Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

The End of an Era

for Greek American Publishing

The Charioteer

The Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora


Pella Publishers

are closing...

• Many thanks to DG for the Pella stationary

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alexander Payne on Greek Names and more (Interview video in English, essay in Greek)

Thoughts and quotes:

"I am an American, not as apple pie, but as baklava." A food metaphor to underline ethnic accent.

From Aniston to Payne, all celebrities now claim Greek ethnicity. No competition with Kanakaredes and Stephanopoulos, though, who have taken public pride for resisting name-change.  
Who will write this article?

Alexander Payne describes himself as an earthling who observes reality, America, Greek America, to then interpret. 
If he could only connect his ethnic identity reclamation with his narrative power to tell a complex tale about Greek America! 

Finally, about the title of the show – "Stroumboulopoulos Tonight" – which hosted Payne:
A moment of cultural revenge for the historical onslaught forced upon immigrant names early in the 20th century.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who Needs Greek American Studies?

Returning to this Vital Question:
Forthcoming Essay

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hellenic Museum of Michigan Exhibit


The Greek musicians of Metro Detroit are pleased to provide an exhibit of the history of their music through the years. Among the groups are the Prevas Brothers, Dino and The Continentals, the Rhodians, the Levendes, the Apollo’s, the Grecians Guards, the Golden Greeks, Romance, Enigma and Oniero.

These musicians are the grateful few who have played a major role in preserving the music of Hellenic culture. Throughout the weddings, baptisms, festivals, concerts and picnics, they gladly and proudly devoted their lives to encourage and promote their musical heritage.

Many groups, from the 1950’s until present have worked hard to ensure that the Hellenic culture’s unique musical history continues. Whether it was singing a simple classic melody bringing back a special memory to one of the senior generation, or exposing youth to Hellenic dance and lyrics for the first time, it has been an extraordinary privilege for this unique group of musicians.

All the Greek groups in Detroit, from the beginning to present, have had a special bond, respect and friendship which to date is unrivaled nationally. It is for that reason we honor those who played a major role in entertaining generations, training and mentoring their successors and ensuring that future generations of Greek-Americans can still enjoy what they held sacred.

Enjoy the sounds of Greece.

The Hellenic Museum of Michigan is located at 67 E. Kirby.

Opening of the exhibit will take place Thursday, November 21,
5-9 pm with live music throughout the evening. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, call 313-871-4100.

Regular Museum hours are Saturdays, 12 – 4 p.m. while building restoration continues. 

Blog: Greek American Girl

A blog worth exploring

Monday, November 18, 2013

MGSA Keynote 2013

Yanis Varoufakis

"Being Greek and an Economist while Greece Burns"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Acropolis of America – Photographs of Hellenic Heritage

This is the social media site of the Hellenic Culture and Heritage Society that has a mission to promote the celebration, the preservation and the "telling" of the culture and heritage of the Greek Americans that settled in the US since 1874.


The Hellenic Culture and Heritage Society of Lowell, Massachusetts has extensively documented the history of Greek Americans for over a century and wants to make this available to all Greeks through these Facebook pages.

We encourage all Greek immigrants, throughout the world, to join us in this effort and share their photos and stories of relatives and friends. We hope through these pages and lively discussions, we can learn new things about our ancestors, their Journey, life and dreams, and even help discover some relatives along the way.

Let us carry forward with great pride, a beautiful culture with a great history, and a nation that has played such a vital role in what the world has come to know as western civilization.

We have a lot to share, so let us start!

Dr. Charles Nikitopoulos

Contact Info, Email: OR

Dimitri Mitropoulos – A Documentary

Saturday, November 9, 2013

“White Ethnicity: A Reappraisal" by Yiorgos Anagnostou

The category "white ethnicity" and the corresponding identity label "white ethnics" entered the national vocabulary in the 1960s and 1970s, and was soon extensively used both in the academy and the wider society. The image below shows the cover page of one of the first books on the subject (edited by Joseph Ryan in 1973.)

Today, almost half-a-century later, the category has – for the most part – fallen out of popular use, though it enjoys wide popularity in academic discussions of diversity. Why is this the case? Why does the academy insist in employing this category? How the meaning of this category has changed through time? How do social scientists define and theorize populations construed as "white ethnic"? I spent more than a year patiently reflecting on these questions. The fruits of this labor were first presented in a keynote in the symposium Reimagining White Ethnicity, organized by the Calandra Institute in 2012 (

An extended version of this work, entitled "White Ethnicity: A Reappraisal" has just been published in the latest issue of the Italian American Review, Vol. 3.2 (2013): 99-129.

For a table of contents, see, (

I hope it will spark renewed critical discussion on the category.

Italian Immigrants in California – Documentary

"Finding the Mother Lode: Italian Immigrants in California" – from Gianfranco Norelli PRO

"This excellent film fills a real gap in our understanding of the complexity of the Italian immigration experience… It is a must see!" Carol L. McKibben, Historian, Stanford University

Italians first came to California in large numbers with the Gold Rush. While most found little gold, they did find a “mother lode” (the rich vein of gold that the gold miners sought) in farming, fishing, commerce and making wine.

“Finding the Mother Lode” documents the experience of Italian immigrants in California, which was markedly different from that of their compatriots elsewhere in the United States. Through stories set in seven Italian communities throughout California, this film examines how economic and social mobility became possible for many Italians in the Golden State. It is also a look at how immigrant identity is maintained and transformed as immigrants become assimilated into mainstream America.

The current film is a follow-up to the filmmakers’ critically acclaimed “Pane Amaro/Bitter Bread” (2009) on the Italian immigration to the East Coast. “Finding the Mother Lode” too, is based on extensive research and weaves together oral histories by community members with scholarly analyses which provide the larger historical context. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Branding a City and Urban Development: The Interplay of Economy and Ethnicity – The Chicago Case

"The creation of retail-oriented neighborhoods is paralleled in ethnic neighborhoods, but with a distinct difference.  Ethnic neighborhoods are redeveloped in and around cultural symbols. This money comes from City Council approved ordinances provided to fund exterior improvement of homes and businesses in order promote development. With City money external developers encourage local businesses to announce and display the culture of neighborhood residents (Betancur, 2005)This is done to draw in outsiders who come as both spectators and consumers.  Amenities, the physical or intangible benefits that render property more attractive, are the critical unit of analysis within ethnic neighborhood redevelopment.  For example, Chicago’s Greektown features acropolis-like columns on Halsted Street to demarcate the entrance and exit points of the neighborhood, along with liberal amounts of Greek flags, Greek restaurants, Hellenic patterns laid into the cement on the sidewalk, and pseudo-ethnic stores, like Athenian Candle Company.  Greektown demonstrates how “ethnic packaging is now working like art did – a way to anchor bohemian culture for an outside community looking for something unlike the suburbs” (Hackworth 2005, 220)."

Selling Chicago as a Global City: Redevelopment and Ethnic Neighborhoods
Kathryn Saclarides
Chicago is in the dynamic process of redefining itself in the national and international urban hierarchy within the new era of globalization. Globalization in Chicago can be understood in multiple contexts.  The following analysis reduces globalization to tangible processes of community revitalization in ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago. The Pilsen neighborhood will be used as a case example of how the city’s political economy and the rise of tourism are shaping the fate of its residents.
Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood is located on the city’s southwest side.  Founded in 1878 by a settlement of Czech families who named their neighborhood after Pizen, a city in what is now the Czech Republic, Pilsen became home to a European immigrant community comprised of Poles, Croatians, Lithuanians, and Italians by the 1930s (Gramennos, Wilson and Wouters 2004).  These ethnic groups came to work in the steel mills, meatpacking plants, and stockyards located in and around the neighborhood during Chicago’s industrial development.  Pilsen emerged as a distinctly Czech area after Mayor John Wentworth instigated the “Battle of the Sands” campaign, which was launched on April 20, 1857 (Kearney 2008).  The “Sands” was a growing Bohemian Czech neighborhood on Chicago’s Near North Side, and in order to contain the growth of this neighborhood, the mayor used the Chicago Police Department to displace Czech families. The police descended upon the neighborhood, “burning houses and beating and sometimes killing residents. The Bohemian population fled the neighborhood and settled south . . . in a neglected area of the city they named Little Pilsen” (Kearney 2008, 7).  Spared by the Chicago Fire of 1871, Pilsen subsequently received another massive influx of residents, this time homeless families who had lost everything in the fire. Overcrowding quickly became an issue.  It is estimated that in 1901, 7,000 people resided within just nine city blocks (XXX).  As a consequence, many of the Protestant Churches in Chicago started Settlement Houses – such as Erie Neighborhood House, Howell Neighborhood House (now Casa Azatlan), and Gads Hill Center– to address social problems in the neighborhood.
Although Mexican workers employed by the railroad or by International Harvest began moving into Pilsen as early as the 1920s, it was not until the 1960s that the Mexican population Pilsen is now known for started to grow in great numbers.  Between 1960 and 1980, the Mexican population of Pilsen and the adjacent neighborhood, known as Little Village, grew from 7,000 to more than 83,000 (Wight 2006).  Several factors contributed to this increase.  Richard J. Daley became Chicago’s Mayor in 1955 and collaborated with the University of Illinois at Chicago to build the West Loop campus in an area largely inhabited by Mexican families, leading them to migrate further south and west.  Second, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (the Hart-Cellar Act), which led to the abolishment of nation-origin quotas. During the 1970s and 1980s, Mexico experienced a demographic explosion while simultaneously struggling with a drop in oil prices, high inflation, and mounting foreign debt.  These “push” and “pull” factors of migration contributed to 18 million immigrants from Mexico entering the United States legally between 1965 and 1995, triple the amount admitted during the previous thirty years (Center for Immigration Studies 1995), and an estimated 485,000 immigrants from Mexico entering the United States illegally each year (Passel 2005).
While immigrant neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves have historically been viewed as overcrowded, decaying sites of contagious social pathology, often tagged as “ghettos,” “slums,” or “barrios” (Charles, 2000),” Pilsen is currently a target for development.  Its low land-values, proximity to downtown, and connections to public transportation have made it attractive to developers.  Perhaps more importantly, Pilsen has an identity that can be packaged and sold.  It contains a colorful mixture of multi-family apartments, small cottages, flats, and commercial buildings, and many of its buildings have architectural adornments – such as cornices, pediments, and mansard roofs – that suggest the “old country.”  There are several historic churches (St. Paul and St. Adelbert), and numerous mosaics and murals, in addition to Mexican bakeries, Mexican restaurants, and Mexican grocery stores, all of which are named after specific cities in Mexico.  In recognition of the rich cultural history of the neighborhood, Pilsen was named a National Register Historic District on February 1, 2006.  The National Museum of Mexican Art, located at the intersection of W. 19th Street and Wolcott, is the largest Latino arts institution in the country and the only accredited Latino museum according to the American Association of Museums.  All of these cultural expressions and amenities create the sense of being in an authentic, “old world” neighborhood.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

When Greek Diaspora Comedians Pursuit Ethnic Roots

Documentary in the Making: The State of Stand Up Comedy in Greece 

Director and producer (and former TV personality!) George Tsioutsioulas will be in Greece from November 18-25 shooting a documentary on stand up comedian Angelo Tsarouchas who is doing a show at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation.

George is looking for interesting, engaging and well spoken people to interview in Athens about the following things: Greece's emerging comedy scene, Greece's contribution to the Arts, the economy and how Greece is being portrayed by the media, etc.  Any leads are welcome; please contact George directly at

Part of the story is Angelo's journey in fulfilling a lifelong dream, but the other aspect is shedding some light on what is happening in Greece right now and why it is happening.  It seems Greece- the country where theatre and specifically comedy and tragedy was born- has been slow to recognize and embrace the idea of stand up comedy. It appears this is starting to change and George would like to explore the reasons why it's taken this long...and why now.

In the meantime, Here is a little teaser of the documentary:

Further information:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Not Greek, Hellene"

«Η πολιτική ορθότητα δεν θέλει να καταλάβει ότι ο σεβασμός για μια εθνική ή εθνοτική κοινότητα ή για μια οποιαδήποτε μειονότητα δεν είναι ζήτημα ευπρεπούς ονόματος και άλλων συμβολικών καλλωπισμών, αλλά εξαρτάται από τις εμπράγματες σχέσεις αυτής της ομάδας με τον περίγυρό της. Και οι σχέσεις αυτές δημιουργούν μια ορισμένη εικόνα. Αν η εικόνα είναι ανακριβής ή αν έχει γίνει ένα ισοπεδωτικό και κακόβουλο στερεότυπο, δεν θα τη διορθώσει καμία αλλαγή ονόματος και καμία έκκληση στην ανεκτικότητα. Θα τη διορθώσει μια σχεδιασμένη αλλαγή αυτών των σχέσεων, που θα λαμβάνει υπόψη τι έφταιξε και από τις δύο πλευρές για την ανακρίβεια και την προκατάληψη. Εκείνη η έξαλλη ελληνοαμερικανίδα τραγουδίστρια που ούρλιαζε πρόπερσι στο βιντεοκλίπ της ότι δεν είναι Greek αλλά Hellene δεν έγινε γι’ αυτό περισσότερο σεβαστή στο αμερικανικό κοινό ούτε έπεισε κανέναν ότι ένας αγλαώνυμος Hellene θα αποκαθιστούσε την υπόληψη του συκοφαντημένου Greek.»
Δ. Κούρτοβικ

Friday, November 1, 2013

Yiayia and Pappou Photo Contest 2013

Photo by Danae Renieri 

For guidelines see,

This is a wonderful project!
But why restrict the competition to photographers of Greek descent only?
Why not be all-inclusive, and welcome photos and stories by "non-Greek" spouses, neighbors, and friends? We all stand to benefit from their perspective.

Saint Nicholas Church, Ten Years Later (Video)