Saturday, November 30, 2013

Truth, Chicago's National Hellenic Museum, and Me.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and prayers for world peace.  Perhaps you even tried some of the recipes I suggested in my post last week.


I’m not sure how much longer I can go on with my avowed “say only positive things” Saturday posts. The restraint it calls for is taxing my soul—perhaps the only thing left for the Greek government to tax of its people.


Okay, well, I’m not completely shut down. This coming Thursday at 6:30PM I’ve been invited to speak at the Hellenic National Museum in Chicago, in Greektown to be specific (it's centered in the photo headlining this post).  It’s quite an honor, and I hope to do it justice by speaking the truth.

But I won’t be speaking it in Greek. No, not because Greek isn’t suitable for such tasks, but because I’m most comfortable expressing the nuances of truth in English. Yes, you read me right and you shouldn’t be surprised; that’s the way the world’s always run.  In fact, these days 24/7 Cable TV has virtually institutionalized the concept of nuanced truth.

Okay, so I’m teasing, I always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. BUT, I’ll never forget being once told by a wizened lawyer, “Always tell the truth, but there are many ways to tell it so choose wisely.”

It’s not always as bad a concept as it sounds. Think about the many ways to truthfully answer your spouse’s question, “Am I fat?”  Or even the more direct, “Have I gained weight?”

If you can’t think of the multiple ways to answer that, I suggest you check out “Dale Carnegie” in Wikipedia (my source of choice for this article) for info on his most famous work.

But I digress. I’m here to talk about the National Hellenic Museum, Hellenic of course meaning Greek.

The museum is the second oldest American institution dedicated to displaying and celebrating the cultural contributions of Greeks and Greek Americans.  The oldest, by two weeks, is the Hellenic Cultural Museum in Salt Lake City…yes, SLC.
Antiquities in the Museum's collection

There is a Kismet aspect to the invitation.  I read that part of the Museum’s stated purpose is “to promote understanding of the rich cultural traditions of ancient and contemporary Greece,” an objective I share in my writing.  But, wait, there’s more. 

Founded in 1983, the Museum rebranded itself in 2009, changing its name from Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center to its current one.  In 1983, I first set foot in Greece, and in 2009 rebranded myself from NYC lawyer to Mykonos writer when my first Greece-based novel came out in the US!

Sort of spooky when you think about it.

The Museum has another purpose:  to preserve the Greek-American immigrant experience.  Approximately 450,000 Greeks came to America between 1890 and 1920, and the Museum’s “Homer Oral History Project” seeks to save those memories as part of its goal of “connecting generations through Greek history, art and culture.”
An Exhibition

Two years ago the Museum moved into a spanking new 40,000-square-foot facility for housing its collection of items from 1200 BCE through today; maintaining its library and archive of books, manuscripts, letters, and periodicals; hosting exhibitions of Greek art, history, culture, and thought; and holding classes and events.

Bottom line: I’m really looking forward to next Wednesday, especially the major Christmas party scheduled to follow my event.  That’s the sort of Greek tradition I personally try to follow every chance I get—party hearty and have a good time. :)


And Happy Hanukah.



  1. 'spooky' is definitely the first word that comes to mind when I think of you, Jeff. Well, okay, maybe second after 'teaser'. Well, and after 'sexy.' No, wait, that's Anna Maria... Anyway, congratulations on the speaking engagement! If I didn't live on another planet, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

  2. Thanks, Everett, but you really didn't have to tell us you're from another planet, Everett. Some things, are self-evident, my friend, such as your description of Annamaria.

  3. Jeff, I am so happy for and proud of you. What a fabulous event. In boca lupo as my sect of the razza says. As for your and Everett's descriptions of me, I am not sure I like beig called a tease.