Adamant: Hardest metal

Who stole Harry Potter's phoenix?

Posted: June 20, 2003 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Caryl Matrisciana © 2003

Shattering news from my homeland England came over the BBC News Online service recently, reporting the theft of 8,000 Harry Potter books despite the "unprecedented security around the launch" of book No. 5 in the seven-part Harry Potter series.

The new books, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" were stolen on Sunday and "anyone caught trying to sell – or even buy" these books "could face criminal charges" reports Stephen Dowling of the BBC World Edition News.

Earlier this month another theft took place when a forklift driver stole pages of the new book and offered them to national newspapers.

The astonishing news does nothing but further hype the worldwide release on the Summer Solstice, June 21, of author J.K. Rowling's latest smash hit. Never before in publishing history has a book had these strict embargoes that prohibit any type of pre-glimpse before it goes on sale at 0001 British Standard Time on Saturday, June 21.

Britain's, the Internet booksellers, have 300,000 copies securely tucked away in a dedicated warehouse in the English countryside ready to send to U.K. buyers on its Saturday due date. U.K. book chain Waterstones children's book buyer said, the "books are arriving in sealed boxes. We need to keep them locked off from the shop floor until 12 o'clock. We have to make sure the customers can't get to them, and staff can't get to them, apart from the one person who has the key."

Even review copies are under strict supervision curtailing media attempts to pass judgment before Sunday, though BBC News Online boasts they aim to publish one of the U.K.'s first reviews on Saturday. Good luck to those having to speed-read the almost 900 pages to meet publishers' deadlines. Translators were hoping to get pre-release copies to translate it into 55 languages for global distribution into over 200 countries, but they too must wait along with the rest of us.

The wait for a new book has been 3 years for Potter fans since the July 2000 release of book No. 4. Fans did however get their Harry-fix through the Warner Brothers blockbuster movies based on the first two books. Warner Bros. proudly flaunted that film No. 1 based on book No. 1 was "an accurate portrayal of witchcraft."

The young Wiccan, Harry Potter, then only 11 years old, has taken the world by storm. According to the Pagan Federation of England, the interest of thousands of teens to learn more about witchcraft has been stimulated through Harry Potter and television programs like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Sabrina The Teenage Witch."

Pacific News Service reports that the Spanish speaking world, where Harry's sales top the best-seller lists in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela, have Latin American critics complaining "that the world of magic through which Harry Potter travels is a metaphor for the New Age philosophy that is hostile to the Christian faith, and thus Harry Potter is an assault on Latin American values."

In the Siberian City of Novosibirsk, after the release of book No. 4, Harry Potter fans were believed to have been poisoned after drinking a "magic potion" inspired by the Potter books. Local police suspected older children had stolen copper sulfate from a school lab and fed it to 23 young children, who were taken to hospital, after a Potter initiation ceremony.

While critics accuse me of failing to realize that Rowling's use of witchcraft in the Potter series is only a literary device, these examples show only too well that children believe the so-called "fantasy" magic of Harry's world to be real and, in a craving to control their lives, long for Harry's power to be real to them.

Harry's author, J.K. Rowling, now richer than the queen and the wealthiest woman in show business, told Malcolm Jones in a Newsweek interview, "I get letters from children addressed to Professor Dumbledore (headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the book setting), and it's not a joke, begging to be let into Hogwarts, and some of them are really sad. Because they want it to be true so badly they've convinced themselves it's true."

J.K. Rowling promised "the books are getting darker ... Harry's going to have quite a bit to deal with as he gets older. Sorry if they get too scary!" In a Newsnight interview on BBC2 TV last week, she told how she "cried after killing off a 'significant' character" in her new fifth book.

The first three books were heavily promoted through the American school system by the American publisher Scholastic Inc., which has also provided school-curriculum materials for over 80 years. It seems interesting that while the teaching of traditional values based on Christian ethos has been removed from schools through reading the Bible in class, saying prayers or posting the Ten Commandments, Harry Potter, based on the religious teachings of occult professors and Wiccan students at a school of witchcraft and wizardry can be read aloud in American classrooms.

J.K. Rowling admits her books teach "morality," but many argue it is an anti-Christian morality that encourages children to lie, cheat and steal in Harry fashion. In the books, when Harry gets caught, he gets rewarded for his dishonest behavior. This worldview of shifting morality supports much of the content of Outcome Based Education and Goals 2000 taught in public schools today. Perhaps that's why the Potter books based on relativism, reincarnation type life after death, and other pagan values are endorsed by educators and mainstream society. It appears paganism is mainstream and mainstream has gone pagan.

Some 8.5 million copies of "The Order of the Phoenix" have been printed for the U.S. market, and millions will see the cover of the colorful phoenix rising above the flames of a red hot fire on Saturday, but what is its significance? In Barbara Walker's "Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets," she says, "The phoenix is part of Egyptian mythology and identified with the bennu bird, a spirit associated with the phallic obelisk. He rose to heaven in the form of the Morning Star, like Lucifer, after his fire-immolation of death and rebirth. He embodied the sacred king cremated to be reborn".

Is it a coincidence that Adolph Hitler also used the phoenix as his symbol of reincarnation and "born again" power to resurrect the Second Reicht to his Third Reicht in an attempt to bring about the New World Order? His Nazi uniform boldly emblazoned both the phoenix and another powerful occult symbol, the lightning bolt. Interestingly enough, the so-called descending phallus of heaven, the lightning bolt believed to impregnate Mother Earth, or the sea-womb with life, is the curse mark Harry's arch enemy, the Evil Lord Voldemort scarred Harry's forehead with when he murdered Harry's parents on Halloween night.

Today, millions of children take Harry's curse mark on their own foreheads to show their loyalty to Harry. The Bible teaches that at the ruling of the One World leader in the end times, the whole world will take "the mark of the beast" on their foreheads to show their allegiance to the world dictator. Are our children, and the global child, being conditioned for something much bigger than even we understand?


"Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged," Caryl Matrisciana's video documentary examining the Harry Potter phenomenon, is available at the WorldNetDaily store.

Caryl Matrisciana, writer and producer of the award-winning video, “Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged. Making Evil Look Innocent,” has branched out on her own after 21 years as Jeremiah Films Creative Director and co-owner.

Czech lady wins Miss Bikini International 2003


There were 34 contestants from 29 different countries
Wednesday, 18 June, 2003

Catwalk Productions International for the forth time have organized the International World Contest Miss Bikini International 2003. The final night was held last Saturday at Baystreet Hotel Complex, St.Julians.

This year’s contest saw the participation of thirty four contestants coming from twenty nine different countries. The whole week was packed with various activities around Malta.

The winner of this prestigious world competition was Zuzana Putnarova from the Czech Republic with a total of 499 points.

First runner up was Roxana Rus from Romania with a total of 477 points, second runner up was Idha Sofringsgard from Sweden with a total of 471 points and the third runner up was Carmin Martinez from Venezuela with a total of 464 points.

Catwalk Productions International would like to thank all the National Directors, Sponsors and International Media which cover this event.

Also a big thanks go to the main official sponsors: Baystreet Hotel Complex, Malta Tourism Authority,, Sinners Bar in Paceville, J&B Rare Whisky, Captain Morgan Cruises, and Clinians Beauty Products.

Catwalk Productions would like to thank all those who supported this event and looking forward to it again next year.

The official website can be found at

Jose Antonio Hernandez-diez in His First Major Museum Exhibition --Friday, July 11, 2003   —  Sunday, September 21, 2003

MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2003
New Museum of Contemporary Art

NEW YORK CITY, ( — The New Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to present "José Antonio Hernández-Diez", the first major museum exhibition in the United States of works by this acclaimed Venezuelan artist. Organized by the New Museum and curated by Senior Curator Dan Cameron and Adjunct Curator Gerardo Mosquera, the exhibition will be on view from July 11-September 21, 2003. This presentation concludes a national tour that included the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art and SITE Santa Fe.
One of the most important South American artists to have emerged in the last decade, Hernández-Diez creates candid, poetic, and at times disturbing and irreverent multi-media installations inspired by the vernacular culture and traditions of his home country. Hernández-Diez is part of a new generation of Venezuelan artists who emerged in the late 1980s –at nearly the same time that Venezuelans began a public process of searching for a solution to the economic and social crises in their country—to challenge the aesthetic traditions that had dominated Venezuelan art since the 1950s. Using unusual materials culled from urban life—such as skateboards, sneakers, pool tables, fake nails, and pork skin—Hernández-Diez elevates street and domestic culture, while commenting on the harsh economic and political realities of South American life.The New Museum exhibition will include fourteen works created by Hernández-Diez between 1991 and 2000, chosen to convey several overlapping themes that inform his work: technology and the body; marginality and vernacular culture; myth making; and an intimate, spontaneous, and enigmatic use of communication and industrial technologies. Examples of works dealing with each theme are outlined below.
A guiding principal of Hernández-Diez’s early work is the discomfort of the human species caught between its animal state and something more exalted. In a 1991 installation titled "San Guinefort [Saint Guinefort]", the cadaver of a dog is locked inside a septic glass container. The viewer is able to reach his arms inside the glass case through rubber protusions in order to touch the dog’s body. San Guinefort evokes South American Catholic faith and superstition—the proof of touch is considered a remedy for religious doubt—while introducing Hernández-Diez’s interest in issues of mortality, which he subsequently explores in such works as "Vas p’al cielo y vas Ilorando [You Go To Heaven and You Go Crying"] and "La Hermandad [The Brotherhood]".
One of Hernández-Diez’s most visceral installations, "La Hermandad [The Brotherhood]", 1994, comments upon the uselessness of a common urban pastime such as skateboarding in a country as troubled as Venezuela. "La Hermandad" consists of a room in which the dominant sculptural element is a large metal drying rack. Attached to the rack are dozens of makeshift skateboards created by attaching four wheels to a slab of fried pork. The skateboards are in various stages of decomposition, some dripping fat into troughs beneath. On three small tables are monitors showing the three stages of the skateboards’ existence: birth (in a frying pan), life (careening through the street), and death (chewed apart by dogs). To learn that fried pork skin is a favorite snack among the disenfranchised classes in Venezuela only adds to the intimations of waste and uselessness.
"S & M (Ella Perdió un Dedo) [S & M (She Lost A Nail)]" is the title for a series of current sculptural pieces. The works are gigantic women’s fingernails, installed in different ways, sometimes together with large pieces of sandpaper. They establish a minimalist inclination in Hernández-Diez’s art that nonetheless carries a wide spectrum of meanings. The title alludes to a famous Spanish B-movie actress of the 1960s and relates, both nostalgically and ironically, to stereotypes of mass media icons in South American culture.
One of the defining factors of Hernández-Diez’s work is humor. At times, his humor is biting and sarcastic; other times, it is the playful and idiosyncratic humor of a child. For example, "Que te Rinda el Dia [Have a Prodcutive Day]" (1995) is an installation of several sets of unpainted pegboard furniture bearing what appear to be bite marks from a gigantic human mouth. To achieve this effect, Hernández-Diez employed a mechanical press adapted to actually bite the furniture. While his previous works were based mostly on video installation and often juxtaposed medical technology with religious subject matter, a mechanistic performative quality appears in this unexpected and playful example of Hernández-Diez’s art.
José Antonio Hernández-Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1964. Currently, he lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Caracas, and is increasingly represented in international exhibitions and biennials.
Over the last twelve years, José Antonio Hernández-Diez has created a remarkably diverse yet conceptually consistent body of work. Vernacular culture and social issues inspire Hernández-Diez’s work but his work also represents a reaction against stereotypical views of South American identity. He works from within his culture, breaking expectations to address popular culture and society in a poetic, indirect manner. Many of the works in the exhibition at the New Museum have never been seen before in the United States.
José Antonio Hernández-Diez is made possible by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas, and from Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz.
The New Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1977 and located in the heart of Soho, is the premier destination for contemporary art in New York City. With an annual schedule of dynamic exhibitions, the Museum presents the most innovative and experimental work from around the world. Debate and discussion about contemporary culture are encouraged through a broad range of educational programs, publications, performances, and new media initiatives. The New Museum recently announced plans to build a new, 60,000 square foot facility at 235 Bowery. Visit for more about the New Museum.

Gala honors Spanish-TV leaders

The Miami Herald
Posted on Fri, Jun. 13, 2003

The guest list read like a veritable who's who of the Spanish-language television industry, from Latin America to Spain to the United States.

There were soap-opera stars, talk-show personalities, former beauty queens, behind-the-scenes tech guys and a throng of dark-suited executives who were busy wheeling and dealing when they weren't exchanging chit-chat.

It was all part of Premio INTE 2003, which stands for Television Industry in Spanish Award, held Thursday at a luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and a red-carpet evening gala at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.

The event gathered some 675 Latin-television honchos in the second edition of a kudofest designed to boost and bring together a scattered international industry, not to mention dish out prizes.

Seventy-two accolades that cover all aspects of the TV business, from dubbing to music to cable operation, were handed out, with the behind-the-camera awards announced at the midday event. The evening event was slated to honor on-screen talent.

''It's a unique opportunity for executives to come with their artists,'' said Richard Izarra, president of Miami's Izarra Group, publisher of Spanish-language television trade journals and founder of Premio INTE. ``Everyone in the industry is coming together.''

Participants said such a ceremony, which is the only one of its kind, was long overdue.

''This is a well-deserved recognition of those who work daily in television,'' said Maite Delgado, a popular Venezuelan TV show host. ``We're reaching high levels of quality and gaining more viewers every day.''

Added former Miss Universe Bárbara Palacios, a Venezuelan who now lives in South Florida, ``People have no idea the hours it takes to produce one minute of programming. It's really a very difficult job.''

Among the winners were Brazilian Adrián Caetano, director of the year; Colombian Patricio Wills, producer of the year; and Brazilian Gloria Perez, scriptwriter of the year.

Special awards were given to new U.S. hit channel TeleFutura, Venezuela's Radió Caracas Television on its 50th anniversary, and Coca-Cola as an advertiser.

Izarra said entries for this year's awards surged to more than 800 from about 350 last year. Attendance also increased by 35 percent.

Venezuelan prima ballerina builds a ‘cultural bridge’ to U.S.

By Art Jacobson, Miami's Community Newspapers Online

Keyla Ermecheo once was Venezuela’s prima ballerina.

Keyla Ermecheo, one of Venezuela’s most famous ballerinas, has brought her artistry, expertise and dedication to Doral.

The energetic, effusive pixie stills moves with the grace and charm that made her one of the most celebrated artists in South America. She has taught some of today’s most highly acclaimed ballet stars, including Mara Vivas, Ideal German, Mariana Ramsour, Ramon Thielen and Guillermo Asca. Her students have performed with many of the world’s foremost ballet companies, including those in New York, Harlem, Boston, Berlin, Memphis and West Palm Beach.

Ermecheo, widely known as a choreographer, artistic director and teacher, founded the Keyla Ermecheo School of Ballet in Caracas in 1968. Today, the school operates under the direction of Ivanna Ruscitti, principal dancer of the Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas. Ermecheo also is the founder and artistic director of the Keyla Ermecheo School of Dance & Performing Arts in Doral and has recently become associated with Doral’s Kid’s Village, heading up the performing arts division.

“By establishing a home in Doral and working with the children here, I hope to build a ‘cultural bridge’ between the United States and my homeland,” she said. “I would like the people of Doral to know that I am dedicated to providing the children of this community with the benefits of my education and experience, and that my goal is to contribute as much as I can to dance and the performing arts in South Florida.”

Ermecheo was born in Caracas and graduated from Venezuela’s National School of Ballet. She also studied at the New York School of American Ballet and performed for 15 years.

“My inspiration was the incomparable Margot Fonteyn of the Royal Ballet,” said Ermecheo. “I am also grateful to Felia Dubrosvka, Muriel Stuart and Valentina Pereyaslavec of the American Ballet, plus Hector Zaraspe from the Juilliard School, Inna Zubkovskaya of the Kirov and Maya Samokhalova and Valdimir Lopoukhov of the Bolshoi Ballet for all that they taught me. In the tradition of the ballet, I am returning the favor by devoting my time and efforts to young people.”

Ermecheo has been doing that for 35 years as a choreographer, artistic director and teacher. In 1980, she established the Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas, sponsored by the National Council of Arts and the Venezuelan Congress. She has won awards for her contributions to dance in Venezuela, including the coveted Tamanaco de Oro and two National Artist awards for her productions of the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. She has been presented with Venezuela’s National Council of Arts Award in recognition of her contributions to dance.

As a vice president of the World Dance Alliance, she continues to be a major influence on teachers, performers and dancers all over the world.

“We are fortunate to have an individual of her caliber in our communality,” said Tailleen Arias, president of Kid’s Village Art and Music Studios where Ermecheo teaches 100 youngsters age three to 14.

“I enjoy working with these children,” said Ermecheo. “In addition to dance, we teach them about all of the performing arts, acting, singing and more. They are immersed in all kinds of music, from classical to pop and from Broadway to MTV. The children learn discipline and the importance of dedication, love and perseverance, whether or not they become professionals.

“I also enjoy working with their parents, educating them in the arts and assisting them to understand their role in helping their children to prepare for the future.”
Ermecheo has already made a mark on the South Florida arts scene. Her students have performed throughout Miami-Dade in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and at the New World School of the Arts. In June, she will direct 60 children at Florida International University in a performance of The Ballet of the Enchanted Dolls, a program she choreographed. Twenty of the youngsters, called New Kids on Stage, will perform there as an ensemble.

Ermecheo’s most ambitious U.S. project to date is in the planning stages. It will be a full-scale production of the Nutcracker in 2004.
“This will be a full production of the entire work, not just the Nutcracker Suite,”
she said. “It will involve two acts, four scenes and over 100 performers. We are now looking for sponsors and hope to stage this significant event in one of the area’s principal performance facilities such as the Miami-Dade Auditorium or Gussman Hall.”

People interested in learning more about Ermecheo’s life and career will soon have that opportunity. A book entitled Keyla Ermecheo y su Escuela de Ballet by Belen Lobo is set to be published.

For more information, call 305-463-0984.

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