‘FLAVORS OF GREECE’, NOVEMBER 25, 2007
‘Opa!’ rang from the rafters of the Rock Financial Showplace on November 25, 2007 as Keith Famie and the production crew of Visionalist Entertainment Production, under the sponsorship of Steve Sabina and Toni Wisne Sabina, threw open the doors to begin festivities for ‘Flavors of Greece’. The evening was a gala celebration of Greek culture—food, dance, wine and music—culminating in the premiere showing of ‘Our Greek Story’, the third in a series of Visionalist-produced documentaries highlighting Detroit’s ethnic heritage.
Blending the twin Greek loves of intellect and morel earthly pleasures, the gala’s opening combined remarks by State Senator John Pappageorge and Dr. Dimitri Pallas with rousing dances by Kyklos Hellenic Society, St. Nicholas Opa Dancers and music by Levendes. The heartfelt faith of Detroit’s Orthodox community was equally well represented by words of inspiration from Fr. Tom George of Annunciation Cathedral and Fr. Stratton Dorozenski of St. Nicholas.
With Greektown one of the most recognizable and beloved landmarks in Detroit, the food stations were predictably popular throughout the evening, with a grazing buffet featuring the familiar—spinach pie, grape leaves and souvlaki—with the exotic—briami (vegetable casserole) and stifado (cinnamon-scented beef stew). Everything was suitably lubricated with donated Greek selections from Wine Dimensions, whose Greek American owner Philip Arvantis is perhaps Detroit’s most celebrated expert on Greek wine.
With over five hundred guests from all backgrounds, and abundant cross-cultural schmoozing between press, business and homemakers, ‘Flavors of Greece’ was a success on countless fronts. Of course, the blend of the solemn and the savory, joy and tragedy, which is the hallmark of ‘Our Greek Story’, left the audience with a profound appreciation for the contributions that Greek immigrants have made throughout Detroit. The notion that our Greek community is ‘just’ Greektown is easily dispelled, but the true depth of Greek cultural complexity surprised even Greeks, who reacted to the documentary with pride, pleasure, and no small amount of astonishment.