Showing posts with label Greece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greece. Show all posts

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Orthodox Christian Meeting in Crete & Women?

Greek Orthodox leaders meeting in Crete, Greece.
Source: Archdeacon Panteleimon
The Orthodox Church is holding an unprecedented council in Crete.

It was supposed to be in Istanbul but that was deemed too risky. So far the press releases are formalities and the American priests' Facebook posts reflect how awestruck everyone is.

On day one, today, the big story is that the Russians didn't participate. It's a patriarchal power game, and the BBC reported the Russians have issues with the Ukranian Orthodox and unity efforts.

Photos from the St. Menas Cathedral in the city of Iraklion look inspiring, as were the vistas from an ancient monastery overlooking the
Mediterranean Sea.

Sadly, I have not seen any nuns or females in photos. With greater sadness, I point out the orange juice brand (see photo) that someone decided should be served to make a scantily-clad point. You couldn't serve that today in Iznik, Turkey. That city was formerly called Nicea, and was where another of these famous councils came up with the Nicene Creed used in most Christian churches. We still pray for "one Holy, catholic (true) and apostolic church."

Hopefully we won't be visiting the Orthodox Church's ashes with tour buses in another 1000 years; that's the drill in Iznik now. We all hope for some inspiration from this council.

Photo credit: New Yorker And Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Archdeacon Panteleimon via Facebook, showing the leader of the American Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Demetrios, seated at far left.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year Vasilopita

Yours truly got the coin in her own Vasilopita bread - a Greek new year tradition in honor of a holy saint who gave money to the poor disguised in loaves.
This was the last slice of my loaf, a leftover slice, and the coin was so buried not even I could see it - nor could the people at my New Year's Eve dinner party. Και του χρόνου! To the years to come!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Orata: Is It Lavraki?

In Greece, Lavraki is a near mythical fish, ever elusive. When Greek journalists stumble upon a great story—snag that rare exclusive scoop—they call it a Lavraki, says Milos, a Greek fish restaurant in New York, on its website.

It's sea bass and is often called Bronzino on U.S. menus.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Antique Earthen Vases At ABC

These clay vessels for oil and wine and food are what Greeks called κιουπια and what museums call Grecian urns.
Clay pots were all over the Mediterranean, but ABC Carpet and Home, New York's fabulous interiors mecca, is selling these whitewashed pots as "Antique Turkish Pithoi." The white sign, which greets visitors at the entry to the Union Square store --  pictured at right -- reads: "Turkey circa 1900. Handmade, sun-bleached earthenware, historically used to store water, wine, olive oil, butter (!) and all types of grains. The various sizes and styles reflect the culture, craftsmanship and local soil from its region of origin. One-of-a-kind and exclusively at ABC. Recycled. Indigenous. Handmade. $95-$1595."
My question for buyers: who sold these, what is the actual geographic origin, and who should be profiting? I'm off duty, so more to come.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Don't Want To Live Like A Refugee

This rather lush Greek book promotion says we are all refugees and author Dimitris Karavasilis asks, what if the our children don't have any memories of Asia Minor? What if they don't feel it in their soul? An obvious fear, since many of those children read English and the stories are in Greek.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Brighter Dawn From Greece

There are good stories from Greece that won't make headlines.
Of course there is high unemployment and shocking financial corruption pervading Greek society. There is increased crime in some places. The marginalized, illegal, uneducated and otherwise poor immigrants in Greece seem to be a ticking time bomb. Then there is the horrible Nazi-sympathizer Golden Dawn political party that has captured votes.
The antidote is Christos Rafalides, a young vibraphonist from Kozani in Northern Greece. He loved music and studied it, getting a Bachelors in Boston and a Master's in New York. Now he's playing the smooth wooden xylophone, with its warm and wonderful tones, in some of the best jazz venues in Manhattan, and with the best orchestras and artists in Greece. Right now.
Young, successful people from Greece keep popping up in New York, working and adapting in ways that immigrants 100 years ago couldn't imagine. They are often smart and priveleged, but working hard -- especially in the arts.
It's fascinating how Rafalides, other instrumentalists and vocalists are interpreting familiar Greek songs with jazz compositions. But mostly, it's just cool to see someone make a career on vibes, which always was one of my favorite concert band instruments. Video below. Here's more on vibe player Rafalides.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Southern Greece Featured in film Before Midnight

Credit: Rope of Silicon http://bit.ly/1a72SNS
See Before Midnight if only to glimpse the remote Greek castle in Methoni and a revered writer's home near Kalamata.
The film is the third in a trilogy - all romantic fluff. It was shot in Southern Greece. The others were set in Paris and Vienna.
It will be good to see Methoni on the big screen. Our yiayia had the National Geographic photo of the castle framed and positioned near the door.
Another scene: the elegantly simple pastels of a country Greek home once owned by Patrick Leigh Fermor, the British travel writer and World War II Greek resistance hero. Fermor wrote the book on Mani, the rugged Southern Peloponnesian peninsula once full of peasant folkways and mystery. Fermor died just this year; he spent some of his last days at the Greek house. Apparently he also traveled to "Constantinople" and a final book is to be published about his travels in Turkey.
The Rope of Silicon blog mapped out the Before Midnight scenes in Messinia here. The Before Midnight trailer is here.

Our favorite critic, Melpo, pans the latest film in the trilogy, saying of the acting: "Very poor. No chemistry or feeling."
But the New York Times lauded the movie, and so did Lincoln Center's film Q&A moderator in this lengthy Question-and-Answer session with the director and actors Julie Delphy and Ethan Hawke. They all admit the script violates every film school rule.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Turkish Boat Sinks: 30 Refugee Kids Drown

On their way from near Izmir, Turkey, apparently headed to the Greek isle of Samos by night, 61 migrants with mostly Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian passports drowned Thursday, according to an NBC story.
Half were children. The Turkish crew survived and was arrested.
Greece has complained for years that it cannot control its porous, coastal borders and that it is being used as a gateway to Europe. Greece also receives EU aide for illegal migrants.
The Onassis Foundation in New York hosted an amazing installation several years ago on this theme. The artist created whitewashed boats, shaped like giant pods containing beans, and suspended them over flowing water in the noisy Onassis atrium.
The New Yorkers pushed and drank and left. Do they remember?
The latest drownings are deja vu: see the book described in my post below on the David Kherdian family story, circa 1920.And of course, there is our family story, among countless others.
No transit, no safety, no identity, and no protector in authority. Is migrant and refugee desperation and suffering a fact of life in the world?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Schnitzel & Olives: Genius!

With the big soccer match tonight pitting Greece against Germany, it might be time to watch a Mr. Panos video.
A Brooklyn comedian's invention, Panos offers some hysterically conspiratorial thoughts on the Greeks v Germany -- with apologies for the profanity.
And for more economic humor, you have to watch this brilliant music video


Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Find Work in Greece

Hysterical desperation from two young Greeks looking for work (δουλειά) is on display in this video passed on by a friend in Athens.
All in Greek, but you will get the negotiation: They start by saying all of the things they don't need -- acronyms for retirement, extras, days off work. You'll hear number of hours they are willing to work, what personal things they are willing to give up - pay, their homes. The punchline? The winner calls his honey: the work is at Mitso's little restaurant.
Quoting my friend who sent this: "Ο ΄Ελληνας δεν χάνει ποτέ το χιούμορ του, ούτε και στις πιό δύσκολες στιγμές του. Γι' αυτό : Η Ελλάδα ποτέ δεν πεθαίνει. Απολαύστε την συνέντευξη!
"The Greek never loses a sense of humor, even in his/her most difficult moments. Greece won't die ..."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lacroix & Empress Theodora

Theodora blesses Lacroix. Credit: Elle Decor 10/2011
Designer Christian Lacroix has been enamored with Byzantine mosaics since his childhood. That would seem obscure for someone from Arles, France, except that his great grandparents dug up Greco-Roman tiles under their house there, according to an article in October's Elle Decor.

The famous mosaics of Empress Theodora & Emperor Justinian are among the richly-colored artworks in Ravenna, Italy where Lacroix not so coincidentally has partnered with a company to produce a new furniture line.

I love Lacroix's now-discontinued Follement china pattern for Christofle - especially since I fell in love with it when the euro traded at 85 cents to the dollar. Not sure I'd want the Theodora Chair.
Theodora mosaic, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy




But Theodora's character certainly would bring good vibes to a house. The article says she was "the daughter of a bear trainer ... renowned for her beauty and wit, as well as her expertise as a courtesan, and reportedly suppressed revolts, exposed political corruption, and expanded women's rights in her day."

The name Theodora means "God's gift" in Greek. The empress is recognized as a saint and is remembered on November 14. The church in Italy where she's depicted in mosaic was completed a year before her death -- and having seen it in person, I can vouch for how vivid the tiles remain - minerals baked into glass last.
Justinian and Theodora ruled from Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey. All this is one more reminder of how interconnected ethnic worlds were in the era of empires.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bouzouki's Lending Hand

A facebook friend in Greece dug up this old song from an old movie of the same name called  "Μιας Πεντάρας Νειάτα" or "Three-penny Loans." The singer, Maria Douraki, says at one point, at least they have the Lord and Panagia. Maybe the Greek government should do a WPA-style program to revive acoustic bouzouki music. If it didn't help the economy, at least it would improve the mood.

Smoke & Drink for Greece

Greece adopted anti-smoking laws for public places, bars and restaurants in 2009, but the laws aren't strictly followed. Some feel it's part of the culture, while others argue that giving up a cigarette is the last thing to do when your crisis-riddled nation is in the throes of financial austerity measures. The last guy puts it best in this PrismGR 2010 video, and he seems to be serious: every time he smokes and drinks, he's supporting his country since booze and tobacco taxes keep going up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Live Like Zorba

Some lifestyle gurus are promulgating “The Opa! Way” of life.
They derived this wisdom on "the full catastrophe" as Zorba called life, after interviewing Greek villagers and from readings ancient sages like Heraclitus, a Buddha contemporary from Ephesus in what's now Turkey. What an excuse for a working vacation! If I could live like Zorba, I'd just dance in a picturesque field all day, my boy. Here are the essential Opa tenets (with my sarcastic asides). 
  •  Have a sense of others. In Greek villages, people are interconnected, with notions of honor, caring and hospitality. (And gossip.) 
  •  Live life with a purpose to engage, collaborate, innovate and succeed. In Greece, our sages claim, accumulating financial wealth is overshadowed by the need to live life with purpose. (The ratio of dodged taxes to nights out sipping frappe? Cash in the bank!)
  • Work-life balance is an illusion. Resilience, not balance, is what matters, Greeks say. (More like capitulation with survivalist tactics. Hundreds of years of occupation, then war and political upheaval,  and now financial crisis gives Greeks a certain bias. Ditto for anyone left in a Greek village, who would be as resiliant as a goat.) 
  • Grant and receive forgiveness for your mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing. Let go of suffering. (Who can argue with this Biblical imperative? Greek debtholders!) 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Note to Papandreou

I was sure these ladies, weighed down with Hallmark and Crabtree & Evelyn shopping bags, and inquiring about discount Broadway tickets, were from Iowa. But they were visiting from Greece!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Δrachma βlues

Sarcasm from London aside, read this NYTimes opinion piece for ignored historical perspective on Greece. It posits that the Lausanne Treaty is a big factor in the Greek mindset today. (Plus 1940s civil war & 1960s-70s military rule.) The treaty was Europe's solution circa 1922 that condoned the movement of an estimated 400,000 Muslims from Greece and more than 1.2 million surviving Greek Christians from Turkey - including members of my family. Today, the author says, because Greeks were lorded over by Ottomans for 400 years, they won't be controlled by central bankers nor any authority including government. The Times recommends a journalist's book we have: "Twice A Stranger: How Mass Expulsions Forged Modern Greece & Turkey," by Bruce Clark.
You can't blame the population's tax evasion on prior oppression, but some Greeks are beyond frustrated or defiant. Watch the Prism GR2010 episode "Roads, Rage & Relics" (under the lawlessness theme) to see regular Greeks blowing off tolls and exhibiting societal breakdown in action.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Greek Video Journalism

You will keep coming back to this absolutely captivating new storytelling experiment, The Prism GR2010,  featuring 27 mini video stories of Greeks in the eye of the nation's fiscal and existential crisis. The unfolding videos are the work of documentary filmmakers Nikos Katsaounis and my friend Nina-Maria Paschalidou, who also co-owns Protagon, a news blog created by prominent Greek journalists.
Based in Athens after years abroad, Nikos and Nina offer a fresh perspective on their "tormented country," and used photographers to shoot luscious images being slowly released at the Prism link above. They plan a film that will weave all the tales together.
Programs have English subtitles and subjects are diverse, including a couple who leave Athens for an island, Tinos worshippers on bended knees, immigrant junkies in Athens, and an intelligent young African-Greek musician, who concludes: "The world may not always be what we want, but we can make our own world inside this world."
You can watch the preview here

Monday, May 9, 2011

Exiting Cairo

The alleged cause of deadly violence against Egypt's minority Coptic Orthodox Christians over the weekend mirrors themes in Cairo Exit, a gripping film we saw in New York's Tribeca Film Fest two weeks ago.
Update from the Economist 5/11: the latest Christian-Muslim conflict "in the Cairo slum of Imbaba on May 7th, left 12 people dead, more than 200 injured and several churches smashed, with one burned to cinders along with Christian-owned shops and homes. The trouble began when a small group of Salafists—Muslims inspired by Saudi-style puritanism ... marched on a church in response to rumours that a female convert to Islam had been kidnapped and was being held there.” The churches: St. Menas church in the slum and a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, according to the UK's Daily Mail.
In the movie, a Coptic girl and a Muslim guy, both from slums, fall in love and their only hope is escape from Egypt, to Greece, where the economically-frustrated masses blame immigrants for problems. There is no exit!
I won't tell you how Cairo Exit ended, but Egyptian-American Director Hesham Issawi shot the film before the revolution in Egypt raged; read his insights on the Tribeca Film Fest blog.
Copts were protected under former President Mubarak, they were loyal, and now they are suffering the consequences. I've heard people say that Copts are resented because a number of them are rich, though there are more Christians in slums.
The violence is not new. In 1996, I talked with Copts who feared reprisals just for talking with me about a new Coptic Church near Palatine, Illinois for the Chicago Tribune. The design was based on a Cairo church. I also included a Coptic timeline that's still online.
Here's the Wall Street Journal's sad slide show on the weekend events and the WSJ article . Also, a WSJ Feb 1 piece with more background including December bombings.
Also: one blogger's review of Cairo Exit. Cairo Exit is an official selection of the European Independent Film Fest 2011 according to Facebook, but it's not released yet. No trailers, no Netflix.