Archive | September, 2012

10 Things You May Not Know about Jack Kerouac

27 Sep

Here are ten things you may not know about Jack Kerouac.

  1. His parents were French-Canadian immigrants, and he didn’t learn to speak English until he went to school.  It wasn’t until he was a teenager that he began feeling comfortable conversing in English.
  2. He was the baby of the family.  He had an older sister named Caroline (nicknamed “Nin”) and an older brother named Gerard, who died when he was just a boy.
  3. He was a Classicist.  He used to skip school just to go read the Classics in the library.
  4. He attended prep school.  Graduating a year early from high school, he had a scholarship lined up to attend Columbia University, but they required him to attend Horace Mann Preparatory School first.
  5. While in school, he wrote music reviews.  He also had a job as a sports writer for his hometown paper.
  6. He joined the US Navy and the US Merchant Marine.
  7. His go-to food while hitchhiking across the country was apple pie.
  8. His first book, The Town and the City, was published under the name John Kerouac.  When he drew the cover he envisioned for On the Road, he also wrote his name as John Kerouac.  His parents had given him the name Jean-Louis, and John was the closest Americanization of his name.
  9. His first marriage took place in prison.  He had been arrested as a material witness after his friend murdered a man who had been stalking him.  Kerouac’s girlfriend agreed to post bail if he married her.
  10. In addition to writing, he also was a painter.

Writing Wednesday: Why I’m Tweeting and Posting on Facebook

26 Sep

I have a nifty little free newsletter that you can sign up for over there on the right-hand column of this blog à.  All you have to do is type in your email address, and you’ll automatically receive notification whenever I post a new blog entry. Those who are signed up for my free newsletter find out about my blog articles first.  The second an article gets posted, subscribers get notification.

A lot of you come to my website through Facebook and Twitter, though.  I generally post on Facebook that I have a new entry up about three hours after the entry posts.  I should probably sync my Facebook and Twitter accounts through HootSuite so it posts to Twitter at the same, but I haven’t done that yet.  I don’t have any particular reason why.  I just tend to use my Twitter account a little differently and less frequently.  My Facebook account tends to be more personal.  On Twitter, I post more publishing and Beat news.

Since a lot of people prefer not to sign up for the newsletters, social media is a great way for me to keep people up to date on what I’m writing about.  But it does more than just drive traffic to individual articles I post.

According to AllTwitter, social media is “strongly correlated to Google search engine rankings.”  Check out this incredible fact:

Facebook is the highest correlated factor when it comes to search engine rankings – even higher than on-page optimization like domain name keywords and traditional off-page optimization like backlinks.

Before returning to book publishing, I used to do SEO (search engine optimization) for a company.  It’s incredible to think that social media may have even more influence on page rank than SEO.

It also says that sharing posts is one of the biggest ranking improvers.  So feel free to share my blog entries with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

That’s my story, but it should be yours too.  I’ve spoken to many of you one-on-one about the importance of blogging and social media.  If you’re an aspiring writer, you need to build a platform, an audience of readers.  Being a good storyteller just isn’t enough these days, unfortunately.  Publishers want to know you have a built-in readership.  If you have a blog, it’s super easy to post it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ whenever it gets updated.  And sites like Hootsuite, make it even easier to do it quickly and efficiently.  Why aren’t you using social media to build your writing career?

Foreign Film Titles of On the Road

24 Sep

The other day I was editing a book that mentioned an 80s movie.  This particular book happened to have been translated into English, though, and the title of the movie was botched!  The tricky thing with translation work is that there are multiple words that mean similar things and sometimes the literal translation isn’t correct.

The film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road debuted in Cannes back in May and, although it won’t make it to the US until December, it has gone on to show in some other countries around the world.  However, if you’re looking to find out if the film is showing in theatres in your country, you may find it listed with a translated title.

According to IMDB, these are the titles that On the Road is going by in other countries:

En el camino Spain (imdb display title)
Kelyje Lithuania (imdb display title)
Matkalla Finland (imdb display title)
Na Estrada Brazil (imdb display title)
Na ceste Czech Republic (imdb display title)
On the road – Unterwegs Germany (imdb display title)
Onderweg Netherlands
Pela Estrada Fora Portugal (imdb display title)
Sur la route France (imdb display title)
W drodze Poland (imdb display title)

Some of these, for example the French and Spanish, are literal translations, but it doesn’t appear that all of them are.  I believe “Matkalla” is the Finnish word for “trips.”  The Polish title could also translate as “In Transit.”

If you speak any of these languages, let us know if they’re exact translations.

Greek American Fashion Week: Timothy George

21 Sep




The Greek American Fashion Week Show concluded with the Spring/Summer 2013 collection by Timothy George.  Learning through apprenticeships at highly respected garment factories, George debuted work that was pure luxury.  His designs looked expensive both in materials used and cuts.

George used beautiful French and Italian fabric.  The most stunning fabric was a lightweight teal erupting with raised, soft-looking orange dots.  This surreal and gorgeous fabric was used for a wrap blouse, a t-shirt, and a skirt.  Pairing them with a high-sheen orange skirt or with a more neutral and plain top or bottom showed how versatile this otherworldly cloth could be.  Other fabrics included softer ones, which were masterfully cut to bring a formality to their delicateness or were draped and billowed to promote their femininity.  Other fabrics, on the other hand, were tough and high-sheen.  With a high-end aesthetic, the collection reflected beauty, extravagance, strength, and femininity.

Timothy George is based in Midtown Manhattan.

Greek American Fashion Week: Angelo Lambrou

20 Sep

Of the four designers showing their Spring/Summer 2013 collections at the Greek American Fashion Week Show, only Angelo Lambrou debuted a wedding gown.  The fashion show’s founder and emcee Maria Pardalis, who looked gorgeous in one of Lambrou’s dresses (see pic here), described Lambrou’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection as “African tribal bridal.”  The all-white wedding gown made use of folds and folds of cloth, capturing movement and conjuring drama.

Another dress in his collection kept that billowy white skirt but swapped out the top for a polka-dotted red strapless top.  It’s perfect for bride who wants a wedding dress with unique personality.  It doesn’t have to be worn as a wedding dress, though.  It could also be worn to a fancy summer soiree, say a moonlit cruise.  An alternate version was that same dress but with a black bottom.  This looked even more like evening wear.  What caught my attention was the accessorizing — check out those fantastic statement necklaces!

In addition to the rollicking-waves dresses, there were also sleek evening dresses and smart daytime dresses.  The sleek evening dress was classic, a true wardrobe staple.  The daytime dresses had a retro vibe with stripes, polka dots, and thick piping.  They were flirty in a campy sort of way.  Very adorable.

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.

Video from Collaboration with Jazz Musician David Amram

19 Sep


This is the video from my collaborative reading with David Amram at Cornelia Street Cafe on Labor Day.  If you missed my full recap, you can read it here.

In the video you’ll hear me reading a section on Jack Kerouac’s time in Mexico, which gives some perspective on Kerouac’s faith, his sensitivity toward animals, and his tumultuous friendship with Neal Cassady.  The book I’m reading from is my book with Paul Maher Jr. called Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Special thanks to my videographer Liz Koenig.

The event also picked up some press!

Larry Closs mentioned it in his article “Transcending Beat with David Amram.”

The Pappas Post mentioned it in “Stephanie Nikolopoulos and Jazz legend David Amram pay tribute to Jack Kerouac.”

Greek American Fashion Week: ENOE ME by Lia Kastanidi

18 Sep


I’m one of those people who obsesses over fashion magazines from abroad, always requesting that anyone returning from Greece brings me the latest hot issue from the newsstand.  If you happened to catch the May 2012 issue of Greek Vogue you would’ve seen the feature on ENOE ME‘s Lia Kastanidi in it. From the urban city of Patra, in the Peloponnese region of Greece, Kastanidi has been garnering a media attention lately — and with good reason!

Kastanidi showcased her 2013 Spring/Summer collection for ENOE ME at the Greek American Fashion Week Show.  Making use of vibrant colors, flowing fabrics, and relaxed cuts, the solid-colored pieces in ENOE ME’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection had an urban desert vibe to them.  They looked comfortable yet luxurious, bohemian yet sophisticated.  Very downtown cool.

The ensembles in the collection evoke a casual nomadic flair.  This may have to do with Kastanidi branding her company after her native land of Uenye in the Black Sea of Asia Minor.

Kastanidi studied at the London College of Fashion and New York’s FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology), before returning to Greece in 2007.

Greek American Fashion Week: Tatiana Raftis Spring/Summer 2013

17 Sep

The first collection to hit the runway at the Greek American Fashion Week Show was one of New York’s own — the Astoria, Queens, born Tatiana Raftis, whose parents hail from Greece and Cyprus.  Raftis studied evening-wear design at FIT, The Fashion Institute of Technology, here in New York, and her Spring/Summer 2013 collection boasted drop-dead-gorgeous gowns and dresses for formal occasions.  Raftis’ clothing designs are statement pieces that are sure to turn heads.

Raftis’ Spring/Summer 2013 collection is for any woman who wants to exude femininity but still possess a bit of edge.  Her dresses evoke medieval princesses who know how to yield a sword.  They’re pure romance with florals, pastels, and sequins, and yet the jagged cuts and use of black suggest an intense passion to be reckoned with.

My personal favorites were the dusty lavender gown with the dramatic slit, which someone better snatch up for the next Oscars, as well as the sequined pink shorts, which were styled so perfectly with a white shirt and pink bolero so as to make the outfit look hot yet not overdone.

Tatiana Raftis provides custom orders for clients out of her Queens studio.

Greek American Fashion Week Show Recap

14 Sep

Gate-crashing fashionistas had no luck sneaking into the first Greek American Fashion Week Show, which kicked off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. The hot-ticket event was completely sold out well in advance of its September 7, 2012, date, and the security at the Midtown Loft & Terrace was tight.  After all, some of the biggest names in Greek fashion — ENOE ME by Lia Kastanidi, Timothy George, Angelo Lambrou, and Tatiana Raftis — had come together to preview their Spring/Summer 2013 collections, and even the Consul General at Consulate General of the Republic of CyprusMs. Koula Sophianou, was in attendance to celebrate these bright young Greek designers.  The evening was clearly about more than showcasing lush fabrics, innovative cuts, and taste-making, though.  The Greek American Fashion Week Show was a visually engaging testament to the innovative spirit of Greeks throughout the world.

Organized by the Fashion & Design Committee of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC), the Greek American Fashion Week Show was produced by Ioannis Makris.  Founder/HACCYP Maria A. Pardalis (pictured top row right) emceed the event, looking radiant in a dusty-rose-hued dress designed by Angelo Lambrou and wearing her hair in romantic tendrils.  Peter, also an emcee, took a more casual approach to style, embracing grunge’s comeback by rocking jeans and a plaid button-down shirt.

During intermission, attendees were treated to the captivating Sarina Suno, The Violin Diva (pictured top row middle).  Gyrating her hips, pumping her bow in the air like a rock star, and taming an electric violin into musical submission, the classically trained Japanese violinist, who has played in Athens and throughout the world, became the music she was playing.

Throughout the evening, NXNY, Trump Soho’s resident DJ, kept the atmosphere lively with an eclectic mix of new and old beats.

If you think the fashion forward don’t eat, you’ve never been to a Greek fashion show.  Delicious morsels from Loi, Maria Loi’s Upper West Side restaurant, circled the room, with attendees chasing after the servers for more.  (Incidentally FOS, the Forum on Orthodox Spirituality, will be hosting its outreach party for its new series at Loi on September 25 at 7pm; for more information visit the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.)  Flavored Stoli Vodka and other spirits and wines flowed freely at a neon-lit bar.

The event’s platinum sponsors were The Artisnal Kitchen, Jet Airways, Korres (whose products I used to get myself fashion-show worthy! Check out my reviews of the Pomegranate line here and the Wild Rose line here.  I’m pictured bottom row left in the image above.), Make, Mana, and Timothy George.  The Silver sponsors were Hendrick’s Gin, Loi, Snapshotz Photography LLC, Stoli, and YA Mastiha.  Other sponsors included The Cyprus U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Elefteria Georgalis, Greco Title Agency; Petros Georgiadis; George Kolotouros, Hermes Classic Printing; Peter Legakis; Katerina Matzouranis Duarte, Esq.; Evangelia Trilios, Esq.; and Mavromihalis, Pardalis & Nohavicka, LLP. There was also a fantastic silent auction.  The silent auction sponsors included Diane von Furstenberg, Godiva, Livanou, Dennis Bass, Kensie, Thalassa Restaurant, Ammos Estiatorio, Avra Estiatorio, Parea Bistro (check out my review here), Vareli Restaurant and Lounge, and Kefi Estiatorio.

The event was covered by Greek news station ANT1.

I’ll be profiling each of the four designers in the Greek American Fashion Week Show — ENOE ME by Lia Kastanidi, Timothy George, Angelo Lambrou, and Tatiana Raftis — next week!  You’ll get to see exclusive photographs from their Spring/Summer 2013 collections, along with commentary on their styles.  I’ll also give you the inside scoop on who these designers are and where you can find their designs.  You won’t want to miss it!  Each designer is truly unique, creating beautifully made statement clothing.


Clip: Letter to the Editor Published in Orion

13 Sep

I left a comment on an article on Orion‘s website a while back and one of the editors contacted me to see if they could reprint it in the print edition of their magazine.  Of course I said yes!  I love the articles in Orion.  My comment is now in the letters to the editor section of the September/October 2012 issue on newsstands now.  I’m credited as “Stephanie Niko” because I oftentimes abbreviate my name when I leave comments on blogs.