FDF 2010, Here We Come….

Long time, no talk blogosphere.

I’ve been busy this entire break shooting the majority of my piece. I’m still missing some key elements, but I’ve got a ton of footage and at least a much better idea of what it’s going to look like in the end. This weekend, I’m off to the main event: FDF 2010 (aka the competition itself). Four days of virtually nonstop shooting, which means that by the end of this I’m going to A) want to sleep eternally and B) have some of the most toned arms in Manhattan.

On a semi-related note, I stumbled across this video of The Beatles’ “Baby You’re A Rich Man.” Apparently they tried to buy a Greek island once. Towards the end, the Fab Four try their hand at some Greek dancing, to hilarious results. But still, in the midst of this dreary winter, I’d kill to be on that boat soaking up the sun.

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Film School 102

A quick update from the progress front:

-My mother (yes, she is very Greek; yes, her name is Effie) is coming into town this weekend, bringing with her lots of old Greek dancing photographs of myself and the like so I can start piecing together the beginning of my doc.

-I’ve been getting lots of practice with the camera and am finally starting to feel more confident about shooting. Except for getting the darn camera fixed onto the tripod, which I’m pretty convinced is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest.

-Stay tuned to this space, because sometime within the next week I’m going to have the two major characters of my piece “introduce” themselves on this blog, so you can get a sense of who my documentary is going to be dealing with.

That’s all for this week, sadly. As a gift, I’ll leave you with a clip by one of the most popular artists in modern Greece today. Ah yes, see how my lovely homeland has left behind the wailing bouzouki and classic steps of the kalamatiano for the sounds of Eurotrashpop and grinding in the disco: 

You Know You’re Greek When…

Comfort foods. We all have them. Usually they fall somewhere within the served warm, vaguely carb-y, a little bit on the fattening side but hey that’s why they’re good dichotomy. It wasn’t until I moved across the country from my very very Greek grandmother that I realized that the dishes I associated with happiness and joy were, yes, you guessed it, Greek. Being sick meant a steaming hot bowl of avgolemono soup, the Hellenic take on chicken noodle soup that’s even better because it is so lemony. Another personal favorite is fasolakia, a green bean stew that’s cooked for an hour and that transforms the otherwise humble vegetable into something delicious, rich, and hearty.

Last week, after turning in my DURF application that proceeded to eat up my life, I was feeling run down. I was tired, I was cranky, and I hadn’t eaten a real home-cooked meal in at least a week. So what did I turn to?

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Greek People You Didn’t Know Were Greek (Part 1)

And now for some shocking news: there are a lot of Greek people in this world who like to hide, nay, even bury, their Hellenic heritage. But they can’t escape from my prying eyes and the vast recesses of the Internet. And why would you ever want to hide from your baklava eating, “Christos Anesti” singing, mother who is so good at guilting you to do everything she asks past?  It’s time to expose these folks for the Grecians they are.

I present: Greek People You Didn’t Know Were Greek (Part 1).

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Film School 101

So, I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve never made a documentary before.  Even better? I’ve never even shot video with a professional grade camera before. I have no idea how to even hold the thing, or how to use an external mic, or even how to turn the darn thing on. The last time I touched a camera was when I was fifteen and needed to make a cooking video en espanol for my Spanish class, and that was some rinky dink handheld amateur piece of equipment. So the first step of making this film for me is going to be putting myself through a “film school for dummies” crash course.

And thus, with all the blind youthful determination of a fresh-faced eighteen year old Tischie getting ready to crew his first set, I aimed to complete one simple task this past weekend: secure a camera and start playing around with it.

But, as fate, or more appropriately the NYU Journalism Department equipment rental polices, would have it, this wasn’t so simple to do.

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And so it begins….

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the wild, wacky, and (often) wonderful world of competitive Greek folk dancing. This is how the professionals do it:

(That was a vintage clip of the Dora Stratou Dance Theatre, which is based in Athens and bills itself as the “living museum of Greek dance,” performing “Zourna Tik,” a dance from the Pontics, a group of ethnic Greeks who reside around the Black Sea in what is now modern-day Turkey)