Another Athens of alternative delights

It’s noon on Kolokotroni Street in downtown Athens. Homemade posters half cover the window of a bar. Some reveal illustrative ambitions. Others put across a straightforward message, about a concert in a record shop loft, a play in a downtown bar, a new production by a troupe of acrobats in a new space you’ve never heard of. Then your friend notes with surprise that a house «somewhere on Vouliagmenis Avenue» is open for pocket theater, opera recitals or some forgotten film. Then an ordinary night out leads to the discovery of a group of women united by their passion for polyphonic song. What is this mysterious world, which exists but isn’t mentioned on television or in entertainment listings, yet somehow draws in a varied, unclassifiable audience every night? It’s like another Athens, which is underground, unexplored, and which creates itself daily, rallying small groups of performers who have something to say. Their need to articulate something that is hard to express in more conventional venues in turn supports independent spaces scattered throughout the city that spring up out of nowhere in houses, bars and old workshops. This feeds and is fed by curiosity, the attraction of the new and, above all, the pressing need to give a voice to those who feel that mainstream Athens does not represent them. (1) With additional reporting by Elias Maglinis, Dimitris Rigopoulos and Olga Sella.