Tag Archives: Greek American

Remembering Jack Kerouac

21 Oct

 

Jack Kerouac

March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969

Jack Kerouac was only forty-seven years old when he passed away. The day before he died, he’d been drinking whiskey and writing at his home in St. Petersburg, Florida, when he suddenly felt ill. He called out to his wife, a Greek American from his hometown of Lowell, and Stella Sampas Kerouac got him to St. Anthony’s Hospital, where he ultimately died from his internal hemorrhage. He was buried in Edson Cemetery in Lowell, in the Sampas family plot.

 

 

White Trash Uncut: The Resource Magazine Interview with Christopher Makos

20 Mar

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Around the same time that Jack Kerouac packed his rucksack and went on the road, Christopher Makos was born into a Greek American family in Kerouac’s hometown. In the June 2013 issue of That’s, Ned Kelly reported:

Christopher Makos was born in 1948 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the birthplace of pioneering Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac; a heritage he was oblivious of in his youth. “Growing up in Lowell, I wasn’t aware of anything, except how to leave,” he says. “How to grow up fast and figure out how to leave.”

Sounds pretty Beat to me!

Makos went on to live in California and then, after high school, moved to New York and, later, Paris. It was there that he became an apprentice to the esteemed Man Ray. Back in New York City, he photographed the scene on the Lower East Side—Beat writer William S. Burroughs, the Ramones, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Debbie Harry are just a few of the icons who ended up in his book White Trash. Though it was the ’70s by this point, it’s got it’s Beat Generation connections. (If you’re interested in reading up more on this, I’d recommend Victor Bockris’ Beat Punks.)

Makos became friends with Andy Warhol, who called him the “most modern photographer in America.”

The latest incarnation of this seminal punk photography book, White Trash Uncut, is coming out in May 2014 (published by Glitterati Incorporated), and Resource Magazine’s Aria Isberto caught up with the Greek-American photographer to talk about the underground scene, what it takes to get published, and what kind of camera he uses. You can read it here.

Interested in my writing for Resource Magazine? Check out:::

Read more of my Lowell posts here. Among my favorites are:::

Read about other Greek Americans I’ve written about on my blog. Here’s a few selections:::

Which Greek American do you want to see me write about next?!

Speed Networking with Eventsy

18 Mar

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Read any career advice book, and one thing is clear: getting the job of your dreams is all about who you know. The key to success, as you’ve heard countless times before, is networking, networking, networking.

But what if the mere mention of networking sends shivers down your spine as you conjure up memories of limp handshakes and boring conversations? What if the idea of trying to infiltrate a circle of insiders at a cocktail party sounds more difficult than actually giving the keynote speech at your company?

Then Eventsy’s Speed Networking events are for you! Eventsy is changing the way you look at networking. Through “interactive events with a purpose,” New York’s comprehensive social networking club is making it easy and fun to make worthwhile connections.

Last week I attended the first-ever Speed Networking event hosted by Eventsy, and I can honestly tell you that I walked away having made some of the most genuine connections I’ve ever made at a networking event. Let me say upfront that I was invited to cover the event. I therefore did not go into it all geared up to network and pitch myself and my writing, but rather to observe. The gonzo journalist side of me kicked in, though, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to try my hand at networking.

The first part of the night was open, free-form networking, and I felt like I often do at networking cocktail events: awkward. There’s nothing easy about walking up to strangers and trying to insert yourself into a conversation they’re already having. It feels like you’re interrupting a private, impassioned conversation for no good reason other than to have someone—anyone—to talk to so you’re not standing by yourself like an idiot. Fortunately, I overheard a woman nervously tell the event hosts that she was also attending solo, so I quickly introduced myself. It gave us both an immediate connection, and we worked the buddy system throughout the evening, occasionally checking in on each other even after we’d braved our way into other conversations. Even though this part of the evening was the most nerve-racking to my introverted self, it was actually the point where I made a valuable connection with someone I did not end up meeting during the more formal speed networking portion of the evening. Lessons learned:

  • Warm up to networking by reaching out to others who have come alone or are on the outskirts of a conversation. Networking ability does not necessarily indicate position at a company.
  • Use the buddy system. Once you’ve met one person, you can take turns introducing each other to new people. This makes introductions much more natural.
  • Fake it ’til you make it. Just because you don’t feel like a natural at networking doesn’t mean you can’t do it or that others will even notice.
  • Talk to everyone and really get to know them. The valuable connection I made was with someone whom I at first thought had no bearing at all on my career objectives, and it was only at the very tail end of our conversation that we both realized we could potentially meet each other’s needs for an aspect of our businesses that we weren’t there pitching.

The main course of the Eventsy networking event was the speed networking. I’d done speed networking three times before, and I joked with one of the other attendees that although it had never landed me a job before I had gotten a relationship out of it once. Hey, you can make all sorts of connections through speed networking! I really like the format of speed networking. If you’ve never done it before, let me quickly explain how it was done at Eventsy: Half of us lined up on one side and the other half lined up across from us so that each of us were facing one other person. Then we were given five minutes to talk to each other.

Most people use this time to give their “elevator pitch”—their spiel on what they do or their pitch for what they could do, told in the time it would take to ride with someone from the ground floor to the executive suite in an office building. We weren’t given any formal instructions on giving our elevator pitch or what we should say during these five minutes, so it was pretty informal but in a good way. It felt like a real conversation in which we talked about what we did, why we came to the Eventsy Networking Event, what we were hoping to achieve from it, and how we could help each other. Seriously, that last question was key because it got to the crux of how the event could benefit us much more than a summary of our work experience would. Lessons here:

  • Listen more than you talk. Ask questions to find out not just what someone does day-to-day but what they are hoping to do next and why they are networking. Maybe they can fill an opening at your company, which even if it’s not in your department is still an asset.
  • Keep the focus on the other person, but in the back of your mind think about yourself so that when it comes time to talk about yourself you can tailor your skills to their needs. It’s easier to get a job—whether it’s a full-time position or freelance work—if you do the hard work of establishing how you can help solve their needs through what you do.

Most of us were not even remotely in the same field. I met bankers, real-estate brokers, lawyers, photographers, fashion designers, and job hunters. If this sounds like it would result in a bunch of futile connections, think again:

  • If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know that I regularly attend publishing cocktail parties and readings. I love attending those events, but guess what? They’re saturated with people who have the same skill sets as me. At Eventsy Speed Networking event, I was the only writer and editor, which meant that if anyone there was looking for a writer or editor I might be the only one they now know, making me the top—okay, only—candidate.  Diversification is key.
  • As Maria Pardalis—Eventy’s founder—said, maybe the person you’re talking to has nothing to do with your industry, but maybe her roommate just so happens to be in your field. Your network is larger than your immediate circle.
  • Our lives are about more than just the minutiae of our daily jobs. We need all kinds of people in our lives to help us achieve our dreams. If we want to manage our income, we need to know financial advisers. If we want a roof over our head, it helps to know a good broker. If we give readings, we might need to hire a photographer to take photos of our events. And, of course we could all use a fashion designer in our lives to help us look our best, whether we’re headed to our next networking event, a job interview, or accepting the Pulitzer Prize.

Ready to try your hand at networking? Check out these upcoming Eventsy events:

Tomorrow (3/19/14): Monthly Young Professionals Networking Happy Hour Event

Come network and mingle at Eventsy’s Monthly Young Professionals Business Networking Happy Hour Events at NYC hotspot the Sky Room!

Meet other Young Professionals at the city’s highest rooftop lounge and get transported to a high energy oasis with amazing 360 degree views of Manhattan.

All guests will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and $5 drink specials all night long.  Bring your business cards for a chance to win several fabulous prizes.

DJ Erika Hamilton will also be onsite spinning the night away!

Event is FREE and open to all so if you have any friends who are interested invite them along.

Don’t forget to bring your business cards, as always, Eventsy will be giving away some fabulous prizes!

FMI and registration here.

March 31, 2014: New York City Job Fair

Eventsy Members looking for new employment opportunities are invited to attend the New York Job Fair.

Dozen’s of local hiring companies will be meeting with attendees one-on-one at the New York Job Fair on March 31st, 2014.  Please ensure you bring hard copies of your resumes, business cards and dress in professional attire.

REMEMBER – always dress for the job you wish to attain!

To receive the complete company list and register for the fair Click HERE

Meet face-to-face with local recruiters in your area. Attendance is FREE for all job seekers!

FMI and registration here.

April 17, 2014: Monthly NYC Professinals Networking Happy Hour Event

Come network, mingle and meet new people at Eventsy’s Monthly NYC Professionals Business Networking Happy Hour at NYC hotspot the Sky Room!

Meet other NYC Professionals at the city’s highest rooftop lounge and get transported to a high energy oasis with amazing 360 degree views of Manhattan.  All guests will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and Happy Hour pricing with $5 beers and $7 mixed drinks.

Bring your business cards for a chance to win several fabulous prizes.

DJ Erika Hamilton will also be onsite spinning the night away!
Event is FREE and open to all so if you have any friends who are interested invite them along.

Don’t forget your BUSINESS CARDS!

FMI and registration here.

April 29, 2014: Eventy’s Monthly Speed Networking Event

Join other NYC Professionals for our exciting and extremely beneficial Monthly Speed Networking Events!

In today’s fast-paced world, networking is critical whether you are an intern or a CEO. You will make over 30 new business connections during our fun Speed Networking session and during the unstructured networking happy hour time which will take place throughout the evening.

Tuesday, April 29
Public House NYC
140 East 41st Street – NYC

6pm to 6:30pm – Registration & Reception
6:30pm to 6:45pm – Introductions
6:45pm to 8:00pm – Speed Networking Sessions
8:00pm to 9:00pm – Follow-up Conversations & Cocktails (Optional)

Admission: $10.00

Complimentary Hors d’Oeuvres & Drink Specials

$4 Domestic Draft Beer: Budweiser, Bud Light, Shock Top, Brooklyn Lager
$5 House Wine: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot
$6 Well Mixed Drinks

Seating is Very Limited – Register Now to Guarantee Your Spot!
Business Cards are Essential!

Speed Networking is a new and fresh way to quickly build your business and contact list in a time efficient matter.

What is Speed Networking?

Speed Networking is a fun and highly effective mechanism for generating new business contacts in a small period of time. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, young in your career or experienced – you will enjoy meeting people in this type of format. Eventsy is a firm believer in putting people face-to-face to facilitate direct conversation.

Each participant will have the opportunity for over 16 face-to-face sessions with other like-minded NYC professionals. After the end of each session, participants will quickly alternate their seating arrangements to pair up with their next networking opportunity. This process will continue until all participants have interacted with each other.

In just a few minutes, participants will share business cards, history and offer new contacts with valuable information about their business and/or profession. After the official Speed Networking sessions are over, participants are encouraged to continue networking throughout the evening.

FMI and registration here.

You can also find other fun social events organized through Eventsy here. As Pardalis said, bring your business cards everywhere. You never know who you’re going to meet!

New Year’s Resolution: Have Fun, Thanks to Eventsy

13 Jan

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One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 is to have more fun! New York City is perhaps the greatest place on earth to live, but when you live here you sometimes forget that. Life gets in the way. Things like work and grocery shopping (or getting takeout) and, in my case, readings and publishing events leave little time for play.

This Wednesday is the launch of a new women-run social club that takes the work out of planning your social life and puts the fun back into it! Maria A. Pardalis, the woman behind the Greek American Fashion Shows I’ve been covering the past two years, co-founded Eventsy with marketing maven Soula Adam. They’re kicking off their launch with an event at The DL and have a slew of unique social events already lined up:

New York City’s newest and hottest upscale social club, Eventsy, will celebrate its official launch on January 15 at one of NYC’s favorite nightclubs–The DL, located at 95 Delancy Street. Eventsy is an emerging start up that was created for professionals between the ages of 21 – 55 that are simply tired of spending unnecessary time and effort into planning their social lives. Having fun, making friends, networking, meeting a significant other and discovering new things shouldn’t be complicated or another item on anyone’s “to-do” list.

Eventsy will begin the celebration with a VIP Cocktail Reception from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by an open celebration from 7:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy signature Eventsy drinks, unlimited access to an onsite photo booth, sweet treats from Potion Cupcakes & Xocai® Chocolate, a water station by Hint, upbeat music by DJ Paulie K and a pampering session by skincare experts Rodan + Fields®. The night will also feature a live performance by Violinist Sarina Suno, complimentary gifts and several chances to win valued prizes from sponsors.

A bold, women-run company, “Eventsy is a New Yorker’s very own personal event planner that essentially makes it easy for members to once again enjoy a rich social life, meet new people, and network in an enjoyable environment without having to be glued to a computer screen and engage in impersonal online interactions,” stated co-founder Maria Pardalis. “We are unlike any other social club in New York, as we create affordable, tailored events for our members.”

Events include weekly business networking happy hours in a relaxed environment, intimate signature dinners &fun brunches, upstate vineyard tours, riveting kayaking adventures, paintball competitions, rock climbing expeditions and weekend getaways. Members will enjoy premier access to NYC’s hottest lounges, restaurants, bars and nightlife as well as exclusive invitations to film & movie screenings, all for a membership fee that is affordable for busy New Yorkers.

Eventsy is one’s very own personal planner – events planned around core interests, full time staff with service 7 days a week, and personalized attention to detail. Individual membership is priced at $365 per year. When a member refers a friend, both the member and friend will receive a $50 event credit. For more information on membership, please visit http://www.eventsy.com/membership.

About Eventsy

Eventsy is a multifaceted members-only social club that brings a new breath of fresh air in the event, activity, and get-away arenas. By going the extra mile and only coordinating interactive events with a purpose, Eventsy bridges the current social gap by providing unique fun-filled adventures, business networking events that are actually fun, and
endless travel and sporting opportunities.Based in New York City, Eventsy is dedicated to providing a friendly platform for which its members can make new friendships, meet professional contacts and/or a significant other, all while embarking on life-enhancing and fun
experiences.For more information on Eventsy, visit www.eventsy.com.

See you at The DL!

I’m Giving a Free Reading Tonight at KGB Bar

2 Nov

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I’m reading at KGB Bar tonight! I’m super excited. I’ve been to a few readings here before, and it’s got a killer atmosphere. Not only that, but check out the impressive lineup:

With Professors:

Wang Ping

Miguel Algarin

Nancy Mercado

Carlos Manuel Rivera

Julie Patton

Everton Sylvester

At 6:30pm Professor Cornelius Eady reads and perform with his Rough Magic band’s guitarist Charlie Rauh and Concetta Abbate on the violin

And poets reading with or without acoustic musicians:
Carl Hancock Rux
Jeff Wright
Brian Omni Dillon
Ronnie Norpel
Susan Yung
Kate Levin
Sarah Sarai
Stephanie Nikolopoulos
R! on verse acoustic guitar & harmonicas

Und singing in German und mit monologue:
Leigh Martha Klinger

I’m listed as a poet, and I do in fact write poetry, but I was planning on reading an excerpt from Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Specifically, I plan on reading about Kerouac’s Greek connection, his Lowell friend Sebastian Sampas.

The event starts at 6 and is free and open to the general public.

KGB Bar is on 85 East 4th Street (near 2nd Avenue)
New York, New York 10003

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

We’re in Empty Mirror!

14 Oct

Empty Mirror published an excerpt from Burning Furiously Beautiful!

The excerpt is from the sections “The Sea Is My Brother” and “Schizoid” from the beginning of the biography. It begins with Jack Kerouac’s Lowell friend, a Greek American named Sebastian Sampas, going off to Camp Lee and then tells of Kerouac’s time in boot camp. During this time period, the young author was working on the book The Sea Is My Brother.

 

Want to read another excerpt?

Here’s one on the tragic life story of Kerouac’s father.

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

5 of the Most Famous People and Things to Come Out of Lowell

9 Oct

200px-Whistler_SelbstporträtWhistler’s self-portrait

You already know that Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell and set many of his books there, but the Massachusetts town is also the birthplace of several other famous people and inventions. With Lowell Celebrates Kerouac going on this week, I thought it would be fun to explore 5 fun facts about Lowell:

1.  The first AOL instant message was sent by a Greek American from Lowell

2.  Remember the drink Moxie? It was invented in Lowell. You can buy it here and visit the roadside attraction the Moxie Bottle House in Union, Maine

3.  The son of a railway engineer, painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell and there you can visit the Whistler House Museum of Art

4.  The brilliant Greek American photographer Christopher Makos is from Lowell

5.  Lowell is also the birthplace of Bette Davis

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

Greek American Fashion Week: Hair by Christo Curlisto

18 Sep

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If you want to know why the hair coming down the catwalk at the 2013 Greek American Fashion Week runway event looked so great, it’s because Curlisto salon did the hair.

Curlisto is a salon that specializes in curly hair but provides services for all hair types. As the salon’s website says:

Christo awakens his clients to the hair they’ve always dreamed of and could only hope to achieve. With his keen insight into the special needs of curly hair and his desire to allow his clients to celebrate their individual style, Christo’s philosophy centers on providing clients with the flexibility to wear their curly hair the way they want and choose to; that is why Curlisto was created….

Curlisto focuses on first nourishing the hair with ingredients that specifically remedy curly hair challenges. Each client’s curls are unique, with specific texture, structure, and wave. Curlisto methods of reviving hair with special treatments are the basis from which an individual’s particular needs are met. Cutting curly hair is an art….

The hairstyles at Greek American Fashion Week were indeed works of art. They worked with the models’ natural hair textures to create eye-catching hairstyles. Whether rocking unrestrained locks, perfectly coiffed bouffants, or elegant updos, the models had hairstyles that brought out their natural beauty and complemented their wardrobe.

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Curlisto was founded by Christo:

At the age of 12, Christo started his apprenticeship at his family’s salon in the Greek island of Cyprus. During his teenage years, he ventured to Paris and advanced as a young talent for his Parisian clientele. By his early 20s, Christo led a team of platform artists around the world to educate salon professionals. His passion for hair also led him to develop his own line of hair care products that are now widely distributed in Europe, Asia and South Africa. In 2002, Christo opened Christo Fifth Avenue Salon so he could expand his empire and service his A-list and royalty clientele.

Christo’s hair expertise has appeared on Bravo’s “Guide to Style,” TLC’s “Date Patrol,” PIX11, ABC, CBS, FOX 5, and Telemundo. His work has been featured in such print publications as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, Vanity Fair, American Salon, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Marie Claire.

Curlisto Salon is conveniently located in Midtown New York and offers a variety of services from cuts and styling to hair treatments. The salon also sells its high-quality hair products, for men and women, that extend beyond “curly” to “wavy,” “medium,” “tight,” and “coily,” in addition to “straight.” These products are great for curly Greek hair as well as other hair types. The website also features how-to videos so you can replicate the looks on your own. Thanks to Curlisto, you can have runway-worthy hair every day!

 

Greek American Fashion Week Presents Stratton

18 Sep

The elegant designs of Stratton hit the runway at the 2013 Greek American Fashion Week.

Stratton’s sophisticated designs suit women looking for a tailored look. They are structured, well cut, and made from luxe textiles. They belong to those who favor the iconic styles of Jackie O. and Audrey Hepburn.

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Perhaps the most telling trademark of Stratton’s collection is the neckline—from boat neck to keyhole, high cut to spaghetti straps, the details are in the décolletage.

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In addition to his dresses, Stratton makes refined everyday wear. Though these pieces are a little more flowy, they still feature precise cuts and are in a classic color palette. This strappy number could be dressed up or down, for instance.

 

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Stratton Bouloukos graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and studied fashion design at Parsons in Paris and fine arts at Parsons here in New York City. He is a counselor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

As the Stratton website says:

Season after season, Stratton’s design ethos has demonstrated how forward yet timeless creations of graceful, structured pieces can become progressive, modern classics. He produces his luxurious made-to-measure clothing line and handbags in the United States. Superior in both design and fit than ordinary ready-to-wear, each made-to-measure garment is constructed to fit the client individually. After her measurements are taken, they are then paired with an existing base pattern of equivalent size and altered to create a new pattern from which to construct the custom garment; the result is a well-fitted product, created in the client’s chosen textiles. The usual time-frame for made-to-measure clothing is approximately three weeks.

Following his success at Barneys, Stratton interned for four months with the international house of Carolina Herrera before landing a two-year stint at Albert Nipon as head design assistant. When the company folded, Stratton decided to once again venture out on his own. His Fall 1992 line of chic day dresses in sumptuous wools and silks earned him an article in WWD as a promising young talent. Henri Bendel and a few specialty boutiques carried the line. He then began generating a number of private clients who were seeking one-of-a-kind designs.

Today, his clients include high-profile names.

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Greek American Fashion Week Presents Angelo Lambrou

18 Sep

Fashion designer Angelo Lambrou was back again this year at the 2013 Greek American Fashion Week.

You may recall that last year, the event’s founder Maria Pardalis wore one of his designs at the show. You can read my full coverage of his collection from last year here.

As in 2013, Angelo Lambrou showcased his gorgeous wedding dresses. His designs are painstakingly detailed.

Take for instance, this dress. The bodice is intricate and tactile with 3D flowers. The back features a low scoop neck, with flowers sewn to the straps. The back is a particularly important aspect of a wedding dress, as guests, family, and friends have grown accustomed to watching a bride walk down the aisle and pay more attention to the back of a wedding dress more than they would the back of any other dress.

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Lambrou also showcased high-sheen evening wear. In frosted plums, Concord grapes, and silvers, these dresses exuded the magic of a winter’s eve. They were sophisticated yet over-sized bows kept them playful.

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Angelo Lambrou is based in the East Village here in New York now, but he was born in Southern Africa to Greek-Cypriot parents.  He studied fashion in Johannesburg and London before returning to Botswana to start his own fashion line.  He worked with Miss Botswana in 1999 and designed all the contestants’ dresses for the 2000 Miss Universe competition; he dressed Patti LaBelle for the 2002 Grammy Awards and Maria Bello for the Secret Window premier.