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Greek repairman brings life back to old jukeboxes June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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Rarely does the public get to play with the bright, noisy machines “Jukebox George” keeps locked away in his Old Town shop.

The storefront of Nostalgia Electronics, next-door to Pischke’s Paradise restaurant on First Street, usually appears dark and uninviting. The man who runs the place is elusive, seen by appointment only. George Efthimiou repairs vintage jukeboxes, pinball machines and slot machines for a living. His shop is somewhere between an antique art gallery and arcade. With the lights on, Efthimiou’s place glows with the aura of dozens of pricey collectibles owned by people across Arizona.

“The jukebox is the electronic art of America,” Efthimiou said. “After the ’80s and ’90s, a lot of people started buying them to reminisce.”

Efthimiou says he’s the only person in Arizona who repairs jukeboxes for a living. The 67-year-old native of Greece said he settled in Old Town Scottsdale nearly 11 years ago because of the antique-like service he provides. He wanted to be around people with that type of interest, and many Scottsdale residents have the means to buy such pricey toys.

Jukebox repair services are rare in the Southwest. One millionaire collector sent a private jet to fetch Efthimiou to fly him to a Denver mansion to personally maintenance a jukebox. Another millionaire paid for him to drive to Payson for a job earlier this week. Efthimiou said he developed his knowledge of music-making machinery as a 16-year-old electrician’s apprentice in Greece, repairing jukeboxes at restaurants throughout Athens.

Known as “Jukebox George” by customers, Efthimiou came to the U.S. in 1980, and settled in the Dallas area. He established an electronics repair shop, but it failed, forcing him to move to Scottsdale and focus on jukeboxes. Nostalgia Electronics is often closed, but Efthimiou said passers-by tend to drift inside whenever he’s there working with a customer. He usually has to kick people out so he can make his next repair appointment.

“It’s like an amusement park for some people,” Efthimiou said. “It doesn’t show like a showroom. There’s stuff all over the place, and customers want to spend time in there.”

The most common song selected from jukeboxes? One of the many versions of Don’t Fence Me In,” Efthimiou said, adding he’s a big country music fan. Vintage jukebox repairs range from $300 to $3,000. New machines cost $300-$1,500 to fix. Efthimiou also sells brand-new, replica jukeboxes for around $8,000, including those with built-in mounts for iPods. Other businesses sell new jukeboxes, such as billiard shops, but Efthimiou said he is the only one repairing the antiques in Arizona.

“I’m getting calls from the competitors,” Efthimiou said. “They’re selling the new stuff but they can’t fulfill the needs of their customers after they complain.”

Roger Shuman, 54, said it took six months for Efthimiou to repair his 1986 Rock-Ola jukebox. Shuman, a Sahuarita resident, said the repairs cost $2,600, nearly as much as he bought it for in the ’80s. But he said it was well worth it. Efthimiou demonstrated the repairs to Shuman by blasting a Jimmy Buffett song at full volume. The sound seemed on par with a modern CD player, rather than an old jukebox.

“I’m thinking of parking it somewhere to make some money,” said Shuman, who drives a school bus in the Tucson area. “I’ve always just had it in my house as a conversation piece.”

Nostalgia Electronics > Jukebox repair business run by George Efthimiou. 7215 E. First St., in Old Town Scottsdale. Open by appointment only. Efthimiou repairs and sells both vintage and new replica jukeboxes. He also repairs antique pinball machines and slot machines. Information: www.nostalgiaelectronics.com or (480) 946-1654.


Scorpions live performance in Athens June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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German hard rock veterans Scorpions performed at Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens, Greece on Monday, June 18. Check out pictures from Wire Image. Watch fan-filmed video footage at YouTube.

Scorpions’ video for the song “Humanity” has been posted at YouTube.

A 10-minute video clip of Scorpions singer Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker answering questions at a Paris press conference for their new album, “Humanity – Hour 1”, has been posted at here.

As previously reported, a 30-minute audio interview with Klaus Meine, conducted by Nikos Mastorakis of Greece’s Radio Gold 103.3, has been made available for download at here (MP3, 6.78 MB). During the interview, Meine discusses the band’s new album, “Humanity – Hour I”, and addresses the possibility of the band retiring without releasing another studio CD.

Food show highlights Greek delights June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Food Culture, Greek Taste Local.
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Holidaymakers in Greece can eat delicious and healthy food as was demonstrated at the Heraklion festival of food from around the country, including Chania in Crete.

Over the last fortnight, the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) hosted a gastronomic exhibition of the regions delicious food, wine and spirits. HEPO President Panagiotis I. Papastavrou said the show was put on “to display to the rest of the world the Greek way of living, which is indelibly linked with Greek food and wine, with the friendly atmosphere of a typical Greek table, with good company and the sharing of exquisite food”.

He highlighted the healthy ingredients on show were particularly relevant at a time when an obesity epidemic is spreading. Holidaymakers to Greece will be welcomed by cooking with olive oil, fresh fruits, herbs and plenty of salads.

One exhibitor even attributed medicinal properties to her foods. Litsa Anagnostaki, a taverna owner in Chania and maker of traditional cheese pies, said that “tea made from rigani (oregano) is good for coughs”.

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Holidays In Greece June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Testimonials.
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One of the most wonderful holidays that I have ever had was in Greece. There is something about this country that just takes your breath away and makes you come back to visit it every year.

Greece is a land of history, a land of beauty, culture and just one of the most amazing places that you will ever find on this planet. Every stone, every piece of land, every inch of the sea is history and when you lay your eyes on the amazing landscapes of this country, you know that you are about to experience one of the most wonderful holidays of your life.

When you choose a place to spend your holidays, you should make sure that you receive more than you give and from this point of view Greece is the place to go. Now a member of the European Union, Greece is a very prosperous country that is has very elevated standards, but somehow remains true to its origins and beliefs.

I am not the only person who has declared that one of their best holidays was in Greece. Like me are thousands, maybe millions, that have fallen in love with this amazing country, with its people, with its culture and most of all, with its beaches. If ever you decide to take some time off and plan one of the best holidays you will ever have, then I am sure that Greece is the destination. I do not have the smallest doubt because I know that every one of you is more than curious to see those white ruins, see the places where people first cried or laughed together watching a theatre act and most of all I know that the Mediterranean and the sandy, warm beaches will steal your heart. I forgot to mention the hospitality and the amazing food that the Greeks are known for….this I’ll let you discover for yourselves.

By: Groshan Fabiola
Submitted by Adrian Dunbaker on June 19, 2007

Read this testimonial at source > BestSyndication.

Isthmia > city of elusive ancient Greece June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Having eluded British archaeologists for two decades, American excavators found the seat of the Isthmian Games, one of four ancient Greek athletic contests, practically erased.

Massive column drums and blocks are still conspicuous in the walls of the late antique fortress that guarded the Isthmus, and early travellers imagined that the temple and its precinct lay inside the walls. In the 1930s, the British archaeologist RJH Jenkins and his young architect, H. Megaw, set out to test the prevailing theory. Since they found only Roman remains beneath the fortress, they looked for the temple elsewhere in the vicinity but did not locate it.

The present excavations have their origins in discussions that took place during the Second World War at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. It was home to a group of scholars exiled from their work in Greece. They included the Swedish-born, American archaeologist Oscar Broneer and Paul Clement. The exiles entertained themselves by discussing what archaeological tasks particularly needed to be performed in Greece after the war was over. There was agreement that the one major Panhellenic site that still needed exploration was the Sanctuary of Poseidon on the Corinthian Isthmus, the site of the Isthmian Games.

In 1946, Oscar Broneer returned to Greece to be acting director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, a post he held until he was appointed to a professorship of Classics at the University of Chicago in 1948. It was at the urging of the University of Chicago that he organised excavations on the Isthmus.

Swedish-born, American archaeologist Oscar Broneer conducted excavations on the site from 1954 to 1967. The project began in April of 1952. A survey of the topography led Broneer to conclude that the only possible site in which a large temple could have stood was a plateau at the foot of a small ridge, known locally as the Rachi. It was there that he laid out a long and narrow trench to reveal whatever lay concealed beneath the surface. On the first day, the characteristic ground plan of a Doric temple emerged.

Broneer, however, did not, as he had expected, encounter the blocks of the foundations but simply the empty trenches where they had once lain. The temple had been almost completely destroyed, its blocks moved in late antiquity to construct the massive fortress, always visible, that was meant to guard against invasions from the north. Broneer was accompanied in that first season by a young Greek archaeologist, Chrysoula Kardara, who was later to become a professor at the University of Athens.

Undeterred by the destruction of the temple, Broneer conducted excavations from 1954 to 1967. He systematically laid bare the central area of the sanctuary surrounding the temple, the stadium that lay adjacent to it and the theatre. He explored the later stadium of Hellenistic and Roman times, the Roman Bath, fortress and a small Hellenistic settlement located on the Rachi ridge above the sanctuary areas.

One significant discovery was the early Archaic temple lying beneath the Doric building of Classical times. A catastrophic fire reduced the building and its contents to a mass of smouldering ruins amongst which Broneer recovered a host of small dedications brought by pilgrims to Poseidon’s shrine.

The remains of larger pieces, including bronze statues, were melted down and recast. The objects that remained, some of them small and exquisite, include a carnelian seal stone carved with the image of a young man, a tiny gold bull complete in every detail, although less than one centimetre long, a gold pin head showing a jeweller’s skill, carnelian beads from a necklace, and carved bone pieces from a board game.

Small and finely decorated oil vessels (aryballoi) were favoured dedications. A man who had been victorious in the pentathlon gave a jumping weight suitably inscribed. Its early letter-forms provide the first evidence for the pentathlon as an event in the games. A wheel from a chariot was dedicated, presumably in gratitude for a victory won at the Isthmian Games. Then there were arms and armour, dedications made by those who had been victorious in war. Humbler forms of dedication were the small terracotta figurines of horses and riders and of bulls, the animal sacred to Poseidon. As god of the sea, he also received small replicas of ships for a safe voyage.

The excavations revealed not only structures from Archaic and Classical Greece, but produced vivid evidence of the sanctuary’s continued life into the Roman period. From Imperial times, there is the shrine to the hero and god, Melikertes-Palaimon. He was the object of a mystery cult.

Evidence of this is to be seen in the many oil lamps found in his precinct next to the temple of Poseidon. They would have belonged to the initiates who took part in rites enacted in the darkness of night that included the sacrifice of a bull burned in a pit.

Broneer was joined in 1967 by his friend from his Princeton days, Paul Clement, now a professor at UCLA. The first excavation season consisted of a joint campaign in which Broneer finished his work in the sanctuary and Clement began clearing portions of the Late Roman fortifications that he called the Hexamilion.

From the roadway of the Northeast Gate came two marble stelae that had been used as paving stones. They had originally been erected in honour of victors in the Isthmian games of Roman times. One of them, preserved in its entirety, carries the portrait of Cornelius of Corinth, who had won first prize as a flute-player in games throughout the Roman Empire.

Clement then continued to conduct excavations that centred on the Roman Bath and structures in a field east of the main sanctuary. There emerged in the course of excavations in the bath a very large and complete black-and-white mosaic floor showing a Triton carrying a Nereid on his back with sea creatures swimming beside him.

On Broneer’s retirement in 1976, Elizabeth Gebhard followed him as director of the University of Chicago Excavations at Isthmia, and in 1987 Timothy Gregory took over Clement’s work for the Ohio State University. The two projects continue; they concentrate on research, conservation and publications.

A major excavation took place in 1989 under the direction of Frederick Hemans and myself. Evidence was uncovered that revealed a much earlier beginning for Poseidon’s cult in the Early Iron Age than had been previously imagined. Further exploration of the Archaic Temple revealed important information about its plan and date, while tests throughout the sanctuary produced vital information for securing the chronology of the site.

To explore the surrounding territory, Gregory and Daniel Pullen of Florida State University, some years later conducted a systematic survey designed to place the Isthmian Sanctuary in its broader context. The survey has recovered details of life in the eastern Corinthia from the Neolithic period until today, and it has provided new information about activity on this “crossroads of Greece”, including many new sites, several of which are now under intensive investigation.

The Isthmia Museum, which contains exhibits relating to the sanctuary and the nearby port of Kechreai, opened in 1978. Now, 30 years later, renovations are underway under the aegis of the Greek Archaeological Service and the 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. The site and Museum will soon be opened again to the public.

To celebrate the 55th year of excavations at the Sanctuary of Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens hosted an international conference on June 15-17.

Hotels in Greece get green tips June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece.
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Over 10,000 hotels in holiday destinations such as Kos, Kefalonia, and other are set to provide greener services with the help of a charity.

The Travel Foundation will provide hotels in Greece with information on sustainability, helping them provide a more environmentally friendly service. In a bid to help preserve the astounding natural beauty that many holiday destination spots rely on to attract tourists, hotel owners will be provided with advice about how to save energy, source supplies locally and waste management.

Proprietors will receive information packs translated into Greek including top ten tips and a DVD showing them how to make their service more sustainable. Hotel staff and customers will also be able to see posters informing them of how to minimise their own impact on the environment.

Holidaymakers catching cheap flights to Kos or other Greek destinations, will be able to sleep more soundly in the knowledge that the hotel they are swimming and sleeping in is doing it’s bit for the planet.

Celebrated tenor in Athens to sing for Darfur June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera, Music Life Classical, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Spanish-born tenor and maestro Placido Domingo celebrated 40 years in opera last month

You don’t have to be an opera lover to enjoy the voice of Placido Domingo. A multifaceted artist with a remarkable career, the internationally acclaimed tenor is well known for his artistic gifts, his generous personality, as well as being one-third of the Three Tenors.

The Spanish-born Domingo is expected in Athens next week for a charity concert in aid of the children of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Organized by Medecins Sans Frontieres, the concert will take place at the Panathenaic Stadium on June 27.

In Athens, Domingo will join forces with Katherine Jenkins and the ERT State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Kohn. Also expected to make an appearance alongside Domingo is Greek vocalist Fotini Darra. The evening includes arias from operas, operettas and musicals, among others.

Having interpreted 124 roles at landmark theaters around the world, Domingo is celebrated for his musical talents as well as his remarkable stage presence, and it all became apparent at a very young age. Domingo was only 27 when he appeared at New York’s Metropolitan Opera to rave reviews, followed by an equally successful appearance at Milan’s La Scala a year later.

Domingo’s exceptional career includes more than 100 recordings, while his work alongside fellow tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras is credited with breaking musical barriers in order to reach formerly virgin opera audiences.

“When I rest, I rust” is the artist’s motto and that is not just words. In December 2006, Domingo took on the leading role in Chinese-American composer Tan Dun’s new epic opera, “The First Emperor.” In May this year, the tenor celebrated his first 40 years in opera, while tickets for the concert he is scheduled to give at the Salzburg Festival in August were sold out last year.

Besides his vocal experience, Domingo is also an accomplished maestro and was the general director of the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera.

Earlier this year, the artist announced that in 2009 he will take part as a baritone and undertake the demanding role of the Doge of Genoa, in Giuseppe Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra.”

Born in 1980, crossover mezzo-soprano Jenkins is a rising star of world opera. Part of Live 8 in Berlin in 2005, Jenkins has also performed for Britain’s royal family at Buckingham and Saint James palaces. In 2004, her album “Premiere” became the second fastest selling mezzo-soprano album after Maria Callas.

Panathenaic (Kallimarmaro) Stadium, June 27. For tickets: Nikos Xylouris music store at 39 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, on tel 210 7234567 and online at www.ticketservices.gr