Greeks fill the temple of Zeus
June 29, 2001 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Greeks fill the temple of Zeus full of amps and concert gear for a NASA tribute. Some people look at ancient sites as things to be preserved, but Greece's minister of culture sees them as profitable venues. Next week they'll be using the Parthenon for ammunition storage.
posted by skallas (17 comments total)
Remind you of "Yanni, Live at the Acropolis?"
posted by eau at 7:04 AM on June 29, 2001

vangelis looks pretty weird.
posted by moz at 7:09 AM on June 29, 2001

Eau beat me to my comment - at least this time it's Vangelis, who actually writes great music, not the horror that is Yanni.

While I understand people's concern over possible damage to the site, personally I like the idea of ancient sites like that brought to life with contemporary art events like this. But then, I'm generally fond of performances done in unusual locations - like Peter Brook's "Mahabharata" which was first done in a rock quarry in Australia.
posted by dnash at 7:10 AM on June 29, 2001

Next week they'll be using the Parthenon for ammunition storage.

That line has cheered up my day. Thanks.
posted by holgate at 7:22 AM on June 29, 2001

I thought you meant this NASA and were referring to a tribute band.

Insha Allah! We'll be together!
posted by Avogadro at 7:25 AM on June 29, 2001

Remind you of "Yanni, Live at the Acropolis?"

Yanni likes to get around, he's also played near the Taj Mahal. Yanni never played in the Acropolis but near it, using it as a backdrop yet even if they were quite some distance from ancient sites I can't imagine the sound pollution to be anything but harmful.

This story begs for the bigger question: what's the proper role for antiquities in the modern world? Considering the Greeks managed to drop a crane down a covered ancient well I don't think the moving about of heavy equipment is too hot of an idea. For the sake of contemporaneity I could really see a small "unplugged" type performance recorded near antiquities without the huge PAs.

This seems too much like ego-stroking, in the U.S. you can consider yourself "big" after a long stadium tour and in Greece you know you're an international hotshot when you play in a 2,000 year old temple.

I can picture Zeus practice tossing a few lightning bolts on top of Olympus and getting back into tip top shape to teach a few mortals an obvious lesson.
posted by skallas at 7:46 AM on June 29, 2001

I'm in favor of the responsible use of ancient sites for contemporary events, but I'm not an archeaologist, so I wouldn't be able to even begin describing what "responsible" entailed in this context. I visitied Epidaurus last fall for the first time and my dreams have been full of productions set in the theatre there - with those hills in the distance and the incredible acoustics - ever since. I felt the similarly at the Temple of Apollo in Didyma - what a truly spectacular setting that would be for a small musical performance! Not quite the same thing as trucking in twenty tons of modern sound equipment, I suppose...
posted by m.polo at 7:59 AM on June 29, 2001

"the Parthenon for ammunition storage" I think the Germans did this, combination ammo dump and beerhall
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on June 29, 2001

Actually I was refering to the use of the Parthenon in the 17th century as a powder magazine by Turks. Then there was a slight accident. Up until then it was in pristine shape.
posted by skallas at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2001

It really is quite amazing that it survived, what, 2000-2500 years? Then there was that Balkan War thing. No, the other one. No, the other one.

I'm fully in favor, as said, of responsible use of ancient sites. Except in the rarest of cases, such as the Lascaux paintings, they're actually served better by making them available and forcing minimal levels of maintenance. I couldn't find a link, sorry, but the original Colosseum in Rome is going to be rehabilitated and will go from something like 20% open to 60% open. (They're not rebuilding collapsed walls, but they will stabilize them for safety and conservation.) IMHO this is generally a Good Thing.
posted by dhartung at 10:09 AM on June 29, 2001

Oh, they're "filling it", eh? FYI, it's not really the most complete temple around: Photo. Still impressive, but don't picture the Parthenon here.

And FWIW, the blame for the Parthenon should also go to the Venetians. They're the ones who were firing the cannonballs at it in the first place.
posted by smackfu at 10:31 AM on June 29, 2001

m.polo: is it true that you can sit on the back row of those ampitheatres and not have to strain to hear what's been said down below?
posted by holgate at 12:29 PM on June 29, 2001

A description of the Vangelis event and a picture are available here. I gather it was filmed for PBS broadcast later this year (pledge drive no dobut) and a recording will be released by Sony sometime in September.
posted by dnash at 2:31 PM on June 29, 2001

Every time I see this link, I read "Geeks fill the temple of Zeus."

Er, sorry.
posted by frykitty at 2:49 PM on June 29, 2001

Holgate, yes it is (been there numerous times - i live in greece, actually).


And I won't comment on that 'insult to history' thing. Those f**kers from the Associated Press write such articles as if their mothers were murdered here or something. I don't understand their hostility.

And the fact, guys, is that things are wildly exaggerated.
Yeah, they brought in the equipment.
Yeah, the temple can certainly "tolerate" such "vandalisms".
No, the temple won't collapse any minute now.

And finally, yes, I think I care about those monuments much more than all of you (non-greeks) do. It's the only thing I can be proud of, in a country that's not going that well, all these years.

I hate to say this, but you may want to change the discussion's focus on something else now. Cause, as I aforementioned, the 'vandalism' thing is a mere propaganda or something.
posted by kchristidis at 4:20 PM on June 29, 2001

Holgate, it's all true. My partner stood at the rear of what we would call the stage and spoke in what he called a "normal inside voice." I could hear him without trouble at the top of the stage left most stairs that lead among the seats to the walkway around the top of the audience. I don't have the exact number right here, but it's easily 100 feet or more. I've been in modern theatres with millions of dollars of electronic acoustic equipment that didn't carry as well.
posted by m.polo at 6:39 PM on June 29, 2001

I'll second that, MPolo. It's all true, what 'e says. And you can't beat the views, either.

Especial favorite: The Amphitheatre at Delphi

(Sorry the link is messy -- best I could do on the spot.)
posted by Pyth at 3:35 PM on August 22, 2001

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