Southern California Notes – January 2018

The Greek Heritage Society of Southern California is off to an exciting start for 2018 with the election of its new president, Shelly Papadopoulos, and with the beginning of post-production on THE NEW GREEK AMERICANS 1960-2018. This final chapter will detail the Greek American experience of second and third generations in southern California and their influence in the community. A premiere is scheduled for fall 2018.

Previously, GHS completed THE PIONEERS 1900-1942, which documented the lives of early immigrants who traveled out West and laid a solid foundation for their children. THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW 1940-1960 followed and highlighted children of the pioneers, depicting their successes and their struggles with duality.

The New Greek Americans 1960-2018 premieres in the fall of 2018. Pictured: Archbishop Iakovos (center) in Selma, Alabama, Gov. Michael Dukakis.              COURTESY PHOTOS

THE NEW GREEK AMERICANS investigates the expansion of thriving Greek American communities throughout southern California. Immigration brings more college-educated Greeks and more women. Modern Greek studies are established.  For skilled workers, the food industry offers opportunities.

The primary focus of the Greek American communities is to perpetuate their culture. Baby Boomers include well-known personalities in politics and entertainment. A Greek-American running for President rallied support beyond party lines. Social organizations inspired youth to embrace their Hellenic roots.

Tasulis Dancers                         COURTESY PHOTO

By the end of the 20th century, Greek American women are well established as leaders in their communities. There is a rise of non-Greeks converting to Orthodoxy. Multi-ethnic families celebrate their Greek heritage.

The 21st century leads to a more progressive Greek American, one who understands the importance of continuing his Greek traditions but finds it more difficult to do so. Millennials endeavor to keep their Greekness alive.  But is it enough? Only time will tell. The New Greek Americans must find a way to keep the flame burning brightly and to never let it die out.

Be part of history by supporting THE NEW GREEK AMERICANS.  Send donations to Greek Heritage Society, P.O. Box 34564, Los Angeles, CA 90034.  Call 424-261-GRGR for more information.


Matt Damon and Alexander Payne behind-the-scenes of DOWNSIZING.                                                 PHOTO COURTESY PARAMOUNT

Ten years ago filmmaker Alexander Payne and his writing partner, James Taylor, had an idea for a science-fiction film. But even with Payne’s track record of successes, studio support and financing was slow in coming. Finally the film found a home at Paramount, which recently released DOWNSIZING with much success.

Its central idea springs from the discovery that scientists can shrink humans to five inches tall, an act that is seen as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressful lives in order to go small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing and unexpected adventures.

In his personal life Payne has also had some life-changing adventures. He recently made a visit to his home town of Aeio where he met philologist Maria Kontos, also from Aeio. They were secretly married and a few months ago had the joy of the birth of a daughter. Payne flew back to the U.S. from Greece to bang the drum for the opening of his movie.

With a budget of $68 million, it’s the most expensive movie Payne has ever directed and represents his first foray into the world of digital effects. He also sees “Downsizing” as the culmination of a series of films that began with “Citizen Ruth” in 1996 and continued with the likes of “Election,” “Sideways” and “The Descendants.”

In an interview, Payne said, “It’s a summing-up of all the themes that I’ve worked with. There’s a look at class in America, there’s political satire, and a humanist point of view. It’s all crammed into one greedy package called Downsizing.”

Although the movie is in the science fiction genre, it is still a story that deals with contemporary concerns about immigration, the wage gap, and a rapidly warming planet.


Chef Peter Minaki

Acclaimed Chef Peter Minaki makes his Los Angeles debut at Saint Sophia Philoptochos Society’s An Epicurean Journey with Friends: A Night in Thessaloniki, to be held at Saint Sophia Cathedral.  Showcasing the sophisticated flavors of contemporary Greek cuisine, the 4-course dinner will be expertly paired with Wines of Greece’s fine Greek wines. Evening’s festivities include a Greek Marketplace, silent auction and no-host bar.

Chef Minaki is best known for his Greek Supper Club signature events and his popular blog, Kalofagas. He has authored several cookbooks including “The Everything Mediterranean Cookbook” and is considered one of Canada’s premier Greek food and wine experts. His recipes offer traditional and modern day interpretations of Mediterranean cooking and reflect his eclectic travel experiences. Drawing on inspiration from Thessaloniki’s vibrant and multi-ethnic district of Ladadika, Peter will prepare a feast showcasing the flavors and fusions defining contemporary Greek cuisine.

Wines of Greece curates and distributes premium Greek wines created by 18 family-owned wineries, each producing unique and exceptional tasting varietals.

All proceeds benefit the Saint Sophia Philoptochos Society or “friends of the poor,” providing charitable, benevolent and philanthropic outreach to those in need.

“An Epicurean Journey with Friends: A Night in Thessaloniki with Chef Peter Minaki” will be held on Saturday January 27, 2018, 6:00 p.m, at Saint Sophia Cathedral Huffington Center 1324 S. Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90006

Tickets are $85 per person and include dinner and wine pairings. For reservations and information, contact: Jeanne Boukidis 818-389-7661, stsophiamdlreservations@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Email the author: Mavis Manus

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