Zorba, the marvelous sirtaki dancer portrayed by Anthony Quinn in 1964’s the Academy Award winning Zorba the Greek, was, in fact, a Cretan.  Shot on location in Crete, the film portrayed the bountiful lust for life that is as natural to Cretans as breathing.

So it’s no wonder that the 84th dinner of the Cretan fraternity of Detroit, held January 27, 2007 at Warren’s Royalty House, was a dance-oriented gala.  Under the direction of George Stefanakis, president of the Cretan Fraternity of Detroit, the event featured three tiers of dancers from the 2007 Pseloretes Dance Group, beginning with the least experienced (but most precious), the children, moving up through the intermediate group (who performed with marvelous skill and dedication) and ending with the senior dance group, who were as good as anything seen on the beaches of Stavros.  The Greek tradition of sprinkling the performers with dollar bills was an unbelievable sight; the cash was collected in a box afterward and represented a phenomenal windfall for the dance group.

After the Pseloretes group finished, the guests hit the dance floor with their own interpretations of classical Greek dances.  It was a sight to behold.

Of course, no Cretan get together can happen without a tempting spread of specialties, and the able kitchen at Royalty House provided that and more.  Multi-courses included meze, traditional tomato rice soup, the omnipresent feta-rich salad, beef, chicken, potatoes, rice, and finished with an endless array of the pastry for which the culture is so justifiably known.

Of course, as fulfilling as the dancing and the dining were, the real spirit of any Cretan get-together is the comradery.  As non-Greeks, the Visionalist crew was overwhelmed with the embracing nature of George Stefanakis, who brought us immediately into the fold, securing us a table, explaining traditions, even displaying the soft drinks he recalled as a boy in Crete, and the spirit he loves as an adult: Vivaki Tsikoudia.  Stefanakis also owns Greek Islands Coney Restaurants, with numerous locations throughout Michigan

Among the other successful Greeks and Cretans among the celebrating group was Bill Damas, owner of DS Properties, which operates and manages in excess of 1.5 million square feet of commercial properties in Southeast Michigan.

George Vlahakis is one of the marvelous ‘rags to riches’ stories we have encountered in the Greek community.  Vlahakis developed a small painting business into Seaway Painting Co., which has contracts to paint some of Michigan’s most striking landmarks, including the Ambassador Bridge.

Of course, our good friend John Korachis, a Detroit attorney who embodies everything we imagine in the Greek spirit:  grace, wit, high spirits, and enthusiasm for the aesthetic and intellectual side of life—music, art, philosophy and literature.  He has been our conduit into the Greek community, and we look forward to working closely with him on ‘Our Greek Story’

In fact, all of the above business people, as well as the artists, musicians and authors and intellects, are meant to be integral portions of the documentary celebrating Detroit’s inimitable Greek community.  We look forward to learning about their lives, their struggles and their triumphs.

Such inspiring stories are sure to bring 'kefi' (the spirit of joy) to ‘Our Greek Story’.


Bill Damas
Nick & Dean Becharas
Tom Giftos
Leo Stassinopoulos
John Hantz
Dr. Dimitri Pallas
Tasso Teftsis
Chris Chelios
Chuck Carson