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Greek Media Club

  

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The Cousins' Letter

THIS PAGE IS NOW BEING UPDATED MONTHLY

CONTENT: This website is intended to promote our circle of "cousins" from around the globe. We welcome submissions which have a direct "media" spin (See ABOUT page) or general news which is directly or indirectly related to our "cousins"

SUBMISSIONS: In order to accomodate your news items (we do this for fun and networking, it's not a job), we request news be summarized in one paragraph in the body of an email, and not in attachments (we rarely if ever open attachments unless it's for pictures). Include links and contact info in the body of the email as well. Prior to sending, remember the basic rules of journalism: Who, what, when, where, why, and how. Include each - in one (albeit lengthy if you must) paragraph. We also request that if you wish for us to spread your news, that you first have your own website updated with the content you are asking us to share

QUOTING THIS WEBSITE: Content for "The Cousins' Letter" is procured by GMC co-directors. Please attribute content to "Greek Media Club"


* Music on/off switch on the left

The Cousins' Letter...
APRIL 2014

MEET NIA APRIL 30: Award-winning comedian/actress/playwrite Nia Vardalos is returning to the Second City on April 30 from 6 to 9 pm at Chicago Illuminating Company. The "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" star, who cut her teeth in showbiz at Chicago's own Second City improv, will give a speech and talk about her new book "Instant Mom," then sign copies and greet well-wishers afterward. The event is a fundraiser for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Tickets are $100 for general admission, and some VIP slots for a private meeting with Nia may still be available. To learn more, visit LSSI.org.



PRODROMOS SISTERS MAY 3 CONCERT
: Our very own sister duo, Lexy and Stephany Prodromos, reprise their concert benefitting Miseracordia Home - the 6th annual - on Saturday, May 3 beginning 7 pm at Miseracordia's Ryan Center in Chicago. They will perform operatic and showtunes live with Christian Ketter. The sisters have performed at two GMC events. There will be a social hour after the show. For info, phone 847.814.3862. In the photo are Stephany (white dress) and Lexy (black dress).


BILLY ZANE STARS AT LYRIC: Chicago's own Billy Zane, who rose to fame in such blockbuster films as "Titanic" and "Sniper," is now starring in the lead role of Captain Von Trap in the Lyric Opera rendition of "The Sound of Music," running April 25 to May 18 in Chicago. Billy visits Chicago often. His parents, Bill Sr. and Thalia, live in the Windy City and both visited our 2013 GMC annual Christmas party in December. The couple both have stage acting roots. Billy's sister, Lisa Zane, is also an actress who's now touring as a professional jazz singer based in LA. In 2012, she visited the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago with some of us Greek media types and learned about the Frank Kamberos "Oral History Project," for which she said she'd soon contribute her family's life story.



NEW ALBUM: Speaking of Lisa Zane, Billy's sister just released a new album titled "Val D'Amore" and she's been touring the country performing live, including a stop in Paris during the past few years. Lisa is also a noted film, stage, and TV actress.

KASHUL REPRISES SPORTS MEDICINE WEEKLY
: It's almost NBA playoff time so that means you'll be hearing a lot from longtime Chicago Bulls radio announcer Steve Kashul, a "cousin" of ours who's been manning pre, half-time, and post-game radio hosting for quite a few years on the Bulls' flagship station, ESPN1000 (AM-1000). Steve recently began a second season on the same station hosting "Sports Medicine Weekly," which runs Saturdays from 8-9 am CST. Co-host is Dr. Brian Cole, Bulls team physician and co-team physician for the Chicago White Sox. Their first guest was famous sports orthopeadic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Steve is also host and producer of the longest-running local TV show, "Golf Scene," aired for more than 20 years (now on Comcast SportsNet).
TRIBUNE ALL-STARS: 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 newspaper

GMC ORIGIN(S): 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 was profiled 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.





MARCH 2014

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!

MARCH BIRTHDAYS: 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.



FEBRUARY 2014


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.



JANUARY 2014

Happy New Year!

2ND ANNUAL MUSEUM MOCK TRIAL WEDS JAN 29: Following on the heels of last year's widly-successful "Trial of Socrates," the exact same all-star cast of legal eagles returns for the second edition of this now annual mock trial event which benefits the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. This time, it's the ancient Greek Orestes, son of Agamemnon, who will be on trial, and Chicago's legal and media community will try and judge him in a modern setting utilizing the mores and laws of the time of Orestes. A few of the names participating in last year's event - virtually all of whom have agreed to return this year - include such notables as former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, former 1st Assistant US Attorney Patrick Collins (also a noted Philhellene), and prominent attorneys Dan K. Webb and Robert A. Clifford. The three-judge panel convened includes federal justices Hon. Richard A. Posner, Presiding Hon. Charles P. Kocoras, and Hon.
William J. Bauer. A host of media personalities from TV, radio, and print, in addition to prominent businesspersons and civic leaders, will be on hand to participate on the jury. Last year's debut mock trial was a major mainstream attraction which brought 1000 attendees - an overwhelming turnout - to the Palmer House Hilton. The Orestes trial moves to the downtown campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, just steps from Greektown. Get your tickets soon as this one sold out last year and that was after it was moved to a larger venue to accomodate increased demand. The photo at right is from last year's standing-room-only event.


JANE NAMED AFTERNOON HOST AT 100.3 FM: This week, WILV 100.3 FM announced that our very own "Sweet Baby" Jane Monzures is their pick to be the new afternoon radio host, as reported by top Chi-town media observer Robert Feder in his blog. This is Jane's first solo hosting assignment. Previous, she had two stints as a co-host on WLUP 97.9 FM with both Pete McMurray and Zak Tyler, and she also co-hosted at WIQI 101.1 FM. Jane, previously a personality on WCIU "The U" TV, is currencly hosting the weekly "Living Healthy Chicago" on WGN9 TV. Jane is a charter GMC member, a very close "cousin," and we wish her well!
Pictured above, L-R, at the GMC's 2013 Summer Soirie: George Bliss, Jane Monzures, Kim Vatis, Christina Loukas, Terry Poulos

GREEK FILM FEST 2014 OPENER THURS JAN 16Greek Film Festival Chicago 2014 debuts Thursday, January 16 with an 8 pm screening of "Papadopoulos & Sons" at the prestigious Gene Siskel Film Center. The event marks the debut event under the fest's new chairman, Art Andros. More events are being planned for later in the year.



EXTRA "COUSIN" CREDITS: Ladies Night Out czarina Shari Duffy, who co-hosted the GMC's Summer rooftop event, is hosting her 2nd annual Winter Comedy Warmup Thursday, January 30 from 7-10 pm at She-Nannigans in Chicago...The Chicago Tribune is sponsoring another in a series of breakfast chats with columnist John Kass, this one on March 20. These sell out so act fast...LA-based singer/songwriter Ariana Savalas, who twice performed live at GMC events (2010 and 2011), just updated her website. Check it out...Get well soon wishes to Patricia Kara, another LA-based "cousin," who recently broke her foot. To that, we say "No Deal !!" Patricia is an actress/TV host and fitness spokesmodel who once was a featured spokesmodel on the nationally-syndicated "Deal or No Deal" hit game show, and whom is a regular on the red carpet scene in Hollywood...On the other coast, NY-based comedian/actress Ellen Karis is up to all sorts of shenanigans. Good stuff, that is. She's got a prominant role in a play, will be filming Season 2 of a webisode comedy series "Living in Exile as the sister of the main character (for release this Summer), and in addition to her regular Greek comedy gigs she's also got mainstream shows lined up as well. On the radio, she can be heard every Wednesday at 8:20 am on WVOX 1460-AM in Westchester County and the Bronx, and she's also a twice-monthly guest on Sean Hannity's nationally-syndicated show as their resident politcal satirist. Check out Ellen's Youtube Channel as well. And if that all weren't enough, the sweet-toothing, spin-burning, energetic bunny rabbit is also working on a book, bloog, blog radio show, new stand-up comedy DVD, and probably world peace as well...The hot new film "Lone Survivor," co-produced by Chicago native George Furla, grossed a weekend high $38.5 million in domestic box office receipts its opening weekend in early January, representing the second highest gross of all-time for a January film debut. Based on a true story, the film stars Mark Wahlberg as an elite Navy Seal on a covert mission in Afghanastan...Jenna Gambaccini, grandaughter of our own Georgia Mitchell, on January 10 appeared on a live segment on the morning show "Windy City Live" on ABC7 Chicago, talking fashion. Jenna is a fast-rising fashion blogger...John Marinopoulos is co-producer of the new movie Bachelors Grove, currently in post-production...WIND 560-AM news personality Amy Jacobson, a GMC "cousin," and her on-air partner "Big John" Howell, recently added an extra hour to their morning drive shift. They can now be heard from 6-11 am Monday through Friday...IIT Professor Emeritus Nick Thomopoulos just released his eight book, "Assembly Line Planning and Control," published by Springer Books...Right after the new year, Wrigleyville Rooftops exec Stacy Loukas was engaged to be married...Huffington Post Media Group president and editor-in-chief Ariana Huffington will be the keynote speaker at the annual Women in the Forefront luncheon April 28 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers...Master Greek gifts craftsman and scale model builder Panos Fiorentinos of Kantyli.com, who makes all kinds of cool gifts for GMC events, has built many scale models of famous structures. His latest is the 4th Prespyterian Church in Chicago and the model is currently on display. Check it out at this link...Chicagoan Makris Kolethras and some colleagues, proud Greek Americans, wanted to counter some of the modern negative narrative surrounding Greece's economy with a reminder of what makes Greece, Greeks, and Hellenism so special, so they created this 11-minute video with interviews of Greeks who talk up the homeland and what Hellenism represents. Thanks to our "cousin" Mike Poulos, Journal & Topics film critic, for passing it along...Personal trainer Ted Dres, brother of our own Andrea Dres, was recently profiled in a feature on health and fitness by Hinsdale Living magazine in West Suburban Chicago...Our "cousins" at EuroCircle Chicago are hosting their first event of 2014 on Thursday, January 30 at Prohibit. Director is event and meeting planner Maria Dollas...The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in January announced a major exhibit of ancient Greek antiquities which will be coming to the museum in November of 2015. The news was first reported by our very own Shia Kapos of Crains Chicago Business, and was then featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune...Exciting news from our "cousins" at Child's Play Touring Theater. Co-founder June Panagakis Podagrosi informs us that Adam McKay, director of Anchorman 1 and 2, will be the honoree at their annual gala fundraiser, to be held in June of 2014 (exact date TBA) at the famous Second City improv center in Chicago...Attorney, former Oprah attorney, and current DLB Ltd. speakers' bureau president Darcy Bouzeos authored this op-ed piece in the recent Today's Chicago Woman magazine on the power of saying "I Don't Know"...And a very happy 60th wedding anniversary to Darcy's parents, Phil and Lynn Bouzeos!...Sadly, our "cousin" Nick Avgerinos passed away suddenly in January. An attorney and businessman, Nick was once the head of Antenna Satellite's Interactive Division in Greece. He leaves behind two children. May he rest in peace and may his memory be eternal.

BIRTHDAYING THIS MONTH: SInger/actress Ariana Savalas, Oprah's Next Chapter associate producer Andrea Dres, Carsdiva.com publisher Demetra Markopoulos, author and social media entrepreneur Chris Titus, Gramavox co-inventor Pavan Bapu, CPS executive Staci Strategakis, City of Chicago special events associate Cindy Gatziolis, education professional Stacey Vailas, attorney George Vournazos, attorney Tom Paschalis, law student George Bliss Jr., Michael Marks, Jennifer Zarouchiliotis, Lourdes McKillop, Kristine Richie Saranteas, GMC co-director George Bliss.





DECEMBER, 2013

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and happy new year wishes to all our "cousins" in the Greek Media Club. We posted photos from our Christmas party on our EVENTS page. Thanks for being with us to celebrate our 10th anniversary year in 2013 and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": It's been a busy December with the holidays and travel but we managed to find a little time to post some brief items about our numerous "cousins" around the nation... The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, which provides $250,000 annually in financial support to Greek American students, now has scholarship applications available for the upcoming calendar year. The Foundation and its principals are close "cousins" of ours, including founder Chris Tomaras and executive director Yiani Valsamis...If you care about our troops and what they go through, then your must-see movie of 2014 is "Lone Survivor," which hits cinemas the second week of January. Chicago native George Furla, a past GMC visitor and close relative of the Galanis family in our GMC group, is co-producer on this amazing story about US Navy Seals on a mission gone awry in Afghanistan in the mid-2000's. Stars Mark Walhberg and also features Eric Bana. True story, amazing film, brutally honest in its depiction of war's violence, a real tearjerker, and arguably the most authentically realistic war movie ever made...Columnist Shia Kapos at Crains Chicago Business in December listed her "Top 10 Taking Names Posts" for 2013. Shia covers the mover-shakers of Chicago with a special focus on their philanthropy and off-hours...Chicago-to-LA actress/TV host Patricia Kara was recently featured in the magazine LA Splash...Attorney, domestic abuse counselor, women's rights advocate and former Assistant State's Attorney Pamela Ann Paziotopoulos is now co-hosting Security Radio...JIm Wattron, who contributes to the IonTheScene.com celebrity blog of Irene Michaels, has a terrific new product on the market involving removable caster wheels and he's launched a kickstarter campaign to secure seed funding...On January 11, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago hosts a celebration of the life of the recently deceased Angela Parry Paterakis, a noted arts patron who was highly involved with the National Hellenic Museum as well...Want to learn how to speak Greek? Check out this new book by Konstantinos Oikonomou titled "Off We Go to Learn Greek"... Condolences to film producer John Marinopoulos on the much too-early passing of his brother...GMC co-founder and co-director George Bliss recently set up the audio operations equipment for the transmitter at the newly-founded radio station WSFI 88.5 FM in the Lake County and Southern Wisconsin areas. The station is a not-for-profit which will be providing all kinds of programming from news and talk, to religion and sports, and much more. George, long an audiophile, was acting at the behest of station founders Pat McCaskey and Angela Tomlinson.

BIRTHDAYING IN DECEMBER: Marketing ace Deedy Angeletos, film producer Bill Apostol, Public Affairs producer/host Jeff Berkowitz, digital marketing guru George Dratelis, blogger and broadcast producer Steve Galanis, Frances Garris, health institute communications director and former NBC and CBS producer Dorie Klissas, actress/model Anna Rezan Kretseli, video producer Nick Mantis, singer Stephanie Prodromos, Salt Lake Weekly publisher John Saltas, photographer Chris Savas, attorney John Sotos, Wordballoon.com blogger John Suintres, "DJ Moppy" Chris Thomopoulos, writer/broadcaster Kiki Vale, photographer Elias Zimianitis





WEEKS OF NOVEMBER 17 & 24, 2013

AUTHOR AT MUSEUM DEC 5 : Rising drama writer Jeffrey Siger, author of the "Mykonos" series of books including the popular Murder in Mykonos, is back at it again. His latest, Mykonos After Midnight, was recently released and he'll be appearing at the National Hellenic Museum the same night as our annual GMC Christmas party (Thursday, December 5) for a discussion and book signing. Event takes place prior to the GMC party. Jeffrey is now working on yet another installment in the series.



EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Dynamic sister duo Anthe and Vasiliki Mitrakos initiated a Kickstarter campaign for their sharp new Greek magazine Portes. The effort includes educational scholarships for Greek youth...Our own Lou Canellis, lead sports anchor at FOX32 Chicago, is going into the restaurant business with three of his media colleagues, as reported by Robert Feder in his highly-read media blog...And another close "cousin," actress/model/entrepreneur Irene Michaels of the IonTheScene.com Chicago celebrity blog, is now gracing the cover of a new book just released by Richard Rose titled "The Lazarus Conspiracies," a uniquely Chicago tome. Irene was a co-host at our September rooftop function...LA-based comedian Angelo Tsarouchas inked a development deal with famous actor Vince Vaughn for a CTV show in Canada, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter online...CBS Minneapolis news anchor Aristea Brady, a Northwestern U. alum with many real-life cousins in the Chicago and Denver communities, was recently wed to Nathan Smith...Rising fashion blogger Suzanne Kopulos of Garmental.com was recently hired to be a featured blogger for 10 MGMT...Minneaplis-St. Paul-based Katia Dragotis, who works in marketing for the local ESPN radio affiliate, is also involved with a unique online sports business venture and forwarded us her demo reel of on-air work...Author Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff was recently interviewed on WNYC radio New York about his book The Greek House...Pro photographer Dimitri Eliopoulos put together this fantastic photo album from the early November Hellenic Bar Association scholarship gala held at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens, an event which honored three of our "cousins." FOX32 sportscaster Lou Canellis handled emcee duties and many GMCers were on hand to partake in the festivities. Are you in one of the pics?...Our own Angie Poulos will again be performing with the critically-acclaimed Oak Park Concert Choral for their annual Christmas concert on December 24.

BIRTHDAYING THE LAST TWO WEEKS: WGN radio 720-AM and Comcast SportsNet host David Kaplan, Sun-Times "Splash" section contributor Katerina Bizios, Tango dance instructor Agape Pappas, Breakthrough Sports Phoenix, AZ radio co-host Paige Dimakos, WRLR sports radio host Rusty Silber, Emily Vidas, Niki Hondropoulos, and Steve Alexander.





WEEK OF NOVEMBER 11, 2013

EXTRA "COUSIN" CREDITS": NBC5 heath reporter Dr. Sandy Goldberg was recently selected as one of Chicago magazine's 2013 "Chicagoans of the Year." Dr. Sandy is the founder of A Silver Lining Foundation, a 501c3 charity devoted to helping underprivileged women get free mammograms... Actress, businesswoman and I on the Scene celebrity blogger Irene Michaels recently taped the voice-over for the video presentation of an innovative new removable caster wheel product for heavy objects, a product now seeking funding on Kickstarter...Welcome to new "cousin" James P. Axiotis from SoCal, a post production coordinator on "Hell's Kitchen" for FOX who also is working on a reality show and has another project as well...University of Texas assistant instructor Michael Nevradakis, a media veteran who also produces Diologia Radio and Media, is yet another recent addition to the GMC...More drama at Greece's state-run TV broadcaster ERT, as reported in the New York Times.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Digital interactive media entrepreneur Niko Drakoulis, IIT professor and Greek Press environmental columnist George Nassos, Greek music promoter George Katerinis, and Teddy Dres.






WEEK OF NOVEMBER 4, 2013

"COUSINS" HONORED NOV 9 AT NAVY PIER GALA: Three giants among the Chicago Greek community will be honored on Saturday, November 9 by the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois at a black-tie gala being held at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens. This trio has been great friends to the GMC and are also instrumental to the operation of the National Hellenic Museum: Frank Kamberos (co-founder of Treasure Island Foods and former publisher of The Greek Star newspaper), Republic Bank President Aris Halikias, and Stephanie Anton Vlahakis (former executive director of the Museum). Emcee is FOX32 leads sports anchor Lou Canellis. Cocktails begin 6:30 pm, dinner at 7:30, and after-party at 11 pm. Adult admission is $175 (goes up to $200 after October 25) with a student/young professional rate of $100. For further information, email Tom Skallas, 2013 president of the HBA.

FILM FEST RESCHEDULED, GOES WITH NOV 7 SCREENING OF ONE FILM: Greek Film Fest Chicago 2013 has been rescheduled for early 2014 (T.B.A.) after its November slate of films was canceled due to a blown boiler at the Patio Theater, an item which could not be fixed in time for the early November original festival showings. The festival still plans a special screening of the film "The Grocer" on November 7 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.



JOFFREY BALLET DANCERS: Our "cousin" Kathy Kalesperis Smith brings to our attention that her son, Austin Smith, will be performing for the third consecutive year with the Joffrey Ballet Children's Cast for the annual rendition of The Nutcracker Ballet. Austin in pictured in the white shirt, the male lead in the Chinatown/South Side group (photo credit: Bob Nick). The popular musical runs December 6 through 28, 2013. Two other Greek Americans are also part of the youth ensemble, Nicole Boudos and Yiannis Ekonomou.



BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Chicago Tribune "Blue Sky Innovation" editor Andrea Hanis, Greek Film Fest Chicago president Niko Franghias, NY-based comedian and song parody entertainer Jimmy "Super Greek" Santis, musician Bill Demis (Aristons, Hellenic 5, EverybodyOpa.com), East Coast radio host Artemis Skenteris Dimopoulos, marketing exec Karen Freese, PR maven Kathy Posner, entrepreneur and PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation founder Chris Tomaras, Teddi Galanis, Lynn Bouzeos, Debbie Bouzeos, Annette Konstantellos, Chris Matsakis, Zach Leonard, Gina Campanella Mahony, and James Karagiannis.






WEEK OF OCTOBER 28, 2013

JANE & LISA HOST CHARITY SOIREE AT BROADCAST MUSEUM THIS SAT: Our own Jane Monzures and her radio colleague Lisa Fielding are hosting the 3rd annual "Live. Love. Life" charity extravaganza this Saturday, November 2 at Chicago's hottest new cultural venue, the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The event is now being held in honor of Jane's recently deceased mother, Barbara Jane Monzures. Proceeds benefit the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Departments of Neurology and the Feinberg School of Medicine for reserach of rare degenerative brain diseases. The ladies of tons o' fun in store, lots of surprises, music, entertainment, and associated fun. Expect to see some of Chi-town's media luminaries attending as Jane (i101-FM radio host and "Living Healthy Chicago" WGN TV host) and Lisa (network radio newscaster) are working all their contacts to help out a great cause.

HALLOWEEN PARTIES: The Eurocircle Chicago social and business networking group, whose director is GMC "cousin" Maria Dollas, is hosting their annual Halloween party Thursday, October 31 at Tocco. Our own DJ John Grammatis spins dance tracks. Private affair. Sign up for membership at Eurocricle link above...Ladies Night Chicago founder Shari Duffy, another "cousin," is hosting Gold Coast Day of the Dead, a day-after Halloween party on Friday, November 1 at the Museum of Surgical Science, where you're sure to see some ghastly artistic renderings which depict medicine throughout the world's wars and history. The c. 1900 dental exhibit - alone - might be enough to frighten just about anyone.

ANNA DEPARTS FOX32, NEW DESTINATION TBA SOON
: Our GMC co-founder, Anna Davlantes, last week departed FOX32 news after four years with the station, as first reported by veteran media critic Robert Feder. Anna will soon be announcing her next media destination. A Chicago native and graduate of Lane Technical High School and Northwestern University, Anna began her Chicago broadcasting career with NBC5 13 years ago, then switched to FOX32 to anchor the morning news and co-host "Good Day Chicago." She's also a frequent radio contributor, having appeared numerous times on WLS-AM, and produced and hosted the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary "Get Into The Shark Tank." The 3-shot photo is of Anna standing with GMC co-directors George Bliss (left) and Terry Poulos at Anna's 2008 sneak preview screening of the shark documentary, held at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Sisters Anthe Mitrakos and Vasiliki Mitrakos have started a crowdfunding campaign for their quarterly Greek magazine Portes. Partial proceeds also benefit scholarships for Greek American students...Classical musician Tom Clowes reprises his group's string quartet "Crossing Borders Music Collective" November 15 at 8 pm with a performance at the Open Door Theatre in Oak Park, IL. For tickets click here...East coast online analytic and media consultant George Dratelis was just named one of the judges for the annual EPPY Awards given out by Editor & Publisher magazine. The awards honor the best media-affiliated websites across 31 diverse categories.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Fletcher Camera GM Zoe Iltsopoulos Borys, The Greek Star associate editor Maria Karamitsos, Sci-Fi Channel 2013 "Face-Off" winner and master illustrator/mask-maker J. Anthony Kosar, author Barbara Georgans, Demetra Bizios, Penny Vickas, and Morgan Scofes.




WEEK OF OCTOBER 21, 2013

'KOUSIN KIM' MAKES BIG `LIFE CHANGE': After 16 years with NBC5 Chicago as well as 30 total years in the daily TV news business, our longtime close "cousin" Kim Vatis will be stepping down from daily news at NBC5 to focus on family and travel, as reported this week by veteran media observer Robert Feder in his news blog. She and station management are reportedly in talks to keep Kim with the station as a special assignment reporter on a regular basis, although greatly scaled back. For the past several years, Kim has been a weekday morning reporter at NBC5 and she also anchors weekend mornings, in addition to hosting the weekly "Your Money" show on personal finance. A University of Florida alum, Kim is an avid golfer and world traveler, two things she is sure to be doing more in the coming years. Her final appearance as a full-timer at NBC5 will be December 1. She maintains her home in Chicago and will continue to be based here. Kim (pictured above in glasses at the GMC's Summer 2012 rooftop event at the National Hellenic Museum) is a charter member of the GMC. Apropos to her Greek goddess roots, her nickname in the news biz is Kim Vatis "The News Goddess." From all of us here at the GMC, we wish "The News Goddess" all the success and happiness in the world as she pursues the next chapter in her life.

HANIS POINT PERSON IN LATEST TRIB VENTURE: The Chicago Tribune this month launched Blue Sky Innovation, focusing on Chicago-area start-up companies, and management appointed veteran editor Andrea Hanis, a longtime GMC "cousin," to lead the team. The endeavor will have a heavy online presence and will also be covered in the paper itself. Andrea had been serving as business planning editor for the Tribune. She came over from Crain's Chicago Business, where she served as editor of the Business of Life Section. Previous to that, she was an editor and reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times where she focused on travel. Noted media observer Robert Feder reported on the new Trib venture in his online blog, calling it a "start-up about start-ups."

KOKONIS RESUMES BOOK TOUR: Novelist Nicholas D. Kokonis has resumed his book tour across the States, presenting Out of Arcadia: The American Odyssey of Angelo Vlahos, the sequel to his award-winning debut novel Arcadia, My Arcadia. Most recently, Kokonis presented in the Chicago area at the Ascension of Our Lord in Lincolnshire, the Saint John the Baptist in Des Plaines, and the Assumption in Madison, WI. When he presented at the Saints Anargyroi in Boston, Kokonis was honored with the attendance and commentary of his esteemed friend and mentor Nicholas Gage (at left in photo with Nikos, who is at right), the Dean of Greek American Literature. “This story, with its shared experiences, touches the reader deeply,” Gage said among others. On October 11, Kokonis will talk in Bennington, VT, and on October 18 he will be in Minneapolis, MN, while another book event is being planned at Triton College in River Forest. Strongly believing that our brief sojourn on this earth cannot be fully realized unless we concern ourselves with other people, Kokonis donated the proceeds of the first printing of Out of Arcadia for the purchase of 15,000 syringes at the Pan-Arcadian Hospital in Tripolis, Greece.

OCT 31-NOV 4 EVENT IN WASHINGTON DC: The Greek Media Club is proud to be a media sponsor for our "cousins" in the nation's capitol of Washington. DCGreeks.com once again hosts their annual Pan-Hellenism Weekend October 31 through November 4. Many major national Hellenic organizations that service the needs of Greek-American Young Adults will be participating. The anchor social events for the weekend are a Thursday night welcoming Happy Hour, a Friday Greek Night, MezeMania -- a Saturday Late Afternoon Happy Hour catered by local Greek restaurants, Saturday Late Night Bouzoukia featuring a Live Greek Band, and a Sunday Greek Night. Package and a la carte deals, with the emphasis being placed on encouraging pre-registration for the entire weekend. Open to those 18-and-older. Plenty of time for sightseeing and experiencing the great attractions in the Capitol.

PETRELIS IN ROLLING MEADOWS OCT 26: Famous Greek singer Thanos Petrelis is coming to the Chicago area Saturday, October 26 for a live performance at the Meadows Club Banquets in Rolling Meadows, IL. Greek Promotions Live is coordinating the event. Doors open at 8 pm. No age limit. Special guests: Sarbel and Nancy Alexiodi. More as we get closer.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Chicago Bride magazine editor Cathy Demetropoulos recently appeared on CBS2 Chicago to address bridal fashion trends...FOX5 (Washington D.C.) news reporter Laura Evans, wife of D.C. public policy guru Mike Manatos, was just promoted to 5 pm co-anchor, as recently reported. Laura's nationally-syndicated "Laura's Likes" segment is also aired in the Chicago market on FOX32 ...WIND 560-AM morning drive co-host Amy Jacobson last week was profiled in the Daily Herald newspaper about her Chicago Northwest Suburban roots growing up in Mount Prospect and how having a paper delivery route as a child fostered her love for news...Check out the goulish Halloween special effects of Chicago-based master mask-maker J. Anthony Kosar, which he demonstrated last week on WGN9 Chicago. Earlier this year, Anthony won a live Sci-Fi Channel contest which pitted budding special effects artists on the nationally-televised "Face-Off" show. He won a Fiat car in addition to professional Hollywood mentoring and financial support for his rising career...Wedding congrats! First, to retired pro rodeo cowboy Dino Loukas, now writing a book about his life. Dino was married last weekend to Effie Fronimos. And nuptials also called for Forbes media account exec Menia Poulios who was recently wed as well...San Francisco Bay-area journalist Jim Lucas is in the midst of writing a book about San Francisco Greeks...We were recently informed of the passing of Peter Gary Crawford (Destounis), a Chicago freelance writer and sports statistician. May he rest in peace.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: ABC15 (Champaign, IL) news anchor Elitsa Bizios, filmmaker Melissa Kosar, LA-based filmmaker Alethea Avramis, music conductor and orchestra maestro Chris Sarlas, radio producer and web designer Frank Mahony, Portokalada Productions founder Steve Livaditis, print correspondent Cecilia Peon, Laurie Kladis, and Jason Vranas







WEEK OF OCTOBER 14, 2013


AUTHOR AT MUSEUM OCT 17: The National Hellenic Museum on Thursday, October 17 presents a book discussion and signing by award-winning writer and University of Michigan professor Natalie Bakopoulos. She explores her debut novel "The Green Shore," about a family and their experiences of dissent and desire during Greece's 1967 military coup. Doors open at 6 pm for a reception, program begins 6:30 and ends at 8 pm.




BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Retired pro rodeo cowboy-turned-author ("Chicago Cowboy") Dino Loukas, WXRT-FM radio host Johnny Mars, NY-based Ellas TV and Hellenic Voice correspondent Bob Nicolaides (also president of Marketing Strategies), WERE-AM Cleveland "International Hour" radio host Valerie Varlamos, Federal Reserve HR specialist Harvey Daniels (also a guitarist in a Chicago-area band), makeup effects artist Tasia Apostolopoulos.





WEEKS OF OCTOBER 7 & SEPTEMBER 30, 2013



FILM BY GREEKS AT CHICAGO INT'L FILM FEST: The 49th annual Chicago International Film Festival is being held in October and one of the screenings features "Wild Duck" in the "New Director" category. The director is Yannis Sakaridis and he's also a co-producer along with Nikkos J. Frangos and Venia Vergou. Screenings of "Wild Duck" are slated for October 11, 14, and 18.

GALANIS DIVES INTO TV PRODUCING: Duke and Northwestern alum, our "cousin" Steven Galanis, is now in the business end of film production. He formed the company Old Trinity Capital LLC and his first project resulted in him raising $250,000 for the new TV series "SAF3," a beach rescue themed show backed by the producers of "Baywatch." He's also the founder of 3One2 Entertainment and blogs on politics ("The Mayor Daily") and a myriad of issues at ChicagoNow.com. You can catch SAF3 Saturdays at 1 pm on WGN9 in Chicago, and it also airs in KLTA in LA, and WPIX in NYC.


EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Our NY "cousin" Ellen Karis, the "Greek Goddess of Comedy" and an occasional political satirist on Sean Hanity's nationally-syndicated radio show, recently performed standup in her mainstream act as an opener for famous TV star Drew Carey...Our own Tom Skallas, a board member of the National Hellenic Museum and attorney with Thompson Coburn, was featured on the front cover of the September 24 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin along with fellow Hellenic Bar Association members Mark Poulakidas, James Zouras, and Dean Marinakis...Attorney/author Eldon Ham serves on one of the boards for Avenues to Independence, which helps mentally disabled people find jobs, and thanks to Eldon's suggestion the organization hosted their annual wine tasting fundraiser at the National Hellenic Museum, which Eldon discovered at a GMC event!...Shari Duffy, proprietor of Ladies Night Chicago and the co-host of the GMC's September 10th anniversary event, is hosting a really cool Halloween party called "Gold Coast Day of the Dead" on November 1 at the Museum of Surgical Science, which can be a ghastly sight to some. Located on Lake Shore Drive near Oak Street..."Beyond the Beltway" radio host Bruce Dumont, who's the founder and chairman of the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications and whom the GMC hosted as a special guest in 2010, recently announced that he will be stepping down as executive director of the Museum to focus more on fundraising. This was reported by Robert Feder in his much-followed Chi-town media blog...LA-based Mary Laina, a past supporter of the GMC who visited us is 2009, is a longtime stage and screen actor who recently completed a general voice-over demo and is venturing into other areas of entertainment.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK (combining the weeks of September 30 and October 7): Marketing Strategies (New Jersey) president Bob Nicolaides (also a noted commentator in various national Greek publications), Philadelphia-based QVC host Lisa Brady, communications rep Barbara Mathopoulos of the National Association of Realtors, author NIck Kastoris, advertising media pro Peter Drakoulis, PR rep Remi Gonzales, Tribune Company and Northwest Herald photographer John Konstantaras, attorney Tina Tsatsoulis, and Mary Papadopoulos.




WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 23, 2013




TSAROUCHAS BRINGS LAUGHS TO RIVERS SEPT 25
: Greek Promotions Live in Chicago is bringing noted comedian Angelo "The Funny Greek" Tsarouchas to RIvers Casino in Des Plaines for a live show Wednesday September 25. Doors open 9:30 pm. Angelo has appeared on specials for the Showtime cable network and he's appeared at every major comedy festival in the world. Currently, he's starring in his own film "Fred and Vinnie," playing the role of the "fattest vegetarian in the world."





FILM SCREENING THIS SATURDAY SEPT 29: FIlmHellenes, in concert with the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece, present the film "Kisses to the Children," Audience Award Winner at the 2012 Greek Film Fest Chicago, for a screening on Sunday, September 29 at the Lincolnwood, IL community center, 6900 N. Lincoln Avenue. FIlmmaker Vasillis Loules tells the story of five Jewish children who were saved by Christians in German-occupied Greece during World War II. Doors open 6 pm followed by the film screening at 6:30. Q&A afterward with Dr. Mimis Cohen. Donations appreciated, which benefit FilmHellenes, the parent organization of Greek Film Fest Chicago, a 501c3 not-for-profit. Phone 262.492.8627 for details.


4TH ANNIVERSARY FOR GREEK REPORTER: Publisher Anastasios Papapostolou just celebrated the 4th anniversary of his online Greek news and Greek Hollywood reporter zine GreekReporter.com. The site was started on the campus of Cal State University-Northridge while Anastasios was still in college. His focus is international news of Greeks and Hellenism.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS"
: Save the date, November 2, for the 3rd annual "Live. Love. Life." fundraiser benefiting Northwestern Memorial Hospital, being held at the Museum of Broadcast Communications and co-hosted by CBS Chicago radio reporter Lisa Fielding and "Living Healthy Chicago" WGN-TV host and i101-FM morning host Jane Monzures. More details as we get closer....Another save the date, November 22, as author Jeffery Siger appears in Forest Park, IL to discuss his new tome "Mykonos After Midnight"...New GMC member shout-out to Steve Pastis, associate editor at OurValleyVoice.com in California.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Branding/design expert Anastasia Athans Stothoff of Insight Design Solutions, San Francisco-based writer Dena Kouremetes, Studio Music Group (California) VP Mariella Kolona Stockmal, HPSI officer Jenny Stavropoulos, Tracy Yiannias, Kathy Apostal, and Tom Schwalge.





WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 16, 2013

TV STAR "CRASHES" KOUZINA THIS THURSDAY: Word just arrived that Alison Victoria, host and interior designer of HGTV's popular nationally-televised show "Kitchen Crashers," will be attending the annual Kouzina event at Chicago's National Hellenic Museum this Thursday, September 19. Venue is at 333 S. Halsted in Greektown. RSVP on the Museum website. Kouzina is a great fundraiser for the Museum and it features food fare from some of the greatest chefs and restaurants that Chicago has to offer. Event runs from 6 pm to 9 pm. Live music too, a fun social event!

LIT LEGEND PETRAKIS HONORED SEPT 22 BY FILMHELLENES: Filmhellenes, which conducts the annual Greek Film Fest Chicago program, will be honoring literary legend Harry Mark Petrakis on Sunday September 22 from 5 pm to 9 pm at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. Q&A with the author is included with the program, moderated by John Petrakis, professor of screenwriting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the University of Chicago. John Petrakis is also a former film critic at the Chicago Tribune. There will be a brief ceremony awarding Mr. Petrakis the "Filmhellene Honorary Award 2013," followed by a screening of the film "A Dream of Kings" by director Daniel Mann, adapted from the Petrakis novel of the same title. Admission is $40 for individuals, $75 for two tickets. Light appetizers and beverages included. Click here to purchase tickets. Proceeds benefit Filmhellenes, a 501c3 not-for-profit. FIlmhelllenes president is Niko Franghias.


AUTHOR WRITES OF LOVE FOR GREEK ISLAND: In "The Greek House" by East Coast "cousin" Christian Brechneff, the author presents a "funny, touching narrative about his relationship to the Greek island of Sifnos," reads advance PR. He writes "with warmth about its unforgettable residents and the house he bought in a hilltop village. This is the story of how a twenty-one-year old painter searching for artistic inspiration and a quiet place to work fell in love with Sifnos, and how it became a haven from the complexities of his life. It is the story of his village and of the island over thirty-odd years—from a time when there were barely any roads to the arrival of the modern world with its tourists and high-speed boats and the euro. And it is the story of the end of this love affair—how the island changed and how he changed; how he realized he had outgrown Sifnos, or couldn’t grow there anymore."


GRAFI GETS FUNDED! Birmingham, AL "cousin" Michael Kourmoulis last week received word that he had gained angel funding for his kickstarter campaign innovative mobile app. The app allows one to write in their own handwriting, an exciting retro concept in this oft impersonal technological era.




EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Veteran WGN radio/TV film and stage critic Dean Richards will be presented with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the Naperville, IL Independent Film Festival this week, as reported by Chicagoland Radio & Media....Reporter Peter Zervakis of ABC19 in LaCrosse, WI was recently given an award by the Wisconsin State Bar Association for his coverage of a double murder case. Read about it in The Greek Star...Also in The Greek Star, associate editor Maria Karamitsos in September penned this feature interview with Tony Karman, executive director of the International Art Exposition-Expo Chicago...The EuroCircle Chicago social group is hosting events this week, September 19 and 20. Director is our own Maria Dollas...Save the date: November 2. That's when i101-FM morning host Jane Monzures hosts her annual fundraiser for charity, this one at the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications. It's for sure to be a hit. More as we get closer...Another save the date: On November 22, author Jeffery Siger ("Murder in Mykonos") will sign and discuss his latest tome "Mykonos After Midnight" in Forest Park, IL. More as we get closer.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: NY-based Author/publisher Pauline Manos-Manolakos, Michigan-based author Suzanne Zannis-Jenkins, newsman/professor Roger Schatz, web developer Kostas Vasilopoulos, exec director Yanni Valsamas of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, San Francisco's Kelly Walker, Cubby Bear and Wrigleyville Rooftops marketing exec Stacey Loukas,  owner Sam Cappas at The Mid, Janice Price, Angie Poulos, and Julie Karagianis.



WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 9


ANOTHER "COUSIN" FLICK
: The GMC has a growing list of "cousins" in the film business. Now comes Joe Orlandino, who's the executive producer of the new movie "Anita," set in 19th century Rome. It's about a Brazilian freedom fighter whose love interest is played by famous actor Stephen Baldwin. Joe is the founder of Atlas Media Group in Chicago.




REQUESTS YOUR VOTE FOR CONTEST
: Our longtime "Carolina Cousin," comedian Basile, is asking us to support his daughter by voting for her in an exciting contest to pick a designer for a new snowboard line. His daughter, Zarahoula Katsikas (bet you didn't know Basile's last name until now ;), made the top 50 in a contest to pick an artist to design the artwork for Signal Snowboard.



SEPTEMBER MUSEUM EVENTS: On September 12, the National Hellenic Museum hosts author Christopher Bakken, who will address his tome "Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table." Begins 6 pm. Discussion of travel, literature, and food writing. The Museum will also host its annual Kouzina event on September 19, where you can sample fare from the best chefs in Chicago.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Look out for the new Starz TV series called "Power," co-produced by veteran film producer George Furla, who visited the GMC with his Chicago-based family in 2012, including George's sister Teddi Galanis and another relative Kiki Furla, both of whom are GMC regulars...New National Hellenic Museum development director Renee Pappas sent along this article where she was interviewed about her rock n' roll past, which including a marriage to music industry titan Jerry Wexler, as well as anecdotes about encounters with myriad musical icons...Actor George Ginakakis, who visited us at our September 5 event, will be appearing in the Fall release of the feature length horror film "Scent"...Just got wind about the Clearwater, FL Greek band Islanders and we thought to share their tunes. Headed by Demetrios Kousathanas...We'll have an event photo album from our September GMC event at Estate posted next week on our EVENTS page.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: CBS Tampa Bay producer Nicholas Anastos, Virginia Beach-based NNTS TV host and Red Zebra Broadcasting associate Greg Bicouvaris, singer/musician Helena Mehalis, singer/musician Maria Mehalis, Cinespace Studios manager Alex Pissios, actress Maria Alexiou, Greek music promoter Anna Housakos, Evange Bozinis, attorney Elias Matsakis, GMC co-director Terry Poulos.




WEEK OF AUGUST 26, 2013

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Socialite/slash/real estate pro Monica Canellis and her Stimulus Social club fab lady friends host their monthly mega-party Wednesday, September 4 at Benchmark in Chicago, benefiting Alumni for Public Schools...Author Eric Metaxas ("Bonhoffer") appears at the Moody Church on September 7 for an evening with syndicated radio host Dennis Prager. Discussion of politics, religion, more...ABC7 newscaster Kathy Brock and Ron Magers headline the September 11 Publicity Club of Chicago luncheon at Maggiano's in Chicago. Moderated by Loyola University professor of broadcast news Lee Hood. Topics: The future of media, how to pitch stories, more...DJ Yianni Morikis is hosting "Greek Night" Friday, September 6 at 9 Muses in Greektown beginning 10 pm and ending at 2 pm...EuroCircle Chicago, whose director is Maria Dollas, is hosting another fantastic party Friday, September 10 at Vertigo Sky Lounge in Chicago. DJ John Curley spins. Title: "Celebrate Life," held on Suicide Prevention Day for public awareness. Event held in conjunction with No Stigmas. Click link to register.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Omogenia publisher and Chicago Greek Hours radio host Sotiris Rekoumis, Lovehammers rocker Bobby Kourelis, The Greek Star newspaper office manager Peter Skontos, videographer Dhimitri Vasili, Margarita Vern, Marika Pappas, Frank Columbus, Gina Bokios.




WEEK OF AUGUST 26, 2013



RUNNING ADS ON SCORE WEBSITE
: Our "cousin" Jim Saranteas, publisher of The Fantasy Greek NFL-focused website, began running advertisements on The Score sportsradio 670-AM website. The ads will run during August/September on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Jim is a former attorney as well and his content is a unique take on the booming fantasy football genre.




EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": It was just reported that Greece's state-run ERT broadcast network is again up and running under a new arrangement after cost-cutting measures gutted the former incarnation...Funny promo film trailer from Peter Parthenis Jr. about the new superhero "Gyro Man" by our friends at Grecian Delight in Chicago.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Dr. Sandy Goldberg (NBC5 health correspondent), City News legend and former Chicago Tribune newsman Paul Zimbrakos, National Hellenic Museum board member Stephanie Anton Vlahakis, DJ Peter Canellis, Tom Gregory, Steve Bokios, Laura Georgieva, Tom Poulos




WEEK OF AUGUST 19, 2013

GREECE, ROCKERS A GOOD MIX: (In group photo, famous rocker Chris Hillman in center standing with kids from the IOCC). Of course rockers love Greece. Everybody loves Greece! A recent post about famous rock n' roll musicians and their affinity for Greece, written at GreekReporter.com (whose publisher is "cousin" Anastasios Papapostolou), reminded us of our "cousins" Rene Pappas and her sister Connie Pappas Hillman. Connie for the past 30 plus years has served as mega-star Elton John's North American touring manager, in addition to other duties. She's also the longtime wife of Rock N' Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman, one of the founding members of 60's-70's rock icons The Byrds (all-time great songs "Every Day Turn Turn Turn," "8 Miles High," "Mr. Tambourine Man"). Chris also later founded the popular band Flying Burrito Brothers. A famous Philhellene, Chris is a devout Greek Orthodox Christian who's performed at various charity events benefiting International Orthodox Christian Charities and other Hellenic causes. Years back, Chris and his Byrds-mates trekked to Greece, chronicled by Ancient Faith Radio. Both the Greek Reporter and Ancient Faith articles are fun reads if you like Greece and rock music (duh!). Renee, meanwhile, just moved to Chicago from Athens, where she worked for Greece's Foreign Ministry as a liaison to the diaspora. She was recently appointed the new development director at the National Hellenic Museum. Renee has a few ties to music herself, including ex-husband Jerry Wexler, a famous music industry mogul.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS" & EVENTSCo-authors Sam Stamatis and his son, attorney Peter Stamatis, will discuss their World War II tome "Dandelions For Dinner" this Thursday, August 22, book signing to follow, at City Lit Books, 2523 North Kedzie Blvd., Chicago from 6:30 pm to 9pm. The book recalls the Nazi occupation of Greece during WWII and how many in the Motherland had to resort to eating, among other things, dandelions, for basic sustenance...Chicago Sun-Times "Splash" section editor and publisher Susanna Negovan is the special guest this Friday, August 23 at Macy's on State Street, Chicago (level 5) for the Spanx "Star Power" event being held from 5:30 to 7:30 pm...The "Greek Goddess of Comedy," New York-based comedian/political satirist Ellen Karis appeared as a panelist on the Sean Hannity radio show August 19. She's also appeared on Hannity's FOX TV show numerous times...LA-based model/actress/TV host Patricia Kara was a guest blogger this month at SanctuaryofStyle.net, writing about fitness... Great story in the August 14 Washington Post about attorney and former Northbrook, IL mayor Mark Damisch, a prominent Philhellene who taught himself to play classical music on the piano and is now an accomplished pianist and just recently performed at the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. He and his daughters, who are operatic singers, are touring Europe this Summer...Minneapolis-based Katia Dragotis recently began as an account manager at ESPN1500, the Twin Cities radio affiliate of the sports broadcasting conglomerate...Save the date: Saturday, November 2, radio/TV host Jane Monzures of WGN's "Living Healthy Chicago" hosts her 2nd annual "Live. Love. Life" charity benefit, this time at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Chicago Bride magazine editor Cathy Demetropoulos, ABC20 Springfield news anchor Natalie Ann Sparacio, Nashville-based singer Perry Danos, Children's educational book author Peter Larangis, photographer/graphic designer Sofia Spentzas of Spiral Art Design, editor/writer Connie Kakavas Lissner, Marketing Keys founder Roger Keys, TV host Lilou Mace, managing director Leah Michalos of The Directors Company, writer Mary Houmis-Diab, Steve Bokios, Chris Karabas.




WEEK OF AUGUST 12, 2013

MUSEUM ROOFTOP EVENT THIS SATURDAY AUG 17
: It's shaping up to be a big turnout. The Chicago-based National Hellenic Museum is hosting "An Evening on the Rooftop" this Saturday, August 17 from 8 pm to Midnight under the stars with a spectacular view of the Willis Tower from the West looking East. A few of our "cousins" are hosting, including main host Jane Monzures, host of WGN TV's "Living Healthy Chicago" and co-host at WIQI radio i101-AM. Spins by DJ Con. Must be 21 and over to enter. $10 donation includes one drink. Cash bar the rest of the way. Host committee includes: Associate Producer Andrea Dres of "Oprah's Next Chapter," Chrissy Haralampopoulos, Jason Vranas, Pamela Visvardis, Xristina Venos, Chris Apostal, Georgia Kastaris, and Theodora Marinos.

AUG 17 COOKING WITH KASS
: Chicago Tribune page 2 columnist John Kass and the Trib Nation programs reprise their ongoing series "Cooking With Kass" on August 17 at Kendall College in River West, Chicago. John is a `foodie fanatic' and loves to share recipes and culinary insights with readers. Trib Nation promotes this as "John Kass usually roasts the city's political elite, but now he wants to roast a whole pig just for you. The lunchtime event is a must-do for any real Kass fan. No chumbalones allowed." Get your tickets soon because this event gets booked solid. Parking included with admission. Discussion of current issues is part of the program.

FILM AIRING ON PBS IN AUGUST
: Our "cousin" Amelia Estelle Dellos and her company Corn Bred Films produced the PBS documentary "Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha & Potter Palmer," which recently aired for the first time on WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago. The film will be replayed August 2, 4, 6, and 7 on WTTW, and Amelia will make appearances August 14 (Highland Park library) and September 10 (Eisenhower library, Harwood Heights) for further screenings and discussions. Palmer was one of Chicago's foremost civic, business and philanthropic leaders of the early 20th century and was instrumental in helping shape what is now modern State Street.


EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Sisters Stephany and Lexy Prodromos just released a new music video and the girls, who have performed two or three times at GMC events, keep getting better and better...Garmental.com fashion blog publisher Suzanne Kopulos has been named "Fun Fearless Fashionista" and as such will serve as a spokesperson for General Growth Properties...Still more Greek festivals and events this Summer. Let The Greek Star associate editor Maria Karamitsos be your guide...Famous journalist Helen Thomas, who passed away of recent, was a longtime fixture as a White House correspondent. We've learned that, while she was born to Lebanese parents, Helen was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church...Condolences to the family of Bill Demis, whose father George Demitropoulos passed away late last week. May he rest in peace. George was a longtime printer in the Chicago area and his son Bill is also in the business, in addition to being one of the foremost Greek musicians in the nation (and expert bouzouki player) as lead of the famous Greek band The Aristons...Condolences also to the family of Chicagoan James Nikitas, a "cousin" of ours who passed away late last week. James was a big sports fanatic and an inductee of the National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament. He wasn't a "media" guy but he did once serve as a book distributor locally for the tome "Capone May Go Free," and he's our friend, so rest in peace Jim. You will be missed.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Radio news anchor Andrea Darlas of WGN 720-AM...Draft Fcb creative VP Tina Manikas, rocker Dino Kourelis of the Lovehammers, new media entrepreneur John Karantonis, attorney and National Hellenic Museum exec board member Tom Skallas (also a contributor to The Greek Star newspaper), actor and AroundChicagoNow.com principal Spiro Frentzas, actress/producer Tammy Karabas Brody, Gayle Stellas, and Connie Michalarias.




WEEK OF AUGUST 5, 2013

WEDS AUG 7 FASHION PARTY INVITE: Our "cousin" Suzanne Kopulos , founder of the rising fashion blog Garmental.com, has been hosting a series of fashion social functions titled "Keep It Chic" and the final in the series is this Wednesday, August 7 at RM Champaign Salon, 116 N. Green Street (one block west of Greektown) from 7-9 pm. You're invited and there will be champaign for the women or Brugal and Peroni for the men, compliments of Suzanne, who's celebrating the end of the show's successful run. She'll be featuring the latest hot couture, and most notably this night will be Lori's Shoes. It's a gal thing but hey guys, lots of women present so you know what to do! RSVP is required for entry. Email us and we'll forward it along to Suzanne. Garmental is sponsored by Keep.com, which is supporting Suzanne's company and the vibrant local fashion community in Chicago. Suzanne appears regularly as a shopping and style expert on NBC5 Chicago, ABC7 Chicago, WGN and was featured on MSNBC’s "The Big Idea."

AMAZING NEW DIGITAL APP DELIVERS YOUR OWN UNIQUE HANDWRITING: Birmingham, AL-based Michael Kourmoulis believes technology can make us too impersonal so he invented Grafi, an innovative new texting and email application allowing users to type messages in their own handwriting. He recently started a kickstarter campaign to raise funds necessary to bring the app to fruition. The idea came to him when he was reading 20-year old letters which were handwritten by his now late sister. He felt a human touch with her letters as though he could hear her voice from the grave. Michael was so moved by those letters that the app idea came flooding to his brain in a burst of inspiration. Grafi is the Greek word for "script." Last Friday, Michael appeared on the local ABC affiliate in Birmingham to speak about Grafi. The Kickstarter campaign has another 19 days to go.


TIMELY NEW BOOK IN WAKE OF BASEBALL SCANDALS: Our "cousin" Eldon Ham's timing couldn't have been better, coming on the heels of the steroid and banned performance enhancing substances landmark suspensions handed down this week to stars such as Yankees player Alex Rodriguez and others. Eldon is an attorney and author of four books about sports. He's also the resident sports legal analyst at WSCR "The Score" sportsradio 670-AM. This Summer, he released his fourth tome, titled "All The Babe's Men," chronicling the greatest home run seasons in Major League Baseball history and how those seasons changed America.



5 MAKE RARE `SPLASH': In a rare coincidence, five of our "cousins" were directly or indirectly involved with Page 16 of the August 4-10 "Splash" section of the Chicago Sun-Times. First, the special section's editor in chief is Susanna Negovan. The writer of the article was Katerina Bizios, who's also publisher of Impulse magazine at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Photographer was Sofia Spentzas of Spiral Art Design, event planner was Penny Anadiotis of Red Couch Events, and the DJ was John Haralambopoulos of SoundsofGreece.com. The article was coverage of the wedding of Diane Khania and John Lourmas.

BLISS, FRENTZAS ON THE CALL: GMC co-director George Bliss and fellow "cousin" Spiro Frentzas were part of the play-by-play and color commentary team for the annual charity benefit baseball game pitting the Chicago Police Department vs. the Chicago Fire Department. Listen here to the live stream, courtesy of George. George is highly active with the 16" no-hands softball leagues in Chicagoland, in addition to its Hall of Fame in Forest Park, IL, and Spiro does extra work as an actor, occasionally portraying a police officer on the TV crime drama set in Chicago titled  "The Chicago Code."

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": The fab ladies of Stimulus Social Club, including our own Monica Canellis, host their monthly social event Wednesday August 7 at Japonais...The NFL season is upon us and Jim Saranteas, publisher of TheFantasyGreek.com, has the breakdown for your upcoming fantasy league draft...From August 5-9, the Chicago Sister Cities International Fesitval is being held at Daley Plaza featuring authentic ethnic food and merchandise, as well as dance demonstrations from Noon to 1 pm each day so stop by if you're in the area. Admission is free...Condolences to our longtime close "cousin" Lee Roupas on last week's passing of his father, John Roupas.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: WCKG AM-1530 radio host Geoff Pinkus, former newspaper editor Charles Mouratides (now with CHI Circle for Hellas and Israel), contractor and former "Bull Run" reality TV participant Spiro Tsaparas, artist Rip Kastaris, fitness guru and author Lee Roupas, radio host Emilie McKendall of WSRB Soul 106.4, businesswoman and digital video and graphics artisan Vickie Kozonis, Jenna Lee Demitropoulos, Kirk Vidas, and Diamond Mendonides.




WEEK OF JULY 29, 2013


FURLA'S LATEST OPENS FRIDAY: Rising Hollywood producer George Furla, brother of our own Teddi Galanis, is co-producer for "2 Guns," opening in theaters this Friday. The film features an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, and James Marsden. George had a big year in 2012, having his imprint as producer or co-producer on three big films, including "Alex Cross" with Tyler Perry, Rachel Nichols and Mathew Fox, "Broken City," again with Wahlberg along with Russell Crow and Catherine Zeta Jones, and "End of Watch" with Jake Gyllenhaal. George attended the GMC's 2012 event at Vertigo Sky Lounge and had a cadre of family members in tow. Pictured with him in the group photo are (L-R) Jonathan Galanis, Lydia Hull, George Furla, Teddi Galanis, Themis Galanis, Steven Galanis, and family matriarch Helen Furla (seated).











SKIP REUNITES WITH TV AND BASEBALL LEGEND: Our own Skip Griparis, an actor and musician, attended the Chicago Cubs game July 29 and reunited with his former acting partner Bob Uecker in the press box at Wrigley Field. Bob is a baseball legend and the longtime radio play-by-play announcer for the MIlwaukee Brewers. While many recall him most for his self-deprecating Miller Lite commercials of yore ("I must be in the front row"), Bob is also an accomplished film actor. He and Skip played the part of the broadcast team in the 1990's hit comedy movie "Major League" and "Major League II." The first run (1989) had an all-star cast which featured such rising stars as Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernson, Rene Russo, and Wesley Snipes. Skip is also an accomplished musician. Years back, he was the lead touring guitarist for famous singer Olivia Newton John. Today, he performs standup comedy as well as live singing and guitar performances both locally and around the nation.

20-CONCERT TOUR ABROAD: Attorney Mark Damisch, a Philhellene and former mayor of Northbrook, IL, is also an accomplished singer, and two of his daughters are rising talents. On August 17, they embark on a 35-day, six-country, 20-concert tour of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Washington, D.C. Stops include the Norwegian National Cathedral of Oslo, the Oslo International School, Fredericksborg Castle (Denmark, home of the King and Queen), the US Embassy in Denmark, Chicago's sister city of Gothenburg (Sweden), the US embassies in Sweden and Finland, Kotka (Finland), the Rimsky Korsakov House (on Stravinsky's piano), and Sheremetev Place in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Some appearances are charity benefits. What an incredible odyssey!!

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Midday WCKG radio host Geoff "The Pinker" Pinkus is taking a hiatus from on-air duties. The station wrote about his plans, including focusing on his daughter's wedding and other career options. His sidekick is Frank "eboy" Mahony...Emily Bouzarelos Vidas recently joined Verros Photography, founded by Dino Verros.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Media professor Zizi Papacharissi (head of the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago), Clear Channel on-air personality and production assistant/board operator at ESPN radio Chicago George Cotsirilos, musician Vasilios Gaitanos, Tina Gountanis, and Plato Dimakos.





WEEK OF JULY 22, 2013


JIMMY TRIBUTE SHOW SUNDAY JULY 28: A group of well-known Chi-town musicians are hosting a tribute show this Sunday in honor of legend nightclub crooner Jimmy Damon, a longtime close "cousin" of ours who passed away earlier this year. The event takes place at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. and begins at 2 pm. Proceeds benefit the Jimmy Damon Tribute Fund, a scholarship program at Columbia College Chicago. Tickets range from $20 for students to $35 general seating and $50 premium seating. Jimmy was a child prodigy who at the age of 14 was signed by Sun Records, the same company which had Elvis Presley in its stable of talent. He ultimately became "Mr. Chicago" after moving here from Tennessee. He was so popular on the local scene, playing the hottest clubs and hobnobbing with Windy City business, cultural and civic elite during his heydays of the 60's and 70's, that the City of Chicago named a street in his honor, Jimmy Damon Way at Navy Pier. Among those performing on Sunday are Audrey Morris, Bobbi Wilsyn, Beckie Menzie, Mark Burnell, Carla Gordon, Nana Mason, and Denise Tomasello. For seat reservations, click here. Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich wrote this feature article which appeared Friday, July 26.

O'HURLEY SWINGS MOMENTUM TO STEPHANOPOULOS FILM": Only days to go in the kickstarter campaign. See link below. New York filmmaker and GMC "cousin" George Stephanopoulos just scored a coup by landing former "Seinfeld" regular and current "Family Guy" cast member John O'Hurley for his romantic golf comedy "Swing Away," set to be filmed in Crete, Greece. The O'Hurley addition will help to bring more momentum to the film's kickstarter funding campaign. George is a media attorney and filmmaker who once served as legal counsel to "Saturday Night Live" honcho Lorne Michaels, is going all out on his latest film project. George partnered with Paul Lingas and the two are adamant that they have a winner on their hands. At the outset of June, the two began a kick-starter campaign on Rockethub. They have also secured screenings in many major US cities, pending the outcome of initial seed funding. Chicago is one of the destinations they're targeting. The two filmmakers argue that they have a feature which not only has the potential to replicate some of the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" comedic and critical acclaim magic, but also a project which can be a vehicle to showcase the exotic beauty of Grecian islands and Greece itself in a time when tourism needs a significant boost. George, who's a real-life cousin to ABC Network News chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos, has worked with many major media production and distribution conglomerates, including Discovery Networks, and knows how to get projects made. Lingas has a Master's from USC's Film School and has produced, written and directed a number of award winning films. His screenwriting work includes original screenplays as well as working as a freelance screenwriter, script doctor and editor for a variety of production companies in Los Angeles, New York, London and Athens.

TALKING (BOBBLE) HEADS: Better to be a bobblehead than a knucklehead. Or so thought the Chicago Fire MLS pro soccer club, whose recent clever promotional campaign involved circulating bobblehead dolls in the likeness of local celebrities. Two of them happen to be our "cousins" Anna Davlantes of FOX32 TV and John Kass of the Chicago Tribune, a soccer dad and the game's premiere local advocate among non-sports media. Anna hosts the weekday morning talk show "Good Day Chicago," and when John isn't writing his page 2 column for the Tribune he's hosting mornings at WLS AM-890 talk radio with co-host Lauren Cohn. The Fire's head coach is another of our "cousins," Chicago native and former US World Cup player Frank Klopas.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Prominent Philhellene, reporter Laura Evans of FOX TV in Washington DC, just got word her "Laura's Likes" segment will soon be syndicated around the country, including in Chicago on FOX32...Chicago-based guitar virtuosos Andreas Kapsalis and Goran Ivanovic just released a new CD. Check out their website...Tango instructor Agape Pappas is in the midst of celebrating the 10th anniversary of her `Dance-Cademy' called Dance Tango Chicago, where she hosts weekly milonga parties and teaches the art of Latin dance...MyParea.com, the rising Greek social networking site, now has its own free downloadable app. The site is sponsored by the National Hellenic Society...A new social networking site, OrthodoxCircle.com, recently came to our attention...Jessica Straddard Rosso used to frequent our events, then she got married and moved to New York, where's she now performs standup comedy on occasion in Manhatten...It was reported by Phantis, an online Greek news agency, that the now shuttered ERT public broadcast entity of the government of Greece has temporarily lent its frequency signal to broadcaster EDT, which may soon fill that channel at least in the interim.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: FOX32 Chicago anchor/host Anna Davlantes (also GMC co-founder), Earth Friendly Products founder John Vlahakis (also publisher of The Greek Star), Nancy Soula Keres of Big Shoulders Digital Video, bass guitarist Dino Kourelis of The Lovehammers, PR/marketing consultant and fashion editor Lorainne Eyre of Nightbook magazine, Alex Facklis (managing director at Exelexys), Vivian Haritos of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, Georgia Metrakos Hiotis.




WEEK OF JULY 15, 2013


AUTHOR, MAG EDITOR AT MUSEUM JULY 16: The National Hellenic Museum on Tuesday July 16 hosts best-selling author and founding editor of The Drum Literary Magazine, Heniette Lazaridis Power, for a discussion of her debut novel, The Clover House. Doors open 6 pm. Event is free to Museum members, and also free to non-members who pay daily admission to the Museum ($10 adults, $8 seniors and students. The novel "explores issues of cross-cultural identity, heritage, and family," writes the Museum. A book signing will follow.



JULY 23 COMEDY NIGHT FOR JUDGES' FOUNDATION: A little birdie "cousin" brings this to us, an event she's helping to coordinate with a colleague. Christine Athanasoulis, a longtime consumer advocate with the Illinois Attorney General's Office, invites us to come to "Comedy Night" on Tuesday, July 23 beginning with a reception at 6:00 pm. It all takes place at Chicago's legendary Second City e.t.c. Stage, 230 W. North Avenue. Tickets are $100 apiece. The event benefits the Illinois Judges Foundation, a 501-c-3 not-for-profit. For sponsorship opportunities and/or general questions, contact either Chris at 708.705.4355 or Kevin Fagan at IJF@chicagobar.org or phone 312.554.2008. For ticket info, click here.


                   Campbell and McDowell

PRODUCER LANDS STARS TO MAKE FILM INDI-GOGO
: All systems seem to be going for LA-based George Giovanis for his planned film "Bereaved." He landed commitments from Hollywood stars Neve Campbell and Malcolm McDowell to appear in his film. Explore the film and contribute if you can at the Indigogo kickstarter page. On Tuesday July 16, George announced he secured debt financing and the kickstarter campaign raised $11,000 as of that date toward initial seed funding.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": More Greek festivals. Gotta love Summer! For a comprehensive listing of Chicago-area fests and other events, keep tabs on The Greek Star newspaper's calendar of events column Sto Kentro, compiled by our own Maria Karamitsos, the paper's associate editor and also a GMC co-director...Our "cousins" at Eurocircle Chicago are hosting a networking event Thursday July 18 at Tocco, 1266 N. Milwaukee, beginning at 7 pm. Outdoor patio. Maria Dollas is Chicago Director for the group and DJ John Grammatis will be spinning tracks...Chicago-based photographer/graphic designer Sofia Spentzas recently began authoring a blog titled The Adventures of a Greek Girl...

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Chicago Sun-Times reporter Tina Sfondeles, FOX cable news contributor Santita Jackson, author and former Chicago Tribune editor Kelly Haramis, Glam Media associate Allison Burman, marketing rep Athina Xirogiannis, attorney Marie Sarantakis of The People's Choice Entertainment, Andrea Granias, and Maria Loukaki.





WEEK OF JULY 8, 2013


FRIDAY NIGHT, LIVE ON TLC: Watch our "cousin" Maria D'Andrea on Friday at 9 pm CST on TLC's "Randy to the Rescue" as Randy tries to help her find the perfect wedding dress. This entertaining reality-like show will also feature Maria's mother, Mary Ellyn Andriopoulos D'Andrea, and Mary Ellyn's twin sister Kiki Andriopoulos, aka the "Crazy Twins." The twins, who are regular "cousins" at our events, are making inroads into a possible reality show of their own. They co-own M&M Court Reporting Services in Chicago. Maria, meanwhile, was selected from among 1,000 who auditioned for the show.





EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": NBC5 anchor/reporter Kim Vatis and her weekend morning crew were just granted an extra hour on Saturdays and Sundays for additional programming and an expanded scope. Read all about it here...Happy 1st year wedding anniversary to actress/TV host Patricia Kara and her husband Noel LaMontagne, a former NFL player turned sports agent...Former pro rodeo cowboy Dino Loukas is putting the finishing touches on a book about his career, cut short by a tragic fall from his horse during competition which resulted in extensive surgery and a weeks-long battle for his life. Check out his newly-released website ChicagoCowboy.com...Chicago's popular Orpheus Hellenic Folklore dance group was featured July 11 in Grant Park at the annual Chicago Summerdance festival...Condolences to Chicago-area native Alexandra Patsavas, founder of Hollywood-based Chop Shop Music, on the recent passing of her father Constantine Patsavas...Mark down July 28, the date of the Jimmy Damon tribute in Chicago. Many celebs and musical giants will attend in honor of one of Chi-town's most popular nightclub singers, a man who in 2013 left us far too soon. "Cousin" Jimmy was a popular attraction at more than a few GMC events during the last six years.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Reporter Mike Colias of Automotive News, Chicago Tribune sportswriter Fred Mitchell, Georgia Logothetis (Managing Director, Hellenic American Leadership Council), inventor Julie Savalas, Shari Schlachter of Child's Play Touring Theatre, marketing exec Sophia Kokonas, and securities expert Steve Bokios.





WEEK OF JULY 1, 2013

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": The board of Stimulus Social Club, which includes our own Monica Canellis, hosts their monthly party for charity on July 13 at Quay in Chicago. Their events are legend, attracting 500 or more of Chi-town's hip young professionals...WGN AM-720 news anchor Andrea Darlas moved back to mornings, which means she can now attend GMC events again!!... Our Philhellene "cousin" David Kaplan of WGN AM-720 will now be hosting an expanded 3-hour shift, all about sports, weeknights beginning 7 pm. It will include rotating co-hosts...Photographer and graphic/logo designer Sofia Spentzas has started a blog companion for her Chicago and Lombard-based business Spiral Art Design...Tech and sports mogul Ted Leonsis also has a unique online film offering called Snag Films which recently revamped their website...Up-and-coming actress Anna Rezan Kritseli attended the recent Cannes International Film Festival, where she again met famous director Alexander Payne. Check out the coverage of "Greeks in Cannes" courtesy of Neo magazine.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Author Nickolas D. Kokonis ("Arcadia, My Arcadia"), author and filmmaker Bob Kranz ("Falling in Love With Sophia" book and "Do You Wanna Dance" film), Tina Lambros Anagnos ("1st daughter of journalism within the Chicago Greek community," ode to her late mother Antigone), Ginny Tsipas, Pete Kladis, Joanne Matsakis, and John Philosophos.




WEEK OF JUNE 24, 2013

O'HURLEY SWINGS MOMENTUM TO STEPHANOPOULOS FILM": New York filmmaker and GMC "cousin" George Stephanopoulos just scored a coup by landing former "Seinfeld" regular and current "Family Guy" cast member John O'Hurley for his romantic golf comedy "Swing Away," set to be filmed in Crete, Greece. The O'Hurley addition will help to bring more momentum to the film's kickstarter funding campaign. George is a media attorney and filmmaker who once served as legal counsel to "Saturday Night Live" honcho Lorne Michaels, is going all out on his latest film project. George partnered with Paul Lingas and the two are adamant that they have a winner on their hands. At the outset of June, the two began a kick-starter campaign on Rockethub. They have also secured screenings in many major US cities, pending the outcome of initial seed funding. Chicago is one of the destinations they're targeting. The two filmmakers argue that they have a feature which not only has the potential to replicate some of the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" comedic and critical acclaim magic, but also a project which can be a vehicle to showcase the exotic beauty of Grecian islands and Greece itself in a time when tourism needs a significant boost. George, who's a real-life cousin to ABC Network News chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos, has worked with many major media production and distribution conglomerates, including Discovery Networks, and knows how to get projects made. Lingas has a Master's from USC's Film School and has produced, written and directed a number of award winning films. His screenwriting work includes original screenplays as well as working as a freelance screenwriter, script doctor and editor for a variety of production companies in Los Angeles, New York, London and Athens.


BIG WEEK FOR JANE
: Our longtime "cousin" Jane Monzures sure was busy last week. The i101-FM radio host and "Living Healthy Chicago" host headlined a big gala for neurological research, then appeared as a guest on FOX32's "Good Day Chicago" with another of our "cousins," FOX TV host and anchor Anna Davlantes, and Jane was also featured in the "Splash" section of the Chicago Sun-Times. In the article, Jane talks about her mother, who has a deteriorating condition. It's a heart-tugging story.

HAPPY 90TH HARRY! The GMC extends its best wishes to literary icon Harry Mark Petrakis, the quintessential chronicler of the Greek American experience, on his 90th birthday. Last week, the famous novelist, also a frequent contributor at the Chicago Sun-Times, posted this article about his various journeys.

 

$350K RAISED FOR VETS: It was a whopper of a turnout June 15 at the brand new Montgomery Club at Gibson's. Some of Chi-town's heaviest of hitters stepped up to raise big bucks for wounded military personnel ($350,000 to be exact, by one news account) and our "cousin" Sharon Tyk, a longtime governmental liaison formerly with AT&T, re-united with actor Gary Sinise, who spearheaded the event, in his continuing effort to raise funds and awareness for the men and women of the US Armed Forces. The two have collaborated in the past on various projects, including the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. Sinise is well-known for many big screen films, most famous being "Forest Gump," and he recently concluded a long run headlining the hit TV drama "CSI:NY" with his co-star, the Greek community's own Melina Kanakaredes. Sinise has long championed wounded service personnel and he works tirelessly on their behalf. It's a passion of his to the point he established the Gary Sinise Foundation in response. Another item germane to the core membership of our little club was the appearance at the Sinise event by "American Idol" singing sensation Katherine McPhee, also a TV actress. Katherine is married to Nick Cokas, a Greek American. Sharon informs us that Katherine's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was "awe-inspiring." We also learned the event was near standing-room-only and since the turnout was so impressive, SInise plans to reprise the event here in the near future. Sharon Tyk (grandfather's last name Nakos)
is pictured above standing with Gary SInise at the Chi-town fundraiser.

JULY 7 LITERARY EVENT IN ALTIKA
: For those who might happen to be in Greece around July 7, our San Francisco-based "cousin" Annamarie Bounocore, publisher and founding editor of Voices of Hellenism Publications, brings to our attention the July 7 poetry reading event "Literary Cafe Premiere of Voices of Hellenism," to be held July 7 at 7:00 pm local time in Altika, Greece. Open mic to follow. VOH is a new literary academic journal for the Hellenic World based in the Bay Area which publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, scholarly essays, political essays, and artwork. It debuted in January 2013. For details, email Annamarie.

GREEK FEST SEASON: It's that time of year - music, dance, culture, food, friends and fun! For a comprehensive listing of Chicago-area Greek festivals, keep tabs on Maria Karamitsos' Sto Kentro column in The Greek Star newspaper.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Radio/TV personality Jane Monzures of i101-FM and "Living Healthy Chicago" on WGN9, WBBM AM-780 traffic reporter Julie Chrones, businessman and former NBA "super-agent" George Andrews, new media marketer Jim Bloom, human capital analyst Bettina Rousos, Constantine Zografopoulos of the Kostas Z Foundation, and Joanna Karamouzis.




WEEK OF JUNE 17, 2013

ERT ON THE OUTS: The big media news out of Greece in the last week has been a lack of news. More to the point, the complete shut-down of Greece's entire public TV operation called ERT, a valuable service which for quite a long time has served as the sole source of news from Greece (other than the Internet) for many Greeks on the islands and in the diaspora abroad. The move to close ERT, previously accessed via satellite by most, was done in haste and without any cohesive plan, and without any public debate whatsoever. Word is, plans are underway to bring it back but in a greatly scaled-backed version. The logistics of implementing that task present quite the quagmire. The closing was ostensibly a cost-cutting measure amidst austerity initiatives and economic uncertainty, though many view the gutting of ERT as a subversion of democracy in the land that gave the world democracy. Others point to a plethora of so-called "political" appointees at ERT, thus confusing the matter even more. The Greek Media Club is monitoring this very important issue and will post periodic updates, as warranted. In the interim, click here for an insightful commentary on the legal ramifications of the closing, posted by the Greek Independent Press. And if you still can't figure it out, try this site for a listing of upwards of 60 different Greek news outlets, and you can access our own media links page as well for news outlets. There's no shortage of differing opinions in the media in Greece, that's for sure. It's just that many live in areas not accessible to real, unbiased news. The question becomes, was ERT that source? Regardless, one thing is not in dispute: The sudden closing of ERT was done without advance planning and public debate. Hence, by default this is a red flag.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS"
: Congratulations to Portokalada Productions president Steven Livaditis and his wife Natasa on their 15th wedding anniversary...The Lovehammers rockers were profiled in yet another publication. These guys, who count our "cousins" Dino Kourelis (bass guitar) and Dino Kourelis (drums) among their ranks, are climbing the charts...Get a comprehensive listing of Chicago-area Greek festivals from GMC co-director Maria Karamitsos in her popular Sto Kentro column in The Greek Star.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
:   Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications chairman Bruce Dumont, pro football guru Jim Saranteas of TheFantasyGreek.com, comedian Angelo Tsarouchas, author Kim Gregory, spirits importer George Katris of Distinctive Imports, Aristithis Loukas, and Claudette Hillock.



WEEK OF JUNE 10, 2013


KASS, BEARS' TILLMAN HONORED: Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass and Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman are both set to be honored as co-father of the year by the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative on June 12. Click here for tickets to the event. Last weekend, John made an appearance at the annual Printers' Row "Lit Fest" book extravaganza where he and his editor Mark Jacobs spoke of what goes in to producing a daily newspaper column.


THURSDAY JUNE 13 BENEFIT: Our "cousin" June Panagakis Podagrosi hosts the annual Child's Play Touring Theatre gala this Thursday June 13 at the South Loop-based blue-chip law firm Holland & Knight, site of two separate GMC events. Holland's spacious reception area is a large entertainment venue with luxurious amenities. Firm partners Elias Matsakis and Maria Metropoulos hosted two previous GMC events and this is also the second time Matsakis and Holland will host a CPTT gala. Many of our "cousins" are associated with CPTT, including advisory board members Anna Davlantes of FOX32 News (will be a special guest this night) and GMC co-director Terry Poulos, as well as longtime CPTT associates George Bliss (GMC co-director) and his wife Kathleen Bliss. In addition, CPTT's president is our own Diana Mendoza. Last year's honorary chair for the CPTT gala was Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This year's gala will again be chaired by Sondra Healy, board chair emeritus of Turtle Wax corporation, and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez will be receiving an award for service to the arts community.

JUNE 22 HOSPITAL GALA: Emcee is longtime GMC "cousin" Jane Monzures, host at i101-FM radio and host of WGN TV's "Living Healthy Chicago." Co-chairs are our "cousins" Teddi Galanis and Regina Valsamas. The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem at Evanston & Glenbrook Hospitals will host The 2013 Hospitals' Gala Diamonds & Dice: How Lucky Can You Get on June 22 at Chicago’s Union Station. More than 600 business, healthcare and civic leaders from the North Shore and greater Chicago will join to support “The DodoNA Project: DNA Prediction to Improve Neurological Health.” The World Health Organization states that one in six people will be affected by a brain disorder. That is why the 2013 Gala proceeds will benefit “The DodoNA Project: DNA Prediction to Improve Neurological Health.” This visionary research at NorthShore University HealthSystem aims to predict, prevent and halt disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, brain tumors and multiple sclerosis. In ancient Greece, leaders would visit oracles to obtain predictions of the future. At DodoNA, the oldest oracle, priestesses would interpret the rustling of leaves of a sacred oak tree to determine the correct actions to be taken. Today, the physician-scientists at NorthShore can develop methods to interpret subtle variations in DNA, the “tree of life,” to predict outcomes and determine the correct actions for our patients. Purchase tickets, or make a donation in support of The Gala and this groundbreaking research. For additional information or to become a sponsor, contact The Auxiliary at 224.364.7270.

WGN'S EANET, ABC19'S ZERVAKIS JOIN LOUKAS AT SPORTS AWARDS
: The annual 13th District AHEPA Sports Awards & Scholarship Banquet was held Friday June 7 at the Fountain Blue in Des Plaines, IL. A record 120 student-athletes were honored, thanks to the hard work of AHEPA A.D. Chris Atsaves (in white shirt seated) and the organizing committee. Normally FOX32 sportscaster Lou Canellis presents but being that he was in LA for the Blackhawks series, this year - rotating in again - was WGN radio/TV sportscaster Dave Eanet (middle in photo), who made his 25th appearance on behalf of AHEPA. At left in the photo is Pete Zervakis, a University of Illinois grad who's now a reporter at ABC19 in LaCrosse, WI. On the right is GMC co-director Terry Poulos, an NFL Replay Assistant who's also sports editor of The Greek Star and has been covering this event for more than 10 years. Keynote speaker
was Christina Loukas, 2-time US Olympic diver.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": It's Greek festival season!! Our own Maria Karamitsos, associate editor of The Greek Star, breaks it all down in her Sto Kentro events listing...Rock legend Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, in town last week to play two sets at the United Center, stopped by the sold-out House of Blues concert to take in our pals the Lovehammers, an up-and-coming rock band featuring our very own Dino Kourelis (bass guitar) and his brother Bobby Kourelis (drums), two of the band's four members...Maria Dollas, event and meeting planing ace, is also director of the social networking group EuroCircle Chicago, which hosts Soiree d'ete at YBar on Friday June 14 beginning 10:00pm. Members only, inquire at link...Interior designer Medeline Gelis, who has a background in journalism and media, was recently profiled in Crain's Chicago Business. Check out the feature here.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Actress/entrepreneur and I on The Scene celeb columnist Irene Michaels, DailyFrappe.com co-founder Kyriakos Mellos, Garmental.com fashion blogger Suzanne Kopulos, former Harpo Studios researcher Christine Karkazis Mackris,  photographer Dimitrios Kambouris, Alpha Tunes DJ Jim Veikos, Calamos Advisors relationship manager Yanni Siannis (also chief of staff at the National Hellenic Museum), and Kathy Kalesperis Smith of A Silver Lining Foundation.




WEEK OF JUNE 3, 2013

JUNE 6 ALL-STAR CHEF EVENT BENEFITS FIRE-DAMAGED CHURCH
: The National Hellenic Museum in Greektown Chicago is the venue for "Recipes for Rebuilding St. Basil," a fundraising event to benefit the fire, smoke, and water-decimated church. The tragic fire occurred on the first day of Lent. The fundraiser takes place Thursday, June 6 from 6-9 pm and features the cuisine of many of Chicago's top chefs. Event chair is our "cousin" Jimmy Banos of Heaven on Seven, who hosted a GMC event a few years back. Many of us will attend to support the cause. Jimmy brings together an all-star ensemble of "culinary quasars" (shooting stars, that is), including such notables as Louie Alexakis (Avli), Jimmy Banos Jr. (The Purple Pig), Gus Drugas (Ciao Amore), Dean Eliacostas (Carmichaels), Joe Farina (Centro), Marty Fosse (Anterprima), Justin Frankenberg (Phil Stephani Signature), Scott Harris (Francesca's, Davanti Enoteca, Glazed and Infused), Billy Kim (Urban Belly), Athena Manolakos (PanHellenic Pastry Shop), Tom Mantuano (Spiaggia), Joel Nelson (Wishbone), Tony Priolo (Piccalo Sonyo Due), the Sam Sianis family (Billy Goat Tavern & Grille), Guiseppe Tentori (GT Fish), and Gabe Viti (Miramar). Beer and wine provided by Diamond Importers, Heritage Wine Cellars, and New Belgium Brewing. Admission is $75 and includes all food, beer, and wine. Make your reservation at 312.243.3738 or RSVP online via PayPal at the St. Basil website.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Congratulations to Mike Grivas and his wife Alexandrea Loukas Grivas, who welcomed "baby cousin" Emmanuel "Mano" Anthony Grivas on May 25. Mano is the young couple's first child...Monica Canellis and her merry band of girlfriends host their next Stimulus Social Club function Wednesday, June 5 at RL Champaign Salon in Chicago, benefiting the Autism Society of Chicago...Jeff Scanlan, aka "America's Sports Magician," appeared on the CBS2 Chicago morning show last week for a segment on `the craft' as well as his proprietary Bottle Magic items. Jeff performed at one of our functions a few years back. He was the official "Magic Number Countdown" magician when the White Sox won the World Series in the mid-2000's, appearing daily atop the front page banner of the Chicago Sun-Times for a two-week stretch. For the past few years, he has appeared regularly at Milwaukee Brewers home games, among other activities.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: WIND AM-560 radio host Amy Jacobson, account exec Kathy Spenos Garcia of Emmis Broadcasting, GreekReporter.com publisher Anastasios Papapostolou, former Harpo Studios assistant Kristina Vasilakis Markos, Takis Theotokatos (director of cultural programming at Hellenic American Academy), Maria Kiagias, Pam Paziotopoulos.




WEEK OF MAY 27, 2013

KICK-STARTING A `GREEK CADDYSHACK'?
Our East-coast "cousin" George Stephanopoulos (inset photo), a media attorney and filmmaker who once served as legal counsel to "Saturday Night Live" honcho Lorne Michaels, is going all out on his latest film project. George partnered with Paul Lingas and the two are adamant that they have a winner on their hands with "Swing Away," a romantic comedy set on the island of Crete, Greece. At the outset of June, the two began a kick-starter campaign on Rockethub. They have also secured screenings in many major US cities, pending the outcome of initial seed funding. Chicago is one of the destinations they're targeting. The two filmmakers argue that they have a feature which not only has the potential to replicate some of the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" comedic and critical acclaim magic, but also a project which can be a vehicle to showcase the exotic beauty of Grecian islands and Greece itself in a time when tourism needs a significant boost. George, who's a real-life cousin to ABC Network News chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos, has worked with many major media production and distribution conglomerates, including Discovery Networks, and knows how to get projects made. Lingas has a Master's from USC's Film School and has produced, written and directed a number of award winning films. His screenwriting work includes original screenplays as well as working as a freelance screenwriter, script doctor and editor for a variety of production companies in Los Angeles, New York, London and Athens.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS
": The Lovehammers rock band, which features bassist Dino Kourelis and drummer Bobby Kourelis among the four members, returns to the House of Blues on June 1 for another concert. The brothers visited the GMC in 2010 and Bobby is married to FOX32 entertainment reporter Bessie Tsionis...Spiro Frentzas landed an extra role in the new Superman flick "Man of Steel" and he was fortunate to also have his image wind up in a trailer for the film. Check out Spiro (in the beard) at the 47-second mark...Dimitris Kostopoulos, publisher of The Greek Bookstore online, recently cut his first commercial for the website. It's airing on Antenna Satellite. Dimitris was also a volunteer at the Athens 2004 Games.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Baltimore-based PR maven Gayle Economos, Cary Miller (editor of Food Industry News), videographer Zoe Triantafilou Zvarnias, Maria Lampros (advisory board of National Hellenic Museum), reporter Tania Karas (New York Law Journal), Tina Columbus Paras, Ashley Refakes.




WEEK OF MAY 20, 2013


DIMAKOS BEGINS CAREER WITH PHOENIX RADIO SHOW
: Congratulations to our "cousin," recent University of Nebraska journalism grad Paige Dimakos, who's off to Phoenix to begin work full-time at Breakthrough Sports radio. Paige has a background in playing various sports. She's worked major-media internships in TV and radio previous to this and is also co-publisher of Corn Fed Sports. We're positive this is the start of a long and great career in sports broadcasting for Paige, who's father Plato Dimakos played pro basketball in Greece.



ANGELA PARRY PATERAKIS: The local community is mourning the loss this week of arts and civic community champion Angela Parry Paterakis, a Board of Life Trustee of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. Museum chairman John P. Calamos Sr. passed along the message below about Angela and her contribution to the arts and civic communities in general:

"The sudden passing of Angela Parry Paterakis, Life Trustee of the National Hellenic Museum, leaves a great gap not only in the heart of her loved ones, but also in the soul of our Museum. We are grateful to her, not only for her contributions to the Museum, but also for enriching our lives with her character and creativity. A long time Trustee, friend and supporter, Angela played a significant role in the life of the Museum. Her commitment to her Hellenic heritage and her passion for art made her a valuable contributor to the Museum's success. Bringing her knowledge and expertise to our Exhibitions Committee, which she co-chaired for many years, Angela helped in the development and mounting of many of the Museum's noteworthy exhibitions. As Professor of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a member of the Illinois Alliance for Art Education, Angela had a passion for, and commitment to, bringing quality arts programs to the public. During her long and distinguished career, she directed and chaired art education training programs for future teachers of art. She was recognized locally and nationally for her advocacy role in the arts and arts education. All of us at the National Hellenic Museum will miss her greatly. We send our sympathy and prayers to her family and friends and, as they say in the old country: may you all live long to honor her memory."


BITRHDAYING THIS WEEK: Forbes regional sales manager Menia Poulios, CBS4 Minnesota news anchor Aristea Brady, Heaven on Seven owner Jimmy Bannos, attorney Tom Sotos, Cyndee Keiser, and Diane Vardalas.


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WEEK OF MAY 13, 2013

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Chicago Sun-Times "Splash" section editor Susanna Negovan, Kost Productions president and "Pro Football Weekly" director Jim Kezios, Child's Play Touring Theater president Diana Mendoza, Apple Vacations marketing exec Ali Gerakaris, Hilton-Ausmus gallery owner Arica Hilton, social media associate Rhea Drougas, journalist Kelly Fanarioti, and Tina Papadopoulos.



WEEK OF MAY 6, 2013

ATHENS 2004 OLYMPICS CEO AT MUSEUM BOOK SIGNING MAY 9: The woman responsible for putting Greece in a magnificent light at the Summer Olympic Games in Greece comes to Chicago on Thursday May 9 to sign copies of her new book My Greek Drama: Life, Love, and One Woman’s Olympic Effort to Bring Glory to Her Country. Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee CEO Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki appears at the National Hellenic Museum, with festivities beginning at 6 pm. Writes the Museum of Gianna, now an Ambassador: She "brings to the reader a revealing in-depth account of her remarkable life growing up in the historic island of Crete and rising to become an international thought leader. The book also explores paths Greece might follow in its efforts to solve the nation's pressing economic and social upheavals. Mrs. Angelopoulos has traveled widely and established close bonds with her fellow Greeks living abroad. Many have become prominent and successful. In 1995, she convened a major symposium at Harvard Kennedy School to dissect what she has called `The Great Paradox: Promise vs. Performance.'  The goal was to untangle what is standing in the way of Greek success. `Leadership will allow the Greek people to envision a future for themselves that they may not have envisioned by themselves," says Mrs. Angelopoulos." To attend the Museum event,  RSVP at this link.

LEXY & STEPHANY MAY 11 CONCERT: Our sister "cousins," rising soprano singing sensations Lexy Prodromos and Stephany Prodromos, combine again with award-winning young tenor Christian Ketter for the 5th annual Concert for Miseracordia on Saturday, May 11 beginning at 7 pm. Venue is Miseracordia's opulent Ryan Center, 6300 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. $25 donation benefits Miseracordia Home. RSVP here. Get ready for a fun night of opera and show-tunes' greatest hits. In the last year alone, the girls - still in their teens - have appeared on NBC5, WGN9, and FOX32 in Chicago. Their latest collaboration, an operatic rendition of the famous Styx song "Come Sail Away," has more than 164,000 views on youtube. The photo posted is of Stephany (pink dress) and Lexy performing at the GMC's Summer 2012 rooftop soiree at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago.

 

EXTRA CREDITS: Chicago-based videographer and filmmaker Bill Kirkos is now a senior producer at CNN...The husband and wife team of Michael and Karen Colweck, who comprise the Strength & Honor authentic warrior look-alikes, were recently profiled in the Kane County Chronicle. S&H has appeared previously at GMC events dressed in their Spartan garb, with real bronze shields and heavy, authentic spears, and they'll be joining us again this Summer...Multi-talented producer and digital guru Pavan Bapu recently debuted some cutting-edge interactive technology for Social Deviant, a Chicago-based online editorial service providing updates on the latest and greatest in digital social media innovation...Consultant Andrea Plecko added social media and marketing director at The Green Goddess Boutique to her resume.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: IT expert and former sports talk radio host Greg Alexopoulos, The Greek Star contributor Joanna Apostolou, cultural institution associate Toula Georgakopoulos, TheLocalTourist.com publisher Theresa Carter, artist Caesar Carbajal.




WEEK OF APRIL 29, 2013

CHICAGO LEGEND JIMMY DAMON, 75: With heavy hearts we report that we've lost one of our longtime, closest "cousins." This past Saturday April 27, on his 75th birthday. Chicago legend crooner Jimmy Damon (born Jimmy Demopoulos) passed away. Jimmy performed live at GMC events for years, always donating his time so we could raise money for charitable causes. He succumbed to a rare heart ailment after battling the condition for the past several years. Jimmy was Mr. Chicago, an effervescent rat-pack type personality who counted among his friends the who's who of Chicago and beyond. He was the ONLY singer officially authorized by Frank Sinatra, a personal friend of Jimmy's, to sing the music of the late, great singer during Sinatra's celebrated and illustrious lifetime. Jimmy was a child star, signed to a contract with Sun Records at the tender age of 14 at a time Sun had under their stable of talent the likes of Elvis Presley, with whom Jimmy performed with in his early days, and many major country music stars. A native of Memphis, Jimmy later moved to Milwaukee and ultimately wound up establishing himself as a jazz and cabaret artist in Chicago, where he settled down and found his identity. Jimmy and many of his pal cronies would tell the story of how nationally-known comedian Bill Murray caught Jimmy's nightclub lounge act, and Murrary later conceived of a caricature of Jimmy which Murrary performed on the hit NBC show "Saturday Night Live." Jimmy was an incredible talent whose heyday was in the 60's and 70's when he walked hand-in-hand with Illinois' political elite, the highest among the civic and business community and the premiere stars of Hollywood, who made Chicago a regular stop on their train ride from New York to Los Angeles in the days which preceded mass air travel. Back in the day, Jimmy was the "it" act locally, performing regularly at Mr. Kelly, The Empire Room at the Palmer House, The Playboy Club, and performing the National Anthem before Cubs and Sox games. Presidents knew
Jimmy. That's how big he was in Chicago, so big the city gave him his own honorary street (Jimmy Damon Way at Navy Pier). Chicago has lost a legend, and we lost a "cousin." But we'll always remember when he sang for us at the National Hellenic Museum, the Parthenon's Bizouki Lounge, and of course that magical night on the 95th floor of Hancock Tower at the Signature Club when he did the duet with Ariana Savalas, daughter of late, great Hollywood legend Telly Savalas. And when he let us ride on his float at the Greek Independence Day parade down Halsted Street in Greektown Chicago. We'll remember all the good times and keep that with us. Thanks for the memories Jimmy, best wishes in your new life, may you rest in eternal peace and may your silky-smooth voice and your memory and aura continue to echo for all eternally...Jimmy was profiled on
ABC7 this weekend and also by the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times...Top photo, Jimmy doing what he loved most. Group photo (L-R): Jimmy Damon, Julie Savalas (widow of Telly), Ariana Savalas (daughter of Telly), and John Papas, retired media pro, hours before Jimmy and Ariana performed live at the GMC's 2010 event at the Hancock's Signature Room.

JIMMY'S VISITATION WEDS MAY 1: Visitation will be held for Jimmy Damon on Wednesday, May 1 from 3 pm to 9 pm at Michael Colleta Sons Funeral Home, 544 W. 31st Street, Chicago. Internment services are private.

COMP TICS FOR GMCers MAY 8-10: Our Baltimore "cousin" Samantha Voxakis is the co-producer and GM for an exciting musical drama that's about to play at the Royal George Theater in Chicago (1641 N. Halsted) and she's graciously extending two complimentary tickets to GMC members for one performance on the evening of either May 8 or May 9 (both 7:30 PM times), or May 10 (8:00 PM). "The Pianist of Willesden Lane" was given rave reviews by critics at the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times. The play is a period piece adapted from a book written by Mona Golabek, who's mother is the inspiration for the book and play. Mona performs her mother's scores on piano during the play. Her mother is Lisa Jura, and the play - a true story - is set in 1938 Vienna and in London during the Nazi Blizkrieg at the outset of World War II. Jura was an aspiring young Jewish musician whose career was delayed by war, though ultimately not derailed. The play is adapted and directed by local favorite Hershey Felder. The Pianist is a "riveting tale of hope that is a powerful testament to how music helps us survive through our darkest times," writes the producers. For those wishing to attend a performance, you must email your name, phone number, preferred date/time, and number of tickets (1 or 2) to GMC co-director Terry Poulos and he'll facilitate through you and the producer. Availability is limited and reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. You will receive an email confirmation and your tickets will be held at the box office. However, do not call the box office as they will be unable to assist.

BARB WIRE DOLLS HIT CHICAGO MAY 10: Some are calling lead singer Isis Queen the "new queen of punk" and the band itself "the hottest punk band since the Ramones." Or with an ode to modern mainstream, "the best punk record since Nirvana's Bleach" and "best punk band since the Sex Pistols." High praise for the Los Angeles-based Barb Wire Dolls, now touring nationwide and hitting Chicago May 10 for a live concert at Reggie's Chicago. Of particular relevance to this website is that the lead singer and each of the original members are natives of Greece, hailing from the island of Crete. They've accumulated more than 50,000 "likes" on their facebook page and are attracting all kinds of media attention (see accompanying cover of the February 2013 issue of Music Entertainment magazine). And for a professional opinion, consider this endorsement from Mickey Leigh, brother of late, great Ramones front-man Joey. Said Mickey, the BWDs are "the most explosive and exciting new punk band I've seen in decades." Mickey was also the ex-tour manager for the Ramones. Keep an eye on these three up-and-comers in the years to come, and if you attend their May 10 show, you can say "I saw them when..."

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Peoria Star-Journal editor/reporter Nicholas Vlahos, sports commentator Chet Choppock (also radio host for Notre Dame football), Connie Mourtoupalas (Executive Director, National Hellenic Museum), John Kosmas (publisher of GreekSoccer.com), attorney/actress Maria Augustus, Jeff Scanlan ("America's Sports Magician"), Angela Gallios,



WEEK OF APRIL 22, 2013




4/
30 DEADLINE
TO SUBMIT FILM ENTRIES FREE: The deadline to submit entries for the 3rd annual  Greek Film Fest Chicago (and not be charged a $25 entry fee) is April 30. The final deadline thereafter is May 31 but you'll be charged the fee. The film fest itself, presented by Filmhellenes, will take place November 7-11, 2013.
Feature-and short-length entries produced by international filmmakers of Greek and Greek-Cypriot descent are now being accepted for admission. Films about Greece and/or Hellenism by non-Greek filmmakers are also welcome. Visit website link for individual categories.







AMBROSIA BALL VIDEO BLOG
: Woman about town Irene Michaels, a "cousin" who's one of Chicago's premiere society and celebrity chroniclers and a former General Hospital soap actress, posted this video on her blog I on The Scene with interviews of participants at the recent Ambrosia Ball benefit for the National Hellenic Museum.

DETROIT CONNECTIONS: Our "cousins" in the Motor City have an active Greektown community and there are more than a few media types there as well. Including, Malista.com, a blog about all-things-Greek Detroit. Publishers are Elena Kerasiotis and Erasmia Novotny. Music-wise, Detroit's Bill Gerazounis reports that his rock band has been gaining some traction in Mo-town. Lastly for now, author Suzanne Jenkins has a trilogy of books planned about Detroit-themed Greek themes and characters, including two books already released.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Singing legend Jimmy Damon (may he rest in peace), DJ Yianni Morikis (owner of Greektown Music), veteran communications pro Jerry Walker (also the San Francisco 49ers' Team Archivist), filmmaker John Marinopoulos (Thespis Films), Stimulus Social Club co-director Monica Canellis, and businesswoman Daphne Mazarakis.




WEEK OF APRIL 15, 2013



KASHUL RETURNS FOR SPORTS MEDICINE SHOW: Our "cousin" Steve Kashul returns for another season of "Sports Medicine Weekly" on WMVP AM-1000, the local ESPN affiliate. The show will air for the next three months on Saturdays from 7-8 am. Steve hosts and Dr. Brian Cole, the Chicago Bulls' team physician, is the expert analyst. For years, Steve has served as Bulls Radio Network's pre-game/post-game/halftime show host. The medicine program "will focus on the most recent and relevant sports injuries that affect athletes, ranging from the professional to the weekend warrior," reads the show's description. In addition to his Bulls' duties, Steve has also hosted and produced the weekly show "The Golf Scene" on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, airing for more than 20 years. He's also membership director at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, IL.



ANDREA MEETS NIA AT MUSEUM: Actress and screenwriter Nia Vardalos visited the National Hellenic Museum on April 13 to speak about her new book "Instant Mom," and she signed copies for well-wishers. Nia's Chicago-based family was there as well, including our GMC "cousin" Nike Demacopoulos, who coordinated the book signing. Pictured here are Nia (center) along with our longtime "cousin" Andrea Darlas, WGN AM-720 newscaster (red shirt).




ANNA, MARIA AT GREEK PARADE, ALEXIA SINGS ANTHEMS : We caught up with FOX32 news anchor Anna Davlantes and her sister Maria Davlantes at the 2013 Greek Independence Day parade on Halsted in Greektown. Anna was one of the honorary marshalls, with the Grand Marshall being Chris Tomaras, chairman of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation and a GMC "cousin" as well. Anna (left) and Maria are pictured here with their daughters, although Maria's daughter was a bit elusive with our photographer so we got her in the cute solo shot below, where she wasn't so shy this time. And on another note, what a glorious day it was, reaching 70 degrees at its peak and not a single cloud in the sky! Special thanks to ENOSIS for all their hard
work in making the parade a success. And one final note: The Greek and American national anthems, for the second consecutive year, were sung by 11-year old Alexia Housakos, who delivered near-perfect renditions. Outstanding Alexia!! View her inspiring 2012 renditions here, and also note the weather. Although it was a bit cooler last year, again the sun was shining bright upon Greek Chicago for Greece's profound day of independence.





TOULA MOVES ON FROM MUSEUM: A message from our "cousin" Toula Georgakopoulos, who has served for the past three years as director of external affairs for the National Hellenic Museum and has worked closely with us to coordinate four separate exclusive GMC events: "Many of you may already know this, but I wanted to inform all of you that today (week of April 8) is my last day at the museum. After 3 great years, the time has come for me to close yet another chapter of my life and begin a new one by focusing on my consulting company. I have been fortunate for the last 17 years of my career to have held positions that gave me the opportunity to promote our rich culture and history, but to be part of the first Greek museum in the United States has been truly an honor. I want to thank you all for the opportunity, the kindness, advice and support you have given me personally and professionally and for making this journey an unforgettable one!" The GMC looks forward to learning more about Toula's future endeavors at upcoming media club events.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Account rep Ana Keys (Chicago Home + Garden magazine), Detroit journalist Tom Athans, writer and Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art associate Toni Callas, Cubby Bear owner George Loukas.





WEEK OF APRIL 8, 2013

VARDALOS AT MUSEUM APRIL 13: The National Hellenic Museum in Greektown Chicago hosts a book presentation with newly-minted author Nia Vardalos, the star and scriptwriter of the hit film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," on Saturday April 13 at 6 pm. The former Chicago Second City Improv actress wrote "Instant Mom." Writes the Museum, "Nia’s presentation will highlight the obstacles she embarked upon during her adventure to parenthood and having a family of her own. Her story has been said to bring tears and belly laughs for guests of all backgrounds because of her wit and genuine personality." Free with Museum Admission. Adults $10, Seniors $8, Children (3-12) $7, Members free. RSVP recommended.

GREEK PARADE THIS SUNDAY APRIL 14: Join us on Halsted Street in Greektown Chicago for the annual Greek Independence Day Parade, beginning 2:30 pm. Grand Marshall is philanthropist Chris Tomaras, Chairman of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation and founder of the famous Kronos Foods brands. Chris is also a two-time past GMC event host at Play18 Chicago. For more information on the parade, Enosis is the organization coordinating festivities.

NEW PORTES MAG + SCHOLARSHIP APPS: The new issue of Portes magazine was just recently mailed. Our "cousin" Christina Loukas, two-time US Olympic diver, was profiled in a feature article. Portes is published by GMC "cousins" Anthe Mitrakos and Vasiliki Mitrakos. The sisters also serve as chief editors. In addition, the magazine's Foundation is now accepting applications for their annual scholarship award. Click the website link above for details.

EXTRA CREDITS: Our "cousins" at the Hellenic Professional Society of Illinois host their "Spring Happy Hour" social event Thursday, April 11 at 6 pm at Cantina Loredo Chicago, 508 N. State Street...After the HPSI event, you may wish to join GMCer Chris Thomopoulos (aka DJ Moppy) andGuy Levante as they spin grooves late night from 10 pm to 2 am at Simone's, 960 W. 18th Street.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Chop Shop Music founder Alexandra Patsavas Rosenfeld, Sirius/XM radio and Total Traffic reporter Dan Levy, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos, Hellenic Times of NY editor James Kapsalis, musician Byron Zanos, Mariana Papageorge.



WEEK OF APRIL 1, 2013

GMC'S ANTHONY WINS NATIONALLY-TELEVISED REALITY SHOW:  The Greek Media Club is ecstatic over last week's win by our very own longtime "cousin" J. Anthony Kosar, an up-and-coming Hollywood special effects guru who resides in Lisle, IL. Last Tuesday, Anthony became the champion of Season 4 of the nationally-syndicated reality show "Face Off," televised across the nation on the SyFy cable network. Watch here as Anthony is first informed he won the show. It's a profound feel-good moment. He's given the keys to a brand new Fiat sports car and he also won resources to further his career and access to established industry mover-shakers who will provide guidance and tutoring. The show pitted young, professional makeup artists competing against one another in a battle to create various horror figures, superheroes and other characters. Anthony gained local fame a couple years back when he created the official Blago mask caricature of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, which was one of the highest-selling masks that Halloween and was sold at the premiere Halloween costume shop in Chicago. Anthony is a tremendous artist and illustrator as well, with film special effects being his forte. He teaches special effects makeup classes at his Lisle studio. Check out this interview with Anthony conducted by Entertainment Weekly following his win. And lastly, film is in the family blood. Anthony's sister, our "cousin" Mellisa Kosar, has already directed two full-length independent feature films.

GREEK JOURNEY AT NAVY PIER SUNDAY APRIL 7: Navy Pier, the Consulate General for Greece in Chicago, and the City of Chicago Special Events committee present "A Greek Journey in the Windy City" Sunday, April 7 at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens from Noon to 5 pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Navy Pier "is proud to honor the city's Greek American presence," reads the event description. There will be music, dancing, wine tasting, Greek food, art exhibits and more. Filmmaker Valerie Gobos, one of our "cousins," will emcee a presentation on behalf of FilmHellenes, which hosts the annual Greek Film Fest Chicago! Val is also on the advisory board of FIlmHellenes. Another of our "cousins," filmmaker Niko Franghias, also president of FilmHellenes, is spearheading the group's presence at the event. GMCer Kostas Zografopoulos will also participate with his Kostas Z Foundation and other Greek organizations will also participate. Entertainment will be provided by the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society, Cretan Youth Dance of Chicago, and Pontian Young Dancing Troupe. Culinary offerings provided by Athena, Greek Islands, Parthenon, Pegasus, Psistaria, Roditys, Taxim, and Artopolis Bakery.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Author and PR pro Demetra Alexandra Karras, San Francisco-based attorney/publisher Marcia Wallis, TV production assistant Julie Leone.



WEEK OF MARCH 25, 2013

4TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT WEDS APRIL 3: The ladies of Stimulus Social Club, a popular monthly social-fundraising party, will be hosting yet another function Wednesday, April 3 from 5:30 to 9 pm in observance of their 4th anniversary! Venue is Nellcote (833 W. Randolph St., Chicago) and the place will be hopping with celebrities, many of whom are media types and many our very own "cousins." Executive board hosts include Kim Lichtenstein, Nadia Wetzel, Betsy Helmkamp, Megan Richards, Monica Canellis, Marissa Rudman and Katy Wilson. Auxiliary board hosts are Allison Mack, Arsiak Vartenian, Christine Perkins, Claire Perkins, Katie Jackson-Meara, Katie Walsh, Kirsten Opsahl, Ryan Cotter, Shayla Rosen, Aaron Shirley, Haley Spector and Sam Jenkins. Slated to serve as guest hosts this evening are Eric Ferguson of the Eric & Kathy Show on 101.9, FOX32 sports anchor Lou Canellis, Windy City Live co-host Ryan Chiviarini, Chicago Bears play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak, 24/7 host Pete McMurray, 24/7 executive producer Catie Keogh, radio and TV host Jane Monzures (WGN-TV's Living Healthy and i101-FM), FOX32 Good Day Chicago anchor Anna Davalantes, Chicago rockers The Lovehammers, Ed Swiderski, Jessica Zweig, Megan Taylor, Lisa Frame, and Marder & Nadeem Syed. Complimentary appetizers from 6-7 pm. Two Drinks. $20 Cash donation at door: This month's beneficiary is Jennifer Hudson's Julian D. King Gift Foundation. As of March 7, these ladies had raised $199,370 for various charities since the inception of the group. Come help put them over the $200,000 threshold on April 3.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Marketing whiz Ann Kostopanagiotou (2012 president of the AMA Chicago Chapter), Sun-Times Newsgroup sports writer Tina Akouris, ABC Family's Cathy Demos Kappos, WLTH radio host Theo McClendon, Moda FG magazine publisher Angeliki Garris, retired media pro John T. Papas, arts patron and former actress Suzzie Campbell, and Helen Karakoudas Redfern (Wednesday Journal and Chicago Journal managing editor).




WEEK OF MARCH 18, 2013

PAPPAS IMPROV IN SCHAUMBURG THIS WEEKEND: Standup comedic artist Yannis Pappas "performs his unique mix of stand up comedy and combines it with his beloved characters Mr. Panos and Maurica" this weekend, March 22-24, at the Chicago Improv Comedy Club in Schaumburg, IL. Yannis is billed as "one of the most popular rising stars in comedy." He's been featured on Comedy Central, VH1's Best Week Ever and CBS. He tours the world doing stand up comedy and is known for his immensely popular characters. Along with director Jesse Scaturro, he is the co-founder of the comedy production company Ditch Films.





GLOBAL TREASURE DEPARTS US: Late last week, the Greek community worldwide, and especially Chicago, lost one of its guardian angels. In fact, the reach of the now late Andrew Athens, 91, was felt far beyond the Greek community worldwide, extending to many other ethic groups. This great humanitarian, who was a longtime board member of The Greek Star newspaper (America's oldest at 109 years and counting) and founder of its parent organization the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC), was described as a "one-man foreign aid relief program" by a prominent US Senator. Andy was a friend and confidant to presidents in addition to the highest-ranking public officials in the USA and globally, an industrialist in the mold of the Carnegies and Rockefellers, a geopolitical diplomat, and philanthropic force whose touch was felt by the Hungarian, Jewish, Greek, Armenian, and Russian communities abroad, domestically, and everywhere in between. And he was a decorated WWII Army officer. To us, we'll always be grateful for and fondly recall when UHAC and Mr. Athens honored many of us Greek Americans who work in both the mainstream and ethnic communities, at a mid-2000's gala benefit for UHAC which celebrated the finest our community has to offer in the world of journalism and media. Regarding Andy the businessman, after co-founding Metron Steel with his brother and building the company into a billion-dollar conglomerate and later selling it at great fortune, the brothers went on to do great things in philanthropy. Andy had his hand in so many areas - from Hellenicare serving the healthcare needs of the poor abroad, to advocacy for Cyprus, or lobbying for the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople - well let's just leave it to Diane Adam, editor in chief of The Greek Star, to tell the whole story in her meticulous account which appears next week in the paper. Read it here online, buy it on the newsstand in Greektown within the next couple weeks, or simply subscribe to the paper and they'll send you the copy upon request, or subscribe online at the link above and you can read the full article as well as the paper's archive of content past and present. Diane's account is a must-read for anyone serious about calling themselves "in-the-know" about Greek Chicago. Rest in peace Andy, may your memory be eternal.

PBS DOC TO AIR MARCH 24: Our "cousin" Amelia Dellos, a filmmaker who also works as marketing director for the National Hellenic Museum, produced the documentary "Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha and Potter Palmer," and it's slated for airing Sunday March 24 on Chicago's PBS affiliate WTTW Channel 11 at 5:30 pm CST. The film is described as "an epic love story between young socialite Bertha Honore and Potter Palmer, a self-made man 20 years her senior. Their passion for one another and the city they loved would inspire Chicago to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of The Great Fire to become the world class city it is today." The film, created by Amelia's production company Corn Bred Films, is being aired as part of Women's History Month.


LIVE GREEK & AMERICAN MUSIC: Saturday March 23 it's Rythmos at Premier Lounge in Niles starting 9:30 pm...Singer Ariana Savalas, a two-time GMC performer, will be among the entertainment March 30 at the annual gala benefiting the American Hellenic Council of California...The Lovehammers from Chicago return to the House of Blues on June 1 for yet another how which should also sell out (their previous performances at HOB were all sold out). The band's bass guitarist is Dino Kourelis and the drummer is Bobby Kourelis, both GMC "cousins."

DJ-ING 'ROUND CHI-TOWN: Friday March 22, DJ Moppy (Chris Thomopoulos) and Raj Mahal cut loose with American grooves at Rodan in Chicago from 10 pm to 2 am...Saturday March 23 from 10 pm to 4 am, DJ Yianni Morikis performs at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant in Rosemont. Free CD giveaways. Yianni is also the proprietor of Greektown Music.

EUROCIRCLE MARCH 21 ST. PADDY'S PARTY: The annual St. Patrick's Day party hosted by EuroCircle Chicago, a private affair, is slated for this Thursday beginning 7 pm at Declan's Irish Pub in Chicago. Go to their website to learn about becoming a member. Eurocircle is a social networking group comprised of individuals predominately from European American backgrounds. Director for the Chicago region is our "cousin" Maria Dollas.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: DJ John Grammatis, Greek Circle magazine editor Amalia Parthenios Deligiannis, Greece Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Renee Pappas, marketing ace Perrie Veremis Hayes, musician Alexander Apostol, educator Marianthi Koritsaris, attorney Tim Garris, designer Nike Demacopoulos.




WEEK OF MARCH 11, 2013


RENOWNED GUITARIST PAVLO IN CHICAGO MARCH 13
: Rising international guitar phenom Pavlo, often called "The Greek God of Guitar," hits Chi-town Wednesday March 13 for a live performance at Mayne Stage. Reserve tickets and simultaneously enter to win a Pavlo guitar by going to The Greek Star newspaper and clicking the link to order tickets. Pavlo puts on a magnificent show of Mediterranean soul, a must-see!


MORE LIVE MUSIC: Two live Greek music performances coming up at the Chateau Ritz in Niles, IL. First up is Georgios Margaritas on March 8. Phone Nikos 630.234.2183. On April 6 it's a "tribute to the legends" featuring Dimitris Kokotas, Grigoris Bithikotsisis, Haris Varthakouris, and Stelios Dionyssiou. Phone 877.OPA.SHOW...Singer Ariana Savalas, will be among the entertainment March 30 at the annual gala benefiting the American Hellenic Council of California....The Lovehammers from Chicago return to the House of Blues on June 1 for yet another show which should also sell out (their previous performances were all sold out). The band's bass guitarist is Dino Kourelis and the drummer is Bobby Kourelis.

EXTRA CREDITS: Condolences to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Tina Sfondeles, whose father George Sfondeles passed away last week. George was very active in coaching and mentoring youth in Greek American basketball leagues...Connie Kakavas Lissner, a lawyer and writer, is now authoring a blog about parenting...ABC7 Chicago producer Cathy Vlahogiannis is soon to unveil her own personal website CathyV.com...Celeb blogger Irene Michaels is expanding her society coverage to include a blog for Today's Chicago Woman magazine. Fitness and nutrition expert Stephanie Torba Philosophos has been a frequent contributor to TCW for the past couple years. She recently had this piece published on diet and weight loss post-pregnancy...

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Singer Lexy Prodromos, singer/celebrity vocal impressionist John Truncali, Neo magazine West Coast correspondent Joanna Xipa, musician Cole Degenova.




WEEK OF MARCH 4, 2013

EXTRA CREDITS: Real estate guru and noted socialite Monica Canellis and friends reprise their monthly Stimulus Social Club "philanthropic party" Wednesday March 6 beginning 5:30 pm at Prasino in Wicker Park, Chicago...Aristithis Loukas was recently engaged to be married, and his brother Dino Loukas , who's soon set to release a book on his career as a pro rodeo cowboy, is slated to walk the isle later this year.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Chicago Tribune reporter Ted Gregory, Journal & Topics film critic Mike Poulos, filmmaker Valerie Gobos, Mallista.com "Greek Detroit" co-publisher Elena Kerasiotis, photographer Diane Alexander White, Tia Perdikaris Angelos of Getty Images, City of Chicago architect and internet radio host Art Andros (aka outrageous Greek comedian Joe Matsakapetros), Marianne Price, Dr. Demetra Tsatsoulis, Caroline Panagopoulos, Sam Napolitano.




WEEK OF FEBRUARY 25, 2013

MARCH 2 AMBROSIA BALL: ABC News chief political correspondent and co-anchor of “Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos, is the honorary chairman of the Saturday March 2 at the National Hellenic Museum gala "Ambrosia Ball," the Museum's biggest annual fundraising event. Venue is the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago. Stephanopoulos is also the honorary co-chair. Event chairs are Dr. and Mrs. George T. Korkos. A nationally-known plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Korkos is a newly-installed Museum board member and he's well-known as a former managing partner in the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, a squad that captured an NBA title in the early 70's behind Hall of Fame players Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Oscar Robertson. This black-tie preferred event celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Museum's founding. Cocktails and silent auction begin 6:30 pm followed by dinner at 7:30. Tickets are $350 apiece.

4TH BOOK BY "COUSIN" NICK: After publishing three previous books on complex business applications and inventory systems, Chicagoan Nick Thomopoulos just took a turn for the lighter side. He just released "100 Years: From Greece to Chicago and Back." Born in Chicago, Nick was raised in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood and attended public schools, as well as afternoon Greek school at St. George Church. He received a bachelor's degree in business and a master's in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He served two years in the US Army, worked eight years in industry, and is now a professor at IIT. Nick has served as a consultant in the U.S., Europe and Asia and his life story is one of tremendous accomplishment and intrigue. He's married to fellow GMC "cousin" Elaine (Cotsirilos) Thomopoulos, a Ph.D author and editor of various niche books on "Greek Pioneer Women of Illinois," "The Greeks of Berrien County," and other mainstream publications and books as well.

EXTRA CREDITS": University of Nebraska senior broadcast journalism student Paige Dimakos, a "cousin" from suburban Chicago, just began an internship at KETV7, the ABC affiliate in Omaha, NE. Paige is also the co-publisher of Corn Fed Sports...Singer Kostas Mylosis and his band, in from Thessaloniki, perform live Saturday, March 2 at Premier Lounge in Glenview, IL. Greek Rock and more. $30 admission. Phone 773.576.0445.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Actress/TV host and "Deal or No Deal" spokesmodel Patricia Kara, "Cafe Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island" author Barbara Bonfigli, media attorney and WSCR sportsradio legal analyst Eldon Ham, Hellenic Journal (California) publisher Frosene Phillips, Harvey Daniels, Maggie Garris Pasalich, Vasili Spanos.



WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18, 2013


YOUTH TALENT SHOW THIS SATURDAY FEB 23: The 2nd annual "Greeks Got Talent" competition is slated for Saturday, February 23 at St. John's G.O. Church in Des Plaines, Illinois. Categories include music, dance, theater, and art. Age groups are 8-11 and 12-15. Open to individuals or group acts up to 10 persons. First prize is $500, second place $200, and 3rd is $100. Co-chairs are Sonia Pylarinos and Stavros Papadakis. For more, email GreeksGotTalent@sbcglobal.net.



VARDALOS RELEASES FIRST BOOK: Chicago favorite Nia Vardalos, who's related to a few of our GMC "cousins," has just released her first book, called "Instant Mom." It's a story about her and husband Ian Gomez adopting a child. Nia of course is the famous actress/play-write from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame and she cut her teeth and earned many of her acting chops in Chi-town at the Second City improv venue.




MEDIA AND "COUSINS" AT CENTER OF SOCRATES MOCK TRIAL: Many of our "cousins" were among the nearly 1000 who attended the sold-out mock retrial of ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, the most seminal figure in the history of law and the father of "The Socratic Method,"  THE modern method for teaching law globally. His trial in 399 BC was the first trial by jury in the history of the world. The mock retrial was held Thursday, January 31 at Chicago's Palmer House Hilton Hotel and benefited the National Hellenic Museum. In the 3-shot photo are (L-R) immediate past US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, Museum president Connie Mouroupalas, and former 1st Assistant US Attorney Patrick M. Collins (all three event photos by Dimitri Eliopoulos of Elios Photography). The two former federal prosecutors, now in private practice, served as prosecutors on behalf of the City of Athens. Representing Socrates were noted attorneys Dan K. Webb and Robert A. Clifford. The three-juidge panel consisted of federal justices Richard A. Posner and William J. Bauer, as well as Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anna H. Demacopoulos. Federal Judge Charles P. Kocoras was instrumental in bringing together this all-star ensemble of some of the greatest legal
minds in the Midwest. Serving on the 14-member "paneled" jury was our own Anna Davlantes, FOX32 Chicago anchor and morning host (in photo with microphone explaining her verdict). The paneled jury was
backed up by the audience, serving as citizen jurors. Other media serving as paneled jurists were ABC7's Paul Meinke, FOX32's Larry Yellen, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, Chicago Tribune reporter Ameet Sachdev, and Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos. GMC co-directors George Bliss, Anthe Mitrakos, and Terry Poulos covered the event, as did journalist Sotiris Rekoumis, all for various Greek outlets.
Attorney Tom Skallas wrote an account of the mock trial in The Greek Star, as did Terry Poulos.

EXTRA CREDITS":  The Winter 2013 issue of Greek Circle magazine is out with the cover story "Village Voices, Remembering Greece". The quarterly is based in Chicago and the publisher is Alexa Ganakos Ganas...GMC co-director George Bliss shared this song, sung by our "cousin" Theo McClendon, about the epidemic of violence and shootings in America. A few short years back, Theo lost both his parents in a horrific home invasion, burglary and double homicide...
Columbia College, Chicago broadcast journalism grad Michael Kalopedis recently launched a media/video business Zedem Media. A former NBC5 Chicago intern, Michael is now based in Cyprus, his home country...Many have been asking about music video interactive network Akoo International Inc., a former GMC event venue host, and we thought to inform that it is still operating but under new management and Niko Drakoulis, co-founder and former president, has transitioned to other projects.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: FOX32 Chicago lead sports anchor Lou Canellis, ESPN1000 sportsradio marketing director Elena Angelos, model/actress Brittney Refakes, Specsource owner Alex Kountoures (2-time GMC event venue host), writer Alexandrea Loukas Grivas, Jimmy Bliss, Kathy Kaporis, Pete Karamitsos.



Week of February 11, 2013


GEORGIOU EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION THIS FRIDAY: Internationally-acclaimed Greek artist Kostis Georgiou is coming to Chicago from Athens following a year-long, five-city tour of China and opens an exhibition titled "PIXELS" this Friday, February 15 at an opening reception from 5 pm to 9 pm at the River North gallery Hilton-Asmus Contemporary, 716 N. Wells Street. The exhibit runs through April 15. "PIXELS" (short for Picture Element) is a compendium of paintings and sculptures by Georgiou, whose works have been on display in Europe and Asia.




FOOD INDUSTRY NEWS PUBLISHER PASSES AWAY: He was a giant and a pioneer in the arena of culinary journalism. Longtime Food Industry News publisher Jim Contis passed away late last week. The publication, founded by Jim in 1982, is headquartered in Park Ridge, IL and is noted as one of the foremost industry magazines. It's distributed monthly to more than 100,000 owners, operators, workers, and more. A passionate follower of all-things-food, Jim was also a keen observer of politics and was outspoken in his beliefs. As well,
for a time he hosted a local Greek radio show, and he previously owned a restaurant and vending service. Jim's son-in-law, Cary Miller, is one of our GMC "cousins," married to Jim's daughter Valerie. May Jim rest in peace and may his memory be eternal.



"COUSINS" AT LEADERSHIP 100 IN SOCAL: Pictured in the group shot are (L-R) Stephany Prodromos, Lexy Prodromos, actress/TV host Patricia Kara, and Patricia's husband Noel LaMontaigne, a former NFL player with the Cleveland Browns who's now a player agent. The Prodromos sisters are accomplished singers who performed last Friday night at the gala for the annual Leadership 100 conference, which was led by Metropolitan Iakavos. Patricia and the Prodromos girls are longtime "cousins" of the GMC. The conference was held at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Dana Point, CA. L100 is comprised of the nation's most influential Greek Americans, whose participation in L100 centers on support for the Greek Orthodox Church in America. Headlining the four-day conference was FOX Film & Entertainment CEO Jim
Gianopulos, who delivered a riveting video presentation on the history of Greeks in Hollywood and cinema. Academy Award winning director Alexander Payne ("Sideways", "The Descendants") gave a luncheon speech, and actress/play-write Nia Vardalos ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), who's a Chicago favorite, was the headliner at the Friday night gala. Pictured in the 3-shot are (L-R) Archbishop Demetrios, Gianopulos, and Charles H. Cotros. They presented Gianopulos with the Archbishop Iakovos "Leadership 100 Award," as were Vardalos, Payne, and Mary J. Mitchell.

 

In the 4-shot photo are (L-R) Fr. Eugene Pappas, Archbishop Demetrios, Payne, and Cotros. In the 3-shot photo, Vardalos is flanked by Cotros along with Archbishop Demetrios. For the three photos with the Archbishop, photo credit to Demetrios Panagos. Media types making an appearance at the conference were: Neo magazine publisher Demetrios Rhompotis, GreekReporter.com publisher Anastasios Papapostolou, Neo west-coast correspondent Joanna Xipa, and actress Anna Rezan Ritseli, and GMC co-director Terry Poulos. L100's executive director is Paulette Poulos.

FACE OFF EVERY TUESDAY WITH OUR ANTHONY: Don't forget to tune in to the SyFy Channel every Tuesday evening for season four of the national TV show "FaceOff," featuring our own J. Anthony Kosar, artist/illustrator/master mask-maker, in competition for the top prize. Anthony swept all of the first four episodes and it looks really good for our "cousin," who we predict is on the radar to be the next hot Hollywood special effects makeup illustrator.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: PBS host and McClendonReport.com publisher Garrard McClendon, NBC4 Milwaukee producer Karen Demos, NBC5 Chicago lead news anchor and Philhellene Allison Rosati, CNN producer Penny Manis, The Greek Star contributor Harriett Condes-Zervakis, LA-based writer/mixed media/filmmaker Daphne Valentina, M&M Court Reporting services twin sisters Mary Ellyn Andriopoulos D'Andrea and Kiki Andriopoulos, Strength & Honor authentic Grecian warrior actress/impersonator Karen Bradley Colweck, singer/musician Maria Skoulidas, artisan Anna Thompson, financial services pro Markella Kaloudis Constantine, attorney Ruston Smith.



Week of February 4, 2013
 
"COUSINS" SERENADE CHURCH SUPPORTERS, HOLLYWOOD ELITES THIS WEEK: Two-time GMC event performers, the singing sisters Lexy and Stephany Prodromos, just released a new music video to the soundtrack of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and they're headed to sunny SoCal this week to perform before a gala audience at the annual Leadership 100 conference at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel. L100 is a group of nationally prominent Greek Americans who pledge to support the Greek Orthodox Church in America through annual donations, in-kind support, and related philanthropy. Headlining the event is Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of 20th Century FOX Film & Entertainment, whom many refer to as `the most powerful executive in Hollywood." Joining Gianopulos in the spotlight will be actress Nia Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame, who's

a Chicago favorite, as well as Academy Award-winning director Alexander Payne ("Sideways," "The Descendants"). In the two-shot photo is Gianopulos (left of the lectern) in 2010 at the National Hellenic Society's "Renaissance Weekend" in Las Vegas. Standing arm-and-arm are director Payne (to the right) and Filmhellenes President Niko Franghias (also a filmmaker) at the Filmhellenes fundraiser for Greek Film Fest Chicago, held at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago in 2012. The gals singing are Lexy (white dress) and Stephany (pink) at the Greek Media Club's "Summer 2012 Rooftop Soiree" at the National Hellenic Museum.

GARSOT ART GALLERY DEBUTS IN CHICAGO: Greektown Chicago just got a new tenant and it fits perfectly with the character of the neighborhood and adds panache to the booming strip on South Halsted. Located directly across from the new National Hellenic Museum, the Garsot Art Gallery was founded by master artist/sculptor Sotirios Gardiakos, whose works can be found throughout the Mediterranean, South Africa and North America. The artist's works are "spanning over a half century of paintings, sculptures, architecture and mixed media... He opened the gallery in December 2012. Hailing from Filiatra, Greece, Garsot was inspired at age three by his father's drawings. Described as a master surrealist, he's completed thousands of original pieces which are self-described as technically-beautiful, optimistically moving artworks. In 2013, Garsot features a series of organics, showcasing an exciting new style of abstracts and complex syntheses never-before seen by the artist. Curator for the facility is Chris Primbas, who informs us he's working on a weekly wine tasting and art viewing night to socialize the art experience and provide yet another fun avenue for Greektown denizens.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": ABC Network news chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos is serving as the honorary chair of the March 2 Ambrosia Ball annual gala fundraiser for the National Hellenic Museum, to be held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago...i101 FM radio host Jane Monzures and her longtime friend and on-air partner Pete McMurray this Monday began a TV pilot entertainment show and launched it on facebook. Jane, a charter GMC member, is also host of the weekly "Living Healthy Chicago" on WGN TV...Monica Canellis and friends host their popular Stimulus Social Club event Wednesday, February 6 at John Barleycorn in Chicago. Begins 5:30 pm...Sports reporter Tina Akouris, who's been writing on prep and college sports for the Chicago Sun-Times for many years, recently moved to the paper's sister publication, the Joliet, IL-based Herald-News...Best-selling children's book adventure series author Peter Lerangis appeared this Monday at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL to address his first in a new series on the epic `Seven Wonders of the Ancient World," titled "The Collosus Rises"...Greek Public TV (ERT), found on satellite, recently announced the hiring of a new Washington, DC correspondent, Lena Argiri.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Hellenic Foundation executive director Christina Sofiakis Jones (also former publisher of Mia magazine), Waste Management (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami) manager of community relations Dawn Bouzeos McCormick (also former sports anchor in San Jose, CA), Hellenic American Leadership Council chairman Endy Zemenides, Themis Galanis, Tom Vabakos, Mike Grivas, Elaina Kanavos Rankin.



Week of January 28, 2013_______________________________________

CANELLIS TO WLS RADIO 5-6 PM WEEKDAYS: Our longtime "cousin" and charter GMC member, FOX32 Chicago lead sports anchor Lou Canellis, just signed on with WLS AM-890 to co-host an hour from 5 to 6 pm weekdays with show hosts Roe Conn and Richard Roeper. The hiring was reported on by TimeOut Chicago magazine media critic Robert Feder. The hour segment will be devoted to a hybrid of sports and entertainment, both Canellis specialties. In the mid-2000's, Lou was a contributor to the ABC7 weekly entertainment showcase "190 North," hosted by Janet Davies. He had the opportunity to report on a wide range of entertainment issues and he also was a mainstay on New Year's Eve coverage at Channel 7. In the early 1990's, Lou served as sideline correspondent and "Live in the Locker Room" host post-game for WMAQ radio, then the Bulls' flagship station, and recently he's been the face of Bears coverage at FOX on Sunday game-days and at Comcast SportsNet during the week in season. He's versatile in sports and entertainment and the mix with Roe & Roeper has great potential.

"COUSIN" CLOWES IN TRIB, ON ABC7: Our "cousin" Tom Clowes (far right in photo) helped found the Crossing Borders Music Collective, a group of musicians who foster "intercultural appreciation, understanding, and cooperation through music," reads their mission statement. They "present music of composers from around the world, focusing on those from under-represented countries...through live concerts and reading session recordings available online. Partnering with other non-profit organizations working around the world, we use music to interest audiences in further opportunities for intercultural understanding and cooperation," writes the group. Recently, they were featured in the Chicago Tribune, and ABC7 aired clips of one of their concerts. They also performed live January 5 on WFMT radio, Chicago's classical music station.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Greek Circle magazine publisher Alexa Ganakos Ganas, Christina Kanatas, Kiki Furla, Eleni Demertzis.



Week of January 21, 2013_______________________________________

OVERWHELMING DEMAND FOR JAN 31 MUSEUM EVENT: Having hit 1,000 ticket requests, the National Hellenic Museum has now moved the venue for "The Trial of Socrates" to the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. Proceedings commence Thursday January 31, 2012 at 6 pm sharp. This mock trial has proven to be a highly-popular attraction, with law schools coast-to-coast tapping into a live Internet stream to use as instructional material for J.D. students. The guest list has gone far beyond both the legal and Greek American community. Writes the Museum, "The most significant legal appeal in nearly 2,500 years will take place...when we will re-try the biggest freedom of speech case of all times." Federal Judge Richard A. Posner presides, along with William J. Bauer, former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and The Honorable Anna Demacopouilos (Cook County Circuit Court Judge), and a jury of 12 distinguished citizens, who will deliberate over the validity of the charges brought against one of the most famous philosophical and legal minds in the history of the world. A group of the nation's foremost legal minds will participate, including lead defense counsel Dan K. Webb (Winston & Strawn) and Robert A. Clifford (Clifford Law Offices). The prosecution consists of immediate past U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald (now with Skadden, Arps) and former federal prosecutor Patrick M. Collins (now with Perkins Cole). Each participant will attempt to get at the heart of why "Athens, the birthplace of Democracy, put to death a 70-year old philosopher who exercised the fundamental right of freedom of speech," writes the Museum. The jury includes: Alderman Walter Burnett (27th), Paul Meincke (ABC7 news), The Honorable Margaret Frossard (John Marshall Law School), John Calamos (Calamos Investments), Larry Yellen (FOX32 news), The Honorable Peggy Chiampas (Cook County Municipal Court Justice), Dan Mihalopoulos (Chicago Sun-Times reporter), Neil Steinberg (Chicago Sun-Times columnist), Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, and Ameet Sachdev (Chicago Tribune reporter).

CHICAGO TREASURE JIM MEZILSON PASSES AWAY: The Greek community in Chicago is in mourning this week after the death at age 93 of one of its favorite sons, James M. Mezilson. A retired journalist and founding member of the National Hellenic Museum, Jimmy joined the Chicago Sun newspaper (after a merger it became the Sun-Times) in 1942 and worked his way up from copy boy to street reporter. He later would serve on the staff of US Senator Paul Douglas. In the Greek media, he started his column "Periclean Patter" in 1939 in the pages of the Thessaloniki (later the Greek Press). He also wrote a regular column in The Greek Star newspaper of Chicago, as well as The National Herald, Hellenic Chronicle, Athene Magazine, and the AHEPAN through the year 2000. Jimmy became an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and received the Order of St. Paul from Archbishop Iakovos as well as the Order of St. Andrew. An associate of presidents and the common man alike, Jimmy became involved in efforts involving the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. He will be missed. Rest in peace Jimmy, may your memory be eternal.


MARKELLA'S GOING AWAY PARTY: On January 5, a group of friends organized a going away party at 9 Muses in Greektown for their longtime friend and our close "cousin" Markella Kaloudis Constantine (center in photo), who moved to Florida with her husband Dinos Constantine in mid-January. Pictured (L-R) are: Maria Dollas (director of the social group EuroCircle Chicago, which has collaborated with the GMC on past events), GMC co-director Terry Poulos, Markella, Voula Spyropoulos, and Eleni Speron. Markella, who works in finance, and Dinos have many friends and family in the Chicago area, including her father, the Rev. Fr. George C. Kaloudis of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, so she'll be visiting often.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS"
: Chicago Tribune business planning editor Andrea Hanis wrote this article on page 2 of the front section, appearing in the January 16 edition, about upcoming Trib-sponsored events designed to teach readers about issues and concerns...Also appearing on page 2 of the Trib front section is the regular column by John Kass, whose on-air partner Jake Hardford (aka Steve Edwards) at WLS radio died unexpectedly last week. John writes about the loss in his January 16 column...Congratulations to marketing and new media pro John Karantonis and his Sia on the birth of son Vasili this week...Tampa-based Nicholas Anastos, who formerly produced at CBS2 Chicago for news legends Bill Kurtis, Walter Jacobson, and Johnny Morris (another Greek American), is now co-hosting talk radio at TalkSlamRadio.com.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Boston-based author Chris Titus ("The God Complex" and founder of the Greek social networking site GreekSydesi.com), Tarpon Springs-based Yanni Stathakis (founder of Arista Entertainment, aka "DJ Astatos"), City of Chicago special events coordinator Cindy Gatziolis, Oldi Ethnic Marketing founder Olga Oblonskaya, Michael Marks, Diana Anastasia




Week of January 14, 2013_______________________________________

"COUSIN" KOSAR IN SYFY REALITY SERIES JAN 15: Tune in to the SyFy network January 15 at 8 pm CST to watch our very own master mask-maker and illustration/design guru J. Anthony Kosar compete in the season premiere of "Face Off," billed by producers as "a reality competition/elimination series exploring the world of special effects make-up artists and the unlimited imagination that allows them to create amazing works of living art." Watch as contestants are "tasked with elaborate feature challenges including executing full body paint make-up, and include a wide range of skill sets including prosthetics, 3-D design, sculpting, eye enhancers, casting and molding." Winner take all with a grand prize being the opportunity to become a guest lecturer at the MAKE UP FOR EVER ACADEMY in New York and Paris, a 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid, and $100,000. Anthony, who owns Kosart Effects Studio in Lisle, IL, is a young up-and-comer who has a bright future ahead of him. He's already gained local notoriety for his lifelike Halloween mask of the former and now imprisoned Illinois governor Blago. Anthony has also created effects for two films produced by his sister Melissa Kosar.

FITNESS DVD #1 ON AMAZON: The ladies of "Deal or No Deal" have done it again. Our longtime close "cousin," Chicago native Patricia Kara, a past People magazine "100 Most Beautiful People" selection, and two of her colleagues who were also briefcase spokesmodels on the hit game show, produced their second hit fitness DVD, this one called "Fast Fitness" and this month it became the top selling workout DVD on Amazon.com. Patricia started her own blog and last Sunday appeared on the national "FOX & Friends" morning show to promote the DVD. She also has her own showcase TV pilot in the works which will revolve around entertainment, fitness, and more. She's one of the fastest-rising fitness product spokesmodels and infomercial hosts across the nation. Patricia started in print modeling at age 16 and graced the covers and pages of most of the major magazines. Today, she's an actress and TV host whose credits include Extra, Fox Movie Channel, and Celebtv. Some of her other appearances include the TV Guide Channel, hosting the Red Carpet at the Catherine Zeta-Jones Benefit for the Motion Picture and Television Fund, E! Entertainment's Wild On: Kentucky Derby, and the U.S. Surf Open. 5 Factor and AbCoaster also utilized Patricia's hosting skills in their nationally televised advertisements. She was recently selected to be a Beauty Correspondent for the Greek beauty line “Korres,” and to top it off was the featured model in a Trace Adkins country music video which plays regularly on such outlets as MTV and VH1.

INDUSTRY EXEC FEATURED: Our "cousin" Barbara Mathopoulos, Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Chicago Association of Realtors, is featured in the current issue of Chicago Agent magazine. The magazine writes that Barb is "one of the most widely recognized individuals at the association, and for good reason – her position encompasses nothing less than ensuring that all of CAR’s 11,000 members have all the tools they need to succeed, which can include media relations, engaging volunteers for committees and special events, and providing information through CR Magazine, CAR’s website and electronic/social media communication, to say nothing of the association’s award-winning Young Professionals Network."

BOOK ON BUILDING BIZ MODELS: Our longtime "cousin" Nick Thomopoulos, a professor emeritus at the Illinois Institute of Technology and internationally-recognized inventory software designer and consultant, just released his sixth book. "Essentials of Monte Carlo Simulation" offers "fundamentals" approach to developing Monte Carlo computer simulations and illustrates the best ways to select input distributions and parameters with or without sample data, reads the book copy. The book exhibits "methods using basic computer simulation techniques" with "theories presented in tis text deal with systems that are too complex to solve analytically." It's marketed to students and researchers in the fields of mathematics and statistics. Nick has more than 100 published papers and presentations to his credit, and for many years he has consulted in a wide variety of industries in the USA, Europe, and Asia. He's been the recipient of numerous honors such as the Rist Prize in 1972 from the Military Operations Research Society for new developments in queuing theory, the Distinguished Professor Award in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005 from the IIT Asian Alumni Association, and the Professional Achievement Award in 2009 from the IIT Alumni Association. The book is available in eBook and hardcover.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS"
: Attorney and author Peter Stamatis (Dandelions for Dinner) this past week was interviewed on AM-820 by "Un-Common Law" host Kurt Muller. Peter is also a frequent contributor to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin..."Big" Lee Roupas, the "Card Hard Man" for the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and an author/fitness expert, was profiled in the Palos Patch, a Southwest Suburban Chicago weekly...Peter Skontos, office manager at The Greek Star newspaper, was recently wed to Sandra Garrido...Aspiring model/actress Elaina Kanavos was married on New Year's eve to Bobby Rankin...Condolences to our longtime close "cousin" Maria Lampros on the recent passing of her mother...

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Harpo Studios associate producer Andrea Dres, PR pro Marina Lambropoulos, NY Greek radio host Anthoula Katsimitides, former "Springer" show producer Jennifer Zarachlioutis, Chicago Public Schools executive Staci Strategakis.



Week of January 7, 2013_______________________________________


POSTS 1,000th BLOG ENTRY
: Our longtime close "cousin" John Vlahakis, an environmental innovator and founder of leading eco-home products firm Earth Friendly Products, hit a milestone this week. He posted the 1,000th entry on his environmental blog EarthyReport.com. John is also the publisher of The Greek Star newspaper in Chicago and author of the book "Green Bites."



BREAKFAST WITH KASS JAN 15: Be sure to stay tuned to WLS AM-890 weekdays 9-11 am as Chicago Tribune page 2 columnist John Kass
and on-air partner Jake Hartford will be filling in for the foreseeable future. Expect a heavy dose of Illinois politics with John on the mic. And on January 15, the Tribune is sponsoring another in a series of breakfast talks with John. To register, click here.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": At our Christmas event, we welcomed Bill Sr. and Thalia Zane, the actor parents of famous "Titanic" actor Billy Zane. It was just reported by our "cousin" Anastasios Papapostolou at GreekReporter.com that Billy will star in an upcoming action flick...Our "cousin," attorney and elected official Mariyana Spyropoulos, has visited us as a special guest on a few occasions and in early January - half-way through her first term on the Board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago - was elected the new Finance Chair.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: AOL vice-chair emeritus and SnagFilms.com founder Ted Leonsis, singer/songwriter Ariana Savalas, Peter Furla (owner of Furla Photography/Video), George Bliss Jr., George Bliss Sr. (GMC co-director).





Week of January 1, 2013_______________________________________

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Congratulations to our longtime close "cousin" Kim Vatis "The News Goddess," an original charter member of the GMC. Kim last week celebrated her 15-year anniversary at NBC5 Chicago, where she's an award-winning anchor/reporter...As the new year dawns, a few of us "cousins" will be gathering this Saturday, January 5 in Greektown for a farewell to our longtime "cousin" Markella Kaloudis Constantine, who's moving to Florida with her husband Dinos Constantine. The couple have family in the area and thus will visit often...Producing the new year's eve broadcast for ABC7 Chicago was veteran producer Cathy Vlahogiannis.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: CarsDiva.com online community and news site founder Demetra Markopoulos, "DJ Moppy" Chris Thomopoulos, videographer/documentarian Pavan Bapu, attorney Tom Sotos.





Week of December 24, 2012____________________________________

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Our LA-based "cousin" Ariana Savalas, a two-time GMC event performer, celebrates her birthday with a CD release party for her first jazz album "Sophisticated Lady" on January 9 at Vibrato in LA. For reservations, contact Info@arianasavalas.com or phone 310.474.9400...Hellenic Foundation executive director Christina Sofiakis Jones appeared on Vicky Kournetas' Hellenic Heartbeat TV in December offering tips on dealing with holiday stress. The GMC hosted an event/funder for the Foundation in early 2011...Our "cousins" Mike Grivas and Alexandrea Loukas Grivas, a periodic contributing writer for various Greek publications, are expecting their first child in May!!...Denver-based producer Peter Demas, president of Starz Entertainment Group, and his wife Cynthia Stevens-Demas welcomed newborn son Ethan in December...LA-based filmmaker George Giovanis is seeking to raise funds on Indie Gogo for his latest production "Run It."

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: East Coast digital media pro George Dratelis, marketing ace Deedy Angeletos, Bill Apostol of Omega Media Partners, actress Helen Manasses Renaud.




Week of December 17, 2012____________________________________



LOVEHAMMERS BREAK INTO BILLBOARD CHARTS
: Our "cousins" Dino and Bobbie Kourelis of The Lovehammers received some great news in December. The Chicago rock band's latest album "Set Fire" broke into the Billboard music charts in three separate categories: New Artists (#13), Heetseakers (#13), and East North Central Heatseaker Regional (#1).




COACH LEVY HONORED BY NFL AND SOUTH SHORE H.S.
: NFL Hall of Famer Marv Levy (in photo at right at our 2012 Summer event at the National Hellenic Museum) is a Chicago native and retired head coach of four Super Bowl teams with the Buffalo Bills. In December, he was honored by South Shore High School, where he's an alum, with a "Hometown Hall of Famer" award. Also participating in the ceremonies were the NFL Hall of Fame Enterprise and Allstate Insurance. Marv was also once a "media" guy, having served for years as a network TV analyst for NFL broadcasts. Recently, he penned a novel titled "Between The Lies," a work of fiction about the Super Bowl. Marv, a prominent Phil-Hellene, has joined us for numerous GMC events, including one as our honored guest in 2011 at Play18 Chicago, and he's a full-fledged "cousin" of the GMC!

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Congratulations to Atlanta-based photographer Chris Savas on his recent engagement to Lisa Plummer, contributing editor at Collinson Media & Events... In June, Sacramento-based author/writer/editor Dena Kouremetis began blogging on small business issues at Forbes.com.




Week of December 10, 2012____________________________________

ON THE MOVE AFTER 30 YEARS: After 30 years of performing live stage plays for kids, scripts written by kids that is, the trailblazing Child's Play Touring Theatre is itself on the road to new digs at 4161 N. Damon in Chicago after the previous 30 years at their current location at 2518 W. Armitage. Co-founder June Panagakis Podagrosi will soon be hosting an open house at the new location, but until then, they're making their final move this Thursday and they could use all the volunteer help they can get. As well, CPTT has a treasure trove of items that need to be cleared out and they're offering many artifacts, furniture, office equipment, etc. free of charge for anyone who will haul it away. Click on their website for more. Other principals of the 501c3 organization include Diana Mendoza and Shari Schlacter. More than a few of our "cousins" are friends and supporters of the program.

EUROCIRCLE HOLIDAY EVENT DEC 12
: Our "cousin" Maria Dollas, an event and meeting planner extraordinaire, is also director of the popular EuroCircle Chicago social group, attended by many GMCers. EuroCircle is hosting its annual holiday party Wednesday, December 12 at the Italian eatery Tocco in Chicago. This is a private event for Eurocircle members and space is limited. RSVP is a must. DJ John Curley dishes holiday tunes and Maria has lined up some organizations from the Italian community and is billing this as an Italian Christmas so get your RSVP in soon.

DEC 14 DINNER DANCE: GMCer Maria Skoulidas co-hosts the 2nd annual St. Stylianos "Walk with Angels Dinner Dance" on December 14 to benefit the Christian Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala, a nation we're told no longer allows for adoption by foreigners. Venue is Concorde Banquets in Kildeer, IL. Cocktails 6:30 pm followed by video presentation and dinner and dancing. DJ Pete Haralabopoulos performs all night. Tickets $65. Email Maria or phone 312.972.6877.


BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: NYU Langone Medical Center media director and longtime NBC and CBS network producer Dorie Klissas, Salt Lake Weekly publisher John Saltas, ChicagoNow.com blogger Steven Galanis, photographer Elias Zimianitis, and Greek-Beat magazine.

CONDOLENCES: To the family of our "cousin" Alex Kountoures on the passing of his father John Kountoures (may his memory be eternal). Alex is a longtime supporter of ours and two-time GMC venue host at his two plush furniture showrooms in Chicago's Merchandise Mart. Wake is Wednesday 4-8 pm at Lincoln/Ridge Funeral Home in Shererville, IN and funeral services begin Thursday morning at St. George G.O. Church in Schererville.



Week of December 3, 2012_____ ________________________________

DEC 5 STIMULUS SOCIAL CLUB: Our longtime "cousin" Monica Canellis , wife of our own "Sweet Lou" Canellis of FOX32 Chicago sports, is one of the co-hosts for the monthly Stimulus Social Club event being held Wednesday, December 5 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. The group runs their events as fundraisers for a different charitable cause each time out. Comp appetizers from 6-7 pm and one drink, $10 cash donation at door. This month's beneficiary is Streetwise, a publication which helps the homeless. The ladies of StimSoc attract gatherings between 300 and 600 so go to the website for RSVP details.

HPSI XMAS PARTY DEC 9
: Our "cousins" at the Hellenic Professional Society of Illinois are hosting their annual "Christmas Soiree" Sunday, December 9 from 6-10 pm at SUB 51, the basement venue at the popular eatery HUB 51 in downtown Chicago. Hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and dancing. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at a discounted rate of $50 for members. Tickets at the door are $65. For more info, contact Marika Pappas.


ENGAGEMENT: A hearty congratulations go out to our longtime "cousin" Dino Loukas, who recently became engaged to be married to Effie Fronimos (both pictured in photo). DIno is a retired pro rodeo cowboy who once fell off his horse in competition and very nearly died. He underwent many major surgeries and he's now well on the road to recovery. Dino is writing a book about his experiences and we're eager to get a glimpse at an upcoming GMC event.


BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Veteran radio newscaster and personality Kiki Vale, TV and commercial video producer Nick Mantis, Rewind 100.3 production director and WordBalloon.com podcaster John Siuntres.



Week of November 26, 2012
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JANE EMCEES NOV 29 MUSEUM SHOP EVENT: Our very own "Sweet Baby" Jane Monzures, a radio personality and host of WGN TV's "Living Healthy Chicago," will be the guest artisan Thursday, November 29 from 5-9 pm at the National Hellenic Museum for "Holiday Shop & Sip." Admission is $10 (free to Museum members). Featuring jewelry, art, holiday pastries, handbags, more. Multitask with some Christmas shopping while sampling complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres.


GERONTAKIS LIVE NOV 29 AT THE MID
: Our "cousin" Sam Cappas, owner of The Mid (site of our April 2012 event), let us know about a fantastic Greek-born DJ-turned-recording artist who'll be performing Thursday, November 29 at The Mid (just North of Greektown on Halsted). Johnny Gerontakis was born in Greece, where he still lives and maintains his own club in Athens. He's been a big part of the Greek clubbing circuit internationally for some time with his "Show Me Love" parties, performed at such destinations as Athens, London, Amsterdam, New York, Miami, and Chicago. This one runs late night so you can go to the Museum first and head a few blocks North to The Mid for the after-party.



DEC 1 CD RELEASE PARTY: Our "cousins" Dino Kourelis and Bobby Kourelis, brothers and two of the four members of the about-to-be nationwide rock phenoms The Lovehammers, will appear Saturday, December 1 at Joe's on Weed Street in Chicago with the rest of the band, including lead singer Marty Casey and lead guitarist Billy Sawilchik, for a New CD Release Party, including their new feature song "Into the Insane," part of the album "Set Fire." Dino plays bass guitar and Bobby is the band's drummer. Near the end of the baseball season, the band had the honor of playing with one of their idols, Guns 'N Roses lead guitarist Slash, at US Cellular Field before a White Sox game. The guys are on a roll and the sky's the limit for these Chicago rockers.



INSIDE CHICAGO BRIDE MAG: Our longtime "cousin" Cathy Demetropoulos, editor in chief of Chicago Bride magazine, passed along this video of her mag's photo shoot for the 2012 Fall/Winter edition. Included is behind-the-scenes action. Cathy's husband Joseph Nebolsky de Ochoa, proprietor of Potosi Imports, was the wine sponsor at our February 2010 event at Hilligoss Galleries. Cathy also blogs on wine. Check out her November 20 entry.



1ST ANNIVERSARY FOR MUSEUM, NEW EXHIBIT IN TRIBUNE
: The National Hellenic Museum celebrates its 1-year anniversary in December and it's also featuring an exciting new exhibit - "American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration" - which was just profiled in the Chicago Tribune . The Museum is also the site of our December 13 Christmas party, our 5th annual holiday celebration there!


EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": December 1 open casting call for new NBC reality TV show "Bear Grylls," an adventure series set in the wild which calls upon all your survival talents to compete. Producers seek duos to compete together. Forwarded by our Museum "cousin" Toula Georgakopoulos, who was told by producers they'd quote "LOVE to have members of the Greek community represented." Casting venue is Xport Fitness in Chicago's South Loop...Ubiquitous PR maven Marina Lambropoulos is now writing a society blog about Chicago's vibrant social scene...This past Monday, WTTW Channel 11 aired Remembering Chicago, the 70's & 80's, including vintage photos by Diane Alexander White from Disco Demolition, the Bud Billiken Parade, old Chicagofest, and more...Condolences to the family of Katherine Valone, a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher who passed away this week at the age of 80. Katherine was also a longtime syndicated writer for various Greek American publications with her widely-read column on religion "The View From The Pew." May her memory be eternal.


BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Washington Monthly magazine publisher Markos Kounalakis, Daily Herald sports contributor and WRLR radio sportscaster Rusty Silber.



Week of November 19, 2012_____________________________________




HAPPY THANKSGIVING
!!





LIVE IN GREEKTOWN THIS SUNDAY
: Live Greek music beginning this Saturday late-night and continuing through Sunday morning November 25 in Greektown Chicago. The Ormi Orchestra plays the Parthenon's Bouzouki Lounge from Midnight through 5 am. Come see Kostas Lazaridis on Bouzouki, Pete Karnavas on violin, Takis Zarakas on keyboards, George Marks on keyboards, Tim Adams on drums, vocalists  Markella Papamihalakis and George Dimas, and DJ Jim Veikos.



BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Impulse magazine publisher and Chicago Sun-Times "Splash" contributor Katerina Bizios, Cornfedsports.com publisher Paige Dimakos, Emily Bouzarelos-Vidas, Niki Hondropoulos, Steve Alexander.



Week of November 12, 2012_____________________________________

NOV. 17 AT INTERNATIONAL SURGICAL MUSEUM: Our longtime "cousin" Dr. Demetra Tsatsoulis is chairing a cocktail reception Saturday, November 17 from 7 to 10 pm which benefits the Pan-Arcadian Hospital in Tripolis, Greece. Venue is the International Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago (discount parking with validation at 1350 N. LSD and 1445 N. State Parkway). Hosts are the Hellenic Medical Society of Chicago. Writes Dr. Tsatsoulis, "I am hoping to raise funds for the purchase and shipping of basic medical supplies. With the current economic crisis in Greece, the local county hospitals are struggling to provide basic healthcare due to lack of supplies." To purchase a ticket, make a general donation, or purchase an advertisement, send a check or money order ($100 per person; after October 25 it goes to $125) care of Dr. Demetra Tsatsoulis (email her or send to 630 N. State Street, #1306, Chicago IL 60654). Checks payable to Hellenic Medical Society Chicago.

 

WEBSITE LAUNCHES: Our "cousins," sisters Anthe Mitrakos and Vasiliki Mitrakos, on November 12 officially launched two websites for both the not-for-profit Ariston Foundation academic scholarships as well as the organization's companion Greek magazine Portes. Anthe is a Chicago designer/journalist who reported on healthcare issues the past two years at Crain's Chicago Business. She serves as editor of Portes. Vasiliki is a pre-law senior at Northwestern University who has also written for The Mash, a Tribune property.

EXTRA "COUSIN" CREDITS
: Congratulations to our longtime close "cousin," award-winning news anchor Andrea Darlas, who last week celebrated her 15th year at WGN Radio AM-720. Andrea also appears on WGN TV's "The Home Show" nationally as well as locally as a fill-in reporter on Channel 9...Author Nicholas D. Kokonis Ph.D had his latest, "Out of Arcadia," profiled in the October issue of "Literary License," a publication of the Society for Midland Authors...Sad news to report as veteran Chicago photographer Steve Starr passed away this week. Steve was one of the most effervescent personalities on the Chicago social scene. Check out this article on Steve in the November 13 Chicago Sun-Times. He was with us at our February 2011 event at Hilligoss Galleries on the Mag Mile and provided these beautiful images from the event. Not only was Steve a top-notch photographer, he was truly a fun guy and made everyone feel special. May his memory be eternal.


BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK: Akoo International Inc. chairman/CEO Niko Drakoulis, event and meeting planner Maria Dollas (also director of EuroCircle Chicago), musician Andreas Kapsalis, Greek Music Live promoter George Katerinis, Teddy Dres.



Week of November 5, 2012
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ANNA IN "NEWSAPALOOZA" NOV 10 AT PARK WEST
: Our very own Anna Davlantes, FOX32 anchor and host, is part of the 3rd annual ensemble of broadcast talent brought together by WLS radio's Roe Conn, farcically-titled "Newsapalooza." This Saturday at the Park West Theater, up to a thousand people will attend this fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis which features news personalities taking the microphone and singing popular songs, all the while backed up by professional musicians. It's a fun time, lots of self-deprecating comedy (and some actually decent vocal renditions), and all for a good cause. Also part of the program (more "newsies" joining daily) are ABC7 hosts Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, NBC5 anchor Natalie Martinez, CBS2 anchor Rob Johnson, WGN-TV anchor Steve Sanders, WLS radio host and Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper, NBC5 sportscaster Paula Faris, and Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl.

NEW MUSEUM EXHIBIT OPENS NOV. 15: Our "cousins" at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago are debuting an exciting new exhibit titled "American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration." It opens Thursday, November 15. The exhibit "illuminates the Greek immigrant journey across America," reads the advance PR. "It traces the Greek path towards becoming American and showcases the Greek presence in definitive moments of American history. From the Civil War, to the Abolitionist movement, to the American Labor and Civil Rights movements, the exhibit celebrates the contributions of Greek Americans to the American mosaic." And while you're at the Museum (located in Greektown Chicago on Halsted Street at Van Buren), you can also check out the Marathon exhibit as well as the "Story of Greek Independence."

ELECTION COVERAGE
: Many of our "cousins" were on the local scene covering the presidential election, including FOX32's Anna Davlantes and NBC5's Kim Vatis, among others. Filling in on WLS AM-890 on election Tuesday was Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass. He and WLS host Jake Hartford scored a rare live, long-form interview with former Clinton chief of staff BIll Daley, brother of the former mayor of Chicago and a person being talked up to take on the incumbent Illinois governor in 2014. Listen to the interview here.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: Chicago Tribune business planning editor Andrea Hanis, designer/journalist Anthe Mitrakos (also a GMC co-director), NY-based Greek comedian and parody singer Jimmy "Super Greek" Santis, IIT professor and Greek Press columnist George Nassos, San Francisco-based Velti executive Dimitris Karameris, Kronos Foods founder Chris Tomaras (also chairman of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation), Teddi Furla Galanis, Chris Matsakis, Gina Campanella Mahony.




Week of October 29, 2012
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Our East Coast "cousin colleagues" at The National Herald weekly Greek American newspaper in New York just celebrated their 15th anniversary. To honor the occasion, they released this commemorative edition of the paper free to the public for review.

HALLOWEEN ART THIS SATURDAY NOV 3
: Our "cousin" J. Anthony Kosar, a young up-and-coming artist, illustrator, and master mask maker, is hosting an exhibition this Saturday, November 3 from 7 to 11 pm at his Westmont, IL studio gallery Kosart Effects Studios. The event is titled "2nd annual Maleficium Dark Art Exhibition" and there will also be a raffle to benefit Little Friends. Anthony gained local fame last year with his proprietary "Blago" mask of the former Illinois governor who's now in jail for public corruption. The Blago mask was hugely popular last year and Anthony's version  was the only one officially sanctioned by famous Chicago Halloween costume supplier Fantasy Costumes on Milwaukee Avenue. The mask was also featured on the WGN TV news. Anthony is hosting an array of award-winning artists whose specialties revolve around dark themes and the event is open to the public.

WATCH RESULTS AT ATHENA
: Our "cousins" at the Hellenic American Leadership Council are hosting an election night party at Athena restaurant in Greektown Chicago and another in New York City. Attorney Endy Zemenides, who doubles as executive director of HALC, spoke at our February GMC event at Holland & Knight. Coordinating invites for the election party is political blogger Georgia Logothetis. $25 per person, RSVP required. More than a few of our "cousins" will be attending. This is a non-partisan event so elephants, donkeys, and everything in between and outside that are welcome but you must RSVP ;)

EXTRA "COUSIN" CREDITS
: This late October observance by Chicago Tribune page two columnist John Kass regarding the historic WWII "OXI DAY" should be required reading for any Greek, and Oxi Day in general should be mandated curriculum in all American high schools (and that's not nearly ethnic cheerleading if one knows their history well)...Congratulations to Joanne and Pete Drakoulis on the birth of their first child, Athan Peter. Pete is VP of Strategic Brand Partnerships at Rosemont, IL based digital media entertainment network Akoo International Inc., a past GMC venue host and sponsor...Comedian, actress, and political satirist Ellen Karis is now blogging (Karis Clips) and will have a new web TV series out soon. The "Greek Goddess of Comedy" is also a periodic political panelist on FOX News Channel...Andrea Dres, associate producer at Harpo Studios in Chicago, has been collaborating with Oprah Winfrey's new cable venture OWN on a few projects, including a recent Justin Bieber interview. Andrea passed along this "backstage pass" link to insider scuttlebutt...Condolences to attorney and East Coast "cousin" Arthur Dimopoulos on the passing of his dad, Fr. George Dimopoulos, a Greek Orthodox priest. Arthur is also the publisher of Odyssey magazine.

BIRTHDAYING THIS WEEK
: "Cousins" who turned one year better this week...GMC co-director Maria Karamitsos (associate editor of The Greek Star newspaper in Chicago, "mommy blogger," and author), filmmaker Niko Franghias (president of Greek Film Fest Chicago!), playwright Barbara Georgans, artist/illustrator/master mask-maker J. Anthony Kosar, New York Greek radio impresario Artemis Skenteris Dimopoulos, Peter Gianakopoulos (president of Old School Records), Cosmopolis Live Greek Radio, and Demetra Bizios of the growing Bizios sisters media empire.



Week of October 22, 2012_______________________________________


KASS ON WLS AM-890: Chicago Tribune newspaper page 2 columnist John Kass again co-hosts on WLS AM-890 radio this Wednesday, October 24 from 9 to 11 am, joining host Jake Hartford. Also contributing to the show tomorrow will be Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dan Mihalopoulos. Expect a heavy dose of politics, most notably discourse on the upcoming presidential election. John has been popping up on WLS a lot more frequently of late so check in periodically during that time slot as he'll be on again in the very near future.

ARCADIA AUTHOR BOOK SIGNING AT MUSEUM: Acclaimed author Nicholas D. Kokonis, Ph.D just released a new tome, "Out of Arcadia," and he appeared October 16 at the National Hellenic Museum for a book signing and panel discussion. The panel consisted of Elaine Thomopoulos (Ph.D, Psychologist and author/editor), William Graddy (Ph.D, Professor Emeritus, Trinity International University), Jeffery Helgeson (Playwright, author, and professor at Roosevelt University), LaNisa Frederick (Goodman Theatre performer, will read excerpts), and George Mitchell (former Interim Director of the Museum, the evening's emcee). Pictured above is Mr. Kokonis along with Ioanna Efthymiadou, Consulate General for Greece in Chicago.

WEDDING HIGHLIGHTS ON BRAVO TV OCT. 24: Tune in to the BRAVO cable network Wednesday, October 24 at 9 pm and you'll see a few of our "cousins" in the wedding coverage of BRAVO's "Flipping Out" co-host Jenni Pulos, who recently wed Dr. Jonathan Nassos of Chicago. This news is brought to us by longtime GMCer George Nassos, a writer and professor who's also related to Dr. Jonathan.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS": Need last minute, DIY Halloween costume ideas? Check out this clip of radio/TV personality Jane Monzures, also a fashion designer, on a recent episode of FOX32's "Good Day Chicago," co-hosted by Anna Davlantes...Birthdaying this week...Elitsa Bizios (ABC15 Champaign, IL news anchor), Chris Kokenis (CNN producer), Zoe Iltsopooulos Borys (general manager at Fletcher Camera-Chicago), Chris Sarlas (founder of the Chris Sarlas Orchestra), Jason Vranas.



Week of October 15, 2012_______________________________________

FURLA'S LATEST OPENS THIS FRIDAY: Chicago native-turned-Hollywood producer George Furla debuts his second feature film of 2012 this Friday October 19, called "Alex Cross" (starring Tyler Perry, Rachel Nichols, Mathew Fox). It's a crime thriller and with George's track record it's sure to be one of the week's top releases. His last film, "End of Watch," opened #1 with $13 million in domestic box office it's first week in release, which was in September 2012. Many of our GMC "cousins" are related to George, including the family that owns Fura photography in Glenview, and the Galanis family of Chicago. George visited our September 2012 GMC function atop the outdoor terrace at Vertigo Sky Lounge. And keep watch again January 18 for yet another Furla flick, "Broken City," starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crow, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

ARTS GROUP HOSTS OPEN MEETING AT MICROSOFT CENTER: There will be an open board meeting Tuesday October 23 for the non-profit Child's Play Touring Theatre. Those interested in learning more or becoming board members or volunteering are welcome to attend. Event begins 6 pm at the Microsoft Technology Center (200 E. Randolph, Ste. 200, Chicago). Must RSVP for security clearance. The organization is headed by June Panagakis Podagrosi and more than a few of our "cousins" are involved with the group.

EXTRA "COUSIN CREDITS
: Atlanta transplant to Chicago Despina Damianides is working on a documentary about diabetes and she just launched a new website...Birthdaying this week: Former pro rodeo cowboy-turned-author Dino Loukas, radio personality Johnny Mars of WXRT 93.1-FM, Newstalk Cleveland Greek hour host Valerie Varlamas, personnel recruiter Harvey Daniels of the Federal Reserve, makeup artist Tasia Apostolopoulos, LA-based filmmaker Alethea Avramis.



Week of October 8, 2012_____________________
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BOOK LAUNCH OCT 16 AT NATIONAL HELLENIC MUSEUM: Many of our "cousins" will be participating in the launch of the latest book by award-winning author Nicholas D. Kokonis, PH.D. The author of "Arcadia My Arcadia" has now released "Out of Arcadia," an American immigrant experience project chronicling the life and times of Angelos Vlahos. Event runs Tuesday, October 16 beginning 6:30 pm at the National Hellenic Museum in Greektown, Chicago. A panel discussion with the author will be held, consisting of panelists Elaine Thomopoulos (Ph.D, Psychologist and author/editor), William Graddy (Ph.D, Professor Emeritus, Trinity International University), 
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