From Aris with Love, Music, and Film

Losing a loved one is unthinkable. Knowing it could have been prevented makes it even more horrific. The people responsible not taking responsibly is unacceptable. There are no words to comfort someone who has suffered such a loss, there are no actions that can bring a loved one back but there are ways we can help to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. If you don’t already know him, I want to introduce you to my friend, Aris Ziagos, and I would like to share his story and the story of his mother, Virginia.

I met Aris after the loss of his mother and from what he has told me of her, I’m sorry I never got to meet her. She was an interesting, kind, loving soul and someone I would have LOVED to interview! I know she was amazing because she raised one amazing son. I’m so proud of him for taking on this latest project and I want to help him to make the film a reality.

In his words:

“On October 29th 2012 Bellevue Hospital was crippled and left without power in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. My mother was a patient in the ICU, and died in the aftermath of the storm. In the midst of the worst tragedy that has struck my family, the biggest storm ever to hit NYC changed our lives forever and revealed cracks in our emergency management and health care systems. This documentary is so important, for learning from the lessons of these events, for grieving and healing.”

You all know I have always felt entertainment and social media are best when we are telling stories that help others and this is definitely the case here. Please enjoy our interview and visit the fundraising page if you can help. Even one dollar can assist and hopefully prevent this tragedy from happening to others.

Q: Your project, From Virginia With Love: A Documentary, is a labor of love and the story of your mother. Can you tell us a little about your mom?

Aris Ziagos: Yes, thank you! My mother was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and travelled around the country a lot in her youth as the daughter of an army family. In her 20′s and 30′s she toured as a belly dancer across America, finding a home in New York City. It amazes me that an Irish American girl from Ohio taught herself Greek, how to dance and sew, and made a career out of it. As she approached 40, she went on to real estate work and had me. I grew up around all these amazing photos of her from her belly dancing career, and it definitely influenced and inspired me to find my own way to the stage. When I made this choice and at every step along the way afterwards, my mother was my biggest fan, attending every show and offering any help she could.

Q: You suffered such tragedy during hurricane Sandy, and it seems like it could have been avoided if the hospital was better equipped to deal with natural disaster. Is part of the motivation behind the film to try and correct this for others going forward?

Aris Ziagos: Yes, that’s exactly what sparked my desire to make this film. The hospital (Bellevue Hospital) where my mother was an ICU patient did not make the necessary modifications to their emergency power systems or infrastructure for a tropical storm or hurricane in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Worse yet, because the hospital is run by a corporation and the city, they worked in lock step to keep their failing infrastructure out of the news, until the entire hospital was unable to function with doctors unable to wash their hands, medication not reaching patients, toilets not being able to be flushed, no food for anyone. It was an absolute nightmare. We can’t change the past but we can learn from our mistakes by addressing exactly what happened and what could and should be done differently going forward. Anyone who lives in a coastal area should be thinking about ensuring the safety of the vulnerable in emergencies like this.

Q: We hear so often that “it gets better” but that surely doesn’t happen all on it’s own. Where did you find the strength to go on after all of this? What advice would you give to people who are grieving right now?

Aris Ziagos: My biggest motivation has been living in a way that would make my mother proud, and also finding a way to transcend the tragedy and find a way to honor my mother’s legacy of love. Her passing was so tragic, and I got stuck in that for a while in deep depression as could be expected. A big motivator for my life moving forward from that was to make sure my mother was remembered by her amazing spirit, not just by her passing. That’s been the inspiration for a lot of my music, and definitely for bringing this film to the world. The arch of tragedy to grieving to healing to finding purpose is one everyone can take something away from, and it’s one that plays out during the documentary.

Q: Since you have gone public with the story, what responses have you been getting from fans and friends?

Aris Ziagos: Everyone has been very supportive, encouraging and sympathetic. A lot of people were surprised to hear about the events surrounding my mother’s passing, because very little of the information made it to mainstream news. It was a week before the 2012 Presidential elections, local elections, and the entities that hold New York City together were very careful to present the story in a way that would not cause public outrage.

Q: Has anyone from the hospital contacted you since you started the campaign?

Aris Ziagos: No, not a peep. The hospital’s official story is they triumphed through the disaster with no loss of life. In spite of a great deal of independent reporting, and some good mainstream reporting exposing the hospital’s faults, there has been no accountability for the choices made. They have made some improvements to their infrastructure as defense against a future Hurricane Sandy, but we’ll have to see how thorough those defenses are in a future hurricane.

Q: How can people help you to get this story told?

Aris Ziagos: I’m raising funds for the documentary on IndieGogo:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/from-virginia-with-love-a-documentary/x/260537

I’m offering some really cool merch, like vintage photos of my mom’s belly dancing years, original music, tickets to advanced screenings and fun experiences, as well as pre-selling the documentary.

Q: What are some of the greatest lessons your mom taught you that you can share with us all?

Aris Ziagos: So many things! Love can move mountains. Never stop believing in yourself. You can achieve anything if you keep trying and learn from failure. Be of service to others and give back often in different ways.

Q: I know you have other projects you are working on as well. Can you tell us about some of those?

Aris Ziagos: I’m finishing up work on a few new songs and remixes which I’ll be releasing on the deluxe edition of my album “Pulse” in a few months. I’m also excited to finally release my collaboration with Paula Cole as a single in 2018.  It will be a year that will also see me focused on completing this film, and some new music to accompany it. I have a lot of other songs in the works for future releases, so there’s a lot on the horizon for the next 24 months.

Q: Where can we find you, your music, and your projects online?

Aris Ziagos: You can find me on my official site at http://aris.fm

and on social media at -

http://twitter.com/arisziagos

http://youtube.com/arisziagos

http://instagram.com/arisziagos

http://facebook.com/arismusic

Q: Do you think you will be doing more film work in the future? Would you stick to the social good theme or perhaps branch out into other genres?

Aris Ziagos: I can definitely see exploring film more in the future, a short film, more documentary work. I tend to put my heart into things that inspire me that I can get fully passionate about, who knows what the future will bring?

Q: I always ask people to give me one thing they absolutely cannot live without and one thing they wish we could all live without.

Aris Ziagos: CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT: MUSIC!

WISH WE COULD LIVE WITHOUT IT: TRUMP!

Q: What’s up next for Aris the artist?

Aris Ziagos: Next up is the deluxe edition of my album “Pulse” and some new singles in 2018!

I want to thank Aris for taking time to talk to me and for being a part of my NYC family. Take my word for it, he’s one of the good ones. Here is the Indiegogo page if you can make a donation:

And, for your enjoyment, here is the video for his song ‘The Music’:

Join the Golden Globes conversation with Access Hollywood

I will be covering all the tweet action from the Access Hollywood studios with the absolute best Social Media influencers there are! Please join us today during the Red Carpet and the Golden Globe Ceremony using hashtag #Access and be sure to follow Access Hollywood on Twitter!

I am always thrilled to work with this group to bring you all the latest during Award Season and beyond!

It is especially exciting to be able to talk to all of you during these events so be sure to tweet me as well, @teeco71! I can’t wait to talk to you!

Here are a list of the nominees so you can follow along and pick your favorites ahead of time. I have indicated my picks in BOLD:

Congrats to the Golden Globe Nominees via SociallyDvoted.com

Why I should be the ETawardsfan

Ever since I can remember, even before I could walk and talk, I have been a fan of Hollywood and entertainment. It truly started with TV, reruns of shows like I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. I was in awe of the special effects and the way the actors brought these magical characters to life. The fact that they played their parts and convinced you they were real, even though you knew it was all just “smoke and mirrors” (literally). I was also fascinated by the back story of shows like I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball was not only a gem of an actress, a true beauty, but also a powerful force in Hollywood at a time where not many women were.

I was lucky, my parents had great taste in TV and music, as well as movies. I was introduced to films like Star Wars and Grease, The Godfather along with actors such as James Cagney and Jimmy Stewart from a very young age. The music of Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles regularly played throughout the house. When I was older, I was permitted to stay up to watch award shows as long as they ended on time (and I actually got to see them when they went over by pleading or making a deal).

At dinner time we watched reruns of All in the Family and The Jeffersons along with Entertainment Tonight. I knew who Mary Hart was and would even pretend to be her cohost. When Oprah Winfrey premiered her talk show, I was in high school and would rush home to do my homework while watching (I got straight A’s all throughout school, by the way).

Long before Twitter and Facebook I was the one who sparked conversations about the TV shows I had watched the night before, the new albums, and the new films that were coming out. In school it was our schoolyard and after school conversation, when I started working it became my water cooler talk.

When I was introduced to Social Media by seeing Ashton Kutcher on Oprah, I was hooked immediately. It became my GLOBAL water cooler and has been ever since. I have made so many amazing connections with my favorite actors, directors, producers, writers, musicians, and more!

I have had the privilege of attending award show events, working red carpets, attending film premieres and live tweeting them all! I have even live tweeted with the cast of shows like Scorpion on their premiere night from viewing parties where I got to meet them all.

Social TV and being a Social TV correspondent is not just an interest of mine, nor is it a job for me. It is who I am, what I feel most comfortable doing. Sharing my experiences and ideas with like-minded people and fans is something that makes me come alive and feel like I am part of something so much bigger than myself. I have a great respect for the talented individuals who bring us our entertainment and I think that shines through with all I do.

You can find me on Twitter as @teeco71 as well as Instagram, Vine, Facebook, etc!

Have you been EvanBlakeD?

Social Media is ever-changing and new platforms seem to pop up at least monthly. I do believe we each have a niche we fill and if we present ourselves authentically, there is an audience to connect to. That is definitely the case with Evan BlakeD. I came across his Vines and I found him to be refreshing, relevant, funny, and smart. That’s not easy to do in six seconds!

If you aren’t familiar with Vine, it is a video platform where users have six seconds to get their message across. It may sound like a short amount of time but you can actually learn LOTS from these short clips and many users have taken them to levels that will amaze you! As you know, I frequently attend conventions and at the last one, Vine stars were on the list of guests. Fans were able to meet them, have professional photos taken with them, and get autographs from them. There were panels where fans were given a chance to do a Q & A session with them too. It really has become a huge place, especially among young people.

Back to Evan – of course, I immediately checked him out on Twitter (My own go-to Social Media platform) where I learned even more about him. Evan is a big promoter of #TeamNoSelfHarm, something I can relate to as well as stand behind. Too many young people fall into places of despair, whether it be from outside forces or inner demons. Many just need to know someone is out there who understands and who does care about them.

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed putting together these questions for him and I am thrilled with his responses. If you don’t know him yet, take some time to visit with him on social media, definitely check out his Vines, and be sure to follow him on Twitter!

Q: You have quite the following on Vine, almost 500k and almost 200 million loops (views). How do you attract such a following & the views in only 6 seconds?

Evan Blaked: What many Viners do to help each other out is we share our friends videos to help gain quicker so that we stick together & see each other succeed, but the main reason why people choose to follow me is because I dont use youtube clips, I barely use edited music in my vines, & the ideas are all me unless I specifically remake a vine I really liked the idea of. I’m also very consistent, a lot of viners post every few days. I like to post everyday, 1-3 times a day depending on how busy I am during the day.

Q: Why do you think platforms like Vine are becoming so popular now? Do you think it’s a good thing we are more attracted to shorter clips?

EB: The reason vine is so popular is because teens and just about anybody’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Everyone expects something to be funny right away or its boring. So in a way its bad for people’s attention spans that are being shortened because people need longer attention spans to pay attention in school and at work.

Q:  I know you are on SnapChat and even brands are starting to jump into that arena. Can you explain it’s usefulness in networking and promoting?

EB: Snapchat is useful in promoting because EVERYONE uses snapchat and you have a good amount of people who see your stories in just 24 hours! Without having anyone share it or anything. People who follow you on snapchat want to know what you’re doing everyday. The real die hard fans.

Q: You are very passionate about connecting with your fans and being a positive influence. What do you think of the celebrities who don’t seem to realize that their influence matters and tend to be in the news for negative reasons?

EB: I honestly respect people who don’t give a rat’s ass about what anyone thinks of them and do whatever they want because it’s their life not anyone elses, but at the same time they shouldn’t be advertising it because that is a part of being famous. You are supposed to be a role model for people who look up to you and that should be respected, but some people have no respect or they just don’t care which is a sign of them being not the greatest people in the world personality wise.

 Q: Tell me a bit about Team No Self Harm. How did you get involved with that and what does it mean to you?

EB: Back in Grade 7, when I was 11 turning 12, I was opened up to people who self harm and people who are severely depressed and my initial instinct was to help all my new friends that I had made who I knew were going through rough times to stop kicking themselves when they are down. That right there is basically what #TeamNoSelfHarm means to me, you need to believe in yourself and constantly look at the bright side of life because there is ALWAYS a positive and a negative side to everything, and people who tend to stick with the negative side tend to self harm, so what I do is try to make everyone’s day a little better with laughter , and awareness that I care about these people who are self harming. I created the hashtag #TeamNoSelfHarm because one day I want to see people walking around with a shirt saying #TeamNoSelfHarm, I want to make a difference in the world and end self harm for good, as if it was an era.

It makes me so happy getting people to quit there bad habits of cutting or burning themselves.

Q: Where do you see yourself in, let’s say, 5 years? Any plans to expand into other platforms?

EB: In 5 years I see myself in at least one movie with a majorly known actor for example Jonah hill, but my goal is to be in way more than one, I want to be a professional actor and living in or near LA. I have been moving my fanbase across Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and I’ve really noticed that its great to have fans on all platforms.

Q: Who are some of your role models on social media and in life?

EB: My biggest role model is Kingbach,(Andrew Bachelor) from Vine, he’s the one who inspired me to put myself out there on Vine in a comedic sense. His hard work and dedication has really paid off and I see that as a huge inspiration to do what he’s done. Other role models are Evan Breen, Zachary Piona, Alex Ramos, Yung Poppy, just because what they do on Vine is amazing, they post like crazy and don’t care about their amount of likes and now they have skyrocketed and doing so well. My real life role model would have to be Kevin hart, even though some of his social media is what inspires me, his real life achievements and extreme hard work makes me want to become a hardworker like him one day.

Q: Where can we find you online?

EB: You can find me on vine @Evan BlakeD , on Twitter & Instagram @evanblakeD , but to find me on the web, to maybe watch compilations of my videos? Just need to type Evan BlakeD vine compilations & I know some fans have made them for me, I’ve been in the making of my own Youtube account and to start posting compilations by the date of uploading (each month a set of vines that were uploaded in that month)

Q: I started asking this in interviews and I’ve gotten some great answers: first, for fun, What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all love without? 

Then, same question but on a serious note.

EB: I absolutely can’t live without my phone its like I’m addicted to it more than a heroine or meth addict, constantly on it to see what’s going on and reply to fans messages. One thing we all could live without is haters, but without them we wouldnt know we are doing well because haters only hate on people who are succeeding.

EB: On a serious note I can’t live without my family because my mother, brother and father all support me in making my vines and becoming an actor and only have a plan A because plan B’s distract you from what you really want. Something we all could live without is social media, but we seem to be needing it more then we need air, destroying little kids’ brains with drama and stupidity and cyber bullying, but I’m striving off of it.. So I cant say I’m against social media, but I can say its ruining the world we live in and children’s childhoods.

Thanks for having me, always glad to put out my opinion & help people get a better understanding of who I am and why I do what I do.

I included a Youtube video of Evan’s Vine videos so you can check him out! I’d like to thank him for taking time to talk to me and hope you will give him a follow on Vine, Instagram, and Twitter. 

BAFTAS Britannia Awards

On Thursday, October 30th I am thrilled to be attending the 2014 BAFTAS Britannia Awards in Los Angeles. I will once again be working with the BEST team in Social Media to bring you all the red carpet pictures, videos, interviews, and behind the scenes shenanigans. We will also be inside the award ceremony to bring you even more Social Media coverage. In looking at the list of honorees, I seriously get chills! They include:

Robert Downey Jr. is the recipient of this year’s “Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film,” which is presented to a unique individual, upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and who has lifted the craft to new heights. Prior recipients of the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film include Warren Beatty, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day Lewis, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Sean Penn, Steven Spielberg and Denzel Washington.

Mark Ruffalo is the recipient of this year’s “Britannia Humanitarian Award” for his work with Water Defense. The non-profit organization Ruffalo co-founded, is dedicated to using technology and public engagement to keep waterways and drinking water sources free from contamination and industrial degradation. The Britannia Humanitarian Award is presented to a colleague who has used their position in the entertainment industry to create positive social change and actively shine a light on important humanitarian issues. The award has previously recognized Idris Elba, Richard Curtis, Don Cheadle and Colin Firth.

Emma Watson is the recipient of “The Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year” presented by Burberry. This honor pays tribute to a talented British artist whose outstanding performances in a year have demonstrated the high quality of their craftsmanship. Whether an emerging talent, or an established name, the British Artist of the Year honors a person who represents the best of British talent. Prior recipients include Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Tilda Swinton, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Blunt, Michael Sheen, Rachel Weisz, and more.

Mike Leigh is the recipient of “The John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing” presented by the GREAT Britain Campaign. The honor pays tribute to the legacy of the brilliant British director who made an unprecedented contribution to one of the great periods in American cinema. Recipients of this honor are deeply respected, distinctive and innovative directors, whose contribution as both technicians and artists represents the zenith of the directing profession.

Dame Judi Dench is the recipient of the “2014 Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment.” Recipients are that rare breed of iconic and trail-blazing individuals whose innovative approach has had a profound, lasting impact on the entertainment industry and whose contributions to the moving image are second to none.

I hope you all join in on the fun as well. You can be part of a running ‘British Accent Video Challenge’ by making a short video (you can use Instagram) reciting your favorite movie dialogue in a British Accent and using the hashtag #Britannias. You could be included in the actual broadcast, November 2nd at 9PM EST BBC America.

I’m told we have a great spot on the red carpet where we will all be able to interact with the celebs and there are exciting Social Media surprises planned all night. Be sure to follow me on Twitter if you don’t already (@teeco71) so you can be part of the fun!

We’ve also been doing a weekly Twitter chat at 10 AM PT (1PM EST) every Thursday that you can join in on by following and using the hashtag #Britannias. This is a great way to get to know everyone who will be involved so you can follow them before the show on October 30th (which will air November 2nd).

I hope to see you all this Thursday in the chat and promise to bring you as much amazing coverage as I can! This is what Social TV is all about! If you’d like to leave a few questions for the stars in the comments, I can see if I get a chance to ask them at the event!