Month: March 2015

hallucinaut: taking a trip into destiny

ALEXIS Varouxakis left Athens a few years ago and headed straight to where it all happens (if you’re lucky and persistent enough) in the world of film – Los Angeles. He has been hard at work since arriving there, creating a positive and well-deserved buzz around his company, Adrenaline Entertainment, a feature film and TV production company he founded in 2001 when he was working in London. His most recent (2014) producer credits include “Dark Hearts”, directed by Rudolf Buitendach, a film preceded by “Opa” (2005), directed by Udayan Prasad. He was also a producer on “El Greco,” which won numerous international awards, including the Audience Award, Greek Competition Award, and Greek Union of Film and Television Technicians Award at the 2007 Thessaloniki Film Festival. Varouxakis’ current project Hallucinaut, for which he has teamed up with Italian writer/director Daniele Auber, is exciting not only to me but evidently, to a huge number of cinema buffs worldwide – the short film has even gained the backing of Auber’s idol, Terry Gilliam, as producer, and in launching a crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter managed to inspire 821 individuals to raise the breathtaking …

big band magic

ONE of the most uplifting experiences you can have in Athens is to be infused by the (surprising!) musical magic of the municipal Athens Big Band.   It’s mid afternoon on a direly dreary day (look out the window), and as you’re shuffling through the metro station, walking past streams of similarly zombified Athenians, wishing you’d grabbed a frothy cappuccino just like the one you caught a mouthwatering whiff of from a passerby before you entered the station, there they are – Wham! bam! alakazam! – standing proud, playing loud and blasting a beautiful big band rendition of All That Jazz or The Sunny Side of The Street, offering you exactly the cheerful kick your being demands in order to get your day rolling. The City of Athens Big Band is the municipality’s broad jazz music ensemble comprising the four instrument families, namely saxophones, trumpets, trombones and rhythmic drums, often backed by string and other symphonic instruments. They are the dream of classic jazz fans, bringing the sounds of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Bassie and many more jazz heroes to life on the streets …

Ink on Graph Paper, 21 x 29 cm

outshining the spectacle

THE ART of Bill Balaskas stands out for its coolly detached irony and playful insider’s understanding at once. I have interviewed him with great interest in his ideas throughout the years of the Greek financial crisis, chiefly because his university studies in economics in his native city of Thessaloniki have given a powerful impetus to his art, through which he continuously unravels the different facets of the crisis and how it has affected Greece’s socio-political structure. His outlook is unique, combining a silently discerning humour with a blaringly intelligent effort to shed stark light on where things stand for him as a citizen of Greece but also of the world. Since 2005 he has been based in London and working across different media, while also regularly exhibiting internationally and in Greece, most recently at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, in Athens, and the Thessaloniki Biennale. Today Balaskas’ focus continues to be fuelled by his economic studies-inspired intellect, but has now taken off from his home country to address issues in Europe at large, and the problems of insecurity, confusion and conflict faced …

Cosmas Xenakis, 1983, acrylic on canvas

my father, the artist

AS THE BENAKI Museum Pireos St Annexe opens its first full retrospective of the works of inventive and multifaceted artist Cosmas Xenakis (1925-1984) on March 19th 2015, his daughter Fotini writes about his life, bright inner world and multi-dimensional creations. Xenakis was one of Greece’s greatest innovators in the post WWII period art scene, as he daringly experimented with materials, form, and even the concept of what an artwork should be. Also unlike his peers and ahead of his time, he combined various art forms to create a performance of what we could today call mixed media. Xenakis was a passionate intellectual who also loved traditional Greek art and collected objects, agricultural tools and ceramics that represented the various strata of his country’s cultural and anthropological essence. The works of Cosmas Xenakis could be said to be broadly based on a dialogue of opposites, on abstract concepts such as open and closed form, movement and attitude, light and darkness and contrasting textures.  BY Fotini Xenakis Cosmas Xenakis – my father – was a multi-talented artist: a painter, sculptor, architect and urban planner. He created happenings …

the r word

By Nico Manessis ON SOCIAL media, recently, I witnessed a lively retsina thread. It came from far-flung corners of the world, including the Far East. It went on for several days. Comment was a revealing eye-opener. Through it all, it was clear that aficionados were either looking for the next step, or had seamlessly moved up to modern retsinas. I suspect there is a much larger following that even insiders are not fully aware of. From my vantage point, there are further encouraging signs. During my many travels to the Greek islands, this new wave of retsinas, albeit of limited distribution, is telling. There were turning up in haunts old and new.     Repeatedly, this niche revival comes down to four different names: Kechris, Tetramythos, Gaia, and Papagiannakos. They are all of subtly different styles and approaches. The biggest surprise came from an enterprising sommelier whose guests had all four while offering practical pairing plate pointers. Five years ago this scene would have been unthinkable. Yet, for open-minded punters, the synergies in this loose group are …

Q&A: Benji Adeyemo, performing artist, yoga teacher

BENJI Adeyemo is a multi-talented jack of all trades, and going to his yoga class changed my life (and physical form) for the much better at a time when I was feeling a little down and out, with his uplifting energy, great teaching style and contagiously good vibes. He teaches Bhakti Flow Yoga for which he received training from its creator, Rusty Wells and at NYSY Studios, where he also teaches. He is also a performing artist whose West End credits include Starlight Express, Fame and Saturday Night Fever, and his Greek theatre credits include Saturday Night Fever, La Cage Aux Folles, The Producers and most recently, Priscilla Queen Of The Dessert. Since 2013 he began to sing and his first track ‘The Way’ with Thodoris Triantafillou and CJ Jeff became a big club hit, and many other popular releases followed suit. At the end of May he will be releasing a track called ‘Proud Of You’ with house producer Tsalikee with legendary New York house label ‘King Street’ and is also working on two tracks with The Echonomist and another two with French house producer Rafel Cerato. His …

Q&A: eileen botsford, artist

PUBLIC artist Eileen Botsford has been working on a vast spectrum of on-site and on-line Public Art projects and commissions in Greece and internationally, giving inspirational talks, and exhibiting in group and solo exhibitions worldwide. Currently she is the Public Art Tutor, Mixed Media Labs Tutor and the Historical and Contextual Studies Lecturer at the Doukas BTEC Foundation in Art & Design. Eileen is also working with The National Museum of Contemporary Art,  Athens (in the framework of the program ‘EMST Without Borders’), designed and organised in collaboration with ‘KETHEA In Action’ through the educational program “Making my own home” #projecthome for the women therapeutic group of KETHEA in Action, in Koridallo’s Correctional Facility. How Greek are you? I feel very Greek in my own way. Having been born and brought up in Greece and having lived as a child in Athens and Syros, I was privileged to have tasted the multifaceted beauty of Greece. The light, the terrain, the culture are all extremely strong elements which form a big part my identity. What is most important to you right now? For my …

renovation and innovation @ philos

ATHENS is full of beautiful neoclassical buildings that have been abandoned and left to rot. Some of them belong to the state, others to families that were once rich but today cannot afford to refurbish them, or who are still wrangling on ownership rights over what they inherited from their ancestors, among other reasons. Fortunately, one of those beautiful buildings, standing on 32 Solonos St in Kolonaki, was “rescued” by a couple who have what they describe as an “obsession for old buildings”, and transformed into a space that can be visited and enjoyed by all.        The building in question is a 300 square metre, three storey house that has been registered in architectural records since circa 1937 (but is thought by some to have existed since before 1900), that once belonged to an art collector from the island of Mytilini called Evripidis Koutlidis. “It was love at first sight,” the female member of the couple, who prefer to remain anonymous to the press, told us.  After years of searching for “the one”, the pair found the …

Sound vibrations and waves

healing with sound

IMAGINE yourself receiving a deeply comforting, relaxing treatment on the massage table, and then, while you’re still floating in that dreamy rainbow-coloured bubble of pampering bliss, add the magical sound of crystal singing bowls, an angelic female voice and the sound of an ancient string instrument designed by Pythagoras, as waves and vibrations of sound flow up and down your body like the waves of the sea do when you bask on the shore. Welcome to the millennia-old practice of vibrational sound healing. As someone who is a great fan both of alternative therapies and the world of sound  – from natural to hyper-produced – I was most excited to try out a session, and was fortunate to find Sound and Energy healing therapist Kristina Alicia, whose clients (especially the creative types who experience ‘blocks’ and need to reawaken their awareness and sharpen their focus), rave about her work. I had no idea what to expect, but being a new mother with an aching body and a sometimes alarmingly sleep-deprived brain, I was more than open and …

Q&A: daphne kapsali, writer

London girl Daphne Kapsali created quite the buzz when she raised some £3,240 pledged of £2,500 goal via a Kickstarter campaign, to live on the Cycladic island of Sifnos to write her novel. Here she answer’s My Greek Review Q&A to give us a glimpse as to where she’s at now. It appears her reclusive lifestyle has not yet adversely affected her… How Greek are you? As Greek as they come. Although I have this theory that we’re all completely mixed, and distinctions such as race and nationality are largely redundant. Or should be! What is your biggest role in life? To be a good writer; to write things that touch people’s lives, in some small way. And to be a positive and supportive presence in the lives that cross mine. What is most important to you right now? To finish the novel I’m writing, and to spend time with the people I love. I’ve just spent six months living alone on the small island of Sifnos, engaged in a project I called 100 days of solitude (a daily …