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Newsletter

May 2007

 

Mark your Calendar

 

Upcoming Events

 

Prometheas’ movie night: Classic Comedy “TIS KAKOMIRAS”, with Costas Hatzichristos, Nikos Rizos, Marika Nezer.

When: Friday, May 25, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Where: St. George, Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, Maryland.

Admission: $5.

Don’t miss it!

 

Other Upcoming Events

 

European Embassies’ Open House on May 12 (see more info in attachment)
“European Poetry in Motion” during the month of May in Washington DC (see more info below)

 

European Poetry in Motion®

Public Arts Project

 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the European Union and the cultural diversity of Europe, all 27 European Union member states and the European Commission in Washington, DC, are launching an ambitious literary project titled European Poetry in Motion®  that will be presented during the month of May 2007.

 

A total of 135 poems, five from each country in both their original language and in English, will be on display inside Metro buses.  Additional advertising for this project will be featured on the outside of buses and in Metro Stations.

 

The project’s website, www.europeanpoetryinmotion.eu, features all the poems, author biographies, country information and more. The site will be available for information and as an educational resource for one year.

 

The featured poems will be brought to life in two readings:

On May 5, from 2 - 7 p.m., the Goethe-Institut will host a poetry marathon in which representatives of each EU member state will read their country's poems followed by the English translation.  Poet Ernie Wormwood will moderate the event.

Greek poetry in Greek and English will be read by Yiorgos Chouliaras, poet and Press Counselor, Embassy of Greece and Zoe Kosmidou, Cultural Counselor Embassy of Greece at 4:00p.m.

Goethe-Institut

812 7th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20001

For more Information, call 202.289.1200.

 

On May 20, from 4 - 6 p.m., “Busboys and Poets” will present a reading of select European poetry from the project.

Busboys and Poets

2021 14th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20009

For more information, call 202.387.POET

 

The project’s website, www.europeanpoetryinmotion.eu, features all the poems, author biographies, country information and more. The site will be available for information and as an educational resource for one year.

 

This project has been made possible by the kind support of the European Commission, The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Alexandria, Arlington, and Prince George's County Arts Councils and the Poetry Society of America. The Greek participation was sponsored by the National Book Center of Greece.

 

Prometheas Past Events

 

On Saturday, April 14, Prometheas cosponsored a lecture titled “The looting of the Parthenon: Why the Parthenon Sculptures now in London must be returned to Athens” by Michael J. Reppas, Esq., President and Legal Advisor of the American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (ACRPS). The event took place in the “Frosene Education Center” of  the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, Washington, DC. This was an inaugural event for the committee and it was very well attended by over 170 people. ACRPS issued a declaration (see attachment) and is seeking membership and support from all those who support the cause of the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. We urge you to support this important cause by becoming members of this Committee. The annual fee starts from $25 for individuals, and $100 for businesses. To join, please use the Application Form on the Committee’s web site: www.parthenonsculpturesusa.org. (See also The Declaration)

 

On April 17,  Prof. Theodore Couloumbis gave a lecture on "Greece's Foreign  Policy Profile: From Antagonist to Intermediary” in the Founders Hall of St George Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, MD.  He presented an excellent overview of Greece's recent foreign policy accomplishments and outlined very elequently the country's role, in the context of the European Union and Nato framework, toward the peaceful resolution of disputes with Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He highlighted also the progress achieved by Greece in recent years in becoming a stable/consolidated democracy and an advanced/liberalizing economy which has allowed the development of bipartisan stratigic consencus on major policy issues. Prof. Couloumbis said that in spite of continuing difficulties in efforts to resolve many remaining national issues, the country is now a matured democracy and its outlook is optimistic.

 

 

For more information on Prometheas’ events during April, see attached write-up by Prometheas member Rigas Kapatos (see attachment).

 

Furthermore, Dr. Babiniotis’ speech is finally available and we are glad to include it on our web site.

 

Also, the Greek saxophonist, vocalist and composer Dimitri Vassilakis and his trio, consisting of Theo Hill (piano), Essiet Okon Essiet (bass), and Ronnie Burrage (drums), performed on April 19, 2007, at the Baird Auditorium of the National History Museum during the Smithsonian Institution's annual Jazz Appreciation Month Festival.  (see summary in both Greek and English)

 

 

Misc news

 

Greek Music/New CDs

It has been a while since so many good new productions came into the market at the same time.  The following three CDs were released during the last few months and they are all worth having in your musical collection:

  1. Mikis Theodorakis’ “Odysseia” with Maria Farantouri:  Theodorakis surprises us with this work, a collection of love songs written by Kostas Kartelias.  Farantouri’s performance is as superb, as it has been in previous ageless pieces of Mikis. 
  2. Lefteris Papadopoulos’ “Spaei to Rodi” (Σπαει το ροδι): This is a collection of new songs performed by the best Greek singers including Haris Alexiou, Areti Ketime, Dimitris Mitropanos, Dimitris Mpasis, Georgos Ntalaras, etc.
  3. Thanos Mikroutsikos and Alkis Alkaios’ “Yperoha Monaxoi”; singing by Manolis Mitsias and Hristos Thibaios.

 

Book Recommendation

I’ve just finished reading David Fromkin’s book “A peace to end all peace” and I feel the need to share a few thoughts with you.  This is a “must read” for everybody who cares to understand the reasons behind the problems we are facing in the Middle East (especially in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq) today.  The book covers the period 1914-1922, which (according to the author; and I agree) is the most important decade in the twentieth century for this region.  It was an era in which Middle Eastern countries and frontiers were fabricated in Europe.  Iraq and what we now call Jordan, for example, were British inventions, lines drawn on an empty map by British politicians after the First World War; while the boundaries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq were established by a British servant in 1922, and the frontiers between Moslems and Christians were drawn by France in Syria-Lebanon and by Russia on the borders of Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan”. 

 

With regard to Iraq, it is ironic to read that an American missionary was warning the British that: “you are flying in the face of four millenniums of history if you try to draw a line around Iraq and call it a political entity!”  Then, The Times on August 7 1920 was demanding (from the British Government) to know “how much longer are valuable lives to be sacrificed in the vain endeavor to impose upon the Arab population an elaborate and expensive administration which they never asked for and do not want?”  Did anybody say that …history repeats itself?

 

In addition to what we now know as Middle East, the book covers the broader area and many important events of the same period (1914-1922).  Most importantly (for us), it covers the tragedy of Smyrna.  Also, it includes an extensively description of the “Bolshevik Revolution”, which maybe was not all that… “Bolshevik”!  It is interesting to read the role of “Parvus” (Alexander Israel Helphand), a Russian Jew, who was successful in manipulating the Young Turks (in Istanbul), Lenin (who was at the time in Vienna) and the German Government to support the Russian revolution.  As a leading historian of these events has written, “The revolutionary parties (in Russia) played no direct part in the making of the revolution.  They did not expect it…”.

 

Happy reading.  It is available in paperback too.

S.T.

 

 

 

 

Roots of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum Transplanted to a Maryland Campus:              Goucher Taps Greece for Ideas By Edward Gunts, Baltimore Sun, April 23, 2007

Goucher College's Towson campus is 5,100 miles from ancient Greece, but the latest addition promises to bring it considerably closer -- at least in spirit.

College leaders will break ground in the center of campus this week for a $46 million mixed-use structure called the Athenaeum -- a Greek term for an all-encompassing place of learning.

In Greece, the word referred to buildings dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and in particular to one temple on the Acropolis where poets, philosophers and orators gathered to read and discuss their work.

Goucher's version, inspired by the Grecian precedents, is intended to be both a literal centerpiece for the campus and the figurative heart of the academic community.

When it opens in the fall of 2009, the four-level building will be filled with spaces that encourage students and others to come together, including a library, a glass-roofed forum that can accommodate 500 to 800 people for performances and public discussions, a cafe, art gallery, exercise areas, a commuter lounge for students who live off-campus and more.

It was designed by Hillier Architecture of Princeton, N.J., to serve the community at large as well as Goucher students and faculty, according to college president Sanford J. Ungar.

"Like the Athenaeum in days of old, it will be a central gathering point where intellectual, cultural and social purposes are all brought together in one place," Ungar said. "My understanding of the Athenaeum of old is that it was the place where you went when you wanted to see people for one reason or another. That's the idea that inspires us."

Other colleges may have components of the Goucher project in different locations, but "we don't know of any campus that has this ... particular mix" of elements in one place, said Nicholas Garrison, design principal for Hillier. "Combining them is what makes it unique."

One of the largest spaces will be the library, which Ungar describes as a "glass book box," but even the library will be different from most. The designers have "blurred the edges" so it will be hard to tell where the library begins and ends.

The goal is to encourage students to get away from the personal computers in their dorm rooms -- one downside of the technology revolution -- and interact with other students by making the library part of a larger area that they'll want to check out several times a day. "It's to make people feel like you don't have to make a special trip to the library," Ungar said.

The forum will be another key gathering spot -- an indoor amphitheater with flexible seating, wireless Internet access and sports bar-like video screens.

It's "a modern day interpretation of what a great public meeting space should be," Garrison said.

Besides showing sports events and music videos, the large screens may be used as a digital storytelling device that will enable students abroad to share experiences with their colleagues back in Maryland.

Ungar is a strong proponent of global awareness, and all Goucher students are required to spend part of their studies abroad. Given that philosophy, "the desire is to make this building so nimble technologically that it becomes a natural connection to global consciousness," Garrison said. "That's the point of the forum -- to connect the kids in Baltimore to the world beyond."

Goucher has raised more than $23 million in cash and pledges to build and operate the Athenaeum and continues to seek donations. It has received $900,000 in federal funds and mostly likely will issue bonds to help finance construction, Ungar said.

The college has spent another $9 million to prepare the campus for construction of the Athenaeum, including relocating a parking lot, realigning portions of its loop road and building another power plant.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will deliver the keynote speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, which starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Mikulski helped Goucher secure the federal funds.

While the architecture has conceptual ties to ancient Greece, the building is no throwback. Hillier designed it to fit with the modernist buildings at the college, which moved to its current location at 1021 Dulaney Valley Road 54 years ago. Exterior materials include Butler stone, glass, wood and copper.

The architects also adopted eco-friendly design strategies, including use of green roofs, high-efficiency mechanical systems and redwood salvaged from old olive barrels. Olive trees can be found all over Greece and are that country's national tree.

"We want a building that will fit in but stand out," Ungar said. "We hope this will be a building, like the Brown Center at [the Maryland Institute College of Art], that will be an attraction in itself."

By Permission

Copyright © 2007, The Baltimore Sun

Link to the article: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/education/bal-to.archcol23apr23,0,7355196.column

 

[This article was taken from the Hellenic Link.  The reader is encouraged to visit their web site, which includes very useful information and a periodic newsletter: http://www.helleniclink.org/]

 

 

Free Summer Courses Offered at the University of the Peloponnese in Kalamata

The University of the Peloponnese in Kalamata, in collaboration with the World Confederation of Messinians Abroad, the Pan-Messinian Federation of U.S.A. and Canada, and the Pan-Australian Federation of Messinian Organizations, is organizing for the second year in a row free summer courses for 50 students (ages 17-25) of Messinian descent and for 10 schoolteachers (student chaperones) from the U.S., Canada and/or Australia who teach in Greek schools.

Lodging and food will be provided for students free of charge.
Please see attached document for program and application information. Note that the deadline has been extended beyond May 5, 2007. Contact one of the individuals listed in the attached for further information.

 

http://subscribe.washpost.com/contactus.nsf/frmsubscribezip?openform&code=wc

  

Seating in Ancient Greek Theater Found to Help the Acoustics

 

The Greek theater of Epidaurus, built in the 4th century B.C., is considered a marvel of acoustics. (Georgia Institute Of Technology)

Monday, April 9, 2007; Page A06

The Greek theater of Epidaurus has long been considered a marvel of acoustics. Over the years, people have come up with a number of explanations as to why those who sit in the back of the semicircular theater, built in the 4th century B.C., can hear performers on the stage with such clarity.

One theory was that it had to do with the wind patterns in the area, but modern actors performing on windless days sounded just as clear.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology this month showed that the secret is in . . . the seats. Nico Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser found that the seating, which is carved from limestone, creates an acoustic filter that screens out low frequency crowd noises and reflects higher frequency sounds from the stage.

In a paper in the April issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, the researchers said that while the filtering also suppressed part of the range of frequencies of the human voice, "the human nerve system and brain are able to reconstruct this fundamental tone by means of the available high frequency information."

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/ 

 

Thessaloniki

Greek Youth Remake ‘Seattle of the Balkans’

Yannis Kolesidis for The New York Times

Aristotelous Square is the heart of the historic district of Salonika. The area is the soul of the city’s new life

By JOANNA KAKISSIS

Published: April 8, 2007

NEAR the seventh-century Church of Aghia Sophia in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, prides of revelers are filling art-grunge bars like Urban and Pastaflora Darling! on lively Zefxidos Street. It's a weeknight — a Monday going on Tuesday, in fact — but it feels like a Saturday. The tsipouro is flowing, the New Pornographers are blaring, and the people, a blend of wispy artists bobbing to the music, balding academics recalling their anarchist years and caffeinated students now living theirs, are energized.

Stop any of them and they might turn grim and tell you that this majestic city is the ignored, unloved and lonesome little sister of Athens. But don't buy it. Although Thessaloniki often loses tourist-brochure headlines to Athens, its growing appeal as a youthful city with an intriguing multiethnic history and an arty counterculture is turning it into something of a Seattle of the Balkans.

Already a southeastern European center for cinema because of its film festivals, Thessaloniki is enjoying a resurgence in its eclectic visual arts and music scenes, evident at contemporary art museums and galleries and clubs like Xylourgeio at Mylos, a flour mill turned entertainment complex. As the suburbs spread and sprout resort hotels, downtown standbys like the Plaza Art Hotel and the City Hotel have been remodeled to accommodate the increasing number of cinephiles for the festivals.

“Thessaloniki has always been an alternative city, moving to its own rhythm,” said Nikodemos Triaridis, 34, who two years ago founded a small record label, Run Devil Run. “After so much lamenting of the chronic loss of the spotlight to Athens,” he said, “we are finally starting to embrace our offbeat sense of self again.”

Thessaloniki, with a metropolitan area of about a million people, was founded around 300 B.C. by Cassander, king of Macedon, who named it for his wife, Thessaloniki, half-sister of Alexander the Great. A walk around the city reveals a mosaic of cultural influences: Roman ruins; Byzantine churches like Aghios Dimitrios , the basilica dedicated to the patron Saint of Thessaloniki; Ottoman-era hammams and mosques; the pink house where Ataturk, founder of the Turkish republic, was born in 1881; and the 19th-century brick houses in the Ladadika district, the old Jewish quarter.

Much of the action is concentrated in the historic center, which is anchored by Aristotelous Square. This is where one finds a wonderful view from the Thermaic Gulf to the swell of the historic Ano Poli (Upper City). An international group of architects designed the square and much of Thessaloniki's center in 1917, just after the city was nearly destroyed by fire. Once home to five open-air cinemas, the square today has the Olympion, a theater built in 1948 and now the headquarters for the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which draws thousands every November. Other annual film events include the Documentary Film Festival in March; the Crashfest, devoted to short films by emerging young filmmakers, in April; and the Videodance Festival in May.

Walking around downtown, you soon notice that young ramblers are everywhere: on the seafront promenade, near the 14th-century White Tower and the statue of Alexander the Great, at the crowded cafes of Aristotelous Square and at the bars built into the old fabric markets in the Bezesteni neighborhood. Most are among the 95,000 students at Aristotle University, the largest in Greece. Many others are young professionals and artists.

Chrissie Tsiota, 35, an artist who specializes in offbeat photo-based narratives, often passes cafes filled with young crooners singing songs by the contemporary Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis as she walks home to her loft in a remodeled former market building in Bezesteni, which she shares with her husband, Nikos Yannopoulos, a 55-year-old filmmaker. They are part of a recent influx of artists and professionals to the once rundown Ottoman-era neighborhood, where chic bistros have arrived — like Ideal at Grigoriou Palama and Tsimiski Streets. It serves boutique wines, tender beef on roasted eggplant purée, and arugula salads dotted with pomegranate seeds and a soft goat cheese called katiki to the accompaniment of live jazz. But the traditional culinary fare — spicy whipped feta, pork stewed with chestnuts and wild-greens pies — offered at the city's ouzeries should not be ignored.

Not far from Bezesteni are the Modiano, Kapani and Louloudadika marketplaces. A stroll through them is a kaleidoscopic journey into scent, sound and color: cumin and sage, broad spreads of fresh meat and fish, Pontic cheeses, even the odd village potion for menstrual cramps, all wrapped in an aural force field of greengrocers promoting their eggplant in booming rhymes.

Founded in the early 1920s by the architect Eli Modiano, a member of a Sephardic merchant family, the Modiano Market was once a hub for Thessaloniki's Jews, many who trace themselves from the Sephardim expelled from Spain in 1492. They thrived in Thessaloniki, at one point a majority, but occupying Nazis in World War II virtually eliminated them. Some 45,000 to 50,000 of the city's Jews — about 96 percent — died during the war, many at Auschwitz. Only about 2,000 Jews live in the city today. Their history is recounted at the Jewish Museum, which follows the narrative from A.D. 200 to the beginning of the war.

The Ladino songs of Thessaloniki's Sephardic Jews enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s, especially when the singer Savina Yannatou and the band Primavera en Salonica performed those songs on the 1995 recording “Spring in Salonica.” At the time, the avenue of clubs at the Mylos complex, near the port, was thriving, fueling the rise of musicians like the jazz-folk fusion group Mode Plagal and the rock bands Trypes and Xylina Spathia. Mylos is far more mainstream now, but Xylourgeio (Carpenter's Shop) draws an intriguing lineup of offbeat artists like Daemonia Nymphe, who make ambient folk music with reproductions of ancient Greek instruments. The music scene is also enriched by indie labels like Ano Kato (Upside Down), Run Devil Run and the electronica-loving Poeta Negra, whose acts perform at small downtown clubs like the neon-blue neo-grunge Zenith.

A frequent listener is Areti Leopoulou, a 29-year-old art historian and music buff. “There's a lot of creative energy,” she said, “and it's bursting to get out.”

The same could be said for visual arts. The painter Vasilis Zografos, for instance, has worked in the city for 20 years and has noted the ingredients for an art renaissance — talent, exhibition space, endless sources of inspiration — but has only recently seen results. The 10-year-old State Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in a former monastery in the suburb of Stavroupolis, has been a leader. In 2005, it opened the Center of Contemporary Art in an old warehouse at the port, part of a continuing push to revitalize the area. (Two other museums, one devoted to photography and the other to cinema, opened there in 1995). The center is devoted to emerging visual and performing arts. The museum is also organizing a citywide biennial, starting in late May.

“It's like the pulse of Thessaloniki is quickening, at last,” said Eleni Athanasopoulou, a 28-year-old photography and video artist who works at the center.

After a long day at work, she was unwinding at Urban, a gallery turned colorful bar on Zefxidos Street. The crowd was mostly college students with struggling beards, though a few aging hipsters were hanging on, nursing glasses of vodka. The Scissor Sisters blared on the stereo, and a young woman, her dreds in a beehived updo, serenaded a framed poster of Bruce Lee.

As Monday officially became Tuesday, the party showed no sign of slowing.

VISITOR INFORMATION

HOW TO GET THERE

United, Lufthansa and Olympic are among the airlines that offer service from New York, starting at about $1,200 round trip. A taxi from the Thessaloniki airport "Makedonia" to the city center is about 15 euros, or $20.40 at $1.36 to the euro. Plans for a subway system are moving forward.

WHERE TO STAY

The Plaza Art Hotel (5 Paggeou Street, 30-2310-520-120; www.hotelplaza.gr) offers rooms for two starting at 82 euros, while the City Hotel (11 Komninon Street, 30-2310-269-421; www.cityhotel.gr) is 120 euros. For more luxury, try the Electra Palace (9 Aristotelous Square, 30-2310-294-000), where rooms start from 165 euros to 185 euros.

WHERE TO EAT

Dinner for two at the Ideal wine and jazz bistro (1 Grigoriou Palama 1 and 87 Tsimiski; 30-2310-288-844) is about 60 euros. Among Salonika's excellent ouzeris is Agora (5 Kapodistriou, 30-2310-532-428) and Aristotelous (8 Aristotelous, 30-2310-233-195), where a meal for two costs about 30 euros. And sample the buffalo milk-cream kazan dipi at Hatzis (50 Venizelou, 30-2310-279-058) or the chocolate-covered tsoureki at Terkenlis at the Byzantino cafe off Aghia Sophia Square (30-2310-244-876, www.terkenlis.gr).

WHERE TO LINGER

The State Museum of Contemporary Art (21 Kolokotroni Street, Moni Lazariston; 30-2310-589-149; www.greekstatemuseum.gr) has a stirring collection of Russian avant-garde art. The museum's Center of Contemporary Art (Warehouse B1, Port of Salonika; 30-2310-546-683; www.cact.gr) has eclectic presentations of video and new-media art. Delve into history at the Museum of Byzantine Culture (2 Leoforos Stratou, 30-2310-868-570; www.mbp.gr) or the Jewish Museum (13 Aghiou Mina Street, 30-2310-250-406; www.jmth.gr). Admission to the Museum of Byzantine Culture is 4 euros; for the others, it is 3 euros.

WHERE TO LET LOOSE

For a sampling of Greek and international music, go to Mylos (56 Andreou Georgou Street, 30-2310-551-838; www.mylos.gr), a former flour factory transformed in 1991 into an entertainment complex. One of the best spots is the Xylourgeio, which spotlights experimental and alternative music.

Click here: Greek Youth Remake ‘Seattle of the Balkans’ - New York Times

 



 

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