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Hope never stops here in Greece September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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kaiafas_forest.jpg  Green spikes of reed sprout among the ashes in the ruins of Kaiafas forest, near Pyrgos in southern Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. Devastating wildfires all over the country claimed the lives of at least 67, while villages were destroyed and at least 1900 families were left homeless.

But, HOPE Never Stops Here In Greece. The above photo is self-explanatory.

‘Cultural Year of Greece in China’ debuts September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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Beijing will be host to an ambitious year-old series of events, entitled “Cultural Year of Greece in China” through the autumn of 2008, featuring various aspects of Greece’s modern culture and kicking off on at the end of this month with a concert in memory of opera diva Maria Callas.

The series of events officially begin on October 19 with performance of Greek composer Stamatis Spanoudakis’ new work “Alexander: Paths you haven’t traveled”. The September 27 concert will feature noted mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa.

According to the Culture Ministry’s leadership on Tuesday, events will include theatrical performances, cinema tributes, dance, archaeological and modern art exhibitions, opera, folk concerts, modern and popular music, conferences as well as book exhibitions.

Additionally, the Hellenic Cultural Centre will open in the centre of the Chinese capital for the next two years, coinciding with Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, where it is expected to host exhibitions, seminars as well as commercial events.

Weekend concert at Herod Atticus in aid of summer’s fire-stricken September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Music Life Greek.
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The Mikis Theodorakis Popular Orchestra will perform in aid of the people stricken by the summer fires in Ileia at the Herod Atticus Theater over the weekend. The two three-hour performances will also include the parallel screening of a group exhibition of works.

The orchestra will be joined by different vocalists in the two events. Participating singers include Maria Farandouri, Petros Gaitanos, Foteini Darra, Doros Dimosthenous, Christos Thivaios, Mariza Koch, Grigoris Bithikotsis, Dionysis Tsaknis, Manolis Famellos, Themis Adamantidis, Sofia Vossou, Gerassimos Andreatos, Aliki Kayaloglou, Miltos Paschalidis, Antonis Remos and many others.

The parallel screening will create a dialogue between the works of art and the songs. Participating artists are Petros Zoumboulakis, Michalis Manoussakis, Pavlos Samios, Opy Zouni, Marios Spiliopoulos, Giorgos Lazongas, Vassilis Sperantzas, Alekos Fassianos, Yiannis Psychopaidis and many others. The artists will also offer works for an auction in support of tree planting at Ancient Olympia’s Hill of Cronus.

For tickets > Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3272000.

Documentary Festival celebrates 10th anniversary September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Festivals, Movies Life Greek, Music Life Greek.
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The annual event will be back at Lavrion in October > Aris Fatouros’s ‘This is London, 1939-2005’ will be screened on Sunday, October 7.

Lavrion’s Technological Park will come alive once more, as the 10th Mediterranean Documentary Festival is about to kick off. With screenings of Greek and foreign films, exhibitions, a concert and a discussion, the festival will take place October 6 to 9.

This will be the second year that the event, which started in Samos, will be held at Lavrion, at a venue that is striking in itself. Transformed by the National Technical University of Athens, the Technological Park, proudly carrying the weight of the region’s industrial history, still retains 1860-70s architecture as well as old machinery, which adds a special flavor to the screenings. The festival, organized by the Prefecture of Eastern Attica, the Union of Greek Film Directors and Producers and other institutions, promises a more relaxed and stress-free atmosphere than the usual film festival frenzy, since it comprises no competition section, as the association’s president, Nikos Kanakis, pointed out. “Our aim is to present a different kind of documentary to the ones shown on television. We want to make the audience really think about the issues the films deal with,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

The main program will consist of the four established thematic sections, “Political Documentaries,” “Work,” “Immigration” and “Portraits,” with films from Spain, France, Italy, Israel, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece. “Critics’ Suggestions” is a brand-new section in which a film critic presents a film of his or her choice. This year, Andreas Tyros, president of the Greek Film Critics’ Union, has opted for Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira’s 2006 drama “Belle toujours,” a tribute to Luis Bunuel and a follow-up of Bunuel’s classic “Belle de jour.” Tyros will also lead the discussion that will follow the screening. Other highlights include a new collaboration with the Videopolis Festival from Italy’s Veneto as well as the small tribute to French documentary filmmaker Raymond Depardon, organized jointly with the French Institute. Veteran Cypriot-born filmmaker Michael Cacoyannis will also be honored on the opening day.

“The foreign documentaries are recent productions. Where Greek documentaries are concerned, we try to dig out the ones that have remained hidden away in directors’ closets for years and bring them to the surface,” said the festival’s artistic director, Vassilis Vafeas. He made special mention of Stathis Katsaros and Giorgos Sifianos’s 1981 “Petrohimika” documentary, which was voted Best Film at the Thessaloniki Film Festival that year and will be screened on October 7.

As part of this year’s parallel events, Savina Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico will perform melodies from the Mediterranean as well as from across the world; last year’s festival had featured a concert by Dionysis Savvopoulos, Stavros Lantsias and Giotis Kiourtsoglou. Two exhibitions, one with large-sized film posters and another with sketches of leading Greek characters, both organized in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Film Museum, will be on display at the Technological Park and the Old Mechanics Shed respectively. An exhibition of paintings by Julia Guerrero, titled “From the Mediterranean to Latin America,” will also run at the Old Mechanics Shed.

“What we try to do, with new and old films, music and art, is bring back to life a venue that is filled with memories,” said Vafeas.

The event is mostly funded by the prefecture, but is also sponsored by various institutions, including ERT Greek Radio & TV, the Greek National Tourism Organization and the Greek Film Center among others. Plans for pre-festival events that will spread across Eastern Attica are currently under consideration.

For information call 210 8253065 and 210 5033050-2.

Related Links > http://www.lavrio-conferenceculturalpark.gr/static/index.html

Art on Foucault’s heterotopias September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The newly established Thessaloniki Biennale includes numerous exhibitions and projects

Libraries, gardens, cemeteries, jails or fairgrounds are places that do not seem to share much in common. Yet, for the French philosopher Michel Foucault they are all heterotopias, a special category of sites that differ from both utopias and ordinary real spaces. In the relevant essay written in the late 1960s, Foucault writes of heterotopias as «counter-sites,» places in which «all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested and inverted.» In heterotopias, our behavior is regulated and is usually different from our ordinary, everyday way of acting.

The concept of heterotopias stem from Foucault’s occupation with interpreting space as ideology. They also express a new non-linear sense, which, according to Foucault, is inherent in modern societies. «The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space. We are in the epoch of simultaneity…our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points…» he writes.

At a time when the World Wide Web, travel and the rapid flow of information has changed our perception of time, perhaps Foucault’s emphasis on space seems more relevant than ever. At least it does for the three curators of the newly established Thessaloniki Biennale which was opened in early summer by the city’s State Museum of Contemporary Art (SMCA). A sprawling, ambitious event that comprises numerous exhibitions and projects and spreads through some of the most important venues of the city, the Thessaloniki Biennale is closing at the end of the month. A series of events, including a performance by artist Leda Papaconstantinou and a conference, were held a few days ago to mark the occasion.

The curators in question, Maria Tsantsanoglou, SMCA Director, together with Catherine David, the French independent, distinguished curator of contemporary art, and Jan-Erik Lundstrom, director of the Swedish BildMuseet of contemporary art, have used Foucault’s text as a basis for exploring, each in a different way and in distinct curatorial projects, their own version of contemporary «heterotopias,» the biennale’s title.

For the most part, heterotopias are meant as places strange and unfamiliar to us, in many cases places in non-Western countries, danger zones or contested territories or as places inhabited by marginalized parts of the population.

A political content prevails in most of the biennale’s exhibitions, particularly those curated by Catherine David, who is known for her interest in non-Western art and the political message of art.

Heterotopias are also seen as networks joining different sites or time periods. Examples include Alexander Schellow’s installation of ink drawings and video projections that show successive images taken from urban life or Anna Boghiguian’s drawings of Cairo as a real city but also as seen through literature.

As often happens with exhibitions of the magnitude of the biennale, a general concept provides a theoretical umbrella that encompasses a broad range of notions, even if those differ from the original point of reference, in this case Foucault’s heterotopia. When a philosophical notion translates into images and art, this gap is perhaps unavoidable.

In her curatorial projects Maria Tsantsanoglou claims to have mainly focused on the idea of art as a heterotopia. An example is an installation by the Russian artist Yuri Albert. On a series of plates that look like paintings the artist has used the Braille script to inscribe the descriptions that Vincent van Gogh made of his works in the letters he wrote to his brother Theo. The intention of the artist is to create an art addressed to different audiences, both the blind and those that can appreciate it visually but cannot read its written text.

Another interesting and visually pleasing work included in that same part of the biennale, is an installation by Portuguese artist Luis Nobre. The artist uses souvenirs and mementos from all over the world to create fantasy landscapes in which different places and time periods converge. The work evokes the concept of non-linearity and of sites as networks, both aspects that are typical of heterotopias.

Catherine David’s statement is more political and her emphasis is on the work of non-European, non-Western artists. Examples include Hicham Benohoud’s photographs of Moroccan school classrooms or Lukas Einsele’s photographic project on the subject of land mines and land-mine survivors.

Jan Erik Lundstrom has kept close to Foucault’s text and has attempted to find the analogies of the French philosopher’s heterotopias in art. Foucault wrote that the ship is the heterotopia par excellence, an idea reflected in «The Boat» which is the title of Jean-Francois Bocle’s installation shown at the French Institute.

Although the curatorial positions differ slightly from one another, seen together they produce a single, overall impression. Most of the works draw attention to political and social issues and paint a dark, rather pessimistic view of the world. Judging from both the Athens and Thessaloniki biennales and other international events, this is a trend in contemporary art. Many will agree that trends of this type, no matter how intellectually stimulating, may ultimately discourage the public from visiting exhibitions, as the language of contemporary art becomes even more obtuse.

«Heterotopias» will be open to September 30. For more information visit >  www.thessalonikibiennale.gr

Lithuanian transfers to Panathinaikos in record deal September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Hoopster star Sarunas Jasikevicius comes to Panathinaikos as country’s highest-paid athlete

sarunas_jasikevicius.jpg  Jasikevicius will reportedly earn 4 million euros a year.

Lithuanian basketball star Sarunas Jasikevicius, a winner of three successive Euroleague titles with Barcelona and Maccabi Tel Aviv, has moved to European and Greek champions Panathinaikos on a record-breaking deal that establishes him as the highest-paid athlete in this country.

Announced yesterday, the deal, believed to be worth a reported 4 million euros per annum for the player, rates as the biggest in European basketball this season and one of the most lucrative in the history of Greek basketball. Late last night Panathinaikos had not announced the deal’s duration, but reports said it was for a two-year period.

Panathinaikos coach Zelimir Obradovic, who led his team to a perfect season last year with triumphs in the Euroleague as well as the Greek league and cup titles, had made clear his interest in acquiring Jasikevicius, who is expected to arrive in Athens tomorrow afternoon.

With less than a month to go before the new domestic season gets under way, Panathinaikos’s roster now appears to be complete. Further signings before the season’s start, however, cannot be ruled out.

“We do whatever our coach asks of us. He hasn’t made any mention of wanting anything more for the time being. Whenever he needs a player, we’ll get him for him,” said Panathinaikos boss Pavlos Giannakopoulos, whose club has been crowned European champion four times over the past 11 years.

The 1.93-meter point guard, now 31, had spent the past two seasons in the NBA, first with the Indiana Pacers and then with Golden State Warriors. Jasikevicius moved to the NBA in 2005 right after his three-title streak in the Euroleague, initially with Barcelona in 2003 and then with Maccabi over the next two seasons. He was also named the tournament’s MVP for his contribution to Barcelona’s European title win. With his national team, Jasikevicius won Euroleague gold and bronze in 2003 and 2007, respectively, and a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

The NBA stint was a return to the US for Jasikevicius, who had relocated to the country as a youngster and played college basketball with the University of Maryland. After missing out on an NBA Draft in 1998, Jasikevicius returned to Lithuania to play for Lietuvos Rytas for a season. He then moved to Slovenian club Olimpija Ljubljana for a year before switching to Barcelona.

Laser Investments signs Coffee Beanery EU franchise rights September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Cyprus.
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Cyprus’ Laser Investments Public Ltd. (LAS) announced the signing of a new master franchise agreement between its subsidiary Big Scorer Enterprises Limited and Coffee Beanery Limited for the exclusive development of Coffee Beanery chain in more than 15 countries. Big Scorer Enterprises Limited has also received authorisation to change its name to Coffee Beanery Europe Ltd.

With the signing of the new agreement, the Company has clinched the franchise rights for the following 24 countries: Cyprus, Greece, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Albania, the Czech Republic and Bosnia Herzegovina.

The Company aims to sign agreements with the countries above via third parties, persons and/or companies, with wide experience and know-how in the specific sector. Following this strategy, which has been used in the past with great success, the Company will increase its revenue, since the sale of the rights of the countries above in relation to the royalties that the Company will receive, is expected to generate huge profits.

Businessmen from several countries such as England, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Poland have already expressed their interest. The Company evaluates each case separately.

The Company runs successfully two Coffee Beanery cafes in Cyprus: one in Engomi, Nicosia and one in Limassol. Two more cafes are expected to open in Limassol in September and in Nicosia in October.