My Little Skinny Greek Life: On Liberty Street – book


I’ve written a story of what it was like to be the only Greek boy in town. The town is a small farm town in Illinois 55 miles from Chicago. It is a multi-faceted picture of immigrants adapting to life in Middle America; a collectioin of dramatic and comedic escapades flavored with fun, courage, and just plain old childhood recklessness.

I am ultimately interested in developing this story into a screenplay for a feature film or as the basis for an HBO series.

My inspiration to write the book comes from several sources; the late, great, Tim Russert and his book “Big Russ and Me”, the films – “Stand By Me” and “The Sandlot“. But mostly, my inspiration comes from within, and the memories I cherish from my childhood.

“My Little Skinny Greek Life: On Liberty Street” can be purchased through my publisher’s web site or several online bookstores; Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Target, and more.

Michael H. Skopes
Thousand Oaks CA

Vibist Christos Rafalides Releases New Album "Echo"


Emarel Music announces its debut CD entitled “ήχώ/echo” the music of Mimis Plessas, produced in Greece and released this month (January 5), featuring 10 classic Greek songs newly arranged by New York-based leading vibist, musician, and composer Christos Rafalides. His collaboration with Mimis Plessas, the internationally renowned multi award-winning Greek composer, has resulted in an urban sound –mosaic of global rhythms– echoing Rafalides’ musical roots.  The album features the soulful vocals of Greek performer Evi Siamanda and Mimis Plessas, as special guest on piano.

Known as the “Greek Gershwin,” Mimis Plessas’ music has been celebrated throughout his illustrious career in film, theatre, opera, concerto suites, radio, and television. The CD “ήχώ/echo” reintroduces Plessas’ arrangements originally interpreted in the ‘60’s by eminent female performers Tzeni Vanou and Marinella.

“As an arranger, working on “ήχώ/echo”, I tried to reflect my own musical personality into these songs and mix them with the sounds and rhythms of the New World. Inspired melodies, intelligent harmonies and romantic lyrics –from my Greek heritage– is what I had to work with,” said Christos Rafalides, founder of the New York-based contemporary jazz quartet Manhattan Vibes.

About Christos Rafalides
Rafalides has appeared with the Charles Mingus “Epitaph” Band featuring bassist Christian McBride and conductor Gunther Schuller; the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center in NYC.  He has shared the stage with Ravi Coltrane, Antonio Sanchez, Joe Locke, Donny McCaslin and Mark Ledford among others. He has also added his vibraphone and marimba textures to recent recordings of vocalists Chaka Khan and Christy Baron. Rafalides is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with post-graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music. Since 2000, he has led Manhattan Vibes and appears at cutting-edge venues in New York City. For more visit his website

About Evi Siamanda
Siamanda has performed with Mimis Plessas, Mario Frangoulis, Goran Bregovic, Stefanos Korkolis, and Antonis Remos. She has appeared with Christos Rafalides along with Grammy-nominated Donny McCaslin and several Grammy winners such as Mark Ledford. Siamanda was featured on the soundtrack of the documentary “Secrets of the Past” with the music of Grammy-winning composer Steve Woods.
“ήχώ/echo” the music of Mimis Plessas is a production of Emarel Music recorded and produced in Greece, now available in the U.S. and other markets. Sample listening of four tracks is available here. More information at:

“The Janissaries”


A few years ago, in the lull of the winter months, I was so touched by the sad (true) story of the Janissaries, told to me by our local priest that I taught myself the craft of scriptwriting, therefore allowing my passion to be expressed through this avant-garde script.

I was born in Rhodes, Greece and immigrated to Canada at the age of three. My formative years were spent in Toronto, where I graduated from York University with a Mathematics degree, in 1977.

The past many years have been spent manifesting my dream, building from scratch and then managing a family business, where I live with my lovely family on the beautiful island of Rhodes, Greece.

Not having any contacts in this business, I have quickly discovered in order to get an agent, one must have sold a script and in order to sell a script, one must have an agent!?!?

With your site, I hope to make the right connections, i.e. Americans of Greek descent, that can and will feel this subject matter, that has never been previously touched upon by the film industry.

Besides a synopsis and script available upon request, I have made a movie poster of the script.

Having thus discovered this unknown ability, I indulge in writing during the quiet winter months. I have recently finished my second (Greek island based) script.

I look forward to hearing from all.

George Kriticos

Rhodes, Greece

“My Life In Ruins” trailer released



A travel guide (Vardalos) rediscovers her romantic side, with a very unlikely match, as she whisks a group of tourists around Greece.

Dr. Kakis to speak about his family’s survival of Nazi occupation


Dr. Kakis will speak about living in Greece during the Nazi occupation on Sunday, January 25th at 12:30 pm at St. Sophia Cathedral, 1324 South Normandie Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90006.

Dr. Frederic J. Kakis is the author of the book Legacy of Courage, a fictional account based on the true story of his family’s survival from the Nazis in Greece. It is a story seen through the eyes of a young boy suddenly snatched from a life of comfort and forced to assume roles that no one had prepared him for. It is a story of intrigue and adventure, at times humorous, at times sad, but always interesting and exciting. Unlike most holocaust stories that tend to be sad and depressing, this story is uplifting and inspiring. In his book, he skillfully manages to concurrently provide details and background information about the historical events related to the Greek resistance movement and the major role it played in saving the lives of Jewish Greeks.

Born in Drama, Greece, and now a retired professor of Chemistry, Dr. Kakis graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the City College of New York and earned the Ph.D. from Stanford University. He then joined the faculty and administration of Chapman University where he served as a professor of Chemistry, Chairman of the Chemistry department, Chairman of the Division of Natural Sciences and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Golden Globes Without Yani


The Golden Globe Awards are taking place today at the Beverly Hilton. Two of the nominees that may walk away with the little Golden Statue are of Greek descent. However, Yani Begakis a.k.a Mr. Golden Globes won’t be around tonight to cheer up his famous friends. Yani passed away last August unexpectedly after coming back from a trip to London for the premiere of “Mamma Mia”. Originally a Greek from Istanbul, Yani came to the US as a poor immigrant, and managed to become one of the most successful journalists in Hollywood. He was elected President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association five times, in addition he served as vice president and secretary. In his last interview he talked about his life with the stars, his homeland and mentioned how much he would like to be present in this year’s Golden Globe Awards.

New CD Release by “Sybex”


Evangelos Goulas was born in United States and moved to Greece with his parents at a young age, but sometime after High School he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream into studying motion pictures and television, and make his own movies. Even though he is not quite there yet, his other love , music , is opening doors for him. Evangelos (that is writing for Greekreporter every now and then) started experimenting with electronic music at a young age, today he is composing on his favorite Macintosh and he’s known in Greek and foreign on-line communities with the nickname “sybex”.

Last week he released his first cd single “Cantus Astralis” (chanting star) that you can buy from iTunes Store .

It’s a fresh work and should get the attention of those who like electronic music.

“Coming as A Friend” at the Little Theater on the Fox Studio lot


Dora Maslavanou’s “COMING AS A FRIEND”, Special Jury Orpheus Award recipient at LAGFF 2008, will inaugurate a series of monthly screenings on January 16th at the Little Theater on the Fox Studio lot.

Dora Masklavanou’s second feature film takes place in a small mountainous Greek village, and revolves around the forbidden love that develops between a small-time crook who just got out of jail and a woman trapped in a passionless marriage. Whereas she has made peace with her hard-living and lonely days, he is determined to start anew. As they begin to see their own fears and dreams in one another, they soon discover that breaking away from the past in not that easy.

The film was shot in the mountains of Etoloakarnania near the city of Arta, in the villages of Menidi, Chrissopigi, Theriakissi, Agia Triada, Komboti, Xalkiopoulo and Katharovouni, and around the sea of Amvrakikos.

JANUARY 16th, 2009 – 7:30 PM
Little Theatre
Fox Studios
10201 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064  (Century City)

Click here to buy tickets

Links: “Coming as A Friend” on IMDB

Fey and Desplat have good chances for more Golden Globes


The famous composer of Greek decent, Alexander Desplat and the Greek American Tina Fey of “30 Rock” are in this year’s list of nominations for a Golden Globe Award.

Alexander Despla composed the music for the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchet. Two years ago he was awarded a Golden Globe for the music in the movie “The Painted Veil”.

Tina Fey starring on the TV series “30 Rock” for which she writes the script as well, is among the nominees for a Golden Globe for the Best Actress in a comedy TV series, which she won last year.

Golden Globe Awards will be aired live from Beverly Hills this Sunday Jan 11 2009 at 8pm on NBC network.

Ex-Detective Makes New Strides In Boxing As Well As Hollywood

As you enter the Park Hill PAL Gym you can sense the energy and the commitment in the air. At times you can catch the lean and determined ex-detective/boxer Thomas Dades in the center ring. Thomas Dades is only a volunteer at the gym put a staple in the community. He has made major strides on “the street” as well as in the ring.

Thomas a son of Greek-Italian parents grew up around the rough and tough streets of Brooklyn and learned quickly the importance of loyalty. He decided at an early age of which road to follow. The two roads available were either the straight and narrow or the road of crooked promises. He would go on and become a decorated officer for the New York Police Force. Thomas became a household name for local gangsters who he pursued.

Thomas has been involved with the force for at least twenty three years. He landed his spot in law enforcement after taking one of many civil service tests. “I took a few and the police department’s test came through first and I jumped at it.”

He served in the narcotics division where he did everything from buying drugs on high and low levels to various other felonies. “Being an undercover cop for those three years was exciting.”

His good work earned him his promotion to detective around 1986-1987. After he was promoted to 3rd grade detective he was assigned to a detective squad. That squad the 6-8 covered areas like Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. He was stationed there for eight years. He soon was promoted to 2nd grade when he was there. They focused on everything from harassment to homicide but there main goal was organized crime. Thomas also had the pleasure of coming in contact with another decorated detective Joseph Pistone. “What Joe did was amazing. He gave many years of his life to do the job he did.”

Joseph Pistone became an undercover cop back in the 80’s where he infiltrated the Bonanno crime Family. His testimony landed many wiseguys in jail. Joseph sacrificed a lot to accomplish what others feared to do.

Thomas who worked on the Eppolito- Caracappa case did find some individuals who disliked his concerted effort with the case. He explained how some people would have liked it better if he closed an eye to it. But he actually developed great satisfaction in being apart and seeing the case through. On December 5th, 2008 both of the so called “mafia cops” were sentenced.

The mafia as we know it and have come to know it is no where what it use to be. It is evident coming from Thomas’ experience and knowledge. “It will never really go away but it will never be what it once was. There were reasons that guys went that way. Sometimes life did not offer anything better, today, the kind of candidates are not the same quality.”

Presently, Thomas has been busy working out the kinks of a new book documenting the case of Louis Eppolito and Steven Caracappa. The book which is entitled “Friends of the Family” is due out next year. Besides the novel a film detailing the story is in pre-production. It is being produced by the company “29/29” and directed by John Hillcoat.
The film will chronicle the events leading up to the conviction of the so called “mafia cops”. Thomas was a driving force in the case and spearheaded the investigation. The film is due some time in 2009-2010. The book which is being released by Harper Collins was penned by well renowned author David Fisher.

Besides working diligently on both projects Thomas is also a supporter and leader in the world of boxing. His grandfather was a huge fan of boxing as well as being one and he inspired Thomas to be involved. At six years old Thomas began to show interest. His grandfather’s boxing name was “Blackie”. He fought on the Lower East side of Manhattan on Cherry Street.

Thomas would go on to box on an amateur level. He had a total of 60 bouts. “I had about sixty fights, from smokers to tough man contests to Police Team fights.”

During his time in boxing he has come across many notable boxers like: Gary Stark Jr, Nicky DeMarco, Junior “Poison” Jones, Anthony Camarano, Terrence Meyers and Nwatchi. He ran the Park Hill for five years with Gary Stark Jr. he currently is involved with the DeMarco Boxing Gym. Besides being aligned with Gary Stark Jr. he is presently working with another supporter of boxing Pat Russo.

Since being apart of the DeMarco Boxing gym he has offered his guidance to aspiring boxers. At the 2009 Golden Gloves he will be there to support and aide others yet due to certain injuries inflicted from boxing he is limited in what he can do.

His son Frankie is also involved in boxing as he followed in his father’s footsteps. “My son has been involved for about two years and is doing well. Is a great way for father and son to bond.”

Thomas also admits that coming from a dual ethnic background has helped his way of thinking. “Being raised around both cultures is valuable. It shapes you in many ways be it Greek or Italian.”

Thomas’ main goal in boxing is to help younger kids focus on their commitment to the sport. “It centers on dedication, sportsmanship, education and confidence. It comes with the sport. A strong mind only delivers a strong body.”

Even though Thomas did not receive many accolades from his fellow officers he did receive glowing words from former champ. Peter Spanakos. “He is a strong willed person and an example of commitment and loyalty to his work and to the sport.”

In time Thomas will not only be spoken of at boxing gyms and Police stations but also in what has been coined “tinsel town”, Hollywood that is.