Angela Sarafyan

Get ready to see something you have never seen before – a rising star at the break of dawn.

Angela Sarafyan, an Armenian-American actress (born in Armenia and moved with her parents to the United States at the age of four), has been cast in the upcoming feature film ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’. This next and final installment of the insanely popular vampire film series is slated to be released in November 2011. Angela will be playing the role of Tia, a member of the Egyptian Coven.

We’re embarrassed to say that we had never heard of Angela Sarafyan before this news, but with a little research, we’ve come to learn that she’s no overnight sensation. Angela has been in a long list of television series (Judging Amy, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Shield, 24, CSI:NY, The Mentalist), several feature films (The Informers, A Beautiful Life, Kabluey, On The Doll), and numerous commercials.

From the looks of things, we’re going to be hearing about Angela a lot more from now on. On the heals of the Twilight Saga casting news, Angela is also going to have a leading role alongside Jamie Kennedy in a future movie called ‘Lost And Found In Armenia’.  Can’t wait for this one!

Travel in Argentina: Visit Plaza Armenia, Buenos Aires

By M G Gray

If you visit Buenos Aires when you travel in Argentina, you’ll quickly realise that this is a city made up of many pleasant plazas. These pleasant squares are speckled around the city, and are perfect places to relax, read the paper, drink a coffee and watch the world go by.

If you head to Palermo, the coolest neighbourhood by far, you’ll realise that this area is quite different from much of the city. Things seem more peaceful, the crowds are trendier, the streets are somehow cleaner. There are a number of plazas in Palermo, and the one that is always recommended first when you travel in Argentina is Plaza Cortaza.

However, pleasant as Plaza Cortaza may be, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Plaza Armenia as well.

Plaza Armenia, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Visit During the Week

Situated where the two streets Armenia and Costa Rica join together, this small and attractive square is the perfect place to visit during the week when you travel in Argentina, when all you’ll find are a few locals enjoying the peace and quiet.

If you’re a fan of people watching then this is the ideal place to stop by and engage in this favourite past time, as you can sit back and watch Argentinian daily life play out in front of you.

If you don’t fancy sitting in the plaza itself, head to one of the bars or cafes around the edges. Many of these have roof terraces from which you can sit with a beer and watch the world go by below.

Weekend Craft Market

Head to Plaza Armenia on the weekend, however, and things are quite different. This is a hotspot for residents of Palermo, and if the sun is shining you can bet that the square will crowd out as everyone has the same idea.

A busy market selling homemade arts and crafts springs up out of nowhere, the atmosphere becomes more intense, and you’ll be lucky to find a seat in any of the cafes, let alone on one of the terraces.

Explore the Area

In the near vicinity, you can also take a stroll down Armenia to enjoy some of the Armenian culture of Buenos Aires. There are a number of Armenian restaurants, so if you’ve had enough steak during your time in Buenos Aires then this could be a good antidote.

Visit Plaza Armenia

Definitely take the time to visit Plaza Armenia the next time you travel in Argentina. It’s nothing sensational, but for a good place to enjoy watching the locals in a pleasant, authentic setting then it can’t be beaten.

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Article Source: Travel in Argentina: Visit Plaza Armenia, Buenos Aires

Sarkis Baltaian (concert pianist)

Sarkis Baltaian, emerging as one of the most promising young pianists of his generation, has gained an international reputation as a concert pianist, soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. Praised by critics for his “beautiful tone and ability to project even the most delicate pianissimos” and compared to George Gershwin and Oscar Levant for his performance of Gershwin’s Concerto in F, Mr. Baltaian made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 1999 and has performed extensively throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Holland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. He has frequently appeared as a soloist with various orchestras including USC Thornton Symphony, American Youth Symphony, Plovdiv, Pleven, Sliven Philharmonics, Sofia Soloist Orchestra (Bulgaria), to name a few. Together with his sister violinist Aroussiak Baltaian, he has been featured as a guest artist at the 1999 Los Angeles Philharmonic International Gala and also appeared at the 2000 World Piano Pedagogy Convention in Las Vegas.

Mr. Baltaian is the 1999 winner of the USC Piano Concerto Competition. He is also a Grand prize winner of the Armenian Allied Arts Association Competition, the “Young Piano Virtuosi” International Competition in the Czech Republic and the “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition in Bulgaria. His festival appearances include the Aspen International Music Festival, Holland Music Sessions and Plovdiv International Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Baltaian has made numerous recordings for Television and Radio Stations in the United States, Holland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. He has been featured in live radio broadcasts on KUSC “Sundays at Four”, Los Angeles, WMFT’s “Dame Myra Hess” series in Chicago, KNPR Classical series, Las Vegas.

Sarkis Baltaian, of Armenian descent was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and began to study piano at the age of four with Rositza Ivancheva at the “Dobrin Petkov” Music School. Awarded a merit scholarship from the University of Southern California and grants from AGBU-New York and USC Friends of Armenian Music, he continued his education at USC where he received the Bachelor and Masters of Music Degrees and became the Outstanding Graduate of the Keyboard Department. His principal teacher has been John Perry and he has also worked with various musicians such as Sergiu Commisiona, Larry Livingston, Alan Remington, Vasil Kazandjiev, Emile Naumov, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, Gyorgy Sandor, Menahem Pressler, John O’Connor, Germaine Muniet, Lee Kum-Sing, Edna Golandsky, Nina Scolnik, Milton Stern, Sergei Dorensky, Dmitri Bashkirov.

Sarkis Baltaian is a frequent adjudicator for such organizations as the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, Music Teachers Association of California, Southwestern Youth Music Festival and was recently appointed to become the District Coordinator for CAMPT District IX.

From 2002-2006, Dr. Baltaian served as the teaching assistant to Professor John Perry at the University of Southern California and was also a member of the piano faculty at the California State University, Los Angeles from 2005-2008.

Currently, Dr. Baltaian is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Alecko Eskandarian

A two-time All-Star and five-time MLS Goal of the Week winner, Eskandarian has captured awards throughout his career, including the 2002 Hermann Trophy after his junior year at the University of Virginia. Eskandarian, who is of Armenian descent, is the son of Iranian National team player Andranik Eskandarian, who represented his country at the 1978 World Cup and thereafter played for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.

MLS Experience

2009: Currently plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

2008: After missing much of the first half of the season due to sports hernia surgery, Eskandarian came on strong late in the year and finished the season tied for first on the team with five goals. In a span between Aug. 30 and Oct. 4, he scored against each of his three previous teams (RSL, DC, Toronto).

2007: Between Real Salt Lake and Toronto, played 23 games (starting all 23), scoring 2 goals and adding 3 assists, logging 1,913 minutes.

2006: Came back from his concussion by scoring against New York in the season opener, and finished the year with seven goals and two assists, including Goal of the Week honors on May 13 for his tally against KC. His impressive return to form netted Eskandarian a Commissioner’s Pick as an MLS All-Star.

2005: In 12 games (seven starts), recorded one goal and one assist before suffering a season-ending concussion on June 18 at New England after colliding with Revs GK Matt Reis.

2004: Led D.C. United in scoring with 10 goals and earning MLS Cup MVP honors while guiding the team to an MLS Cup victory, and was twice awarded MLS Player of the Week honors (6/19 and 9/11) and won four Sierra Mist Goal of the Week accolades (4/3, 6/19, 7/3, and 9/18). His strong play also earned him the D.C. United Coaches Award for 2004 and his first spot on the MLS All-Star team.

2003: After being the first overall pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, Eskandarian appeared in 23 games for D.C. United and finished his first MLS season with three goals and two assists.

International

Was named to the U.S. U-23 National Team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2004, finishing the tournament with four goals, including a hat trick against Honduras. He earned his lone cap for the U.S. Senior Men’s National Team on May 26, 2003, against Wales in San Jose.

College

Played three standout seasons at the University of Virginia and established himself as one of the all-time greats at the school, finishing his Cavaliers career with 50 goals (including 15 game winners) and 13 assists. In his junior season, in 2002, Eskandarian set a single-season school record with 25 goals, and collected nearly every award he was up for after being named the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy award winner, Soccer America’s Player of the Year, a NSCAA/adidas NCAA Division I First Team All-American, and many others. In his sophomore year, Eskandarian scored nine goals, and was a Second Team All-American. As a freshman, in 2000, led the team with 16 goals and six assists.

Personal

Parents are Andranik and Anahid, older brother is Ara…His father, Andranik, was a professional soccer player for the New York Cosmos and played in the 1978 World Cup with Iran; Ara played soccer at Villanova…Was born in Hackensack, NJ, raised in Montvale, NJ, and currently lives in Hermosa Beach but is a fan of all New Jersey sports teams: the Nets, Jets and Mets. Also enjoys watching Arsenal play…Is proud of his Armenian heritage, and is happy to be in Los Angeles where he can give back to a large Armenian community. Cites Armenian food as his favorite, along with Mexican food and sushi…Best soccer memory is scoring a goal in the first game of the 2004 MLS season on national television and dedicating it to his friend Nicole Megaloudis, who had recently passed away: “I wrote a message for her on my t-shirt underneath my jersey and I know it touched many people, especially her family, who were able to see that.”

Honors

MLS Cup Champion (2004)

MLS Cup MVP (2004)

MLS All-Star (2004, 2006)

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Winner (2002)

NCAA First Team All-American (2002)

NCAA Second Team All-American (2001)

Avo Uvezian

World Class Cigar Maestro

Avo Uvezian is a cosmopolitan who began his career as a musician and went on to become a composer, cigar aficionado and even a creator of fine cigars.

Avo, who lent his name to AVO Cigars, has nurtured all these talents in his quest for perfection. In both music and the creation of cigars, passion is the driving force that spurs him to find perfect harmony.

The Man

Avo Uvezian was born in 1926, into a musical family of Armenian extraction living in Beirut.

His father was a composer and conductor of a symphony orchestra, his mother a gifted singer. The dream of this talented young pianist was a great career as a musician.

His ability and enormous commitment – still evident to this day – brought him success at an early age.

The Musician

As a teenager, he travelled the Near and Middle East with his jazz trio “Lebanon Boys”. The contacts made there led the young jazz pianist to the USA in 1947 where he studied classical piano and music composition at the renowned “Julliard School of Music” in New York.

During his studies Avo played with great success in various bands. The Korean War interrupted his career, as he served with the US Army as a musician until 1953.

After that, Avo played with the great jazz musicians of the 50s and 60s. His dream had come true – he had established his career as a musician.

The Connoisseur

Avo, a polyglot, also established himself as a businessman. Travelling to Puerto Rico in the nineteen eighties, he opened a restaurant and a piano bar.

It was in Puerto Rico that Avo discovered his love of cigars which was to become his second great passion.

As a perfectionist par excellence, he very soon had his own AVO cigars rolled and gave them away to his guests, with whom they were in great demand. It was however his five-year-old daughter who was to prove the inspiration for his business acumen. When one of Avo’s listeners at the pool bar asked him for a cigar, she said: “Daddy, if he wants another one, let him pay for it.” Perhaps that was the decisive signal to open up his second passion to a wider audience. The path from connoisseur to cigar composer was just a matter of time.

The Businessman

In 1982, while seeking a suitable manufacturer, Avo made the acquaintance of master cigar maker Hendrik Kelner in the Dominican Republic and a harmonious relationship developed between them. The first AVO cigars went on sale in New York in 1988. Two passionate aficionados had come together and the outcome was predestined: “Cigars in Perfect Harmony”.

Avo was soon receiving as many compliments for them as for his melodies. Hendrik Kelner and Avo Uvezian started off with 100,000 cigars in the first year. Within ten years, sales rose to over three million cigars per year.

“Success in perfect harmony” – with both his first career in music and with his cigars, Avo Uvezian has devoted himself to perfect harmony and unrivalled quality.

10 Essential Things To Do When You Visit Armenia

By Jonathan Williams

Armenia is a land of both the old and the new. As the first Christian country of Europe and after more than 600 years of bondage to foreign powers, it is indeed one of the most exiting places to be aside from being one of the most historically rich countries in Europe. So if you want a vacation filled with culture, history, relaxation and fun, here are the ten most essential things to do in Armenia:

1.) Ughtasar

How to get to this ancient fortress is even more daunting than its name as only a 4×4 combined with the summer climate can take tourists through the top of the mountainous plateau where it is located. Upon reaching the site, you will see more than 2000 petroglyphs left behind by ancient people depicting scenes of the hunt, ancient rituals and culture. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the view from this site is also terrific.

2.) Erebuni Fortress

The Fortress of Erebuni also holds a treasure trove of artifacts. These artifacts date back to the millennium before Christ. The fortress has been converted into a museum and here you will find around 12,000 items belonging to the ancient civilization that thrived on the land.

3.) Zvartnots Temple

This temple stands testament to Armenia as having the oldest national church in the world. This temple dates back more than 1700 years in the past and has only been recently excavated by a team of archaeologists. On the grounds, you will see not only the ancient church but a museum, cathedral and seminary as well. This place serves as the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

4.) National Gallery

The national gallery serves to hold national treasures such as art from classical to modern times. Not only does it contain Armenian art but western art as well. It was founded on 1919 and has since served as the repository for the country’s cultural items.

5.) Old Dilijan

This quaint country town as situated in the heart of the northern Armenian forest. The town boasts of having been the home of many famous artists, musicians, composers and others. This popular destination attracts tourists because of its early 20th century architecture and its displays of musical instruments and handicrafts.

6.) Ararat Cognac Factory

This serves as the home base for the producer of the most famous brandy maker in the country. The brandy made from this place has become the favorite of people all around the world including the famous Winston Churchill. It is a must-see place.

7.) Matenadaran Institute

It is located at the heart of Yerevan. The Matenadaran Institute houses an impressive collection of handwritten books. It is an imposing edifice guarded by the silent statues of famous Armenian intellectuals such as Mesrp Mashtots, Mkhitar Gosh, Anania Shirakatsi, Toros Roslin, etc.

8.) Gaghard Cathedral

A Church made famous by the fact that it is literally hollowed out of solid rock, the Cathedral of Gaghard is indeed an example of this countries exemplary architecture. The name Geghard literally translates into spear. It is because of the fact that it has housed the spear that has pierced the body of Jesus during His crucifixion.

9.) Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries

Located in the region of Lori and along the banks of river of Debed, these two famous monasteries are some of the World Heritage Sites of Unesco. These two sites serve to remind not just tourists but the people of the country itself of their rich cultural heritage and intellectual achievements. The two sites’ were constructed during the 10th century and has taken hundreds of years to finish.

10.) The Garni Temple

Adorned by two dozen of Ionic columns, this temple stands as a reminder of the countries Hellenistic past. It was constructed as part of a fortress during the third century BC. Protected naturally on three sides by a rocky cliffs and a deep canyon but destroyed several times during the course of history nonetheless, it is likened to the national Spirit of Armenia which inspires its entire people to rebuild.

Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV

Article Source: 10 Essential Things To Do When You Visit Armenia

Soviet State to United State – Glendale – Little Armenia

By Andrew Regan

According to Census figures, Glendale in California is home to the largest number of Armenians in the United States, with people of Armenian descent allowing for 40% of the city’s population.

Armenia is a small, landlocked country located in Eurasia, lying east of Turkey and south of Georgia. It is a unitary, democratic nation-state, and former member of the Soviet Union. According to Armenia’s April 2006 Census, the country has a population of just over three million, and is the second most densely populated of the former Soviet Union republics, behind Moldova.

Armenia has a rich and historic culture. It has it’s own language and alphabet, although 76% of its population also speaks Russian, with English also becoming increasingly popular as an additional language. Armenia’s National Art Gallery in its capital city Yerevan hosts over sixteen thousand paintings, dating back to the Middle Ages.

Armenia has it’s own national football team, which was established in 1991, following the split of the Soviet Union, as Armenians had played for the Soviet Union’s team previously. The team is yet to taste any real success, and has never qualified for any major competitions, including the World Cup or European championships. The team is currently number 82 in the FIFA world rankings.

Armenian music is predominantly indigenous folk music, best represented by Djivan Gasparyan, who has become known as the master of the dudek, a woodwind instrument that originated in Armenia. Armenia also has an extensive Christian music scene, not surprising considering Armenia is the oldest Christian nation on Earth. Some Armenians have embraced non-Armenian forms of music to great success, including critically acclaimed UK-based rapper and producer Blade, and innovative heavy metal group System Of A Down, whose members are all of Armenian descent.

Armenia has been producing movies since the 1920s, the most famous of which is Sergei Parajanov’s 1968 art-house film The Colour Of Pomegranates. It was banned in the Soviet Union, but was nonetheless hailed as a masterpiece and influenced by revered art-house film directors Federico Fellini and Jean-Luc Goddard.

Armenia’s vast densely populated landscapes together with its climate wonderfully lend itself to farming, and particularly the growing of crops. Apricots and peaches are both said to have originated from Armenia. Barbecues are also massively popular in Armenia, resulting in most traditional Armenian dishes being based around grilled meat.

This rich and diverse culture is massively reflected in Glendale’s Armenian community. 30% of Glendale’s residents speak the distinctive Armenian language at home and the city is packed with Armenian restaurants, serving authentic Armenian cuisine, such as Tjvjik, a dish of fried liver, kidney and onions, and falsuya, a stew made with lamb and green beans.

There are also several Armenian schools in Glendale, as well as Armenian businesses and community groups and a number of hotels in Glendale available for anyone keen to experience the Armenian way of life in the city for themselves.

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance author from Scotland. He is a keen rugby player and enjoys travelling.

Article Source: Soviet State to United State – Glendale – Little Armenia