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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 02 September 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2017 21 GREECE Billy Cotsis (L) with bestselling author Jeffrey Siger (second from right). will work their day in two shifts, enough time to allow them to get some time on the beach in the afternoon. On one such afternoon, we bumped into Nicholas’ partner Maria Tassou at a nearby beach. Maria runs the Ada Kamara Boutique situated at Riga Ferraiou 4 which is a flagship store for one of the best designers in Greece, Ada Kamara, who studied in Paris and earned her stripes in Asia. We visited the boutique later that day and met Ada who took the time to tell us about her latest collection and the fact that Mykonos has welcomed her and inspiring designs. In the neighbourhood of where Ada has her store (Matogiannia), one can find Karolina, a real character from Boston, selling her paintings of Mykonos, and Loukas Doukas. The Constantinopleborn Loukas whose shop sells beautiful scarves from Bali, lived Down Under and spends half his year in Bali and the other half in Mykonos. Not far from there, you will find one of the best outdoor movie theatres in the world: Cine Manto. The Sydney-born Nicholas made sure we had an introduction to internationally renowned filmmaker Andonis Theocharis Kioukas and his wife Thalia who own the venue. What makes this a unique place is the setting. Unless you follow the signs, you may not find the entrances. Set amongst a number of trees, yes, trees, which are rare on the barren island, you will find a bar, a restaurant, the cinema, paintings of Mexicanborn Louis Orozco and plenty of other talented artists. Adonis is one of the country's finest film directors and producers and oversees Qkas Productions. Dressed in white, he is the archetypical Mykonian. Through Adonis we met Louis whose paintings adorn the garden wall and his talented granddaughter, Jasmine. The next evening we had the pleasure of listening to her play at SIC near the water. SIC is another venue with a tree in its courtyard and the place where we met drag queen, Gege Show Silva from Brasil. This energetic and gorgeous woman was happy to put on a show and extend the hand of friendship. Gege has been coming and working on the island for a number of years and it has become home during the season of madness! If you walk around long enough you will see the same faces. Coming across Georgina Karella, CEO of Urban Skin with her Mykonos site located at the five-star Andronikos Boutique Hotel, which is owned by the charming and dedicated Markos Andronikos, another Mykonian. Georgina, originally from the island, is one of those interesting people who bases herself here over summer as a break from her Kolonaki, Athens business. The other side of Mykonos will always entail shopping. On the advice of Nicholas, we ventured into Harry JWLS jewellery store owned by an Aussie of Lesvian heritage. Harry Mestros provided an insight into his life-altering story. Around 2012, Harry decided to change his life from working in the corporate world earning a decent living to take a chance with his creative vision. Setting up a small display of his handcrafts at Elysium, he never looked back, eventually locating a shop that he redesigned in the heart of the town. Every day and every night in the gay-friendly Mykonos can be unique. I had only ever experienced the party side. This trip exposed other elements. We even found time to catch the ferry over to Delos. Keeping in mind that in years gone by, I would always return to the hotel too late to even think about catching the 10.00 am boat to the ruins of Delos and the chance to meet the ancient Gods. Speaking of spirituality, the island had something I never even contemplated: hundreds of churches. The figure may actually be close to two thousand, and there is a reason for that. You will need to watch our documentary to learn why! We also learnt that Ano Mera, the largest village on the island, is technically the largest township in the Aegean. Ioanna, from very appetising (highly recommended) Fisherman Giorgos & Marina, told me that, "Ano Mera is spread out, from the platea you are in, it stretches out for a big distance." One of the other highlights you will find on the island is the amount of famous people and writers. After a catch-up with my friend and best-selling author Alexandra Symeonidou who has just released her fourteenth book, and whose son and brother manage the Imar Gallery, we met up with a favourite author of mine, Jeffrey Siger. The author of Murder in Mykonos and another eight titles including forthcoming novel set in Lesvos; it was a real treat to meet Jeff. It's not every day you can meet the guy who has written the book which I literally read on the plane over to Europe, Mykonos After Midnight. We met with Jeff and his partner acclaimed writer Barbara Shapiro, who spends half the year on the island, at the stunning Rhenia Hotel in Tourlous. Our company included a number of Americans as well as the hotel owner, Mykonian Andreas Fiorentinos, formerly Deputy Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organisation. Nicholas, being the good company and gentleman he is, ensured we met as many of his ‘family’ as possible across the island. From the engaging owners of Vegera Cafe Bar Restaurant, Apostolis Koutsoukos and Dimitris Kontizas, who took the chance to convert a jewellery store to the inspired restaurant it has become to Elena Kosma who manages the place, and to almost everyone in town. We spent many a lunch time listening to the cool tunes spun by a DJ, eating well and watching the crowds go by as well as catching up with the likes of archaeologist Christiana Loupou, who spent many years on Lesvos. For us trying to discover the other side of the island for our new documentary, we were captivated by the family aspect, the Mykonian culture ,and the economic heartbeat which is breathing life into the Hellenic economy. *Billy Cotsis is the producer of the 2018 documentary, ‘Mykonos: The Other Side’.
26 August 2017
09 September 2017