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Ancient Greek comedy

Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the theatre of classical Greece. Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods: Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, New Comedy. Old Comedy survives today in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy is lost, i.e. preserved only in short fragments by authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis. New Comedy is known from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander; the philosopher Aristotle wrote in his Poetics that comedy is a representation of laughable people and involves some kind of blunder or ugliness which does not cause pain or disaster. C. A. Trypanis wrote that comedy is the last of the great species of poetry Greece gave to the world; the Alexandrine grammarians, most Aristophanes of Byzantium in particular, seem to have been the first to divide Greek comedy into what became the canonical three periods: Old Comedy, Middle Comedy and New Comedy. These divisions appear to be arbitrary, ancient comedy certainly developed over the years.

The most important Old Comic dramatist is Aristophanes. Born in 446 BC, his works, with their pungent political satire and abundance of sexual and scatological innuendo define the genre today. Aristophanes lampooned the most important personalities and institutions of his day, as can be seen, for example, in his buffoonish portrayal of Socrates in The Clouds, in his racy anti-war farce Lysistrata, he was one of a large number of comic poets working in Athens in the late 5th century, his most important contemporary rivals being Hermippus and Eupolis. The Old Comedy subsequently influenced European writers such as Rabelais, Cervantes and Voltaire. In particular, they copied the technique of disguising a political attack as buffoonery; the line between Old and Middle Comedy is not marked chronologically and others of the latest writers of the Old Comedy being sometimes regarded as the earliest Middle Comic poets. For ancient scholars, the term may have meant little more than "later than Aristophanes and his contemporaries, but earlier than Menander".

Middle Comedy is seen as differing from Old Comedy in three essential particulars: the role of the chorus was diminished to the point where it had no influence on the plot. For at least a time, mythological burlesque was popular among the Middle Comic poets. Stock characters of all sorts emerge: courtesans, revellers, boastful soldiers, the conceited cook with his parade of culinary science; because no complete Middle Comic plays have been preserved, it is impossible to offer any real assessment of their literary value or "genius". But many Middle Comic plays appear to have been revived in Sicily and Magna Graecia in this period, suggesting that they had considerable widespread literary and social influence. New Comedy followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and lasted throughout the reign of the Macedonian rulers, ending about 260 BC, it is comparable to situation comedy of manners. The three best-known playwrights belonging to this genre are Menander and Diphilus; the playwrights of the New Comedy genre built on the legacy from their predecessors, but adapted it to the portrayal of everyday life, rather than of public affairs.

The satirical and farcical element which featured so in Aristophanes' comedies was abandoned, the de-emphasis of the grotesque - whether in the form of choruses, humour or spectacle - opening the way for greater representation of daily life and the foibles of recognisable character types. Apart from Diphilus, the New Comedians preferred the everyday world to mythological themes, coincidences to miracles or metamorphoses, their gentle comedy of manners drew on a vast array of dramatic devices and situations their predecessors had developed: prologues to shape the audience's understanding of events, messengers' speeches to announce offstage action, descriptions of feasts, the complications of love, sudden recognitions, ex machina endings were all established techniques which playwrights exploited and evoked. The new comedy depicted Athenian society and the social morality of the period, presenting it in attractive colors but making no attempt to criticize or improve it. In his own time, Philemon was the most successful among the New Comedy beating the younger figure of Menander in contests.

Menander’s comedies not only provided their audience with a brief respite from reality, but gave audiences an accurate, if not detailed, picture of life, leading an ancient critic to ask if life influenced Menander in the writing of his plays or if the case was vice versa. Unlike earlier predecessors, Menander's comedies tended to centre on the fears and foibles of the ordinary man, his personal relationships, family life and social mishaps rather than politics and public life, his plays were much less satirical than preceding comedies, being marked by a gentle, urbane tone, a taste for good temper and good manners. The human d

Perret tower (Grenoble)

The Perret tower called La tour pour regarder les montagnes, is an observation tower located in Grenoble, in the Paul Mistral public park. It is the first tower built in reinforced concrete in Europe. In 1998, it was declared to be a national heritage site, it was built for the International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism where it was the orientation tower and the symbol of the exhibition. Nowadays, it is the last vestige of this exhibition. Perret tower stands 95 metres tall, its section is octagonal. Its foundations are 15 metres long, made of 72 vertical stakes in reinforced concrete gathered at the top by a slab and placed on a hard gravel layer; the framework is compound of eight vertical poles. The tower diameter is 8 metres at the base; the last floor is reachable by lift. Auguste Perret, with the assistance of Marie Dormoy, art critic, came to Grenoble for two years, to do conferences and meet political and artistic circles in order to promote a "reinforced concrete order". Made of the first reinforced concrete, the tower is the first free-standing project made by Auguste Perret, its architect.

The tower is the sum of an architectural and structural thought modern and exact. It is a reinforced concrete structure whose formworks are modular and repetitive, the prefabricated fillings are re-used from the "Notre-Dame du Raincy" church. Despite criticism during its construction, it was deemed a success and cost half as much as the other edifices of the exhibition, it is called the orientation tower, not because the four cardinal directions are molded at its top but because an orientation table sought by the Touring club de France, encircles it at the 60 metres level. This orientation table allowed tourists to locate the surrounding mountains with the pleasure to show a unique panorama on the Alps and Grenoble because its height is about the same as the three towers of the Île Verte in Grenoble, it was erected from 20 May 1924 to 4 May 1925 by the architect Auguste Perret who won a competition sponsored by the city for the exhibition, which took place between 21 May and 25 October 1925.

The International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism focused on the production and broadcast of electricity as well as tourism, the No. 2 economic resource in the Alps at the beginning of the century. During the exhibition, a floodlight was installed at the top to light the buildings. On 6 September 1925, the exhibition was opened by Prime Minister Paul Painlevé, Édouard Herriot and André Hesse; the same day, more than 2,000 visitors reached the top of the tower by using the two elevators which drop them off to the orientation platform located at 60 metres height. At lunch and Hesse went down last and got stuck in an elevator, the tower staff did not notice, creating some panic among the police services; the International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism was a success. More than one million persons came to the city of 85,000 inhabitants, which got benefits in spite of the huge works undertaken. In 1929, an antenna was installed at the top of the tower to broadcast radio programmes of the channel "Alpes-Grenoble".

Nowadays, Perret Tower is the only remnant of the exhibition. This tower allowed Perret to prove the huge ability of reinforced concrete and make him famous as a great architect. In 1960, the tower was closed to the public due to its degradation. In 1998, it was declared to be a national heritage site; the top of the tower is illuminated during the winter and is used as a support for the fireworks of the 14th of July. No serious maintenance was made after the exhibition, the tower degradation might become irreversible: iron frameworks are unsheathed or broken and oxidization of the iron framework leads the reinforced concrete to crumble. In 1951, a facade screed was made. In 2005, a study by Alain Tillier, chief architect of the national heritage sites, estimated the restoration cost at 4.5 million euros. No work was done, the tower degradation got worse. In 2012, the Mouton study evaluated the cost at 6 million euros, of which 60% could be supported by a grant from the French government and from the local administrative department because the tower is a national heritage site.

In these studies, the restoration includes the reopening to public as well as an upgrade to security standards. The 12 September 2013, the petition "Save the Perret tower" was introduced, it got more than 500 signatures during the first week and some local newspapers publicized the information. The 6 February 2014, the organisation "Ensemble pour la Tour Perret" was created to promote protection and restoration of the Perret tower, to publicize its history and its heritage interest and to ensure and contribute to its promotion. During the municipal elections in March 2014, some parties promised to act for the tower restoration: the list "Croire en Grenoble", the list "Imagine Grenoble", the list " Aimer Grenoble pour vous", the list "Grenoble une ville pour tous". Cédric Avenier, L'ordre du béton. La tour Perret de Grenoble, CRAterre éditions, Labex AE&CC, ENSA Grenoble, mai 2013, 48 p. Cédric Avenier, Anne Coste, The Perret Tower: architecture and press, 4th international Congress on Construction History, juillet 2012.

Cédric Avenier, Anne Coste, The Perret Tower: symbol of the

You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)

"You'll Never Get to Heaven" is a song composed by Burt Bacharach, with lyrics by Hal David. It was recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1964, who charted at number 34 in the US Billboard Hot 100 with her version, it was covered by the Stylistics in 1973. Dionne Warwick recorded "You'll Never Get to Heaven" in 1964, released it as the second single release from her third studio album; the song was an international hit, reaching number 34 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 28 on the Cash Box Top 100. It did better elsewhere, peaking at number 15 in Canada; the B-side, "A House Is Not a Home", was a chart hit, reaching number 71 on Billboard, number 50 on Cash Box and number 37 in Canada. The Stylistics covered the song "You'll Never Get to Heaven" in 1973, it was the final single from their second album. Their version was yet more successful in the US, peaking at number 23 on Billboard and number 16 on Cash Box, it was an Adult Contemporary hit, reaching number four. Madagascar pop group Les Surfs, recorded the song in French as "Tu n'iras par au ciel" in the 1960s.

Cal Tjader included a version of the song on his 1968 album, "Sounds Out Burt Bacharach". Cilla Black recorded and released the song in 1969. Esquires Now recorded a reggae version on "Born to Win" in 1973, it was recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1974. A cover version by Daniel Johnston is included on 1983's "More Songs of Pain". 5446 recorded a disco version in the UK in 1991 from their Taxi Singles 2 LP. Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics Listen to "You'll Never Get to Heaven" on YouTube Listen to "You'll Never Get to Heaven" on YouTube