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Some very lovely Greek wines April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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As Aristotle lay dying, the story goes, his disciples asked him to anoint a successor. In his gentle way, the philosopher asked for flagons of wine from the Greek islands of Rhodes and Lesbos. He tasted both, and said: “Without any disparagement to that from Rhodes, I think the Lesbian wine is most delicate.” And so his pupil from Lesbos won the post.

The Greeks have been making wine for at least 3,600 years. For a few centuries, there was one little glitch: Winemakers tended to seal the tops of the amphorae, the ceramic jugs that held their wares, with pine resin. It made the wine taste like Lysol.  Luckily, the retsina fad peaked in the 1960s, and most Greek wines today are resin-free.

What’s better, Greek vineyard owners have largely resisted the economic pressure to tear out native vines and replace them with merlot, chardonnay and other international grapes in order to boost exports. They go on happily growing grapes with names like agiorgitiko, assyritiko, athiri, moschofilero, roditis and xynomavro. Some of them make lovely wines.

The white table wine made of the moschofilero grape by Boutari Winery is delicate, even gentle, relatively low in alcohol at 11.5 percent, with flavors of key limes and kiwi and a tiny hint of sweetness. A marvelous aperitif wine.

The crisp, minerally white wine called Santorini, made on the beautiful Aegean island of the same name from the assyritiko grape, is touted for serving with grilled octopus and Asia Minor-style hummus. It’s the best-selling wine in Greece.

Other grapes come from Macedonia on the north, the town Naoussa on the island of Paros; and Mantinia on the mainland.

The wines listed here are readily available in better wine shops. If you want to drink them in the manner of the ancient Greeks, leave them to the final half of the evening meal, the part called the symposion. Bring in three kratirs, or bowls, of wine, and make sure each guest gets an equal amount.

In Greek literature, in a play by Euboulos, the ceremony is described by the wine god Dionysos: The first bowl is for health, the second for love and pleasure, the third for sleep. Works for me.

2005 Boutari Moschofilero Dry White Wine, Mantinia Region, Greece (moschofilero grape): aromas and flavors of flowers, Key limes, kiwi; light-bodied, gentle, tiny hint of sweetness.

2005 Boutari Santorini Dry White Wine (assyritiko grape, island of Santorini): tart lime and mineral flavors; very crisp; medium body.

2001 Boutari Grande Reserve, Appellation of Origin Naoussa (xinomavro grape): red berry and bitter almond flavors; light body; crisp.

2003 Boutari Evinos, regional wine of Macedonia (xinomavro, merlot): red berries and cinnamon; light body; crisp.


49th Annual Greek Festival April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church will hold its 49th annual Greek Festival next month. The festival is Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12, 2007. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is located at 573 N. Highland Avenue.

“Our Big FAT Greek Festival” offers authentic, homemade Greek food and the beauty and jubilant spirit of Greek music and culture.

A Greek feast will be served for lunch and dinner. It includes either shish kebabs or Grecian-style chicken along with spanakopita, rice pilaf, homemade Greek bread, and floyera, or rolled baklava. Meals will be served from 11 a.m. through 8 p.m. They are $10 per person. You can also add a Greek Salad for $2.

Admission is $2. Children ages 11 and younger get in free. The general public can also get into the festival free on Friday, May 11th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Woman arrested for abusing male teenager April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Police & Crime.
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A 34-year-old woman was arrested in Elefsina, west of Athens, on Saturday on charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old male teenager she met in an Internet chat room.

The woman, described as being a German national of Greek background, had flown to Greece to meet up with the boy after having chatted with him a number of times on the Internet, where they held a number of conversations of a sexual nature, according to a report on skai.gr.

The suspect is then believed to have met up with the teenager at a hotel in Elefsina where the two allegedly engaged in sexual activity.

Police located the couple and arrested the woman after being informed of the incident by the boy’s mother.

mpGreek with new look and new on-demand services April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets.
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mpGreek the biggest music and entertainment network for Greek digital entertainment announced the re-design of its leading international music downloads site MusicNow with more than 1.4 million songs.

MusicNow added more music albums reaching more than 1.4 million tracks. In addition to this it added new sections and content. These strategic initiatives are part of mpGreek’s ongoing Internet strategy, and include sleek upgrades to the look and feel of MusicNow that will serve to enhance the overall international music sales options for its users.

Specifically the new sections include >
• top downloads for songs and albums
• new releases
• top artists
• top music videos
• top music categories
• free e-radio streaming with HOT Hits

All charts and lists are generated 100% by user statistics based on the activity of the day, week and month.

Another important upgrade to MusicNow is the new launch of international music videos for downloading and streaming. mpGreek has secured deals with all the multinational Record Labels and will offer thousands of music videos from the past and the present hits.

Related Links >


A Goran Bregovic first in Athens April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Composer Goran Bregovic appears in Athens tomorrow

The Sarajevo-born composer Goran Bregovic had a unique message of reconciliation and brotherhood: “Fortunately, we always manage to find at least one good friend to sing with in this Europe…”

His statement came on the occasion of tomorrow’s performance at the Athens Concert Hall, where he will present the world premiere of his latest work, “Forgive Me, Is This the Way to the Future?” The concert is part of the Bridges series and will take place in the Friends of Music Hall.

On the one hand, there will be Bregovic with his Wedding and Funeral Band and, on the other, the contemporary Absolute Ensemble, with a constant flow of inspiration uniting them. The two ensembles will join forces under the baton of Kristian Jarvi, upon the commission of ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) as well as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

The composer was inspired by the film setting on which he has based the action for the work’s title: He sees the two ensembles meeting on the platform in a train station, “in one of this world’s magical places, where impossible meetings become possible,” he says.

“Who am I and which world do I come from? Is there any language capable of reconciling me with the modern world which the Absolute Ensemble represents?” The composer will attempt to provide an answer with tomorrow’s concert.

At the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333, at 8.30 p.m. in the Friends of Music Hall.

The year in local film, so far April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Greek cinema production may lack blockbuster success, yet manages to say some interesting things

The Greek film industry may not have produced any million-ticket blockbuster this past couple of years, or a film phenomenon that caused crowds to flock to the theaters. It has, however, displayed new strengths with daring and a sense of questioning and introduced unconventional films and new directors with an experimental bent willing to hold a dialogue with paradoxes and doing so with humor and sensitivity. In their quest for a new cinematic idiom, these new directors did not try to hide their lack of experience, their fixations or the quandaries they faced.

Yiannis Economides, Alexandros Voulgaris and Giorgos Lanthimos are three diverse filmmakers who are captives to reality, or who hold reality captive, and who each react in their own very particular way. Economides took a head-on approach in “Soul Kicking,” Voulgaris sough refuge in fantasy with “Pink” and Lanthimos took the path of avant-garde experimentation in “Kinetta.” All three have been the talk of the town at one point or another and the year is still less than halfway through, with an anticipated arrival, Dimitris Koutsiabasakos’s “The Guardian’s Son” opening at theaters last week.

What were the main characteristics of the industry’s output in 2006-2007? There was plenty to impress and discernible trends, but also quite a few bumps in the road. Distribution proved difficult for the young and daring. Economides, for example, found just one venue at which to screen his film, the Mikrokosmos theater, while Lanthimos had to turn to alternative spaces such as bar-restaurants to show his films. Voulgaris found distribution, but the fact that his film failed to sell tickets means that it was moved out of the theaters very quickly.

Along with these up-and-coming directors, the year also saw seasoned directors coming up with new work. Directors now in their 40s and 50s, the main “corpus” of Greek cinema, made a dynamic appearance: Sotiris Goritsas, Katerina Evangelakou, Angeliki Antoniou and Costas Kapakas led the way. There is little in common between these filmmakers, at least in terms of the mood they evoke. Kapakas went down memory lane in his nostalgic “Uranya” in an attempt to repeat the success of “Peppermint,” but this time around, flowery writing and trite characters replaced the freshness and humor of his earlier endeavor.

In “Eduart,” Antoniou went for big-budget gloss. The production was topnotch in terms of quality, it was a joint Greek-German effort, directed by someone with a clear, strong perspective, yet it failed to breathe a certain vitality into the story. It was a dark tale approached in a very rational manner. Evangelakou in “False Alarm” and Goritsas in “Friends” drew their inspiration from modern Greek society. Their heroes have unsettled scores with the past, suffer from unhealed wounds and toil under contemporary realities. Using different approaches, they both created a sensitive record, Evangelakou more successfully, of what surrounds us and defines us, offering parallel versions of Greece today.

Documentary film this year was represented by Kimonas Tsakiris’s “Sugartown.” Seven men from the small village of Zacharo set off for Russia in search of brides. A veil for human trafficking or a take on life in the Greek provinces? The director observes the journey, the main characters and their points of view. The result was somewhat questionable but it did score points with the public. On the flipside of the coin, commercial cinema today is all about TV-speak. All three productions that managed to make box-office hits, “Straight Story,” “Another 5 Minutes” and “A Bee in August”, were successful comedies to varying degrees, aimed at the multiplex teenage crowd and featuring popular television actors. These familiar faces used lightweight recipes for communicating run-of-the-mill themes, infidelity, love, intrigue, effectively recycling television fare.

Greek cinema may have lost, as it has in the past and will probably keep doing in the future, the box-office battle, but it did gain a fresh infusion of interesting writing that spoke to the public, and an audience that is willing to discover and support Greek film, that will not merely rest at conventional market rules.

It greatest gain however was a handful of new faces: Actors such as Errikos Litsis, Vangelis Mourikis, Maria Kehayioglou, Maria Nafpliotou, Alexia Kaltsiki and Costas Xikominos appeared in very different kinds of films but left their mark with strong performances in highly demanding roles.

Athletes from P.E.I. to Rhode’s Island Games April 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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The P.E.I. government says it will help pay to send athletes to the International Island Games this year in Rhodes, Greece.

Nelson Hagerman, vice-president and fundraiser for the local island games association, said athletes are also looking ahead to 2009, when the Games are due to be held on the Baltic Sea island of Aland. Hagerman said that event will be a good warmup for the Canada Summer Games, which will be held in P.E.I. in 2009.

“We hope to send a good contingent of athletes, because what it would do is give them an initial training or competition process before … the Canada Games in 2009,” said Hagerman.

In all, 82 athletes, coaches and officials will travel to the Games in Greece this summer. The provincial government will contribute $75,000 to the cost. P.E.I. sent its first athletes to the International Island Games, which are held every two years, in 1991. It is the only North American member of the International Island Games Association.

P.E.I. is also looking into becoming the first North American host for the Games, launching a bid for 2013. A successful bid could bring as many as 4,000 visitors to P.E.I., said Hagerman.

The games in Rhodes are the first to be held outside the British Isles and Scandinavia. The inaugural Games were held on the Isle of Man in 1985.