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mpGreek and Mad TV launch Greek web on demand program June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets, Internet & Web.
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mpGreek the biggest music and entertainment network for Greek digital entertainment and Mad TV today launched the first web on-demand program for the Greek market named Mad mpGreek on-Demand

Mad mpGreek on Demand has a duration of 10-15 minutes, it is updated on a weekly basis, and it is free to consumers. The joint effort delivers new happenings and news updates in a short and entertaining 15 minute program. The program consists of new hits and old classic music videos and special behind the scenes videos provided by mpGreek, as well as, Mad News, Mad Agenda, Mad Interviews provided by Mad.

Mad mpGreek on-Demand is a high-quality web Channel to watch what is new and what is going on in the Greek music scene. On-Demand features include Instant Play from Start to Finish, as well as the ability to Fast Forward, Rewind and go to Next Section.

mpGreek and Mad have developed an innovative program with a cool user interface, which will automatically recommend the next or previous episode.

“The Internet has truly changed the way consumers enjoy a wide variety of content, they want to experience it anytime, anywhere, on-demand,” said Alex Kombogiannis, mpGreek Director. “We are very excited to launch mpGreek Mad Video on Demand Service with Mad TV and make what we believe to be the best Greek music online video experience on the Web available to Greek users.”

“We are very pleased to announce the Mad mpGreek on-Demand service, as Mad TV is always striving towards providing new music related services by exploiting all kind of mediums to meet consumers’ needs” said Andreas M. Kouris, Mad TV Managing Director.

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easyJet’s Sir Stelios > Greece needs cheaper airports June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights, Tourism.
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Greece needs cheaper regional airports to tap the growing budget airline trade and boost tourism to the country, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of airline easyJet, said on Tuesday.

Greece has introduced incentives to attract more tourists by granting new licences for the construction of luxury hotels and golf courses, seeking to diversify from the traditional sun and sea tourism. Tourism accounts for about 18 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) and roughly one in five jobs.

‘Greece needs to attract low-cost companies to help boost tourism and to do this it needs to lower airport costs,’ Sir Stelios told a conference in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece.

Airport taxes in Greece are in many cases higher than the cost of the ticket itself, especially for short-haul flights, resulting in many travellers choosing to by-pass Greek destinations for less expensive neighboring countries, he said. ‘Spain, Italy and France are full of low-cost airports attracting airlines and their customers. In Greece this hasn’t happened because the airports are relatively expensive,’ he said.

Lowering travel costs would also help develop non-traditional tourism such as the growing ‘weekend break’ holidays as well as encourage people to purchase second houses away from their home-cities. There are cities in Europe with unpronounceable names that have daily flights from northern Europe, cities that many people didn’t know existed, but are thriving with tourists because they attracted these companies,’ he said.

He also said he is looking to expand his EasyCruise operations in Greece to include destinations in the northern Aegean Sea.

This year Greece expects more than 15 million visitors, the third consecutive season to see a rise since the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Cyprus has one of highest diabetes rates June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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Cyprus has one of the highest rates of diabetes in Europe, with one third of the population at risk of developing the insulin resistance condition.

The statistics were presented at a scientific symposium on diabetes in Larnaca by the Cyprus Diabetes Association, in co-operation with Greece’s National Centre for Diabetes and the Larnaca Apollonion Medical Association yesterday.

Chairman of the Cyprus association Dr Doros Loizou said that based on research from 2003 to 2005, 10.3 per cent of the local population suffered from diabetes, one of the highest statistics in Europe.

According to his measurements, 17.5 per cent of the population have blood sugar levels between 100 and 126, and 6.5 per cent of the population have a blood sugar level over 140. A normal blood sugar level should not be above 100 at any given time.

Loizou added that a global prevention programme was under development to combat the problem, but that in Cyprus the main problem was people abandoning the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Greek professor Nicos Katzilambros added that as well as diet, another problem was today’s large portions promoting insulin resistance and hence diabetes. He said people had to start making lifestyle changes including frequenting tavernas less often and walking more. Health education also had to be taught at schools and less time spent on the computer, he said.

Dirty Three back in Greece for a new musical storm June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Indie greats end European tour with two Greek shows

Just weeks after curating All Tomorrow’s Parties, a major UK festival, Dirty Three end their European tour at the Gagarin in Athens this Saturday. 

The instrumental violin-led trio Dirty Three, arguably the most intriguing contemporary act to have emerged from Australia since the faraway country’s indie-music boom of the 80s, have managed to put themselves on the international music map, despite rendering unlikely and unconventional work. Well-received early gigs, circa 1993,  at modestly sized clubs on the domestic circuit, accompanied by early albums that underscored the trio’s creative, honest and expressive approach to music making, swiftly encouraged the Australian band to take its work overseas.

Nowadays, seven albums and countless shows later, Dirty Three rates as a prime player on the international indie circuit. Highlighting their stature, just weeks ago, the trio acted as curators at one of the indie scene’s leading festivals, All Tomorrow’s Parties, in the UK. Then, it was back on the road again for a 13-date European tour that ends this Saturday in Athens at the Gagarin club. Dirty Three also plays in Thessaloniki on Thursday at the Xylourgeio club.

Dirty Three have visited Greece for shows twice before, initially as a largely unknown quantity back in 1996, as the support act for compatriot Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. But the trio did manage to introduce itself in the best of ways with a spirited set that gained it instant recognition among Cave’s considerable Greek following. The trio returned to the Greek capital just over five years ago for two scintillating sold-out shows at the Small Music Theater.

There are a couple of Greek connections to this band. As curators at the recent All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, Dirty Three’s list of chosen performers included Cretan lyra-player Psarantonis, whose frenzied style of playing can draw comparisons to Ellis’s approach. Last time they were in Athens, Dirty Three rushed off from the club they had just played to catch Psarantonis at a venue across town. Moreover, the Australian band’s «Horse Stories» album, released in 1996, includes «I Remember a Time When Once You Used to Love Me,» a radicalized cover of a modern Greek classic written by Yiannis Spanos and originally sung by the respected singer-songwriter Arletta. She is aware of the Dirty Three’s version and the two sides have met.

Commenting on his double-fronted role as a member of Dirty Three and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds in recent years, Ellis remarked: «The Dirty Three is something we’ve all worked at together. I’ve been with the band through the good and the bad. The Bad Seeds were already happening when I arrived. With the Dirty Three we do whatever we want. We’ve watched it grow, a bit like a child. Sometimes it behaves, other times it doesn’t.»

It’s time for theater at the Athens Festival June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Stage & Theater.
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Following the National Opera’s production of “Carmen,” which inaugurated this year’s Athens Festival, it is now time for theater.

Until Friday, the Scholeion on Pireos Street is showing Marivaux’s “L’heureux stratagem,” a production directed by Nikos Hadzopoulos. The new stage of the Pireos 260 theater is showing Robert Thomas’s “Eight Women”, performed by eight men, until tomorrow and the other stage of the same venue is presenting the Pyotr Fomenko Theatre-Atelier in the first part of Leon Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” also through tomorrow.

“L’heureux stratagem,” a classic piece of Marivaux comedy, was fortunate to have fallen into the hands of Hadzopoulos, an adept director and translator who knows how to shed light on the ins and outs of a situation, give it color and tone and read between the lines, skills that are necessary when handling the often-misconstrued playwright.

Marivaux’s sophisticated language, a tool of seduction, subterfuge, hidden emotions and passions but also one of a lurking brutality that reveals itself through the fine manners and courtesy of the playwright’s characters, has been deftly transported to a timeless present by the director and his A-list cast: Anna Mascha, Maria Kehagioglou and Despina Droutsi, ta virulent female trio, and Yiannis Dalianis, Costas Berokopoulos and Dimosthenis Eleftheriadis, a no less-dangerous male ensemble.

A play that ran for several seasons in the past on various stages in the Greek capital and which later also became a screen classic with a stellar cast, Thomas’s “Huit femmes” (Eight Women) has been given an interesting new twist by Nikos Karathanos, who had the igneous idea of casting eight men, including himself, in the eight female roles.

The other stage of Pireos 260 presents one of Russia’s most vibrant theater ensembles, that of Pyotr Fomenko, a great stage director and legendary tutor. “War and Peace” Fomenko-style has received rave reviews and awards internationally. The play was developed after exhaustive research into Tolstoy’s classic, after which Fomenko decided to focus only on the first part of the first volume.

For information and tickets, tel 210 3272000, or visit > www.greekfestival.gr

A French take on ‘Lysistrata’ in Athens June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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French stars Fanny Ardant and Gerard Depardieu in Athens for Attiki Cultural Society production

Harmony. Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant share a long-lasting artistic relationship. Tonight, the French actors deliver a final theatrical reading of Aristophanes’ ‘Lysistrata’ at the Pallas Theater.

Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant enjoy the perfect relationship. «Fanny and I enjoy all the positive aspects of a couple. We don’t live, wake up or sleep together. We discover texts, we go on adventures, we have a beautiful harmony,» said the flamboyant Frenchman of his long-lasting, artistic, bond with Ardant in Athens yesterday.

The celebrated French screen and stage duo is currently sharing yet another experience at the Pallas Theater in a theatrical reading of Aristophanes’ «Lysistrata». The ancient comedy, which premiered last night and ends tonight, was adapted and directed by Jean-Paul Scarpitta. Billed as a work in progress, it is part of this year’s spring theater festival organized by the Attiki Cultural Society.

«Cinema looks the same these days; the same stories, a kind of voyeurism ultimately annihilating everyone’s culture,» said Depardieu. «Theater takes us back to our roots.» For the actor, this marks the second time he appears in Greece following a production of Igor Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio «Oedipus Rex» in Epidaurus in 2001.

«The production is like a love song to ancient drama,» said Ardant of her current appearance in Athens, noting that she felt particularly conscious of interpreting ancient drama in its birthplace. «I am rather dark as a person, I love violence, blood, vengeance; I enjoy the works of Aeschylus and Euripides. In Aristophanes, however, I loved the humor and the pragmatic approach.»

«I wasn’t familiar with Aristophanes, I’m an actor in spite of myself,» noted Depardieu. «But what is said in Aristophanes resonates when we can’t speak but can listen.»

Written in 411 BC, «Lysistrata» is the story of a group of women going against their husbands, by denying them sex, to put an end to war.

«I’m not interested in politics,» noted Depardieu. «I pay exorbitant taxes, I would like to leave my country but I can’t. Politics bore me; I don’t need politics to live.» For Ardant, the only appropriate political stance is to be «against any kind of power.» Meanwhile, both actors are discovering the «Lysistrata» text nearly at the same time as the audience.

«There’s love, there’s theater,» said Scarpitta of the production. «There is admiration for your culture and communication with the audience.» Much depends on the chemistry shared on stage. «I don’t know what is going to happen tonight,» said Depardieu. «One life is not enough,» said Ardant. «With Gerard, I always feel that life starts all over again.»

Pallas Theater, 5 Voukourestiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3213100.

Artists protest raid on show June 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Dozens of artists as well as intellectuals and politicians yesterday condemned the closure by police on Saturday of a supposedly “indecent” art exhibit and the arrest of the show’s curator.

At least 70 artists contributed pieces to a “counter-exhibition” in Metaxourgeio yesterday, intended as a protest to the authorities’ censorship of a video installation by prize-winning artist Eva Stefani at the Art Athina show.

Stefani’s work, which combined footage of Greek pornograghic movies of the 1960s and 1970s with a soundtrack featuring the Greek National Anthem, was shut down following a police raid on the Helexpo venue in Maroussi on Saturday. The show’s curator, Michalis Argyros, spent the night in a police cell and has been charged with offending public morals. The same charges have also been brought against Stefani, who is currently abroad.

Police officials said they acted after being notified that offensive material was on display at the show, which was organized under the auspices of the Culture Ministry. But Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday indicated that he disagreed with such censorship tactics. “The particular piece is not in keeping with my aesthetics or principles, but artists are free to create and to defend their work,” he said.

“I find it unacceptable that a work of art is violently removed from an exhibition,” Stefani was quoted as telling the Eleftherotypia newspaper from Germany. Stefani’s installation, located at the bottom of an escalator, had been clearly marked with signs stressing it was not suitable for those under 18 years of age.