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Greek Hardcore to sound in Bulgaria April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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The Greek hardcore-metal band ‘Como Esta Loco’ will perform a concert this Sunday, April 22 in ‘Swingin’ Hall’ club, Sofia.

Bulgarian participants in the concert will be ‘Delate’ from Plovdiv city and ‘Envy’, Sofia.

‘Como Esta Loco’s style is considered as mix of hardcore, metalcore and trash metal. They were a supportive group of ‘Stampin’ Ground’ and ‘Born From Pain’.

The concert starts at 22.00h and it costs 5 BGN (2,5 EUR).


A wildlife trip to Rhodes April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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In the island of Rhodes for a walk in the limestone hills west of Lindos.

We leave the cave and begin to climb. Sage bushes here are crammed into every crack between the rocks and in places you have to feel for footholds, hoping that there won’t be any snakes lying curled up, asleep in the heat.

The boulders across the valley here almost block the path and several possible trails have been worn through the vegetation as walkers have struggled to forge easier routes between them. The rock looks soft and crumbly, but where feet have worn the surfaces, it has become polished and reveals a hardness almost of marble quality. Here and there it is riddled with cavities, as if it had once been full of bubbles. The holes vary from marble sized to football sized and even bigger A large black looking butterfly dithers across patches of light and shadow under a scatter of olive trees ahead.

A small goat kid stands bleating under one tree, gazing up into the branches. The branches above begin to shake and sway and to our amazement, a large mother goat climbs down from the highest part of the tree to peer down and bleat back at her kid. She must be feeding on the leaves in the upper branches. The lower ones are too far above the ground for her to reach. But how on earth did she climb up the gnarled, twisted trunk in the first place?

The kid catches sight of us and renews its stammering cries with fresh urgency. Mother lurches awkwardly down in the tree and regards us with suspicion for a while, then makes a frantic effort to leap down to the ground She takes off and lands badly, clambering up after a moment’s rest, to shake her legs, one after the other, then hurries away, limping a little, with her kid bouncing and bleating along after her.

Bees throng the sage bushes here in such numbers that the humming is really loud. There is a universal droning like that of a small aeroplane flying nearby. Some bees are orange and yellow, but others are tiny, with silver grey wings and tails, while yet more a larger and jet black. Different aromatic bushes are appearing, still only in bud. Their soft leafy stems have a strong scent somewhere between thyme and marjoram. The grasshoppers too are a varied bunch. Bright green grasshoppers, glowing like sucked, boiled sweets, are common. Some are darker, with a double row of tiny white squares running down their backs.

At last we have reached the watershed. The route between the rocks begins to descend. There is a breeze here to lessen the heat, but the boulders are now even bigger and parts of the trail require you to climb over them; a painful process, requiring careful balancing acts. We stop to examine a curious structure. A small, circular building, rises about six feet above the boulders ahead. We wobble across and peer down into it. The ground inside is at least another six feet down, with a neat entrance half way up at one side. The interior wall surface has been plastered at one time. A well, we’ll have to enquire when we get back.

As the path descends, we begin to see across the slopes below and more man-made structures appear. Where the ground begins to level out, there is a clear outline of a large walled enclosure. Accustomed to early settlement features, we look uphill from it to check for house sites and sure enough, the wall becomes double, opening into a small loop, with a tumble of fallen masonry in between. The gaps between the stones are stuffed with shrubs, but we find a few fragments of coarse pottery in places.

The going is easier on the more level ground, but people have made a range of tracks and we have to keep a sharp eye out for the tiny red spots of paint, which mark the correct route through this desert wilderness of rocks. It you look further ahead, you can make out tiny cairns here and there along the route to come. These too help to keep you on the wiggly and narrow. Asphodel grows on this lower altitude area, with tall, branched spires of beautiful starry flowers, like candelabra, poised above dense clusters of strap like, waxy leaves.

Pefkos village comes into sight far below but Lindos is still hidden by a shoulder of the mountain. The path begins to drop steeply and leg muscles, already weary, begin to get the shakes as you drop, from one awkward step, anything from a foot to two feet down to the next one. We negotiate the steep bit safely, disturbing a flock of sheep, who panic, galloping off in several directions at once. We sit and wait for them to calm down. They are remarkably multicoloured with sensitive faces, but the lambs are very different, resembling tiny terriers.

Lindos now lies below us, the little town houses sparkling like quartz crystals in a cluster around the foot of the rock below the acropolis, but sadly the foreground is very different. Despite a rigid ban on development, a hotel was built above the slopes west of Lindos. The world heritage site protective dam had been breached. First one appealed “if he got permission, why not me” and the flood of hideous, cheap build properties swept in. You can’t see the mess from down inside the old town, but the setting and approaches are ruined.

We descend through the building sites, past earth and rock mounds where wild hyacinth bulbs and iris tubers lie dying among litter and uprooted shrubs. Later we visit a wonderful old Lindian museum house, where the old lady still lives. Here she relates sadly how during the construction of the new developments above, the ancient water catchment, storage and filter system which supplied the town for over a thousand years, has been smashed to pieces by the construction of the new hotels. The little tower we had found was part of that intricate system too.

Greek Masters at Sotheby’s London April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Over 800 paintings have been sold and over 50 world record prices achieved since Sotheby’s held its first Greek Sale in London in 2001.

These successes reflect interest from a global audience and the internationalizing of the Greek market, which is galvanized by the active participation of collectors and institutions around the world. On Thursday, May 10, 2007 Sotheby’s will present the first of its 2007 biannual sales of Greek art at its New Bond Street galleries in London. The sale will include 135 paintings and sculpture, among which are five works by Konstantinos Maleas (1879-1928).

At the beginning of the 20th century, painters such as Maleas, Parthenis and Papaloukas endeavoured to create a genuine and modern form of plein air painting. Using as his models French post-impressionism, Fauvism and Nabis symbolism, Maleas tried to capture the idiosyncrasies of the Greek light and the varying landscapes of his homeland. Often executed outdoors with spatulas on small pasteboard or wooden panels, Maleas’ poetic landscapes feature a supremely gestural approach. Maleas travelled to Naxos in 1920 and it is likely that the work in this sale, Naxos, was painted during this trip (est. £50,000-70,000; €74,000-103,000).

Along the Shore by Michalis Economou (1888-1933), one of three works by the artist included in this sale, is a superb example of Economou’s lyrical and poetic landscapes, showing a characteristic delicate sense of atmosphere conveyed through the use of a restrained palette of earthy tones accentuated by the vibrant blue of the sea and the red sail in the foreground (est. £60,000-80,000; €88,500-118,000). The inherent calmness of the scene is heightened by the reflection of the moon in the tranquil sea. Economou initially went to Paris in 1906 to study architecture, but soon changed his mind and enrolled at the Academie des Beaux-Arts instead. The 20 years during which he lived and worked in France had a profound effect on his oeuvre.

Constantinos Volanakis (1837-1907), ‘the bard of the Greek sea’, was one of the most important figures in marine painting during the 19th century. A member of the Munich school, where he initially studied under Karl von Piloty, Volanakis executed some of his most famous works in the Bavarian capital during his stay there from 1864-1883. Painted in Munich, Pushing out to sea (est. £100,000-150,000; €148,000-221,000) is a typical example of the bold and modern style that Volanakis employed in striving to produce a marine aesthetic capable of enobling the sea, and those who live by it for whom it is the basis of their livelihood. This work is both lyrical and atmospheric in its immediacy and spontaneity of execution. This sale also includes the artist’s Volos Harbour at night, estimated at £80,000-120,000 (€118,000-177,000).

Like his teacher Parthenis, Yannis Moralis (b. 1916) was inspired by the art of Greek antiquity, re-inventing it, using a new idiom. However, unlike Parthenis, whose work is characterized by soft and sweeping contours, Moralis preferred starkly geometric forms, reflecting his lifelong interest in mosaic art which he studied as a student in Paris. Moralis’ abstract works from the late 1970s and early 1980s, of which Figure I (est. £100,000-150,000; €148,000-221,000) is a fine example, show a preoccupation with solid compositional structure and a delicate balance between geometric vocabulary of form and curved lines.

Widely regarded as Greece’s leading expressionist painter, Georgios Bouzianis (1885-1959) was deeply influenced by the avant-garde currents with which he came into contact while in Munich from 1907-1934. Whilst in Germany, Bouzianis became associated with the two groups of Expressionist painters Die Brücke, which counted among its members Kirchner, Schmitt-Rottluff, Pechstein and Nolde, and Der blaue Reiter, led by Kandinsky and Franz Marc. Commissioned by Bouzianis’ patron and agent Heinrich Barchfeld, Vater mit Söhnen (Father and Sons) was painted at the height of the artist’s Munich period, cut short by the rise of the Nazis in the early 1930s, and epitomizes Bouzianis’ preoccupation with colour over form. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000 (€148,000-221,000).

Together with Parthenis and Maleas, Nikolaos Lytras (1883-1927) is considered to be a pioneer of 20th-century Greek painting. Like many of his contemporaries, he studied at the Munich academy under Ludwig von Löfftz and Karl von Piloty. The son of Munich master Nikiforos Lytras, Nikolaos Lytras created an aesthetic bridge between romanticism and modernism in Greek painting. In 1914 Lytras took part in a group exhibition with Gerassimos Dialismas in Corfu. Portrait of the Painter Gerassimos Dialismas (est. £30,000-50,000; €44,200-74,000) was most likely painted prior to that exhibition circa 1905-1910. The sale includes a further two works by the artist, including a charming seascape and a landscape study.

This year’s Greek sale will also include works by Theodoros Vyrzakis, Constantinos Parthenis, Nikolaos Gysis, Nikiforos Lytras, Pericles Pantazis, Polychronis Lembessis, Nicholaos Vokos, Alecos Fassianos, Vlassis Caniaris, Alexis Akrithakis, Pavlos, Nikos Nikolaou, Theodoros Stamos among others as well as ten works by Nikos Kessanlis.

Greek Orthodox faithful to honor St. George April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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The congregation of St. George Greek Orthodox Church will celebrate the Feast of St. George, the namesake of their parish, tomorrow and Monday.

Know as the saint who killed the dragon in Christian hagiography, St. George ( ca. 275-303) was a soldier of the Roman Empire from Anatolia. He is venerated as a Christian martyr and is the patron saint of Greece.

“We invite our parishioners to come and honor with their presence and prayers St. George, the patron saint of our parish since 1910,” said the Very Rev. Archimandrite Constantine S. Bebis, pastor of St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

Beginning with the Service of the Great Vespers at 7 p.m. tomorrow, the observance will commemorate the saint, as well as honor church members who celebrate their nameday. The service also will include the Blessing of the Five Loaves, which will be distributed by the priest to the congregation.

The festive sermon will be preached by the Rev. Dr. Alkiviadis C. Calivas, former president, dean and professor of liturgies of Holy Cross, Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline. He is the author of “The Divine Liturgy: The Time of Its Celebration,” “Come Before God in Prayer and Solemn Feast,” and “Great Week and Pascha in the Greek Orthodox Church.”

Clergy from nearby communities also have been invited to participate. Following the vespers service, an Easter reception, hosted by the Ladies Philoptochos Society, will be offered in the church hall. The celebration will continue on Monday with Matins and Divine Liturgy of the Feast Nameday of St. George at 9 a.m.

Historic dye-work plant is crumbling away April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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An important monument of Greece’s industrial heritage suffers from neglect as promises for regeneration fail to become a reality

chropei_factory.jpg  The Chropei dye-work plant covers 4.7 hectares, including the building on Pireos Street dating from the late 19th century. It is one of the few remaining open spaces in the Municipality of Piraeus and an important monument of the country’s industrial heritage.

Local residents complain that the area is polluted by waste and that bins are deliberately placed there to make cementing over the area look like a project that would upgrade the quality of life. Meanwhile, Chropei gets even more dilapidated.

The announcement of a facelift for Pireos Street 15 years ago raised hopes that a regeneration of the city’s industrial zone was nigh. Memories of the city’s industrial past would be blotted out but new activities, mainly of a cultural character, would replace the ruined shells of the former factories. This plan never came into effect, as the current dilapidated state of the Chropei dye-work plant attests. Many still envisage a mall on the site of the old factory, even though the area has been designated for green spaces, sports facilities and cultural activities in the Athens Town Plan and in the Piraeus Town Plan. The plot, which covers 4.7 hectares, including the 19th century building on Pireos Street, is one of the few remaining open spaces in Piraeus as well as an important monument to Greece’s industrial heritage.

Fifteen years later, the promises of regeneration remain stashed away in a drawer and the industrial building in question, currently owned by the National Organization for Medicines (EOF), is crumbling away while the rest of the plot, under the ownership of the National Bank of Greece until 1999 and then by the Haragioni Group, has been turned into a dumping ground for all kinds of garbage.

Two years ago, local organizations, fed up with the intolerable situation, went to court and the Piraeus Magistrates Court imposed a term of imprisonment on those responsible in the Piraeus Municipality and the Haragioni Group.

Local inhabitants still claim that the area is polluted by waste and bins deliberately placed there to make cementing over the area look like a project that would upgrade the quality of life. The area has already suffered with the operation of the Karaiskaki Stadium, the Peace and Friendship Stadium and the building of the flyovers in Neo Faliron. Filling it with concrete would deprive Piraeus of green and recreation areas as well as exacerbate the already severe traffic congestion.

“Changing the plot’s description from a green and recreation area is a serious moral issue. Yet the plot was sold with the government’s consent despite promises to the inhabitants of Neo Faliron that it would be incorporated into the Olympic Games projects,” said Michalis Ghion, President of the Neo Faliron Educational and Cultural Association. “We are waiting for the government and the newly elected Piraeus Municipal authority to give their pledge that the plot will not be ex-appropriated and the regeneration plan will be implemented. Neo Faliron and Piraeus urgently require greenery and cultural areas.”

“A lack of respect for the historical nature of the old factory has been evidenced by the renaming of the street from Economidi to Andrea Mourati. This action is offensive and shows complete disregard for Greece’s industrial tradition. The dye-work plant no longer stirs emotions and its disintegration continues. However, regenerating the plot and renovating the works with a view to providing recreational and cultural activities would give breathing space to the whole of Piraeus,” pointed out Nikos Melios, an economist and historian at the Institute for the Study of Local and Corporate History.

The factory that produced the painkiller Algon > The largest factories on Pireos Street were set up between 1883 and 1926 at its southern end. The Chropei dye-work plant, founded by chemists Spilios and Leontios Economidis, was the first to start operating in 1883. Next to follow was the Kerameikos Pottery Works in 1911, founded by the chemist N. Kanellopoulos, who also co-founded the Drapetsona Fertilizers and the Titan Cement Works together with Leontios Economidis, civil engineer Alexandros Zachariou and others. It was this legendary group of graduates of the Zurich Polytechnic, nicknamed the Zurich group, which launched Greek industry at the beginning of the 20th century and ensured it remained competitive until the breakout of the Second World War. In 1920, the Elais Olive Oil Factory was opened by Makris and Associates, followed by the Ion Chocolate Factory, founded by the Maroulis brothers in 1926.

After the discovery of aniline, a by-product of carbon, Chropei became a chemical industry, using the new chemical for the production of synthetic dyes which replaced natural ones in textile manufacturing.

In 1883 the dye-work plant was initially a small enterprise bearing the name of Spilios A. Economidis and Co. In 1899, the foundation stone was laid in Neo Faliron. Its founder, Economidis, had studied chemistry at Graz and had worked with the German chemist Adolf Bayer, who discovered aspirin. The business, like most other businesses back then, was a family affair where all of the four Economidis brothers, Leontios, Kleomenis, Harilaos and Giorgos, and relatives Sotirios Sofianopoulos and Achilleas Karamesinis worked. Leontios was the closest to Spilios and he expanded the business and turned it into an SA company. Leontios Economidis had also studied chemistry in Munich and continued his studies in Zurich, graduating from the famous Polytechnic where he became acquainted with other Greek contemporaries who were later to become the pioneers of Greek industry, namely Kanellopoulos, Arapidis, Hadzikyriakos and Roussopoulos. They became close friends and later collaborated with one another.

A few years after its inception, Chropei became a leader in the Greek dye industry at a time when the production of synthetic dyes was a central activity on both the Greek and European markets. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the factory was called upon to contribute to the war effort. The business continued after the war and was run by the next generation of the Economidis family until 1948, when it passed into the hands of Sofianopoulos. By then the decline in the dye industry had already begun.

After 1950, radical changes in production and strategy took place; new products, such as animal foodstuffs, were manufactured while medicines and chemical products continued to be produced, in particular the painkiller Algon. In the 1970s, attempts to manufacture whitewash were made with little success. The plant eventually closed in 1989.

Police out in force for visiting fans > Champions League security April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball, Football.
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Every police officer in Attica and some from other parts of the country will be on duty in Athens for soccer’s Champions League final and basketball’s Euroleague Final Four next month, organizers said yesterday, as they warned fans from abroad not to travel to Greece without match tickets.

In security plans unveiled by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras and Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis, all of the 18,000 policemen who serve in Attica will take part in an operation designed to ensure there is no violence between supporters attending the Final Four on May 4 and 6 and the Champions League final on May 23.

The security levels for the two events will be similar to those seen in Athens during the Olympic Games of 2004. Efforts will be coordinated from the control center at the Olympic Stadium complex (OAKA), where the basketball and soccer matches will be held. CCTV cameras will also be activated.

Greek police officers are due to travel next week to England and Italy to discuss policing tactics with their counterparts. Three of the teams in the Champions League semifinals, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, are from England and one is from Italy, AC Milan.

The Olympic Stadium will have a capacity of 63,800 for the final, which is the biggest game in European club soccer and is watched by more than 200 million people on TV.

Each finalist will receive around 17,000 tickets to sell to its fans but there is concern that some of the remaining tickets could be sold on the black market.

Liaison officers will be working with authorities from abroad to try to ensure that known hooligans are not allowed to travel to Greece. Police in Athens are particularly worried about the presence of an estimated 15,000 fans who will travel without match tickets.

“We call on fans who have no tickets not to travel to Greece,” said Dimoschakis. “Our checks will start at the airports and fans’ countries of origin. We will strictly control the use of alcohol… and our aim is for opposing fans not to meet.”

International Workshop on Genomics, Evolution and Biodiversity April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Science, Shows & Conferences.
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The «First International Workshop on Genomics, Evolution and Biodiversity» starts tomorrow at the Goulandris Natural History Museum and runs to April 24.

The workshop is part of the Science, Nature and Society series that the Museum has been organizing jointly with Professor Fotis Kafatos, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council, and Dr Richard Lane, Scientific Director of the British Natural History Museum.

All the participants, who come from a range of disciplines, are eminent in their field, while the three-day workshop is expected to foster an exchange of ideas in the vital areas of genomics, evolution and biodiversity.