What a year it has been on the Greek entertainment front both here in Australia and all over the globe. Spice has had the privilege of attending numerous Greek nights in Melbourne, reporting on some of the biggest Greek concerts to hit our shores and delightfully relaying the juiciest of gossip throughout the past 12 months. What better way to welcome a new year than to recap some of our favourite moments in Spice for the year that was 2008.

Greek American Tina Fey became Sarah Palin, and took away three statues at the Emmys for Baby Mama.

Where to begin with the live music we’ve been so lucky to have witnessed during the year? From Thanos Petrelis to Antonis Remos and Despina Vandi, Australia was one of the hottest tour destinations for Greece’s most adored laika pop music talent. The Palace (formely Metro) in Melbourne was packed to the rafters on numerous occasions as it played host to some fantastic performances.

Yes, we sure have been lucky down here, but what about the Greek audience? Some amazing concerts have taken place throughout Greece in 2008 such as Madonna’s Sticky & Sweat tour and other exclusive shows in Athens including Depeche Mode and Jennifer Lopez.

Back in June we reviewed the hidden Greek talent of Trademark Cafe located on chic Queens Parade in Clifton Hill. This funky little venue plays host to a weekly Tavern Night every Wednesday from 8pm. The contemporary feel sets the scene for a traditional bouzouki night infused with Melbourne’s infamous restaurant culture. A must for your mid-week Greek fix!

Krazy Kon had us bopping away again with his annual dance compilation CD Greece 2008 that was released just in time for the hot European summer. Numerous Gold and Platinum accolades were showered over some of our favourite Greek music stars throughout the year including the likes of much loved songstress’ Kati Garbi and Anna Vissi. Most recently, Giannis Kotsiras received praise for his latest contribution to the biz with the album Kai Pali Paidi.

The big screen
Mamma mia! What a year it’s been on the movie front. We delved into the deep seated Greek connection of Hollywood power couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, analysing their Hellenic roots and how they have worked so hard to nurture their cherished relationship with our culture. Comedy actress Tina Fey swept us away on both the big and small screens after starring in the smash hit comedy Baby Mama and stole the show at the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards taking home three statues on the night. We must also not forget to mention the box office smash Mamma Mia starring Merryl Streep and Colin Firth. This picture was released in July 2008 and was mostly filmed on the small Greek island of Skopelos. The seaside hamlet of Damouchari in the Pelion region of Greece was also used as a back drop for the film.

The small screen
The X Factor crew made their way to Australia in September in search of the next Kalomoira Sarantis and Greece officially joined a music television cult following as world renowned music channel MTV went on air for the first time ever in the country.

Hot Euro summer
Many Aussies were lucky enough to escape the sub-zero winter during the middle of the year to head overseas, and the Greek islands were most definitely a top holiday choice for the season. Mykonos has gained a solid reputation as one of Europe’s most thrilling party destinations and some of Australia’s finest home grown DJ talent played at Ministry of Sound venue Paradise Club on the island during July. The club happily endorsed various key acts from Oz including TV Rock, John Course and The Stafford Brothers.

Without a doubt, Greece’s most popular celebrity of the year would have to have been Sakis Rouvas. Not only did Rouvas make his way down to Australia for a concert tour, but the limelight stealer was also announced as Greece’s 2009 representative in the Eurovision Song Contest, he became the host of the fresh talent search series The X Factor, secured himself a regular winter gig at an Athens nightclub and also managed to find the time to become a dad!

What’s to come? Spice in 09…
Danielle Karvess

After an incredible year of Spice in 2008, the year to come promises to be just as riveting if not more so. Giannis Ploutarhos is making his way down under for a charity tour of Sydney and Melbourne in May and Hollywood heart-throb Brad Pitt is still rumoured to star as another ancient Greek figure in a Tarantino rendition of Odysseus.