New York – May 29 2014

Join us for our summer kick-off & white party at this gorgeous Rooftop and Lounge.

Your hosts:
Malena Belafonte, Denmark, www.malenabelafonte.com
Read Malena’s member of the month INTERVIEW!
Join Malena at her SCANDINAVIAN TRUNK SHOW at 15 Central park West earlier in the day on May 29 from 1pm-7pm
Inna Race, Private Paparazzi Production will be our snapping pictures of everyone throughout the evening.
Sherry Kumar, Serbia – Serbia. Sherry is also organizing EuroCircle Trip to INDIA in November.

Dress Code:
Wear white, head to toe  (we encourage everyone to wear white but it is not required)
If you show up in a hat or fascinator, you’ll look even more fabulous!
Let’s get a jump start on summer, and do what we do best- party in style.
We invite you to dress for the occasion, and bring your own white chapeau to our party at the Attic.

We look forward to seeing you at this fun event to kick off the summer season!

There will be drink specials and food for purchase throughout the evening.
A DJ will spin tunes all night long so put on your dancing shoes!

Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team

New York – Malena Belafonte, Denmark – Beauty with Brains

Malena is a former international model, singer/songwriter, mother, co-founder of the Speyer Legacy School and founder of Malena by Malena Belafonte Cosmetics for Women.
Malena will be co-hosting our Summer Kick Off and White Party on Thursday,May 29, 2014 at the Attic in New York City (right after her trunkshow at 15 CPW).
Join Malena at her SCANDINAVIAN TRUNK SHOW at 15 Central park West earlier in the day on May 29 from 1pm-7pm (thanks DilogR for letting us use your technology)

Tell Us About Yourself.

I am born and raised in Denmark. I come from a very academic family. My parents were both professors at The Royal Danish Conservatory of Music. My dad was a conductor and composer and my mom was a soloist. I started performing with both them and in school, and traveled a lot performing all over. I became a singer and later a songwriter which seemed so natural to me. I left Denmark to become a model in Paris and though it was only to master French at a level that would let me become an Judge for International affairs, after 2 very successful years, that dream of the royal tribune of law, got replaced by my real passion which was music and entertainment.

How long have you been a member of EuroCircle?

I don’t even remember when I joined. I seem to have hosted a myriad of events and been involved for a while.

How long have you been in the US and what brought you here?

I came to NYC as a model because I knew that if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, before setting up base in LA. Somehow I am still here and it ended up being the other way around. I go to LA on trips and have been living in NYC for a long time now. NYC fits my personality which is definitely fast paced and adventurous, yet totally real and honest. The hard working mentality that you simply have to have in order to succeed here is just a part of me that I think my dad fostered.

What has been the best thing you have done so far in your career?

Well, anytime I am in a studio recording there is a happiness that I cannot describe. It is the creativity that fulfills anyone in music. But set that aside: I co-founded The Speyer Legacy School in 2009. One of the mom’s in my daughter’s preschool came to me in 2007 and asked what I thought about starting a very special school for gifted children. Being that my dad had been a co-founder of a school in Denmark and a brilliant mind, it was pretty natural for me to shake hands and say: “Let’s go!” and the journey began. The last one of the Fab 5 as I call us 5 that founded the school, sort of tied it all up in a nice bow, because she was this amazing lawyer who was able to get all of our ideas and enthusiasm put into a legal entity that now has become an educational masterpiece. We started with 2 amazing leaders whose view on education and skills as teachers were just Nirvana. We had 26 students and now we have close to 250 students, a staff of 50 in 85,000 sq feet that we beautifully renovated in time for the September 2013-2014 school year. Another thing I am incredibly proud of was when I did Dancing with the Stars in Denmark. It was one of those times that I will never forget. We were opening the school on the same time and I had to peddle back and forth between NYC and Copenhagen with a 1 year old and a 5 years old and my dance partner, so we lived on 2 hours of sleep a day. It finally became too hard to travel that much and we ended up living in my home country for 3 months. It was awesome for my kids to experience Danish life and also for me to be with my family every day. My husband David (David Belafonte is a producer, son of entertainer Harry Belafonte. David is an Emmy Award winning, Grammy nominated producer too) came every weekend and we all just made it work. Getting the silver was just the icing on the cake. Though both things happened on the same time, and so opposite in every way, it was incredibly fulfilling on every level and such a testament to the diversity that my parents taught me to always have in me.

Is there any particular story, moment, an award or an achievement throughout your career that you are particularly proud of?

Any achievement during my career pales in comparison to having children. Having my daughter, was the most amazing moment in my life. When she came out, she smiled, immediately started nursing and my heart just filled up and it was like: Ahhh, there you are, this was what I felt I was missing my whole life. It all of a sudden just made sense. When my son was born it was horribly dramatic, but I can truly say that with him, my cup runneth over. As a singer I had many moments; Performing live in front of 10,000 people and 24 million viewers was pretty amazing. It was an anniversary for “Fernseh Garten”, a German talk show, and they had pulled everybody in from everywhere to perform. Doing Dancing with The Stars in Europe was again one of the highlights. It was so incredible to be able to emotionally connect to a place inside your heart that your partner also went into, to become one in a dance and to convey that same experience to the audience and even to the viewers. Winning second place didn’t suck . Another performance that stands out in addition to working with Cool and the Gang, Jean Beauvoir and Harry Belafonte, was singing a medley for the Queen of Denmark. That was a highlight and an honor. On July 4th this year I have been asked to be the key note speaker at Rebuild in Demark, which is such a big honor. Following in the footsteps of Victor Borge and President Nixon at this place and time in my life is a little overwhelming.

You were a model before founding your company – can you share with us any highlights or a fond memory from your modeling career?

I was lucky to have started my career as a model and never had to waitress or do anything else to support myself. So that in itself is a highlight . I remember doing a show in Rio in front of 30 million viewers and 3000 who is who in the live audience. One of the models was such a diva. If you happened to be on the runway with her, you had to almost be shaped like a moon in order to keep your feet on the runway and move your body out past the side of the runway and keep your head over your feet so you would not fall of the runway. So one day after she finished her walk and felt she did so amazingly well that she needed to twirl and turn and walk backwards sort of making her last bow and greeting the people. So dramatic and so self-indulgent. She miscalculated the space to the steps that went backstage, and fell off the runway with such a force that she looked like a cat with stiff legs just upside down. It was as dramatic and loud just like everything she did, and so incredible non gracious, non fantastic and straight out clumsy. Everyone back stage were laughing, though trying their best to hide, but some were literally bend over in stitches. I though it was hysterical, but tried my best to hold it in. And now it was my turn on the cat walk. I tried my best, but I could no longer keep it in. I started laughing so hard that I got tears in my eyes, and now I could not see anything. So here you have this model in a dramatic outfit, supposed to look gloom and angry, and I was shaking of laughter, tears were exploding all over my cheeks, I was visibly shaking and totally red in my face. I desperately tried NOT to fall of the runway, and I think the Universe was like: this is your time to shine, I will guide you, and somehow I managed to get back in one piece, only to hear the roars and applause from the audience. …..they thought this was some amazingly directed piece of the show that was meant to touch the audience and make them feel all sorts of things… No, I was just cracking up because the b((*^ fell off the stage….

Can you tell us more about your new company, Malena Belafonte, Inc?

It is an umbrella company that houses my different project and companies. I have a production company, a cosmetics line and an agency. Facebook: Pink Pirate Agency gives international designers representation in the US in a way that they can relate to. Each country has their own uniqueness in terms of how they do business, their culture and even financial structure. We understand that and are able to marry it with the US ways of doing things, which is very different.
My cosmetics company started out as a line for women on the go, multi functional and developed into an easy to use mineral cosmetics collection and skin care line. We have so little time to take care of ourselves that the products we use need to be easy to use yet give a lot of results, and that is what my line does, yet super glam and with awesome colors.
My production company is busy. Last week we just unveiled the permanent Per Hillo exhibit at Reebok Sportsclub and now we have a trunk show for Scandinavian designers at the beautiful 15 Central Park West on Thursday May 29th. I have 10 of the designers and brand from my Pink Pirate Agency showcasing their collections, from raw diamonds to crocodile bags. Pretty cool stuff.

You do a lot of wonderful charitable work and fundraising. What organizations do you work with?

I sort of jumped head first into charity work by taking over Cindy Crawford’s vice president position of an organization called DISHES. This was the first charity out of the fashion industry benefiting pediatric AIDS and HIV. Once we started the Speyer Legacy School, that became my main focus, though I also joined the board of Time In for Kids, which gives art education to the most at risk schools in NYC. I am currently also on the board of The Danish American Society and The Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Foundation.

What makes Denmark so special and where in Denmark are you originally from?

I am from Jyderup, which is 1 hour from Copenhagen. Denmark is a beautiful country that especially in the summer is so lush and beautiful. Danes are nice and real, generous and fun. I can say that the nightlife in Denmark is something totally unique. Partying is in the genes, but it is not generally destructive partying, it is just all out, dancing, having fun, staying up til 6 am kind of partying. And on the other hand, we invented the word HYGGE, which sort of translates into cosy, and everyone hangs out, gets together and the whole lifestyle is all about hygge.

What time of year is the best to visit Denmark and the must see places when visiting there?

Summer. May and July and August. And of course Christmas. There is nothing like Danish Christmas!

What places do you like best in NYC and why..any favorite cafes, restaurants?

I love the Upper West Side. There are so many great places. It is very cosy. It is sort of where show biz families live, because they are left alone and there is more space than downtown. Shopping on Columbus, Sunday Flea Market, Museum of Natural History, Nice Matin for lunch and of course Central Park and The Hans Christian Anderson Statue.

How can people get in touch with you?

My website: http://www.malenabelafonte.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/malenabelafonte
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PinkPirateAgency

Austin – May 18 2014

Come root for your favorite European country!

Where: Boundless Network office, 200 E 6th Street, Suite 300
When: Saturday, May 18th at 1pm. Show starts at 2pm.

PLEASE PURCHASE YOUR TICKET ONLINE BEFORE THE EVENT
(link on the right side of the page)
Cost: $10 including drinks and lighter snacks.

Hosted by SACC TX, SWEA and EuroCircle (and Boundless Network of course!)

What is Eurovision?

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally.

For questions please contact Rasmus at rwendt@boundlessnetwork.comne

See http://www.eurovision.tv/ for more info

Comment: Malmö, Sweden – ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus have composed We Write the Story, with arrangement by Avicii, for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. The anthem is the main theme of the Swedish hosting as well as the music for the grand opening act of the Final

Philadelphia – May 10 2014

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Eurovison event has been canceled. If you purchased a ticket, you will receive a refund via Ticketleap promptly.

If you grew up in Europe, there’s no need to explain. For 58 years, the Eurovision Song Contest (tip: Abba won 1974) has been Europe’s most anticipated broadcast ofthe year. After more than five decades featuring some 1,100 songs, the annual contest is eagerly awaited by all Europeans.

TICKETS $5 for members, $10 non-members

EuroCircle will be broadcasting the Eurovision Contest 2014 from Copenhagen at Tir Na Nog. We have reserved a section of the bar, arranged for drink specials and light hors d’oeuvres. $5 Eurotinis.

To register, please RSVP via this website (Facebook doesn’t count).
Please get your tickets in advance, as you must be on the guest list to join us.

Sherry and your co-hostess Monika Borkowska, Poland

Austin – May 10 2014

FEATURING DRINKS SPECIALS AND LIVE STREAMING OF THE EUROVISION FINALE

Eurovision has been around since 1956; it was the “Idol” series before “Idol” existed. Come and join The Russian House team for our Finale watch party and see Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK battle it out LIVE on stage. (The Swedes cancelled their party due to the late start)
See each of the contestants here!

What is Eurovision?
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally.

See eurovision.tv for more info!

Meet GENE TODOROV from the Brass House, our Bulgarian member of the month in Austin!
Working on the next EuroCircle Austin event, stay tuned!! Email austin(at)eurocircle.com any suggestions

New York – May 10 2014

Eurovision Finals Viewing Party

Join us as we watch the Eurovision Finals at this hot rooftop & lounge near Herald Square.The Eurovision song contest will start live at 3pm – this year it is being televised live from Denmark.There will be drinks of the day in special in addition to a food bar menu available for purchase.

Featured Co-Host: Rada, Bulgaria. Born and raised in Bulgaria, Rada came to the U.S. for college. After graduating from Mount Holyoke she moved to the world’s theatrical capital, New York City, to follow her passion for theater and writing. Today she brings the best of Broadway to audiences across the U.S. and her writing has taken the shape of songs. Rada is pleased to offer Eurocircle members an exclusive download of her song “Anonymous In New York” available on her website: www.radanow.com

About Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest running television shows in the world. It was on the 24th of May, 1956, that Europe saw the first ever Eurovision Song Contest. After 56 runnings, the contest is one of the most typical European traditions and without doubt, Europe’s favorite TV show! In 2005, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrated its 50th anniversary by picking the best entry to date.

We look forward to a fun event – can you predict which country will win?

Best,
Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team

Helsinki – Alexandra Eude, Parisian Family’s 4 Years In Finland

Being a Finn myself I am always curious how any foreigners like living in there – the climate is tuff in the winter (the same as many states in the USA) and many Finns are sort of stand-offish at least on the surface. It is not a country for small-talk, hugs and kisses. You need to have some luck to meet the right people to include you in their circles. It is far easier to get at least good acquaintances in many other countries, Finns are great friends – once they let you in. They are also super conscious many times of not speaking perfect English…so they do not talk.

Alexandra, please introduce yourself to the readers? (When did you move to Finland and why, where did you move from- a short story who you are in a way, family, kids etc)?

My name is Alexandra Eude and I have been living in Helsinki for 4 years now. We moved to Finland because of my husband’s work (Nokia, now Microsoft) after living in London for four years before.

Finland is not my first expatriation, as I have lived 4 years in Brazil, 2 years in the USA and 4 years in the UK. We are all French and from Paris originally. I am what you call a Third Culture Kid.
I have 4 children, 3 girls and a boy, aged 8 to 17. They attend the International School of Helsinki. and have experienced the French school system as well as the British one.
Before moving to Helsinki, I use to work in the Marketing/Communication and New Product Development field. Since graduating from University, I have always been an active person and even with 4 children have always worked full time managing pretty well the career/family life balance. Well, that’s until I moved to Helsinki, where finding a job has just been impossible.

What do you enjoy most about Finland, now when you have more experience, how’s the quality of life compared to UK, France and Brazil since you have lived in all of them ?

Finland is a beautiful country in terms of nature. After 4 years here, I am still in awe in when looking at what surrounds me. Nature is omnipresent in our lives and being outdoors, whatever the weather, has really become a way of life. I don’t recall being so sensitive to nature before, and I guess our life in Finland has brought all of us back to the essentials: being simple, authentic… The country is very safe and I like the fact that my children can have so much independence and freedom without me worrying every 5 minutes. Everything is organized, clean, works well and usually on time. There are rules, and people respect them. Some times a bit too much, to the point of becoming rigid though!
I feel privileged to be able to bring up children in such an environment. It is so rare in our world today! I think the values my teenage children have been brought up in the past 4 years have clearly shaped the human beings they are now: honest, respectful of nature and people, and authentic.

Usually there are some negatives, what are the ones for Finland that really stand out for you personally? What do you miss most about “home” what ever that means to you?

It is very hard to bond with people here. It is not that they are not nice and helpful, but it is a non-emotional culture and more of a practical culture. What I mean by that is that if people don’t see what it will bring them personally, they do not see the interest in doing something for you. This is being reflected in the way they work too. They know their rights and won’t go the extra mile to do something if it goes beyond what they are entitled to do. This is why customer service is also an abstract notion here.

It is also very hard to establish contact with people who are rather reserved, don’t do small talk and actually prefer staying among their families and friends rather than opening their doors to new comers. especially if they come a different and unknown culture… Of course, not all of them are like that, but unless they have travelled a bit or lived abroad, that’s pretty much the kind of people you “meet” here.
I think that after 4 years, my neighbors just started waving at me from their cars as they leave. But that’s about it!! They have never chatted with me in the street or invited us. Actually, Finns don’t really invite to their homes. Something quite different from cultures like the one in Brazil, where the people are extremely warm and generous; or even the neighborhood we lived in London, where people came to us to introduce themselves and gave their number in case you needed anything.
Human contact, that’s what I miss the most! Thankfully, the International School of Helsinki has a tight and small community, where I have met some great friends. But the community is small, like Helsinki is small. So your network ends up being small too.

Do you feel Finland is a good place for you as an employee/entrepreneur right now? Are there any areas expats like you might like in Finland better ? (how was looking for work as a foreigner?? – guessing horrible unless you are techy – entrepreneurs? WHY?)

Finding a job as a foreigner in Finland is hard, very hard! Finns are not risk takers, and as a foreigner, you represent the unknown, a different mind-set and approach. Many would see this as an opportunity to bring in fresh blood and ideas to a business. But here, what they worry about is how that is going to change the way they do things, communicate between each other, which they are not too keen to change as it works well as it is.
I made the effort of learning the language for a while and studied 6 months of intensive Finnish and passed 2 levels out of the 6 you need to be “fluent”. But the language is so hard! I didn’t pursue, and maybe should have, but figured that by the time I would be considered employable, it might be time to leave Finland!
When I think about it, it would probably be the same in France. If you are a foreigner and do not speak French, it would be hard to find a job. But I was convinced that I would be able to apply in organizations where English is widely spoken and working environments are more relaxed, such as advertizing agencies. I had several interviews, but it never went very far: I was too different, didn’t speak the language well enough… I was scary!

I have thus worked on many projects and events for the French-Finnish Chamber of Commerce for example, being on the board of the International School of Helsinki or consulting in marketing and communications for the school too. But never got the chance to have a fixed job in an organization. That’s maybe what lead me to the idea of setting up my own business… In February 2014, and after 2 years of preparation work, I decided to set up my own service, based on the observed needs of all the people around me over those many years being expat, and launched an online daily-life sharing community website: www.sharelocaltips.com.

Setting up my business wasn’t too hard in terms of paper work. It was quick, simple and not very expensive. They have offices with people to help you review your business plan, advise you on the structure of your business, and all that in English. I think Finland is great for start-ups. However, once up and running, if you are not a local, that’s when it gets hard to get people’s trust, develop your business, establish a network. That’s the stage I am at now, and I find it very hard to establish contacts with people and to get support.

Do you think your career (business) would be the same in France – or does this work better for you? Either way, please explain more.

Not being able to have a “proper” job here has been the most painful part of living in Finland for me. I feel like my career has been still for the past 4 years. I however really hope my project managements and missions will be seen positively by my future employers. Creating my own business, even if it ends up not working, is also a big challenge and risk I was willing to take and I imagine that is an achievement in itself. I may have actually turned a negative situation into a positive one and grabbed the opportunity Finland was actually offering me.

How does the work culture differ from France? (health care, clothing, customs, women, manners, food, alcohol, hygiene, romance, school, family life etc)

Finns are reserved, so that means that they do not splash you in the face with signs of richness and advertizing. It can thus be quite tricky to know where to find things, and it is usually only once inside a store you realize what the shop has to offer! My website made even more sense when I went through this experience. If you don’t speak the native language, and you live in a country where not much is advertized or communicated, daily life and finding simple services that you can trust can be frustrating, confusing and require hours of searching through different sources of information.
Share Local Tips offered to be the one place where both expat word of mouth and cultural experience can be easily shared and found. I really wanted to offer daily life and practical info. But the website is dependent on people wanting to share. Not an easy task…

Do you go out a lot – hobbies? Or is everything about Family or Work right now?

We have not been out a lot in Helsinki: restaurant are outrageously expensive, for a quality of service or food that isn’t always worth the price paid. Plus babysitting and taxis to come home after a couple of drinks make an evening out very expensive.
We however have enjoyed many dinner parties at friends. People will tell you that life here is pretty quiet compared to other capitals. It has however been a great opportunity to re-focus on the family for us. So its hasn’t been that bad. I am however looking forward to our move back to London next summer, and going back to a more vibrant and outgoing life.

What’s the cost of living compared to France or other places you have lived in? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

Finland IS expensive. Everything is expensive with social taxes that are high on services and a VAT of 24%. You pay a lot of taxes, but I must admit that the money collected by the Finnish government is wisely used and all benefit from it through good quality transport, free access to excellent medical care and good local education (if you do not opt for private international education). Compared to countries like France, your contribution to society is worthwhile and visible.

Did you think it is easy meeting people and making friends in Finland? Finns tend to be more reserved with people and warm up slowly? How do your kids feel about living there? Do they speak Finnish at all.

My children know a little bit of Finnish, but very little. Most stores and services speak English, so actually the kids don’t need to make a huge effort to be understood. They have made little friends outside of their school community, even if signed up in skating or ballet classes outside of school. People are too shy and not very outgoing. We tried to introduce them to other Finnish children, but there was no small talk, so not much to start a conversation, especially if you are a teenager! My kids like Finland for the quality of life, but find it too cold (multiple meanings here!), and a bit too quiet.
10. What are the best places/suburbs to live in Helsinki area in your opinion?

There are several areas to live in Helsinki and the choice of one or the other depends on what you are looking for. You can choose to live downtown, near Kaivopuisto or in the Design District. They are mainly apartments, usually old ones but with a lot of charm, quite expensive but very central. Parking like in any other cities can be a challenge. But you get to benefit from the city life, which is not a vibrant as other capitals though.

Or you can choose to live a bit outside the city, in Espoo or east of Helsinki in Herttoniemi. There you will benefit from modern houses, most of the time, wonderful outdoor life, stunning views on the sea and archipelago, close by shopping centers. Espoo, and in particular the area of Nuottaniemi has been my favorite. Close to Iso Omena shopping center which will soon have the metro direct to Helsinki center, great transport links, beaches, shore paths for cycling, walking, and easy access to the sea, which frozen during winter, is a fantastic immense playground for the family!

Did you have any misconceptions about Finland that have turned out to be super wrong….or vice versa, you thought something will be great and it is exactly the other way around?

I have always been a girl of the South and not a big fan of cold weather. I was dreading the long Finnish winters, but was actually really surprised by how beautiful and wonderful it is! Finns say: “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and it is true. If you have the right gear, you can enjoy being outside all year long. My children loved being out playing in the snow after school, even if dark outside. I guess November and December are the toughest if snow hasn’t arrived. Days are really short and nature is not at its best. But if it has snowed, the white reflects light and really brightens your (short) days! Most people who have now left Finland and with whom I keep in touch, say they miss Finnish nature and winters the most. Incredible!

Another misconception I had was about meeting people. I am a very open person and love meeting new friends and discovering new cultures. I am quite social, never had any issue making new friends or networks and was convinced after my past experience in Brazil and in the UK, that that wouldn’t be a problem. I was quite surprised to see how much work it took to bond with locals. Today, I think I have 2 really good Finnish friends, but that’s about it!

Anything else you would like to share with us?? Choose freely.

Now that I know we will be moving back to London, I know that there will be many things I will miss from Finland. Nature will be the biggest. I have ticked all the bucket list items of must-dos in Nordic countries such as cross-country skiing on the frozen see, snow-shoeing in the Nuuksio Forrest, ice-dipping naked in the sea after a smoked sauna, celebrated Finnish Vappu (1st of May), Penkkarit (end of school for Grade 12s) and mid-summer day, have experienced life in a mökki (summer log house) on an island… I don’t think I have many regrets and that I have clearly made the most of my host country. I leave all this experience and traces on Sharelocatips for other to benefit from it!

Connect with Alexandra Eude:
Alexandra at Facebook
www.sharelocaltips.com

 

Austin – Gene Todorov from Bulgaria and The Brass House USCM Team

Last year a bunch of veterans (United States Marine Corps) started a new elegant jazz lounge in downtown Austin. EuroCircle was one of the first groups to have an event there. The lovely and talented SILVIE RIDER (Switzerland) performed with her pianist husband Red Young at the piano. Manja Hossa (Slovenia) from LePA Skincare sponsored appetizers for EuroCircle members. One of the veterans running the club is a fellow European so how about saying hello to “Gene” from Bulgaria (Evgueniy). Jason (Jace)and Gene and their team a re really great people.

Please introduce yourself!

Evgueniy Todorov, known to all my friends as Gene; I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, graduated with BA degree from the “Karl Marx” Economic University; renamed after 2001 to Sofia Economic University and MBA from Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Spend most of my time in San Diego, CA, and finally found home in Austin, TX; drawn to Austin primarily for its cosmopolitan and diverse society, live music culture and lay back and friendly attitude. Co-owner and manager of the Brass House, a Jazz Lounge and Blues Tavern.

When and why did you move to USA, where have you loved after that – how did you choose those cities/career?

Moved to the USA in 1991; at the end of the transformation of Eastern Europe from Communist Rule to Democracy. Initially arrived in LA, yet moved soon sought to San Diego.

Is your family in military or restaurant business?

No, I’m the first in both. I started my Military Career on a whim and ended up doing full 20 years of service, retiring last July from the USMC. My initial plans was to travel around the world for a while, but ended up opening the Brass House – a live Jazz Club in Austin.

What kind of music is your favorite?

I love just about any kind of music; obviously, Jazz and Blues are preferred stiles, but I also love Rock@Roll, Country, Alternative, Classical..etc. etc. I believe music is capable of opening borders and bringing people together, regardless of their ethnic, cultural, racial or religious background.

How was it being in the USMC – what did it teach you (good and bad)?

Life in the Marine Corps taught me a lot of things, mainly about myself and what a person is capable when he puts his will towards an end. It was never easy, but the shared hardship builds character and friendship bonds that lasts a lifetime.

Do you try to go back to Bulgaria every year? The language and the culture are different than in TX for sure. What do you miss the most – and the least?

I try to go back and spend time with my parents at least twice a year, particularly Christmas and Easter. Spending time with my parents and friends is important and enjoyable; wish I can go more often.

When you think about what did you think about life in Bulgaria vs USA before you moved to the USA – did you have misconceptions that turned out to be wrong?

Haha no misconceptions, since I did not know what to expect. But my Dad still thinks that everybody in USA wears a cowboy hat!

What is your favorite food/s and drink??

Everything! I enjoy all types of cuisine. I do try to promote various different dishes from around the world in the Brass House Tavern, just so people in Austin can enjoy the richness and variety of European cuisine.

How is the Bulgarian community in Austin vs. USA?

Hmm, I don’t know any other Bulgarian in Austin…

What would you like anyone know and appreciate about Bulgaria? Would you ever return to live their fulltime?

Small, but beautiful; it has a lot to offer in terms of culture, history, tourism and entertainment: from live concerts, lovely summer beaches at the Black Sea or majestic skiing mountain slopes in the winter. The most interesting is the cuisine: a healthy mixture of Eastern Slavic foods, central European meat dishes and many Mediterranean meals.

Could you share with us what are your team’s plans for the BRASS HOUSE?

Well, our initial concept was to offer a classy and elegant venue for life Jazz for the jazz fans in Austin. We felt that there is a greater demand for such a venue and we were right; in a few months we developed a large and dedicated clientele, who loved the elegant surroundings, crafty cocktails and martinis and the best of Austin Jazz musicians on the stage.

Recently we expanded and opened the Brass House Blues Tavern, adjacent to the Jazz Bar, providing yet another venue for Austin music society. And as we keep all the Jazz at the Jazz Lounge, at the Tavern we feature Blues, Bluegrass, Alternative, Country and Rockabilly bands. There is a great patio that links both sides, allowing our patrons to move freely between the Jazz and Blues stages and enjoy both bands in the same night. With the addition of a full kitchen and an excellent Italian chef, we plan to provide the Austin dining community with a variety of Mediterranean cuisine, creating a fine dining venue with live music shows. All in all, the intent is to excel in the two fields that cross borders and bring peoples together: music and cuisine , as well as handcrafted cocktails, martinis and specialty drinks.

Another intent is that we wanted to assist the Veteran society in Austin by any way possible: about 30% of our staff are Veterans and we host numerous non-profit events for Veteran foundations. We also host at least one non-profit event once a month for local Austin charities; recently we hosted a fundraising event for the Children with Altruism Foundation. We strongly believe in supporting and giving back to the community.

And last but not least, we like to promote and support the music society in Austin; we believe that group is what makes Austin unique and beautiful. We like to think that the Brass House Jazz lounge and the Blues Tavern can serve as a patron for the Arts. And we strive to bring the best of musicians that Austin has to offer as well as promote young and inspiring musicians.

Connect with Gene:
www.BrassHouseaustin.com
115 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX (just about 100 m, from Four Seasons)

Atlanta – May 07 2014

Greetings everyone!

Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 7th for our ‘May EuroCircle Get-together’. We will meet at the ’57th Fighter Group Restaurant’ located on 3829 Clairmont Road in Brookhaven, next to the Peachtree Dekalb airport.
We will gather outside on the large patio overlooking the runway and enjoy the beautiful May weather. Just in case it should rain that evening, we will have access to the spacious interior so this is a ‘rain or shine’ event.

Free appetizers WILL NOT be served for this event, but the restaurant has an extensive menu for those who wish to eat (at your own cost). Plenty of free parking at the venue and you can access the back area by coming through the main entrance of the restaurant or by walking around the left side of the building which brings you directly to the patio…

Looking forward to seeing everyone next Wednesday!!!

Atlanta EuroCircle

PS. Don’t forget the INDIA trip with EuroCircle in Nov 2014. More details at http://www.eurocircle.com/events/45414

About the venue:
The restaurant has a warm ambiance, some say it reminds them of European farmhouse architecture made extra cozy by numerous fireplaces, exposed brick, and tons of memorabilia from the 57th Fighter Squadron.