Gregory C. Pappas
Greek America Magazine--the nation's most widely circulated periodical for Greek Americans will launch the first--and only--awards program, recognizing excellence amongst Greek Americans on June 19th
in Chicago. The Gabby Awards was conceived and founded by Gregory C. Pappas, publisher of Greek America Magazine and a member of Leadership 100. Aiming to become the Greek American community's premier award brand, The Gabby Awards were launched in Chicago on February 27th at a launch party with several hundred guests present, followed by a similar event in New York City a week later on March 12th.
There are eight Gabby Award categories, including business, education, performing arts, culture, athletics, philanthropy, promotion of Hellenism and politics, with five nominees in each category.
The Gabby Awards will be handed out to winners at a black tie gala awards show in Chicago on June 19th. The show will take place at the Merle Reskin Theater and will be followed by an unforgettable after party directly next door at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.
Honorary Co-Chairs of the first Gabby Awards are actress Melina Kanakaredes and designer John Varvatos. The show will be emceed by Emmy Award winning television journalist Anna Davlantes. In addition to the 8 awards, a special Lifetime Achievement award will be given to Academy Award winning actress Olympia Dukakis. Nia Vardalos will present the "Performing Arts" Gabby Award.
Corporate leaders like Jim Gianopulos (Fox Films) and Dennis Malamatinas (Marfin Investment Group) will also be on hand to serve as award presenters.
Two of the nation's top celebrity chefs confirmed to attend the event: Iron Chef Cat Cora and Michael Psilakis will come from opposite coasts to the Windy City. The two are both nominated in the "Arts & Culture" category.
Greek heartthrob Alexis Georgoulis, who co-stars opposite Nia Vardalos in the upcoming film "My Life in Ruins." Georgoulis will join Vardalos on stage to present the Gabby Award for Performing Arts. He is one of Greece's most famous male actors, having appeared in dozens of television shows and films. He is hoping that his latest US-released film will launch his international career.
On hand to present the Gabby Award for Politics will be the father and sons team of Andrew, Mike and Tom Manatos from Washington DC. The family is steeped with political tradition and occupies the lofty honor of having three generations of its members holding prominent positions in various U.S. Administrations. Andrew was the highest-ranking Greek American in the Carter Administration, serving as Assistant Secretary of Commerce. His son Mike currently runs operations at the lobbying firm of Manatos & Manatos while the other son Tom serves as an advisor to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
One-name wondergirl Kalomoira, who's story is the stuff fairytales are made of... The Long Island, NY native who hardly spoke Greek a few years back auditioned for Greece's most popular music-reality show "Fame Story" in 2004--and won! She became an overnight sensation in the country of her parents' birth with hit songs, gold records, countless TV spots and new artist awards, magazine covers--even an acting spot on a popular Greek soap opera. Kalomoira was selected in 2008 to represent Greece in the Eurovision song contest. She captured the hearts and minds of tens of millions of Europeans, placing third with her song "Secret Combination" that topped European music charts. Kalomoira will present the Gabby Award for Arts & Culture. She will also emcee the Red Carpet walk immediately after the awards show.
President for Miniseries at HBO Films and Oscar winning filmmaker Kary Antholis will be on hand to present the prestigious Gabby Award for the Promotion of Hellenism. As an executive he has been responsible for several Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning projects, both dramatic and documentary, including John Adams, Generation Kill, Elizabeth I, Angels in America and many more. As a filmmaker he won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1995 and the Emmy for Outstanding Information Special for his film One Survivor Remembers, about Holocaust survivor, Gerda Weissmann Klein. Exploring Gerda's story offered him an extraordinarily vivid connection to his own mother's experiences during the war. Antholis' mother Evanthia grew up in Nazi-occupied Greece during World War II. Weissmann's story helped Antholis understand what his mother went through when her father, Vassilios, was killed by Nazi collaborators.
The Gabby Awards After Party includes open bars, unlimited food buffets and musical entertainment by Greece's biggest-selling female recording artist Glykeria, who with Kostas Karafotis and her complete orchestra, together promise to turn the International Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel into the biggest Greek dance party this side of the Atlantic.
Proceeds from the Gabby Awards will benefit the Hellenic Legacy Fund, a new endowment fund of the Greek America Foundation, that was founded for the sole purpose of awarding scholarships to university students for study abroad opportunities in Greece. The Greek America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and perpetuating the Greek culture, history and heritage in America.
Greek Americans are encouraged to vote for their favorite nominees at www.gabbyawards.com. Only one ballot per email address is permitted and detailed biographical information is available about each nominee of the website.