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Greek Media Club Reports: "The Cousins Letter"

Founders of Greek Media Club: Terry Poulos, George Bliss, Anna Davlantes
September 2010 edition – by Greek Media Club in Chicago
“The next GMC event is Thursday, September 16 in downtown Chicago. Contact George Bliss and/or Terry Poulos ( and tell them about your background in media and/or the creative communicative arts.”

LOU NAMED #1 AT FOX: The GMC’s own Lou Canellis in September was officially named permanent lead sports anchor on FOX32 TV’s 9 pm newscast! Lou was previously serving as morning sports anchor, and he also handles Bears game-day duties, including sideline reporting during pre-season contests. He was in the middle of the Bulls’ championship runs as host of “Life in the Locker Room” as well. A graduate of Loyola U. and a native of Oak Lawn, IL, Lou is “living the dream,” covering the teams he grew up with and loves passionately, and doing it with style and panache. We’re proud to know him not only because he’s solid at his profession and a class individual, but also because, as WGN radio/TV sports director Dave Eanet once said, “he’s one of the nicest guys in the business.” Yasou, Opaa! and all those good things, “Sweet Lou!”
ANNA TOSSES NO-HITTER: GMC co-founder Anna Davlantes, morning news anchor at FOX32 Chicago, threw out the ceremonial 1st pitch at US Cellular Field on Aug. 26 as part of Hellenic Heritage Night 2010 prior to the Sox game. We’re told her control was a bit shaky, but she gave up zero hits. To that, we urge the Sox to sign her for the playoff stretch!
KIM BROADCASTS & WRITES THE NEWS: Our close “cousin” Kim Vatis, NBC5 Chicago morning news reporter, has been writing stories for the NBC website as well, including this recent piece on ROW (Recovery on Water), a philanthropic organization devoted to breast cancer survivors (Kim also emceed their recent event). Check it out It’s been a big year for Kim, who won two major broadcast journalism awards!
ANDREA, ALLY JUST DUCKY! Reprising her role as play-by-play announcer (or is it quack by quack?) for the annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, benefiting Special Olympics Illinois, was WGN radio 720-AM newscaster Andrea Darlas, our close “cousin.” Andrea is also splitting her time on-air between morning and afternoons on WGN radio. Emceeing the “duck adoptions” was “cousin” Ally Gerakaris, an Apple Vacations marketing exec. The race course was the Chicago River in the Loop area. A total of 30,000 ducks were dropped this year. We sure hope Ally took home a couple of those ducks because her newborn daughter Zoe Renee Kraslen may wish to play with one in the tub very soon! A big congrats to Ally please, next time your paths cross. We’re told Renee, a “future GMCer,” says Ally, is now 6-months old, has already been “working the Chicago Greek Fest circuit.” The girl’s a natural! Proud papa is Joe Kraslen, formerly of the Danny Bonaduce and Steve Dahl shows.
FIND JANE: Where’s “cousin” Jane Monzures this week? She’s here, there, and everywhere. First, you can see her on TV Sundays at 11:30 am on WGN Channel 9, and later re-broadcast during the week on CLTV, hosting the show “Living Healthy Chicago.” She also hosts a cooking segment on WCIU TV (“The U”) as part of the show “For the Love of Cooking,” including a recent profile of flaming Saganaki inventor Chris Liakouris and his Parthenon Restaurant in Greektown (see it here Lastly, Jane can be found mornings on The Loop 97.9 FM delivering her unique (and hot, might we add!) traffic reports, and occasionally filling in as host during the entire shift. This Summer, Jane brought on board our “cousin” Vickie Kozonis, who’s doing some producing on various Jane projects. Vickie holds a masters in digital cinematography, has experience in video production, works closely with Mayor Daley’s Chicago/Athens Sister Cities Committee, and is also taking 2nd City Improv classes. A good “find” for Jane!
NY TIMES BESTSELLER IN CHICAGO THIS WEEK: Author/philosopher Eric Metaxas has written a NY Times bestseller in his new “Bonhoeffer” tome about one of the most courageous German figures during WWII who defied Hitler and the Nazis in the face of grave danger, eventually costing him his life. Metaxas is in Chicago this week and is appearing at the Union League Club Thursday, Sept. 16 in a presentation before the group he founded, Socrates in the City. Check out Eric’s offerings at, and also visit
NATIONAL HELLENIC MUSEUM RISES, UPCOMING EVENTS! The girders are up folks, it’s now a reality manifested in a physical structure! The new National Hellenic Museum & Cultural Center held a press gathering August 27 at the site of the new structure, which now sports three stories of support beams and girders. Check it out at Halsted & Van Buren in the heart of Greektown Chicago! The interim location is in the Greek Islands Building, 4th floor. Mayor Richard M. Daley addressed the Museum event, which included a who’s who of Windy City mover-shakers, museum officials, and local media. WGN Channel 9, ABC7, and the Chicago Tribune covered the event. Lots happening at the museum and exciting times ahead! Our “cousins” there are hosting a cocktail reception Tuesday, Sept. 28, 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the Purple Pig. Get a preview of the delicious food and fun you’ll be getting at the annual Fall Gala, which is Saturday, October 23 at 6:30 pm at the Chicago Hilton. This year’s theme is “The newest thing in ancient history,” based upon the new building project. “Cousin” Jimmy Bannos Jr., chef/owner of the Purple Pig Restaurant, is the consulting chef behind the food for the gala. Also, the creator of the hit Lookingglass theatre production Hephaestus is planning a surprise that celebrates the ancient Greek past, and two bands will entertain. Gala co-chairs are the husband and wife team of Nick and Vicky Kouretas (Vicky of Hellenic Heartbeat TV For more, visit or call 312.655.1234. Antonia Callas is Marketing and Media Relations Manager for the Museum. We caught her was on NBC5 Chicago touting the “Heritage Ride for Hellenic Pride,” held in conjunction with the Hellenic American Motorcycle Association (yes they have one of those too). NBC5 weathercaster Andy Avalos chimed in that “We’ve never had this many motorcylces on the Plaza.” We’re told one guy even made Greek coffee on the briki in the plaza. Fun stuff!
ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO MAJOR CELEB STORY: “Cousin” Valerie Gobos, a longtime producer (“Brides) who’s worked with such major directors as Martin Scorsese, among others, has been producing TV commercials and webisodes of late. She also informs us of her latest coup. Val acquired the rights to the life story of Marilyn Chambers (“Behind the Green Door”), a former adult actress who made major headlines by going from the cover of the Ivory Soap box to being unCOVERed in a major porn film that was groundbreaking for the industry and helped bring porn into the mainstream. Val will be producing the film, based upon a book written by Chicago author Richard Lindberg, and she’ll then shop it to Hollywood studios.
USO EVENTS, CELEBS: The annual USO of Illinois “Clark After Dark” fundraiser for the families of US troops was a big hit Sept. 9 at Boss Bar in River North. It was coordinated by USO of Illinois President Tony Enrietto and our own “cousin” Sharon Tyk, USO of Illinois Director of Programs. More than a few GMC “cousins” showed to participate, including Amy Jacobson and Geoff Pinkus of WIND 560-AM radio, on hand to emcee. Former J.A.G. TV star Kerry Turner made the rounds, and Ms. Illinois was in attendance. As well, FOX32’s Lou Cannelis stepped in with FOX weathercaster Amy Freeze before departing to . Co-chief “cousin” Terry was also there to witness the Stanley Cup’s arrival to a throng of captivated onlookers. Next up for the USO is their annual gala, Saturday Oct. 16 at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. TV personality Bonnie Hunt will emcee the “Star Spangled Salute.” CSI:NY actor Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band will perform. ABC7’s Stacey Baca will be a special presenter. She’s a news anchor Navy wife. Actor DB Sweeney will receive the Angel Harvey “Heart of a Patriot Award.” And Sharon is at the center of it all folks! Incidentally, Sharon went to Washington D.C. this Summer and took a sidetrack to NY to sit in on the “Regis & Kelly” morning talk show. She gave Regis a photo of him with Dean Martin, and Regis held it up during the show while recognizing Sharon, who by the way helped raise $1 million with Sinise while she was an AT&T exec, money that went to building the Pentagon Memorial for 9/11. What a gal, our Sharon! Check out USO gala event details at and click on Chicago.
BOSTON VISIT BY OLYMPIC LEGEND: The offices of our “cousins” at The Hellenic Voice in Boston were abuzz recently after being paid a visit by multiple Gold medal Olympic Champion Pyrros Dimas of Greece, considered by many the greatest weightlifter ever. Dimas met with Executive Editor John Baglaneas, News Editor Stephen Crowe, and Sports Editor Nick Tsiotis, also author of several books and a man who appeared on NBC’S 2004 Olympic Closing Ceremonies Documentary, “Journey of a Warrior,” hosted by Bob Costas. Visit for more. Incidentally, Dimas is married to former ERT sports reporter Anastasia Sdougkou.
FASHION MAG GOES GREEK: Our very own Angeliki Garris, publisher of the popular and rising Moda Fashion Gazette glossy magazine, tells us her September edition is Greek-themed. She traveled to the ‘motherland’ and taped a fantastic photo shoot with models that is sure to be a hit! Check out Moda’s offerings at
LOU EMCEES SCHOLARSHIP BANQUET: FOX32’s Lou Canellis emcees the Nov. 13 annual Pan Hellenic Scholarship banquet. This is a major gala folks, with past emcees such as actress/TV host Patricia Kara and honorees such as the likes of international space pioneer Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. The 2010 honorees are World Council of Hellenes founder Andy Athens, and CNN correspondent Francis M. Fragos Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor to US President George W. Bush. Co-chief “cousin” George has been in contact with Fran and she indicated she’s excited we have such a group here in Chicago! Visit The committee, chaired by businessman/philanthropist Chris Tomaras, provides 25 scholarships of $10,000 each to high-achieving students. (PIC OF FRAN BELOW!)
LAST GMC EVENT: At the Park Hyatt, we were pleased to welcome a few special guests. Former Chicago Bulls player Dave Corzine, also a media guy as the one-time radio voice of DePaul Blue Demon basketball, graced our event on the outdoor terrace. Another sports guy, former NFL player Angelo Loukas, stopped in. We also welcomed first-time visitor Lillou Mace, who hosts a fun, inspiring online TV show and she interviewed participants about our club. Watch Lillou’s take here Catching up late night were GMC co-founders Anna Davlantes, George Bliss, and Terry Poulos, among friends and “cousins“!
BO KNOWS CHARITY: That would be Bo Jackson, former Heisman Trophy Winner, top NFL running back with the Oakland Raiders, and Major League Baseball All-Star with the KC Royals (also played with the White Sox AFTER hip replacement surgery)! Bo was an amazing once-in-a-generation athlete, and he’s now a successful bank director and entrepreneur who’s using his celebrity to help young kids in the area of sports and education. Co-chief GMCer Terry, along with Harpo Studios production assistant Andrea Dres and others stopped by Bo’s “Give Me a Chance Foundation” benefit on Sept. 7, and we caught FOX32’s Lou Canellis interviewing Bo on the same day that Lou was officially announced as the #1 sportscaster at FOX32. He had a smile plastered ear-to-ear, suffice to say. Also on hand were former Bulls player and current CBS2 sportscaster Steven Bardo, sportscaster Ryan Baker of CBS2, WCIU program director Sean Long, Andrew Givens of ESPN, Art “Chat Daddy” Sims from WCIU & WVON, actor/comedian Tim “Church” Lockett (“Helldate”), and the hostess with the mostess was former radio “Super Producer” Lisa E (who is also on the Board for Bo’s foundation), who coordinated media coverage. Log on to for more.
JIMMY D ON PBS MEMPHIS: Returning to his musical roots, GMCer Jimmy Damon , one of Chi-towns hottest nightclub singers and THE premiere Sinatra tribute artist, this Summer was profiled on WKNO TV in Memphis, TN in a documentary about his life and career. Jimmy was once a child prodigy, signed at the age of 14 to a record contract with Sun Records, who had among their stable of performers Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee, and others. Visit
ST. ANDREWS BOXING NIGHT: It was mayhem Sept. 10 as St. Andrews Church in Chicago hosted a record crowd of 150 for their now annual charity boxing night. Serving as ring announcer was GMC co-director Terry Poulos and the ring girl was our very own Brittney Refakes, a recent U. of Illinois double major grad who’s also an actress. Chairing the event was Helena Chrones, with an assist from Regan Coin. Also on hand to take in the action were GMCers Roger Keys (formerly of ABC radio Chicago and now president of, ABC Family associate Cathy Demos Kappos, developer John Marks (also a principal with The Greek Star newspaper), and public policy guru Endy Zemenides (chief political advisor to US Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias).
WRITING CRIME NOVEL: Former Mia magazine editor John Economopoulos, who lives in Michigan, is an attorney who’s written a few film screenplays with a crime thriller bent. He’s penned one in particular he believes is a real winner and seeks help in marketing to agents and producers. He’s also on the lookout for potential actors and other talent, as well as writers, to assist with the project. Email John at
MORE MEDIA: The new morning weathercaster at CBS2 Chicago is Megan Glaros, a fellow Greek American. We’ve been in contact and, pending mommy duties, we may very well get a visit from Megan on Thursday!…Co-founder of Steve Livaditis returned from Greece in early September after shooting a remote in exotic Greek locales for a promising TV pilot. More on that soon…Next time you see “cousin” Markella Kaloudis, be sure to address her as Mrs. Markella Kaloudis Constantine as she was married in Chios this Summer!…More congrats, this time to our “cousin,” public relations guru Christina Vasilakis, recently engaged to Ted Markos!…Special thanks to Maria Dollas of (click on the Chicago link) for connecting us with the people at Vertigo, where she’s hosted events for some time. And we were also reminded post-scheduling that GMCer Christina Kanatas recommended Vertigo a while back and apparently it didn’t sink in our thick skulls, so thanks to both gals!…NY-based Jimmy “Super Greek” Santis, comedian and musician extraordinaire, has a new production company. Check him out at… Congrats to Pavan Patel, who visits us on occasion, for his recent promotion at Draft FCB Chicago, a major international marketing and brand management firm. Pavan also produced a documentary on subway musicians that won an award and received airplay on WTTW Channel 11…Our longtime “cousins” Voula and husband Damon Popovich moved to Arizona (boo-hoo) but said they’ll be visiting Chi-town often. Voula has taught journalism at National Louis U. for some years, and Damon, an IT guy, had previously been active in publishing an online sports media property…Greek Promotions Live presents Angela Dimitriou & Zig Zag Live Friday, Oct. 8 at the Chateau Ritz in Niles, IL. Phone (630) 234-2183 or (630) 205-1403 for info…Our close “cousin” and The Greek Star associate editor Maria Karamitsos now writes a mainstream parenting blog at We also urge a peak at… Celeb Chi-town chef Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven restaurant) was recently on NBC’s “Today Show” displaying his yummy recipes. Jimmy, who has hosted a cooking show on the radio, is yet another “cousin”…Terry’s business The Sports Index, Inc. ( is now listed by Dun & Bradstreet’s… Thanks for your support and we continue to welcome your input for items in this newsletter. Send stuff to and/or Best wishes!

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