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Greek Media Club Event and Cousins’ Letter

THIS THURSDAY, MARCH 31 – 6:30 to 11 pm – at YOLK RESTAURANT – 1120 S. Michigan Ave. It’ll be another big one but still room for a few more RSVPs. This exclusive event courtesy of the Greek Media Club and its sponsors. Titled “Jeans and a T Spring Opener”, just come casual. Benefits the Hellenic Foundation. Voluntary $10 donation at door gets you a free goodie bag. Offering the company of media artisans, assorted creative communicative professionals, visiting dignitaries, and their guests. Free drinks, including premium Greek wine by Distinctive Imports LLC, principal George Katris, and free appetizers courtesy of Chef Taki Kastanis, owner of Yolk. Singers Jimmy Damon and Nikki George perform. Special guests and more. $8 self park with validation, some street meters available. Thanks to Daily Frappe for special considerations

About the Greek Media Club:

Established in 2003 and co-founded by George Bliss, Anna Davlantes, and Terry Poulos, the GMC is a not-for-profit group of individuals who gather bi-monthly for fun, food and drink, and to share ideas and dreams while simultaneously exchanging pleasantries. As a bonus, we are a `soft-edge’ social/business club which encourages `incidental’ networking. In addition to traditional journalists in print and broadcast, the GMC has opened up its umbrella to an assortment of eclectic and creative communicative “cousins” (an affectionate GMC term for `members’), mostly involved in the industries of film/video, stage/production, publishing/book writing, new-age digital media, marketing/advertising, PR/public policy and spokespersons, music/dance practitioners, traditional artists/sculptors, and still others situated on the peripheral of creative endeavors who employ unique `media’ to express a message. If you’re new to us, send us a note about yourself and let’s talk!

The Cousins’ Letter…
Spring, 2011 edition
A production of
HELLENIC FOUNDATION: A 57-year social services
institution providing case management, psychotherapy and counseling, and
educational programs to individuals, couples, and families in the Greek
community and beyond. This is the Hellenic Foundation. Thursday’s event benefits
the 501c3 charity. Their mission reads “We are guided by the
principles of Ancient Greek wisdom, which are the foundation of their services
and programs which educate and empower individuals and families of all cultures
to lead emotionally healthy lives. In the early 1950s, a Greek Orthodox
priest named Father George Mastrantonis began to see in his
ministry the need for an organization that would care for members of the
Hellenic-American community. He dreamed of such an organization to care for the
needs of elderly, youth and families. By 1953, he founded the Hellenic
Foundation with a group of civic-minded and caring community leaders. Their
first mission was to concentrate on the housing needs of the elderly. Because of
his foresight, perseverance, and inspiration, the Foundation has become a
multifaceted and dynamic social service organization. It is the only
not-for-profit, professionally staffed philanthropic organization serving the
social service needs of Hellenic Americans living in the Chicago metropolitan
area. Guided by a volunteer Board of Directors and staffed by professionals
experienced in mental health and human services, Hellenic Foundation strives to
identify the needs of individuals and families and to implement Hellenic ideals
to help the community at large. For nearly 60 years, the Hellenic
Foundation has actualized Father Mastrantonis’ dream into a reality. We’re proud
to declare that because of his concern for others and devotion to his spiritual
mission, his work lives on in the programs of the Hellenic Foundation.” GMC
“cousins” involved with the Foundation include Mia  

magazine founder Christina Sofiakis (HF exec
director), attorney and community leader Louis
G. Apostol
(HF president), and PepsiCo marketing
exec Athina Xirogiannis (HF board member).

MARCH 31 La Maria: If you’re a Maria
fan, this one’s a must-see. On Thursday, March 31, the National
Hellenic Museum
is hosting the program “La Maria: The Life and Loves of
Maria Callas.” Venue is Maxim at the Nancy Goldberg International Center,
showtime 8 pm. Program written and performed by Dr. Maria Boundas
. Tickets $75 per person, includes performance, champagne and
desert. Benefits the Museum. Phone (312) 655-1234.
mariacallasNational Hellenic Museum honors opera diva Maria Callas
MARCH 31-APRIL 3 BIZ EXPO: Publisher Paul
, founder of the Pennsylvania-based Hellenic
News of America
, has again assembled a stout lineup of business experts
to appear at the annual Hermes Expo
, March 31 through April 3 in NY and NJ.
APRIL 3 MILESTONE CHORALE: The tradition-rich Oak
Park Concert Chorale
, featuring our crooning “cousin” Angie
, among others, is celebrating its 30th anniversary
with a Baroque Festival Sunday, April 3 at Grace Lutheran Church in
River Forest, followed by light supper. General admission $35 which
includes three concerts and supper. Seniors and student packages $25.
Advance registration required. Phone (708) 383-4742.
APRIL 9 LA AWARDS: Actor John Aniston
emcees the annual American Hellenic Council Awards Dinner Saturday, April 9 at
the Omni Hotel in LA. Music by Margarita and the Takis
. For more, visit
APRIL 12 SILVER LINING: Two of our “cousins” are involved
with A Silver Lining Foundation, a charity devoted providing over 450,000 people
with information concerning cancer resource information, treatment options and
support services. On April 12, they will host “Cabaret for a Cause” at the Red
Head Piano Bar from 5:30 to 8:30 pm featuring jazz vocalist Arlene
accompanied by Tom Muellner. Hor d’oevres and
open bar for $45. Tickets may be purchased at
Kathy Kalersperies Smith is Programs Outreach and Development
Coordinator, and Dr. Sandy Goldberg, an NBC5 medical
contributor, is on the board of ASLF.
APRIL 16 PRODROMOS CONCERT: GMC regular performers
Lexy and Stephany Prodromos, soprano phenom
sisters, will again reprise their talents for charity on April 16 at their 3rd
annual concert benefiting Miseracordia. Tenor Christian Ketter
will again join the girls on stage. Location is the new Ryan Center (6300 N.
Ridge Ave., Chicago). Play-list includes “Opera and Show-Tunes Greatest Hits.”
Free parking. $25 per person, fully tax deductible. Reception follows concert
with complimentary refreshments and deserts. Reserve seats at or phone (224)
567-1704 for more info. April 11 deadline…Lexy and Stephany also made a recent
appearance on WGN radio and were interviewed by our own Andrea
, on-air host and reporter. The sisters spoke about their new
recording of the famous “Rocky” film soundtrack “Eye of the Tiger,“ a hit song
originally scored by rocker Jim Peterik, a personal friend of 

George Bliss…Lastly, Lexy just won the Midwest Regional
competition for high school singers sponsored by Classical Singer
magazine. She’ll travel to LA on May 21 for the finals and chance to win the
national title!

APRIL 17 BRIDAL EXPO: Chicago Bride magazine, whose
executive editor is GMC “cousin” Cathy Demetropoulos, is
producing the mag’s first bridal expo of 2011 on April 17 at Navy Pier’s
Lakeview Terrace. Included will be a fashion show party on the Anita Dee II
yacht with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The event is for brides and
pre-registration is preferred at Business owners
wishing to exhibit at the event should contact Cathy direct at (773)
an open casting call for anyone who thinks they can deliver traffic alongside
news anchors Steve Bartelstein and Susan
and meteorologist Megan Glaros, a GMC
“cousin.” Click for
Megan Glaros
New CBS2 morning meteorologist Megan
LOU ON CAT-CALL: Longtime GMC “cousin” Lou
, weeknight sports anchor at FOX32 Chicago, was on the
call for ESPN doing play-by-play during the Northwestern Wildcats/Boston College
game in the NIT tournament, among other contests. His wife and GMC
“cousin” Monica Canellis is co-director of
the popular Stimulus
Social Club
, Christos Sevastos, and Jimmy
sang and veteran TV newsman John Davis emceed the
annual dinner dance gala benefiting the Greek American Rehabilitation & Care
Centre in Wheeling, IL. The event was held in late February at the Westin O’Hare
before a crowd of perhaps 500 who came to support the charitable
endeavor. In town was Julie Savalas, widow of the
late, great actor Telly Savalas, and mother of Ariana, who is
now putting the finishing touches on her debut pop album. Coincidentally, Julie
happened to be at Chicago Housewears convention that same weekend and
is an inventor whose products sell on the QVC cable channel. QVC host 

Lisa Brady was with Julie at the gala. President of the
philanthropy is Eleni Bousis. Visit

Telly Savalas
Kojak: “Who loves ya baby?” At left, Telly’s 3rd wife, Julie,
and their daughter Ariana
ANNA DIVES INTO BAR SCENE: It’s just like she was 21 all
over again 😉 Seriously, seeing that FOX32’s Anna Davlantes,
GMC co-founder and host of “Good Day Chicago,” grew up on the North Side of
Chicago at her late father’s Rogers Park neighborhood tavern, Anna was the
perfect person to run a feature on Chicago “dive bars.” It’s a classic for
longtime Chicago neighborhood folk, and includes a retrospective on her dad’s
establishment at Clark and Devon…Anna also recently emceed for one of her
`pet’ causes, the PAWS Animal Magnetism Party at Galleria Marchetti, which “drew
over 350 animal lovers and their furry friends,” reads the event PR. Nearly
$100,000 was raised for PAWS 

(Pets are Worth Saving), a charity founded by Chicago bank director
Paula Fasseas. Lastly, Anna was recently included in
Chicago magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful Chicagoans” issue, as was
Pantelis Vasilakis, chair of the Audio Arts & Accoustics
Department at the School of Media Arts at Columbia College.

“cousin,” Chicago native-turned-LA actress/TV host Patricia
(as seen on E!, TV Guide Channel, and NBC’s “Deal or No Deal), was
in Chicago the weekend of March 26 as one of the attractions at the Hollywood
Celebrities & Collectables Show held at the Hilton Rosemont. 2011 Academy
Award “Lifetime Achievement Award” winner Ernest Borgnine was
the featured celebrity. Additionally, Patricia’s soon-to-be husband, NFL player
agent Noel LaFontaine, moved to LA and the couple purchased a
home together. Lastly, Patricia recently participated in a swimsuit photo shoot
and you can view the behind-the-scenes action here. Patricia
and Noel are planning a wedding on one of the Greek islands in
Summer 2012! Patricia’s sister, Chicago-based Joanna
, is also a close GMC “cousin.”
KIM’S GREEK YOGURT RECIPE: Our close “cousin,” NBC5
Chicago reporter and weekend morning news anchor Kim Vatis,
during a recent newscast, shared her favorite homemade recipe
for Greek yogurt. Analyzing yogurt nutrient differentials during the
live segment was Dr. Sandy Goldberg, a regular
medical contributor to NBC5. Dr. Sandy has visited the GMC
prior and she’s slated to be with us again Thursday.
host/sponsor Resolution
Digital Studios
is keeping with the Chicago
‘code.’ Translated: They’re providing post-production audio ADR
services for the premiere season of the new police drama “The Chicago
Code,” a FOX TV series starring Jennifer Beals and 

Jason Clarke. RDS, located near the United Center, is a
magnificent and spacious facility with
state-of-the-art audio/video/film/you name media
it accoutrements. It also boasts a single large all-purpose
staging space and out-of-this-world west view of the city
atop its 3-story rooftop semi-`club.’ It’s owned
by brothers Lee and Jeff Facklis.
Another GMC “cousin,” Soula Keres,
is a mover-shaker at RDS as well. The Facklis brothers were also the
executive producers for a recent award-winning film short, “Everything Tastes
Better”, an entry in Chicago’s 2010 48-Hour Film Festival. Soula produced
the project, which earned 10 awards at the ceremony last August. The short
is now scheduled to be screened at the festival’s finale, Filmapalooza 2011
which takes place at the Miami International Film Festival in March. Soula was
also the Producer for another project at RDS involving HDR video. She says this
“High dynamic range” production is “an emerging motion video technique that
achieves a variety of different looks. From very realistic or stylized, to
impressionistic like a painting, Soula indicated that RDS is primed to
apply this technology to commercials, music videos, and longform

, John Aniston, Marina
, Frank Dicopoulos, and Gilles
, along with singers Sister Sledge,
Thanos Petrelis, and Kalomira, as well as news
veterans Ernie Enastos (FOX5 NY), Alexis
(network CBS), and Nick Gregory (FOX5) –
among others – will headline the 20th annual Hellenic Times
Scholarship Foundation
gala held May 14 at the Marriott Marquee in NY. The
Foundation was established by the Hellenic Times newspaper and its
principals, businessman John Catsimatides and his wife Margo.
stretch to say there’s a new paradigm in environmental awareness in the wake of
the devastating earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, and subsequent nuclear reactor
meltdown fears which have yet to be resolved. So the newly-released book written
by our “cousin“ John Vlahakis, titled “Green Bites – Ecological
Musings From The Front,” is not only a good read on all-things-eco, it’s release
is timely and a much-needed refresher on this clearly new era in environmental
concern. John is founder/president of Earth Friendly Products and has helped
grow the business into a $80 million entity. The Wall Street Journal 

listed EFP as one of the top 5 in the industry sector of “green” home cleaning
products. John and his wife Stephanie, who’s Executive Director
of the National Hellenic Museum, previously hosted the GMC for two
exclusive Christmas events held at the Museum, and yet another is on the horizon
for 2011. John will be appearing at the Bookstall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka
for an upcoming book signing, and in addition to bookstores and, the
tome will soon also be available through Kindle, Nook, and ibook.
New Leaf Publishing is the distributor. Learn more about “Green Bites” by
following John’s blog at and by visiting,
EFP’s website. More to follow.

FILM FEST ON FACEBOOK: Greek Film Fest Chicago looks to be
making its return to our town. Filmmaker and “cousin” Niko Franghias, along with Kostas
, Vice Counsel at the Consulate General for Greece in Chicago, and still
others have joined forces to create FilmHellenes, an alliance dedicated to
identifying, promoting, and celebrating Greek filmmaking excellence worldwide.
The Fest has been a huge hit in LA and NY, and the 3rd largest media
market and central locale bodes well for Chicago. Greek Film
Fest Chicago is now on facebook.
FASHION SHOW CHAIRS: Two local Greek Americans served as
co-chairs of the recent Fashion Show Benefit for Little
. Philanthropist Eleni Bousis and GMC
“cousin” Susanna Negovan, executive editor of Michigan
magazine, were co-chairs. Hundreds attended at the Chicago
ATLANTA PRODUCER PROFILED: GMC “cousin-from-afar” Peter
, the one-time commercial child face of Coca-Cola who’s now a
successful Atlanta TV producer, is about to release his first major film.
He was profiled in early March by Hollywood.GreekReporter.
GOBOS FILM TRAILER: GMC “cousin” Valerie
sent us an advance preview of the trailer for her documentary film on the life and times of
Marilyn Chambers, the former Ivory Soap cover girl who shocked
the world by transitioning into adult film. Chambers is most famous for her
first-ever porn film, titled “Behind the Green Door,” which was a groundbreaking
production in many aspects. View the trailer here.
-written farcical comedy stage play titled “Nobody Likes
Retsina” has four more local appearances (March 28 and 29, and April 4 and 5).
Shows performed at the Parthenon Restaurant’s “Bouzouki Lounge” private banquet
facility in Greektown. It’s dinner and a play date, fun times, great music,
laughs, and a great time. $55 per ticket includes appetizer, salad, entrée,
desert, glass of wine, a sip of retsina, and free valet parking. Showtimes are
6:45 pm. Phone (312) 932-1230 or visit
For group rates, (312) 423-6612 or visit
dance instructor Agape Pappas, teaches every Wednesday and
Sunday at Barba Yanni in Lincoln Square. In February, the Chicago
Tribune visited her class and published a large photo of Agape dancing
with visiting expert Raul Cabral from Buenos Aires. Agape was
also privileged to attend the inaugural ball held at the White House for
incoming President Barack Obama. Visit
SHEEN SHOCKS MILLER’S: Not `Crazy Chuck’ but rather
the real talent in the family, legendary actor Martin Sheen,
and Miller’s
played host. The near `legacy’ Chicago institution
(and dare say arguably future Loop landmark designee) in
March was visited by the patriarch of the famous Sheen acting family.
Miller’s proprietors Andrew and Aris
, Pete Orfanos, and Chris
, who hosted a GMC function a few years back, shared a
few moments with the Hollywood heavyweight, and we’re pretty
positive Sheen’s photo will soon find its way to those hallowed
Miller’s walls, a virtual museum of authentic Chicago lore.
BOOK OUT IN GREEK: Prisoners of Our Thoughts, written by
Alexander N. Pattakos, Ph.D, will be published in a Greek
edition, marking its 20th language. It’s being published by P. Kyriakides
Publishing Co., one of the largest media groups in Greece. Alex will be
appearing on SKAI TV in Athens to promote the launch. Visit
U OF I `CELEB‘: University of Illinois-Champaign
journalism student Peter Zervakis (known on-air as Peter
Nichols) on March 15 was profiled by the school website as a “Campus Celebrity.” Peter, who’s in his senior year, has
been a regular contributor and editor at the Daily Illini, does announcing for
various Illini Big 10 games, and he also worked an internship at Network CBS in
NY, among others.
NETWORKING & MEDIA: In this imminently digital
world, apparently one still can’t discount face-to-face
relationship-building. This link from the March 27 Chicago
addresses how the human element is most
likely relevant as ever. Also, our “cousin” Andrea
at Crain’s
Chicago Business
helped contribute toward another must-read resource
for Chicagoans to keep tabs on the who’s who and what’s what of area
appointments in all business sectors. People on the Move is highly-recommended
reading. A separate entity, the independent Chicagoland
Radio and Media
, is a good resource for media
was recently nominated for Bay area `best news anchor’ by San Francisco Baylist…GMC “cousin” Mariyana
, recently elected Commissioner of Chicagoland’s
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, was invited to the White House for the
President’s official ceremony honoring Greek Independence Day…Special thanks to
Diane Adam, editor of The Greek
in Chicago, for pictorial spreads on the past two GMC
functions…Condolences to two of our close “cousins”, George
and Tom Skallas, who recently experienced the
deaths of their fathers. Be sure to give Tom and George a warm embrace when
next your paths intersect…The official Greek Independence Day parade is slated
for Sunday, May 1, kickoff off around 2 pm on Halsted Street in
Greektown…Sorry if we missed anybody’s events, news, etc. Send again and
we’ll get to it promise. Reminder: Please send us a brief one paragraph summary
of your news/events along with all attachments, etc. Thanks for your continued
support and we hope to see you

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