Nicolaides is finally free!

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Harry Nicolaides is free and back at his home in Melbourne after being jailed in Bangkok for three months charged with defamation of Thailand’s Royal Family. The King pardoned Nicolaides as a result of efforts from Austarlian and Greek Governemnts in defence of the Greek-Australian Author.

U.S. Representative Scott Garrett Joined the AHEPA

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Scott Garrett (R-5-NJ) joined the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage, and countless Philhellenes, yesterday, announced Supreme President Ike Gulas. Rep. Garrett joined Ramapo Chapter 453, Wyckoff, N.J., which is New Jersey’s largest chapter with 135 members.

“We welcome with great enthusiasm Congressman Garrett’s membership in AHEPA,” said Gulas. “He is a dedicated public servant who has demonstrated a keen interest to listen his constituents, including the American Hellenic community. We’re proud to count him as a member and a Philhellene.

He added, “Also, I commend Ramapo Chapter for its outreach to the congressman that has led to a fluid dialogue on all issues. This example must be replicated throughout the community.”

Rep. Garrett spent more than thirty minutes with Supreme Governor Louis Arvanitis, District 5 Lieutenant Governor Phil Vogis, and District No. 5 Treasurer Savas Tsivicos, and the chapter’s membership to discuss issues of importance to AHEPA. These issues included projects such as the formation of charter schools and the building of senior citizens housing projects. Moreover, Tsivicos, who is a member of AHEPA’s Cyprus & Hellenic Affairs Committee, led the policy discussion issues regarding Greece and Cyprus. Chapter 453 President Jim Giokas , and Chapter 453 Treasurer George Mellides, officiated the induction.

In 2008, Rep. Garrett was given an upper tier, 87% rating on Greek-American issues in AHEPA’s Congressional Scorecard. Moreover, he is a member of the Hellenic Caucus. A link to the score card can be found on AHEPA’s Public Policy page, www.ahepa.org/policy.

In January, Rep. Garrett was sworn in to his fourth term in the U. S. House of Representatives, representing New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District. He was first elected to Congress in 2002. Garrett serves on the House Financial Services and Budget Committees. He is a member of the Financial Services Subcommittees on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises; Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit; and Housing and Community Opportunity. For more information on the Congressman visit http://garrett.house.gov.

AHEPA Chapter 453 serves the communities of north-western Bergen County. In 2007, the chapter was voted the Most Outstanding Chapter in AHEPA’s Fifth District. That year the chapter started an adult Greek language school that is now entering its third year. For more information about the Ramapo Chapter, visit their web site at www.ahepa453.org.

Greek-Australians write Greece’s Eurovision Song

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Sakis Rouvas will sing the song "This Is Our Night"

Craig Porteils (born in Craig Portelis)  and Cameron Giles-Webb are the Greek Australian musical composers and songwriters who wrote the lyrics for the song that Sakis Rouvas will sing at the Eurovision contest on May.

The title of the song is “This is Our Night” and it was the one that Greek audiences voted to represent the country among two others.

Craig Porteils

According to Wikipedia “Proteils was born in Australia and began his career in the decade of the 1980s, as the guitarist of his own band. However, Proteils soon realized that his strengths were in behind-the-scenes production and started producing music in continuation. From 1989-1996, Porteils was based out of Los Angeles where he experienced great success writing for huge artists such as Cher, having helped produce her 3× platinum album Heart of Stone whiched peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard 200, by contributing to the song “If I Could Turn Back Time”, which went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also has produced Billy Idol’s top 10 hit “Cradle of Love” from the album Charmed Life, Tevin Campbell’s top 10 hit Back to the World, Guns n Roses‘ number 1 hit “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, Fleetwood Mac’s Behind the Mask, Terence Trent D’arby‘s Symphony or Damn, Rod Stewart’s “Rhythm of My Heart”, Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, and Richie Sambora’s “One Light Burning”.

Porteils has been the production manager and composer of many American film scores and soundtracks, such as Parenthood, starring Ron Howard, Frankie and Johnny, starring Al Pacino, Three of Hearts, Johnny Handsome, starring Micky Rourke, and Cry-Baby, starring Johnny Depp.

In 1996, Porteils returned to Australia to work in the music industry of his native country. He has participated in the production of the popular show Australian Idol and produced albums for Shannon Noll and Guy Sebastiene. He has produced for many winners of the show in studio. Some of his most famous Australian collaborations include Diesel, Cactus Child, Wendy Matthews, Shortstack, David Campbell, Deni Hines, Ultimo, Damien Lieth, Young Divas, Joel Turner, Michala Banas, The Noll Brothers, and Human Nature.”

Visit Wikipedia link

Greek-American businessman among those indicted in drug, racketeering ring

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Monmouth County Prosecutor and D.E.A. announce that on January 26, 2009, a Monmouth County Grand Jury returned a 38 count indictment against 16 defendants following a more than one year long investigation into a
cocaine trafficking and money laundering network based in Manalapan, N.J.

The investigation was initiated in the Spring of 2007.  It revealed that Vicente Esteves, 36, of Manalapan, was the leader of a racketeering enterprise which was responsible for the distribution of significant quantities of cocaine to Monmouth County and the surrounding area.

The cocaine came from sources across the United States and in other countries.  The investigation additionally revealed that Esteves hid the proceeds of his criminal activity through a “money laundering” scheme orchestrated by Dennis Krousos, 45, of Monmouth Beach, N.J., a Certified Public Accountant and Mortgage Banker with an office in Woodbridge, N.J.

Dennis Krousos

The indictment charges Dennis Krousos, 45, of Monmouth Beach, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, two counts of second degree Misconduct by a Corporate Official, fourth degree Deceptive Business Practices, third degree Falsifying Records and four counts of fourth degree Unlawful Check Cashing.

Krousos surrendered to Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office following the return of the indictment.  Krousos is free on $750,000 bail. Conditions of Krousos’ bail included a “Source of Funds” hearing, the execution of a formal waiver of extradition, and that Krousos surrender his passport.

The first degree crimes that Krousos is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison.  The second degree crimes that Krousos is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, the third degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison and the fourth degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial
exposure of up to 18 months in State Prison.

Krousos is represented by Lawrence Bitterman, Esquire, of New Brunswick, N.J. who said that his client is a very well respected accountant and banker.

“Bang Bang Wedding” at the Fox Studios

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Christine Crokos’  comedy Bang Bang Wedding, is LA Greek Film Festivals’ February selection for the series of monthly screenings.  The screening will be February 27th at the Little Theater on the Fox Studio lot.
The story is about Ilias and Marina who arrive to the island of Crete to join their lives with the holy bonds of a marriage eagerly awaited by friends and family. After the ceremony is over the guests are ready to celebrate.  On the way to the reception, however, there are surprises in store… A small, yet important typo on the invitation will send everyone in different directions and will transform the ride into a crazy course into the unknown…

FEBRUARY 27th, 2009 – 7:30 PM
Little Theatre
Fox Studios
10201 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064  (Century City)

Tickets: $20
Click here to buy tickets


BANG BANG WEDDING on IMDB

Ad talk

There was one very annoying ad on my tv today. There’s the beautiful lady and the suit-presentable-supposedly-sexy-guy and he is all mushy cause she’s so wrapped up in an air of mystery and has the all-over-interesting aura and is now walking his way, softly on her heels (presumable a stranger whom he absolutely has to meet & fall madly in love with, have a great honeymoon and live happily ever after) and as soon as she’s in conversation distance and the romantic music cressendo-s she says something about winning a million dollars on the lottery and walks right past him and towards the lottery stand. Cause she wants to grab a lottery ticket. Seriously. I mean the lady doesn’t even look at the poor guy. Don’t mean to say he’s a stud or anything, but still, he is a person, lady. This is a stupid piece of paper. Which you want to buy. Take it to the register, pull out your credit card and buy it. Seriously. Buying. A transaction. There is nothing that money can buy that will ever make it as potentially fascinating as a human being with the intention and (possible) “depth” -or whatever it is you call it- to make you love him. Yet there is no ambiguity in this lady’s mind, she doesn’t think twice. yeah, I know it is just a f***ing ad but what the heck? What does this ad tell me?

A. The possibility of money.

B. The possibility of love.

And the contestant chooses A. A. A! Freaking money. As though it is a given. Not even an option to look into his eyes. I mean yes I know the guy is a d***he bag, but what the heck, give him the time of day and tell him off, snob him, have coffee with him, figure out who fucked him up, get drunk with him and spend the night, just do something. I mean this ad is a total mess of a disgrace.

You bet I don’t like it. You bet it makes me wanna pick up the tv and through it out the window. I mean, I never liked tvs anyway. 

What does this has to do with culture shock, lady? (Rightfully you may ask me.) Do you think such an ad could be playing in Greece? I certainly would like to think not. I suppose there has to be a level of acute materialism in a country’s consciousness before this ad sneaks up onto someone’s tv. I am not saying the bug isn’t present. I am just saying, watch the heck out. That staff… lame.

Dennis Iliadis is back!

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The “Last House On The Left” remake is completed and is considered Denis Iliadis’ come back in the movie biz. The release date in the US is March 13, 2009.

Story: After kidnapping and brutally assaulting two young women, a gang led by a prison escapee (Dillahunt) unknowingly finds refuge at a vacation home belonging the parents of one of the victims — a mother (Potter) and father (Goldwyn) who devise an increasingly gruesome series of revenge tactics.

Imdb link

20 Years Without John Cassavetes

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John Cassavetes died exactly twenty years ago on February 3rd, 1989. Cassavetes was a Greek American director and actor who is credited with inspiring the American independent film industry with the release of his film “Faces”, which was one of the first independently financed films to receive Academy Award nominations. Gena Rowlands states that her husband’s interest in filmmaking was “in reality and what people say in their homes to each other.”

“Faces” explores the relationship between a married couple, played by John Marley and Lynn Carlin, who decide to separate after 14 years of marriage. Marley seeks the company of a young professional escort played by Gena Rowlands, and Carlin spends her time with a hippie cowboy played by Seymour Cassel.
Cassavetes’ films were all personal and intimate stories about people. John Cassavetes himself had said that he wanted his characters to “analyze love… the rest of the stuff doesn’t interest me. I have a one-track mind for love.”
In his own life, Cassavetes found love with Gena Rowlands. They met in New York City when they were both young actors in the 1950s. They married in 1954 and had three children, Nick, Alexandra and Zoe. Since Cassavetes passed away in 1989 at the age of 59, his film company, Faces Distribution, is overseen by Gena Rowlands and Julian Schlossberg. All three Cassavetes children are involved in filmmaking.
Director Peter Bogdanovich has said that Cassavetes had an “extraordinary understanding of women” as evidenced in many of his films including “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974) which Rowlands starred in .
Cassavetes was a truly caring and compassionate person– a rarity in show business. Bogdanovich has described Cassavetes as the “only director of his generation that could be called a poet”. A collection of five of Cassavetes’ independent films was released on DVD in 2004 called “John Cassavetes–Five Films” by The Criterion Collection.
LINKS: Cassavetes’ page on Wikipedia and IMDB

Panpaphian Organization honors Papanicolaou, Maroulleti and Paphitis

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Award recipient Elena Marouletti

The annual  Dinner Dance of Panpaphios this year is taking place on Saturday (January31, 2009), at Terrace on the Park at 6:30PM.  During the event three unique individuals will be honored for their contributions to the Cypriot community.

Panpahian Organization’s President, Michael Hadjiloucas expressed the organization’s views about this year’s event.

“At this year’s Dinner Dance we are honoring,  three PILLARS and distinguished  individuals of the Greek/Cypriot community who have helped the community, our culture and are continuously promoting freedom and solution of our Cyprus problem.

“Evagoras Pallikarides” award which is granted to an individual for his efforts to promote justice and freedom for Cyprus goes to Panicos Papanicolaou, President of the Cyprus Federation of America for ALL of his efforts, dedication, financial assistance, devotion, his valuable time and tireless efforts for promoting justice and freedom for Cyprus.

The “Member of the Year Award” goes to Nicos Paphitis, who is of Paphian descent and has significantly help the association over the years through moral support, guidance, financial support and also generosity and kindness. He helped our Association in raising moneys for the sick and individuals in need..  In simple words when Nicos is asked to help in anything, he answers by “Yes .. Sure” and never says NO. Nicos is also involved with Cyprus Federation, (always has been) and now serves as one of the Vice President.

The “Distinguished Fellow Cyprian Award” goes to, Ms. Elena Marouletti, the President and Executive Producer of Aktina FM / Aktina TV for promoting our culture and history through her Radio / TV and all the other events she and her personnel undertake.

As Paphians, Cypriots and Hellenes we would like to say thank you to Panico, Elena and Nico for all they have done so far for our community, our culture and promoting justice and freedom for Cyprus. We wish them all the best and encourage them to continue their viable work.”

For more info visit PanpahianUSA.org.

Arnaoutis: Boxing His Way to The Top

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In a small nation like Greece with its rich culture and stunning landscape it is no wonder
it manages to bring forth a true champion. That new and improved champion is the young Mike “ Mighty Mike” Arnaoutis. Mike has become one of Greece’s prime athletes to grace its shore in a long time. Yet he brought his well honed talents to another well known shore, the large nation of the United States.
Born in Zefyri, Athens, Mike has been involved with boxing since a child. His father was also a boxer in his native Greece. He basically was inspired by his father and took from him what he can and applied it to his goals. At twelve years old he took on the task of taking boxing seriously. After six months of intense training he entered into the Ethniki Team of Greece. For nine years he spent with the national team. In the nine years that he spent with the National Team he was in the Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta and Sydney in 2000. “My goal was as a child to one day represent Greece and became its champion. And I eventually accomplished that goal.” Besides his father one of Mike’s other inspirations was two time world champion, Meldrick Taylor. “I was inspired by his technique and what a phenomenon he was in the boxing world.”
Mike is one of the most intimidating fighters in the Jr. Welterweight division. He holds a record of 21-2-2, 10KO and ranked as the IBF #6, WBO #7, WBA #11, and WBC #11 ranked Jr. Welterweight in the world. He has been a champion boxer since 1993. In 2001 is when he decided to move to the US and pursue boxing on a pro level.
In 2004 Mike took on his first major fight with well ranked fighter Juan Urango in Florida. He was not favored to win and was up against mounting odds. Yet he proved too totally out box his opponent. But the officials did not see it that way. It was a painful loss but a stepping stone to better days. Eventually Mike would keep proving he is one to be reckoned with. For the next year and a half Arnaoutis won six bouts going 6-0 in KO’s. Mike kept up his performance without delay.
On March 6th, 2008 he did just that by defeating Dominican powerhouse Harrison Cuello with the scores (119-109, 119-109, 119-109). He then moved on to the USBA title against Larnardo Tyner (19-0 11 KO’s). It was the main event on FNF (Friday Night Fights). Mike went on to win with the scores 118-110, 118-110,116-112.
It did not stop there though on September 5th, 2008 at Bally’s in Atlantic City he clocked in a KO against Nasser Athumani. That match only led to another impressive performance against the African, Ben Ankrah. It was a long ten rounds in NYC’s Roseland Ball Room, with both sides drawing energy from each other. It ended with Mike being victors he improved his record to 21-2-2.
Mike is striving to move up to different category in the weight class eventually. “I would like to soon move up to the middle-weight class in the near future.” He hopes to eventually return to Greece and compete there as well. Boxing as a whole has changed a bit and not totally to Mike’s liking. “It has changed a lot since I started and it is not as edgy as it once was. There are more guidelines and stricter rules that did not apply back then. And there were more impressive boxers that loved the sport.”
Mike began his career in Philadelphia and has adapted it as his new home. Currently, Mike has an upcoming bout in January of 2009 at Bally’s in AC, which he hopes will propel him to newer horizons. He lives with his wife Eleni, his childhood sweetheart they have just recently had a new addition to the family. In August of 2008 Agapi-Michelle Arnaoutis was born a joy that Mike holds very dear. Mike was born to be a fighter, training hard and stopping at nothing to make his dreams come true. Building his reputation in Greece was one thing but to grow he needed to do what all Americans try to do, chase the American Dream. His positive spirit and style was merely a testament to the essence of his tradition. Every time he enters that ring he only re-establishes his unique performance.
His fan base is always strong, not only with his fellow Greeks but all ethnicities. Mike loves the sport and always strives to offer a good show for all to enjoy.