Antonio Banderas to Return to Broadway as “Zorba the Greek”

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The musical adaptation of “Zorba the Greek” will go on broadway next year and Antonio Banderas, according to a recent interview with Jordan Hoffman, has been offered the leading role. When Hoffman asked the sensual Spanish actor about his desire to return to the stage after his work on the big screen, Bandares revealed he was offered the role for Zorba. “I’ve been offered to do Zorba The Greek. Another piece that has to be revisited. I saw the movie a couple weeks ago and it surprised me. I remember seeing the movie in the ’70s at some point, but I didn’t completely remember the entire story. I remember it being something more festive, more happy, but when I saw it the other day suddenly I found it a dark movie with ups and downs, like life itself, moments of comedy and moments very dark and very profound. And I love that, the possibility of jumping on the stage again to create a character that has nothing to do with what I did in Nine. So if everything goes on track, I believe I’ll be onstage again in a year.”

Hollywood Myths II: It’s all in the age, babe.

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I know, I know. You were all on the edge of your seats these past few days just waiting for me to continue spilling the beans about what living in Hollywood is really like. I had every intention of doing so as well until I began meditating on a different topic. Age.

Age is a subject most Hollywood performers would rather pretend doesn’t exist. But if you’re in the business age is not just about getting older. It has everything to do with the roles you’ll play and how much competition you have.

This all occurred to me the other day after speaking with a casting director from a big city in Canada who told me they had a serious shortage of 30-something actresses in town. How odd, I thought. Until I realized one of the reasons there’s probably such a shortage is because (as I’ve talked about before) by the time many performers enter their thirties they begin to seriously reconsider their choice to pursue acting. Many people realize that their dreams of having a family, or buying a home, or of having some kind of normalcy don’t necessarily gel with the unstable life of an actor and they opt to leave the profession. This is when things get interesting for the rest of us.

If you’re a performer in your early twenties the pool of competition is ridiculously big. You’re going up against every other twenty-three year old wannabe starlet who’s fighting tooth-and-nail to land that “big job”. It can be pretty hairy until many of the others realize that eating bananas for dinner is not so glamorous and at the ripe old age of twenty-six they retire. But not us, no sir; we like bananas thank-you-very-much.

If you can stick it out during this tumultuous time (and that’s not to say one won’t work in their twenties because there’s plenty of performers that age out there) you’re already yards closer to the finish line. (I think that’s the phrase they use?)

This also brings up another interesting point – where a performer is located geographically at any given age will have a huge impact on how much they work. I will never forget my old agent in Toronto, bless her heart. We were both frustrated at the number of commercial jobs I was losing to women who were just a few years older than me and we vowed to change it. We tried everything from new head-shots that were meant to portray me as an older “simpler” woman (to use an unpopular, politically incorrect term we basically tried to ‘ugly me up’ a little), to me going into castings with pleated linen pants and horrendous pastel sweater sets I wouldn’t be caught dead in normally. Still, nothing worked.

Yet all that changed the day I began working in Greece. My very first commercial was for baby formula, and I did an offensively large number of TV ad’s after that which all required me to play a mother. Had I been in Canada I would have been looked at as far too young to play the average mom, but in Greece my age was just right and it led to many opportunities I wouldn’t have had if I had been younger; or older for that matter.

There are a lot of performers with similar stories. One actress who comes to mind is Julianne Moore. She worked from a young age but it wasn’t really until she hit her late thirties that her career really took off, and look how talented she is! This is usually when people start using phrases like “she was at the right place at the right time”. Instead, maybe we should start saying things like “she was the right age at the right time”.

In Hollywood everyone seems to be scared about aging and I think it’s tragic. There are only so many roles for twenty-five year old women and men out there and as a performer the best roles usually come later in life. Not because young people aren’t interesting, but because with age comes life experience and there’s nothing more exciting for a performer than attacking a role that has real meat to it; something you can sink your teeth into and play the heck out of. Remember, when you’re forty you can use moisturizer to stave off Father Time, but trying to make your role as a high-school cheerleader interesting is substantially more difficult.

Yes, age can be a blessing and a curse. Many performers may not even begin working until they’re well into their thirties or forties, or maybe they’ll work like crazy when they’re young but not at all later on. There’s just no accounting for how kind show business will be to anyone. But it can be something wonderful to look forward to. A kind of cosmic acting karma, if you will, that allows everyone a time to shine – it may not be when you want but you will enjoy the ride anyways because you know you deserve it.

Andy Manatos Among Top 20 Lobbyists

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Today the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) released the following statement in response to Roll Call Newspaper’s July 6, 2009 article titled, “Lobbyists Reach Deep Into Their Pockets,” which addressed an unusual practice of CEH President Andy Manatos and 19 other lobbyists:

Roll Call Newspaper, the oldest publication covering the U.S. Congress, today included CEH President Andy Manatos, who is also President of Manatos & Manatos, as one of the top 20 Washington lobbyists – out of 10,764 – in terms of the amount given in personal political contributions to U.S. Senators and Members of Congress in the current election cycle. Roll Call based its article on a study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

According to the article, such a level of personal contribution is rare, as “many lobbyists attend fundraisers on their clients’ dime. Lobbyists who give their own personal money say they do it because they believe in the candidates, their party and the political process.”

“I’m not surprised to see Andy Manatos among those included in the article,” said CEH Chairman Andrew A. Athens. “Such a high level of personal contributing is consistent with Manatos & Manatos contributing each year between $250,000 to $500,000 worth of pro bono work for the issues with which CEH is involved.” The typical Washington lobby firm contributes an average of $7,000 a year of pro bono work, according to the Washington Post.

Andy Manatos said, “Our unusually high level of political contributions and pro bono work is because at Manatos & Manatos we accept only those clients in which we deeply believe. Our contributions reflect our commitment to clients and causes ranging from Westinghouse Electric Company’s productivity project to religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarch.”

“We see our work as not only helping our client but also improving American policy and keeping the government from making mistakes,” said Manatos. “I think this is one of the reasons why policymakers are receptive to us and why we are able to be effective in Washington .”

The Manatos family has been involved in Washington policy making since 1936 — for one third of the nation’s history. The firm’s accomplishments include securing more House cosponsors for a bill than any on record, moving hundreds-of-millions of federal funds in directions more beneficial to American interests, stopping a Senate filibuster for the 13th time in history, and moving Presidents to overrule decisions of their Department heads. Manatos was selected by Regardie’s magazine as one of the 100 most powerful in private sector Washington .

CEH is a 26 year – old network of over 300 Greek – Americans who have close relationships with key U.S. policymakers across the country.

$180,000 for wildfire victims in Victoria

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In an announcement, the Press and Communications Office has notified that Greek economic aid for those affected by last February’s wildfires in the Australian state of Victoria has been delivered to the proper Australian authorities. The announcement notes: “The Greek Government offered the sum of A$180,000 as emergency aid for the relief of the fire victims, to the Victoria Bushfire Recovery and Reconstruction Authority.
“Having had the sad experience of the devastating repercussions from forest fires, Greece offered this amount as a symbolic aid gesture to help reconstruct and recover the affected regions. At the same time, this gesture acknowledges Australia’s generous support for Greek fire victims a few years ago”.

Tom Hanks Gets Fined for Extending his Property onto Public Coast in Greece

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According to a Greek online source, gossip-tv.gr, Tom Hanks has illegally extended the boundary of his property on the island of Antiparos (left) by twenty square meters. Hanks had purchased this exclusive property on Antiparos a few years ago and it is considered one of the best available pieces of the island. After an investigation was conducted by Greek official Georgia Yangelidou and chief coast guard Elias Kountromihalis on February 23rd the property owner was fined a 10.000 euro fine for extending the boundary of his property onto public coast. It is expected that the judge of the region will call the famous actor for a hearing for this case.

Hanks who is currently in Greece visited the new Acropolis museum two days ago.

Hollywood Myths – Part One

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Usually, when I tell people outside LA that I live in Hollywood I am immediately bombarded with questions. Things like “is ______ (insert actress) really that pretty up close?” or “so does like, everyone drive a Ferrari?” and naturally my personal favorite “have you ever been to the Playboy mansion?”

I never cease to be amazed by the types of question people really ponder, but I realize that Hollywood has done such a great job of marketing itself as a paradise for the rich and famous that it’s only normal people are so curious. But just to clear the record, if you’re really looking for paradise it’s a little country in Europe called Monaco, not LA.

It occurred to me this week that I’m supposed to be telling all of you what Hollywood is really like, and that includes more than talking about casting calls and bad auditions. So I thought I’d take some time today to answer some of your most pressing questions.

Question #1. Have you ever been to the Playboy Mansion?
No, and I don’t plan on it either. But I do have a reasonable description of the old fab pad on good authority from a friend of mine who went there for an event a couple of years ago.

The night my friend went Hugh must have been busy de-linting his robe because he was nowhere to be seen. Apparently he does this often – rents out the mansion for an event – so everyone invited shows up pumped to spend the night hot-tubing with a bunch of Hollywood babes and instead find themselves meditating on their swivel stick outside a rickety old house that’s in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint.

Question #2. Is everyone in Hollywood beautiful?
It’s hard to answer this question without sounding like a jerk (what with all that inner beauty that’s so important these days) but because most of the people in Hollywood have such enormous ego’s I feel pretty ok taking a swipe at them.

Of course there are a few heavenly looking people in this town, but for the most part there are a disturbing number of jogging suits, acrylic nails and deep tans which apparently double for beauty in LA. On a good day, you may see some nice bodies playing volleyball on the beach but if you’re expecting Pamela Anderson to jog by you with her day-glow orange bathing suit or that all the women will look like Halle Berry you’re going to be very disappointed.

Question #3. Are there movie star’s everywhere?
Kind of. Most Hollywood stars live in LA. You will see them in your yoga class, at the organic fruit market, or even more likely – stuck in traffic. Although watching George Clooney pick out a ripe melon at the grocery store is hardly my idea of a heart-stopping good time, if that’s what really gets you going you won’t be disappointed.

Question #4. Is LA really that big?
Bigger. In fact, LA is so huge that sometimes I wonder if the maps have been tampered with? Maybe we’re actually living on the moon and we just don’t know it?
Once you come to LA there is something you will have to accept – traffic. Traffic jams the likes of which you have never seen before I assure you. I have lived in big cities all over the world but I have never spent as much time in a car as I have since I came to LA. Sitting in a car for a total of six hours a day is not uncommon.
Everyone deals with this problem a different way. Some people move to a beach community and never leave it. Others hire drivers to take them to and fro. Most just spend all day on their mobile phones. Personally, I have devised what I like to refer to as my auto-picnic; a little smorgasbord I take along with me in the car containing CD’s, my favorite iced coffee, tobacco, cookies and protein bars. If only I could drink alcohol I could pretend I was at home listening to music.

So there you have it; a few Hollywood rumors cleared up. I’ve actually been inspired by this topic and have decided to continue it into next week where we’ll continue with Hollywood rumors debunked.

Screenwriter Peter Papageorgiou’s “Pumping Up” to Hit the Big Screen

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They say write what you know and that’s exactly what up and coming actor and screenwriter Peter Papageorgiou did. “I grew up in Queens in New York and my writing has the edge of New York mixed in with the wit of ethnic cultures colliding,” Papageorgiou said.

What Papageorgiou knows well is Queens and that’s the backbone of the independent film “Pumping Up”. The movie is a mix of comedy and drama and revolves around three local friends who work out at an old gym. Dancing with the Star’s Tony Dovolani is set to star as Tommy, a weightlifter who joins his friends every year in the annual “Mr. Hercules” weightlifting contest.

The film will depict how the competition affects the lives of the three friends and their personal relationships. It will also have a 1970’s & 1980’s remix soundtrack, so says Papageorgiou. “Think of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in a gym!”

Papageorgiou says Dovolani read the screenplay, loved it, and signed on. Once he did, the frenzy began. Dovolani recently told People magazine that he’s going to have to hit the gym, “I have to gain 15 pounds of muscle”.

The film will be executive produced by Antonio Saillant, owner of Angel Light Pictures. In addition, Tony Timpone, longtime editor of both Fangoria Magazine and its website, Fangoria.com will also be in the producer’s seat.

The $5 million film is in pre-production right now and will be shot late this year in and around Queens. Meanwhile, Papageorgiou has set up camp in Hollywood where he is looking for his next big break. Papageorgiou has seen success as an actor with parts in “Ghostbusters II” and “Amongst Friends”, plus commercial work, but his real passion is behind the scenes as the one writing them.

“Currently, I have written a TV pilot called Late Bloomers. It’s another comedy, but this time it is really edgy and off the wall. I have grown so much as a writer and actor that I could not have written this ten years ago. I wrote the pilot script along with a show bible. So, I am really into it!” Papageorgiou said.

Being tight-lipped about the particulars of the show plot, Papageorgiou did reveal some information. Nick Manousakis of Manousakis Films has come on board to help produce a Late Bloomers promotional video that is being cast right now. Manousakis is also helping pitch the show to some cable networks.

“Once we approached some up and coming actors about this project they jumped at the chance to be part of this promo that we are shooting. They are doing it because they believe in the project and really enjoy the characters in this pilot,” Papageorgiou said.
Kim Williams (formally VP of Casting at Fox), who now heads her own production company Mangolia Films, and Andy Kleinman from Aeroplano Productions are also attached to the Late Bloomers project.

Nicholas Karacostas Elected AHEPA Supreme President

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SAN FRANCISCO – The delegates of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage, and countless Philhellenes, unanimously elected Nicholas A. Karacostas their supreme president at its 87th Annual Supreme Convention in San Francisco. Karacostas ran unopposed in elections that were held Saturday, July 4, 2009. He was formally installed as supreme president today.

“Words cannot express how humbled and honored I am to be elected AHEPA Supreme President,” said Karacostas, who emigrated from Kyrenia, Cyprus as a three-year-old with his family. “It is the culmination of 30 years of service to the organization, dating back to my membership in the Sons of Pericles.”

He continued, “I look forward to working with our new Supreme Lodge, and entire membership, to keep AHEPA on the steady path set forth by my predecessors. There are many challenges facing the community, and new ones will emerge. However, I’m confident we will strive to overcome them together in true spirit to our mission.”

Karacostas, who hails from Flushing, N.Y., is a 25-year member of AHEPA Gus Cherevas – Estia-Pindus Chapter 326, in Flushing. He has served AHEPA in numerous leadership positions including supreme vice president, two terms as supreme counselor, and on its Board of Directors. As supreme president, Karacostas’ responsibilities include being the chief executive officer, and principal spokesperson, of the entire AHEPA Domain, which includes the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus.

The newly-elected supreme president was born in Kyrenia, Cyprus and immigrated to the United States three years later. Karacostas, an attorney, is the senior vice president of Arch Insurance Group. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, and National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Karacostas received his J.D. from the City of New York Law School and is a graduate of New York University.

Karacostas has served on the Parish Council of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Flushing, N.Y., for six years. Also, he is a legal advisor to the Pancyprian Association of America Inc., and serves on the Board of Directors of HANAC, Inc. and St. Michael’s Home.

Karacostas and his wife, Anna, have two daughters, Georgia and Andreana.


Election of AHEPA Leadership for 2009-2010

The AHEPA Supreme Lodge is the international governing body of the organization.

The 2009-10 Supreme Lodge is comprised of: Supreme Vice President Dr. John Grossomanides, Jr., Westerly, R.I.; Canadian President Nick Aroutzidis, Ontario; Supreme Secretary Anthony Kouzounis, Houston; Supreme Treasurer Col. Nicholas P. Vamvakias (ret.), Fairfax, Va.; Supreme Counselor Anastasios Konstantin, Oakland, Calif.; and Supreme Athletic Director Spiro Siaggas, Atlanta.

The eight Supreme Governors are: Region I: Peter S. Sergis, Rockledge, Fla.; Region II: John Mesogitis, Venetia, Pa.; Region III: Theodore Manolios, Lidenhurst, N.Y.; Region IV: Alex G. Geourntas, Roslindale, Mass.; Region V: Chris D. Kontos, Grosse Isle., Mich.; Region VI: Tom Gober, Highland, Ind.; Region VII: James J. Peros, Denver; and Region VIII: Peter T. Triantafyllos, West Hills, Calif. Mesogitis and Gober were re-elected.

Elected to positions on the Board of Trustees were: Franklin R. Manios, Warren, Ohio; and John Galanis, Elm Grove, Wisc. Manios, a past supreme president, was re-elected. Nick Dixie, Dallas, Texas, was elected to the Board of Auditors.

Culture Shock regardless

There must be a certain amount of time that dooms you. A certain amount of time that once you go over it, that’s that, you’re done, you’re toast, you are never to feel 100% comfortable in any country ever again.

So how many years of living in a country -that you originally consider “abroad”- does it take for that moment to arrive? 5? 10? 3? 15? 6? I can not say for sure. What I do know is that once that moment hits you, you are condemned to a life in a state of eternal culture shock. When in the U.S. you crave frappes and outdoor coffee shops. Arriving at the gate where the final connection to Athens is waiting proves to be annoying to an unexpectedly high degree. While the airline rep is still in the middle of announcing who gets to board when the entire body of passengers are up and running, pushing and pulling luggage, incessantly talking to each other, making it impossible for anyone including themselves to hear any part of the announcement. This forces the poor lady to keep repeating rows 10 to 20 to every single passenger in line, each of whom hardly stops oneself from swearing at her for having rules to begin with. While this is going on, you are waiting towards the end of the line and find it impossible to move forward, even though you are seated in row 10 because all these other passengers are standing in the way waiting for their rows to be called and have no intention of letting anyone pass them by. And that’s when the group with the crazy lady arrives.

She almost dislocates your ankle with her remarkably overstuffed and dead heavy “carry-on” and proceeds to explain how she had a near-death experience almost missing the plane that just now started boarding. Her male friends make a lame attempt at humoring her but she insists on narrating how shocked she was and exactly what panicky thoughts she was thinking when an airport official told her the gate is a 15 minute walk. She was convinced she would miss the plane and what was she to do, she was decidedly doomed, she only had an X amount of money on her. Lady, for f…’s sake, they put you on the next flight for free and if the universe conspires for you to need to buy another ticket from London to Athens, that’s what credit cards are for, and by the way you would have deserved it having sent all this hyper over super duper dramatic stress waves for nothing. It’s a three hour flight, not the second coming.

Once the plane lands at Eleftherios Venizelos, you are not convinced you are not resenting the nagging 40 year old who is already on the phone complaining to his mum about the unprecedented perrils of his tiresome journey to Rome. P-lease! We are talking what? Two hours? Two freaking hours. Un-be-f…ing-lievable! Once you start sinking into an inner stream of consciousness personality bashing in English, you start to believe it’s all the language’s fault. Someone couldn’t be that childish in English, could he? (yes, he could, but that is not where you are right now).

While walking towards the luggage the chaos than ensued upon arrival at that last gate slowly starts to build up again. And that’s when you notice the change. You are now dreading the mishaps of Greek origin rather than the North American ones. The un-repenting Greekness of this particular brand of chaos is driving you nuts. And it’s not really nearly as important as it feels but it’s not what you are used to -now. The world around you has collapsed and rebuilt itself. Again. In a moment you you’ll be translating American slang into Greek and trying to find the Greek phrase of “living above one’s means”. And you really thought there would be an end to culture shock. I bet you never saw this coming.

Brochures in Greek for senior citizens in South Australia

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The Senior Information Services in Australia officially presented a few days ago in Adelaide 10 Informative Brochures/Pamphlets in the Greek language in cooperation with the Office of Social Welfare of the Greek Orthodox Community in South Australia.
The informative brochures/pamphlets include information on the following: retirement accommodations, aged care facilities, care at home, complaints, legal counseling, wills, powers of attorney, care and support after hospitalization etc.