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Athens Classic Marathon deadline October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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Those interested in enduring the torture and the glory of running in the 25th Athens Classic Marathon (42.195km), or its 10km and 5km walking and running versions, have until October 20 to sign up for the event.

While the races are open to everyone, elite international and Greek athletes will compete in the event as a national championship. As always, the race will be dedicated to Grigoris Lambrakis, the athlete and MP, who was murdered in 1963.

Following what organisers call “the original marathon course”, the main race begins in the town of Marathon at 9am on November 4 and ends at Athens’ Panathinaic, Kallimarmaro, Stadium.

A 10km power-walking race will start at 7am in Marathon and also end at the Marble Stadium. And for the first time, the 5km race will also pass through Athens’ historic stadium, passing over Dionysus Areopagitou Street.

Registration can be completed online at www.athensclassicmarathon.gr, or in person (for an extra 5 euros) at the offices of the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS), at 137 Syngrou Avenue, in Nea Smyrni.

Registration packages for Greeks and those residing in Greece are 25, 40 or 80 euros for the marathon, 20, 35 or 75 euros for the 10km run, and 15, 30 or 70 euros for the 5km race. If you live in Greece, make sure you register online on the Greek pages of the site, as non-residents must purchase the full packages in each category.

There will be an Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) symposium held the day before the event for race organisers from around the world. The registration deadline for the symposium is October 3.

For more info call SEGAS on 210 9331113, 210 9315886 or fax 210 9331152.

Little Greek Godfather October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Little Greek Godfather, Comedy, Greece, 95 minutes > A fish-out-of-water tale featuring hedgehogs, politics and overeating in 1960s Crete

Psifalakia, or “little votes”, is one of the first local words 11-year-old Alex (Tex Pardue) learns when his father, a sombre opposition leader of a new Greek political party, sends him to Crete in his place to rally up votes by baptising local politico Panagakis’  (Antonis Kafetzopoulos) baby girl.

Arriving in 1960s Crete with his basketball in a bag slung over his shoulder, Alex realises the mission is harder than he feared. The Greek speech his father wrote for him to recite is just as difficult for the half-Greek boy that grew up in California as the bewildering Cretan dialect. At best, while trying to win the support of two feuding families in traditional dress, Alex is subjected to etiquette coaching, faces hostile comments like, “this one looks like an American” and finds allies in Panagakis’ children. At worst, he must eat things like snails on social visits and is pursued in the mountains by angry Cretan men with rifles.

little_greek_godfather1.jpg  Tex Pardue and Nikos Andreoulakis 

There is lots of potential, not just for comedy, but also for political insight, in the film based on a 2001 autobiographical story by Nikos Papandreou, son of Pasok founder Andreas Papandreou. But the script, co-written by Papandreou and director Olga Malea, often feels like it’s stalling, with its Cretan gags and the boy’s language trouble, rather than submitting to madcap comedy.

This is obvious, for instance, in a scene where Alex visits one of the feuding families and promises them exactly what the other feuding family wants, then has to retract his promises for the psifalakia’s sake. A recurring joke involving the hedgehogs that Panagakis runs over and his son obsessively protects outlives its welcome too. Though he goes through a series of tests, there is never a strong sense of Alex being in real danger.

On the plus side, the performances are good, and the film, set in the countryside like most of Malea’s work, is slick and colourful. Comedian Kafetzopoulos is excellent in the caricatured role of the villager-turned-political-wanna-be who is frustrated with the youngness of the godfather, while doggedly pursuing power and money in the name of “Democracy”. He is the perfect foil for Pardue’s Americanised hero. As outsider Alex, Pardue draws in people’s sympathy but also makes them laugh, never trying to be “cute”.

little_greek_godfather2.jpg  Pardue and Antonis Kafetzopoulos lead a chase scene 

The film’s strongest card is its dialogue. Words, Alex’s dad tells him, are the weapons of the opposition. Sometimes, in deceptively light moments, there are insights about the nature of power. Panagakis’ wife (popular actress Eleni Kastani) marvels, for instance, when she catches Alex practising his speech, saying, “Children of politicians do that, instead of saying their prayers, they say speeches.”

The movie also offers healthy servings of hilarious Cretan dialect. Together with Kafetzopoulos and Kastani’s popularity, this may combat the release’s poor timing (coming after the electoral defeat of the party of grown-up Alex, or George Papandreou) and translate into box office magic. But though the elements are there, there is a forced feeling to the comic timing.

Showing at following theaters in Athens > Alexandra, Atlantis, Cine City, Cinerama, Embassy, Galaxias, Glyfada, Calypso, Odeon Cinephiloi, Odeon Cosmopolis, Odeon Mayia, Odeon Starcity, Ster (Ilion, St Eleftherios), Village (The Mall, Rendi, Pangrati, Faliro).

Topoi > artistic spaces around town October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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nikos_engonopoulos_work.jpg  Nikos Engonopoulos’ painting “Piraeus Landscape with Statue”

At the end of the 1970s, and while the National Gallery in Athens had the local arts scene high on its agenda, Thessaloniki’s then newly founded Macedonian Centre for Contemporary Art was laying the foundations for an international Museological policy.

The course of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art over the last three decades is documented through “Topoi, An Exhibition, an Approach, a Museum, a History”. The exhibition, which opened on September 27, takes place at different venues around Athens, the two Benaki Museums, the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Zappeion Mansions and Gardens, and the Alex Mylona Museum.

Founded in 1979, the centre originally occupied a wing of the Filkeram-Johnson factory in Thessaloniki until 1992, when Helexpo allocated one of the international fair’s pavilions towards housing the centre. The centre was turned into a Museum in 1994, and a new wing was acquired in 1997 with funding from Thessaloniki 97, The Organisation for the Cultural Capital of Europe. The Museum underwent several expansions and now covers a surface area of 4,500 square metres, which includes new exhibition spaces, a library, a multi-purpose room, art workshops and a cafe.

The Museum’s success over the years is highlighted in figures by its President, Architecture Professor Xanthipi Skarpia-Hoipel. “Our collection currently numbers over 1,600 works,” Skarpia-Hoipel said at a press meet on September 25. “… 28 years into the Museum’s existence, we have organised 189 exhibitions, that is 6 to 7 shows annually, 15 of which were retrospective and were also presented in Athens. Shows were accompanied by 162 parallel events, while educational programmes attracted over 20,000 children.”

The core of the Museum’s collection was formed in 1984 when arts patron Alexandre Iolas donated works that focused on the relationship of the 1960s generation with the art scene of France and Italy. Other important donations over the years include those of art historian Franz Geierhaas, art critic Alexandros Xydis and the most recent addition of sculptor Alex Mylona, who donated her newly-launched Museum.

The Topoi exhibition is the Museum’s third grand venture in Athens. The first one was in 1992 when the Zappeion Mansion hosted the Museum’s new acquisitions. Sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Topoi features over 400 works, paintings, sculptures, photos, prints, video art and installations, by 186 artists, approximately one quarter of the Museum’s holdings. Modern Greek artists, as well as internationally known artists such as Pavlos, Chryssa, Takis, Stephen Antonakos and Yiannis Gaitis, are represented. Saint Phalle, Dennis Oppenheimer, Jean Pierre Raynaud and Andy Warhol are among the 32 foreign artists represented.

By proposing the rather abstract title of Topoi, which translates to “places”, art historian and the Museum’s artistic director, Denis Zaharopoulos, refers to “conceptual places which every one of us can be part of, or imagine what artistic creation and works of art mean, what meaning and times signify… and what is meant by the free movement of ideas and the dynamic abrogation of prejudice and dogmatism”. By creating modules and spaces, the exhibition proposes a revision of the Museological approach, which aims at the best possible presentation of permanent collections.

Topoi, as well as two exhibitions of photographs and prints currently exhibited at the Museum, are dedicated to all those artists and collectors who have enriched the Museum’s collection with their donations.

Topoi is on through to November 25 at both the Benaki Museum buildings, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens, and 138 Pireos Street, Athens, the Athens School of Fine Arts, 256 Pireos Street, Athens, The Zappeion Mansion and Gardens, close to Syntagma Square in Athens, and the Alex Mylona Museum, 5 Agion Asomaton Square, Athens.

Related Links > http://www.mmca.org.gr

Greek National Opera fights fires October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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Greek schoolchildren from the fire-affected areas will be offered free tickets to Goachino Rossini’s performances of “La Cenerentola”, November 4 and April 20, the Greek National Opera announced.

For further information call 210 3600180.

Benaki Museum artworks travel to Lisbon October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums, Hellenic Light Americas, Hellenic Light Europe.
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Rare artefacts from the Benaki Museum collection will be on display at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon through to 6 January 2008.

“The Greeks: Art Treasures from the Benaki Museum, Athens” features 157 items that highlight Hellenism’s continuation throughout eight millenia, from the Prehistoric and Hellenistic times to the Roman and Byzantine years. The same exhibition, with a few variations, will travel to Canada in 2008 and Chile in 2009.

In exchange for the Benaki works, the Gulbenkian Museum will send Islamic art masterpieces to Athens in 2009. Within the framework of the two Museums’ collaboration, Greek icons from the prestigious Velimezis Collection travelled to Portugal in 1999, while the Gulbenkian was represented in 2002 at the Benaki’s international show Glass of the Sultans.

In between memories and the future October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Stanko Abadzic’s photos of Prague are exhibited at the Artower until October 18

Originally a biennial festival, the Month of Photography was launched in 1987 by the Hellenic Centre of Photography. Its main goal was to promote Greek photography, as well as the art galleries that supported the event by offering their space free of charge. At the event’s prime, over 50 exhibitions would be hosted in public spaces such as the Zappeion Mansion and the Athens Municipality’s Cultural Centre.

But financial problems dogged the Month of Photography’s development, and after a modest appearance in 1991 it ceased its operation altogether, only to make a comeback as an annual event six years later. As of November 2008, the Month of Photography will take the form of an international biennale.

between_memories_and_future.jpg  This transition is implied in Between Memories and the Future, the title of the 14th International Month of Photography, already underway with over 30 shows around Athens. The choice of title by the Hellenic Centre of Photography’s Director, Stavros Moressopoulos, also suggests an encounter between old and new, tradition and innovation, the past and the future.

The nostalgic mood that every end, and new beginning, brings is captured in two shows: the Voyage in Greece exhibition, at Ersis Gallery, until October 2, which pays tribute to the Camera International photo publication of 1989 by bringing together the work of 15 contemporary and 5 older photographers; and New Greek Photographers- The Early Years, at Ios Arts Space, until October 9, which revisits photos that were first displayed in the 1987, 1989 and 1991 Months of Photography.

A crash course to this year’s show, Welcome, at the Athens “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport, until December 31, features 35 photos from all the 25 galleries hosting exhibitions. Late US photographer Francesco Scavullo has immortalised established stars from the realms of fashion, beauty, music, theatre and film, at the Herakleidon Museum, until December 2, while British photographer Aravella Plouviez’s Deviant Women, at the Mavromichali 55, until November 2, questions stereotypes and social norms. Liberty Polyzou’s Portraits, at the Artower Erato Gallery, until October 18, combines the photographer’s pictures of distinguished 20th century artists with her own portraits taken by her models.

Another portraitist, French photographer Didier Ben Loupou, at the Cats & Marbles, until November 10, presents pictures of the old Jerusalem city’s residents,- their faces reflecting the violence and pain that come with war.

Architecture, topography and city life are recurrent themes in several shows. In his epic work Nights on Beyoglu at the Artower-Clio Gallery, until October 18, Turkish photographer Timurtas Onan has come up with nocturnal snapshots of city life in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Beyoglu. Atmospheric photos of Prague, taken in black-and-white by Croatia’s Stanko Abadzic between 1998 and 2002, are displayed in the Artower’s Laboratory until October 18, while Nikos Pilos takes a walk through 15th century hammams in Cairo and Istanbul, at Lili Frangaki Art and Design, until October 10.

Other highlights include the photo shows that focus on the historic landmarks of New York City, at the Hellenic American Union Galleries, until November 3, the crumbling buildings of the Belleville neighbourhood in Paris, at the French Institute Bistrot, until October 22, and the war-torn Darfur in western Sudan, at the Artower Ourania Gallery, until October 18.

Parallel events include an all-day commemorative celebrations, at the French Institute, October 10, complete with educational programmes, lectures, screenings and happenings, and A Photographer’s Ethics, at the French Institute Auditorium, October 31, a joint event of screenings and discussions led by photographers Yannis Behrakis (Reuters), Nikos Pilos (Zuma Press) and Lefteris Pitarakis (Associated Press).

The 14th International Month of Photography’s full programme is available from the Hellenic Centre of Photography, 15 Tsami Karatassou Street, tel 210 9210545, or on the net at > www.hcp.gr

Gyzis painting at Sotheby’s Greek sale October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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A rare Gyzis painting recently discovered in a private collection in Nebraska, US will be one of the highlights in the Sotheby’s Greek Sale on November 14 in London.

A signed work, Grandfather and Grandson was painted by Gyzis in the early 1880s, during the heyday of his career. The painting, a hymn to family life, shows an old man who mends his socks while tenderly holding his grandson. The work points to Gyzis’ transition from German Romanticism to French Realism. The change of technique is reflected in the artist’s contrasting depiction of the old man’s wrinkled skin and the infant’s smooth complexion, as well as the juxtaposition of texture in the furniture’s rough and even surfaces. Family themes, as seen in The Barber and The New Arrival, are recurrent in Gyzis’ works.

Considered by many as the father of 19th century Greek painting, Gyzis often returned to his popular subjects. Though with slight variations, another version of Grandfather and Grandson exists in a private collection in Athens.