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Pop sensation > George Michael to perform in Athens July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Top-selling Greek Cypriot pop legend George Michael in Greece

It’s a fact > George Michael is on his way for his first ever live concert in Greece this Thursday, 26 July 2007. 

The venue > the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Escalating temperatures aside, the event promises to be one of the hottest, as local audiences will be coming face to face with one of pop music’s greatest stars. George Michael has sold more than 90 million albums around the world.

Since the early days of the 1980s when he was part of Wham! performing “Careless Whisper”, a song he composed at the age of 17, all the way to “Faith”, more than 15 million copies sold worldwide, and “Freedom”, George Michael has always been at the forefront of international pop music. The 90,000 tickets sold in just three hours for his London concert at the renovated Wembley Stadium at the opening of this 25 Live European Stadium Tour 2007 can attest to that, and led organizers to schedule a second concert.

Celebration > The artist’s current tour is also a means of celebrating 25 years of an impressive career. Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London to a Greek-Cypriot father, restaurateur in profession and his wife, a former dancer, Michael was brought up in North London. His first venture into the world of music came in the form of the Executive, a short-lived ska band. The big break, however, came in 1981, when he formed Wham! together with one his best friends, Andrew Ridgeley.

July 26th, at the Athens OAKA Main Olympic Sports Complex, Spyrou Loui and 37 Kifissias Avenue, Maroussi, Athens, tel 210 6834060.

Related Links >
Official website > http://www.georgemichael.com

Tickets for George’s concert > www.ticketnet.gr and http://www.ticketnet.gr/reviewsMichael.html

OAKA Olympic Sports Complex > http://www.oaka.com.gr/default.asp



Summer Grilling July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Grilling recipes from a recently released cookbook > “Mediterranean Grilling” by Diane Kochilas (William Morrow, June 2007)

From Diane Kochilas, author of “The Glorious Foods of Greece,” comes a guide inspired by the same geography but dedicated to a single heat source: the almighty grill. From the obvious kebabs to grilled additions to soups, stews and salads, “Mediterranean Grilling” gives tips on grilling just about everything, including dessert. In this recipe, Kochilas spices up a fairly traditional skewer combination with a marinade packing almost a dozen seasonings.

Lamb, quince and onion skewers

Ingredients >
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried Greek mint
½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
Salt to taste
½ cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 large bay leaf, cracked
3 whole cloves
4 allspice berries
2 medium quince, peeled
1 lemon, halved
2 large red onions
1½ pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 16 2-inch cubes
4 8-inch metal skewers
Vegetable oil for brushing grill rack
2 tablespoons olive oil

Method >
In a medium bowl, whisk together the red wine, vinegar, mint, peppercorns and salt. Slowly drizzle in the Greek olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves and allspice.
Using a large, heavy chef’s knife, cut each quince into four wedges. Rub with the cut lemon to keep from discoloring. Carefully remove the core and pits from each wedge, then cut in half again to get a total of eight pieces per quince. Peel and cut the onions into quarters lengthwise, and cut each quarter in half to get a total of eight smaller pieces per onion.
Toss the lamb, quince and onions in the marinade and let marinate 4 to 8 hours.
Heat the grill to medium-hot. Remove the lamb, quince and onions from the marinade and set aside the liquid. Thread the lamb, quince and onion pieces onto the skewers, alternating the ingredients.
Lightly oil the grill rack and brush each skewer with a little olive oil. Place on the rack and grill, turning, until the lamb is medium-rare and the quince has softened, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Brush each skewer with the marinade as you grill the kebabs. Remove and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Getting my hands on Harry Potter July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Books Life Greek.
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I’m not the No1 Harry Potter fan. I can recall the name of Dumbledore’s brother, Ron’s rat and the Hagrid’s dragon at the drop of a pointy hat but I still don’t fall into the first million Potter fans. There are too many of us out there. And that’s no bad thing: JK Rowling has been credited with inspiring a new generation of readers.

Like good pantomime, good will always triumph in the end. Or will it? This is the story of my Potter quest. For me it began in December 2006. At last we had a title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Then on February 1, we got the release date. Muggles across the world turned the calendar to July and circled the 21st. The countdown had begun. And by last Sunday morning I was back in my room, book in hand.

Six hours later I had finished. Six hours of blissful torture, because I’m sure I didn’t take a single breath throughout the whole 600 pages. I was drained, elated, exhausted and sated. This was indeed what I had hoped for, and more, there could have been no finer culmination to the world’s best-loved series, The Deathly Hallows lived up to its promises. Rowling claims it to be her favourite. The critics love it. And it’s simply the best thing I’ve ever read.

Without giving away any spoilers, I can confidently say The Deathly Hallows will have you on the edge of your seat for as long as it takes you to read. The action is fast-paced, non-stop and riveting. In many ways, the book reminded me of CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It’s a tale of love and death, hope and power, beginnings and endings.

In typical Rowling fashion, nothing is quite what you would expect, characters and their actions are brought into question time and time again, be they good or bad. More than one of the protagonists has a volte-face, and more than one of these turnarounds has far-reaching consequences.

There are more deaths than I had expected, this is no ‘and everyone lived happily ever after’ tale. Despite being almost allegorical at times, Rowling has kept the story real, well, as real as any tale of magic and mystery can be. It’s sad but true: sometimes the good do die young.

And that’s as much as I’m willing to give away… so get a book, or on a waiting list quickly. But here’s the warning > you must have read the other books in the series first. The culminating chapters bring together the whole pantheon of characters from the other books. Everyone from Dobby to Aberforth, Tonks to Grawp has a part to play. Most importantly, all the loose ends are finally tied up. If you’ve spent the last two years lying awake at night wracking your brains for answers, prepare to be enlightened: Who is R.A.B.? Whose side is Snape really on? And is Dumbledore truly dead?

I didn’t read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It read me. Still here? What are you waiting for?

Magical Potter tale flies off the shelves in Cyprus July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Books Life Greek.
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Copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows have been selling like hotcakes across Cyprus > The seventh and final book in the series went on sale at 2.01am on Saturday morning at both of the island’s airports, with all 175 copies being sold out within hours.

Elena Ourri is the spokesperson for CTCARI, who hold the Airports’ exclusive retail rights, and she said that, “fans holidaying in Cyprus had read the good news about the launch of Harry Potter at the magic time of 2.01am and rushed to the landside Xpress shops to purchase their copy.” She added: “We were so pleased that we could give them the opportunity to purchase the book at the official launch time. Two couples from the UK and the US were holidaying in Limassol and after reading the local press on Friday, decided to drive to Larnaca just so they could buy their favourite book.”

According to Ourri “there was a queue waiting for us to launch the book in the Larnaca airport’s departure hall and people were delaying going to their gates. At the exact time, all the black covers hiding the book came off and people ran for the stands.” A Harry Potter fan from Ireland was the first to buy a copy. “We look forward to being part of many more worldwide events like this one,” Ourri said.

Akis Christou of the Soloneion Book Centre in Nicosia said that the store had ordered 192 copies of the book, priced at £18.90, which had all been reserved. “We have placed an order for further copies from the publisher but cannot say for sure when they will be arriving. In the meantime, we will be taking down the names of people who want to buy the book.”

Another Harry Potter fan received the book as a gift from a friend on Saturday night. “I have read the previous six Potters and am currently on chapter nine of this new one,” the 30-year-old said. She added that she found Deathly Hallows to be absolutely brilliant just like the others. “I like the series, as it’s the best form of escapism that I’ve come across in years and takes me back to when I was a child and nothing was impossible. It completely engrosses you and I can’t put it down, even bringing it to the office.”

Greece is the word according to Forbes July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Forbes’ July 23, 2007 international investing guide includes a look at Greece, which has moved from emerging market to mainstream player.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Greece stock index has a 12-month total return of 42 percent, keeping pace with a 41 percent return for Morgan Stanley’s overall Europe index.

Shipping has been a big part of Greece’s surge, Forbes notes, thanks in part to increased trade with China and India. Greece has 3,800-plus ships of 1,000 tons or more, the largest fleet in Europe and the firth largest in the world. Shippers also have 260 new vessels on order.

Exhibitions in Thessaloniki July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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At the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art
154 Egnatia Street, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 281567 and 2310 240002.

Tribute to surrealist artist and poet Nikos Engonopoulos, with works of his displayed alongside works by artists Alexandros Avranas, Giorgos Gyparakis, Sia Kyriakakos, Maria Papadimitriou, Giorgos Hadzimichalis and others. To July 29.

“Who is Here?” Group exhibition of works of various techniques by 28 contemporary artists from different countries, exploring the questions of people and time. To July 29.

At the Former Kodra Barracks
Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 224626 and 2310 481711.

Group exhibition of works, organized by Cheapart. To July 25. For information > www.cheapart.gr

At the National Bank Cultural Foundation
108 Vasilissis Olgas Street, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 295149.

“Weekend in Havana” > Photographs depicting daily life in the Cuban capital, by Robert McCabe. To Sunday.

At the Photography Museum
Port Complex, Warehouse A, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 593275.

“Secret Gardens” > Exhibition by Yiannis Theodoropoulos and Dimitra Lazaridou, as part of the 1st Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art parallel events. To July 29.

Exhibition in Kalamata July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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At the Municipal Gallery
5 Papazoglou Street, Kalamata, tel 27210 88991.

“In-Situations” > Installations by Greek artists Artemis Alcalay, Mark Hadjipateras, Harris Kondosphyris, Costas Varotsos and others. To September 9.