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.

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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!