szymin, Hungarian Jew Robert Capa, Briton George Rodger and American William Vandivert, set up to divide the world. Capa and Chim took Europe, Rodger, Africa and the Middle East, Cartier-Bresson, Asia, and Vandivert who soon afterards withdrew, America. Modern hard-hitting news photography was born.

Magnum was an unusual project conceived by a group of unusual people. It was a cooperative photographic agency owned by its members, whose mission was to “feel the pulse” of the times. It aimed to use photography in the service of humanity and provide arresting, widely-viewed images, not only of main political events but also other, more human subjects, such as People Live Everywhere, Youth of the World, Women of the World or The Child Generation. Although, following the untimely deaths of Chim and Capa, both killed in armed conflicts, the division of the world became invalid, the principle of Magnum’s artistic/business purpose was in absolute agreement with the philosophy of Cartier-Bresson who in 1952 wrote:

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression. In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif. (…) I believe that through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us, which can mould us, but which can also be affected by us. A balance must be established between these two worlds – the one inside us and the one outside us.” (“The Decisive Moment”)

During his long career, the Frenchman documented some of the most emblematic moments and figures of the last century. He covered the Spanish Civil War and the liberation of Paris, the death of Mahatma Gandhi and the disappearance of Beijing’s last imperial eunuchs, the Soviet Union of the 50s and Berlin Wall in the 60s.

But Cartier-Bresson would seldom concentrate on showpiece events. Instead he was more interested in stories developing on their peripheries: three men looking across the divide in West Berlin, a man asleep among the crowd watching the coronation of George VI, or an ordinary family holding a picnic on the banks of the River Marne.

Famous for his ability to capture “decisive moments”, that he defined to The Washington Post in 1957 as “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever”, the photographer, dubbed by his admirers as “the eye of the century”, would often admit that everything he learnt about composition came from his days spent in the 1920s at the Parisian studio of Cubist painter and sculptor Andre Lhote, whom together with his later friends, the surrealists, he considered his main teachers.

He never used artificial light, never cropped his pictures, and with few exceptions, never staged them. His technique was based on pre-visualising the finished print, waiting until the “decisive moment”, and then, with a single exposure, creating a photo that was both spontaneous and carefully composed. His was a style of photography made possible by the invention of the miniature hand-held camera that enabled him to move quickly and unobtrusively.

In the modern world, when we all have digital cameras on our mobiles and snap anything and everything around us without giving it a second thought, seeing Europeans at Nicosia’s Hellenic Bank will, hopefully, be for many a reminder of a different world, where preserving life in the act of living really mattered.

And without pointing fingers, how many of us should take into our hearts the following advice: “Things-As-They-Are offer such an abundance of material that a photographer must guard against the temptation of trying to do everything. It is essential to cut from the raw material of life – to cut and cut, but to cut with discrimination. While working, a photographer must reach a precise awareness of what he is trying to do”?

Europeans > Photography exhibition by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Organised by Hathor Productions in cooperation with Magnum Photos and Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. March 23-April 15. Hellenic Bank, 200 Athalassa Avenue, Nicosia. Visiting hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-1pm and 4-7pm. Sat and Sun: 3-7pm.


Dance yourself dizzy March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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Shine your shoes for the second international salsa weekend, a real opportunity to let your hair down

It was a cool Monday evening in London as the SalsaCyprus gang unwound while sipping coffees in Covent Garden. Yet another brilliant UK Salsa Congress had just finished, and this group of friends all began to feel the same thing, why couldn’t such great events be enjoyed back home? So the group set about putting their dream in motion.

This year sees the Second Salsa Congress come to life at the Grecian Park Hotel, after the great success of last year’s endeavour. “If other countries can do it, then there’s no reason that we can’t,” is the general attitude of the organisers. And this year there will be more professional dancers in addition to more parties and workshops than last year. Not just a dance event, it’s a social occasion, time to let loose, and a great opportunity to improve your dance skills.

“Latin music has always been loved by Mediterranean people, we share the same hot blood! It’s like an escape from all the other everyday things we do, it’s a passionate dance for passionate people with no taboos,” says Christos Shiakallis, part of the SalsaCyprus team. There certainly aren’t many countries in Europe where sizzling salsa weekends can be enjoyed in luxury hotels situated beside a stunning coastline.

Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why so many people from countries around the world, including Canada, Austria, UK and Dubai, are jetting in to take part.

The whole occasion, set to take place on the last weekend of March, involves workshops, master classes, parties and spectacular shows. From Friday through to Sunday, it’s an action-packed event that will keep you on your toes from morning to night. The workshops will be held at all levels, from beginner to advanced, as well as private master classes with the instructors available. That means you can go along to workshops personally suited to you, whether you have very little previous experience or you’re very advanced in your salsa skills. Workshops will include turn patterns, men’s and ladies footwork, styling and shines, leading and following techniques, spinning and much more. And you don’t have to arrive at the workshops with a partner, as everyone will be encouraged to rotate during the classes.

So who exactly will you be taught by? Three times World Salsa Champions Oliver Pineda and Luda Kroitor will be arriving from Australia especially for the event, a couple that have come to be viewed as one of the finest salsa couples worldwide. Susana Montero from the UK, established as one of the premier dancers, teachers and choreographers in the country, will also be there to show off her unique moves and grooves. The names are endless, and there will be over 30 shows to pick and choose from by international and local artists.

When all the classes and workshops are over, in the evening, DJs will play classic and modern salsa hits, with three dancing venues available. Especially exciting is the arrival of guest MC Paul Young, founder of Salsa UK and brainchild behind countless events including the world famous UK Salsa Congress and The Brit Salsafest in Blackpool. He’s worked with some of the top international salsa bands and musicians including Oscar D’Leon, Buena Vista Social Club and Omara Portuondo. Also at the Congress will be DJ Jordi, DJ Salsero, and DJ Havana.

“In Cyprus there’s a serious lack of big dance events where you can just get away from everything and have fun. What’s great about this congress is that it’s a weekend away where you really enter a different world, with people who all love the same things you do,” says Shakallis. “And more than that, you get to meet and learn from top-class teachers from around the world. It’s one thing to see them on TV and admire their moves, it’s another thing to meet them face to face.”

There are two types of pass available for the event, a single day pass and a full pass. The full pass includes all workshops, parties and shows, and you can either book a room in the hotel, or come and go as you please. Shine up your dancing shoes, and let the countdown to one of the biggest salsa events ever to have taken place on our island begin.

2nd Salsa Congress > A weekend filled with workshops, shows and parties. March 30-April 1. Grecian Park Hotel, Cape Creco, Ayia Napa. Tel: 7000-0909. For more information visit > www.salsacyprus.com

Wine of the Week > from the land of Chalkidiki March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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2004 Blanc de Blanc, Domaine Porto Carras, Mt. Meliton VDQS, Alcohol Volume 13.5%

For centuries now, the land of Chalkidiki in Northern Greece, has been verdant with vineyards and olive groves. Giannis Carras had the idea of reviving this area around 1960, deciding to utilise all the potential of the valuable dowry that nature had bestowed on the slopes of Mount Meliton.

This is a dry white VDQS wine, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc and the local Greek varieties Roditis and Athiri from Mt Meliton. This Sithonian wine has a glowing crystal colour and a timeless fruity taste. Flowers and citrus fruit dominate the nose on this elegant wine with a gentle spice. Waves of tasty acidity, fleshy palate, crisp and medium bodied. Personally, I would have preferred a younger vintage. Strictly with seafood at 10 degrC.

Monarch Airlines to start flights from London to Larnaca March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Monarch Airlines will launch on March 26, 2007, scheduled flights from London Luton Airport to Cyprus Larnaca International Airport.

A press release issued by Monarch said ”the introduction of the four times per week service from Larnaca to London Luton will be the first low-cost scheduled flights to the UK from Cyprus, offering travelers the flexibility and low fares, not currently available through high fare flag carriers or on charter services.”

According to the press release, Monarch’s new Larnaca service will cost from CYP31 one way, excluding taxes. Flights from Larnaca will operate on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday using Airbus A321 aircraft with 213 seats.

Commenting on the introduction of services from Cyprus, Managing Director of Monarch’s scheduled services, Tim Jeans said, ”we are delighted to be the first low fares airline to launch scheduled services from the Eastern Mediterranean, a market that has historically been dominated by the flag carriers and charter services.”

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

Archaeologists unearth ancient perfume in Cyprus March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Cyprus.
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Cyprus, home of the goddess Aphrodite, was home to the world’s first perfume factory, according to experts.

Archaeologists carrying out research in Cyprus claim to have discovered the oldest perfume factory in the world. Located on Cyprus, fabled home of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, the remains of a 4,000-year-old factory that made prehistoric scents are causing excitement for experts.

The prehistoric scents and 60 objects from the site in Cyprus have been placed on display at the Capitoline Museum in Rome, having been found in 2003. Perfumes named after Greek goddesses and made from pine, coriander, olive oil, parsley, bergamot, bitter almonds and laurel were discovered in alabaster vials.

Research Council archaeologist, Maria Rosa Belgiorno, said: “We were astonished at how big the place was … Perfumes must have been produced on an industrial scale. No wonder the island got its reputation for possessing the skills of Aphrodite.”

Bryan Adams to rock Cyprus March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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This year Carlsberg presents the biggest musical extravaganza to hit Cyprus and a magical trip into 20 fabulous years of rock n’ roll history.

The legendary Bryan Adams will play a thumping live concert on Friday 29th June, Tsirio Stadium, Limassol. Get ready for what promises to be ‘a night to remember’!

Bryan Adams timeless rock ‘n’ roll music has lasted for over 20 years and is still winning awards and legions of new fans each day. One of the world’s most successful and best-selling music artists ever, his long list of multiple platinum selling albums includes ‘Reckless’, ‘Into the fire’, ‘Waking up the neighbours’, ‘So far so good’ and ‘Room service’ and his latest ‘Anthology’.

Unforgettable legendary singles include thumping rock ‘n’ roll anthems like: ‘Summer of 69’, ‘Run to you’, ‘Its only love’ (with Tina Turner), ‘Can’t stop this thing we started’ and ‘The only thing that looks good on me is you’.

His ballads have stirred a generation, earning Adams countless number 1 hits worldwide and a wall full of prestigious Grammy Awards. These include ‘Heaven’, ‘Please forgive me’, ‘All for love’ (with Rod Stewart and Sting), ‘Have you ever really loved a woman’ and of course, ‘Everything I do (I do it for you)’ the UK’s longest number 1 hit (16 weeks).

Don’t miss the biggest and most exciting concert ever to be staged in Cyprus, with Bryan Adams. One night only > 29th June at Tsirio Stadium in Limassol.

The event is organised by Moonlight Endless Productions.

A website on Cultural exchange March 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Media Radio TV.
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Mosaiko.gr offers information on a variety of different fields
The United States Embassy in Athens recently launched Mosaiko.gr, a site that brings together people from Greece and the United States in a multifaceted forum that covers all areas, from culture and the arts, to education here and abroad, to social issues.

Though still in its early phase of operations, Mosaiko already showcases interviews with artists from a variety of fields, an architect who designed a skateboard installation in Rendi, southern Athens, and filmmaker Loukia Rikaki are examples, a Fulbright scholar who recounts her experience of studying in America and and an interview with US Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries on American education in the context of the Education 2007 fair in Greece.

The site has podcasts and weblogs, a discussion forum and areas where users can contribute their own nugget of information or open a debate with others on any topic of common interest.

There is also material from the US Department of State’s Info Central website, selected by the Mosaiko team, and a Focus section that goes into depth on a different topic every month.

Related Links > www.mosaiko.gr