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Greek fashion making its mark globally June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style.
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Though still a toddler when compared to industry giants such as France and Italy, Greek fashion is slowly making its own mark in the international arena of style.

Much of its newly found success has to do with its relatively recently found unity, the establishment of the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association in 2003 and the subsequent development of Greek fashion week, namely the Athens Collections.

Besides observing local and international fashion professionals attending their catwalk collections at the city’s Zappeion Hall, Greek designers are going beyond the country’s borders to reach new markets via exhibitions, showrooms and fashion shows.

The summer season’s highlight is the presence of a Greek designer in a new Spanish week, 080 Barcelona Fashion is Everywhere. The event, which picks up the Catalan fashion torch following the end of Pasarela Gaudi and Pasarela Barcelona, is scheduled to take place for the first time July 9 to 11.

Yiorgos Eleftheriades is the new fashion week’s special international guest, showing alongside fellow designers such as Teresa Helbig, Juan Pedro Lopez, Miriam Ponsa, Roberto Piqueras and Jose Luis Castro, among others.

Besides promoting its local talent, 080 Barcelona is paying tribute to a legendary Frenchman of style, Thierry Mugler. The well-known French designer, currently celebrating 30 years in fashion, will present a retrospective show at the city’s Olympic swimming pool. Well known for his large-scale catwalk productions, Mugler is set to welcome about 3,500 guests. No doubt the city’s Maritime Museum will prove a much cozier venue for Eleftheriades’s show, scheduled for July 10.

Greek fashion’s next stop is on July 13-15, when Katerinalexandraki travels to Berlin’s Premium exhibition. After Germany, the work of a group of designers will go on display at the Daniele Ghiselli showroom in Milan (September 20-30). So far, this group includes Yiorgos Eleftheriades, Mi-Ro, Vassilis Zoulias, Katerina Karoussou, Orsalia Parthenis and Dimitris Dassios. Greek talent will also be present at the Vendome Luxury Show at the Ritz hotel in Paris. Chara Lebessi, Costas Faliakos, Kathy Heyndels and Dimitris Dassios will present their collections at the luxurious venue from October 4 to 7.

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The father of funk George Clinton up-front and effervescent June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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The father of funk, George Clinton, and his P-Funk All Stars play the Vrachon Theater tomorrow

Having filled the gap between rock and soul, George Clinton, now 67, has influenced an entire generation of musicians, including a big part of the hip-hop world.

Not long after the end of the Vietnam war, when rock and soul were the dominant styles, a talented black artist filled the gap with a new sound that was coined funk. George Clinton, now 67, influenced an entire generation of musicians, including a big part of the hip-hop world. Clinton will perform his first ever Greek show tomorrow. Considering the man’s long-spanning career, which has led to over 50 albums, a career-spanning performance is next to impossible. But fans should definitely get a good dose of Clinton’s authentic, scintillating and rhythmic funk. 

Clinton has been active in music since the age of 15. He abandoned a job as a hairdresser in the early 60s to focus on music. His songwriting talent was soon recognized by Motown Records, and Clinton began writing songs for various top-selling acts signed to the label, including Jackson 5 and the Supremes. At the same time, Clinton, influenced by the doo-wop band Frankie & The Teenagers, formed Parliament.

“We felt the need to discover absolute freedom through music. The music jumped out from inside us and liberated us. That’s the beauty of funk. It allows you to fuse whatever you like. And because I don’t underestimate luck, I think it played a great role because we got together at the right time,” Clinton recalled. “There was both the space and the need for this sort of thing,” he continued.

Parliament disbanded in the late 60s and swiftly remerged as Funkadelic. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Sly and The Family Stone, Clinton and his new group delivered a raw and primitive funk that was infused with psychedelic rock and R&B. Funkadelic put out three emblematic albums, a self-titled release, “Free Your Mind… And Your Ass Will Follow” and “Maggot Brain.” A modern sound was born.

“I’ll never forget our live shows from that period,” said Clinton. “The people and us were united by an unbelievable energy. I’ve sought this joy throughout my whole life, and music is the only thing that can produce it for me.”

In 1981, Clinton decided to pursue a solo career. He released albums and collaborated with various musicians and groups, including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who approached Clinton for the production work on their “Freaky Styley” album, which sold about half a million units. Clinton proved a major influence in rap music. Star acts such as Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg have frequently nibbled at Clinton’s work, lifting samples for their own material.

“Music musn’t remain stagnant, but should carry on and develop continuously,” Clinton noted.

For his upcoming Athens performance, Clinton will be backed by his P-Funk All Stars, a 20-member group that includes rappers, dancers, as well as members of his old band. A good part of Clinton’s course will be presented over a three-hour show with the 67-year-old performer up-front and effervescent, despite his advancing years.

“Funk always makes me feel young,” Clinton explained, when asked about his lasting energy.

Tomorrow, Vrachon Theater, Vyronas, Athens. 8 p.m. Tickets 37 euros for advance purchases and 40 euros at the gate.

Neo-folk sister act on stage in Halandri June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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‘The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn’ will form the core of CocoRosie’s show

Brooklyn-based sister act Sierra Rose (Rosie) and Bianca Leilani (Coco) Cassidy, known as CocoRosie, will be in Athens tonight for a single gig at the Rematia Theater, in Halandri, captivating their audience with their neo-folk sound.

Raised alternately by their estranged parents and having moved from state to state across America, the sisters lived very separate lives and spent their summers on reservations with their Cherokee father, who taught in Steiner Waldorf schools.

In their teens, the girls were further separated when Coco was sent to boarding school and Rosie continued living in Brooklyn, New York, studying linguistics and sociology, while also trying her hand at the visual arts.

Influenced by indie rock, hip-hop, neoclassical and folk music, the siblings officially formed their band in 2003, the same year that they were reunited, and released their first album “La maison de mon reve” (My Dream House).

Their most recent release, “The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn” will form the core of their Halandri appearance, along with favorites from other albums, such as “Beautiful Boyz” from 2004 and “Noah’s Ark” the following year. Rosie will perform on the guitar, piano, harp and backup vocals, as Coco does lead vocals and backup electronics and percussion.

They were active for most of 2004, 2005 and 2006 playing dates across the US and making several trips to Europe for tours playing with TV on the Radio, Bright Eyes, Devendra Banhart and others.

At the Rematia Theater, Profitis Ilias Street, Halandri, Athens, tel 210 6855160.

The soul of dance stripped down June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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Akram Khan and Sylvie Guillem join forces in ‘Sacred Monsters,’ merging classical and modern

Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan, two formidable performers, present a ‘meditation on the journey from classical to modern dance,’ in ‘Sacred Monsters.’ The acclaimed choreographer and the legendary ballerina will be in Athens tonight and tomorrow, performing at the Herod Atticus Theater.

The performance begins with a stark, silent scene. Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan, two “sacred monsters” of modern dance, stare at the audience in silence. They have returned to their childhood years. Guillem plays with a jump rope and Khan learns his first dance steps. They each, in turn, reveal something of themselves in solo dances, contemplation on the technique in which each has been trained, she in classical ballet and he in the Indian kathak and modern dance. They don’t pretend to be anything but completely incompatible. When he twirls around her at an irritating speed, she leads him into a corner and when he tries to manipulate her limbs as if she were a doll, she escapes his grip with a burst of pirouettes. As they dance, they exchange secrets: Guillem confesses her fear of insignificance and Kahn his fear of baldness. Their idioms gradually merge into one. Guillem, legs wrapped around Khan’s torso, hangs from him, becoming a part of him as they perform a ritualistic duet, using only their hands and their torsos.

“Sacred Monsters,” which premiered in London in September 2006, has been one of the most lauded dance performances in Europe this past year, as it brought together the legendary ballerina with the acclaimed modern dance choreographer. Now the performance is coming to Athens, presented by the Athens Festival at the Herod Atticus Theater tonight and tomorrow.

From Berrow, UK to Greece on a bike June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cycling.
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A British pensioner from Berrow is peddling his way to Greece during a gruelling 1,500 mile charity cycling challenge.

David Steel, 60, sets off on the cycle ride of a lifetime on Saturday morning. The first leg of his ten-day trek will take him from Berrow, near Pendock, to Portsmouth, catching the ferry to Normandy. He is then travelling 750 miles across France, into Italy, passing Mont Blanc, Parma and Modena, towards the southern port of Ancona.

The final stage of his journey is the most taxing, the last 40-mile stretch climbing 1,400 metres from sea level up to the Mount Pelion ski resort, before curling down to the finish at Aghios Ioannis.

His effort will raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and Mr Steel hopes to raise as much as possible in sponsorship.

He said he had recently been taken with a compelling urge to do something worthwhile for charity. “I’ve done quite a bit of cycling here and there and I’ve been in training,” he said. “I really like Greece, so thought if I was going to do this, I might as well choose somewhere nice to end up in.”

He added: “I chose Macmillan because it provides immediate support for people with cancer, when it is most needed. There are many worthy charities out there but Macmillan really does brilliant work, I couldn’t do what they do.”

CSKA Moscow lures Panathinaikos star June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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CSKA Moscow lures Panathinaikos star with almost double the money > Lithuanian Siskauskas leaves European champ for runner-up in latest of three big signings

Panathinaikos basketball club, the reigning European and Greek champion, has parted ways with one of its leading players, Lithuanian forward Ramounas Siskauskas, who has transferred to CSKA Moscow, the Euroleague’s runner-up.

Siskauskas, who spent just one season with Panathinaikos, will reportedly receive annual fees of 2 million euros at CSKA Moscow, almost double the 1.2-million-euro salary he was on at the Athens club.

The Lithuanian is CSKA Moscow’s latest in a string of three major signings. It was preceded by the Russian club’s acquisitions of Greek star Nikos Zisis and power forward Marcus Goree. The three had spent the previous season together at Benetton Treviso, helping the Italian club win the domestic league title. Siskauskas’s unanticipated departure from Panathinaikos will force the club’s coach Zelimir Obradovic to search the transfer market for a worthy replacement.

In 20 Euroleague games in the 2006-07 season, the 29-year-old Lithuanian registered an average of 10.9 points, a 50.7 percent success rate for two-point shots, 47.1 percent for three-point shots, 70.6 percent for free throws, 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. He stood as one of the Greek club’s most pivotal figures throughout the season.

In another development at CSKA Moscow, the Russian club denied rumors that it was interested in signing another Greek player, Lazaros Papadopoulos, who has been with Dynamo Moscow since 2004. Reports had abounded that the 26-year-old Greek center was one of CSKA Moscow’s likeliest candidates for increased power under the basket.

“I must admit that he is a top-class player who caused lots of problems for us in the Russian league, but we’re not interested and he is not on the list of possible signings,” said CSKA Moscow’s senior vice president, Andrey Vatutin.

Though expressing displeasure at the prospect, Vatutin did not rule out the possibility of Thodoris Papaloukas’s departure from the Russian team for a career in the NBA.

The Los Angeles Lakers, according to recent reports published by the Los Angeles Times, are preparing to offer Papaloukas a five-year contract worth a total of over 20 million euros. The NBA team is apparently not content with the players it stands to gain from the draft system and is expected to scout the European market as an alternative for a top-class point guard.

Ian Vouyoukas will play in Greece June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Former St. Louis University center Ian Vouyoukas has gone home to Greece and signed a three-year contract with Olympiakos, one of the country’s top clubs. Vouyoukas agreed to the deal Saturday.

“I have not yet realized what’s happened,” Vouyoukas told the club’s website. “I only came to Greece on Friday and now I am suddenly a player on the team of Olympiakos. I still can’t believe it.”

Olympiakos is a nine-time champion of the Greek league, though it hasn’t won a title since 1997. The club went 21-5 last season, but finished second to Panathinaikos, the other powerhouse of Greek basketball. It also lost to Panathanaikos in the finals of the Greek playoffs.

One of Vouyoukas’ goals when he came to SLU was to make it to the NBA, and he declared himself for the NBA draft after his junior season so he could get his name in front of NBA executives so they would pay more attention to him as a senior. He removed his name from the draft and returned for his senior season at SLU, where he played well at times, but a disappointing stretch in the middle of the season led to former coach Brad Soderberg dropping him from the starting lineup for a game.

Vouyoukas finished the season strongly and was invited to the NBA’s Portsmouth camp, but he didn’t advance to the next step, the Orlando camp. He did not work out with any teams individually.

“Yes, I do think about the NBA, who doesn’t?” Vouyoukas told the Olympiakos website. “Currently though, I am only interested in Olympiakos and how I can help my team reach its goals. I don’t expect to win anything without making an effort. That’s what I want. To join the team, find my place in it, and do my best from within.”