Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our New Simplified Homepage for

Simplicity is our new motto! We've heard many times that our homepage was too busy and too much going on so we decided to simplify. We took out much of the clutter and kept the main, popular features. We still have everything available to our users, but now you can either search for it or open the "See Full Menu" link below the calendar.

Take some time to explore everything we have to offer. The main section in the middle features our event calendar, blog, music player, music video player, funny videos, Greek singles, and great pictures from our social network. On the left we have the newest items, popular links and recent updates. On the right you will find easy access to all of our interactive popular features.

Remember, if you can't find something just search for it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Angelo Tsarouchas: A Real Stand Up Guy

With self-deprecating humour, comedian Angelo Tsarouchas weighs in on why being Greek is funny, his latest Hollywood movie and how he and the King of Jordan ended up partying like wild men. Opa!

Stand-up comedian and mob hitman lookalike Angelo Tsarouchas is a beefy entertainer best known for finding the humour in the life of Greek immigrants, with his material almost exclusively drawn from his own experiences growing up in Canada. “I don’t have the most common name in the world,” he tells his audience during his act, which is on YouTube. “My name at birth was Evangalos Petros Tsarouchas. My parents’ names are Peter and Debbie. “My parents come from a little country in the Mediterranean called Greece,” he says. “They moved to Canada. They decided to have children. And they asked themselves: ‘How can we help our little Greek children fit in with the Canadian children? I know! We’ll name them like diseases!’ “Tsarouchas! You have Tsarouchas? Put some cream on. You have Vasili Kakapopoulos? You’re not going to poo for a month!”

Tsarouchas has spent more than a decade honing his craft through a relentless touring schedule that has taken him around the world, with his performances including clubs and arenas in cities like Calcutta and Tokyo, not to mention the royal residence of the king and queen of Jordan.

On the phone from Los Angeles, California, Tsarouchas tells the Athens News why he wants to perform in Greece, why immigrant parents torment their kids and about his big fat movie deal.

Tell me about your Greek roots?
I was born in Montreal and raised in Ottawa. But my dad is from Sparti and my mum’s from Lesbos. So that makes me a Spartan lesbian.

How did your family react to your to become a comedian?
My parents were supportive of what I did but they wanted to make sure that I could make a living. My dad was like, “Ti vlakies kaneis - tha kaneis lefta me afta?” (What kind of nonsense is this?) Was there pressure to change your name? Some of the agents would say I should Anglicise my name, but I’m dead set against it. Richard Donner, the director, once looked at my name and said, “That’s a mouthful but I like it.”

Did you ever think of hiding your Greek heritage? 
I have never shied away from that, though a lot of people do. It has actually worked in my favour. You can’t change who you are. You have to accept it. For me, it’s been good because people know me as that guy. And kudos to Nia Vardalos because people started to notice me when My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out. I started working on CBC’s (Canada Broadcasting Corporation) Just for Laughs. I also did BBC’s The World Stands Up. I got three television specials in South Africa and in the UK and in Canada and now I have one in the United States called Bigger is Better, on Showtime.

Why incorporate your Greekness into your comedy? 
It’s different when you live in Greece where being Greek is just being Greek. But when you live in North America there’s a big difference. And I found that it was a big influence on what I did as a comic. There was a time when I didn’t want to be labelled so much as a Greek comedian but then I realised that you can’t change who you are. I like dolmades, I like yemista, spanakopita. I like calling people malaka because half of them are. How do Greek-Canadians, Greek-Americans react to your act? They love it. I feel honoured to say that I represent them. When I talk about my mum or my yiayia (grandmother), I’m pretty much talking about everyone’s.

How did you learn to speak Greek fluently?
My mother couldn’t speak English. Does everyone get your Greek jokes? People want to hear stories about other people. I’ve been to India and Singapore and I’m telling jokes about Greeks and people are laughing. I’ve been to Macau and Beijing and Bangkok and I’m talking about my Greek family and they get it. Wherever I go I always run into a Greek. It’s fair to say that Greeks have populated most of the world. Maybe Alexander the Great did it by conquering. I think we’re doing it now by fornication. Why not? Our legacy continues.

Have you ever considered performing in Greece?
I want to. For me, I’m thinking that I’ve performed everywhere in the world but Greece. But here’s my concern: I don’t know how Greeks will receive me. I’m a product of the diaspora.

What are you working on now?
I’m proud to say I have my new movie coming out called Fred and Vinnie directed by Steve Skrovan from Everyone Loves Raymond and it’s written by Fred Stoller, who plays cousin Gerard on Everyone Loves Raymond. It just came out with a trailer. I play this guy named Vinnie who’s from Philadelphia who moves to LA. He’s the guest from hell, the guy who says I’m going to come to your house for a week and then ends up staying for, like, nine months.

What else is in your future?
I’ve been offered a few movie roles. I’ve actually also written a movie called It’s All Greek To Me about a guy who works in a restaurant and has always wanted to be famous comedian but ends up becoming a sumo wrestler to win the love of a Japanese tour guide. That’s been tossed around. I’m still touring. I’m getting married in October here in LA. And, I got a call today about another film. Rumour has it it’s with John Travolta and parts of it will be filmed in Greece.

What has been your career high point so far?
Last year, I performed at the Bell Centre - it’s where the Montreal Canadiens hockey team play. I was in my hometown, 17,000 people, my mum was in the crowd. It was the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens. And I never ever thought, not in a million years, that I’d be standing on stage in that arena with my family there. It took me about a minute to start my routine. I was choked up.

How is it that you got to perform for the king and queen of Jordan?
I was invited to the Amman comedy festival in Jordan and the king and queen couldn’t come to the show. I was one of the comedians they wanted to see. So my manager after the show said the king and queen wanted me to come to the palace. I thought they were kidding. It was 11 o’clock at night. Sure enough, after the show, the limo picked us up and took us to the palace and we were doing sfinakia [shots] with the king. And he was cooking dinner for us and we were shooting guns in his private shooting range in his palace. It was one of the coolest things. And here’s the best part, I’m telling people I did this - and they don’t believe me.

What’s your impression of Greece?
Here’s the deal about Greece and I’m not going to say this because I’m Greek. I used to be a travel agent way back and my pitch to people when they didn’t know where they wanted to go was that God made it that everyone should visit Greece at least once. As a visitor, it’s probably one of the nicest places on earth. You can’t beat the weather, you can’t beat the food, ruins and culture. I think that Greeks work to live and they don’t live to work. That’s good and bad, I guess now in light of everything.

By Kathy Tzilivakis

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Greek Independence Day Parade!

There is one time of the year where all the Hellenes and Phil-Hellenes truly come together in a great display of solidarity - The Greek Independence Day Parade. This truly significant day plays many roles for all of here in Boston. It shows our strength as a community, our passion for our culture, and our great Greek pride!

On Sunday, April 25th, the 16th Annual Greek Independence Day Parade in Boston will take place.  For the 16th time we will proudly walk the streets of Boston holding our Greek and American Flags.  We will cheer when our children walk proudly wearing their ethic costumes. And we will all Shout ZHTO H ELLADA!  Let's do it all together!  EVERYONE MUST BE THERE! It is our ethnic responsibility.

Following is a listing of events surrounding the Greek Independence Day celebration:

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 – 12:30– 4:00 PM
Greek Independence Day Commemoration
House of Representative’s Chamber, State House

The State House Greek Independence Day Commemoration will be held in the House of Representative’s Chamber from 2:00-3:00PM.  Public reception with Greek folk dances prior to the Commemoration outside the House of Representative's Chamber 12:30-1:45PM.

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 – 6:00 PM
"The New Acropolis Museum: Its Exhibits and Architecture"
10 Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall, Harvard University
Lecture by Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis, Director of The New Acropolis Museum.
Reception to follow in the Ticknor Lounge.

Co-Sponsored by the Federation of Hellenic American-Societies of New England, the George Seferis Chair of Modern Greek Studies, Harvard University, Press & Communication Office & Consulate General of Greece in Boston and the Alexander the Great Foundation, Inc.

Saturday, April 24th, 2010 – 6:30 PM
Boston Greek Independence Day Parade Annual Dinner Gala, Radisson Hotel Boston
Hosted by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England
Music by the Greek Music Ensemble Cocktails: 6:30 PM   Prime Rib Dinner 7:30 PM 
Donation: Sixty-Five Dollars, For Reservations: 617.507.6444

Greek Independence Day Parade 1:00 PM         
Celebrating 2500 Year of the Battle of Marathon
Parade Route:  Boylston Street to Charles Street
Grand Marshals: City of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios &
Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis, Director of The New Acropolis Museum.

Presented by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England In Cooperation with The Metropolis of Boston, The Consulate General of Greece and The Mayor’s Office of Special Events and Tourism

Immediately following the Parade at the Parkman Bandstand
Celebration and "Expo on the Park" at the Boston Common
Featuring Greek folk dance performances, vendors and exhibitors, food, music and children’s events.
Music by DJ Thrilla.

Make it your top priority to attend and let's show the people of Boston our Greek pride!

Monday, March 29, 2010

"The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960" premieres @ the Boston International Film Festival


"The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960" premieres @ the Boston International Film Festival
Los Angeles, California; March 21, 2010

The Greek Heritage Society will premiere “The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960,” a documentary highlighting the first generation Greek Americans, at the Boston International Film Festival 2010. The screening will take place at the AMC Lowe's Boston Common 19 at 175 Tremont Street in Boston, Mass. on April 21, 2010 @ 8:30 P.M.  This film is narrated and hosted by Academy Award Winner, Olympia Dukakis.

"The Promise of Tomorrow," part 2 of a Greek American trilogy, continues the story of the Greek immigrant experience in southern California, beginning with those brave soldiers who fought in WWII. We follow the progeny of the Greek Pioneers as they establish themselves within the community yet struggle with duality - Greek at home and American outside.  Determined to get an education and make a good life for themselves and their families, the Greatest Generation generation lives up to this synonym. In a very short period of time, they become prominent leaders in the arts, business, technology, academia, science and government – virtually all levels of contemporary American society.

The question of identity permeates throughout their adult life: "We are not just Greeks; we are not just Americans, but we are a new breed – Greek Americans!"

Collaborators in the project are writer and director Anna Giannotis, executive producers Zoye Fidler, Shelly Papadopoulos and John Gregory-Panopoulos, Producers, Antonia Lianos, Gus T. Dalis and Harry Ratner, editor Rich Uber and composer Bob Luna, along with many hard-working volunteers and contributors.

The Greek Heritage Society of S. CA extends "Warmest Wishes" to our Patriotes in the greater Boston area. Please come out and support this film which is the universal story of all Greek Americans.

Here's what people are saying:

"This documentary is a real gem that epitomizes the generous contributions of first generation Greek Americans from every profession.  We are the product of a great generation of extraordinary immigrants who fought hard to make good. THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW heightened my pride as a Greek American."  - John Aniston, Actor

"The film is so successful on many levels, as a human document, a reflection of social changes, a confirmation of moral strength and traditional values. Also the film is brilliantly written, directed and edited. GHS has given birth to a work of art."  - Mavis Manus, Freelance Columnist and Film Critic

"Every Greek American MUST see and own this wonderful film!  Even other ethnic groups will appreciate it. This documentary will educate and entertain you!  Pride for your heritage will increase one hundred fold after viewing THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW.  I guarantee it!" 
- Stratton Leopold, Producer

To purchase tickets for the Boston International Film Festival screening,
Please call: 617-423-5801 or pre-purchase tickets at the Box Office.
Reserve online: (click on "Schedule")

For more information about the Greek Heritage Society of S.CA
Contact: Shelly Papadopoulos, President
Greek Heritage Society of Southern California
310 528.8214

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sips for Easter Feast

Considered one of the most sacred holidays in the Greek Orthodox faith, Easter is the day we prepare the biggest and most memorable feast with our family and friends. Every household takes special care and attention to the offerings that will be served and featured that day. At the same token, I will prepare you with the wine offerings for our special Easter feast.

As we depart from church after the acknowledgment that “Christ has risen” on Saturday night (the night before Easter), we make our way home to officially kick off our Easter feast with the customary Easter lamb soup also known as mageiritsa, which translates to small cooking. As noted in the cookbook, “The Olive & The Caper”, mageiritsa is a soup that is only prepared for Easter that is made with small morsels of lamb combined with an egg-lemon froth. The soup is hearty but light enough to restore energy to the faithful worshipers that are weak from lent. The choice of wine that best suits this flavorful soup is non-other than the traditional selection of retsina. Yes, retsina, a light and crisp wine with tints of aromatic pine, pairs well with the combination of the silky structure and lemon accents from the soup. The choice to select is from the winery Malamatina that is based in Thessaloniki. Malamatina retsina has the been producing retsina for over a century and has become the staple wine of Northern Greece. Malamantina is a very pleasant white wine, with a fading presence of resin to give it that perfect balance for a retsina.

As we wake up Easter morning, feeling refreshed and restored from last night’s commencement, we greet each other with a red-dyed egg in hand and hit each others point to point while saying, “Christ is risen”. As this beautiful day progresses, family members crowd in the kitchen and are preparing all of the special offerings for the feast.

All sorts of mezedakia are being made ranging from cold to hot ones for the introduction to the flavorful lamb that is being roasted on the spit by the men of the family. Traditionally as the lamb is being slowly roasted on the spit, which could take up to six hours, typically it’s a time for the men to socialize over good tsipouro or tsikoudia as they also nibble at sections of the lamb to test its readiness. Tsipouro, which is a spirit distilled from left over grape skins, grape seeds, and/or stems is very smooth and aromatic. The Lazaridis winery in Drama makes an excellent tsipouro called ‘Idoniko’ that would be the right fit for that social moment. ‘Idoniko’ is also produced with a touch of fennel or ‘glykaniso’. Tsikoudia is similar to tsipouro, but originates from the island of Crete and is also produced from distilled grapes. The aromas of grapes are more present in tsikoudia. A selection that I would highly recommend would be from the Varvaki Distillery.

The grand table that will host the feast is decorated with Greek Easter bread or tsoureki. Tsoureki is a sweet bread that is baked and decorated with red-dyed eggs, which symbolizes the blood of Christ. Mezedakia are prepared and ready ahead of time to keep everyone going until the lamb is ready. Specialty dishes such as a variety of different cheeses, such as kefalotyri, kefalogaviera, lathotiri, kopanisti, and many others are accompanied by a plethora of olives to be sipped with a refreshing white wine from the varietal roditis. The wine of my choice would be the production from the Gaia Estates winery called ‘Notios’. This young white wine is full of life and very vibrant. It’s a great sipping wine that will pair nicely with our cheese and olives.

You will also find a variety of different salad dishes and pitas that every household will have depending on the region of Greece they are from. Some of these favorites, are eggplant and yogurt with red onion and olives, roasted sweet pepper salad, taramasalata, and many others. Along with the salads, there are also platters of grilled meats, such as lamb bites, homemade sausages, and even liver. The wine offering with these choices will be a fruitful rose wine from Palivos Estates called Vissinokipos. This rose wine is made from Agiorghitiko and Syrah grape and has a strawberry and jam aroma on the nose with great structure of softness and crispness to signify we are sipping a light but flavorful rose.

The anticipation grows immensely for our traditional Easter lamb that has been long awaited. The day has been full of joy and happiness as we rekindle with family and friends over one of the most appealing cuisines along with some of the finest selections of wine. Finally, the main feature is pulled off the spit and prepared on an enormous platter that makes it way to the grand table. As the stuffed lamb is settled a the center of the table it is surrounded by dishes of rice prepared with ground beef, roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes, and all of the over mezedakia that were mentioned earlier. At the table for the feast I will suggest two red wines to be offered that compliment all of the selections. Since there will be typically more people at the table, we need to make sure we a couple of offerings to satisfy the different taste buds and also the different dishes. The first red selection will be a lighter style, produced from the Xynomavro grape, Greece’s version of a Pinot Noir. I am going to suggest the selection from the Kir-Yianni Estates winery, called ‘Raminsta’. This wine is a very soft and light bodied red wine that has great fruit flavors with a touch of tannins, that will be very suitable for our guests that prefer a light red wine. The second selection that I highly recommend is a Rhone-style red from the Manousakis Winery in Crete called ‘Nostos”. This full-bodied red selection has great big fruit and is robust with dark cherries in every sip. This wine is the prize selection to have with our trophy lamb that brings together great flavors for an ultimate dining experience. Nostos is produced from all estate grown Syrah, Grenache, Mouverde, and Roussane. It has great balance and a long finish.

Once again, there is plenty of great food and great wine throughout this wonderful day. We finish off the evening with a room full of sweet offerings and desserts that range from cookies, pies, cakes, and Greek sweet wine from Samos.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Secretary Napolitano Announces Greece's Designation as a Member of the Visa Waiver Program

WASHINGTON — Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the designation of Greece as a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)—strengthening passenger information sharing and ensuring strict security standards while streamlining travel for Greek citizens visiting the United States.

“Our efforts to guard against terrorism while enhancing legal travel and trade depend upon close collaboration with our international partners,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I commend our partners in Greece for committing to strong screening and security standards and enhanced information sharing for travel by Greek citizens to the United States as we work together to protect our citizens and strengthen our economies.”

Greece’s VWP designation represents a major step forward in the continued and long-standing economic and security partnership between the United States and Greece—reflecting more than two years of coordination between the two countries on Greece’s entry into VWP.

In accordance with the VWP designation process, DHS determined that Greece complies with key security and information-sharing requirements—such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States; timely reporting of lost and stolen passports; and the maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards. In turn, Greek citizens will be permitted to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

With this announcement, Greece joins the 35 nations already participating in VWP—established as a pilot program in 1986 to help eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel and made permanent on October 30, 2000. Like VWP travelers from other countries, Greek citizens will be required to apply for an Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) through the Web-based system. Greek citizens will be able to visit the United States without visas in approximately 30 days.

Today’s announcement augments Secretary Napolitano’s ongoing efforts to bolster the international aviation security system—including recent joint declarations to strengthen the international civil aviation system between the United States and Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama on Feb. 17, and between the United States and the European Union on Jan. 21.

Secretary Napolitano will travel to Tokyo later this week to meet with her counterparts from the Asia/Pacific region and officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)—the third in a series of major international meetings attended by the Secretary to build consensus on strengthening global aviation security and identify specific steps which nations can take individually and collectively to protect all passengers.

Since January, Secretary Napolitano has met frequently with top government and private sector officials from across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America on ways to strengthen the international aviation security system.

For more information, visit or

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Entertainment Gossip from Greece!

Anna Vissi is "Fabulous"!

Anna Vissi puts on an amazing show in Athens last week for the fans of Love Radio. Looking better than ever, no one would ever guess the Greek Madonna was 52 years old. Anna tells reporters at the concert that she stays in shape by working out every day of the week, and taking 2 or 3 of those days concentrating on legs. About being in love, Anna says that her only love right now is her amazing daughter Sophia and her current concert show Fabulous.
Elena Paparizou returns!

Elena Paparizou returns to the Greek music scene with a new full album of 12 songs. This is her first full CD release in quite some time and has been much anticipated. The first single from the CD has been released “An Isoun Agapi”(and can be heard on This song has already claimed its place at the top of the music charts and in the hearts of her fans! Elena is going on tour with Onirama and will be promoting her new CD. She hopes to finish her tour by June. We are so happy to have her back!
"Dancing with the Stars" comes to Greece!

“Dancing with the Stars” goes to Greece! The dancing show we all love will now be in Greece with all our favorite Greek celebrities. The host of the show will be Zeta Makripoulia. The judges who have been named so far are Fokas Evangelos, Alexis Kostalas, and Gkalena Velikoka. There is still one judge who needs to be chosen, as well as the celebrities who will partake in the dancing portion. Can’t wait to see which celebrities will make the show!

Greek commercial broadcaster Antenna is due to produce The series will air in a primetime slot in March 2010.

Dancing is an international phenomenon having been licensed to more than 30 countries around the world and viewed in more than 75 countries worldwide and, the phenomenal format shows no sign of slowing down.

"Greece is just one of a number of new territories we are talking to about licensing this phenomenal format. Every country, including Greece, has a great culture of dancing and music which makes this format adaptable to any market. There are plenty more countries which are yet to enjoy the dazzling delights of Dancing." Dancing with the Stars is also an official record breaker after the Guinness Book of World Records announced it as the world's most successful reality TV format.

Katerina Karavatou wedding bells!
Katerina Karavatou, host of “Kous Kous to Mesimeri” and her soon to be husband Krateros Katsoulis of “Omorfos Kosmos to Proi”, have been discussing their wedding plans. Katerina wants a very small and simple wedding with a plain wedding gown and a closed ceremony. It seems a little hypocritical for them to have a closed ceremony (no cameras or news crews around) since their daily lives and jobs are informing the public about all celebrity news and gossip. It only seems fair that they share their special day and moments with all of us! Be on the lookout for this wedding to happen soon, Katerina wants a winter wedding in 2010, and both Katerina and Kratero want children very soon to follow the wedding! We wish them both much happiness in their life together!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eurovision 2010: The 7 Songs from Greece

After much thought for who will be the candidate songs to represent Greece at this year's Eurovision, the ERT decided to formally announce all the songs that will "compete" for the magic ticket to Oslo. Listen to all seven songs that will compete in the national final in Greece on March 12 in the order of their appearance.

1. Illusion - Χρήστος Χατζηνάσιος
ΣΤΙΧΟΙ: Πάνος Νικολακόπουλος - Gale Πέτρου
ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ: Χρήστος Χατζηνάσιος

2. Game of Life - Sunny Μπαλτζή & Second Skin
ΣΤΙΧΟΙ – ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ : Sunny Μπαλτζή

3. Κιβωτός του Νώε – Μάνος Πυροβολάκης, Ελένη Φουέιρα και Don't Ask (Γιάννης Μπαντουράκης)
ΣΤΙΧΟΙ – ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ : Μάνος Πυροβολάκης - Γιάννης Στίγκας

4. OPA – Γιώργος Αλκαίος & Friends
ΣΤΙΧΟΙ: Γάννης Αντωνίου - Friends
ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ: Γιώργος Αλκαίος

5. Πολεμάω – Γιώργος Καραδήμος
ΣΤΙΧΟΙ: Γιώργος Καραδήμος
ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ: Βασίλης Γαβριηλίδης

6. Κινέζος – Μέλισσες

7. Touch me Deep Inside – Émigré
ΣΤΙΧΟΙ: Νεκτάριος Τυράκης
ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ: Γιάννης Χανιωτάκης


Friday, January 29, 2010

The Hellenic Hollywood Minute

Zach Galifianakis Going Strong!
This month, Zach Galifianakis will jump onto the silver screen in the upcoming independent feature, “Visioneers”. He stars in this film along with Judy Greer, best known for “27 Dresses” or from her recurring role on the television series, “Arrested Development.” Galifianakis plays George Washington Winsterhammerman, an employee at a successful company where his coworkers begin to spontaneously explode from stress. Afraid he is next to explode, he begins to take steps to ensure his survival which leads him to question the life he is fighting for.

“Visioneers” is a dark comedy that will make its world premiere on June 12 and June 14 at the Seattle International Film Festival. Following the world premiere, the film makes its Las Vegas premiere on June 18 and June 19 at the CineVegas Film Festival.

Zach will also co-star with Robert Downey Jr. for the new upcoming comedy "Due Date", directed by "The Hangover’s" Todd Phillips. Both men did a fabulous job in recent comedies (Tropic Thunder and The Hangover respectively). The story follows a father-to-be (Robert Downey Jr.) racing across the country to witness the birth of his child. Galifianakis will play a travel companion. The film is expected to go into production later in the year with a 2010 release date in mind.

Galifianakis, 38, was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. His mother, Mary Frances, ran a community center for the arts, and his father, Harry Galifianakis, was an oil heating vendor who immigrated from Greece at the age of three. Galifianakis was raised in his father’s Greek Orthodox faith, but now says he “isn’t sure” on the subject of religion.
His fathers family comes from the island of Crete and Zack has passed many summers there as a teenager. He attended North Carolina State University, although he did not graduate. He is the nephew of a former U.S. Congressman, Nick Galifianakis, as well as the cousin to cartoonist Nicholas Galifianakis.

Galifianakis is an experienced stand-up comic that has been in several movies, including “Out Cold,” “Bubble Boy,” and “Into the Wild.” Recently, he was featured on the “Funny or Die” stand-up comedy tour, along with comedians Nick Swardson, Demetri Martin, Andrea Savage and Will Ferrell.


Maria Callas & Aristotle Onassis Come to the Big Screen
The story of Maria Callas, renowned Greek opera singer, and Aristotle Onassis, the richest man of his time, will be brought to life on screen in 2011. The film is based on the book, Greek Fire by Nicholas Gage, a Greek author who’s family comes from Epirus. The script has been developed by Jullian Fellowes, and will star Eva Mendez as Maria Callas.

The book, and soon to be film, unveils the scandalous love affair of Callas and Onassis and the significance the relationship plays on their lives. Gage is credited as one of the first investigative reporters and was the first to work on the Watergate scandal. He also reported for the NY Times. Through Gage’s expert eye, and extensive research we discover shocking information about Callas and Aristotle’s story. Now, to be translated onto film.

Gaumont, France’s leading film production and distribution company has paired up with producer, Nick Wechsler behind the movie. Gage will also be co-producing.
Gaumont CEO, Cristof Riandee explains the interest in working on this project, “This is a story of the impact that love can have on a star, Maria was so in love with Onassis that when their affair ended, she began to lose her voice, and there is a famous moment in Paris where she could not sing the third and fourth acts of an opera. Nick wanted to be more international, and we want to produce more U.S. movies. We have the same taste and have developed a very collaborative relationship, which is very important.”


Greek-American Betty White Wins!
This year, the Screen Actors Guild Awards granted the six-time Emmy winner, Betty White with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Eighty-eight year old Betty Marion White is a Greek American actress, comedian and former television host. Her career has blossomed for over sixty-five years. Her television roles include Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and of course Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls.

The former Golden Girl is the daughter of Tess Cachikis, a Greek American, and to a German father.

According to a USA Today article, when announcing the award, president Alan Rosenberg said: “Betty White has entertained audiences with her impeccable comic timing and remarkable wit for more than 60 years. Her life-long devotion to the welfare of animals, manifest in her work as an author, producer and philanthropist, and is further evidence of her tremendous humanity.”


Maria Menounos Just Getting Started!
Maria Menounos is producing “Serial Buddies” a serial killer “buddy” film – think Dexter meets Napolean Dynamite. The actors starring in the film are Hal Rudnick, Paul Ashton, Gina Molina, Richard Christie, and Todd Wilson. Menounos, who also has a role in the movie, commented about her cast that “They are so committed, complaint free and talented”. Keven Undergaro, who has collaborated in the past with Menounos, is the director and writer of the comedy which is currently filming in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Menounos has produced movies since her teens when, at age 17, she was also working as an employee at Dunkin’ Donuts with aspirations to be something more. And she did it. The same year she produced “In the Land of Merry Misfits”, an independent film fairy tale. The 35 mm feature film was produced by Menounos while she was attending Emerson College and directed by Keven Undergaro, then the head writer for MTV’s Singled Out. Unfortunately, the negatives of the film were stolen and the film was never completed. But her work on the film, and the film’s director, helped her land a reporting job at Channel One News and at MTV. Menounos, however, never forgot the film or the film’s director. In 2005, Menounos personally funded the recovery and restoration of the film, which was narrated by John Waters and starred an eclectic group in the Waters vein – including former WWE champion Bob Backlund, actress Josie Davis from the TV show “Charles in Charge” and B-movie icon Randal Malone. The film premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Menounos also directed “Longtime Listener” starring Wilmer Valderrama.

Thanks to the Greek Hollywood Reporter for sources.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sparkling Wine Comes to Greece

We’ve all had our share of sparkling wine during toasts at weddings, at Valentines Day dinner, at the countdown of New Year’s Eve, and probably offered at a social gathering. But how often do we order a glass or a bottle of sparkling wine as our choice of beverage? Recently, sparkling wine sales have been steadily increasing with creative marketing and trend setting approaches amongst various demographics. This refreshing and effervescent delight has been in production for centuries dating back to the 1600s when wine that was being shipped, accidentally went through a secondary fermentation creating a bubbly effect. This pleasant accident caught on quickly and became popular instantly.

This phenomenon captured the interest of two monks, Dom Perignon and Frere Jean Oudart who were from the region of Champagne, France. They were the first to discover a methodical way of capturing the bubbles and creating quality and handcrafted sparkling wine. The secret of creating sparkling wine is to add the right amount of sugar and yeast to create carbon dioxide that results into tiny bubbles while the wine is fermenting in the bottle. The news spread fast within the region of Champagne about sparkling wine that its popularity wiped out the production of non-bubbly wines. The region of Champagne opened the doors to sparkling wine production throughout Europe and eventually around the world. Keep in mind that Champagne, is sparkling wine produced within the region of France. Any production outside of this region can only be labeled as sparkling wine or the local term. For example, sparkling wine from Spain is called Cava and from Italy is called Prosecco or Spumante.

The success of sparkling wines has also made its way to Greece. According to wine enthusiasts and reputable critics, some of the best sparklers are produced from two of Greece’s natives grapes, Athiri and Moschofilero. The variety Athiri is commonly used in the production of blended wines in Greece, but it is the ideal grape for producing an aromatic and refreshing sparkler. One area that is famed for its Athiri grapes is the island of Rhodes. The island’s unique climate and soft breezes allow the Athiri grape to reach its distinct maturity needed to give its pleasant qualities. Aside from becoming the most popular white grape variety in Greece, Moschofilero makes a great sparkling wine. Sparklers produced from Moschofilero give off immense floral aromas with lemony and citrus flavors. What a great addition to a beautiful hot summer day in Greece.

Restaurants have already begun to take advantage of the sparkling wine trend. You should begin to see a larger variety of sparkling wine offerings, especially by the glass. A great way to start any dining experience is actually with a glass of sparkling wine that actually stimulates a healthy appetite. It is also a great pairing with light foods such as lightly grilled vegetables and seafood. Wine shops have also expanded their sparkling wine sections with very creative placements to create interest amongst consumers.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's in Greece

Like most nations on earth, Greece celebrates the start of the New Year on January 1st. This date is the Name Day of Vassilis (Basil) and persons named Vassilis will receive a gift and congratulations on this day. All churches or monasteries named for this saint will offer special services and a celebration including food and drink.

Quote from the Liturgy of St. Basil

The bread which you use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.

New Year's Day Customs

In Greece, it is considered lucky to gamble on this day, whether you win or lose, and traditionally, people would gather to play cards on a table covered with green felt. Since Greece has opened up its casinos to locals, this custom makes sure it's a busy day at the official gambling palaces throughout Greece.
The herb basil is connected to this saint and day, and is believed to have both healing and protective powers.

On this day, any vessel of water is emptied and filled with fresh water, an echo of ancient New Year traditions.

But the biggest part of the day concerns the special cake, the vassilopita, which is prepared with a small coin concealed in it. Whoever gets the piece with the coin can expect especially good luck in the coming year.