Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Special Discount from Modus Vivendi Design

A few days ago I wrote about a local company fast getting an international name for its swimwear and underwear design. It is based in Thessaloniki and as well as having shops in Athens and Thessaloniki it also has an online store at modusvivendi - design.com .

For the Christmas period (the next two weeks), if you buy anything from the online store, you receive a 10% reduction provided you use the following coupon at check-out. The coupon is MVblog. Check it out!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Just announced - Athens Pride 2010 - 5 June 2010

It has just been announced by the organising committee that Athens Pride 2010 will take place on 5th June 2010. It's a Saturday, of course, and I hope that many foreign pride seekers will support us next year. I have already read that the Greek section of German Gay Pride is coming along to lend us their support.
We need all the help we can get in what is still a very homophobic country - no equal rights for couples unmarried and homosexual but equality for heterosexual unmarried couples - The only country in Europ who manages to pass such a law. I will keep you updated on details of Athens Pride 2010 - the organising committee is holding an event this week - so more details when I havde them.
Think about joining us for a great week-end in June, the weather will be fantatsic and now with so many cheap airlines like easyjet flying directly to Athens from London, Berlin etc, it will not cost you the earth and Boy can you expect a party!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sexy designer underwear from Greece at half the price from modus vivendi

If sexy male underwear is your thing, then have a look at what we've got beneath the belt. Modus vivendi is not just clothes, it's more a way of life. Inspired by a Greek fashion designer, his underwear has become sought after in Greece and internationally. Now with the on-line underwear store from modusvivendi we offer high quality designer goods at a fraction of the price. Below just a few samples from the winter 2009 collection. The Fetish Range is available as jockstrap, slip or boxer - Click the images to enlarge.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

2009 report on homophobia in Greece

The Institute for Rights, Equality and Diversity in Greece has publised its annual report on homophobia in Greece. Needless to say the report in general draws a very negative picture of the Greek situation, researching showing it is probably the most homophobic country in Europe - more so than Turkey or Cyprus.

The rights of the GBLT community do not figure on the political agenda, there is no platform for the community in public life. Homosexuals are excluded from the Greek armed forces as they are termed psychiatrically "ill". There are no social rights for couples, no possibility of civil union, inheritance or social support. Indeed, even Gay Pride Athens is ignored annually by all public television and radio stations!

You  can read the full report on homophobia in Greece here. In conclusion it is no surprise the number of young sexual emigrants from the country to other European countries.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Insider fashion tip - modus vivendi underwear and swimwear

Though I do not consider this blog is a way of advertising anything, I have just discovered a Greek designer undwear brand called modus vivendi design. The designer has a shop in Thessaloniki and one in Athens as well as an online store  for modusvivendi underwear and swimwear. For quality underwear which I find pretty unique the prices are not Dolce Gabbana or Calvin Klein prices. The brand is getting a big following in Greece from the gay community and although the brand is not specifically gay, it does seem to have a certain gay appeal.  Below I have posted some samples from their website. The motto of the range is "Not just clothes - more a way of life". And the name modusvivendi means "a way of life or a lifestyle". Anyway if you want to find their stores in Thessaloniki or Athens leave a comment after this posting and I will reply with the details if anyone is interested but as I said you can also buy online. I have ordered online and the service I can only describe as excellent. I had what I ordered in a couple of days. As I said, below I have posted a few samples of their current underwear range. Let me know what you think.

So if you are into fashion, and they also have Tee shirts and what they call homewear, you can find their online store at www.modusvivendi-design.com

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Francois Sagat live in Athens - 18 December 2009

Live in Athens, Greece on 18 December 2009, French pornstar, Francois Sagat will be appearing at fcuk, Kelliou 3, in Gazi for an all night party 9:00 pm until 6 a.m. Entrance costs 15 Euro.

Born in 1979 in France to parents of Middle-Eastern origin, Francois Sagat has appeared in gay porno films for giants such as Titanmen and Raging Stallion studios. Although originally attracted by the fashion industry he eventually gay up this career to work in gay porn. His is known for his origial scalp tatooo - see below. He stated in a recent interview that a few years ago his hair was beginning to thin and he had the impression that his face was too long. To make his appearance more symmetrical he had  tatoo made to give the impression of a hairy scalp.

You can read the most recent interview with Francois Sagat on his work and life here.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Correction - change of venue for Pet Shop Boys Concert in Thessaloniki


There has been a change of venue - possibly on account of the interest in attending the concert. The Pet Shop Boys venue is now at the PAOK (Football Club) arena in Thessalonki. Time and date remain the same.

Remember the Pet Shop Boys - Live in Thessaloniki 21 November 2009

The Pet Shop Boys are appearing at the Velidion Expo Center on Friday 21 November 2009. You can get tickets online at www.ticketservices.gr. The band has had no less than 42 top 30 singles in the British charts since 1986.

They have come a long way since they met up by chance in a shop on the King's Road in London in 1981 and have sold over 100 million albums. In 2009 they received an award for their outstandin contribution to musics at the BRIT awars in 2009 and in March of this year have just rleased another album entitled "Yes".Neil Tennant is on vocals and keyboards and occasionally guitar while partner, Chris Lowe is on keywords. Chris also occasionally does vocals.

On November 4 Pet Shop Boys celebrated the Brazilian leg of their 2009 Pandemonium tour by releasing an album entitled Party which includes both past hits and some newer material. Party will be released in Brazil only through TV Globo´s record label. They also have an Ep due for release towards the end of the year, surprisingly enough called Christmas. Anyway, a night not to be missed in Thessaloniki.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Thessaloniki Hip Hop Festival December 19/20 2009

Preparations are already underway for the annual THHF (Thessaloniki Hip Hop Festival) which has become one of the largest festivals of its kind in Greece. For more information on artists go to www.zoltantribe.com in the coming weeks. Last year's artists included RA The Rugged Man (USA), DJ Vadim & Yarah Bravo (UK), Snowgoons Soundsystem (DE), Freestyle (The Arsonists), Lerroy of the Saian Supa Crew (France), Wax Tailor (France), DJ Flip (ITF world), Zion I (USA), Zontanoi Nekroi, FF.C, Razastarr, Eisvoleas, Sifu VERSUS, Sugahspank!, Professional Sinnerz, Rodes and many more.

At the moment their website is still under construction but I will keep you poste when more information becomes available.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Love on Fridays, Kazarma Club, September 16

Starting Friday 16.10 2009 at the Kazarma Club, Konstantinoupoleos 84, 1st Floor, Gazi, Paul Sofianos creations presently a weekly event in Athens. The action kicks off at 11.30 p.m. and continues to 5:00 a.m.

DJs on set include:
Paul Heron, Olivier M., Danny Verde, Agent Greg, Mattias, Mister Mola, Steve Pitron, Steven Artis, Tommy Marcus, Pier Morrocco, Phil Romano, Danny Tuval. Onstage dancer is Oscar Bustos from Barcelona. Entrance is Euro 9 and you can fin dmore information from the KAZARMA CLUB, Gazi under  6957 222 083. Or you will find more information at www.kazarmaclub.gr.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Gay Serbia - "in our city infidels and Satanists will not pass"

Fine words from a country and the city of Belgrade which should feel shame rather than triumph. Today organisers of a Gay Pride in Serbia agreed to call off the demonstration after renewed threats of violence. Great news form a country which one wold have deemed  "democratic"? This all seems par for the course when one recalls even the first gay pride march in 2001 which ended in violence.
The organisers were asked to move the march from the center of Belgrade to a "field" outside the city and faced with the choice of this humiliation or calling off the march they made the wisest choice under the circumstances and called off the demonstration.
Is seems somewhat overambitious that Serbia a country where both nationalists and religious leaders are for sexual discrimation, that they should have ambitions to become a member of the European Union. Equally the case for a country where many applauded freed war crimes perpetators at The Hague. I think that Serbia has a little further to go in human rights issues before even thinking about joining a European Union where at least the fundamental rights of citizens are secured by law.
The choice to call off the march has propeled the country again to world headlines and not for any reasons to be proud of. Courage to the gay acivists!  As they said The Republic of Serbia has capitulated. We have not.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Crippled Black Phoenix in Thessaloniki in September

This is how the Boston Phoenix (newspaper) describes the group: Ostensibly centering on former Electric Wizard drummer Justin Greaves, CBP are a loose congregation of various musicians who can shade the often lengthy compositions with waltzy Tom Waitsy sea shanties one minute and delve into "One of These Days"-y Pink Floydian bass throb the next, with occasional tracks into Alan Parsons–esque retro-synth fugues of inspired madness.
They will be appearing at the Principle Club which is about 20 minutes form Thessaloniki on the main motorway to Nea Moudania and Halkidiki. As I am unsure about how to book tickets all I can offer is the telephone number of the Principle Club ( 2310)  428 088.

Julia Migenes in Thessaloniki 20 September

One of the world’s leading opera singers, who has also had a successful career in musicals, Julia Migenes, will introduce her audience to the world of one of the greatest classical composers, Franz Schubert. Grammy-winning Migenes gave a historic performance in Francesco Rossi’s Carmen, has performed with Placido Domingo and Ruggero Raimondi and was an inspiration to Leonard Bernstein.
The concert is one night only at the Royal (Vassiliki) Theater.
She has recorded more than 20 albums and won a Grammy AwardCarmen. She was also nominated for the César Awards as best actress. Her one woman show, Diva on the Verge (2000), is available on DVD from Kultur Video. Her fame has spread worldwide and in other performance media and genres. She appeared in an episode of the Emmanuel Lewis vehicle, Webster. She guest starred in the TV series The New Twilight Zone episode "Grace Note". Director Peter Medak asked her to appear in his opera film La voix humaine
for the soundtrack to (1990). 
In 2004, she was in the opera version of Angels in America which premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet: a TV broadcast version is expected to be released on DVD.[citation needed]
She is no stranger to Greece and, in fact, is of Greek origin as her father was a US immigrant from the Greek island of Chios.

Monday, 14 September 2009

gay clubs and bars in Thessaloniki, gkei clubs and bars in θεσσαλονικη,

There is a strange phenomenon in Greece which applies to both straight and gay clubs and bars - they tend to change names remarkably quickly. I am not sure what the reason for this is - I think it is for tax or other commercial reasons - but very often in Thessaloniki you will see a gay bar closing and opening the next week under a new name. This does not mean new management and I have never really understood what the reason for this is.
This, of course, being Greece does not apply to all bars and clubs and cafes like "
Don't tell Mama", "Stretto", "de Facto" have been around for a very long time. On the other hand clubs like "Weger" or "Sodad"  in the city centre have changed names several times - in fact so often I cannot really remember. Perhaps it has just something to do with the fact that people are constantly looking for somewhere to go that is new and when it loses its flair the crowd moves on to somewhere else. So that is why it is a good idea to keep updated on the current scene  - (and another reason for visiting my blog).
All in all there is a fast turn around in many gay bars and clubs in the city. Very often they are one and the same - just under a different name.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Gay marriage in Greece - and?

When I go through the search engines and examine the pages that have been indexed on gay Greece it is really sad that by far the most information in this context relates to the Major of Tilos who some two years ago decided to pronounce civil union on two couples. The powers that be erupted in dismay. Legal proceedings were initiated against the mayor, the unions were pronounced invalid, the government distanced itself from the matter. And that is what you will find today on the Internet if you are interested in gay life in Greece.
Of course the other thing that crops up under this search query is Mykonos and gay holidays etc etc. But that is not really the gay life of a country, is it? Gay hotels, gay clubs and gay beaches in Mykonos.
There seems today little political voice for the GLBT community in Greece. Or if there is I am incapable of finding it? With that there would also seem to be a kind of resignation to the unchangeability of the status quo in this country - its perspectives, its thinking - definitely stuck somewhere which Western Europe has long overcome. Views like politics here seem to be so deeply entrenched. Gays are great if they come to Mykonos and spent lots of money and then go home again and leave us Greeks in peace - that would seem to be the message of a country which is lost in its cultural vision.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Bloggers against discrimination - the gay vote in Greece

Now that the country faces elections one would hope that the Greek LGBT communities will at least make their voices heard and hopefully help the downfall of Karamanlis and New Democracy. Last year a group of bloggers signed a petition against discriminaton following the legislation recognising only heterosexual partnerships in the country. The orthodox church called any attempt at recogniton of gay couples in Greece as a "catastrophic bomb".
And how right and how wise they are - it would be a bomb right on the doorstep of the orthodox church which inspite of its despicable hypocrisy, its dirty political dealings and homophobic gay priests, still has an influence on social life. Thank goodness it is not so strong with the younger generation who see through the political schemes and financial dealings of the Greek orthodox church
  With the death of Christodoulos and a new Patriarch of the Greek orthodox church, it has become less visibile on the political scene although this does not mean less influential. The Vatopedi scandal of this year was proof of that.
At a time when both PASOK and New Democracy are in dire need of votes should not the gay community stand up and let them know under what conditons they will get the gay vote?

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Two Greek euros well spent

When in Thessalonki if you are anxious to see a part of the city, there is now a bus service which is well worth the money and which covers some of the city's most important sites. The bus route Number 50 in Thessaloniki is for tourists and  is serviced by the municipal  bus company (OASTH). During the summer months (June - September) it leaves the White Tower every hour on the hour from 8:00 - 17:00 hours. In winter the timetable from October - May is 09:00 - 16-00 hours and it leaves every hour on the hour.

The trip takes you from the White Tour along a street parallel to Tsimiski but first alongside the Thessaloniki Trade Fair area  on the right hand side befor turning towards the centre down a small street which leads to the Square of Agia Sofia where you will find the finest Byzantine Church in all of Northern Greece. The route then conitnues through Aristoteles Square past the old markets which are still a hub of activity and well worth a visit, until it turns up and on to Agios Dimitrios. From here you climb up towards the old part of the city (Ano Poli) where you will have a tremendous view over the whole city. Finally the bus comes stright down past Agios Dimitrios hospital back to the White Tower. The cost of a ticket - which you purchase from a machien on the bus - is Euro 2. The ticket is valid for for 24 hours and allows you to hop on and off at any stop. My tips - get off at the old market and stroll around this incredible place for an hour - then continue to the old part of the city (Ano Poli) and  again if time permits get off and simply enjoy the view from up there, There are also many quaint cafes and tavernas if you want some refreshments.

Friday, 4 September 2009

David Morales, Kostis Zartaloudis at Lidos Paradise Thessaloniki

David Morales is no stranger to Thessaloniki and tomorrow evening, Friday 11 September he co-hosts a summer party at the Lido Paradise in Thessaloniki. The Lido Paradise is located where most of the summer clubs are to be found near the airport about 20 minutes by taxi from the center of the city. Any taxi-driver will know it so no need to worry.
This is one of the most popular clubs in the city, its stylish and you can choose between a number  of bars - th Mirror Bar, the Garden Bar, etc.
To find out upcoming gigs in and around Thessaloniki you will find the postyourevent website very useful. David Morales, in case you do not know, is from New York and has gained international acclaim as a house music DJ and  producer. He has worked among others with Madonna, Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross.
David Morales also has the honor of being listed in wikipedia!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Come holiday with Prince Charles

Usually once a year, Prince Charles, the future King of England, pays a visit to Mount Athos which is little over one hour's drive from Thessaloniki. Athos is the third of the peninsulas on Halkidiki and although strictly speaking part of Greece, it is under the imdependent governance of the orthodox church. It has over 20 different monasteries, Serb, Russian, Bulgarian and Greek. Entrance to Mount Athos is only allowed with a special permit from the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, located in Thessaloniki and a visitor can stay for a maximum of four days. Females are not permitted on Mount Athos. (Even Charles had to leave Camilla on the boat - no exceptions made!)
The first monasteries were built here in the 9th century, to give you an idea of the time scale and
many riches and treasures of the Orthodox Church are kept here.
I found it interesting that in 1997 when Greece was cultural capital of Europe, an exhibition of the treasures was staged here in Thessaloniki in the Byzantine Museum. The exhibiton almost did not take place as there was great difficulty in finding a company to insure it. One of the small icons alone was insured for 30 billion Greek drachmas!

To visit the island the usual way that pilgrims arrive is using the small ferry boat which leaves from Ouranopoli to the little harbour of Daphne on Mount Athos. The area itself is full of rare plats and wildlife and is called also the garden of the Virin Mary. To understand more of the history and the sights on Mount Athos I would advise you to read this account of a visit. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Why does Hildegard Knef have such a following among the gay community

There are entertainers, one remarks as one gets older, who for some unknown yet charismatic reason remain icons for certain social minorities. This is what Hildegard Knef is for many in the gay community. Why, one can well ask and I have trouble even venturing a possibel answer. Her voice, her songs, her wit? Her truth? The woman who outraged press in German in the early fifties by apeparing naked in a performance and replies - "Have they forgotten Ausschwitz."
For those of you who do not know or who have not heard of Hildegard Knef, (one of her most famous songs - "May it rain red roses on me") she epitomizes in many ways the pre-war German Berlin.  She was an actress, a film star and a singer and although in spite of trying her luck in Hollywood with David Selsnick, it never happened in the US. A woman who admitted herself that she earned 35 million German marks and ended her life a quarter of a million in debt, a woman who mastered the gay rights movement and the fight against aids through charity concerts. Her voice is haunting, smokey, inimitable and in many cases outdoes Marlene Dietrich in Dietrich's own creations. In fact life is so strange. Was it chance that she and Marlene Dietrich were one time neighbours in Berlin. After a life-long friendship when Dietrich advised her that Yves St Laurent should come to Berlin to help with her wardrobe, they fell out and never spoke again. Yet upon Dietrich's death it was discovered that she had kept every press cutting of Knef's long after their friendship broke up.
Knef, a woman who gave up her German citizenship when she abandoned the country for the US  and who was given it back again shortly before her death - thansk to the efforts of the then prime minister, Schroeder. A woman who dressed as aman to avoid rape by invading Soviet troops, and whow as then released fro a Soviet camp when they discovered her gender. A  woman who spent the second half of her life fighting off cancer.

Werner Herzog to attend Thessaloniki 50th Film Festival

November 13nd - 22nd celebrates the 50th anniversary of the International Film Festival in Thessaloniki. Director and writer, Werner Herzog, has just confirmed that he will be attending the event. The Thessaloniki International Film Festival which also sees a gay film festival on the sidelines, has become a landmark on the European international circuit. It has been and remains teh aim of this festival to highlight the work of new young filmmakers and the guiding motto for this year's festival is "Why Cinema Now?"
The festival will also include a retrospect of the life's work of German director, Werner Herzog, who incidentally made his first film called "Signs of Life" when he was 24 years old on the island of Kos.
Listed below are some of the films included in the Herzog retrospective.

Signs of Life, 1968, 87 min, West Germany
Even Dwarves Started Small, 1970, 96 min, West Germany
Aguirre, the Wrath of God, 1972, 93 min, Mexico / Peru / West Germany
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser – Every Man for Himself and God Against All, 1974, 109 min, West Germany
Heart of Glass, 1976, 97 min, West Germany
Stroszek, 1976, 108 min, West Germany
Nosferatu, 1978, 103 min, France / West Germany
Woyzeck, 1979, 81 min, West Germany
Fitzcarraldo, 1982, 157 min, Peru / West Germany
Where the Green Ants Dream, 1984, 100 min, Australia / West Germany
Cobra Verde, 1987, 110 min, Ghana / West Germany
Scream of Stone, 1991, 105 min, Belgium / Canada / France / Germany
Invincible, 2001, 158 min, Germany / Ireland / UK / USA
Rescue Dawn, 2006, 126 min, USA

More details of the Werner Herzog retrospective can be found on the festival website.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

new gay bear association in Thessaloniki and party on Friday 5th September

After a bit of snopping around the Internet I stumbled upon a BearThess association of bears of Northern Greece which was set up in 2007 and meant as a venue for bears from the North of Greece. The venue is the bar and club mentioned in earlier posts called Bar Me which you will find at the following address - see also earlier posts as it is a known gay venue in the centre of Thessaloniki.

The gay bear associationis organising its 2nd BEARTHDAY PARTY this Friday evening, 5 September at Bar Me so be there and don't miss out. The party is being sponsored by the bear world wide woof- www.bearwww.com.

Bar Me
3, Agiou Mina str.

The Thessaloniki gay bear group has even got its own website up and running  and this is the place to keep updated on all bear and cub events in Thessaloniki.  Here below is a nice little map of how to get to Bar Me in the centre of Thessaloniki.

Monday, 31 August 2009

gay clubs and bars in Thessaloniki, gkei clubs and bars in θεσσαλονικη,

Here we have a more complete and up-to-dte lists of gay clubs and bars in Thessalonik with telephone numbers and opening times.

Gay bar
Εli- Ela G L
5, L. Vyronos, Diagonios
Gay and lesbian. Open all day.

Stretto G L
18, Karolou Diehl, Downtown
Open all days, morning to late at night. One
of the oldest gay-friendly spot in the city.

Da.Da Club
4, Peristeriou, Ladadika. Tel: 2310 510000
Mainly gay men. Open everyday after 23:00.

En ola club G
19, Valaorito (2nd floor)
Mainly gay men. Open everyday after 22:00.

Βigarοon G L
44, Pavlou Mela, Downtown
Tel: 2310.267727
Gay and lesbian. Open everyday,
morning to late at night.

Βar Μe
3, Agiou Mina
Gay and lesbian. Mainly bears and
middle-aged men. Closed Mondays
and Tuesdays. Open after 21:00.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Reworks Festival Thessaloniki 18 - 19 September 2009

Reworks is an annual two-day festival of music and the arts held annually in Thesslaoniki and it is now rated one of the six most important concerts of its kind globally. 
This year it will feature performances which include reggae, soul music, hip-hop and electornica as well as art installations and performances. It will be held in the port  area of the city where many of the old warehouses have now become museums and cultural sites. A photographic exhibition called  "The Wanderer" will also be staged. This exhibition which has toured Europe shows the images of cities under the theme that whereever you are the language of art and culture is the same. Below just some of the bands which are scheduled to participate at Reworks Festival 2009:

Τhe Stereo MC’s ( Island Recs, UK)
Dennis Ferrer (Objectivity , USA)
DJ Mehdi (Ed Banger, France)
Parov Stellar + band (Etage Noir, Austria)
Daedelus (Ninja Tune, USA)
And.id ( Mobilee, NON, Greece)
Cayetano + band ( Etage Noir, Greece)
Paul Kalkbrenner (Bpitch Control, Germany)
Heidi (BBC Radio 1, Canada)
Martinez Brothers (Objectivity, USA)
Sven Vath (Cocoon, Germany) 
Oliver Huntemann (Ideal, Germany)
Beardyman ( !K7, UK) 
Shlomi Aber (Be as One, Israel)
Actor One  Bloop, NON, Greece)
For for information on the Reworks 2009 Festival in Thessaloniki visit the festival website here.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Gay beaches in Halkidiki near Thessaloniki

There are few known gay beaches around Halkidiki or Thessaloniki. The map on the left shows what local gays from Thessaloniki would consider gay beaches, i.e cruising areas outside the city. The largest is the  gay beach at Epanomi and quite close to this is the gay beach at Nea Iraklio which is even closer to the city.But it has to be said that the area is not like the super paradise beaches of Mykonos.
A common question often asked is if either of the universities, Aristoteles or Macedonia university have gay associations or clubs. To the best of my knowledge the answer is no  but you may be well advised to ask in the gay bars or clubs in Thessaloniki as things could have changed.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Visiting Mount Olympus, Greece

Mount Olympos, the highest mountain in Greece is about 100 kilometers south of the city of Thessalonki.. It is best to hire a car to get there as I know of no public transport. In Thessaloniki you folow the signs for Athens  and take the main highway to Athens. After passing Katherini you should see signs (in English) for the Mount Olympus national park and the town of Litochoror. From Lirochoro a small mountain village, access to the park and Mount Olympus is close. This is a picture of Mount Olympus taken from Litochoro. There is a small fee to drive into the national park and once there my advise in to drive as far as you possibly can - i.e.  until the road stops before you start out on foot to the summit. By the way, summer is the time to climb this mountain as it tales more than one day to get up and down again and the overnight refuges close with the first snow - usually at the end of October. There are a number of routes to hike to the summit, Mytakis, situated at 2 919 meters.   The view is undescribable.

Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

In Thessaloniki - places within reach?

If you stay in or around Thessaloniki you are ideally situated to visit many different sites in the north of Greece. Indeed, the infrastructure has improved immensely over recent years, particularly with the new Odos Egnatia highway. It used to take 6 hours of tortuous driving to get to Corfu from Thessaloniki. Last week my friend's brother managed it in two and a half hours. Depending on the time you have in Thessaloniki and if you have hired a car rental or not, I would advise the following trips.
For day trips

A day trip to Mount Olympos,
A day trip to Halkidiki which has a number of gay beaches,
A day trip to Kavalla, a city north of Thessaloniki on the coast,
A day trip to Vergina - if you are interested in Greek history and Alexander the Great,
Two days or longer

Trip to the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos taking the ferry from Volos,
A trip to the island of Thassos - taking the ferry from Kavalla,
In up and coming postings I shall devote a post to each of these trips.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Some tips of cheap fares to Thessaloniki

I have been moaning on many times about the lack of information for gays visiting Thessaloniki. Even on the web, which usually has the most up to date information, I just discovered that one of the many gay organisations in Greece, last updated their information in 1997 on bars and clubs in Thesslaoniki. It lists many bars which sadly no longer exist. Other info still has prices in Greek drachmas. So what is the best way to get to Thessaloniki?
On account of the importance of Halkidiki as a holday area for tourists from the more northern parts of Europe, particular in summer there are hundreds of charter flights to Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport. This is not the case duriing the winter months. Recently no-frill air companies such as Easyjet offer daily services to and from London Gatwick. The company also flies four times a week from Berlin Schoenefeld to Thessaloniki. If you are coming from Germany there are many choices as the Greek national airline, Olympic Airways, also offers frequent services from Berlin, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. The German charter airline, Air Berlin, also offers flights form many German cities as does GermanWings.
As scheduled airlines are also competing now you should also check the fares from your European destination with both Hungarian Airlines, Malev and the Czech airlines, CZA, as they fly from most European capitals with a change of aircraft in either Budapest or Prague.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

BAR ME - gay bar/club in Thessaloniki

BAR ME opened just a few years ago in the Ladadika district of the city which is about 5 minutes walk from the center of the city. The following map shows you how to get there. It really is hard to beat as a meeting place in the city; the music is great and the atmopshere electric - particularly at weekend. The bar also has special events, for example on 5 September this year it is Bear Night.
A word of warning though, it is shut Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Opening hours are as follows:

Sun-Mon-Tue : Closed

Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat : 23:00 - 05:00

And of course the same applies here as everywhere else in Greece, go before Midnight and you will be keeping yourself company. By the way, Bar Me is just around the corner from Enola Gay so drop past on your way for a drink. Bar Me also seems to attract a slightly older crowd than Enola but it will get just as loud as the night goes on.

The best way to meet gays in Thessaloniki

Frankly, the answer is gaydar - it seems unlikely but it is true. Even gay friends of mine from Athens will use it to meet up with gays here in Thessaloniki. It just seems to be the most efficient means of communication. Particularly as a foreigner going to some of the gay clubs and bars I mentioned I think your chances of meeting up with the local crowd are slim. Firstly they usually go out in company and if you are non Greek speaking I do not see you getting very far.
Gaydar also makes the whole business of meeting up a whole lot easier. You will have seen a picture of the people you want to meet, you will know what they are in to and you will be sure that they speak English. It does not seem awfully romantic I admit but it is a simple fact.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

DA DA Club Thessaloniki - hot and gay

New to Thessaloniki, Holidaying in Thessaloniki and looking for the gay scene. On a Saturday night my tip would be the DA DA Club if you want crowded dance floors and great music. Address is Peristeriou 4, Ladadika. Not worth looking on the map, just go to the centre and ask anyone where Ladadika is - Try not to ask a tourist - eh? The club opens around 12:30 a.m. so don't get there before 1:00 a.m. and be prepared for a late night. The DJ plays the music and things get hot as the night progresses.
Drinks are normally priced for Greek standards but if I can give you a tip about Greek clubs - NEVER ORDER SPIRITS. Why? They are usually doctored. Like cheap whiskey in a Johnny Walker Black Label bottle. Drink beer - at least you know what is in the bottle or wine if that is more your taste - avoid whiskey, gin, vodka etc. as you are just asking to get ripped off.

Deon magazine in Greece

If there is one person who has furthered the gay cause in Greece, it is definitely Paul Sofianos. He is creator and owner of the website gaygreece and in addition runs a number of publications and events thoughout the country. Mr Gay Greece, which takes place annually on Mykonos is also part of his work. The main gay magazine which by the way is by no means a cheap porno publication, appears every month. Click here for the latest edition of the biggest and best gay magazine in Greece..
I like the magazine - some of you will say because it is the only gay oriented one in Greece, I do not have much choice. Breaking the clichee there is a good article in the current edition about a gay bouncer. Someone I would not have an argument with.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Civil Union - Greece and the European Court of Human Rights

While Greece still plods along refusing to recognise that same sex unions could be a pending issue, considering the state of affairs in other Euroepan countries, it would do well to reflect that it is sibject to the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. Basically any citizen can take recourse to the latter if he/she feels his/her rights as an individual are being violated.
Indeed it only takes one case of Greek same sex civil union to go to the Court in order for the matter of civil union to be settled in Greece for once and for all. The rulings of the European Court of Human Roghts overrule national rulings.
New Democracy or any governing party in Greece would do well to bear this in mind as the chances of victory for those seeking civil union are basically a foregone conclusion. Indeed, Greece, or for that matter any country, could be forced to accept such a ruling. That is the great thing about being part of a larger community, even the European Union. You cannot take the parts you like and simply avoid the parts you do not want.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Gay Greek Google ?

One of the reasons I started this blog is simply the lack of information on gay life in Greece, in general. When I put "gay Thessaloniki" into g00gle the results are more than depressing. After the first page of ten results - basically all with the same information about clubs, cafes, etc, - the rest is just a conglomeration for gay dating sites etc. which has absolutely nothing to do with gay life in Thessaloniki.
This could lead one to believe that there is no gay scene in Thessaloniki or that gay life here is so non-existent there is nothing to write about. Or maybe it is secret information just for Greeks so we should try the search in Greek - not much more success I'm afraid.
Even when I go to www.gayscout.com and look up Thessaloniki all I get is a blank page AND gayscout is on the first page of google for "gay Thessaloniki". Oh dear, things are not looking so good, are they? AND without wanting to name and shame some of the info sites are simply out of date. For example, the cafe PASTA FLORA where one site says - mostly young gay and lesbian crowd. This is utter nonsense, it was the case some years ago but definitely not so today. Pasta Flora's owners' decided to loose the gay image.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Dont ask - don't tell - gay Greek

From the many years I have lived in Greece, it is clear to me that the motto of the US army in regards to gay soldiers, applies here in social and in particular in family life. There seems to be a certain unspoken agreement about the subject of sexual orientation.

I have many gay Greek friends and acquaintances and yet none of them are out in that their families know. Well actually this is not strictly true. Of course their families know - they just prefer to pretend they don't. So there seems to be some precarious unspoken social contract. Let's ignore this uncomfortable topic and then it simply does not exist.
This, of course, does anything but put the issue of gay rights on the political agenda.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Gay night life in Thessaloniki

As I said do not go out too early otherwise you will end up talking to yourself. Should you decide to take my advice and try Enola (not before midnight, remember!) then before going there why not stop by Elvis on the main promenade of the city, Nikis Avenue. Personally I find the music (like everything else in this country) a bit on the loud side but the clients are stylish, gay and VERY in. This is one of the places to see and be seen on the Thessaloniki gay scene.
. If you prefer something a little more laid back then on Paula Mela, about five minutes walk from the promenade, Nikis Avenue, walk straight up towards the St Sofia Church and ask for PAVLO MELA (As I spell it you promounce it). At the top on the right hand side you will find a bar which functions as a coffee shop during the day, BIGAROON (PAVLO MELA 44) and is mixed gay/lesbian. Even more laid back is the trendy and intellectual Spirto at PAVLO MELA 33 which is also open all day and it is quire pleasant to take a table on the sidewalk and watch the world go by.

gay clubs and bars in Thessaloniki, Gay guide Thessaloniki, Salonica, Salonico, gay Greece

To be honest there is nothing particularly openly gay-friendly about this city. OK it is a very young city on account of the two universities, Aristotle University and the University of Macedonia giving the city, I believe, over 70 000 students but if you want to find the gay clubs and bars you need to look. There is no gay area as such in Thessaloniki.
The best gay bar and club I know is Enola. Beware, like everywhere else in Greece, night life does not begin before midnight in this city so go too early and yu will end up keeping yourself company.<

Enola is situated in Valaoritia Street which you can locate on any tourist map and is only a few minutes from the central Aristoteles Square. The club/bar is on the first floor and just follow the boys to get there. It is a very decadent, Victorian style but comfortable atmosphere and at week-ends after 1:00 a.m. you basically cannot move. Music is very mixed and drinks are normal prices for any club. The clientele also covers all ages so you won't think you are at a children's birthday party. Fantastic atmosphere!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Gay Flight 001 Athens to Albania - put your watches forward 200 years.

Well done Albania, you have decided to legalise gay marriages in stark contrast to your southern neighbour Greece. Yes, believe it or not - and frankly I am surprised - the Albanian government has just announced this. Although Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, from the democratic party has said it will not be a popular decision, the government has decided that homosexual couples should have the same rights as hetersexual (Greece decided exactly the opposite last year).
Well I bet the Greek government will be a little more than embarrassed about the bovine intellect of their own current political parties here who pathetically refuse to recognise any gay rights. The country of Albania is mainly of Muslim origins with important Orthodox Christian and Catholic minorities. Anyway it would seem that although practicing religion was not allowed under the Communist regime from 1944-1990, it has made their minds larger not smaller.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Greek citizens opinion on gay rights - statistically

A recent survey by the EU statistics office, Eurobarometer, claims that 16% of the Greek population same-sex marriage and that one in ten of them agree with same-sex couple's right to the adoption of children. I find these figures remakrably low when compared to other European countries where the European Union average of 44% and 33% respectively and thus put Greece in the lowest ranks.

Another survey by the same EU agency done in January 2007 ("Discrimination in the European Union"), showed that 77% of Greeks believe that being gay or lesbian in their country 'tends to be a disadvantage'.

More interestingly, a survey which was carried out among Greek Members of Parlament raised the issue of recognising taxation, inheritance and other legal rights to same-sex couples. The results of the survey showed that 41% of parliamentarians surveyed favored granting such rights while 55% were against it. Among PASOK MP's, 55% were favorable, compared to just 27% of New Democracy MPs. No big surprise knowing the politics of New Demcoracy.

The rights of the gay community in Greece

It may seem strange but the fact is that gay right's issues scarcely surface in domestic politics. The recent "scandal" over the gay marriages on the island of Tilos, caused a national uproar. Politically, the ruling party, New Democracy, is opposed to same sex marriage and its leader, current Prime Minister, Kostas Karmanlis has voiced this. Indeed, any progress in the issue simply relates to the rights of couples of different gender. Shamefully, he has passed legislation - and here Greece is the only country in the world to have done so - to secure civil union rights exclusively for heterosexual couples. Well done Kostas - considering some of the spicy rumours about his personal life. In any case, it is clear that European legislation overrides Greek legislation on the issue so any recourse to the European Court of Human Rights will be sure of victory.

The largest opposition PASOK, did table a proposal in April 2006 on rights of couples, both heterosexual and homosexual but this got no where and was hypocritical in that it foresaw adoption rights only for heterosexual couples.

One major factor in this whole despicable hypocrisy is, of course, the Greek Orthodox Church which in social aspects still trundles along in the 17th century but has tremendous financial and thus political power. The only light on the horizon is that the newly elected head of the Church in Greece, has stated that the church must change with the times.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Whatever happened to this story?

Does anyone know what happened the story concerning the prosecution of the major of Tilos for approving a gay marriage about one year ago. I take this excerpt from a fantastic gay blog by a guy calling himself Citizen Crain - in my view a gifted journalist.

"As a tangential note, the trial of those first same sex weddings in Greece was supposed to commence on Oct. 2, but it has been postponed to Dec. 4. It will be interesting to see if Greece has progressed as far as Spain in allowing for the separation of church and state. In my opinion the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece is more powerful than the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. The civil marriage laws in Greece were clearly gender neutral. So we'll see if Greece follows the law or a religiously biased interpretation of the law.

I cannot find out anything about what happened in this issue and would be grateful if you could post a coment if you know anything.

Just a thought - and a quote

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." — Socrates

Gay life in Greece and Thessaloniki - the issues, the places the people

Looking around the Internet trying to find information on the gay issue in Greece or the gay movement in the country, the result is very sparse to say the least. Why, in relation to other European countries, is there no gay issue in Greece. It does not seem to figure on any political agenda or in any organisation with a mandate of securing gay rights and a ban on sexual discrimination.

The issue fo gays in Thessaloniki caught my attention when news of the mayor of a small island providing over a civil union caused outburst in the Greek media. Yet now I am more than pleasantly surprised to see Greek websites offering gay wedding services on the island of Santorini, for example. So what is the situation in Greece, is there legal civil union, what rights to gays have, what are the ambitiosn of the gay movement in Greece? Is there a gay movement in Greece?