Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A New Technosfaira Exhibition - Different Works of Art Every Week

Technosfaira is a relatively new association of Greek artists. It incorporates the fine arts, dance, music and graphic art and welcomes all artists. Technosfaira was founded by the artist, Vasiliki Tampouri who is now the president of the association.

Technosfaira puts on exhibitions every three months or so and the artists have found a new home for their works in Poikili Stoa in Monastiraki. The works of art change every week and are on show from Friday evening until Sunday evening, so you can visit the café-bar every Saturday and see different paintings. The paintings in the exhibition will include those of Vasiliki Tampouri, Olga Chanoutza, Spiros Amerikanos and a whole host of other contemporary Greek artists.

The exhibition is on the ground floor of the building so access is no problem. If you wish to sample the café-bar's fare you go up to the first floor and, if you visit it at night, you will be able to see the Acropolis and an ancient temple lit up. The views are truly magnificent, which makes the establishment a fitting venue for the art works. The owner of the café-bar is also an artist.

One of the works on display will be the new work by Vasiliki Tampouri, which depicts a crucified Greece, set against a backdrop of an angry sea. The female personification of Greece, Hellas, has an inscription above her, "Hellas - Top of the Pigs." This is a reference to the German media's description of the ailing European economies, "pigs." Understandably Greeks do not appreciate this description of them and they also feel that the austerity measures are too stringent for them to endure. This particular picture captures the anger felt within Greece and the rather helpless feeling of this beleaguered nation.

Other works in the exhibition will be less politically motivated, and some will be abstracts, landscapes, portraits and surrealist. In fact there will be something for all tastes. Of course most of the works will be for sale, and if you are interested in a painting you can check the price with the person who is in charge of the exhibits on the day you visit.

The café-bar, Poiliki Stoa is located in a pedestrianized street under the Acropolis within easy walking distance of the Monastiraki metro station, and you can walk past the Irish pub, "The James Joyce" and stop off there if you are missing British-style drinks and food. However the Poiliki Stoa is a good place to eat and drink.

If you are interested in art and in Athens this summer, then head to the Technosfaira exhibition at Poiliki Stoa and see what contemporary Greek artists are producing.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Celebrate With Dinner - And a Belly Dance!

Maybe it's a birthday. Maybe it's an anniversary. Maybe you both simply need a night out to renew, recharge and remember how you feel about each other. A dinner date is always a good choice. You can enjoy a delicious meal and spend time talking, just like when you were first together.

However, a dinner date with a bit of entertainment is even better. For an ultimate couple's night out, look for a restaurant that features belly dancing!

Check the Greek and Middle Eastern Restaurants
Most of the restaurants that host belly dancers in the evening serve Greek or Middle Eastern-style food. For most people, authentic Mediterranean food is a treat that they can't make at home but that's easy to enjoy.

Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants are ideal choices for a romantic night out. Check your local restaurant websites and listings for dance events and book early. Everyone loves the combination of an elegant meal and a belly dancing show, and tables are often booked up far in advance.

Belly Dancing Adds Fun and Excitement
The style of belly dance performed in restaurants and clubs today originally evolved from the folk dance styles of the eastern Mediterranean region. These dances made a huge impact at the European and American World Fairs of the late nineteenth century. Belly dance created a sensation in straight-laced Victorian times, and it went on to become popular in music hall shows and later in films and on television all over the world.

Modern dance has continued to evolve both from and apart from its roots. The Raks Sharki style that's popular in restaurants and clubs today is performance oriented, and it emphasises both skill and drama. The movements are hypnotic, the costumes are beautiful and the dancers will often move around the room and even interact with members of the audience.

Try Out a Few Moves Later!
It's inspiring to watch a belly dancer move. The dance is so fluid and graceful. Whether you're a man or a woman, you'll find yourself riveted. You'll enjoy the beautiful dancers and the bright, flowing costumes. You may want to try some of the moves later, at home. It would be fun, and who knows where it will lead?

Once you've experienced the thrill of a live belly dancing show, you'll want make it a regular date. Belly dance really strikes the right balance for couples. It's sensual but not sleazy or exploitative. It's an exciting show that will make you both feel joyful and adventurous.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Can Taking the Road Less Travelled Make a Difference?

Welcome to Monday

"I took the road less travelled and that has made all the difference" Robert Frost

In his poem 'The Road Not Taken' Robert Frost spends most of the day contemplating a fork in the road trying to decide which one to take. He observes most people take the well worn path, the sure way. This is the same in business and sales. We look to see what works and use this idea ourselves. Can taking the road less travelled, however, help establish a business or make better sales?

I was picking my parents up at the airport last week. On the way out we joined a very long line to pay for our parking. I was interested in this as there were two machines where you could pay for parking, but for some reason there was no one lined up at the other machine.

The second machine looked to be working so, being a bit of a maverick, and seeing there would be a long delay waiting in line, I decided I would try it. As I was about to move over, however, the person in front of me said "I wouldn't try it, mate. It wasn't working this morning as well."

I saw the line stretching out the door behind me and I relented not wanting to loose my position in line.

I waited a few more minutes as a few people looked with longing at the other ticket machine with not a sole in line - but no one dared make a move.

I could see the video display on the machine seemed to be working normally, but my mind kept saying to me 'there must be something wrong if there is over a hundred people lined up here and no one there'.

This was ridiculous. I plucked up my courage and all my parents' luggage and walked over to the machine and paid for our parking. You guessed it; within a few seconds there was a mad rush to get to the front of the line for this machine now it was obviously working.

The world is full of naysayers and people who line up with the crowd.

When you are building a business or selling it is your courage to be a bit different, to set yourself apart that creates the value for you and your clients.

I had just started working for an Australian systems integrator and observed one of their long term clients, a subsidiary of a global resources organization, had spent nothing with them for sometime. During one of our sales meetings I asked if I could have this account. When the laughter in the room died down and I was asked if I was sure I wanted this account with no potential I said "Sure, a company that size always has a requirement for our type of services. You just need to help them discover it."

My first visit to this account confirmed what my colleagues had said. They had signed a global deal to implement a new enterprise wide system at head office and their Australian subsidiary was to be an early adopter. After meeting a few of the local players and understanding the business better I discovered the Australian operation was the only part of the global organization running well and they were concerned this very expensive project was going to drive them to the wall.

Here I had an Australian manager, being paid based on profitability of the local subsidiary, being told to accept an expense that would take money from his bonus - perhaps even all of it. Together we put a plan that would allow him to meet the global objectives of the company as well as keep his local costs reasonable. Instead of spending tens on millions with an overseas company he invested hundreds of thousands with a local company.

At the end of the year this company no one wanted as an account, who I was laughed at for asking to take it on, was again in the top five client list in terms of revenue and number one in terms of profit.

Can taking the road less travelled make a difference? It sure can. And it can be very profitable as well as there are fewer competitors and clearer measures of success.

Today's question and Actions

The next time there is a decision to be made ask yourself, "What can I do differently to make what I do stand out?"

    Make it a habit of always look for one more alternative.
    Pose a contrarian view to help see other potential ways of doing things.

Being different does not always mean you will be better off. Taking the road less travelled, however, can make all the difference.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Awaken Your Sensuality With Belly Dancing Lessons

In Western society, including in Australia, many people feel alienated from their own bodies. Corporations sell us products by telling us that our bodies are unacceptable and suggesting that we can only improve them by spending money. We're taught that sex is dirty and shameful. We believe that dancing or performing any type of athletic activity with a visibly less than perfect body is laughable. Men are taught that moving to music is feminine, difficult and a sure route to humiliation. Many people are trapped in uncomfortable immobility and awkward, repetitive patterns of movement.

This messes us up! We can experience so much pleasure, grace and sensuality through our bodies, but sometimes it feels as if we've forgotten how. Is it any wonder that so many people feel stuck in their heads and cut off from their natural physicality?

Belly Dancing Frees Your Body
Imagine your hips moving freely and smoothly, your shoulders unstuck and your feet light and buoyant. Imagine happily working the soreness and fatigue out of your neck, back and legs while moving passionately to the beat. The drum urges you on. You know how to move instinctually, and every motion feels like a drink of water on a hot day.

Belly dancing isn't just a performance style. It's a way of moving that can help keep your body strong, flexible, mobile and pain-free. It will release the strain that comes from sitting for long periods of time and from repetitive types of work or exercise.

Belly Dancing Reawakens Your Sensuality
Belly dancing is a family-friendly art form, and there is nothing about it that is inherently sexual. However, everyone with a pair of eyes knows that it is a sensuous and seductive style of dance. That's because of the way dance uses the whole body, isolating muscle groups and joints, showcasing full rotations and ranges of motion. It reminds us of what our bodies are capable of.

If you're feeling out of touch with your body and your sensuality, then belly dance can help you to reconnect. It doesn't matter what you look like. Whether you're big or small, young or old, a man or a woman - even if you have a disability - you can explore your body through belly dance. No matter what you look like and how you feel about your appearance, you'll find that your body can move in ways that look and feel beautiful.

Be Centred in Your Body
We are our bodies. They're not just houses for our minds or cages for our souls. We are physical creatures, and our bodies and minds are connected. Freeing our potential for creative movement can help make us happier, healthier and better balanced. Dance, particularly dance, can help us reintegrate with our bodies and their potential.

Taking belly dance lessons can do so much more than provide a workout or an opportunity to learn something new. Not only is belly dance a beautiful art form, pleasurable both to perform and to watch, it's a healthy way to free our bodies, and with them our hearts and minds.

EPCOT's Top 5 Original Attractions From 1982

On October 1, 1982, Walt Disney World's Epcot Center opened to great excitement and fanfare. There were over 100 television studios covering the event, and dignitaries as well as celebrities were in attendance. Visitors to Epcot on that day were treated to live shows, music, and a host of cutting-edge attractions. Over the next 30 years, some of those original attractions were shut down or completely replaced. However, many of the original attractions are still present today. Sure, they've been updated, renamed, or revamped, but they're still going strong. For a little history behind what you'll see at Epcot, have a look at our list of the top 5 original Epcot attractions from 1982.

Spaceship Earth

This attraction is housed at Epcot's world-famous icon, the silver geodesic sphere. Spaceship Earth, a 12-minute dark ride, takes guests through the history of mankind, from the beginning of humanity to the present day. The narrators and the music have changed several times over the years, and several of the original scenes have been updated and replaced, but the theme is always the same: the history of humanity and mankind's journey to the future. Visitors to Spaceship Earth today will hear a lovely score by composer Bruce Broughton and a narration by Judy Dench.

Universe of Energy / Ellen's Energy Adventure

This attraction in Future World has been updated several times since its 1982 debut, but the essence of the story - an exploration of the history of energy - is the same. The real updates to this attraction have been the cast (you'll find Ellen DeGeneris, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Jamie Lee Curtis, to name a few), the score, and the films. The traveling theater system, the sets, and the audio-animatronic dinosaurs are almost all from 1982, which makes this attraction one of the longest running in all of Epcot.

CommuniCore / Innoventions

Although you could have visited CommuniCore at Epcot's opening in 1982, you won't exactly find it today. CommuniCore was the center of Epcot, much like Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. CommuniCore was also the geographical and thematic hub of Epcot, uniting all of the ideas and themes of the park in one pavilion. In 1994, CommuniCore was officially closed so that it could be updated to reflect the changes in modern technology. In late 1994, the area that was once CommuniCore reopened as Innoventions, a museum celebrating technological advancements. Innoventions features everything from the science behind the Disney Imagineering labs to Apple's contributions to technology. Although CommuniCore was a wonderful part of Epcot, Innoventions pays tribute to the quickly advancing world of human technological inventions.

The Land

When it first opened in 1982, The Land explored the duality of man's relationship with the planet, demonstrating how humans depend on the land for existence, but also have the potential to destroy the earth. The Land has undergone several phases and endured several modifications over the last three decades, and the original attractions were completely removed in 1995. However, the essential purpose of The Land remains the same today. It's a celebration of our planet as well as an educational reminder that humanity's mission must be to preserve our world. Two of the most popular attractions at The Land today are the Soarin' ride, which simulates hang
gliding over some of California's most famous landmarks, and Circle of Life, an
environmental edutainment film starring the most popular characters from the animated hit, The Lion King.

World of Motion / Test Track

When World of Motion debuted in 1982, it was a tribute to the history of human innovation through transportation. It covered everything from the invention of the wheel to the first automobiles, and even human flight. Although World of Motion technically closed in 1996, the current attraction - Test Track - stays true to its World of Motion roots: Test Track teaches visitors all about automobile safety testing, even from the point of view of a crash test dummy! Test Track is currently being refurbished and is scheduled to reopen on December 6, 2012. The new ride will allow you to design your own car in a Chevrolet design studio and then test drive it up hills, around hairpin turns, and through straightaways... at 65 miles per hour, of course.

Because Epcot has always aimed to feature the latest and greatest advances in human achievement, it's important that the park never falls behind. In today's fast-paced world of changing technology, frequent updates to the originals rides are a given. So, hurry to Epcot and experience the attractions that still have links to 1982 while you still can.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dorothy Parker and The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a classic American novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and first published in 1925 during the height of the Roaring Twenties in America. The book became enormously successful.

At the time of The Great Gatsby's release, Dorothy Parker, founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, was thirty-two years old, living and working in New York City, collaborating with George S. Kaufman on the movie script "Business Is Business" and contemplating her second suicide attempt.

The main character in The Great Gatsby is Jay Gatsby, a WWI veteran who desired to be reunited with Daisy Buchannan, the love he lost five years prior. Coincidentally, Dorothy Rothschild Parker's 1st husband, Edwin Pond Parker II was also a WWI veteran, whose heart was broken by his true love, Dottie. Edwin wanted his wife to move with him from New York to Connecticut. She decided a divorce was in order. She kept Parker's name.

Dorothy Parker's 'best friend' and nemesis, Playwright, Lillian Hellman, published memoirs in which she revealed that Dorothy and F. Scott Fitzgerald had had a brief affair. One will never know, beyond The Great Gatsby, which of Fitzgerald's writings were ever influenced by his friend and former lover.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Rothschild Parker had much in common. Both were celebrated and prolific authors who were raised in wealthy families. They attended private Catholic schools (though Dorothy's father Jacob Henry Rothschild was Jewish). The two had a passion for writing and enjoyed early successes. Both authors thrived financially through the Depression era of the 1930's.

Dorothy and F. Scott also enjoyed drinking alcohol to excess. Dorothy joked that she once attended Alcoholics Anonymous, but they wanted her to stop drinking right then and there!

F. Scott and Dorothy each led turbulent personal lives. F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife Zelda was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder and was committed to a hospital that caught fire, resulting in her death. Dorothy Parker's 2nd and 3rd husband Allan Campbell (they were married twice) was Bi-sexual and died in bed with her from an overdose of pills.

During their lifetimes, both Parker and Fitzgerald wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and Esquire. Both were screenwriters in Hollywood, though Dorothy was successful in this field (nominated for an Academy Award for co-scripting A Star Is Born), Fitzgerald was not.

Ironically, the central character in The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby went from poverty to wealth before death. While both Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald in their own lifetimes went from wealth and success to struggle before their deaths.

F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940 at the age of 44 in the middle of writing his final novel, "The Love of the Last Tycoon." Dorothy Parker attended his funeral... Dorothy Parker also died of a heart attack in 1967 at the age of 73, in the midst of writing her autobiography, "The Events Leading Up to the Tragedy." Both writers left behind their unfinished manuscripts. Though, Dorothy's autobiography mysteriously disappeared after her death...

F. Scott Fitzgerald died believing he was a failure because none of his writings came close to the success of The Great Gatsby. Dorothy Parker died nearly penniless after being Blacklisted in Hollywood during the McCarthy Era Commie scare. Dorothy was once quoted as saying, "I'll never accomplish anything. That's perfectly clear to me."

Dorothy Parker's life and struggles have been captured in films, plays and the author's one woman show titled, "Dorothy Parker's Room Enough For Two." F. Scott Fitzgerald's life has also been depicted in films - with The Great Gatsby being made into several feature motion pictures including the most recent starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Great Gatsby has become required reading for most every High School student in America over the past several decades; making F. Scott Fitzgerald a household name. As for Dorothy Parker, sadly, many people today do not recognize who she is...