Category Archives: classwork

Roots (No relation to LeVar Burton, sadly).

I’ve been busy blogging for somewhere else. I know, I’m a traitor. But, this place that seems to be stealing all of my blogging time is the blog for my documentary thesis project. After three years of a print journalism education, I’ve turned into a filmmaker. Who knew? So I’m basically stealing time from one of my entities and transferring it to another. Which isn’t really stealing time, ‘cos it all benefits myself. Whew. Admission of guilt cleared.

My documentary short is tentatively titled “My Big Fat Greek Folk Dancing Competition.” It’s about a competitive Greek folk dancing competition that hits the West Coast every year with thousands of Greeks in attendance to compete in FOLK DANCING. That’s right. Folk Dancing. Much hilarity (and awesome performances) ensue. It’s also a way for me to reckon with my Greek past, something I both love dearly and try to avoid on many an occasion.

Proof I used to be a Greek folk dancer:

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Check out the blog, which I update with the frequency that I used to give this thing: http://kalamatiano.wordpress.com

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Gritty City: New York in the 1970s

I saw this originally via Gothamist, one of my favorite sources for New York City related stories. Photographer Allan Tannenbaum is releasing a new collection of his fantastic photographs from New York in the 1970s (entitled, fittingly, “New York in the 70s”), from when he was the photo editor for the “SoHo Weekly News.” The photographs are chock full of disco balls, crumbling buildings, biker gangs, race riots, peace marches, celebrity celebrations, ridiculously short shorts made of incredibly synthetic materials, and just about every other thing that happened in the concrete jungle of the five boroughs during the decade.

He’s got some great shots of the Lower East Side back before Katz’s Delicatessen was sandwiched on the same block of Houston Street as a luxury condo building and an American Apparel.

(Photograph by Allan Tannenbaum)

(Photograph by Allan Tannenbaum)

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Je voudrais un croissant…

Studying abroad in the Czech Republic for the 4 months was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life. Call me a cliche. I’m that annoying kid who walks around constantly talking about “that one time in Prague.” While I love New York for its own distinctive set of charms, I’m always looking for a little piece of Europe in Manhattan. Walking down Orchard Street a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon what I imagine a Parisian street looked like circa 1968, when you’d pick up a fresh bottle of milk in the mornings at the local dairy shop and not a week before at the supermarket.

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This ain’t no Mudd Club, or CBGB’s…

Classic rock club CBGB’s shuttered its doors what seems like ages ago in October 2006. Now the tenant at the venue’s former space at 315 Bowery is high-end menswear designer John Varvatos. While buying a pair of expensive (if well-made) trousers has its own unique appeal, it doesn’t come close to the idea of pogo-ing like a maniac atop a sticky, beer-drenched floor at a Ramones show circa 1975, the air laced with the stench of sweat and the tingle of palpable excitement. But it’s not too late to catch a glimpse of the East Village/Lower East Side icon, at least in high-resolution interactive JPEG format.

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Visitors to the club’s official Web site, http://www.cbgb.com, can take a virtual tour of the hallowed halls that once saw the shuffling of Converse sneakers belonging to such rock luminaries as Debbie Harry and Patti Smith.

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Fear of Flying

I can name the exact day my aerophobia, or fear of flying, began. It was Jul. 17, 1996, and my 6-year-old self was flying from my home of Sacramento, Calif. to Boston, Mass. to visit relatives on the East Coast, with a 2-hour layover at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

But Jul. 17, 1996 isn’t just the date of one of my family’s many summer trips to the Northeast. It’s also the day that Trans World Airlines Flight 800 exploded in mid-air and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean at approximately 8:31 p.m. EST, killing all 230 people on board. I learned about the crash as we waited in Chicago. My mother thought that her uncle was on the fatal flight. Frantic calls to California fortunately revealed that he wasn’t.  By the time we landed in Boston, I was convinced that one day I too would perish in a plane crash. For the next 10 years, I nearly bawled every time I had to set foot on a plane, gripping the arm of my seat every time the aircraft hit even a minor bump.

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