: The Chicago Tribune Media Group rana full-page ad in the Sunday March 2 edition of their flagship newspaper, the Chicago Tribune
, congratulating employee award winners for 2013. Andrea Hanis and Peter Nickeas were selected for the "Publisher's Team Award." Andrea, who doubles as Business Section planning editor, received a Portfolio Expansion Team Award for heading up the new "Blue Sky Innovation" print and online feature which focuses on startup companies and area innovators. Nickeas is a reporter for the paper. And Christina Poulos received a Preprint Team Award.
SPYROPOULOS APPOINTED TO IL ARTS COUNCIL
: Erika Spyropoulos, mother of GMCer Mariyana Spyropoulos (Water Reclamation District Commissioner), in early April was appointed
by Governor Pat Quinn as a commissioner on the Illinois Arts Council. Erika is a reknowned Chicago-area artist and her husband, petroleum entrepreneur Ted Spyropoulos, is a former media guy himself, having once moonlighted at the Athens Courier
: An elevator, a TV show, and a Cubs mascot (of sorts). Many have inquired about how exactly the GMC came into existence. Here's a bit of context. GMC co-director Terry Poulos was recently mentioned in a late March 2014 article
in the Daily Herald
which featured "Talking Sports," a cable show he has co-hosted for the past 16 years with retired NFL referee Jerry Markbreit. Terry has also hosted his own show, "Picture This Sports," and our guy Nick Mantis recently unearthed a PTSports episode
from a decade ago where Terry interviewed Nick along with the show's main guest that night, Ronnie "WooWoo" Wickers, the unofficial "mascot" for the Chicago Cubs. It was one of two separate shows taped that night, with different guests. Nick is a corporate/news producer in Northwest Indiana. At the time, he was also co-producing a documentary on Ronnie's life. In the studio that day were - mostly by coincidence - a number of Greek Americans, all of whom are now GMC members. They were Terry, GMC co-director George Bliss, radio/TV host Jane Monzures (half Greek, half German), Serius/XM Satellite NFL programming producer Nick Pavlatos, pro sports statistician Gary Crawford (Destounis, half Greek, half French), and PTSports director George Clowes (English American).. Part of the empetus for starting the GMC had its genesis that evening, although it came to fruition virtually simultaneous to that taping via a chance encounter between George Bliss and newscaster Anna Davlantes (half Greek, half English) in an elevator at NBC Tower. George Bliss was the common denominator in both circumstances and brought the three co-founders together for the specific purpose of starting the club. In a nutshell, that pretty well sums up how this whole social relationship-building circle got started. It works because we don't wear the proverbial Greek flag on our sleaves and we always strive to keep it light with only incidental networking. The GMC can be a resource for those who attend our events, read our newsletter, or visit our links page. But it's one true function is - fun! We've had a blast for the past 10 years thanks to an elevator, a TV show, and a wee bit of woo. Now you know the story.
EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS":
Photographer Dimitri Eliopoulos of Elios Photography captured some great images
of a few of our "cousins" at the 50th anniversary Greek Independence Day Parade on Halsted in late March, including the co-emcees, Lou Canellis and Anna Davlantes. Enjoy!... Entrepreneur John Vlahakis, a longtime "cousin" and supporter of the GMC, wears many hats. By day, he's president of Earth Friendly Products. Tangentially, he authors a daily "green" blog on his Earthy Report
site. He's also the publisher of The Greek Star
newspaper. And he's an accomplished artistic phographer who recently began a new exhibit
of his latest works at Zia Gallery in Winnetka, IL...And on the topic of Winnetka, our own Dr. Marilyn Prodromos
on March 18 was elected to the post of Village Trustee...Utah-based publisher John Saltas of City Weekly
himself recently by the blog `13 Percent Salt' in a feature on "The Best of Salt Lake"...Congratulations to Northwestern University journalism grad Tonya Kouris on her recent promotion at the New York Law Journal
...Congratulations to Aristea Brady Smith, news anchor in the Twin Cities, on her recent win in the local "Dancing With The Stars
" contest, a fundraiser for charity. Aristea had other news to deliver as she and her husband are returning to her native Denver. Look for her to surface on the Mile High airwaves in the near future...Thought you'd enjoy this clip
of our own Skip Griparis
playing guitar and singing oldies. Skip performed live at our Summer 2013 rooftop event...Professor Stephanos Katsikas, MA PhD, passed along this innaugural newsletter
from the Modern Greek Studies & Language program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign...Model/actress Anna Rezan Kretseli, based in Athens and NY and often LA as well, is one of the principal supporters of the philanthropic Models Against Addictions
...A recent post
from Robert Feder, Chicago's foremost media critic, indicates that the new restaurant being built by FOX32's Lou Canellis and other media partners is right on track for opening. Lou is another GMC Charter Member...Here's a throwback for you. Our own Diane Alexander White, professional photographer, attended the infamous Disco Demolition Night at the old Comiskey Park and captured rare and stunning images (rare in that few of these pictures are in circulation and stunning in her handiwork) that have been award-winning and continue to be a treasure and will be throughout Chicago's history. She was recently profiled
about her career and that infamous night. The aftermath of the destruction caused the White Sox to forfeit the second game of that day's double-header, to the chagrin of Mr. Bliss, chief GMC Sox fan...Greektown Chicago's Parthenon Restaurant, owned by Chris Liakouris and his daughter Joanna Liakouris, was recently featured
in the Chicago Tribune's
Food and Dining section. The Parthenon has hosted four GMC events and has been a steady in-kind contributor to other GMC events for several years, events which have helped us raise money for the National Hellenic Museum...The Spring issue of Greek Circle magazine hit mailboxes this week. The theme is health. Media-wise, there are features on new books - either by Greeks or Greek-related - by authors Scott Turrow, Peter and Charles Moskos with Michael Dukakis, and Danialle Karmanos about computer and sports mogul Peter Karmanos...Condolences to the Vlahakis family and our own John Vlahakis on the passing of John's father and family patriarch Van Vlahakis (May his memory be eternal). John and his dad worked together to create what is now a $100 million annual company, Earth Friendly Products, and both have been tremendous supporters of all-things-Hellenism.
BIRTHDAYING IN APRIL
: Author and former Wall Street Journal
reporter Stefan Fatsis, actor George Ginakakis, Elena Limbert, ESPN radio Twin Cities marketing rep Katia Dragotis, PR/marketing exec Demetra "Alex" Karras, future sports journalist Kyra Vidas, network radio traffic/news announcer Dan Levy, Cubby Bear owner George Loukas, Chicago Home + Garden
account rep Anna Shukas Keys, Dean Kollintzas, singer/comedian Skip Griparis, Detroit correspondent Tom Athans, Antonia Callas, Joanna Vlahos, Daphne Mazarakis, DJ Yanni Morikis of Greektown Music, San Francisco 49ers official team archivist Jerry Walker, Stimulus Social Club co-director Monica Canellis, filmmaker John Marinopoulos, National Hellenic Museum executive director Connie Mourtoupalas, Angela Gallios, singer/songwriter Alex White.
IMPORTANT LIVE/LIFE LESSON FROM BASILE
: We here at the GMC were just asking ourselves "what happened to Basile
?" Our "Comedic Carolina Cousin" had gone awol for a spell but he's now back better - and more important - healthier than ever. Basile recently underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery. He was a-symptomatic but after a simple CT scan of a Cardiac Calcium Scoring Test, his condition was revealed. And career-wise, he informs us his Basile Foods was "picked up by Sysco Foods and PFG/Roma," his film "got optioned," and it looks as though his TV show will be "filming three new episodes". Basile says doctors told him we'll have to endure him for another 40 years ;) Be sure to see your doctor regularly and ask about the test too. Lastly, we'll bet you didn't know Basile was a closet sports guru. He performed the voiceover of Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder for an ESPN `30-for-30' documentary on Jimmy's life and the crew and Basile were nominated for an Emmy. No kidding.
EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS
": It was just reported that ABC27 Madison, WI TV news reporter Pete Zervakis, our hometown Chicago-area "cousin," will be emceeing the June 14 PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation
Awards gala at the Hilton Chicago. Pete's former scholarship recipient who now comes full circle to emcee the event he was honored at just a few short years back...Former Chicago Tribune
editor Kelly Haramis was recently profiled
by Theater in the Now about her series of short plays titled "Double Happiness," which center on Kelly's two daughters...Shia Kapos of Crain's Chicago Business
had the scoop
on the February wedding of former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and his bride Jo Terlato...Helen Karakoudis-Redfern, managing editor of Wednesday Journal/Chicago Journal
, was recently appointed new content editor at InterDyn LANAC Technology...Empeopled.com co-founder Aris George Michalopoulos was recently interviewed
by Tastytrade.com about innovative social media aggregation techniques...We just had to pass along this cute video
from the kids at the Hellenic American Academy in Deerfield, IL. They got behind the anchor desk and delivered their own newscast. Can you spot the next Anna Davlantes, Kim Vatis, Lou Canellis, Andrea Darlas, or Jane Monzures? Thanks to Takis Theotokatos for passing it along...Congratulations to Pavan Bapu, co-founder of the unique new Gramovox
bluetooth gamophone, on his recent engagement to be married!
: WGN radio/TV film/stage arts critic Dean Richards, Chicago Tribune reporter Ted Gregory, KRON San Francisco anchor/reporter Vicky Liviakis, ABC27 Madison newscaster Pete Zervakis, Wednesday Journal/Chicago Journal managing editor Helen Karakoudis Redfern, Journal & Topics film critic Mike Poulos, filmmaker Valerie Gobos, ModaFg publisher Angeliki Garris, singer John Truncali, singer Lexy Prodromos, DJ John Grammatis, Ladies Night Out impressario Shari Duffy, ABC Family's Cathy Demos Kappos, Sun-Times newsgroup sportswriter Tina Akouris, GreekCircle.com editor and writer Amalia Parthenios Deligiannis, photographer Diane Alexander White, Internet radio host and comedian Joe Matsakapetros (aka Art Andros), Malista.com blogger Elena Kerasiotis, new media pro Don Yannias, retired media pro John Papas, American Marketing Association board member Ann Kostopanagiotou, makeup artist and stylist Maria Milliotis, Museum of Broadcast Communications founder Bruce Dumont, Neo magazine correspondent Joanna Xipa, musician Cole Degenova, National Hellenic Museum development director Renee Pappas, film producer Pano Bartzis, Louis Alexakis, Marianne Price, Sam Napolitano, Dr. Demetra Tsatsoulis, Kelly Nottke-Ledenbach, Connie Chiagouris, Georgia Metropoulos, Alex Apostol, Nike Demacopoulos, Perrie Veremis-Hayes, Marianthe Koritsaris, and Tim Garris.
ZERVAKIS LURED BY ABC27 MADISON: TV reporter Pete Zervakis, son of our own Harriett Condes-Zervakis, in January was hired by ABC27 Madison, WI to the position of multimedia journalist. It's a step up to a bigger market for Pete, who moves over from being a reporter and weekend anchor at ABC19 in LaCrosse, WI. Pete's bio indicates he's a huge fan of Greek history with a particular passion for Alexander the Great. At the University of Illinois at Champaign, Pete was an honors broadcast journalism major.
EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": First up, events...On Thursday, February 13, EuroCircle Chicago hosts its "Cupid's Ball" Valentines Day Mix and Mingle beginning 7 pm at Old Town Social, 455 W. North Avenue, Chicago. RSVP required. Maria Dollas is the organization's director...On Saturday, February 15, Greek Film Fest Chicago is hosting a Mardi Gras fundraiser at Veranda Restaurant, 5700 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago. Begins 9 pm. $10 admission, children under 12 free admission. Appetizers and raffle included. Music, constume contest, more. Organized by GFFC president Art Andros...On Thursday, February 20, Shari Duffy's Ladies Night Chicago hosts its Frost Party aboard the famous Odyssey cruiser on Lake Michigan at Navy Pier. Begins 7 pm. Three hours of open bar, lots of extras. Tickets are only $20, with $10 parking indoor at Navy Pier...Save the date, the National Hellenic Museum hosts their annual gala May 31 at Aqua Blue Hotel in Chicago...Greek Promotions Live's Nick Andriopoulos is bringing comedian Markos Seferlis to Chicago, along with Markos' theatrical group, to perform their first North American tour on April 25 at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, IL. Showtime is 8 pm. Phone 630.234.2183 or 630.205.1403...The Lovehammers rock group, which features brothers Bobby Kourelis and Dino Kourelis on drums and bass respectively, plays their annual "Hammerfest" on May 10 at the House of Blues in Chicago...Child's Play Touring Theatre, led by June Panagakis Podagrosi, announced their honored guest for their June 2014 annual gala, to be held at the Second City Chicago improv center in Chicago. Adam McKay, director of Anchorman 1 and 2, is an alum of CPTT and has agreed to be honored at the June function...Two Chicago kids who are the children of our own Diane Alexander White (pro photographer extraordinaire) visited the February Grammy Awards. They are lead singer Alex White and her guitarist brother Francis White of the sister-brother duo "White Mystery." The band was featued in a full-page Chicago Tribune article on January 23 which focused on their "shredder" music...Also attending this year's Grammy's was Irene Michaels, who does so annually together with JAM Productions president Arny Granat...Co-authors George Nassos and Nikos Avlonas held a book signing February 11 in Chicago for their new release, "Practical Sustainability Strategies: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage." This is George's first book and it will be marketed to graduate business schools and corporations. George owns an environmental consulting business and he's a longtime professor at IIT...ESPN radio Minneopolis-St. Paul marketing associate Katia Dragotis, who also co-hosts a separate, unique online sports marketing interview show, recently posted her demo reel...Financial consultant Tim Stassinoulias was recently profiled by Milwaukee Business News...Congratulations to Sophia Venetos, a marketing communications specialist at SRDS, on her recent wedding engagement.
MUSEUM MOCK TRIAL NOTES & NOTABLES: GMC co-director Terry Poulos wrote this feature on the Trial of Orestes for The Greek Star newspaper, with photos by publisher John Vlahakis, who is also a professional photographer who owns his own gallery. The mock trial was a star showcase for perhaps Chicago's top legal minds and it was not only thought-provoking, it was highly entertaining as well. In addition to the audience jury of 600 or more, there was also a 14-member paneled jury of journalists, attorneys, civic and business leaders. GMC co-founder Anna Davlantes was a member of that group, along with Michael Tarm of the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos, Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, Michigan Avenue magazine editor-in-chief J.P. Anderson, and FOX32 TV reporter Larry Yellen, who may have delivered the funniest line of the night. Quote Larry, "...if we will sanction an action like this one in this case, thousands of years from now a powerful governor of Athens may decide to clog up the traffic as an act of revenge by closing off the bridge between Athens and the Peloponesian peninsula." He was referring to the New Jersey bridge scandal in the administration of Governor Chris Cristie. Priceless.
BIRTHDAY GIRL: LA-based actress/TV host Patricia Kara (pictured standing in front of the Petros sign) is a Chicago native. She's bookended by GMC "cousins" Bill Price (left) and Terry Poulos. The photo was taken in late January 2014 at Petros Greek restaurant in Huntington Beach, CA. Patricia, who donned the former #9 briefcase on NBC's nationally-televised hit gameshow "Deal or No Deal," was also accompanied at this dinner by her husband Noel LaMontagne (he's snapping the photo). Noel is a former NFL player with the Cleveland Browns who's now an NFL player agent. Happy birthday Patricia, and happy birthday to the following "cousins" as well...
BIRTHDAYING IN FEBRUARY: Actress/TV host Patricia Kara, Former NBC5 anchor/reporter Kim Vatis, Greek Circle publisher Alexa Ganakos Ganas, HALC exec director and Greek Current publisher Endy Zemenides, syndicated broadcast film critic Sarah Knight Adamson, WBEZ radio sportscaster Cheryl Raye Stout, The Greek Star writer Harriett Condes-Zervakis, author Barb Bonfigli, former Mia publisher Christina Sofiakis Jones, author Eldon Ham, M&M Reporting's Mary Ellyn Andriopoulos-D'Andrea, M&M Reporting's Mary Kay Andriopoulos, Alex Kountoures, Christina Kanatas, Kathy Kaporis, Kiki Furla, Themis Galanis, Markella Kaloudis-Constantine, Tom Vabakos, Jessica Straddard-Rosso, Valerie Poulos, Daphne Valentina, Eleni Kavada, Nicholas Savalas, Lia Bizios-Papadopoulos, Dawn Lynn McCormick, Alexandra Alexander.