NEO magazine - July 2022

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PanHellenic Scholarship Gala

The Many Hats of Sting

Greeks in the Confederate Army

The House of Stathopoulo and Epiphone . Guitars . Poseidonion Grand Hotel: an Iconic Landmark in Spetses

Michael Georgiou Levels Up the Game in Digital Technology


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When I was a kid living in troughs by springs on the side of the road, Greece, I remember how where the water gurgled and sparkled and we the summers used to be just dipped our canteens. a little different. By the time we got to the shrine by the beach, I l i v e d w i t h m y we were all covered with dust, and the bus grandparents on a farm and looked powdered, but the shrine was an I remember most summers exciting sight, with a cooling wind blowing off my yiayia and I (my papou the waves, and the waves tumbling endlessly, had to take care of his and the courtyard of the church a campsite of fields) would board a bus in pilgrims and a bazaar of every toy a kid could town by the park for Kanaris and go up to want: cricket snappers, miniature Pullman some festival that honored a saint, usually a buses, plastic parrots, policeman whistles, martyred one, who never looked too happy. and, of course, pasteli and sesame bars, and The feast of Ayia Markella was the big one on vendors with coolers hanging around their our island of Chios, and I remember taking necks dispensing ice cream and popsicles by the bus with my yiayia to go up through the snapping open doors and dispensing bars mountains to the shrine down by the while yelling for more customers, Ela, payoto! seashore. And I loved the bus because it was this big dusty hulk, with a fringe of tassels on The religious ceremony during the day, with a the windshield, and an icon of the saint in a trail of papades sparkling in gold vestments vase of plastic flowers, and the steering wheel like a trail of kings and chanting in procession, wrapped in colored straps, and a ladder in the was impressive sight for a kid. But what struck back of the bus like the braid on a girl, which me even more, was that at night while the the conductor scaled like a monkey and oryana played and everybody danced and hoisted the basket you brought with you sewn reveled, I would wander to the door of the with a shirt over the top with your name and church, left open, and peek inside at the icon address written on it in bleeding ink, which of the saint in the shadows, with all the silver carried your offerings to the saint, along with amulets hanging on her hoping for miracles snacks and a change of clothes, and he would for arms and legs and eyes, but the saint pass it through a rope on the roof that had all looking so sad and lonely, like a bride in a the other baskets strung on it like a garland of forced marriage, because she was just a kid like me when her father had martyred her, and garlic bulbs. it was great to be a saint, but maybe, like me, And sometimes it also had cages of live she’d rather be out of there getting pasteli and chickens, which flapped and clucked the ice cream. whole time as the bus coasted through forests of pine trees and fallen tree shavings, past Enjoy your summer! villages perched on hills, some with water


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Navios' Angeliki Frangou: “The Pandemic Galvanized Us”! Τhen she referred to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and emphasized that the consequences of this war and the related sanctions are accelerating inflation and rising interest rates. “It’s impossible to know what this all means,” she underlined, adding that there are too many potential consequences to digest and analyze. “But - those of us in shipping will try to understand the impact of all these things based on a simple metric on ton miles –the cost of shipping one ton of freight for one mile. In this limited sphere we are optimistic”. First, the pandemic highlighted the weakness of “just in time” manufacturing. Everything works well, as long as the logistics chain is unchallenged. However, the pandemic broke the logistics chain and basic materials had to be airlifted to combat shortages.

by Kelly Fanarioti “It’s been four years since the last Posidonia. The pandemic changed everything. At Navios, the pandemic galvanized us. We understood that with over 4,000 sailors at sea, when the phone rang, we had to answer it. Our office had to remain open. So – we went to work,” Chair woman and Director of Navios Maritime Holding Angeliki Frangou stated speaking at the private dinner she hosted during the Posidonia 2022. The company reworked its operations in offices and on board the vessels and hired a new medical team to monitor the health of all employees and crew. Furthermore, protocols for contactless operations and repatriations have been created and IT systems were overhauled to facilitate all these. “But most importantly, we were there for each other”, she said emphatically and added: “Oddly, the enforced isolation of the pandemic also provided time to reconsider our business. As a result, we re-imagined the modern shipping company. We consolidated our separate activities - in dry bulk and - in containers and – in tanker - under one roof. We believe the sum is significantly more resilient than the individual parts. Not only does diversification provide strength but it also brings opportunity”. In the long run, she adder, Navios’ people believe that their re-imagined business will 16

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“I think we are evolving from a world of 'just in time' manufacturing to 'just in case' where countries and companies purposefully build redundant systems. People seem to have Angeliki Frangou concluded that you cannot reliably provide goods if the system has a single point of failure. From a shipping perspective, building for provide reasonably stable returns as the resilience translates into more ton miles as financial results of stronger sectors offset the things are duplicated,” financial results of sectors performing less well. At the same time, being active in multiple Second, the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia have also introduced supply shocks. sectors reveals opportunities. Over the last five years, around 40% of In terms of future prospects, Angeliki Frangou European natural gas and 27% of European oil remains optimistic but wished she felt that way was supplied by Russia. In addition, Russia for different reasons. “We stand at the and Ukraine account for about one third of the crossroads, perhaps the crossroads of history. global wheat supply and 186.7 million tons of In the West, the worst impacts of Covid appear seaborne coal. to be fading. The pandemic substitution of goods for services is returning to more normal “The displacement of established suppliers l e v e l s ; e x p e n d i t u r e s f o r t r a v e l a n d not only increases price, but increases ton entertainment and services generally are miles as countries and people are forced to skyrocketing. Indeed, in the US, air travel is at source their needs from places further away. 2019 levels,” she explained. “Conditions are We do not see this easing anytime soon, but we not as favorable elsewhere. In the East – China are watching it carefully”, Angeliki Frangou concluded. is struggling with its zero Covid strategy.”

every character he created. “This makes them Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Greek all so real, so relatable,” she said. “His modern tragedies gave voice to immigrant stories. His characters were multidimensional. Inducts Harry Mark Petrakis Deeply flawed. His expressive prose powerful, moving—yet always accessible.” all “lived lives and produced work of the highest caliber, important Petrakis’ son, John, an associate adjunct work that deserves to be read for professor in the Film, Video and New Media generations to come”. Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a former film critic, accepted C hic ago-b as e d Aut hor and the award on behalf of the family. “There have Former Publisher/Editor of been so many lovely things written and said WindyCity Greek magazine about my dad tonight, that I thought I would Maria A. Karamitsos inducted switch gears and talk just a bit about him as a Petrakis. father, grandfather, uncle, family patriarch, and lover of language,” he said, while images of “As a writer, and as a Greek- his family graced the screen. American, it is an incredible honor to be here to talk about one He shared memories, including a story about of my literary heroes, the late working with his father on a screen adaptation Harry Mark Petrakis,” Karamitsos of his novel, GHOST OF THE SUN, a sequel to said. “It’s still strange to say late, as A DREAM OF KINGS. “I got an even closer one of the greatest storytellers of look at my father’s love of words and story. our time left us just one year ago at Though the project never came to fruition, it the age of 97. The author of some was nonetheless a great joy to collaborate. 24 books left an indelible mark on Years later, we would jokingly describe the the literary landscape, but more so process thusly. I would write a scene and he on his readers. I’m a huge fan, and would rewrite it, inserting a panoply of his Chicago-based Author and Journalist Maria A. Karamitsos I’m proud to have known him.” large descriptive words. I would take them out, presents an award to Harry Mark Petrakis’ son, John, as the arguing that in screenwriting, you must allow late author is inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. She spoke about Petrakis work, the camera to do the heavy lifting. He would PHOTO BY DON SEELEY his influence, and more. “I always agree, and took out the large words, only to recall hearing, ‘Petrakis put us on replace them in the next draft with a new slate On May 19, three local writers were welcomed posthumously into the Chicago Literary Hall the map’ and ‘He gave us a voice’. He gave us a of large descriptive words.” of Fame (CLHOF). After a several year hiatus, loud, booming voice. His characters foreign, Losing a father is never the event, which took place at the Poetry yet so familiar, helped to usher Greekeasy, especially one so Foundation in Chicago, celebrated their lives A m e r i c a n s f r o m t h e much larger than life. and work. Among them, the beloved Award- shadows of the racial “My father was a big winning Greek-American Author Harry discrimination of the 1950s and 60s and into the presence in our lives, and Mark Petrakis. m a i n s t r e a m . Ye s , he is sorely missed by our large family. As my older “The creation of great art does not happen G r e e k s — a n d o t h e r brother said of my father, automatically or easily and there are many S o u t h e r n he took up a lot of space places here in America and the rest of the Eu rop e a n s — e n du re d wherever he went, and world where it does not thrive. In Chicago, it d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , a n d now that he is gone, a does,” said Author and CLHOF Founding worked tirelessly to be great void has formed. Executive Editor Don Evans. “For that reason, accepted into society, But luckily, we have our the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame started while still holding on to memories, and along inducting our greatest historical writers, our our culture and traditions. with that, we have his way of honoring the writers and work that so Petrakis’ stories could writing.” profoundly improved our lives and our city. It have b een ab out any is our opinion that these authors left behind a group. But in making He closed with a reading body of work that continues to be a positive them Greek, he showed from his all-time favorite force and that also paved the way for future the world that we were all t h e s am e — p e opl e i n Harr y Mark Petrakis greatness.” search of the American Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Award for short story, “The Song of Harry Mark Petrakis. Rodanthe,” which was Evans also said that in honoring these writers, Dream.” PHOTO BY DON SEELEY also one of his father’s “we’re also honoring the great institutions, the readers, the artists, and the supporters, all who Karamitsos shared portions of the many favorites. Dean Petrakis, Harry’s youngest son, merge together to give Chicago—past, interviews and conversations she had with the was also in attendance. present, and future—a deserved reputation as author, and how he encouraged her writing. “Petrakis believed wholeheartedly in writing Era Bell Thompson, a memoirist and one of the world’s best places to be a writer.” what you know. He didn’t consider himself a trailblazing journalist who worked for Negro The first class of writers, inducted into the ‘Greek writer’. He said, ‘I write about human Digest and Ebony, among other prominent CLHOF in 2010, included Nelson Algren, Saul beings and most happen to be Greek. They publications; and Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet B ellow, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine could be anything. I write about love, death, Lisel Mueller were also inducted. Hansberry, Studs Terkel, and Richard Wright. hatred—there’s no such thing as Greek sorrow To date, 55 authors share the illustrious honor. or German joy, etc.—these are individual Full video of the event will be available soon. For more information about the Chicago Authors are considered by a panel of more things to a character.” Literary Hall of Fame, visit than one hundred of Chicago’s finest literary minds. Evans shared that the writers selected He once told Karamitsos that he is part of 18

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The Cyprus-USth Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 25 Anniversary Gala

by Athena Efter

l e d b y A r i s t o s C o n s t a n t i n e , Tr a d e Commissioner at Cyprus Embassy Trade Center. In her closing comments, Maria expressed her appreciation and gratitude to all the sponsors and supporters, and the Board of Directors for all their hard work in the success of the gala, with a special shout-out to Chairman Nicolas Nicolaou, a thank you to the Cyprus Young Professionals, and lastly Despina Axiotakis for her remarkable devotion and commitment as Executive Director for the past 25 years.

The Chamber Board: from left, Michael Hadjiloucas, Stathis Theodoropoulos, Demetrios Comodromos, Despina Axiotakis, Maria Pappas, President, Nicos Nicolaou, George Andreou, Theo David, Evis Savvides, Peter Kakoyiannis. Leaning in front, Jovanna Tannousis and Petroula Lambrou

The Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce held its 25th Anniversary Gala at The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park at 6:30pm. Recipients of the Distinguished Merit Award were Anthoula Katsimatides (Actor/Write/Producer) and Lyons Mortgage S er vices, Inc. Assemblyman Michael Tannousis was honored with the Cyprus Young Professional Award. The program began with a welcome from Despina Axiotakis, Executive Director, followed by an address form the Master of Ceremonies and Vice President, Demetrios Comodromos, and Greetings from Maria Pappas, the first female president of the Cyprus US-Chamber of Commerce. Also present was the founding president Andreas Comodromos. Maria Pappas gave a speech that was engaging and relatable. She emphasized the importance of the evening being a celebration, as we were all challenged by the pandemic both personally and professionally, and faced the difficulties with courage: “We demonstrated our strength and our resilience as a people and as a community.” She also went on to note that The Cyprus-US Chamber also faced many challenges. It had to reinvent itself from an inperson event model, quickly changing to a virtual platform: “We recognized that the newest information about our programs was crucial to our members and our community. We quickly modified our website to include direct links for up-to-date information.” She also pointed out that early on they hosted a zoom event geared towards business on how to quickly re-open their businesses safely. The zoom event was presented by Vice President 20

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Demetrios Comodromos, who was introduced earlier by Despina Axiotakis as a man who never says no with a can-do attitude in all he does. Maria went on to note that two financial zoom meetings, Investing 101 for Young Professionals and Getting Your House in Order were presented by Bill Peterson, Ken Marino, and Joanne Sternlieb of Neuberger Berman, who were also present at the gala. She also mentioned the challenges of travel these past two years and congratulated Board Member Evis Savvides, who led a wine tasting tour of Cyprus. Her enthusiasm continued to resonate as she highlighted an important event that will take place later this year introducing Cypriot tech and start-up companies to potential US investors. This initiative is being

The honorees with members of the Chamber

Following Maria’s speech was the award c e r e m o ny. D e m e t r i o s C o m o d r o m o s introduced the Honorable Michael Tannousis, NY State Assemblyman, District 64, on behalf of the Cyprus Young Professionals, citing the importance of this division, and its growth, to The Chamber and how it gave rise to many businesses and young entrepreneurs through networking events. Demetrios emphasized that one of the first people to attend their meetings nine years ago was founding member Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, fresh out of law school, bringing to the group his optimism and idealism. Presenting the award to him were Board Members Laura Neroulias, Stathis Theodoropoulos, Petroula Lambrou (Treasurer), Jovanna Tannousis, Christina Missoulis and Vickie Savvides, a l ong w it h Kate r i n a At h an a s i ou. Assemblyman Tannnousis acknowledged the opportunities the Cyprus Young Professionals group offered for networking here in NY while also strengthening ties to Cyprus. In his speech he noted: “I see a lot of friends around the room and friends I will have for life. None of these friends asked me my political affiliation. The only thing they asked me is how could they help me make sure I got to

e x t e n d t h e c om m e rc i a l , industrial, and economic relations between the US and the Republic of Cyprus. He concluded by stating it was a special honor for him to be honored this year by The Chamber. He also thanked and recognized his colleagues and business partners, many of whom were present that evening. The award ceremony ended on a dramatic, humorous, and entertaining note with actor/writer/producer Anthoula Katsimatides, also t h e r e c i p i e n t o f t h e Consul General Dr. Konstantinos Koutras, Distinguished Merit Award, Maria Pappas, President Andy Comodromos, for her many years of service Philp Christopher The honorees, from left Nick Tziazas, Edith O’Donnell, to the community and her Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Anthoula Katsimatides work as an artist. She has been Statue of Liberty, symbolizes the light of and George Sophocleous a staunch supporter of Cyprus prosperity which emanates from the United a n d c au s e s a f f e c t i n g it . States of America and the achievements of of its where I got to go.” He is proud to be the son of Anthoula especially thanked Despina system of free enterprise. The bow, which was Cypriot refugees and to come from a family of Axiotakis for the nomination and recounted found on the ship of Kyrenia, symbolizes service in the Cypriot Parliament. He her days at Queens College encouraged others to rely the Cyprus Young sitting in the cafeteria with Professionals as much as possible. fellow students from Cyprus eating spaghetti with ketchup. Next up were the Distinguished Merit Awards. She was amazed at how hard Nick Tziazas, George Sophocleous, and Edith w o r k i n g , m a t u r e , s e l f O’Donnell were present to receive on their sufficient, confident and behalf. An architect himself, Demetrios smart they were, among them Comodromos emphasized that banks and being Nikos Christodoulides, mortgage lending are essential to people who recently announced his achieving their goals, both personally and candidacy for president of commercially. Lyons Mortgage Services has Cyprus. She further went on been doing just that - serving the community to talk about how deeply for thirty years affected she was by all the to help grow injustices that took place in and prosper - C y p r u s t h r o u g h t h e s e a n d h a s students’ eyes, and how received Best inspire d she was to get i n B o r o u g h i nv o l v e d a n d i n f l u e n c e From left, Nancy Papaioannou, Atlantic Bank President, Despina a w a r d s i n change, so much so that the Axiotakis, Chamber Executive Director, Nicos Nicolaou, Chamber 2 0 1 7 , 2 0 1 8 , Turkish Consulate began to Board Chairman, Peter Kakoyiannis, Chamber Legal Counsel, 2 0 1 9 , a n d target her. She proceeded to Costas Kellas, Chamber Board Member 2 0 2 1 . T h e y thank her fellow honorees have financed and mentioned all the Cypriot movers and Cyprus’ 3000-year history of global trade, and over 2 billion shakers she has met that she admires and the ability of the Cypriot people to overcome d o l l a r s i n continue to inspire her, including the late adversity and become triumphant. m o r t g a g e Nikos Mouyiaris. She ended her speech with a loans in both warm and heartfelt thank you to the Cypriot t h e i r community for their love and support, and residential and how humbled she was to have the opportunity Laura Neroulias Bisiotis c o m m e r c i a l to express how grateful she is: “It is I who and Kyriaki Christodoulou l e n d i n g honor you.” communities, and doing it with trust and transparency. Nick The mission of the Cyprus—US Chamber of Tziazas, president and founder of Lyons Commerce is to promote and expand Mortgage Group, has been actively involved in commercial, industrial, and economic relations the community as President of the Eleftehria between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Pan Cyprian Soccer Club, which provides State, and the development of commercial children of the Greek and Cypriot diaspora an exchange between their respective industries, opportunity to participate in competitive trades and business in an effort to offer developmental soccer programs in NYC. Nick assistance to its members in achieving their Tziazas congratulated his fellow honorees and business goals, both in the US, Cyprus, and Nikki Christodoulou, Anastasia Baker, Christina thanked The Chamber Board for the work globally. Emblematic of their mission are the Lambrou, Tina Lambrou, Poly Panayiotou, they do throughout the year to promote and torch and the bow. The torch, representing the Petroula Lambrou, Marilena Pafitis PHOTO: ETA PRESS



Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

The Many Hats of Sting:

Sting is a world-renowned composer, bestselling singer-songwriter, actor, producer author, philanthropist, and activist. He sat down and chatted with Markos Papadatos prior to Shaggy’s “Com Fly Wid Me” album release party, which he hosted, at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club in the heart of New York City. American track and field legend Jesse Owens once said: “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, selfdiscipline, and effort.” Sting is a multifaceted entertainer and individual that embodies this wise quote by the late four-time Olympic gold medalist. He was born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner in Newcastle, England, prior to moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with his fellow band members Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. An esteemed English rock band, The Police released five studio albums, earned six Grammy Awards, and two Brit Awards, and were inducted into the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2003 in the “Performers” category. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction felt fine,” Sting said. “It’s a museum, and I feel like I have been stuffed and stuck in a corner,” he said with a sweet laugh. The Police were able to put a reggae-infused twist on new wave music. 22

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What truly set the Police apart from the other post-punk bands was their musical mastery. They put their prowess to the test, unafraid of maturing and pushing their limits. Sting has garnered an additional 11 Grammy Awards (for his solo musical work), two Brit Awards, one Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award, four Oscar nominations, a Tony nomination, Billboard Magazine’s “Century Award,” and he was named MusiCares’ 2004 “Person of the Year.” In 2003, he was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II herself for his illustrious contributions to the music industry; moreover, Sting is an inductee of the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame, and he is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, along with the American Music Award (AMA) of Merit and the Polar Music Prize. He has also been awarded Honorar y Doctorates of Music by the University of Northumbria in 1992, the Berklee College of Music in 1994, the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2006, and more recently,

Brown University at its 250th C o m m e n c e m e nt c e r e m o ny i n 2 0 1 8 . Resoundingly, all of these awards, honors, and accolades are his peers in the music business and fans around the globe telling the veteran crooner, “We love you, Sting!” Throughout his respected career in the music and entertainment business, he has sold over 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo recording artist. On his career-defining moments, Sting reflected, “Of course, there have been many. I can’t think of one. For me, it is all about not being bored. I constantly need novelty, and I

Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

By Markos Papadatos

Rock and Roll’s ‘Englishman in New York’

const ant ly ne e d s omet hing ne w and surprising. It’s all about surprise. I want to surprise myself and I want to surprise the audience.” In 2019, he released his album “My Songs,” which featured contemporary interpretations of some of his most celebrated hits. It was followed by a world tour of the same name, which recently resumed in the fall of 2021.

spanning his illustrious career. These greatest Grammy was vindication because everyone hits include “Roxanne,” “Message In A Bottle,” thought ‘Sting and Shaggy, what on earth is “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Every Breath You Take” and several other fan favorites, as well as brand new songs from “The Bridge.” His Las Vegas residency will resume in June of 2022. “Yes, I am about to start again this week, and it will last for a few weeks. Having done it last year, I feel very excited about the idea now even though I was a little apprehensive at first. Now, I am happy about it,” he said.

Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

Speaking of Sting’s “My Songs” World Tour, it is a dynamic and exuberant live show that truly takes his audience on a musical journey. It features some of his most beloved songs that This Las Vegas residency is produced span his hallowed career with The Police and by the Cherrytree Music Company, Live Nation, and Caesars as a solo artist. Entertainment. Sting is joined by a His latest album, “The Bridge” displays his five-piece band that includes Dominic prolific and diverse songwriting prowess, and Miller on the guitar, Josh Freese on the it marks his 15th solo studio offering. It drums, Rufus Miller on the guitar, represents a wide spectrum of stages and styles Kevon Webster on the keyboards, from throughout his unrivaled career and it Shane Sager on the harmonica, and draws inspiration from such diverse genres background vocalists Melissa Musique including rock and roll, jazz, classical music, and Gene Noble; moreover, the set and and folk. In addition, “The Bridge” features video design were created by 59 Sting’s quintessential sound on pop-rock Productions. tracks such as the album’s opening rock anthem “Rushing Water,” and the indie-pop Sting’s “My Songs” world tour recently resumed in Europe (in March of 2022), where sounding “If It’s Love.” he performed his most beloved songs with an On October 29, Sting kicked off his Las Vegas electric rock ensemble. residency titled “My Songs” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The show presents a Following his “57th & 9th” studio album, collection of his most popular and beloved which was his first pop-rock collection in over songs with dynamic, visual references to some a decade, he and reggae sensation, Shaggy, of his most iconic videos and inspirations with released a collaborative, island-influenced Sting treating fans to an array of greatest hits album, entitled “44/876,” drawing from the many surprising connections at the heart of their music. Both Shagg y and Sting are managed by the Cherrytree Music Company. With its title referencing their home country codes, “44/876,” first and foremost pays homage to the duo’s mutual love for Jamai c a : Shag g y ’s homeland, and the place where Sting penned such classics as The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” “44/876” was a commercial success. It spent over 20 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Reggae Album chart in the United States, and it subsequently earned gold certifications in Poland and France and was bestowed the Grammy Award for “Best Reggae Album.” “Winning that

that?’ It was a good vibe and good energy,” he said. After their Grammy win for their collaborative album, “44/876”, music superstar Sting and reggae icon Shaggy have joined forces again for “Com Fly Wid Mi.” The new album, produced by Sting, features Shaggy singing the Frank Sinatra songbook in a reggae style. This album was released on May 25 on all digital platforms. In an effort to celebrate Shaggy’s album release, a special limited access, and one night only performance took place at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City on May 26, where Sting served as the host. “As always with Shaggy, it’s the most fun that you possibly have in a studio that’s legal,” he said about producing the new album for Shaggy. “We had a great time. The project was all about surprises. People are surprised to hear Shaggy singing these songs, and when you hear the album, you will smile. There is no doubt about it.” Sting complimented the Blue Note Jazz Club in Manhattan for being a “historic venue” and he shared that “the most important element in music is surprise.” “This is a big surprise,” he admitted about his latest music effort with Shaggy, where they successfully tackle some of the greatest hits in Frank Sinatra’s catalog. “This record is a wonderful surprise too,” he confessed. “Shaggy and I went on tour around the world and we were in Oslo in Norway. We had a day off and we took a boat out in the fjord, and my intention was to go swimming. Shaggy said ‘Jamaicans don’t swim in Fjord’ so I dived in and realized that Shaggy was actually right,” he explained. “I heard Shaggy singing along to a CD and he was singing Frank Sinatra. I told him that he sounded good and he had the same voice type and range as Frank Sinatra, it’s a baritone tenor. Then, I had one of those ideas that was like a neon light above your head, and my idea was this ‘Shaggy NEWS & NOTES JULY 2022


and Live Aid, which mirrors his art in its nominated musical “The Last Ship,” inspired universal outreach. by his memories of the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the northeast of Along with his wife, Trudie Styler, Sting England where he was born and raised. The founded the Rainforest Fund in 1989 to show, with music and lyrics by Sting, ran on protect both the world’s rainforests and the Broadway in 2014 and 2015 and completed a i n d i g e n o u s UK regional theatre tour which ran from people that are March to July of 2018. Thereafter, Sting l i v i n g t h e r e . starred as shipyard foreman Jackie White in Together they the Toronto-based production of “The Last h av e h e l d 1 9 Ship” at the Princess of Wales Theatre. benefit concerts to raise funds In 2020, St ing repr is e d t he role for and awareness productions in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson for our planet’s Theatre and San Francisco at the Golden Gate e n d a n g e r e d Theatre. resources. If Sting were to have any superpower, he S i n c e i t s revealed that it would be “singing.” inception, the Rainforest Fund On the title of the current chapter of his life, he has expanded to responded, “Gratitude.” a network of interconnected Sting defined the word success simply as organizations “doing it again.” working in more t h a n 2 0 For fans and listeners, Sting concluded about countries over the new Shaggy album “Com Fly Wid Me,” “I t h r e e want them to get smiles. I think the world continents. The needs a smile at the moment, definitely.” Rainforest Fund is a charitable nonprofit foundation that is He once said the following motivational dedicated to the support of indigenous quote: “If you play music with passion and love peoples and traditional populations in their and honesty, then it will nourish your soul, efforts to protect their environment and fulfill heal your wounds and make your life worth living. Music is its own reward.” This sums their rights. everything up. Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sting decided to unearth his 1985 Sting’s distinguished career and life story are song, “Russians,” which was inspired by the an inspiration to us all, he is a man that was Cold War and originally appeared on his able to go beyond the ordinary, and he was able breakthrough solo studio album “The Dream to expand and redefine contemporary singing, of the Blue Turtles.” The net profits of songwriting, and storytelling. It is evident that “Russians” benefit Help Ukraine Center, a he will go down in history as one of the volunteer storage center established by Ukrainian business owners where humanitarian and medical aid can be sent from all over the world. The funds are processed through the German charity foundation, Ernst Prost, People for Peace – Peace for People. He described it as a “plea for our common humanity,” and rightfully so.

“Earlier this year, we got to a studio in Jamaica, and Capitol Studios in Los Angeles (where Frank Sinatra recorded a lot of this material) and in Shaggy’s home in Miami and we produced this record. I have to say that you will hear this thing and you will smile. You know the songs, you know his voice, he is not trying to sing like Frank Sinatra at all, he’s Shaggy, and he is in his own ecosystem of reggae music, and I love it,” he added. Aside from being one of the world’s most distinctive solo artists, he is known as a perennial musical explorer and song stylist. The proof of that was his critically-acclaimed “Duets” album, which featured some of his most celebrated collaborations, including those with Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Charles Aznavour, Mylène Farmer, Shaggy, Melody Gardot, and Gashi, among others. For Sting and The Police, their classic tune “Every Breath You Take” is the gift that keeps on giving. It was added to Spotify’s “Billions Club,” having accumulated well over one billion streams on the audio streaming platform.

As an actor, Sting made a guest appearance as a fictionalized version of himself in the Hulu TV series “Only Murders in the Building,” which stars Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. He has appeared in over 15 films, A 17-time Grammy award-winning artist, exec utive pro duced t he “A Guide to Sting is also a humanitarian and he supports Recognizing Your Saints,” and in 1989 starred causes that are near and dear to his heart. He in “The Threepenny Opera on Broadway.” supports such human rights organizations as the Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International, His most recent theatre project is the TonyIn 2019, Sting was honored at the BMI Pop Awards for his enduring hit single “Every Breath You Take,” which has become the “Most Performed Song,” with 15 million radio plays, from BMI’s catalog of over 14 million musical works.


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Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

Sings the Sinatra Songbook reggae style produced by yours truly.’ After a few drinks, I convinced my friend that it was not only a weird idea, it was a fantastic idea,” he expressed.

greatest artists that music has ever known. He was able to mold the contemporary music landscape into what it is today, and most importantly, he was able to touch his global audience on an emotional level through his music. Long live, Rock and Roll’s “Englishman in New York.”

competitions, such as the AVA Digital Awards, IMA 2017 Award, The American Business Award, and the NC Tech Award. Michael Georgiou’s company is now a reputable, established $150K/month app agency that provides customized technology services to several types of businesses from start-ups to global brands. In 2018, his company reached the ceiling of $2.3-$3 million in annual revenue. Although the Covid pandemic has caused him to cut back to a projected $1.5-$2.5 million in revenue, he plans to continue on the trajectory of increased growth. What’s his secret? It’s to never give up, stay determined, and focused on your goal.

Michael Georgiou Levels Up the Game in Digital Technology by Athena Efter No one said start-up companies were easy, but Michael Georgiou, Co-Founder of Imaginovation, a B2B turn-key technology and digital product development company, knows that with a little bit of elbow grease, perseverance, and imagination, you can jumpstart a dream and turn it into an awardwinning company that works with hypergrowth companies and global brands. That’s just what he did. Born in London to Cypriot parents, Michael moved to Cyprus and then to Toronto, before finding himself settling in Raleigh, NC, where his company is now based. In 2011, after finishing his Master’s degree in Australia, Michael came back to the US. The 2008 recession had come to an end, and he found himself in need of a job in a market that was still struggling. Michael always knew he wanted to start his own business, but what? The “what” was no longer a question when his brother-in-law approached him about starting a company together. It was a no brainer, at that point. His imagination was unleashed and he saw the future. He decided to apply his business development and marketing background to team up with his brother-in26

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What makes Imaginovation different from other app developers is their focus on the client and their individual needs. Michael and his business partner really want to get to know the product to allocate personalized developers to a specific project. Once they understand the needs of the client and the project they will match the developers with their skills to that project, and make sure that the same team stays onboard from inception to completion. They will also continue to offer support and hosting on web services after the launch. Michael Georgiou equates his company to digital real estate. They are, in essence, builders and adapt to changes in technology. There is no need for templates here. They create a customized design and take a personalized approach to building your application from the ground up to reflect your specifications. More i mp or t a nt l y t h a n bu i l d i n g a n application is coding. Imaginovation has developed its own internal automation, where code gets submitted to different systems they have set up. The system flags any errors from full automation and triggers, in addition to

law, and now business p ar t ner, w ho understands the technical process of software and web development. They both realized they had a dream, a passion, and a skillset that could be combined to form a lucrative, thriving business in full-service web and mobile app development, where “Imagination turns to Innovation” promoting endless possibilities where you too can “unleash your imagination and shape the future”, as their tagline reveals. Imaginovation is a real game changer in how companies can improve productivity, sales, and profit through a client driven approach. The company’s goal is to provide creative solutions and strategies to client initiatives. Imaginovation has been recognized as a leading technology company by companies like Clutch, leaders in the B2B platform industry. It also been featured in several acclaimed publications such as, VentureBeat, Goalcast,, and Foundr y. Since its founding, the company has grown significantly on a revenue and market share perspective, not to mention being the recipient of several awards in notable tech

developers manually testing the code and usability of each system. One of the goals that Michael and his business partner have achieved is building and marketing their own internal proprietary software product, MagicTask, which they have built over the past three years. It’s intuitive and user friendly with

to be on top of trends and changes taking place to adapt to what’s new and omit what is obsolete. What continues to motivate Michael, besides a successful value-based company that puts the needs of the client first? It’s his passion and his commitment to encourage and motivate other start-ups and younger entrepreneurs: “Passion is essential in preparing your mind for the rough and tough road ahead. Make sure your idea and concept reflect what you are really good at, including your skillset capabilities, and Business partner, Ria Peranzo (sister), Despo Georgiou (mother), Jennifer and Michael, strengths.” He also advises to Panos Georgiou (father), Marianne Georgiou (sister in-law), and George Georgiou (brother) pay close attention to your over 5000 people using it. It has all the technologies such as AI development, loT finances. Lack of cash flow is one of the traditional features of task management development, AR & VR app development, reasons start-ups don’t succeed. As he puts it, “big salaries take time and a lot of sacrifice.” platforms, and more. It can be as simple or as blockchain, and digital transformation. sophisticated as you want it to be. The uniqueness of the platform is where users have Michael admits that he and his business Michael is not just a businessman, but he’s also a c c e s s t o w h a t i s c a l l e d a “ T h e m e partner started the company with nothing, a mentor, and wants others to learn from his Marketplace”. This is where the gamification is and built their company through hard work experiences and expertise as an entrepreneur. introduced and allows the user to level-up and and dedication. Any revenues generated were Toward this effort, he’s been hosting his own compete with others measured by the level of invested back into the business to build up storytelling podcast through Imaginovation activity in the system. Star-Trek anyone? Here operations, sales, marketing, and an employee for the past four years, Tales from the PROS, is where the gaming element comes in to base. They grew their company organically where he interviews high level CEOs, business motivate productivity by unlocking different and through grassroots efforts, initially leaders, and thought leaders globally. Guests animations, gaming styles, and content. It wearing several different hats. This would have included names like Evan Carmichael, enhances the user’s experience, and increases result in many sleepless nights to fulfill project David Meltzer, Chris Do, Neil Patel, and Rand employee and client retention. In addition to deadlines. They pounded the pavement so to Fishkin. building custom web applications and mobile speak, with consistent promotion through ads apps, ser vices also include emerging on sites like Craigslist and free business According to Michael, the goal of the podcast directories, and daily is to offer positive, honest, and inspirational e m a i l s t h a t r e a c h e d feedback to others looking to create their own hundreds of people. It success stories through start-ups and worked. The y st ar ted entrepreneurial ventures: “I strongly believe in getting more interest and the power of marketing to build unity and their marketing presence shared vision, which is why I started Tales expanded. Building a from the PROS. Everyone has a story to tell. Search Engine Optimized Everyone is a writer. Some are written in the (SEO) website was key in books and some are confined to the hearts. I c r e a t i n g a n o n l i n e am here to give back as much as possible, and I presence through data- know that everyone has a story to share.” driven decisions. This meant countless hours In his spare time, Michael enjoys boxing, analyzing algorithms, playing soccer, supporting Tottenham learning about digital Hotspur, spending time with his wife Jennifer m a r k e t i n g , c o n t e n t Georgiou, his puppy and family, dancing salsa marketing, and the whole and bachata, and taking the time to learn and world of SEO in website improve in business, personal development, development. All this marketing, technology, and leadership. research led them to rank Running out of possibilities is not an option at the top of Google in for Michael: “I know that as long as I do right by people and have kind and empathetic North Carolina. intention behind what I am trying to For Michael, success is all accomplish, then nothing is impossible.” about strategic planning, l e a r n i n g f r o m p a s t To learn more about how Michael and his mistakes, what works and partner can help get you started on your own what didn’t work, and p a t h t o w a r d d i g i t a l s u c c e s s v i s i t continuing from there. and There is always room for improvement, he believes, especially in a tech driven Jennifer & Michael Georgiou on their wedding day industry. One always has COVER STORY JULY 2022



like CareerBuilder, Tableau, Groupon,, Juniper Networks,, TiVo, WebMD, and Workday. He has been named several times to the Forbes Midas List of top technology investors, to The Hellenic Initiative (THI) announceD that Washington Tech Council’s Hall noted venture capitalist Peter Barris has joined of Fame, and to the Washington its Board of Directors. Founded in 2012, THI Business Hall of Fame. is a global non-profit organization that brings together Diaspora Greeks and Philhellenes to He serves on the board of public invest in Greece today through programs companies Berkshire Grey focused on economic development and crisis (BGRY), Groupon (GRPN), relief. Since its founding, THI has invested NextNav (NN), and Sprout approximately $20 million and it's the largest Social (SPT), and is currently Greek Diaspora organization in the world. director of several private companies “THI was a fledgling start-up just 10 years ago. including Tamr, Tempus, ThreatQuotient, It i s t r u l y a m a z i n g w h a t h a s b e e n and ZeroFox. accomplished through THI over that decade in support of Greece,” Peter Barris said. “I look Barris grew up in Chicago, IL, graduated from forward to contributing to its further growth Northwestern University and earned his MBA at Dartmouth College. and impact over the next decade.” Barris now serves as Chairman of New Enterprise Associates (NEA) after his remarkable tenure as the firm’s Managing General Partner from 1999-2017, during which NEA’s assets under management grew from $1B to over $20B. When Mr. Barris retired in 2019, NEA had become one of the world’s largest venture capital firms. Under his leadership, NEA invested in industry-transforming technology companies

Vice-Chair of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees, where he will become Chairman of the Board on September 1. Barris also serves on the boards of the Brookings Institution, P 3 3 , a n d In - Q - Te l . Pe t e r previously ser ved on the Executive Committee of the Board of the National Venture Capital Association, the Tuck School Board of Overseers, and was a founding member of Venture Philanthropy Partners, a philanthropic organization in the Washington, DC area. Active in the Greek-American community, Barris is a member of Leadership 100 and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Barris and his wife, Adrienne, reside in McLean, VA and are long-time members of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda, MD. They have two married daughters who He began his career in various management also reside in the Washington DC area. positions at General Electric Company where he spent almost a decade. Prior to joining “Peter Barris is an inspiration to both Hellenes NEA, Peter was President of LEGENT of the Diaspora and young entrepreneurs in Corporation (LGNT) and Senior Vice Greece,” said George Stamas, THI Board President of the Systems Software Division of President. “Taking his firm to the very global UCCEL Corporation (UCE). Both companies pinnacle in the competitive Venture Capital were ultimately acquired at valuations that field has prepared him to make great were record-breaking for their time. contributions to our efforts to build the New Greece.” His philanthropic endeavors include being

Going Beyond the Horizon with Xenophon Verginis

The honoree and main speaker Xenophon Verginis

Xenophon Verginis, Evgenia Tsaprali and Gogo Politi

Fr. John Lardas-Archangel Michael of Port Washington, Fr. Gerasimos Ballas-St. Anargyroi Church of Greenport, Fr. Panteleimon Papadopoulos-Resurrection of Brookville and Fr. Nicholas Paros-St. Demetrios of Astoria offering the invocation

Author Justine Frangoulis-Argyris with husband Ted Argyris, Xenophon Verginis and children Lexia Vadevoulis-Argyris & lawyer -Maitre Alexander Argyris

On Tuesday, June 14, at 7:30pm, NEO magazine co-hosted a special book signing event, an initiative led by Nikos Katopodis, President of North Shore Farms, at Limani Restaurant in Roslyn, NY. The event honored the life and work of Dr. Xenophon Verginis, President and CEO of Eurofood Quality S.A., Former member of Greek Parliament, and former president of the Agricultural


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by Athena Efter

Niko & Marilena Katopodis with Xenophon Verginis

George Lazaris with Xenophon Verginis

Bessie & Jimmy Ziozis

Insurance Organization. His biography Pera Ap’ Ton Orizonta (Beyond the Horizon) was written by author and journalist Justine Frangoulis-Argyris, who hails from the Greek island of Lefkada, where Dr. Verginis was also born. She has been living and working in Montreal, Canada since 1989 and has worked as a correspondent for the Athens News Agency, a collaborator for local Greek-

Dr John S Frankis, Master of Ceremonies

Canadian and Greek-American radio stations and publications, as well as a contributor to newspapers, radio and television programs, and Greek magazines. The Master of Ceremonies, Dr. John Frankis, gave a brief introduction stating that “Dr. Verginis has achieved success on multiple fronts. He’s a professor, politician, and


Spyros Paliouras getting his book signed

Lee Pirone with George Patilis

Alma Bank Limani Restaurant, Roslyn For Five Coffee Jimmy & Bessy Ziozis John & Helen Petras George Lazaris, (EPIROS) Alex Stavrinoudis John & Maria Zoitas Peter & Maria Mamais Nick & Marilena Katopodis Angelo & Maria Gerasimou

Lee Pirone, Niko Katopodis, Angelo Pappas

Gogo Politi, Peter Mamais, Niko Katopodis, Xenophon Verginis, Evgenia Tsaprali, Marilena Katopodis, Demetrios Rhompotis, Christos Kavvadas

Chris Neocleus (THE BREAKFAST ROOM) Gregory & Maria Giannakopoulos John & Maria Frankis Mike & Eleni Bapis Angelo & Athena Pappas George Maragos Gus Tsiavos George Patilis Spyros Paliouras

Yanna Katsageorgi and Spiros Exaras presented a beautiful musical program for the occasion

Spiros Exaras, Peter Takvorian, Gregory Sioris

Maria Zoitas, Fotini Takvorian, Angelo Katopodis, Stelio Katopodis, Marilena & Niko Katopodis

businessman. He has accomplished at the highest levels that we can accomplish.” He then introduced Fr. Gerasimos Ballas of St. Anargyroi Church in Greenport, Fr. John Lourdas of Archangel Michael Church in Port Washington, Fr. Panteleimon Papadopoulos of the Church of the Holy Resurrection in Brookville, and Fr. Nicholas Paros of St. Demetrios Church in Astoria. Together they delivered the opening prayer and invocation.

The host Niko Katopodis, the honoree Xenophon Verginis Maria Mamais and Peggy Mamais and NEO's Demetrios Rhompotis

Then it came time to introduce the evening’s speakers which included Fotini Takvorian, principal of the Greek School at the Church of the Holy Resurrection in Brookville, Justine Frabgoulis-Argyris, author and journalist, Gogo Politi, personal assistant to Dr. Verginis, Nikos Katopodis, President of North Shore Farms and organizes of the event, and finally the man of honor himself Dr. Xenophon Verginis.

George Tsiatis

The opening speaker, Fotini Takvorian praised the accomplishments of Dr. Verginis, noting that he comes from a small village in Lefkada with not many means and was able to achieve the highest of goals, stayed in his own country, and was able to do remarkable things in academia, politics, and business. Justine Frangoulis-Argyris, the author of the biography, was called up next to speak and elaborated on his life. In her comments, she NEWS & NOTES JULY 2022


George and Angela Maragos with Xenophon Verginis

NEO's Athena Efter with Stephen Braun

Mr. And Mrs. Peter & Fotini Takvorian

Nick Mamais, Thanasi Mamais, Nick Miller, Taki Kastoulis, Anthony Roccia

Ted Stamas, Lee Pirone, Stelio Katopodis, Dr. John S Frankis

expressed how far his determination to succeed went, so much so that he became a professor and economist almost in secret: “When I heard that Dr. Verginis would sit under an olive tree and walk six kilometers downhill and uphill to finish high school, I was moved with compassion. He grew up in a poor family of eight children who overcame the difficulties he endured. He would go to the fields and help his parents feed his family so they could survive, and then would sit in the shade in secret to read and study for his exams – exams that he took in secret in high school. He went on to be become a teacher and economist almost secretly.” She also noted that he was bullied and called a “kokkinoplites” (a derogatory term for a man with red soil on his feet). He literally went to school with no shoes, wet from rain, with red soil on his feet, but he didn’t care nor let that stop him. He was determined to win. As an educator at the


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Nick Sahlaras, Candita, Alex Gerasimou


Gus Tsiavos

Father Nicholas Paros, Ted Stamas, Chris Neocleous, X. Verginis

Alex Gerasimou, Thomas & Fay Tsamis

Dr. Evripidis Gavathiotis with wife Faye and Yanna Katsageorgi

American College, he taught some of the biggest names in politics and in journalism, notably names like Antonis Samaras, George Papandreou, both former prime ministers, and Alexis Papahellas, director of Kathimerini newspaper. As a politician, he helped a lot of Greeks and fellow Lefkadias who came from poor rural areas retire comfortably. He never forgot where he came from and understood the hardships. He is not just a politician but a man of the people.

book to our own life growing up and coming to a new country here that made us who we are, and we are proud of who we are. In our quest to do better, we are all seeing Beyond the Horizon, as is the name of the book.” On a humorous note, he admitted that he only set out to read two pages at the time, and instead he found himself glued to the book, reading 200 pages the first time. The story of Xenophon Verginis, he added, is compelling and beautifully written.

Co-host and organizer of the event, Niko Katopodis commented on how his journey is one we can relate to as Greek-Americans and children of immigrants who came here to make a better life for themselves and their families: “As a Greek-American born in Greece and living here, reading his book, we live through him. We live through his experiences, and we apply what we read in the

Echoing similar thoughts, George Maragos, former Nassau County Comptroller, and the event's co-sponsor, said that “this is more or less the story of all of us.” Mr. Maragos was also born in Lefkada and went through his own hardships to get educated and move forward. Dr. Verginis ended the evening’s addresses with heartfelt words of his own: “I am so

Tina Handras getting her book signed

Christos & Mrs. Vrettos, Marilena Katopodis, Steve Frankis

Justine Frangoulis - Argyris and Kostas Katehis

Evangelia & Steve Frankis, Father Gerasimos Ballas, Maria Zoitas

Evgenia Tsaprali, Marilena Katopodis and Gogo Politi

Christos Kavvadas with Voula Argiriou

moved by all of your love here tonight. I stand before you all with respect. In my lone journey, I carried two big blessings in my suitcase – those of my father’s and my mother’s.” He gave profound credit to the author of the book, Justine Frangoulis-Argyris, who found a way to turn what he thought would be a causal chat into a significant unfolding of his life story. Hour upon hour, without him realizing it, she brought out the depths of his thoughts, his dreams, and his efforts - firstly his efforts for his own survival and secondly his dream to help his fellow countrymen in his village. He not only experienced WWII, but the ultimate devastation that came after that with the ensuing Civil War. Overcome with emotion, his voice could not conceal the tears caused by the pain of seeing brother against brother. As he looked beyond the horizon, he knew that he had to overcome the challenges and limitations brought forth by his station in life,

Greta Kamaterou, Xenophon Verginis, Justine Frangoulis-Argyris, Maria Zoitas

Marilena Katopodis, Maria Zoitas, Maria Tegerides

Evgenia Tsaprali and Xenophon Verginis

Irene Stamas, Argyris Agrikakos, Ted Stamas

even if he had to leave his village to go further in life. He recalled how his own father came to the US to try and achieve the American dream briefly in 1912, but abandoned that dream as a result of an accident, and found himself going back to Greece to fight for his country. Like his father, Dr. Verginis knew he too could never abandon Greece or his people. For Dr. Verginis, the book signing event also represented a special tribute to his father who stepped on the very same soil he stands on now many, many years ago: “This was a night of few in my life that with so much love moved me. It brought to memory my father who came here and went back to fight for Greece. Whatever I wrote down I disregarded and just spoke from the heart. I felt a warmth and kinship here with all these people. I especially want to thank Niko Katopodis and NEO Magazine.” All present were deeply moved by his humbling and inspiring words.

Niko Katopodis, Angelo Katopodis, Justine Frangoulis-Argyris

NEO's Demetrios Rhompotis with Dr, Achilles Seitarides and Dr. Dimitri Spiliopoulos

The evening ended with a book signing. Dr. Verginis took the time to personally address each person with a hand-written note in his book. Musical entertainment was provided throughout the evening by acclaimed jazz guitarist and composer Spiros Exaras and singer Yanna Katsageorgi, the late Manos Hadjidakis' protegee. NEO Magazine would like to thank all the sponsors who made the event possible. Proceeds from this event will also support NEO Magazine and its mission to educate and inform readers, and to highlight the people and faces of the Greek diaspora who continue to make the journey a newsworthy one.




Sold-Out PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation Gala Celebrates the Future of Our Community First live gala since pandemic culminates a weekend of events designed to nurture by Maria A. Karamitsos* future leaders

Buhler, Partner at Sequoia Capital; Kate Chappell, Weekend Morning Anchor & General Assignment Reporter, NBC Chicago; Vicky Kalogera, Northwestern University Professor, Director of CIERA, Astrophysicist; John Kass, Journalist, John Kass News; Joe Kokolakis, President Kokolakis Construction; Jim Logothetis, Former Senior Partner at Ernst & Young (EY); Jonathan Man, coFounder and a Managing Partner of Drumlin Capital Management, LLC; Alexandra Mihalas, ESQ Attorney - Partner Kirkland & Ellis LLP; George Pelecanos, Producer and Scriptwriter, Film and TV Industry; Georgia Sp ear, MD Chief of Bre ast Imaging, NorthShore University Health System and Clinical Associate Professor of Radiology, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Louis Theros, Vice President & Legal Counsel, MGM Resorts International Midwest Group; Dean Tsar whas, MD He m at o l o g y a n d Me d i c a l O n c o l o g y Specialist, Medical Director, North Region Cancer Center, Northwestern Medicine; and Hon. Thomas Varlan, United States Disrtict Judge. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Scholarship Awards for Greek-American college students

Beyond a scholarship. At the 6th Annual Mentorship Luncheon, mentors, nationally-known experts in their fields, answered questions, offered guidance, and shared real-world stories. Pictured L-to-R: Georgia Spear, MD; Kate Chappell; Hon. Thomas Varlan; George Pelecanos, Vicky Kalogera; and Jim Logothetis After two years of virtual galas and events due to the pandemic, the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation (PHSF) made a triumphant return to live, in-person events. Its 2022 Gala Weekend boasted several events, designed to celebrate and nurture tomorrow’s leaders, including a sold-out gala.

Senior Counsel Elias Matsakis, a partner at Holland & Knight in Chicago. This event is designed for scholars and alumni to meet and network, as well as meet B oard and Committee members and donors.

On Saturday evening, 600 attendees packed the Hilton Chicago to laud the future of our community at the annual Awards Ceremony & Gala. Fox 32 Sports Anchor Lou Canellis returned as Master of Ceremonies. “I’m honored to be back,” Canellis said. “This event is very special to me because I knew Founder Chris Tomaras. He was a man who believed in all of us.” PHSF’s late Founder Chris P. Tomaras, a businessman and philanthropist, envisioned a brighter future through education and Hellenism. Since its inaugural scholarship

On Saturday, scholars a n d a l u m n i Alumni Weekend connected with mentors at the 6th The weekend commenced on Friday, June 17, Annual Mentorship as scholarship recipients and alumni gathered L u n c h e o n a t t h e for a Welcome Reception, hosted by PHSF U n i v e r s i t y C l u b Chicago, hosted by The Hellenic Initiative (THI) and sponsored by THI Board Member Nicholas W. Alexos, E xe c ut ive Vi c e President/Chief Financial Officer of Univar S olutions, Inc. The mentors, Alumni and Scholars network at the Welcome Reception nationally-known experts in their fields, answered questions, offered guidance, and awards in 2022, PHSF has awarded more than shared real-world stories. These events are $4 million in scholarships to more than 610 Pictured L-to-R: Trustee John Manos, among the many ways PHSF goes “beyond a deserving Greek-American students. Each year, PHSF offers 40 scholarships, 20 needsChairman Robert Buhler, 2022 Paradigm scholarship”. based and 20 based on academic merit. This Award Honoree George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, and Trustee Tom Sotos This year’s mentors included Konstantine year’s scholars were selected from 167 applications. 34

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a s s i g n e d a n $10,000 installment and will soon meet with appropriate mentor their mentors to begin their three-year for their field of study. fellowship. Mentors assist Fellows to make and assess goals, select courses, identif y s chol arships, and foster their leadership capabilities. The Fellows report their progress to the Board on a quarterly basis, paving their way to receive their next $10,000 for the following year. Working with their assigned mentors, the Alexia Armatas, (center), a rising senior at Colorado State University, 2021 Fellows met is presented a PanHellenic Scholarship Award by Chairman Robert their performance Buhler, (left), and Academic Committee Chair Tassos Malliaris, PhD cr iter i a and were presented with their Trustee John Manos and Advisory Board second $10,000 installment. Next year, if all Member Kiki Vale announced this year’s requirements are met, they’ll be invited back recipients, followed by a short video from each to receive their final $10,000. The 2021 scholar, speaking to the influence of Fellows are Chiara Munzi a PhilosophyHellenism, their studies and aspirations. Neuroscience-Psychology major and Business These already impressive students, armed of Entertainment and Marketing minor at with the love of their culture and faith, plus the Washington University in St. Louis; Mina work ethic instilled from their forebears and Baniewicz an English Rhetoric and Writing the drive to make a better future for all, give major and Communications minor at Saint hope for humanity. Scholarship recipients Xavier University who is also a part of the prefrom 2020 and 2021 were also recognized. law program; and Yanni Patitsas, majoring in Modern Greek at The Ohio State University.

2021 Paradigm Award Honoree, Author and TV/Film Writer & Producer, George Pelecanos (left) and Trustee Tom Sotos (right)

Paradigm Award The Paradigm Award’s name is derived from the Greek word, paradeigma, meaning e x ampl e. E a ch ye ar, PH SF honors a distinguished Hellene, who has not only risen to the top of their field but can also serve as a positive example for Greek-American youth. Recent honorees include Attorney and Sacramento Kings COO Matina Kolokotronis; Calamos Investments President & CEO John Koudounis; and Former White House Chief of Staff, and President & Chief

His Grace Bishop Timothy of Hexamilion, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, (center), flanked by 2022 Paradigm Award Honoree Dr. George Yancopoulos (left) and 2021 Paradigm Award Honoree George Pelecanos (right) along with Chairman Robert Buhler (seated to left of Yancopoulos), Trustees John Manos (seated next to Buhler) and Tom Sotos (standing to the right of Pelecanos), plus several donors, Academic Committee Members, and Advisory Board Members congratulate the 2022 PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation recipient

Renaissance Fellowship L ast year, PHSF par tnered with The Renaissance Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit, to cultivate tomorrow’s leaders via a t h re e - y e a r f e l l ow s h ip, i n c lu d i n g a n unprecedented $30,000 in scholarship funds, a mentor, and ongoing support to realize their leadership potential. College sophomore finalists are automatically eligible. Each year, they’ll select two or three Fellows to receive a renewable $10,000 award per year, part of $30,000 total. Additionally, Fellows are

In a surprise to all, the 2021 Fellows revealed the 2022 Fellows: Helen Georgitsos, a rising junior at University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, majoring in Finance & Political Science and minoring in Legal Studies; Alexia Maniadaki, a rising junior at the University of Detroit Mercy, majoring in Biology with acceptance to the BS/DDS 7-year Dental Program; and Zoe Pozios, a rising junior at Michigan State University, majoring in Genomics & Molecular Genetics and minoring in Bioethics and Leadership in Integrated Learning. They received their first

Strategist at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP Reince Priebus. Trustee Tom Sotos introduced 2021 Honoree, Author and TV/Film Writer & Producer, George Pelecanos, who accepted the trophy he’d been presented virtually. “I look forward to seeing how the students in this room make t heir mark in t he world, w it h g re at anticipation,” Pelecanos said, then introduced the 2022 Honoree, Regeneron co-Founder, President, and Chief Scientist George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD. NEWS & NOTES JULY 2022


Paterakis; Mitchell. And our key donors via our Scholarship Society, donors who pledge $10,000 per year for 5, 10, or 20 years. We’re so grateful.” Dancing to the sounds of Mylos Entertainment from New York kept the party going until the wee hours. Scholarship applications for 2023 will be available this fall. For more information about the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation and all the ways they cultivate tomorrow’s leaders, their website is Scholars and Alumni kicked off the weekend at the Welcome Reception at Holland & Knight in Chicago “I congratulate the leadership of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation for your work, trying to inspire and help the next generation of young people to make a difference in the world. I don’t think there’s anything more important,” Yancopoulos said. He described his path to his profession and his drive to develop lifechanging and lifesaving medicines. “It starts with where I come from. We should always be proud of where we come from. If you stop and really think about it, you realize the millions of acts of courage and survival by your ancestors, over thousands and thousands of years, happened just so you could be alive today.”

Maria A. Karamitsos has been a positive voice in Greek media since 2002. She's the former Founder, Publisher, & Editor of WindyCity who came before us. There are a million ways Greek magazine; and former Associate Editor & for us to make the world better. You’re the best Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. and the brightest. You’re future heroes and I Her work has been published in GreekCircle, believe in you and in the future of humanity.” Mylos Entertainment from New York kept the crowd dancing all night Ne w PanHel l eni c Young Leaders initiative

Chair man Rob er t Buhler announced a new program, “designed to be more inclusive for all young professional Hellenes.” PanHellenic Young Leaders program will now allow those not selected for scholarships to participate in mentoring events and planning. Along with PHSF Alumni, they can now be considered for internships.

He s h are d t h e s t or y of h i s p are nt s’ immigration from Makedonia following WWII and the Greek Civil War. “My parents came here with nothing to escape these wars. With nothing but their hopes and dreams, memories and stories. They told me we had PHSF had partnered with multiple companies National Herald, NEO magazine, XPAT to offer internship Athens, KPHTH magazine, GreekReporter, o p p o r t u n i t i e s , Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, and h o w e v e r , t h e more. Maria has contributed to three books: Internship Initiative Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes, The l a u n c h w a s Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook, and the postponed due to the inaugural prose & poetry collection Voices of pandemic. Buhler Hellenism Literary Journal. She's currently announced that it querying literary agents for her debut novel, will officially re-boot F I N D I N G E L E F T H E R I A . this fall, when 30 young leaders will be selected for internships. Also, PHOTOS BY: ELIOS PHOTOGRAPHY through Louis Theros, Vice President & Legal Counsel, t h e MGM Resorts International - Midwest Group, generosity one of the mentors participating in the Mentorship of Board Luncheon, chat with scholars at the Welcome Reception members Te d a n d Demetra greatness in our genes and in our history. We were survivors and heroes. If we work hard Argeropoulos, young leaders will and study hard, we could do great things be invited to National Hellenic again,” he said. “All of our ancestors went Society’s “Heritage Greece” trip. through great trials and tribulations and More information about the committed countless acts of heroism just so we pro g r a m a n d e l i g i bi l it y a re could be here today. We cannot waste that. We forthcoming. cannot allow all of that to have been in vain. We owe it to them to do our part, to be the best “All of this does not happen without ancestors that we can be to those who follow our PanHellenic ‘core’ donors, us. Our sole goal should be to do our best to sp e cif ic a l ly our Endow ment Scholars and alumni celebrate at PanHellenic ensure the future of humanity, just like those donors—Varlan, Man, Anderson; Scholarship Foundation Awards Ceremony & Gala 2022 36

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strategy στρατηγική

Endy Zemenides is the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), a national advocacy organization for the Greek American community. To learn more about HALC, visit

The Sky is Not Falling By Endy Zemenides At the recent national conference of a major Greek organization, a guest speaker expressed what has become an all-toocommon refrain: The community is in crisis; we are in irreversible decline, there is nothing but “bad news”; we don’t have influence; etc, etc. This is a simple narrative to digest. It appeals to the natural fear that we have of Hellenism being wiped out here in the United States and lays the predicate for an easy fundraising appeal. It also identifies the undeniable challenges faced by the Greek Orthodox Church in America and institutions – like regional federations/associations – that once were the standard way we engaged with the community. A simple narrative, but at best incomplete, if not entirely wrong. We should be celebrating undeniably p o s i t i v e – a n d p e r h ap s h i s t o r i c – developments that may be laying the foundations for a true golden age in the Greek American community. Using the marketing principle of “go where the people are” here are some success stories that represent “good news” that we should be spreading and learning from. The next generation is stepping up The decline narrative focuses quite a bit on the lack of “youth” or “next generation” involvement. Yet those promoting this narrative are never in the room when an impressive amount of next generation activism is taking place. College activism is a cause for optimism. The National Hellenic Students Association (NHSA) has undoubtedly established a greater presence in the last decade. Beyond its activity on 40 campuses nation-wide, the NHSA has established the tradition of biannual conferences in various locales across North America, with a consistent attendance of over 100 members. NHSA also has stepped up to serve the community worldwide, conducting an annual beach clean up in Greece and providing volunteers for other 38

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community organizations and major events hosted by the Greek Embassy or Delphi Economic Forum. This type of student activism and presence did not exist during the community’s “heyday”.

Greek American Cook County judges. This July, they will be formally organized as the “Order of Themis”. These judges have also gone out of their way to pull their community up with them; in their chambers you will regularly find younger Greek Given the new heights reached in the US- American attorneys and law students Greece bilateral relationship, we should also clerking or interning. take note of the new army of advocates that has joined the community’s long-standing Investment in youth leaders on national issues. Every year over the last decade, hundreds of Greek During Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ trip to Americans in their 30s and 40s are a the White House, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden consistent presence not only in Washington, noted the ancient Greek proverb: “A society D.C., but in visiting with their members of grows great when old men plant trees in Congress back in their home districts. That whose shade they shall never sit.” The Greek at our community’s advocacy base is not only American community has taken this becoming younger, but more diverse – with proverb to heart. more female participation than ever – is consistently noted by members of Congress, HALC’s Nikos Mouyiaris Leadership 2030 State Department officials, diplomats, and Fellowship supported by the Stavros allies in other communities. Niarchos Foundation, the Panhellenic S c h o l a r s h i p F o u n d a t i o n’s a n n u a l Professional Associations stepping into scholarships, the American Hellenic the void Institute’s College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip, the National Hellenic Society’s If regional associations and federations are Heritage Greece Program, The Greek seeking for ways to reengage younger America Foundation’s “40 under 40” Hellenes, they would do well to follow the program are all providing unprecedented example of professional associations. The investments in young Greek Americans. various Hellenic Lawyer Associations have Over one thousand Greek Americans will been particularly successful. In Illinois, the have passed through these programs by the Hellenic Bar Association (HBA) has a 27- end of this decade, and they will be poised to member board of directors; 12 directors are lead many of the community’s institutions – female, 14 are under 50, and the incoming and the overall community – from 2030 on. President is a female under 40 years old. In And it should not be lost on us that these the last few years, the HBA has established “trees” were planted by truly great “old men” Hel l e n i c L e g a l Ass i st anc e S e r v i c e s like Nikos Mouyiaris and Chris Tomaras – (Hel.LAS), a pro bono clinic that has helped who will have gifted us shade that they never hundreds of Greek American families. enjoyed. Another great achievement of the Hellenic Bar community is the dramatic increase in Greek Americans on the bench in Cook County – the second most populous county in the United States. Twenty years ago, there were only two Greek American judges serving in Cook County. Today, after a concerted effort by Greek American lawyers working with Greek American elected officials and political activists, there are 14

The Greek American community has several challenges to overcome. We have come to a fork in the road; one road surely leads to irreversible decline. But there is another road – and enough fellow travelers willing to take it – that can lead us to a golden age in this community. It is time to “go where the people are” and start taking the right road.

Greeks who Whistle Dixie by Dean Kalimniou*

The Greek Confederate Company’s battles were won by wanderers, opportunists and lonely people far from home By now we are used to seeing Greeks crop up in the most unconventional pages of world history. There was a Greek prime minister of Siam and a Greek Protestant king of Romania. A Greek bishop was behind the schism in the Russian Orthodox Church and a Greek was responsible for the assassination of South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd. We therefore register only slight surprise when learning that Greeks took part in the American Civil War, fighting on the side of the Confederates.

following officers of the company: Captain Nicolas Touloubief, First Lieutenant Alex Laxaredo, Second Lieutenant D. Gregori, Second Lieutenant Lt. N Bragores and Second Lieutenant Constantino Coratosos.

of internal feuds supplies the place of more legitimate hostilities. One party strenuously opposes the entrance into the company of any but pure Greeks, while the other favours the admission of men of all nationalities. An

The adhesion of the Greeks to the Confederate Army was widely lauded by the local media, as can be evidenced by the following comment in a contemporary 1861 issue of the Daily True Delta, a New Orleans newspaper: “Our Greek fellow citizens are emulating the public spirit of other nationalities, and are organising a Government records show an unofficial company. The old blood which animated the m e m o r a n d u m m e nt i o n i n g a “G r e e k heart of heroic Greece will be found yet strong Company A” being formed within the in the veins of her children resident among us.” Louisiana Militia, 1861. The company included a captain, three lieutenants, eight Allusions to the spirit of ancient Greece aside, noncommissioned officers and 20 privates. things began to sour early. According to the Although it was called ‘Greek’, the list included True Delta: “The Greek company recently other Orthodox people residing in New formed, for lack of other employment, has Orleans after 1860. A register lists the become split into parties, and the excitement

embittered contest of factions led to personal collisions, in which the sharp logic of steel was used by the opposing parties, as the only argument which would convince obstinate doubters on either side. Chartres Street, near Madison, was this morning the scene of the last animated debate between the opponents. Three or four of the contestants were considerably worried by ‘gentlemen on the other side’, one of whom was sent to the hospital, one is lying at the company’s armoury and two were conducted to the second district lock-up.”

Thus on 22 July 1861, at Camp Moore, Louisiana, 73 men enlisted for the duration of the war. They constituted, together with seven assigned officers, Company I of the 10th Louisiana Infantry Regiment. Among the enlisted were six men who c it e d G re e c e a s t h e i r country of birth. These were, adopting the spelling in which their names are recorded: Paoli Agius, age 35, a sailor; Francisco Liappi, age 48, a sailor; John George Metalieno, age 30, a sailor; Andre Nicole, age 33, a sailor; Christopholo Salonicho, age 40, a sailor and Constantino Villisariez, age 22, a sailor.


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Merely a few days after that incident, another member of the Greek company, Alexandro

Philipuso, “was attacked and severely wounded with knives, by some persons […] who from their language are supposed to have been Sicilians”. A few days later, the trusty True Delta reported simply: “There has been some trouble in the Greek company of volunteers, and five of them have been arrested on a charge of larceny, proffered, as we understand, by some of their own officers. This is bad for the Greeks.”

On 1 July 1862, the Union and Confederate forces engaged in a hotly contested battle at Malvern Hill. All of the Greeks in Company I participated in the operations and emerged unharmed. They also took part in a rear guard action at Williamsburg. Again, at Cedar Run, on 9 August 1862, under the command of General Stonewall Jackson, the Greek company caught up with and engaged the Unionists under General Banks. In this action, John George Metalieno was listed as ‘absent’ in the official roster of the company, but he reported for duty and fought in the next major battle, Bull Run. In that battle, Andrea Nicole was captured. According to the official records, he took the oath of allegiance to the United States shortly thereafter and moved to the North.

Infighting and racial bickering notwithstanding, the Greek company did eventually get to see action in 1862, at the little Warwick River. At Dam No 1, on 16 April, 1862, the Greek company fought with the 10th Louisiana Infantry Regiment, coming “to the front on the double quick”, hurling back the Federal forces from its sector of the defensive It was in the battle of Sharpsburg that line. Christopholo Salonicho was killed in action, on 17 S eptemb er 1862. In t he s ame A month later, the peninsular campaign of engagement, Paoli Agius was shot and General McClellan began to collapse slowly as seriously wounded in the right shoulder joint. his forces retreated in an orderly fashion to the He is listed in the Hospital Muster Roll of the south towards Harrison’s Landing. In this Louisiana Hospital in Richmond, on 2 action, on 29 June 1862, the Greek company December 1862. participated in the battle of Savage Station. Two enlisted men of the company deserted, The oldest enlisted member of the Greek one of whom was Constantino Villisariez. Company I was Francisco Liappi, who was 48 Official records cite his date of desertion as 15 years old. He was present and accounted for in all engagements through Malvern Hill. For the September 1862.

battle of Cedar Run, the official records indicated that he was absent due to sickness. There is no indication of his presence in the Greek Company in other battles. However, the final notation in the official records shows that he “deserted his regiment and joined the Confederate Cavalry in December, 1862”. John George Metalieno was promoted to corporal in 15 February 1862. He was wounded at the famous battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Records suggest that he was captured at Spottsylvania, on 11 May 1864, and taken first to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. He died of acute dysentery on 15 August 1864. The Greek Confederate Company seems to have been staffed by wanderers, opportunists and lonely people far from home. We would do well to remember them, and all their other compatriots, who have carved even the smallest niche in the bloody battles of world history. *) Dean Kalimniou (Kostas Kalymnios) is an attorney, poet, author and journalist based in Melbourne Australia. He has published 7 poetry collections in Greek and has recently released his bi-lingual children’s book: “Soumela and the Magic Kemenche.” He is also the Secretar y of the Panepirotic Federation of Australia.

Marianthi Vlachos: A creative and philanthropist advocating for Greece through her business, Hellenic Aesthetic by Andriana Kourkoumelis

in Astoria, Marianthi avidly tries to make the store an accessible center for the community—bringing people together through the products of Greece. It was put in place not only to add to her successful business, but to celebrate her Greek heritage. Founder Marianthi Vlachos has built Hellenic Aesthetic to showcase her love for Greece and what it has to offer. As a second-generation GreekAmerican originally from Clearwater, Florida, her roots in Rhodes and Kefalonia are honored through the brand. Coming from a l ong l i ne of e nt re pre ne u rs , she w a s determined to make her vision a reality. Marianthi has a strong bond with her family— further motivating her to make Hellenic Aesthetic a household name in the industry. Her connection with her culture is apparent, and it is translated by everything in the store d ow n to t h e arch ai c i nte r i or d e s i g n . T h e majority of the store is sourced from Greece, covering various regions and designers, and some even designed by Marianthi herself.

Marianthi Vlachos has achieved the feelings of a Grecian summer through her creation Hellenic Aesthetic

Being a natural creative and hard-working individual, Marianthi constantly uses her business and involvement in the Greek community to host events and popups in several locations. Through Hellenic Aesthetic, many Greeks and non-Greeks alike have found a home away from home and a way to further immerse themselves into this cultural experience.

Living in New York City, we long for the simplicity and beauty of Greece. Marianthi Vlachos has achieved the feelings of a Grecian summer through her creation Hellenic Aesthetic. “This is a reflection of all that I love ab out Gre e ce,” s ays Mar iant hi w hen This year, Marianthi was featured in Greek describing her business. America’s 40 under 40 list for 2022, which compiles all the Hellenic Aesthetic — the first inf luential GreekGreek fashion retailer in the Americans under 40 of U.S. — was founded by the year. This honor Marianthi 5 years ago as an eshows her influence in boutique. Last year after 4 the Greek-American years of growth, she has space as a public figure, expanded her brand with her and the importance of first brick and mortar store her mission as an opening in June 2021 located entrepreneur. in Astoria, Queens. This innovative business venture Through this growing created new opportunity for platform and Greek and Greek-American acknowledgment, fashion designers, artists, and Marianthi’s advocacy brands to display their work for Greece has stretched to a new market. beyond the business. With a strong Greek presence 42

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Recently, Marianthi has

joined the board of The Hellenic Initiative’s New Leader Committee, a non-profit organization with a mission to invest in Greece through various programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship and economic development. This accomplishment reflects Marianthi’s plans to expand her philanthropic efforts. She has already raised $26,000 last year from the s a l e s o f t h e He l l e n i c Aesthetic original “Ellada Mou” tee-shirt to support the aftermath of the 2021 wildfires in Greece. To date, 100% of the proceeds from this design go towards the cause. Just by these achievements alone it is clear that Marianthi is not shy to extend herself when it comes to giving back to the motherland. Philanthropy is a topic of interest for Marianthi and will continue to be in the forefront going forward in her career. As the influence of Hellenic Aesthetic continues to build, the benevolence of Marianthi Vlachos will become further realized in the community beyond New York City. The goal of this project is more than just fashion. It is a symbol of cultural morals and the importance of strong community, which is the true “Hellenic aesthetic.”

The House of Stathopoulo and Epiphone: The Greeks that Helped Pioneer the Modern Electric Guitar by Billy Chrissochos

conversation with the manager and told her I wanted to buy a beginner’s electric guitar. She was really cool and helpful. She, to my Piraeus, and he wanted me to take up the surprise, went up to the attic and brought me instrument since I carried his name. I ended down a beautiful white solid bodied axe (that up picking up the Alto saxophone instead in is word lingo for guitar). Middle School and High School, excelling and competing in Symphony Band. I found the It was marked down from last Christmas, and she gave me a super acoustic guitar boring and discount. I don't remember annoying. And all that tuning if it was like $100 or $250. It you had to constantly do. See, was practically free. And I the cheaper the model, the didn't sell much hot dogs, more these instruments get sausages, knishes, or untuned on you making pretzels either that summer playing not fun. because I basically ate all the profits, so this was a In the summer of 1990 at the heaven-s ent deal. The age of fifteen, I worked with guitar was unusual. It was a my dad in one of his hot dog solid body beautiful white pushcarts as a sort of first guitar as I stated earlier. A summer job. He had three solid body means it was and rented out the other two. made from a single piece of It was fun working with him wood, not two where the and a great bonding head and body are screwed experience. I worked in together. So, it was pretty Jamaica, Queens at first, and and "sexy" too. It was an later in midtown Manhattan. Epiphone by Gibson guitar I wanted to raise money to get a proper electric guitar. I had caught the metal bug by then, model. Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, etc. I knew what a Gibson was, but Epiphone Somewhere around my junior year in High sounded so Greek. I was always proud of it, School, I joined the Jazz-Rock Band which was and it helped me create my first group called really a Hard Rock/Metal-inspired outfit in Phoenix, later Phoenix Reign. I always disguise. They played Hendrix, Clapton and of wondered what was behind the name. So here course Nirvana and Guns N' Roses. The sax is the scoop behind my first obsession! could only take me so far. I needed a guitar and amp fast to get the girls and of course, create Contrary to what some people might think, Epiphone is not one of the newer companies my own historical musical epics. like Ibanez, Fender, B.C. Rich, or Jackson. In fact, quite the opposite! The history of the (current) Gibson subsidiary goes back to the 19th century. Epiphone has been one of America's oldest and most revered instrument makers. Since 1873, The name Epiphone evokes both history and the spirit of invention.

When the two inventors/scientists SerbianAmerican Nikola Tesla and American Thomas Edison began harnessing and transmitting electricity in the 1880s, they p a v e d t h e w a y f o r a my r i a d o f p o s s i bi l it i e s f or hu m a n it y ; l i k e electrifying and amplifying sound and eventually music. The first practical prom i ne nt d e v i c e t hat c ou l d b e amplified was the triode vacuum tube, invented in 1906 by Lee De Forest, which led to the first amplifiers around 1912. They would be eventually replaced by transistors half a century later. And then someone dreamt of plugging a guitar directly into an amp! Imagine plugging into an electric guitar and strumming a thunderous power chord literally electrifying your audience with the passionate energy you put out. That is the Hot dogs and Music Row power of the electric guitar! My own background with the instrument My own connection to the instrument starts around sixth grade. I fiddled with a junior acoustic guitar on the insistence of my father. His dad (my grandfather) was a famous bouzouki guitarist in the early 1900s in 44

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The House of Stathopoulo

The Epiphone founding father Anastasios Stathopoulo began to build various stringed instruments as early as 1873. Back then, however, no guitars, but lutes, violins, and traditional Greek instruments such as the bouzouki. Just to put into context the other legendary competitor, Orville Gibson, started making instruments in 1894 and founded the Working that summer, I discovered the company in 1902 as the Gibson Mandolinfamous musical instrument strip where Sam Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ash and Manny's Guitars is on Avenue of the to make mandolin-family instruments. Americas (between 7th & 8th avenues) and W48th street. I worked the Hot Dog pushcart Epiphone and the “House of Stathopoulo” has up the block so every day I would go out to played a central role in every great musical era hang out and try out guitars. I struck up a from the mandolin craze of the early 1900's to

jazz age guitars of the 1920's; from swing era archtops through post-war pop, jazz, r&b, and early rock n' roll; and from the "British Invasion" to heavy metal, punk, grunge, and thrash.

These were dangerous times and crippled by High taxes imposed on Greek immigrants The Hamidian massacres, also called the under the Ottoman Empire made life difficult Armenian massacres, were massacres of for the Stathopoulo family and at the age of 40, Armenians and other Christians such as Anastasios boarded a ship to the United States. Going back to the Greek mainland would have been disastrous economically for them. The Macedonian Struggle (aim to liberate northern Greece from the Ottomans) and National Schism (conflict between Venizelists and Monarchists) leading up to the Great War, between 1904-1922, would engulf Greece. In 1922, Smyrna would be destroyed and burned to the ground by the Turks. Anastasios saw the writing on the wall early on and sought asylum for his family in the United States. Tough times ahead

America, America… First, they settled in Queens' Astoria/LIC setting up shop at 35-37M 36th Street. Later Public records from 1904 list A. Stathopoulo living at 56 Roosevelt on Manhattan's Lower East side, home to many other Greek and Italian immigrants. Once in America, Anastasios continued his instrument trade. He quickly assimilated the pace of American business practices. He filed his first and only patent on March 25, 1909, for an Italian-style bowl back mandolin. The "Stathopoulo House'' as Epi's Manhattan showroom was known, was a gathering place for the best musicians in the Big Apple.

Young Billy Chrissochos with his Epiphone The opening chapter of the Epiphone story begins about 149 years ago in Kastania in the mountains overlooking the ancient city of Sparta, Greece. Family legend tells that in 1865, Kostantinos Stathopoulo left Kastania and journeyed to Magoula in the Eurotas valley to register the birth of his son, Anastasios. Little else is known of the family until 1873, around the time of Anastasios's 12th b i r t h d a y, w h e n t h e Stathopoulo family left Greece for the coast of Asia Minor (modern-day Tu r k e y ) w h e r e t h e y s e tt l e d i n Smy r n a , a bustling seaport with a strong Greek population of merchants and craftsmen. There, Kostantinos established himself as a lumber merchant. Kostantinos would often take Anastasios with him on work trips throughout Europe, where the boy observed his father's trade and learned ab out tonewoods. During this time, the family established a store in Smyrna selling and repairing lutes, violins, and bouzoukis. By 1890, Anastasio's local reputation as a talented, master luthier was providing enough business that he opened his own instrument factory. He married and started a family. His first son, Epaminondas, was born in 1893, followed by Alex, Minnie, Orpheu, Frixo and Ellie.

Greeks and Assyrians, in the Ottoman Empire between 1894-1897. This is the beginning of the greater Thir ty-Year G eno cide of Christians that ends in 1924. This would also displace another legendar y Armenian Cymbal-making family as well, the Zildjians. That is another story though. Another event that would influence the Stathopoulo family would have been the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 known in Greece as t h e Bl a ck ' 9 7 fou g ht between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire. The immediate cause involved the status of the Ottoman province of Crete, whose Greekmajority population had long desired union with Greece. Despite the Ottoman victory on the field, an autonomous Cretan State under Ottoman suzerainty was established the following year. This was a result of the intervention of the Great Powers after the war. The war put the military and political personnel of Greece to test in an official open war for the first time since the Greek War of Independence in 1821. For the Ottoman Empire, this was also the first war effort to test a re-organized military system.

Epi, as the oldest child was known, easily merged into American life, attended Columbia University, and graduated with honors. With Anastasios crafting and selling his instruments on the ground floor and his family living upstairs, the line between work and home life became increasingly blurred. Epi and Orpheus ('Orphie') were soon helping out in the shop, now located at 247 West 42nd Street. Epi was only 22 when his father Anastasios died in 1915. As the oldest son, he was charged with keeping the business going. Already a keen student of his father's work and eager to establish himself in the marketplace, he replaced the old instrument label of his father with a new one: "The House of Stathopoulo, Quality Instruments Since 1873." Already an amateur designer and inventor during his apprenticeship, Epi now took a lead role in the company and was granted his first patent for a banjo tone ring and rim construction 1,248,196 given to E. A. Stathopoulo.

Epiphone always made a good guitar,” Les Paul once said. “And that after all, is what all musicians are looking for. At his mother's death in 1923, Epi assumed ownership of the controlling shares of the business and phased out most of the old-world style mandolins. Instead, he introduced the Recording line of banjos, then the most NEWS & NOTES JULY 2022


popular instrument in post-World War I F r e q u e n s a t o r America. Tailpiece was created, which is still widely T h e R e c o r d i n g l i n e w a s l i s t e d i n used today and has advertisements alphabetically: Recording (A) had a lasting influence at $125, the Bandmaster at $200, the Concert on the designs of many at $275, and the De Luxe, which sold for $350. other companies. Epi continued to expand as his business and reputation for quality work grew. The family I n c u r s i o n i n t o acquired the "stock, goodwill, and modern amplifiers machiner y" of the Farovan Company instrument plant in Long Island and Epiphone also began incorporated. Epi gave the now growing s el ling amps af ter business a new name--Epiphone. “Epiphone” meeting electronics enthusiast Nat Daniel, a referenced not only his own name but the friend of Les Paul. Daniel perfected an Greek word for sound--phone. It was also an innovative push / pull cabling design, which is echo of the Greek word epiphonous, meaning now an accessory on many amplifiers. one sound on another, the son building on the Epiphone reps listened to Daniel’s amps and dreams of the father. adhered to him to build chassis and new designs. Years later, in the ‘50s Daniel would Epi took the title of president and general start the Danelectro line of guitars and manager and announced in trade publications amplifiers in the ’50s. and advertisements that "the new policy of business and all interest will be devoted to the Epi’s death and the consequences for production of banjos, tenor banjos, banjo Epiphone mandolins, banjo guitars, and banjo ukuleles under the registered trademark name of During the Second World War (June 6, 1943) 'Epiphone.'" Epi retained most of the Long Epaminondas died of leukemia. As a result, his Island factory's skilled workers. Production two little brothers, Orphie and Frixo, took increased. Quality improved. One popular over the company. Orphie eventually sold the guitar model was even called "The Spartan company in the fifties to Gibson. In 1957, Satin Blonde," a no d to their proud Gibson finally took over Epiphone and rePeloponnesian roots. introduced the line and a new era emerged. Epiphone through Gibson is stronger than By the mid-‘30s, Epiphone guitars were ever and the legac y of the House of among the best in the world, and Epi himself Stathopoulo lives on. was enjoying the patronage of the most respected players on the scene. Epiphone went List of famous Epiphone players inter-continental with a distribution deal with Handcraft Ltd. of London, and a new Epiphone was one of the biggest brands in the showroom opened at 142 West 14th Street in a early acoustic and electric guitar years in seven-story beaux-arts style building near America. Along with Gibson, they were the Little Italy. most recognized and coveted brands of guitars. The variety of musicians that traverse The new building included an advertised the history of Epiphone is remarkable and "state-of-the-art" research and development extensive. Jazz greats like George Van Eps, laboratory. The Epiphone showroom on the countr y pioneers like Hank Garland, f i r s t f l o o r w a s b o t h t h e c o mp a ny ' s bluesman John Lee Hooker, and scores of headquarters and a hangout for musicians. On mandolins, archtop, and steel guitar players Saturday afternoons, Epi would open display used Epiphone instruments daily over cases and let the leading guitarists of the time, nationwide broadcasts. There are unlikely artists like Al Caiola, Harry Volpe, and Les heroes and tinkerers in the Epiphone story Paul, jam as people listened by the sidewalk. too, like guitar pioneer Les Paul, who worked nights in the Epiphone factory in New York Early Epiphone Electric Guitar: The Electar City to create "the Log", his primordial version of what would eventually be called the "Les Series Paul." Another notable player is Django In 1935, Epiphone announced their first Reinhart. electric guitars with the “Electar” models (originally known as Electraphone). These The Beatles' bassist extraordinaire Paul were based heavily on the first Rickenbacker McCartney chose an Epiphone Casino as his guitars from 1932. Initially, large magnetic first American-made guitar and John Lennon blocks were used as pickups, which as a rule and George Harrison quickly followed. The did not really transmit the sound of the Casino appeared on every Beatles album from individual strings evenly. To prevent this Help through Abbey Road. The Peter problem, Epiphone introduced the “Master Frampton Les Paul Custom was used in Pickup” in 1937 – the world’s first pickup with Frampton Comes Alive which is among the best-selling live records in history, and even individually adjustable pole pieces. today many of the tracks are staples of classic In addition to the newly developed pickup, a rock radio. Keith Richards also used a Casino first, fairly simple, tone control was also and Blues great B.B. King used a signature introduced. And in the same year, the famous model in the eighties. 46

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And to d ay, Epiphone can be heard on albums by Gary Clark, Jr., Alabama Shakes, My Chemical Romance, Joe Bonamassa, Nirvana, Johnny W i n t e r, Z a k k Wylde, Machine Head, D wig ht Yo a k a m , T h e Strokes, Trent Reznor, Slash, Jeff Waters, Paul Simon, Radiohead, The Waco Brothers, Lenny Kravitz, Nancy Wilson, and Paul Weller. And many more metal guitarists from Trivium and In Flames, to Tommy Thayer, Mathias Jabs from Scorpions, Tony Iommi, Alex Lifeson from Rush, Twister Sister's Jay Jay French, Ace Frehley from Kiss, Richie Faulkner from Judas Priest also use Epiphone models. The story behind Epiphone's improbable rise from a small Greek family repair shop to a worldwide leader in the manufacture of qu a l it y i ns t r u m e nt s c ou l d e a s i ly b e transformed into the great American novel. But this story is true. The Ottoman Empire's loss was America's musical gain. Who knows? Perhaps my own grandfather jammed at some point with Anastasios. What I do know is that this guitar influenced my life. I even created a Rock Opera that premiered at Carnegie Hall and Off-Broadway called “Anna and Vladimir.” A historical Byzantine epic! All inspired by that first power chord and lots of practice, practice, practice! I am also excited to share news of our new Rock Opera! It will be presented by St. Demetrios Preparatory School for the kids and the community. It is called, “The Story of Princess Anna Porphyrogenita," and it is a thrilling, historical, cultural journey through Music, Dance, and Theater. Set in the year 988 AD, the Heroic Age of Basil II Emperor of Byzantium, the story chronicles Basil's sister Princess Anna Porphyrogenita and her world-rocking marriage to Grand Prince Vladimir. The show also explores Penelope Delta's incredible world, as envisioned by the great author, of Emperor Basil II's Byzantine Greek Macedonian Renaissance, his struggles, victories, and aspirations for his people and family. This is a Fundraiser for St. Demetrios Preparatory School and all its wonderful programs. The show is running for three dates. June 24th, Friday at 7:00 PM, June 25th, Saturday at 7:00 PM, June 26th, Sunday at 5:00 PM. Admission is $35 You can learn more about our Rock Opera and not-profit here

An Olympian Legacy: The New York Greek American Soccer Club by Anastasia Kaliabakos

The team in 1946

and Nikolaos Mastoridis. In 1935, the clubs joined forces so as to have one joint soccer team, known as "Greek American Hermes." Unfortunately, all of the fun and games were put to a halt with the onset of World War II. A p oi g n a nt s t or y re l at e d by h i s t or i a n Christopher Soukas describes December 7, 1941, when the team of Greek American Hermes learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Their soccer game was interrupted and the athletes departed from the site, knowing that the next day they would have to enlist for the army. This marks the moment when the organization was temporarily dissolved. After the end of the war, the club re-appeared in 1946 as "Greek American" only. At the beginning of 1946, there was an expatriate association known as S.E.N. (Sindesmos Ellinon Neofermenon) or the “Joining of Greek Newcomers.” The S.E.N. organized events for young Greek men and women, including gatherings at Central Park to play soccer. It is said that Thomas Laris, a huge lover of soccer from Smyrna and a part of S.E.N, put together what we now know as Greek American. He, along with Anthony Antoniadis and Panos Kolimbaris, sought to bring Greek American to new heights and to find a place among the Greek community of New York.

Greece is famous for many things, among them being the development of the Olympic Games, the global event that defines athletic prowess in dozens of different sports from around the world. The Olympic Games were brought to reality in Ancient Greece, serving as not just a source of athletic entertainment, but a way to worship the Greek gods and socialize with other city states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece. The exact origin of the Olympics remains a mystery-- some say that the famous hero Heracles, son of Zeus, built the Olympic stadium after completing his 12 labors, or that they stemmed from a tradition of footracing that started in 776 B.C. Although the Greek games came to an end in the 4th century A.D., they were revitalized in the mid 19th centur y after Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman empire and soon became a worldwide phenomenon that billions of people look forward to every four years. The significance of sports to Greek culture remains intact, as exemplified by not just the Olympics, but the everyday efforts of Greek Americans to pay homage to their history in the form of sport clubs. The New York Greek American Soccer Club has held its own in Greek American culture, reaching its 76th 48

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Year Anniversary this year. I have been exposed to the efforts of NYGASC through my pappou, Andreas Kaliabakos. Growing up, I have always been in awe of the athletic prowess of my pappou and he has talked for many years about his involvement in the Greek American soccer club. I have always been interested in the history of Greek American since it has been a peripheral part of my life for so long; therefore, I set out to relay the history of this significant Greek organization so that a modern audience may grasp how large an effect Greek American has had on the lives of New York City Greeks for generations. The Greek American athletic association was the first and oldest Greek athletic society in the U.S. It is uncertain when the group was actually founded, but it is believed that it was towards the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, those involved engaged in track and field, weight lifting, and wrestling. Since there was no specific facility to practice in, the athletes would exercise in the basements of various Greek churches in New York. Additionally, another Greek athletic club called “Hermes” was popular at the same time. Three of the Hermes athletes actually participated in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles: Ioannis Moralis, Ioannis Farmakidis,

Kolimbaris suggested getting help from The Ethnikos Kirikas, which was, back then, located on 26th street between 6th and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, and its publisher at the time, Vaso Vlaviano. The meeting at the Kirikas office took place during the summer of 1946 and was a success. The paper agreed to report on the activities of the Greek American soccer team and, in doing so, made Greek American an official aspect of Greek New York culture. Thomas Laris became the first coach in the history of Greek American and Panos Kolimbaris was the first president. Matches were regularly scheduled at both Central Park a n d Va n C o r t l a n d t P a r k . T h e f i r s t championship matches started right away in the fall of 1946 to the enjoyment of players and Greek-American onlookers. Since then, Greek American has won four U.S. Open Championships in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1974. The club is one of only two teams to have ever won this tournament in three consecutive years. They have also won many other kinds of championships over the years. To this day, Greek American remains one of the most successful and longest continually operating team in American soccer history.

Greek-American Students to be Mentored by Some of the Community's Biggest Names

According to the Greek American website, “The team currently plays in the 5th tier of the American soccer pyramid, under the USASA in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. The club plays out of the Metropolitan Oval in Maspeth, Queens and has been a perennial contender in the league, winning five of the l a s t e l e v e n E a s t e r n N e w Yo r k

Soccer Football League. The club currently has 3 youth teams, U6 boys, U7 boys, and U9 boys, and they hope to establish even more in the future. It is important for clubs like Greek American to thrive, as they are what helps us, as Greek Americans, stay connected with one another through a passion for sports and our Greek heritage.

Over 40 of the most prominent GreekAmericans will be mentoring GreekAmerican college students online August 9-11, 2022. The deadline for applications to the sixth annual National Hellenic S ociety Heritage America Program is Friday, July 29, 2022.

The team today Championships.” In 2014, N.Y. Greek American team won the U.S. Amateur National Cup, making the club one of only a handful in the U.S. that has won both the U.S. Open Cup and the U.S. Amateur Cup national titles, and the only one to complete this since the advent of the MLS. Greek Americans’ first team currently competes in the Eastern Premier Soccer League (which is the 3rd tier U.S.) in the Metropolitan Conference. The reserve team also competes in the Long Island

I am beyond grateful to Mr. Nicholas Notaridis, a journalist and soccer historian, who so graciously helped me find all the information for this article. I am so fortunate to be in a position where I can relay the history of such a monumental organization for Greeks in America to modern viewers who may not have heard the whole story before. If you are interested in becoming involved in N.Y. Greek American S.C., their website is

Stavridis, Tenet, Negroponte…Dukakis, Podesta, Stephanopoulos, Psaki, Priebus, Sarbanes, Bilirakis, Titus, Malliotakis, Pappas…NowThis, Fox News, New York Times, Georgetown Cupcakes, Spotify, Facebook…Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus. They are all regular participants in this remarkable program. NEWS & NOTES JULY 2022


Poseidonion Grand Hotel: The Iconic Landmark of by Kelly Fanarioti Spetses Island

problem behind us and rediscover normalcy with a sense of optimism and dynamism,” he continues, adding that up to the end of October, the hotel will be open, and the occupancy rate during the high August season will reach 95%! The history In 1883 Sotirios Anargyros, following his business instinct, left Spetses and emigrated to New York, where he was employed by the big Thompson Tobacco Company, which he later inherited, as he was adopted by the owner. He then expanded his business and created a gigantic company in the field of tobacco which flooded the American market with its products.

Found at the heart of Spetses’ social life, the imposing building of the Poseidonion Grand Hotel stands proud for over a century. Also known as the “jewel of Spetses” because of its architectural style that is influenced by C ô t e d ’A z u r & French Riviera hotels such as ‘’The Negresco’’ and ‘’The Carlton’’, the hotel impresses even the most demanding visitor. Following a full programme of renovation works in 2009, it remains an elegant edifice. With breathtaking views over the Saronic Gulf, fragrant lavender gardens, rustling palm trees, impeccable customer service and limitless attention to details, it provides discreet but authentic

luxury - an aristocratic atmosphere of elegance and grace. “If we do not have any disastrous developments, such as for example another serious comeback of the pandemic or any horrible developments relating to the war in Ukraine, then this year for sure will be the best we had in recent years. Our bookings in their great majority come from England and the United States. Bookings from Australia are also slowly being made to a very promising level. In addition, we have customers from France and also Greeks,” the General Director of Poseidon Grand Hotel Alexandros Papanikolaou says to NEO, stating emphatically that this year’s tourist season is expected to ‘break” even the 2019 record, when tourism in Greece had reached unprecedented heights. “At last this year we can breath again. Just seeing all these p e o p l e traveling from so far away to come to Spetses to have fun, to enjoy the sea and our food, makes us feel very good. Moreover, this movement of tourists is very uplifting for our psychology following the experience of the pandemic. We feel that we can now leave this


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In 1894 he came back to Spetses and a year later he returned to marry his second cousin E v g e n i a Anargyrou. The couple lived in America for three years, but his wife’s longing for Spetses made Sotirios to sell everything he owned and he settled permanently on his island. From the sale of his tobacco company, he got the astronomical amount in those days, of 650.000 dollars. Amongst various projects, he built the Poseidonion Grand Hotel in 1914 which was a major push for tourism in Spetses, which emerged as the holiday resort of rich families.

Since then, the hotel has hosted worldrenowned celebrities and has been awarded a few times for the high quality services it offers to its guests. In 2014, the Poseidonion Grand Hotel celebrated its 100 years of existence. Extensive renovation works had begun in 2004, with the aim of preserving and restoring its distinctive architectural elements, as well as reinforcing

the building’s unique atmosphere of At the ‘Bostani’ guests can enjoy a farm-tounderstated luxury, elegance and class. table experience, with the opportunity to taste the freshest produce grown at the hotel’s The hotel’s iconic central staircase is made of organic farm. marble, with each step building on the previous - a rare and unique feature showing Visitors can watch as the chef and his team t h e c r a f t s m a n s h i p i n v o l v e d i n t h e handpick ingredients straight from the earth construction of the building. and prepare beautiful, unique dishes packed with the scents and flavours of the local The hand-painted tiles found throughout the landscape. Guests are invited to take part in an hotel are original, and date back to 1914. They al-fresco dining experience, immersing were successfully maintained during the themselves in the culinary traditions of Greece renovation process, and now decorate the in a unique outdoor setting. floor of most of the public areas. For the past 100 years, as well as being a The roof of the La Cupola suite is based on the beacon of Greek hospitality, the Poseidonion structure of a traditional caique, the typical Grand Hotel has also been a patron of many local boat created by Spetsiot shipbuilders initiatives, supporting all the major events on Spetses and forming an integral part of the even today. island community. The wrought-iron railings of the Poseidonion’s verandah were recreated from As Alexandros Papanikolaou says, today the the single example that was preserved out of hotel continues to support the cultural and economic development of Spetses, enlivening the original set. the vision of its founder by being at the heart of cultural, athletic and entrepreneurial Services initiatives on the island, with The hotel proudly serves only the finest t h e s e c o n d a r y a i m o f gastronomy using fresh, locally sourced promoting the island and ingredients. It offers first-class beauty and Greece around the world. wellness services and can host a variety of business and social events, from memorable “The Poseidonion Grand Hotel is proud to play a key conferences to fairy-tale weddings. role in the creation, The Hotels’ farm, the ‘Bostani’, serves the organization and support of a needs of the hotel as well as a number of local number of events, which restaurants, providing fruits, vegetables and attract a large and ever increasing number of visitors organic eggs. every year, such as Armata In addition, the cultivation of Aloe Vera has F e s t i v a l , S p e t s e s M i n i been successfully implemented, allowing the Marathon, Spetsathlon, A hotel to use this unique and nourishing Weekend in Tweed and ingredient in juices, smoothies and cocktails, Spetses Classic Car Race,” he as well as for the creation of natural cosmetics emphasized. and hair products.

Guests also have the opportunity to visit a magical wellness destination, IDOLO Spa, giving themselves a unique holistic experience full of health and rejuvenation through a variety of beneficial therapies inspired by the Mediterranean. Last but not least, the elegant Ciné Titania, an open air cinema run by the Poseidonion Grand Hotel since 2017, aims to recapture the experience of traditional Greek summer cinema and share it with a new audience, including both visitors and locals. Recently given a new lease of life with an extensive venue renovation, the cinema offers two showings per day from June to October and has reclaimed its place at the heart of the Spetses’ entertainment scene.





is going ....Greek! Meet Silvina Batakis, the newly ap p o i nt e d M i n i s t e r o f t h e Economy in the Argentinian government! She's the second cabinet member of Hellenic descent to currently serve the administration. The first one is Gabriel Nicolas Katopodis, Minister of Public Works. NEO magazine wishes Mrs. Batakis a very successful term for the benefit of the Argentinian people. And if she proves good, maybe we should invite her here to put the house in order because things seem to be derailing... Speaking of economy and economics, we are doing a Facebook fundraiser for NEO magazine. It's the 3rd and hopefully the last year we are asking for your direct contribution. As a result of Covid we had to employ emergency procedures and so far we have managed. Please, go to my Facebook page, Demetrios Rhompotis, see the fundraiser, click DONATE and deposit something, however small it helps big. Or if you prefer anonymity follow the instructions of the coupon on the right side. Have a beautiful summer, hopefully in Greece and Cyprus, and reconnect with the people first and the place because only then your vacation will become an experience instead of just a summer trip....
















Mail this order form with your data and cheque or money to “Neocorp Media Inc.” P.O. Box 560105, College Point, NY 11356 Phone: (718) 554-0308 e-Fax: (718) 878-4448

"Make sure to bring some tissues!" was the response I got when I told people I was going to see it. Being quite emotional and often Mordechai Fryzis and the Auschwitz inmates teary-eyed, I heeded the warning. who sang the Greek national anthem before their execution. The Greek resistance was Nevertheless, this is not a holocaust actually extraordinary and it is, unfortunately, documentary. It's a new translation of the not well known that "Were it not for the documentary format and it is safe to say the bravery of the Greeks and their courage...the director made certain avant garde choices. outcome of WW2 would be undetermined". The soothing music, composed by Billy Anna Rezan decided to contribute in making Nikolopoulos, serves the gentle treatment of these historical facts known to audiences the filmmaker to the Sonderkommandos. On across the globe. She boldly enumerates most the only revolt that ever occured in such actions of people the Jews call "Righteous camp? It is successfully now documented for among the Nations" and they were not few. As the future generations. Mr. Makis Makis mentioned during the press conference, “It is a really splendid effort Aided by a carefully orchestrated rhythm in because, for the most part, the information the editing room, there is not an area in which shared is widely unknown.” Without such this documentary can be faulted. There are historical documentaries, many of us would moments of certain issues with technical probably have very little knowledge about values and rambles but overall it doesn't look such important moments in history. For like the independent low budget production it example, Arthur Rubinstein played a concerto is. One can experience an aesthetically for the Jews that had reached the American pleasant result. camp in Morocco. This is, in my humble opinion, seriously cool trivia. The statements of fact and the scenes at Auschwitz certainly made me pause for Continued from page 58

thought and brought some tears to my eyes...but as I was trying to relax with my own thoughts and refocus on the screen...I did burst into tears. No need for tissues though. Why? Because I realized that I had one more tear coming down my face, but this one was a tear of relief… I felt empowered and inspired. In the ruins of the of the darkest era of the century, I found, not a happy ending, but one affirming that resistance to the wrong side of the unimaginable is possible and can succeed. Certainly I felt that the Greeks have to be proud… but suddenly it became about me… It became personal… cause for a moment I felt really proud to be human… The tagline on my invitation started to make sense. "A hymn to love, life & courage." It seems that Rezan accomplished the seemingly impossible. "My People" by Anna Rezan had it's World Premiere in LA, a few weeks ago during the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. Images courtesy of Urbanite Media in collaboration with LAGFF. NEWS & NOTES JULY 2022


“My People” a film by Anna Rezan: A hymn to love, life & courage by Alexander Zak


another homage to the golden age of Hollywood which in approximation coincides with the years the documentary centers on. Additionally, clear ar ticulation is of paramount importance in a documentary.

Yorgo Constantine (Die Hard,Fast & Furious) & Anna Rezan

Parallel realities throughout generations ...A dialogue of millennial people with their ancestors in regards to history, values, choices and the love for life, which is timeless. A heartwarming message to humanity. The inspiring untold story of the Greek Jews during the Holocaust. Romance in times of the Axis occupation. The fierce Greek resistance and the role of the Christian clergy; unveiled in a hymn to love, unity and courage as it is discovered by a young woman of the millennial generation in her quest to uncover her family's history. "My People" is produced, written & directed by Anna Rezan. "My name is Anna...I am Greek by birth and I am Jewish by blood..." It's clearly an homage to Elia Kazan's famed quote " I am a Greek by blood, a Turk by birth and an American because my uncle made a journey."

Feeling intrigued inside the LA Live Regal Cinemas, I wonder if the filmmaker is indeed a preacher for love, which is sort of the promise of the teaser. I thought to myself that if the film is actually good, it will be a harrowing cultural experience. I naturally assumed that the viewing would be very difficult. Exposure of inhumanity to fellow human beings — is not astonishing: Anna Rezan is raw and quite brutal at times. "My People" could one day be considered a classic, but it is shockingly contemporary . Watching it now, it all feels closer to us than ever before, even as the events depicted are more than half a century in the past. We are aware now, in the year 2020, that the inconceivable

Filmmaker George Alexandros Savvidis & Anna Rezan

is absolutely possible. A wakeup call for human beings to resist and speak up. To resist in respect of our hearts and conscience. Possibly the most essential and universal message to take away from "My People" is that we are making a choice. Every day.

Her directorial debut is an auteur’s first triumph as an “adult” filmmaker as "My People" employs cinematic sleight of hand to a very high level; Rezan's narrative voice, As Rezan embarks on her quest her tenor, tone and choice of to uncover her family history, accent is excellent. she meets six Greek Jewish Throughout the Golden Age Holocaust survivors from all of Hollywood, stars including areas of Greece. The director Cary Grant, Bette Davis, and manages to weave a tapestry Orson Welles employed what’s that exposes the complexities of known as a “Mid-Atlantic the Greek-Jewish identity. An accent,” a sort of American- American Greek filmmaker immense complexity is not to British hybrid of speaking that (Amazon) Lilly Scourtis define but to depict what is the relies on tricks like dropping sense of Greekness for the Jews “R” sounds and softening vowels, in order to of Greece that lived in the country for two convey sophistication on the silver screen. It is millenia. Zafeiris Haitidis vividly presents the 58

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realities of World War II Europe on a monochrome at times but also a disaturated canvas. Suddenly, the warmth on the faces of the survivors is an intense statement that they are very much alive. The miracle of living seems to become comprehensible to the unsuspecting viewer. Academy Award winner, Mitchell Block, who is one of the producers of the film mentioned, "The documentary contains some of the finest archival footage that's ever been put in a movie". This statement is, undoubtedly, justified. Deftly used motifs keep the expansive story expertly on course, giving the documentary a film-like quality that adds to its emotional impact without ever feeling forced. Equally the narrative emphasizes the patriotic sentiment of Greek Jews with the examples of Continue on page 57

Aristotle Katopodis & Anna Rezan during the Q&A