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Shakespeare in Arabic staged in Athens May 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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Kuwait-born Sulayman Al-Bassam adapts ‘Richard III’

‘Let’s just say that 9/11 revealed the depth of accumulated misunderstandings. It was the end of one era and the beginning of another. Only the gulf between the two just widened even further, as both sides constantly take extreme points of view,’ said Sulayman Al-Bassam. 

Shakespeare in Arabic? It sounds, to say the least, a bit odd. Yet in the hands of the restless young Arab stage director and writer Sulayman Al-Bassam, who appears to be well attuned to the pulse of classical works of European culture, as well as the physicality of his own culture’s art, the combination is stimulating. Indeed, rave reviews and the mere fact that the Royal Shakespeare Company, which commissioned an adaptation, not a translation, of “Richard III” in Arabic, has placed its trust in the artist are ample testimony to this.

In Athens, “Richard III, An Arab Tragedy” will be staged at the Pallas Theater tonight and tomorrow within the context of the Attiki Cultural Society’s third spring festival, organized in collaboration with the Elliniki Theamaton production company.

A Greek Colombian at the Cannes Film Festival May 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Spiros Stathoulopoulos’s ‘PVC-1’ will participate in the French film festival’s Directors Fortnight > The film is based on a true story and deals with a woman’s kidnapping

This year’s Greek entry at the Cannes Film Festival is in actual fact Colombian. “PVC-1,” directed by 29-year-old Spiros Stathoulopoulos, is participating in the Directors Fortnight and competing for the Camera d’Or award. “PVC-1,” a dramatic tale of kidnapping, will be screened as a Colombian production since Stathoulopoulos, whose father is Greek and whose mother is Colombian, grew up in Colombia.

Stathoulopoulos is very proud of his Greek descent. He says that he considers himself exclusively a Greek, that his film will represent Greece at the festival and that he is waiting for the opportunity to make Greek-themed films. He may not have to wait too long, for immediately after the announcement of the festival program, a number of major studios, including Warner, suggested possible collaboration.

Stathoulopoulos has been living in Los Angeles since 2000, working as a cameraman and film editor on various productions. He is a polite young man, proud of his work and excited at the recognition it has received. “The film is based on a true story that took place in Colombia in 2000. When I heard it I said it was terrible and I had to turn it into a film,” he said. “It is the story of a woman who is kidnapped. The kidnappers ask her family for a 7,000-dollar ransom and attach an explosive device to her body. The entire film is about her efforts to save herself and her family.”

Stathoulopoulos shot the whole film in an 85-minute unedited take. When reminded that similar attempts had been made in the past, including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope” and Aleksandr Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” he replies that it was different. “These were cases of filming with secret cuts. I wanted to do a clean one-take, which is why I used a digital camera. All filming took place in four days in Colombia. I handled the camera myself, it was a heavy steady cam and in order to ready myself I trained for five hours every day, for three months. I put in a lot of effort with the actors and a lot of preparation was needed. Everything had to be pre-planned in detail to shoot in a one-take. It was particularly hard for me to manage the heavy camera, because shooting took place in high temperatures, in places with rocks and water.”

Stathoulopoulos constantly refers to his Greek heritage with the pride that one encounters only among the Greek diaspora. His family decided to move to Bogota when he was 9 years old, but Stathoulopoulos went back every year and also came to Greece to do his military service. After completing his film studies in Colombia, he carried on studying in Los Angeles where he works to this day. He has also founded a production company, Kosmokrator Cinema.

He started filming shorts at the age of 11 and, for the time being, he does almost everything himself, directing, shooting and editing. “Just like Robert Rodriguez,” he said. But he may have much more help very soon, since “PVC-1” has earned a good reputation among film industry talent seekers. Stathoulopoulos insists on the Greek angle. “I want to do Greek-themed films, about Kolokotronis, Mount Athos, Meteora. But my great dream is to make a film, sometime in the future, about Alexander the Great.”

Related Links > http://www.festival-cannes.fr/index.php/en

Yiannis Moralis work achieves record price May 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Yiannis Moralis’s ‘Composition,’ which dates to 1965, drew the highest bid

Another Greek-related art auction, held in London last Tuesday, has proved to be a great hit. Following the most successful Greek Sale of all times, organized by Sotheby’s on May 10, Bonhams auctioned off more than 200 lots of 19th and 20th century works by Greek artists as well as Greek-related works by foreign artists.

The auction, which raised almost 6 million euros, lasted four hours and 15 minutes. Bids were placed not only by those present but also by phone. What is noteworthy and demonstrates that interest in Greek sales is not confined to Greek buyers, is that some of the artworks were sold to buyers in the USA, Canada, Europe and India. There is of course a possibility that the new owners are of Greek descent, but according to Terpsihori Angelopoulou of Art Expertise, which represents Bonhams in Greece, there were also many foreign art dealers.

Yiannis Moralis’s 1965 “Composition” drew the highest bid. It was sold for 735,000 euros, which marks a new record for the Greek artist. The auction also featured works by Nikos Engonopoulos and Constantinos Parthenis.

Greece participates at the Korfball Europa Cup May 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Greece participates for the first time

Last weekend the second Pan-Hellenic Korfball Championships took place with 6 clubs taking part in the competition.

The 2007 event was characterised by an increased number of clubs taking part in and a much stronger standard of play exhibited by all participants. The event was organized by the Greek National Korfball body HKBSF. The winner was the club ARIS Thessaloniki, who will represent Greece at the next European Cup Tournament for Club Teams in 2008.

ARIS Thessaloniki who is a korfball division of the well known Greek basketball and football club, qualified for the right to participate after winning the final in a hard fought encounter against GALAXIAS of Athens 11-9.

The final ranking is:
1. ARIS Thessaloniki
2. GALAXIAS Athens
3. PETRITSI-MYKINES Thessaloniki
4. ZEYS Kalamaria
5. NEMESIS Menemeni
6. MAKEDON Ampelokipoi

Korfball is the only mixed team sport! Each team consists of 4 women and 4 men. The aim of the game is for each team to score by sending the ball into the “Korf”. The field of play is 40X20 m. Divided into two zones: defense and attack. Every match lasts 2 X 30 minutes.

For further information >
Hellenic Korfball & Ball-Sports Federation (HKBSF), Mikinon 24, Thessaloniki, Greece

Related Links > http://www.makedonhellas.gr/korfballhellas_en.htm 

For more information about the rules visit > http://www.ikf.org

Leonidas Kavakos to play at Symphony Hall, Birmingham May 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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A violinist of ancient lineage

Though he sometimes shares the stage with his fellow-fiddlers Maxim Vengerov and Joshua Bell, and though he can dash off Paganini and Isaye with the best of them, the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos is of a more self-effacing stamp. His talent springs out of the soil of his native Epirus, where fiddling is the prime folk art, and where his grandfather was a star on the laouto, which is halfway between an oud and a mandolin.

His father, a fiddler in the same tradition, gave Kavakos a small instrument when he was five: the teacher to whom he subsequently went was a patient and devoted man who took no money from poor pupils. “I went in for my first competition,” says Kavakos, “because I wanted to bring honour to him.”

Paganini has perhaps been an even bigger influence. Kavakos went in for and won the Paganini Competition in Genoa, not because he wanted a prize, but because the winner got to play a concerto on Paganini’s violin. “Just one performance, but for me that was a dream. Holding it was like holding Paganini’s spirit, but physically it’s also one of the most beautiful violins in existence, with an unbelievable sound.”

Asked about his heroes, he reels off a list including Brahms’s male muse Joachim and Stravinsky’s favourite fiddler Dushkin. Then he quickly adds that they all stood on Paganini’s giant shoulders.

Last week in Manchester Kavakos was playing Stravinsky’s violin concerto. “It’s music that wears a smile that is wicked and knowing, like an archaic Greek mask,” he said. “Somehow I have to reproduce that smile.” In Birmingham he’s playing and leading the orchestra in a Mozart concerto: that, too, should wear a smile.

At the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 23 and 24 May 2007. For info call 0121 7803333. Or visit > http://www.thsh.co.uk

Related Links > http://www.thsh.co.uk/view/cbso-viennese-masterpieces-matinee