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Jazz Virtuosos and Premiere Nights: The Ten Best Greek Events For Autumn 2013
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Jazz Virtuosos and Premiere Nights: The Ten Best Greek Events For Autumn 2013

Picture of Danai Molocha
Updated: 9 February 2017
With the temperatures still remaining stubbornly warm, culturally curious visitors and art aficionados hesitantly leave the beaches to enjoy Greece’s packed autumn and winter events calendar. After a summer jam-packed with concerts under the stars, historic theatres and impromptu galleries, Greece’s major cities now open their doors to a melting-pot of artistic creation.

Film | 19th Athens International Film Festival Opening Nights

September 18-29, 2013

The festival founded by the non-profit Athens Film Society and supported by the staple Cinema magazine has become a meeting-point for about 50,000 cinema-goers from Athens and beyond, swarming in the wider city-centre to catch up with the latest trends in international production. Opening Nights aims to balance major cinematic releases and obscure independent gems — and they have done so successfully, premiering the likes of Drive next to the Filipino sleeper-hit Graceland. Retrospectives like 2011’s of the Dutch documentary pioneer Johan van der Keuken rub shoulders with the popular International Competition and the Music & Film sections — which will assume a decisively female identity for 2013 with the poignant documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. Premieres this year include Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha and Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Abdellatif Kechich ’s Adele: Chapters 1 & 2, in the presence of the protagonist Adele Exarchopoulos.

Art | 4th Αthens Biennale AGORA

29 September – 1 December

AB4 doesn’t just assemble a party of artists, curators and practitioners in the creative industries in order to critique the rollercoaster financial crisis, but it does so in divine irony, at the derelict building of the former Athens Stock Exchange. Aptly named AGORA, it opposes the idealistic model of the ancient ‘Agora’ (translating as market, assembly, or assemblage) with a model of reiteration and modern combat that ‘opts for the carnivalesque and the ambiguous, for the significant as much as the insignificant’. All of the above, through a succession of objects, collaborative events, performances, roundtable discussions, film screenings, workshops and educational programs, will seek an alternative to AB3’s Monodrome — from the origins of the crisis to a remodeled, hopeful future.

Art | ReMap Athens

September 8-30, 2013

ReMap4 is a biannual contemporary art platform by the not for profit organization ReMapKM that stays true to its word: it ‘remaps’ the capital within the confines of the historic Kerameikos-Metaxourgeio area through some 60 art projects, exhibitions and events by up-and-coming and established artists, curators, galleries and institutions from Athens, Berlin, Zurich, Vienna, New York and beyond. The public can navigate fluidly through the conceptual and the urban, the vague and the specific, the creative and the socio-economical, the fancy galleries and the eerie basements rediscovering the city — completely free of charge. Let the likes of DaDa Da Academy and Psychonavigation lead you to surprise locations for wonderfully absurdist concerts and performances inspired by the motto ‘if sports is the brother of labor, then art is the cousin of unemployment’.

Film | 54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival

November 1-10, 2013

Dedicated cinephiles pack their bags right after Opening Nights and head up North for a festival with a far greater history — the oldest one of its kind in the Balkans. Famous guests such as director Oliver Stone have given one-off masterclasses here, next to tributes from the Finnish Aki Kaurismäki to Greece’s own Theo Agelopoulos, the Balkan Survey, the Youth Screen, the electrifying Night Views and, of course, the International Competition for emerging directors and the esteemed European Parliament’s LUX prize, for movies that deal with key issues for the Euro-public. Hosted at the staple Olympion theatre, under the bright lights of the main Aristotelous Square, Thessaloniki Film Festival’s heart unquestionably lies with independent production — and the results are seriously atmospheric.

Film | National & International Short Film Festival in Drama

September 16-21, 2013

The scenic Northern town of Drama has since 1978 taken up a more modest task, but only in appearances. Featuring complimentary tributes, seminars, conferences, lectures, art exhibitions, gigs and theatrical performances throughout the year, the Drama Short Film Festival primarily aims to promote cinematic vision, reaching a both local and foreign audience through various collaborations. Starting as an ambitious initiative by the Drama Film Club and greeted with enthusiasm from the get go, the festival has shown a remarkable increase in popularity and dynamics. Resolving also to intervene in the atrophic distribution of short films it has established, the last six years, The Festival of Drama on the Road, taking its power-shorts to various cities in Greece, Cyprus and as far as Egypt and Germany, in search of hungry film lovers amongst the Greek diaspora.

Music | Jazz Masters

October 21 & November 4, 2013

The historic Pallas theatre, in the commercial hub of the cosmopolitan Voukourestiou street in the Athens city centre, has become quite the artsy hot-spot ever since it was refurbished a few years ago. A major point of cultural attraction for the city’s jazzophiles, the series Jazz Masters has been consistently establishing a rhythmic link with the world’s classiest players. This fall, saxophonist and composer Joshua Redman is zooming in on his latest album Walking Shadows. One of the biggest figures of the new jazz generation of the last two decades, Redman counts among his collaborators Herbie Hancock, BB King, all the way to classical maestro Simon Rattle. Next month, the sax is passed on to the Grammy Award-winning veteran Pharoah Sanders, ‘probably the best tenor player in the world’, according to jazz radical Ornette Coleman. Bandmate of bebop giant John Coltrane in the ‘60s he is accompanied on stage, five decades on, by top contemporary jazz organist and trumpeter Joey De Francesco.

Art | The System of Objects

until November 11, 2013

The non-profit Deste Foundation was established in 1983 by collector Dakis Joannou and it has since played a key part in enhancing the experience of the contemporary art-loving Greek audience. The biannual Deste Prize has been awarding promising young Greek artists since 1999 — you can check out this year’s contestants at the gorgeous neoclassical building of the Museum of Cycladic Art, in the Athens centre, until September 30th. But dare make a trip to the foundation’s headquarters in the suburb of Nea Ionia for the exhibition System of Objects, ‘a dark, provocative, sexual, and uplifting’ journey across the spaces of DESTE. Inspired by Jean Baudrillard’s seminal 1968 consumerist manifesto of the same name, it makes for a chaotic voyage through Cypriot antiquities, baroque figurines of Christ, photographs, videos, installations, furniture and more by Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Helmut Newton, Jenny Holzer all the way to American Apparel. Exhibition, baroque garden or modern theme park? It remains to be seen…

Art | 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art

September 18, 2013-January 31, 2014

The 4th Thessaloniki Biennale focuses once again, on the Mediterranean, as it is defined by its traditions and strategic place in the contemporary world, between social and cultural evolution. Entitled ‘Old Intersections-Make It New’, the biennale encompasses a series of exhibitions, performances, workshops, conferences and other events in museums and monuments, all revolving around the main exhibition ‘Everywhere But Now’, curated by Αdelina von Fürstenberg. Fifty artists from 25 countries, from Cuba to India via 14 participants from the hosting country of Greece cover the full contemporary spectrum from paintings to installations. A major part of the action is the ‘5 Museums’ Movement in Thessaloniki’, with institutions like the State Museum of Contemporary Art shedding light on the Russian avant-garde and the Archaeological Museum focusing on ‘Mediterranean Palimpsests: Three Enigmas of Decay and Incorruption’.

Dance | Carmen & Bolero

September 15, 2013

Renowned Spanish director Carlos Saura took the public and film festivals by storm, directing his own flamenco Carmen in 1983 for the big screen to great acclaim. The late Antonio Gades, a truly immense figure in the Spanish flamenco scene as a dancer, choreographer, co-founder and artistic director of the Spanish National Ballet starred in the film along with Laura del Sol and flamenco guitar master Paco de Lucia — and thanks to the rave revues decided to create, with Saura, this revolutionary production that premiered in Paris 30 years ago. Bizet’s Carmenflamenco style will be presented by 4 soloists, 25 dancers, 5 singers and 2 guitarists in the stunning ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus, under the night lights of the Parthenon. Ravel’s Bolero, choreographed by P. Pozo and danced by the new award-winning international flamenco star Sergio Bernal will be adequately complementing the ambitious programme.

Music | Saxophone Summit

October 17, 2013

Starting as the adventurous, forward-thinking jazz project of saxophone wizards Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, Saxophone Summit broke new boundaries in the ‘90s — boundaries which, despite the loss of the late Brecker, Liebman and Lovano decided to challenge, ala John Coltrane, with another promising candidate: Ravi Coltrane, son of the colossal jazz experimentalist and still a newcomer in comparison. The initial virtuosic trio’s acclaimed Gathering of Spirits was followed by the new formation’s Seraphic Light, both honouring John Coltrane in their own way, but the latter also trying to carve a fresh, singular identity. This daring alchemy of sounds will elegantly fill the live hall of Gazarte arts & culture multi-venue, in Athens, whose upper floor offers breathtaking urban views, split between the Acropolis and the hip industrial area of Gazi.

By Danai Molocha