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Harry Potter in Greek bookstores July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Books Life Greek.
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Harry Potter fever is rising as the date approaches, Saturday, July 21, for the worldwide release of the seventh and last book in the sensationally successful series by British writer J.K. Rowling.

The Greek translation is due out on November 3 from Psychogios Publications, but for the many fans in Athens who can read English, two bookshops are holding special events to celebrate the arrival of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in English.

Compendium Bookstore invites you to attend its Harry Potter event tomorrow, starting at 11 p.m. The invitation promises lots of kids, lots of fun and maybe a Harry Potter reading.

On Saturday morning, the Eleftheroudakis Bookstore is having a treasure hunt, starting at their main branch, in honor of the new Harry Potter book. Anyone who buys the book on the first day can take part in a lottery for a trip to London. The prize covers a weekend at a four-star hotel and air tickets for two adults and one child. Ten lucky customers will win the collector’s edition of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Children can write what they love about Harry Potter; all their texts will be published in the August issue of Eleftheroudakis’s NousNews.

Compendium Bookstore, 5 Nikidimou and Nikis Street, Syntagma, Athens, tel 210 3222924; Eleftheroudakis Bookstore, 17 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3258440.

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An artist’s impression of the Golden Hall July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Arts Museums.
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golden_hall_athens.jpg  An artist’s impression of Golden Hall, the new mall on Kifissias Avenue, Maroussi, to be developed by Lamda Development on the site of the former Athens 2004 Olympics International Broadcasting Center.

According to plans unveiled yesterday, Lamda will invest 65 million euros in the facility, which will host 150 luxury shops and is expected to open in the autumn of 2008. The firm has signed a 40-year lease with Olympic Properties for part of the building.

In the remaining part, the Culture Ministry will develop a Museum of Greek Olympic Games and the International Classical Athletics Museum.

A coin stash on show at the Numismatic Museum July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums.
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More than 1,800 ancient coins were unveiled yesterday at the Numismatic Museum in Athens after the relative of a collector who died 16 years ago found the artifacts while painting the family home.

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis presented the 1,833 coins and another 66 artifacts found at the Koufoyiannis family home in Nafpaktia, central Greece.

The valuable items had been collected by Athanassios Koufoyiannis, who died in 1991 at the age of 92. He had told friends that he had antiquities stashed away but died before telling them where they were hidden.

The collection includes 1,621 silver and bronze ancient Greek and Roman coins, some dating as far back as the 5th century BC.

The Numismatic Museum is expected to reopen this fall after several months of renovation work.

Related Links > http://www.nma.gr

Greek National Theater to stage Racine’s ‘Andromache’ July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Stage & Theater.
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The Greek National Theater’s ‘Andromache’ premieres at Epidaurus Ancient Theater tomorrow and Saturday

Jean Racine’s “Andromache,” a tragedy in five acts inspired by an extract of Virgil’s Aeneid, marks the first major production of the Greek National Theater for the summer season. Dimitris Mavrikios, a longtime scholar of Racine’s work and the man behind this production, has also translated, adapted and is directing the play.

Andromache, a figure of myth, daughter of the King of Kilkis, widow of Hector and mother of Astyanax, is one of the most noble characters in the works of Homer and Euripides. First published in 1667, “Andromache” is the play that made Racine’s name, signaling his break from Baroque conventions. His free interpretation of the character and his divergence from the legend marked one of the earliest steps toward modern drama.

The Greek National Opera cast is led by Lydia Fotopoulou as Andromache, Maria Kehagioglou as Hermione, Nikos Karathanos as Pyrrhus and Christos Loulis as Orestes.

The production will premiere at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus tomorrow and Saturday in the context of the Hellenic Festival, and will then go on tour.

Hellenic Festival, tel 210 3272000; Greek National Theater, tel 210 5288100 and 210 5220585.

Synch, a festival of new sights and sounds now in Gazi July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Festivals, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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Three days of digital movies, new media, music > !!!, pronounced ‘chk chk chk,’ is just one of the acts taking part in the musical part of this year’s Synch, a festival exploring the relationship between art and technology.

The relationship between technology and contemporary art continues to be explored at the Synch Festival, which now, in its fourth year, is presented within the context of the Athens Festival. A celebration of new sounds and images, Synch has been moved from Lavrion to the center of Athens and is taking place from Sunday to July 24 at the Technopolis Arts Complex in Gazi.

The new technologies in the art section of Synch, one of the festival’s most popular parts, involve the moving image and new means of technology, focusing on digital movies, animation use and/or special digital effects.

According to organizers, the aim of the “Digital Cinema” tribute is to provide a platform for Greek productions that use special effects and animation, as well as presenting the most important international trends in this field.

The program “Moving Image: Digital Cinema” is broken up into two basic categories: The first category comprises short-length movies, animation and experimental films, while the second will showcase commercial productions, such as advertisements, VFX artists’ show reels and music videos. Finally, an important part of the program covers presentations by Australian VFX supervisor Tim Baier, who has worked with major productions, such as “Lord of the Rings,” “Batman Returns” and “Fantastic Four”, and 3D computer animator Dimitris Liatsos.

Screenings and presentations take place in the 9.84 Amphitheater at Technopolis. In rooms D10 and D12, there will be a presentation of works from the “New Media” chapter of the event, as well as an exhibition on “Invisible Systems.” The exhibition presents artists and initiatives that exemplify new media strategies on different cultural levels, and reflect the strategies in their concepts, content and form.

According to the exhibit’s curators Alexandra Landre and Antonis Pittas, ‘Invisible Systems’ is not about making a definite academic distinction or presenting new media as a genre but sees that the language of new media is infiltrating all kinds of cultural production and creating new dialects.”

A similar point of view also imbues the musical part of the festival. Some 60 bands and DJs will perform at the three-day festival, from 7 p.m. till way past midnight, at four different venues.

Acts that stand out are Fischerspooner, which conquered the dance scene with their album “No 1,” and took a more emotional tone with their next album, “Odyssey.” Another band performing live is !!!. Usually pronounced “chk, chk, chk,” the act’s name can be pronounced by uttering any kind of repetitive sound with three intervals. In fact, its record label is currently accepting fans’ proposals for alternate interpretations of the three exclamation marks.

The band’s most recent, third, album, “Myth Takes,” is a collage of sounds with heavy bass lines, guitars and electro-house sounds, fusing 70s Jamaican dub with 21st century club music. At the same time, however, !!! doesn’t shy away from the sweet pop sound.

For more information visit > www.synch.gr

Second heat wave threatens Greece July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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It will get even warmer across Greece over the next few days as the country heads into its second heat wave this summer, but experts said that temperatures are unlikely to reach 46 Celsius (115 Fahrenheit).

Temperatures in Athens today and tomorrow are expected to reach 37C (99F), with a further increase early next week. The anticipated heat wave is likely to peak on Tuesday.

“From our estimates it looks as though we will not have temperatures as high as 46C, as in June. But it will still be a fairly strong heat wave, as on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we are expecting temperatures to rise to 42C (108F),” the head of forecasting at the National Meteorological Service, Dimitris Ziakopoulos, said.

Record high temperatures last month resulted in the deaths of 12 people due to heat-related health problems.

“With the exception of July 2000, when we had two cases where temperatures were higher than 43C (109F), something like this is not very common,” added Ziakopoulos.

IKEA Cyprus to open in September July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Shopping.
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The budget furniture store IKEA will open its first outlet in Cyprus on September 5 within the busiest commercial square mile on the outskirts of Nicosia, where other store openings are expected the same month in what is probably going to be the biggest shopping mall on the island.

Vassilis Fourlis, President of the operator of the furniture franchise that already has two IKEA stores in Greece, will be in Cyprus for the inauguration of the 22,000 sq.m. store strategically located within the ‘Mall of Cyprus’ at the Shacolas Emporium Park that will include retail stores, clothing shops and food outlets. Fourlis will also be in Cyprus next week for a media event and to introduce the IKEA catalogue that will be distributed in the wider market.

Although IKEA products can no longer be placed in the ‘low cost’ category, they are known for their functionality, simple designs and affordable prices.

The Fourlis Group officially announced in October 2005 that it was to build the first IKEA store in Cyprus, through its House Market subsidiary. It was initially expected to commence operations by June this year, but has been recruiting local staff for training since last year.

Fourlis’ flagship store with a floor space of 20,000 sq.m. opened in Thessaloniki, followed by a second 25,000 sq.m. IKEA store near Athens Airport last year. A second Athens outlet is expected to open in September and the Group also plans to open a new IKEA outlet in Bulgaria in 2008.

The cost of establishing the Cyprus and Athens stores is estimated at 40 million euros, while the annual turnover of House Market following the full operation of all three stores is expected to top 300 million. IKEA Cyprus is expected to generate annual sales of 40-50 million euros, Vassilis Fourlis told Reuters in an interview last October 2006, while the sale of a 20% stake in Kotsovolos to Dixons Group is estimated at contribute 32 millions to Fourlis Group earnings.

The IKEA opening is regarded as a welcome move in Cyprus, after the IKEA-owned Habitat franchise in Nicosia closed unceremoniously last December due to troubles at the Greek franchise operations.

At the time of closure a Habitat statement read: “It is with deepest regret that we confirm Habitat’s franchise partner Franco Import has come into financial difficulties leading to the closure of four stores, three in Athens and one in Cyprus, on December 11. This situation has been triggered by an external supplier to Franco Import, not by Habitat.” The statement went on to say that Franco Import and Habitat UK Limited have been partners for almost ten years and that the company was, “saddened that Franco is facing challenging circumstances.”

Though the companies are owned by the same conglomerate, the opening of two IKEA superstores in Athens and Thessaloniki is said to have hit Habitat hard in Greece, with an Athenian newspaper reporting that it was only a matter of time before Habitat got into trouble. Habitat is owned by the Ikano Group and operates as an independent commercial legal entity from the IKEA Group.

The Habitat store in Nicosia reopened its doors to the public briefly in March in an attempt to get rid of its outstanding stock and satisfy previous orders. The store has since been taken over by the TAG Designer clothing company that already operates a store on Zena Gunther Street in Nicosia.