Vincent Curatola Interview
Ariana Petrignani by Chuck Giampa
Faust & Tosca Opera
34th Anniversary Gala
Iss. VII Vol XXII
Exclusive Interview With
World Famous Italian Tenor
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Vincent Curatola Pg. 6-7 Gina Carano Pg. 28
A Platoon’s Worth
Chef Walter Pisano Pg. 14-15
Giada Valenti Pg. 31
Editorial + Amici Involved...........................................................................1 Pasquale Esposito Exclusive Interview..................................................2-3 NIAF Monthly News ...................................................................................4 Travel Tips...........................................................................................................5 Interview with Vincent Curatola.............................................................6-7 NIAF Anniversary Awards Gala.............................................................8-9 Adriana Trigiani’s “Viola” + The origins and history of Ancient theatre...........................................................................................10 “Italian Chicks” + Chieli Minucci..........................................................11 Florence Land of Art and Culture............................................................12 Gaetano Iacono .............................................................................................13 Executive Chef Walter Pisano..............................................................14-15 Recipes for Your Dinner Table...................................................................16 Pasta D’Arte Trattoria Italiana . .................................................................17 Recipes My Nonna Taught Me + Art of Cooking............................18 Ancient Italian History Puzzle..................................................................19 Italian History.................................................................................................20 Lyric Opera Of Chicago..............................................................................21 Mole Antolliana In Turin......................................................................24-25 Restaurant Guide...........................................................................................26 Gina Carano is An Italian with Conviction..........................................28 Ariana Petrignani Mora...............................................................................29 Italian Sparkling Wine.................................................................................30 Giada Valenti + Tim McGraw................................................................31 NIAF Exploring Sicily from West to East..............................................32 Fabiana Filippi Pennyblack.........................................................................34 United Colors of Benetton..........................................................................35 Italian Immigrant Settlement....................................................................36 Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld....................................................................................38 A Platoon’s Worth..........................................................................................39 Promises to Keep ......................................................................................40-41 An Historical Odyssey ..................................................................................43 A Unique Town Part 2 .................................................................................44 NIAF Italian American Wins Elections.................................................45 Index of Advertisers .......................................................................................48
Editorial Benvenuti Over whelming odds??? As we come to an end of the year 2009, with the holiday season before us. I am sure we can all agree that, this last year was filled with a bar age of political controversy. Either way anyone may have voted, in the past elections it was with out a doubt a very rhetorical controversy around the dinner table. With many historical goals that were met, the one that is really of utmost controversy is that we have elected the first black President to the highest office of our land. An office that only a handful of individuals are capable of fulfilling.With all of these historical markings in the year 2009. We can not forget about our young men and women fighting wars in the middle east. Americans are well aware of the sacrifices made to continue freedom in our country. While our young men and women are sacrificing, for in the name of the American people. Leaving behind family, and friends. Many of which have returned with missing limbs, mental problems, and many will never be with their loved ones again. It is now we relate to the following controversy, in recent months there have been a number of organizations, fighting to keep our stars and stripes from flying. Just one incident stands out in my mind, where a firefighter had a small flag on his work locker. And for that he was suspended without pay. These are all a constant concern to the American people, men and women, in harms way have died for our stars and stripe, and now with the snap of a finger they want to bring it down. Seems they will have to be flown upside down to signify to those that are against it that we are in distress!!! In this edition we bring you the famed Italian Tenor Pasquale Esposito. We are pleased to have this world renowned singer grace our cover. We are always honored And proud of the stellar individuals that have given us exclusive interviews The cover of Amici Journal has been graced by many celebrities. These celebrities have been selected for our covers because they were chosen, to be at the forefront of their craft or industry and are influential in our overall culture. As such, they are usually busy with their hectic routines. On many occasions, we have waited as long as a year to get on their schedule. These efforts have proved to be fruitful and we have had the privilege of having them on our cover, or feature story. Whether it’s the photo shoot, the actual interview or simply the negotiations for approval the Amici Journal has fulfilled its commitment to journalistic integrity. These iconic individuals are examples of how determination and resilience can feed the awesome supply of energy needed to succeed. We at Amici Journal thank them for this inspiration and gift of a lifetime. Amici Journal is honored to be amongst those that will continue to preserve and promote our Italian American culture and our shared Italian American Heritage. Send all correspondence to Amici Journal Publications, Inc. P.O. Box 595, River Grove, IL 60171 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for AMICI JOURNAL in your local stores or order direct www.amiciorgit.net or 773-836-1595 call for information on, advertising rates, and our distribution program! Sincerely Andrew Guzaldo Editor/CEO Amici Journal “Always remember that you are Americans, and it is your birthright to dream great dreams in this sweet and blessed land, truly the greatest, freest, strongest nation on Earth.” Ronald Reagan
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Kevin Bacon “Taking Chance”
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Life Change with Filippo
Iss. XI Vol XXI
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Winter 09/10 / AMICI 1
Pasquale Esposito by John Rizzo
When you think about it, a 2% chance to win a lottery is a pretty good deal. Yet one would still have to be quite lucky to walk off with the first prize, especially if that prize was no less than a Green Card leading to becoming a citizen of the United States! But that’s exactly what happened to Pasquale Esposito, an immigrant from Naples who won the “Diversity Immigrant Visa” lottery. Like any truly successful individual Pasquale is a risk taker, not only gambling on the prize of U.S. citizenship, but on his choice of careers--professional singing! Yet today he finds himself a prominent singer on the threshold of stardom, Esposito proudly claims, “Now I’m an American citizen.” He may be an American, but he is pioneering a new kind of vocal art that is uniquely Italian. He calls it “pop-opera.” Although any kind of a singing career is a daring crapshoot, the pop-opera genre makes more sense for the trained vocalist than straight opera in today’s entertainment scene. Going all the way back to the beginning of the recorded music industry, which was jump-started by the great Enrico Caruso, most of the first rank opera singers, especially Italian tenors, did not neglect the current pop favorites in their choice of repertoire. Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni di Stefano, Mario del Monaco
2 AMICI / Winter 09/10
and Luciano Pavarotti all recorded popular hits like George M. Cohan’s “Over There,” or Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Some Enchanted Evening.” But these efforts could be very successful in an artistic climate where traditional opera was still a very potent force. In the nineteenth century, the most famous and best paid singers were opera stars. Even for a significant part of the twentieth century, opera singing could be a very lucrative endeavor, even with the breathtaking explosion in popularity of American music and the legendary crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. But with the wild surge in technology and the appeal of related musical forms that have resulted in things like Ipods, MP3s, MTV and The American Idol, opera’s niche seems to have shrunk to a small but well-heeled clique of snobs and die-hards. Thus, for someone like Pasquale Esposito, who admits, “I am trained in opera,” professional singing may indeed appear to be a tough road to hoe. Actually, even with the weak economy, opera is in fairly solid financial shape, thanks to the plethora of new professional American opera companies that have sprouted up in the last twenty years or so. Even so, for one with a strong desire to make his or her mark on the contemporary culture scene, vocal versatility, or the ability to apply singing talent to more than just the opera genre, is clearly indicated. Fortunately for Pasquale, he is a master of both the opera and the pop genres. On the one hand, “I am a lyric tenor, and I have a high ‘C,’” This would make him eminently suitable for performing the most exquisite Verdi and Puccini arias, and a compelling draw for opera lovers. He also takes his pop music seriously, and actually composes some of his most significant music in this vein, including the title number from his most recent CD, A Brand New Me. In this multifaceted style, he recognizes that “Andrea Bocelli has the greatest influence.” We can all remember the stunning impact that Bocelli had when he first appeared on the musical scene, flashing like a comet into our consciousness. And certainly a great part of the perceived freshness of the Three Tenors was their collective ability to sing opera favorites directly followed by pop standards. There is simply no question anymore that a singer who can come across effectively in both opera and pop music has an enhanced shot at celebrity.
Patrizio Buanne & Pasquale Esposito Those who note the origins of distinguished singers will agree that Naples first comes to mind as the art’s most auspicious breeding ground. For centuries, Naples was the unchallenged European capital of singing and the birthplace of the Bel Canto. It is the native city of opera greats of the past, like Giovanni Paisiello and Enrico Caruso, and some of the best Italian singers today, like Patrizio Buanne and Pasquale Esposito. “My uncle had the greatest influence on me as a boy,” recalls Pasquale. “He lived near the [San Carlo] opera house and was always listening to opera. One day I knocked over and broke a big Gramophone. He said ‘You broke the Gramophone, now you will sing!’ And that’s how I started singing, from breaking that Gramophone.” He also “sang in the choir” throughout his school years, then came to America and attended San Jose State. “I love to travel,” says Pasquale, and it’s a good thing. Like the most sought-after opera stars, he sings often and in places that are very far apart. For example, he hosts a concert in Reno, Nevada at an Italian festival on October 10 and 11. Then he plays Boston on October 24 and the next evening, October 25, sings in Chicago. Then it’s Monterey on November 14 and San Francisco on December 6! Whenever he gets the chance Pasquale Esposito reverts to his Napoletan’ roots. We know this because whenever he’s in the Chicago area, he visits his favorite restaurant, Spacca Napoli, at 1769 Sunnyside in Chicago, where they make that wonderful, authentic Napoletan’ pizza! To hear some of Pasquale’s music and follow his travels, or even book some tickets to his concerts, visit www.pasqualeesposito.com
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 3
NIAF News Monthly A monthly bulletin for Italian American organizations and media outlets, dedicated to promoting the language, culture and traditions of Italians and Italian Americans.
November 2009 AUGURI! Venice Turns to Tap Water to Lessen Trash Trash is an expensive problem in Venice. Empty water bottles float through the canals and overflow in trashcans of Piazza San Marco. The city’s waste must be collected on foot by men with wheelbarrows along the canals. Collection costs $335 million per ton compared to $84 million per ton on the mainland.Although tap water in most cities is suitable fordrinking, Italians are the leading consumers of bottledwater in the world For decades bottled water has beenthe norm on European tables. In Venice, however,officials are taking a stand and promoting tap water.They have invented a name for their tap water, callingit “Acqua Veritas,” and have created a logo now displayed on carafes distributed to households for free throughout the city. Jerry Colangelo
Officials have seen adecrease of about 27 tons permonth, but the campaign has made little headway in restaurants and stores. In the city, tourists outnumber residents 100 to 1, therefore, public education concentratingon locals can only go so far in reducing waste.Nonetheless city official Riccardo Seccarello has amessage for tourists: in Venice, as in Rome, publicspouts are scattered throughout the city and the water is perfectly safe to drink.
Italian Grape Harvest Festival
Vendemmia da Vinci, a fall festival celebrating thecenturies-old tradition of the Italian grape harvest, will be held on Sunday, October 11 at Tubman-Garrett Park in Wilmington, Del., from 2 to 6 p.m. For more information or tickets, visit www.societadavinci. com.
Set Your Travel Plans, Now for Sicily 2010
This year’s NIAF cultural travel program, “Exploring Sicily from West to East,” is a nine-day, seven-night tour departing from New York City. Costs range from $1,899 to $2,299 per person, based on double occupancyand month of departure. “Exploring Sicily from West to East” visits the citiesof Catania, Erice, Marsala, Monreale, Mt. Etna,Palermo, Ragusa, Savoca and Taormina. Guests willstay at a four-star hotel in Palermo and Giardini Naxos.The package includes round-trip airfare from John F.Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in
Celebrating Heritage through Radio &Television Spots
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1989 proclamation signed by President George H.W. Bush designating October as National Italian American Heritage Month. To commemorate the month, NIAF has produced four 30-second public service announcements celebrating our rich culture. In them, actors Robert Davi, Dom DeLuise, JoeMantegna and Ray Romano discuss the importance ofeducation, promoting heritage and celebrating being American.Watch the spots in the “News & Media” of NIAF’s Web site www.niaf.org.
New High Speed Rail Service Coming to Italy
Trenitalia, which launched a high-speed rail service between Naples and Milan last December, will be getting some competition soon. In 2011, a new train company, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, will introduce a stylish, red fleet of 25 trains, collectively known as Italo, with interiors designed by Italian car designer, Girogetto Giugiaro. The billion euro project hopes to produce trains that will be constructed from recycled materials and will consume 15 percent less energy than current high speed trains.Italo trains will run from Naples to Turin and reach speeds of 225 kilometers per hour. Many people estimate it will take about three hours to travel between Milan and Rome.To learn more visit their Web site at www.ntvspa.it.
New York City to Palermo, four full-day escorted tours, and two halfday escorted tours. Participants may choosefrom 28 departure dates starting February 13, 2010 through November 13, 2010. For a brochure and reservation form, write to Italy Travel, c/o Unitours, 3010 Westchester Avenue, Purchase, NY 10577. Call toll-free at 888-846-6423 or 914-253-9177, fax to 914-253-9001, or e-mail Marianna Pisano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Book Released in October- Viva L’ Italia!
Ron Galella, one of the most famous celebrity photographers in the United States who has been named“Paparazzo Extraordinaire” by Newsweek and “Paparazzi Superstar” by the Miami Herald, has just finished a new book. Galella finds his Italian roots with “Viva L’Italia!” The book is filled with images of Italian and Italian-American icons including Virna Lisi, Isabella Rosselini,Silvana Mangano, Marlon Brandon, Monica Bellucci, Carla Bruni and Sophia Loren. His photos are accompanied by quotes gathered during a half-century of travel and celebrity encounters. To preview the book or to order online visit www.powerhousebooks.com.
World’s Best Hotel is on Lake Como in Italy Forbes magazine has ranked Villa d’Este the number one hotel in the world out of 400 hotels surveyedinternationally. The 16th century neoclassical palazzo is located on Lake Como in the city of Cernobbio in Italy’s Lombardy region. Built in 1568 by Pellegrino Tibaldi for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, whose family owned it for two centuries, the villa later became a residence for wealthy European aristocrats. In 1873, Villa d’Este opened its doors as a hotel and welcomed kings and queens, presidents and actors. Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Winston Churchill, Aristotle Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor are a few notables who stayed at the first-class hotel. Its 133 rooms are located in two buildings and set in long-established parkland. The hotel also has a unique heated swimming pool that floats on pontoons situated on the lake. Villa d’Este is also included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Search for NIAF on Facebook & Twitter for latest events!
News Monthly Coordinator Natasha Borato 1860 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 Contributing Writer Gina Ghilardi and Ginan Nakshbendi, Research Carlo Piccolo, Director of Communications Elissa Ruffino, Director of Pubilcations Monica Soladay Please send your group or city’s news of Italian-American exhibits, cultural events, scholarships and special events to Elissa Ruffino at the above address or e-mail email@example.com. Events/programs noted are not necessarily endorsed or sponsored by NIAF.
4 AMICI / Winter 09/10
“Travel Tips for 2010” VENUS TRAVEL By John Conenna As 2009 comes to a close, the travel industry has been hit hard, with the economical times that have befallen upon us in the last two years, small and large businesses alike have been devastated with the recent economic developments, and the health of people in general. The country of Mexico has been impacted heavily due to the swine flu epidemic and drug cartel that riddled them with a terrible stigma, which will last well beyond the flu epidemic. The Caribbean and the Dominican Republic picked up the slack of people that normally went to Mexico. Cruises became a huge option in 2009,and so did most of Europe with its low fares and great value. Tourism in the United States did very well. Florida and California saw some great benefits as people drove instead of flying. The year 2010 will be a turn around for our economy. There our many good signs as we close the year here in the final quarter. Travel in general abroad and in the states has started to pick up. There are a number of economical flights one can choose from, while making plans for your business, or family trip. One should choose wisely in their final decision, price does not always mean, all would go well on your trip.
You cannot just jump on the first deal you may see that particular day, you are searching through the Internet or speaking to a travel adviser. Internet deals have a way of becoming a disaster. Don’t let a cheap Internet deal become a hurricane before it starts see your local travel professional he has all the tools to help you become savvy in your decision. After 41 years of experience, Venus travel knows exactly how to keep you from any bad experience in your traveling experiences. So regardless of your plans, whether they be a trip to the East or West coast on a business trip. Or a vacation to Europe with your family. we here at Venus Travel, are prepared to make your traveling experience, and enjoyable experience as well as an economical one!! The year 2010 is the beginning of a new decade so make it memorable and start planning your next vacation. Venus travel wishes you all, Happy holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year 2010! John Conenna is the President of Venus travel in Chicago, if you have any questions about travel contact 773-637-1110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Winter 09/10 / AMICI 5
Vincent Curatola Actor - Entrepreneur By John Rizzo Vince Curatola was fairly satisfied with the way things were going in1998. Through his relationship with writer/producer Charles Kipps, he had landed a decent role for a made-for-TV movie being shot on Staten Island called Exiled, starring Chris Noth, in an offshoot of the popular Law and Order series. So when Vince’s agent called to tell him that he had set up an interview for a possible one-time appearance in a new HBO production that was being shot in Manhattan, he wasn’t all that thrilled. By the way, that new HBO show was The Sopranos. “I really didn’t want to do it,” Vince recalls, “it sounded to me like a lot of goombah garbage.” But he reluctantly agreed to do the interview, and one afternoon after some shooting on Exiled, “I took a cab from Staten Island to Manhattan. The interview was set at 5:00 and I got to the place at 5:35. I even smoked a cigarette before I went in. I really wasn’t up for it. When I walked in, there was this woman casting director sitting there. She didn’t even look at me. I introduced myself and she said ‘You’re very late and now I’m late, so I’m leaving.’ ‘That’s OK, I said, I’ll just smoke a cigarette.’ Then she looked up at me.” The rest, as they say, is history. “They gave me one appearance in the first season, a couple more in the second season, and in the third season, they gave me a contract.” Thus was the beginning of Vince’s portrayal as John “Johnny Sack” Sacrimoni. There were many remarkable portrayals and characterizations over the seven-year run of The Sopranos, one of the most, if not the most, popular TV series of all time. Of course a lot of the show’s dramatic power comes from its brilliant writing and directing, but the acting prowess of its mainly Italian American cast cannot be over exaggerated. One of the most memorable depictions is that of Vince Curatola as Johnny Sack. 6 AMICI / Winter 09/10
His incredibly believable performances take us to at least three highly unique situations where his character is the central focus, and we are emotionally transported by his acting. One of these is his purely honest love for his overweight wife Ginny (played by Denise Borino). Despite the unlikelihood that a boss such as Johnny Sack, who could have his pick of many beautiful women, would be so faithful to and protective of a woman that looks like Ginny, we have no doubts whatsoever that he is deeply in love with her. At first it may seem like a forced or contrived relationship, but with Curatola’s dramatic consistency through a number of episodes, we ultimately accept Johnny and Ginny’s marital bond without questioning it. Then there is the reception for the wedding of his daughter Allegra (played by Caitlin van Zandt), where Johnny Sack is humiliated by his Federal watchdogs to the point of tears coming to his eyes, which is seized on by would-be boss Phil Leotardo (played by Frank Vincent) as a serious weakness. I don’t believe I have ever seen a dramatic situation quite like this one and it succeeds mainly because of Vince’s powerful delivery. There are probably a few die-hards in the audience who think that a criminal like Johnny Sack, who is not above doing business with Tony Soprano during the wedding reception in this episode, is merely getting what he deserves, but I bet the overwhelming majority of viewers are deeply sympathetic to this father’s abject despondency. After all, wouldn’t any father want to bid his newly wedded daughter farewell? Finally, there is the multi-episode account of Johnny Sack’s death from lung cancer, presented in a disturbingly realistic fashion. “We shot it in reverse,” says Vince. “I died first, then we went back from there. I had six makeup changes.” If this was tough to watch, because most of us have seen friends and loved ones waste away with different kinds of cancer, can you imagine how difficult it must be to act out your own death from such a disease? No matter what school of acting you subscribe to, you still have to give your role a certain amount of thought. To make the whole situation more believable, according to Vince, “They hired Dr. T. Winter from Hackensack University Medical Center as a consultant, to advise the show on the different kinds of drugs that are used,” for cancer patients. Curatola himself poked around the same Medical Center, doing some basic “research” for his portrayal. I didn’t ask whether it was causeand-effect, but Vince stopped smoking during the time of the death series. “I told them that I had quit smoking, so they gave me some special herbal cigarettes.” With the episode titled “Stage 5,” the contribution of one of the show’s most colorful characters came to an end, but the evaluation of Johnny Sack, played by Vince Curatola, as an important factor in the success of The Sopranos, will go on for some time. Predictably, there are a number of shrill voices in the Italian American community raised against The Sopranos and the actors who worked in it. Vince Curatola, for one, is outraged by this reaction. “Did you ever go to Arlington Cemetery? Look at all those crosses! I thought that in this country we had freedom of speech! You would think that these people would be
happy that Italian Americans are working in TV. You never would have heard of a number of these [Italian American] organizations if it weren’t for us.” As for all Italian “gangster” movies being defamatory to Italian Americans, Vince Curatola agrees with the theory stated by Chazz Palmentieri in this magazine, that the Italian crime story has replaced the Western as the archetypal American morality drama. The notoriety that has resulted from starring in this show has not been harnessed for mere self-aggrandizement. Sopranos cast members, including Curatola, have raised millions of dollars for deserving charities. Most recently, Vince and five other colleagues from the show worked a kind of telethon for the California branch of BGC Partners, a company launched by Cantor Fitzgerald, a trading firm whose New York office was destroyed by the 9/11 terror attacks, suffering a loss of 658 employees. The Vince Curatola success story is by no means a “rags-toriches” tale. It is about a man who ultimately found himself, as is often the case, as much because of fate as by design. Vince grew up in the pleasant surroundings of Englewood, New Jersey. He started out just like any other kid. “When I was 10 I had a paper route,” but his neighbors were somewhat special. “I lived around the likes of Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Sarah Vaughn and Dizzy Gillespie. One of the Johnsons from Johnson & John son lived around there and I once got a tip on how to shoot a photo from Mr. Eastman [of Kodak Eastman].” Curatola’s father was from Calabria and his mother’s parents were from Sicily, members of the family that founded the Italian Boys’ Town. “My father was a masonry contractor,” who taught him the business, which Vince worked at until he went into show business full time. “Today the brick contracting business is run by my son, Ryan.” Vince showed a talent for professional entertaining when he “played guitar and sang backup in a rock band when I was nineteen.” This group must have been pretty good, because they played the famous Cheetah Nightclub at 53rd & Broadway in New York. This musical talent found a vent for expression when Vince and his wife, Maureen, went to the China Club in 2002 to see the legendary rock band, Chicago. When members of the band recognized Vince from The Sopranos, they invited the couple “back to the Plaza Hotel, where we socialized. After a couple of glasses of wine, I sang a number and they said ‘Hey! You can sing!’ One thing led to another, and I ended up singing solos as a guest vocalist in nine Chicago concerts in New York between 2002 and 2006.” Like a timid bather who does not fully immerse himself in the ocean until he has gotten his feet wet a few times, Vince Curatola did not take the plunge into show business all at once. Actually, it was Maureen who suggested that her husband try acting, observing that he was well suited for acting because of his ability to “switch gears so quickly.” Vince began to get the acting bug from TV. “In the late 80s we got the cable and my favorite station was Turner Classic Movies.” From taking in so many stylish performances of the silver screen greats, he was captivated by how these artists portrayed other people. So when Maureen was hospitalized and asked Vince to consider acting as a profession, he approached Michael Moriarty, with whom he studied privately for two years. This relationship led to a small role on the popular Law and Order series in 1991. “It was just a small part but it allowed me to qualify for my Screen Actors Guild card.” TV role or not, “I was still running my business.” In 1994 he wrote a one-act play, Dearly Beloved, which was filmed the following year with a cast that included Tony Sirica [Paulie Gualtieri, in The Sopranos]. “This was fun, too,” muses Vince. But his professional acting career did not really take off until The Sopranos. From 2004 to 2006 Vince took a run at teaching acting. “I would
call it advise how to act. I don’t believe you can really teach acting,” Vince insists. “Michael Imperioli [The Sopranos’ Christopher Moltisanti] had a beautiful theater and I loved” the experience. In recent years Curatola has played a few roles on various TV shows, but he will probably always be known to most people as Johnny Sack. “It’s incredible,” says Vince. “People still come up and stop me on the street.” No doubt due to his status as a TV star, Vince Curatola has been named as a director on the board of the Hackensack University Medical Center. In this position, he has been extremely visible, appropriately so when the nation is debating the future of health care. Recently he appeared on the Huckabee show to advocate against President Obama’s proposed government takeover of one sixth of the American economy. But Vince should not be considered an opponent of true health care reform. “I’m definitely for health care reform. In a country like this, health care should be a full fledged right. But I’m against socialized medicine or the government running health care.” As the debate intensifies, both sides of the issue will surely vie for as many celebrity advocates as they can find. But it remains to be seen whether we will hear from many celebrities who are also directors on the boards of hospitals, or as knowledgeable about health care, or as well spoken as Vince Curatola. Winter 09/10 / AMICI 7
National Italian American Foundation
H o s t s 2 , 0 0 0 G U E S T S , AT Their Annual Gala! ( WASHINGTON , D.C. -- October 28, 2009)
Ji m m y K i m m e l , Host of Gala
U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi delivered a powerful speech to more than 2,000 guests attending the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 34th Anniversary Awards Gala on Saturday October 24, 2009 at the Hilton Washington. Pelosi spoke about her pride in her Italian heritage, helping those from the earthquake devestated region of Abruzzo and the great work of NIAF in L’Aquila, Italy. A former NIAF Board Member, Pelosi received a NIAF Special Achieve-
ment Award in Public Service in 2007. Jimmy Kimmel, host and executive producer of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” celebrated his Italian heritage as the evening’s master of ceremonies. He kicked off the evening with entertaining jokes about his ethnic background. Connie Britton, actor next starring in “Women in Trouble,” presented “her best friend who is an accomplished actress with integrity and grace” Carla Gugino with a NIAF Achievement Award in Entertainment at the black-tie gala. “Its truly an honor and surprisingly emotional to receive this award from my best friend,” Gugino said. Gugino spoke of her father’s explanation of two kinds of people – Italians, and those who wished they were Italian. She knew being Italian was special. Gugino also referred to an incident in Hollywood when they asked her to change her surname. C a r l a G u g i no “I thought of my Italian father and how sad he would be,” she & C o n n i e B r i tton said. 8 AMICI / Winter 09/10
n n i v e rsary Awards
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and Public Television cooking show host, came to the podium to receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service. NIAF Vice Chair Patricia de Stacy Harrison presented the award. Bastianich was introduced as an American success story who continues to advance the mission of NIAF. NIAF’s Regional Vice President Jeff Capaccio, Esq. described his dear friend U.S. Secretary of Lidia M a t t i c c h i o Homeland Security Janet NaBa s t i a n i c h politano as a rare individual who stands up to challenges. Napolitano received a Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Public Service. This year’s NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business was awarded to Massimo F. d’ Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. Sharon Percy Rockefeller, presented the award and introduced a surprise video from his father in Italy who was unable to attend the gala. In an emotional delivery, Mr. d’ Amore explained there were two beautiful things in life -- family and culture. To his father he exclaimed, “you have done everything for me.” Headlining for NIAF’s Friday Night Entertainment, renowned Italian singer and songwriter, Antonello Venditti, performed his latest hits from albums “Che Fantastica Storia è La Vita” and “Dalla Pelle al Cuore. Venditti was introduced to more than 1,200 guests by NIAF General Counsel Arthur J. Furia , Esq. This year, Venditti celebrates 40 years in the music business with ten million copies sold throughout his career. The next evening, he received a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music by Massimo Cellino, an Italian Soccer League executive. During the evening, NIAF President Joseph Del Raso Esq. spoke about U.S.-Italy relations and NIAF as a major advocate for the Italian-American community in the nation’s capital. NIAF
A ntonello Venditti I t a l i a n Singer and Songwriter Secretary John Calvelli introduced a video about the Foundation’s efforts to help displaced students from L’Aquila , who are now continuing their studies at Sierra Nevada College in Nevada . This video was produced by RAI International under the direction of Piero Di Pasquale. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also addressed the guests in a video highlighting the U.S. Department of State and NIAF’s Public-Private Partnership disaster relief. Notables in attendance included Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, Washington Redskins’ Vinny Cerrato, Hon. Louis Freeh, Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo., H.E. Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, ambassador of Italy to the U.S., and several Members of Congress and high-level White House and Administration officials in addition to sports and television personalities. This year NIAF awarded more than $1,000,000 for student scholarships and cultural grants across the U.S. and Italy . Recognizing the younger generation, NIAF organized its 13th annual youth gala, which attracted more than 300 young Americans of Italian descent from 20 states.
M a s s i m o F. d’ Amore, C E O o f P epsiCo A m e r i c a s B everages
Dott. Giovanni Chiodi, president of the Region of Abruzzo, was the keynote speaker at a noon luncheon honoring the region and its people for their reconstruction efforts. He was joined by Italian students Ilaria Salvati and Eugenio Tella from the University of L’Aquila . They are continuing their academic studies at Sierra Nevada College while L’Aquila ’s university is rebuilt. NIAF Chairman Jerry Colangelo encouraged guests to bid on one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia during NIAF’s Celebrity Luncheon and Auction. Items included an autographed NFL football by Dan Marino and Tony Romo, a coin toss at a Redskins vs. Denver Broncos home game as well as a chance to have your youngster on the field at an NFL training camp with ESPN National Correspondent Sal Paolantonio. Other weekend events included a NIAF Council reception with book reading by Colangelo “Return of the Gold: The Journey of Jerry Colangelo and the Redeem Team” at the Foundation’s headquarters and the Foundation’s Council 2000/Youth Networking Breakfast. During the breakfast Harrison outlined the importance of Italian values to help us thrive, while Paolantonio spoke about the importance of promises we make to ourselves and others. The breakfast also included a presentation of the seventh annual NIAF Teacher of the Year Award to Rossana Caringi, who teaches Italian at Westlake High School in Thornwood , N.Y. Car- Secretary Janet Napoli t a n o , ingi spoke U.S. Homeland Secu r i t y of her goal to inspire students with a love of the Italian language and culture. NIAF guests also enjoyed Piazza d’Italia, a two-day best of Italy exhibition, featuring LM Wines, the official wine sponsor, Lavazza Italian Coffee, PepsiCo, Colavita/ Perugina, Trello Chocolates, Gilda Tonelli luxury items, Forzieri Fashions, and Del Grosso Foods. Proceeds from the weekend events will benefit NIAF’s scholarship and education programs. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio, closed the evening with a benediction. Mark your calendars for October 23-24, 2010 when we celebrate NIAF’s 35thAnni versary Convention Weekend.
NIAF is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit www.niaf.org. Winter 09/10 / AMICI 9
The origins and history of Ancient theatre By Christopher Guzaldo
It’s first call for fall! Welcome back to work and school and … the road! Coming your way on tour for my first young adult novel Viola in Reel Life kicking off Tuesday September 1 on the Today Show. For young adult readers, here’s the fabulous interactive Harper Teen site. I’m crazy about 14-year-old Viola Chesterton from Brooklyn, who winds up in boarding school in South Bend, Indiana and has to make new friends and a life for herself. I’ll be visiting classrooms through the Fairfax channel, and also in person. Or watch me on the Today Show. Can’t wait to see you! Viola is an Indiebound - thank you independent booksellers for your support! At each tour stop, the first 50 readers receive a thank you gift in Viola’s honor! (You will love it!) We’re also revving up for the tour of Encore Valentine, everywhere February 9, 2010) the sequel to Very Valentine. The trade paperback of Very Valentine is everywhere on January 2, 2010. The tours will blend into one another so I hope to see you for one or the other or both! We have lots of surprises for you in the trade paperback edition of Very Valentine, including the first chapter of Encore and a divine recipe section including Roman Falconi’s savory pizzelles with caviar. I made all the dishes, and the Vechiarelli’s of Youngstown, Ohio, the real family from which the fictional Dominic and Gianluca sprang, threw in some of their faves. Thank you for your letters about Very Valentine as a Reader’s Digest selection. I’ve loved the Reader’s Digest all of my life, so it’s a big honor to be included. The Irish Independent, Ireland’s #1 newspaper, is a new home for me- I write a weekly Agony Column, Ask Adri (here we call it an advice column), a long time dream has come true - I give free advice an ocean way! Motherhood Out Loud is a fabulous new play, an evening of theater from a smorgasbord of wonderful writers that made its debut at the Sag Harbor Theater this summer. (click here for future performances). Looking for some new music? Check out my pal Rosanne Cash’s website. I can’t wait for the release of The List - the songs of her heritage! We’re working hard on the movie of Big Stone Gap. Check back here for details as we have them. Very Valentine has found a home at Lifetime Television with the great Larry Sanitsky producing a script I wrote for them. We’ll keep you posted on any movie news right here. Have a fabulous fall season. If you need bookplates for any occasion, or just for fun, email us. As always, thank you for reading my books and for writing to me. The best part of writing books is meeting you- truly the world’s best and biggest book club!
xoxxo Adriana 10 AMICI / Winter 09/10
Greek tragedy created in the city-state of the Athens in the last thirty years of the sixth century. It is the earliest kind of the European drama. How ever tragedy is strictly speaking neither historical nor mythological. It is a poetic drama in the sense that poetry rises above the particularities of history and expresses human trays of a universal kind. The term trag edy means the song of tragiod, which means the goat singers. Scholars do not know what may have been the relationship of the goats to early tragedy but possible explanation includes the goat was offered as a prize in a competition or the members of the chorus were disguised as half Dionysus animal demons in the service if Dionysus and used goat skin for that purpose. Tragedy originated from the improvisations of the exarchates, which means song leaders of the dithyrambs. A dithyramb was a religious hymn in honor of Dionysus and the Dionysian origin of tragedy was an antiquity taken for granted. The God of theatre was known as Dionysus, as well of wine fertility and vegetation. Thespis The first poet credited with invention of tragedy was a minor if semi legendary figure by the name of Thespis. His activity is dated to the 530 BC, although the introduction of tragic productions in the form of drastic contest to the city of Dionysia apparently did not take place before the establishment of democracy except for half a dozen plays. Nothing survives from his poetry. Thespis was also the son of Zeus. The decline of Greek government and society coincided with the rise of the Roman Republic and subsequent empire. The Romans borrowed extensively from Greek theatre. Although Roman theatre may not be held in the same high esteem as that of the Greeks, we have inherited much from the influence of the Roman Theatre, including the word “play” itself, which derives from a literal translation of the Latin word ludus, which means recreation or play. Roman theatre took two forms: Fabula Palliata and Fabula Togata. Fabula Palliata were primarily translations of Greek plays into Latin, although the term is also applied to the original works of Roman playwrights based upon Greek plays. We are familiar with the latter from the works of Terence (190-159 B.C.), who introduced the concept of a subplot, enabling us to contrast the reactions of different sets of characters to the same events or circumstances. The Fabula Togata were of native origin, and Plautus were based on more broadly farcical situations and humor of a physical nature. An author of some of the better examples of this type of drama is Plautus (c.250-184 B.C.). Again, perhaps as a reflection of the society itself, performed drama in Rome consisted primarily of Fabula Togata, as well as the spectacles of the gladiators and chariot races made familiar by modern Hollywood treatment of the Roman Empire. Plays of a more serious literary nature continued to be written but not intended to be performed, so much as read or recited. Although we have few works by Roman playwrights surviving to us in forms that would lend themselves to revival, the influence of the Roman world on the form of the stage is one, which had more lasting effect. The semi-circular orchestra of the Greek theatre came to be eclipsed by the raised stage and the more vigorous style of acting employed by the performers. However, the greatest impact Rome may have had on the theatre was to lower it in the esteem of the Church an impact that was to retard the growth of the dramatic arts for several centuries. The bent toward low comedy and its mass appeal -- coupled with its association with the entertainment of the arena (which involved the martyrdom of early Christians) -- almost certainly contributed to its disfavor by officials of the early Christian Church. Plays, or ludii were associated with either comedy of a coarse and scurrilous nature, or with pagan rituals and holidays. It was the latter, however, which may account for the survival of theatre through the middle ages.
By Andrew Guzaldo
Maryann always had this other dream to put together an all female, all ItalTHE ITALIAN CHICKS Is ian comedy show. She began the an all female Comedy Show. hunt for her team. She found three A PASSIONATE COMEDY… WITH A LITTLE DRAMA! One you will not forget! other women whom fit the bill “pardon This is four women, following the pun”!They premiered in the Italian their dream, and they took it on the Road! Chicks show in January of 2008 to a sold out crowd. With the Headliner, Maryann Maisano together with Mary Dimino, Since then the Italian chicks have performed in Boston, Philly, Chicago, Carolann Valentino & Host & MC – Gina Scarda and many other cities as well,.and they continue to gain popularity. Maryann recalls as a child, every Sunday in their home it was like Italian CHICKS is the newest, hottest comedy tour on the scene today. a bad Italian dinner theater. They all came over in droves, One day, afKnown to many as, part meatball, and part cannoli. These women are sure ter dinner and before cannolis, she got up on the dining room chair and to leave you wanting more… and we’re not just talking about the meatballs! sang!! You’ll laugh harder than if you we’re drunk at an Italian opera. That WAS IT! At five years old she knew exactly what she wanted to A PASSIONATE COMEDY… WITH A LITTLE DRAMA! be when she grew up. A performer!That was a blessing and a burden…. Maryann has completed recording her debut CD of original compositions. Maryann made her living for many years as a performer, but quesShe is a compelling, provocative and lyrical songwriter. “Her MUSIC AND tioned her own mortality in the business. her Italian father made her think HER voice is a woven piece of velvet - RICH IN abstract hues of red.” the about it. “Marianna! Whenna you gonna getta da real job?” consummate musician, all music and vocals are written and performed by She began to think… “The last thing I want to do is end up being 65 Maryann Maisano. years old, singing misty in the Pocono’s in a sequined gown.” Since her CD was Recorded, Actor Danny Aiello, Approached her and is She got a real job and became successful by accident! As a BANKER! he is now performing her song, “City of Light” on his new CD – titled Maryann continued to multitask performance and banking. Bridges – which should be avilbal at the end of November, along with a Her prestigious career culminated as VP, of a major financial institumusic video… tion. However, one day - just 3 years ago - the “suits” got to her. She quit Maryann Maisano walked away from a 6 figure earning career, this was a the corporate world to follow her passion. took a huge risk, and she has never been happier… She realized an important issue – you can plan to come home and do As a comedian, her comedy is story, telling, as opposed to joke telling your laundry but you cannot plan to come home and be creative, it just raw, real and in the moment! She is one of the most sought after emcees for happens! benefits and fundraisers. As soon as she left her job all the music came pouring out of her, she Maryann Maisano is an extraordinary, prolific, sultry vocalist and a passionwrote an entire CD. She began to use all of her corporate skills to market, ate Italian lady…Italian Chicks performance you should experience! www.prcision.com/ItalianChicks/ItalianChicks.html promote and brand the CD.
November 18-22 Montego Bay, Jamaica
January 17 Barbados Jazz Festival with TIZER
Chieli Minucci appearing as a special guest March 27 at a very special event! Akron, Ohio Warren Hill’s Akron Civic Center with SPECIAL EFX ‘Jammin’ in Jamaica’ to be held at the Ritz-Carlton March 28 Golf & Spa Resort Reading, PA Berks Jazz Festival with GUITARZZZ 2010 upcoming dates: more info coming soon...
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 11
Florence Land of Art and Culture ow a famous Italian city, Florence was still a republic five hundred years ago, and under the spell of a man of unsurpassed wealth and power whose main interests was beauty and the artists who could create it. His name was Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449-92), and he was called Lorenzo the Magnificent. Because of his influence, every gifted Florentine youth was guided or pushed into the arts. At de’ Medici’s table sat the most talented painters, sculptors and architects ever gathered in one place at one time, including a gifted teenager named Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564). For thirty years after de’ Medici’s death, artists of the “Golden Age” of Florence continued to produce some of the greatest works of art in the history of the world! Although today the work of these masters can be found scattered throughout the world’s great museums, most of it remains preserved in this splendid city by the River Arno. If you should have the good fortune to visit Florence, the sheer volume of artistic and architectural treasures to see will overwhelm you. In fact, if you can spend more than a few days, you should consider enrolling in an art history course in one of the many schools for foreigners that offer courses in Italian language, art history, Tuscan cooking, Italian cinema and other subjects. Below, find a quick guide to a few of the most famous artistic and architectural attractions from de’ Medici’s time.
The tomb of Lorenzo de’Medici By Michelangelo Buonarotti While the fiery red dome atop the church of Santa Maria del Fiore is the most prominent architectural symbol of the city, many scholars believe that the first true Renaissance building was the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, developed by the great architect Filippo Brunelleschi in 1419. The delicate arches of the loggia and the classic proportions and geometric design of the window frames are characteristic of Florentine Renaissance architecture at its best. The Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery) is inarguably the world’s best museum dedicated to Renaissance art. One central attraction is the Botticelli room, with more than twenty paintings including the famous Primavera and Birth of Venus. Every important Renaissance artist is represented: Michaelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Carravaggio, and many many others. It is truly a splendid experience to see these great works, but get there early; there are always a great many people waiting to enter the Gallery.
Ospedale degli Innocenti in Piazza Santissima Annunziata developed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Renaissance sculpture will be forever linked with the name of Michaelangelo, who lived much of his early life in Florence. Many people visit the city for one reason above all, to see his David, along with four of his unfinished “Slaves” and a St. Matthew in the Galleria della Accademia. The hallway and rotunda of this gallery were built specially for the Slaves and David, which moved to the Accademia in 1873 from Piazza Signoria). The unfinished Slaves perfectly illustrate Michaelangelo’s belief that the work of a sculptor is to liberate figures imprisoned in blocks of marble. Viewing the mammoth statue of David in this indoor setting is impressive and dramatic, but completely different from seeing the exact copy standing “al fresco” in front of the Uffizi, which is best viewed as the early rays of the Tuscan sun illuminate the daunting marble structure 12 AMICI / Winter 09/10
By Andrew Guzaldo
Gaetano Iacono : “Life and travails”of a ten year anniversary as an actor!
ere we are in the fall months of 2009, although Gaetano Iacono is not sure of the day, he is positive that the month was September, in the year of 1999. It was that year and month he picked up a copy of the Staten Island Advance. And lucky enough for him he noticed an article about a film being shot on Staten Island which was doing casting calls. The film was a mob movie and, Gaetano looked at his wife and said to her, “You know something I should go see if I can get myself into this movie”. He then dropped the paper on the kitchen table and went on with his usual activities. That weekend he went away on a camping trip to upstate New York, and when he returned it had occurred to him about the newspaper article and see what the deal was about this film. And right there at that moment he should have known that It would not be easy, one would ask why? The reason was the paper had already been thrown in the trash. He then Began frantically going through the recent trash, and lucky enough the Recycle bin, was still in it’s usual place, after looking through the bin, it then appeared before his eyes HE FOUND IT ! “Great news one would think, well WRONG”. The stress began from that day, after reading the article once again he realized he had missed the initial call. Gaetano’s luck had not been ended, they had listed, a number and name of the casting director, Gaetano called and set up a date to speak to casting. He met with the woman, doing the casting for this particular film, she sent him down for a call back session. Now here he was thinking they loved him, which left Gaetano with thethought of becoming a huge star, and make it to the Big Time! In his mind he was imagining limos, paparazzi and all that goes with it. Then he arrived at the location of the casting. “HOLY SMOKES BATMAN! He replied there was at least one hundred mob type guys waiting around”. He wasn’t even able to get close to the door to sign in. After about 20 minutes and finally getting in the building he was able to see the door to the casting room, where ever so often you would see someone coming out, and leave. The door was elevated slightly, which gave the casting person, running the actors a really good view of the crowd that waited. Gaetano says, “They looked in my direction and signaled to me to come over, I had no idea he was talking to me”. But after looking for the guy he wanted and realizing it was Gaetano, he gladly went, he was pushed ahead of at least sixty others waiting in front of him. He went in they put him in front of a camera, asked a few questions and BOOM he was cast as an extra. “WOW! I was extremely excited I couldn’t wait to tell everyone”. The movie shot for about two weeks and Gaetano was called in a few times. And in doing so, they worked very long hours; he made some friends, and communicates with them to date. Mind you this was all done for NO PAY AT ALL. Of course the way they got him to commit that much time, was the old deferred pay plan. This is where they promise money but then after you do what they need they forget about you. Finally the movie was complete! LETS GO SEE IT ! What the (#%@*) is this replied Gaetano “I never even saw myself. Not even a second, and I felt that I was in extremely good scenes, now that really irritated me.” Gaetano vowed to himself, He would be in front of the camera some day soon. He went and complained to the casting woman, and she replied look
that’s how it goes in show biz, he reluctantly accepted her explanation, since. She promised him that she was get him on all the major New York TV shows, This left Gaetano with the impression, he was still going to be a star. The calls came into Gaetano, and the stress kicked into high gear as well. First it was the Sopranos, then Law and Order and then Ed. With the intention of being spotted, and upgraded to main cast in his mind, he soon realized, this was a very long shot, and decided never to do non-union extra work again. He said, if he I wanted some disrespectful, casting persontelling him what to do for 13 hours, he could have stayed home. He realizes this is a sacrifice, it cost him more, for parking and tolls, not to mention clothing purchased for the set, all to make them happy. It actually cost him more, than he made to do these jobs. They didn’t even let non-union actors eat together when it was lunch or dinner, they ate whatever was left over after the crew, and glorified extras ate. Since Gaetano grew up the prideful Italian way he found it to be an insult. You see the leftovers were usually fed to the dogs, at the Iacono household Gaetano and the others that joined him were no dogs. However Gaetano takes his hat off to those that accept that abuse. After this experience he decided to get the backstage paper, and get himself into some movies so people can see what he could do. He figured if he was on the set, he should at least be in the movie and finally get a speaking role.“YAHOO BABY what a feeling! I knew I wasn’t getting paid but I was so happy.” I did that over and over again, and AGAIN! Now he begins to get some very nice roles in movies and anticipates much more coming in the near future. During these ten years, he has met some very nice people, and replies, which he also has encountered, many jealous individuals as well. The kind that watches every move you make, just in the hopes you make a mistake. Gaetano has worked with big stars and HUGE SMALL ONES who really deserve to be big but have not had that chance yet. He hopes he will be able help those very good people he has had the honor to meet “I know who really loves me, and I know who those are that will do anything to make me fail. What they don’t realize is that I can’t fail because I don’t just look ten feet in front of me but years ahead.” So here he is ten years later exactly where he figured he would be, in ten years time. He is happy with all he has achieved the first ten years, and he thinks positive, about the next ten years of his career. He would like to one day, write a book, however wants to wait for, a few more chapters in his life, and sell a good number of copies. He thanks his fans, as well as his true actor friends, who want to see him do well and are smart enough to realize that if he makes it, you will too! So please feel free to leave a supportive comment and have a look at his clips on Face book, and join him on his next ten-year journey. Gaetano thanks those that took the time to read this ten-year anniversary article. And to those jealous, envious ones waiting for him to trip up he has nothing to say except!
“But may god bless all of you, even the jealous ones!” GAETANO IACONO (ACTOR) Winter 09/10 / AMICI 13
Chef Walter Pisano
By Andrew Guzaldo Chef Walter Pisano, is the son of John Tulio Pisano father and mother Flora, his grandparents migrated from Italy. His father John Tulio Pisano was a long time restaurateur, Walter was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in New Jersey. Being from an Italian family, food has been something, of a cultural passion, which stems from his Italian heritage. However Pisano’s career began to take off in the late seventies. He traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho where his brother resided at the time. Sun Valley is where he worked at a job. And this is where he had met anumber of Chefs, from all around the globe; this was one factor added to all the rest of his experience, which sparked a deep passion in the culinary world. He began to learn from an Austrian Chef, it did not take long for him to realize he was bound and hooked on becoming a Chef. He also trained and worked, with world-renowned Chef Jean-Louis Palladin, at his restaurant in the Watergate Hotel, in Washington, DC as Sous Chef. Sous, is a French word for under, meaning a Sous Chef is directly below the Executive Chef. In a desire to reconnect, with the Italian cuisine, he traveled to Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy, this is the origin of prosciutto, Parmesan-balsamic. He also spent time as well in Florence andVenice known as the that is also known, as the risotto capital. Chef Pisano said,“It helped me reconnect with my passion and roots in Italian cooking.I love and appreciate the simplicity of foods and how each Italian region approaches that. Their simplistic approach to food and presentation always inspires me.” Walter Pisano opened up the well-known Tulio Ristorante in 14 AMICI / Winter 09/10
1992. He named it after his father, John Tulio Pisano, who played a big part in his restaurant career. Chef Pisano replied, “Opening Tulios Ristorante, gave me the opportunity to share my culinary experience to the public, as well as honoring my father’s name.” When asked if he uses any family recipes he replied “I do at home, use family recipes fairly often, for my family wife Deborah, my daughter Audrey and my son Giovanni, as well as our friendsI appreciate these recipes, especially how a lot of them approachthe art of slow cooking. One of the best tips I learned from my father was how to best use garlic; keep it subtle, not over use it.” One of Chef Pisano’s attributes is the love he has for his family. This is a priority for him; he always makes time to take his family on a vacation. This is his most relaxing moment being with his wife and children. Listening to music, working on his cookbook,which is in the works, and of course cooking for the family. Chef Pisano also regularly donates his talents to charitable causes, from soup kitchens to black-tie events. He feels his memories of food, family will always be reflected in the Tulio Ristorante, and he is proud to present Tulio’s as showcase of his life in the culinary career Among his many honors, Chef Pisano has also participated in the prestigious American Harvest Workshop, an invitation only culinary event. It is limited to five international chefs each year. The American Harvest event, is reaching its 25th anniversary,in honoring Chefs, with the art of food and wine. In a final thought from the Chef and from such humblebeginnings, we are proud to have had this interview. “As a chef you must truly love food. It’s an art. You don’t have to work in a restaurant to be a chef. You just need to appreciate the art of food and cooking. I’m a naturally creative person. Food is the medium I choose to express my art. The passion behind it has made me successful. I have been quite been fortunate in my life.” Chef Pisano graciously, shares a couple of his Delicious recipes! © Walter Pisano/Tulio Ristorante
Black Truffle & Fontina Cheese Risotto (Serves 6 people)
Pappardelle with Sweet Pepper Ragu (Serves 8 people) Ingredients: ½ cup olive oil 2 large red peppers (seeded and cut into ¼ inch strips) 2 large yellow peppers (seeded and cut into ¼ inch strips) 1 medium red onion 1 cloves of roasted garlic 3 cups nage (vegetable stock) Preparation: Peel and halve the onions, cut length-wise into ¼ inch slices. Heat oil over medium flame and add onions and garlic. Cook until soft and starting to caramelize. Add the peppers and reduce to low heat. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add nage and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and place in shallow hotel pans, cool in the walk-in. Yield: approximately 1 quart
Ingredients: 11/2 cups Arborio Rice 11/2 # oyster mushrooms cleaned 1 White Onion finely diced 1 Leeks finely diced 1 Gallon vegetable stock ¼ minced black truffles ¼ cup whipping cream (slight peaks) 12 oz. Grated imported fontina cheese 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter 6 tablespoons Olive oil Salt & white pepper to taste Preparation: In a heavy bottom saucepot, start heating 4 tablespoons of butter and add the remaining of the diced white onion & leeks. Keep on a medium heat and stir constantly till they are soft. Add the rice and start toasting it. When this is done, begin to add the strained mushroom broth, which should be warm by using a ladle of broth at a time and stirring with a wooden spoon. In a sauté pan add 2 tablespoon of olive oil, heat and begin to sauté the mushrooms over a fairly high heat to create a caramel color. When this happens, turn off the heat & set aside. Continue to add the broth, when the risotto is almost done add the sautéed mushrooms and mix well. This process should use approximately 4 cups of broth. To test the risotto for doneness take a little grain out and taste it, the rice should have a little crunch. If the risotto is too crunchy then continue to add broth, but very small amounts at a time. When the risotto is done place finish with softened butter and a very little fresh thyme, then place into serving bowls.
Finish – Pasta to Order With: 6oz ladle of the pepper juice 3-table spoons tomato sauce Pinch of rough-cut basil leaves Drop good quality virgin olive oil Garnish with goat cheese Should be slightly soupy.
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 15
Recipes for Your Dinner Table Farfalle with Yogurt and Zucchini INGREDIENTS: 1. 1 pound farfalle 2. 4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), coarsely shredded 3. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 4. 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt 5. 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving 6. Freshly grated nutmeg 7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper DIRECTIONS: 1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the farfalle until al dente; about 1 minute before the farfalle is done, add the shredded zucchini to the pot. Drain the farfalle and zucchini, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. 2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and the 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season the yogurt sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. 3. Add the farfalle, zucchini and reserved pasta water to the saucepan and cook over low heat, tossing, until the sauce coats the pasta; transfer to warmed bowls and serve with the extra cheese.
Sizzling-Herb Fedelini INGREDIENTS 1. 1 pound fedelini or capellini pasta 2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3. 2 large garlic cloves, minced 4. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 5. 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley 6. 1/4 cup finely chopped basil 7. 1/4 cup finely chopped chives 8. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 9. 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese (about 4 ounces)
16 AMICI / Winter 09/10
DIRECTIONS 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Transfer to a colander and drain. 2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, combine the oil with the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is fragrant but not colored, about 1 minute. Add the herbs and cook just until they begin to sizzle, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the pasta and toss to evenly coat with the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, toss with the cheese and serve immediately.
PASTA ’Arte Trat t o r i a I t a l i a n a
By John Rizzo What do you like in an Italian restaurant? Recently my wife, a good friend and I visited Pasta D’arte, and it had everything that I look for in a great place to dine. Let’s go down the list: •Is the restaurant easy Pasta D’Arte to get to? Located just off is a great place the intersection of Milwaukee and Devon, Pasta to eat! D’Arte is convenient to the Northwest side, the Kennedy Expressway and O’Hare area suburbs. • Is parking available? There’s plenty of free parking right there. •Does the restaurant have “atmosphere?” Pasta D’Arte is very cozy and romantic, with subdued lighting and an inviting outdoor patio that is covered over for the winter months. •Does it have a bar? There is a quiet little full service bar, tucked away in the rear of the establishment. •What kind of wines are served? All the major vintages in several price levels are fully represented at Pasta D’Arte. •How’s the Italian food? Great! At Pasta D’Arte, everything is cooked to order, with daily specials, all items very reasonably priced. •Is the owner/chef experienced and accessible to the clientele? Mark Giannini runs a very tight ship! You bet! Pasta D’Arte’s Mark Giannini grew up in the restaurant business and bends over backwards to make sure his customers are satisfied. A second generation Italian, Mark’s father is from the Abruzz’ and his mother is Barese. Most of his pasta, meat and game recipes come from his father’s side, while his seafood concoctions originate with his mother’s side. The success of any venture begins with a positive attitude and Mark definitely has that. “You have to believe in something,” asserts Mark. “I believe in God and I believe in good cooking.” That’s a promising place to start, but how you proceed is also important. “I run a very tight ship in my kitchen,” he claims. Yet “most of my employees have been with me for years.” Besides being a good leader, Mark is sensitive to all developments in his field. “I keep up-to-date with the latest trends in tastes and recipes,” and “I tweak the menu according to the seasons. Most of our customers come for our pastas,” which are all hand rolled and filled. “Hey, that’s what we’re named after.” Mark has been in business for seven years, so he must know what he’s doing, but the reason he does it is telling. “I don’t do this for the money. Sure you have to turn a profit to keep going, but I keep this place going because cooking and making sure my customers have a good time is what I love to do.”
Braced by a glass of refreshing Chianti classico, we started our dinner with some homemade zesty lentil and pasta soup. It was an auspicious beginning, worthily followed by a few outstanding appetizers. The fried calamari was excellent - perfectly cooked and lightly breaded. We also had some of the specialty bruschetta. The virtue of this common dish was that each toasty piece, covered with tomatoes, oil and fresh herbs, hung together remarkably well and did not disintegrate into a sloppy pile like the usual specimen does. We topped off our appetizer course with a real treat - fried polenta covered with melted gorgonzola cheese and laced with balsamic vinegar. It was not only very scrumptious but it was very artistically presented, a regular characteristic of each dish at Pasta D’Arte. We shared two pasta dishes from the regular menu and one from the special menu, and when we finished these, we could go no further. We were just too filled. I can heartily recommend Pasta D’Arte is cozy and each item, beginning with the Riromantic! sotto del Boscaiolo - Arborio rice with Italian sausage, peas, mushrooms, spinach and diced tomatoes in a light cream sauce. The rice was large grained and succulent, while the various ingredients blended perfectly. Then we had a wonderful Fettuccine dish, alla Panna, with peas and pancetta in a Parmesan cream sauce. The homemade noodles were absolutely heavenly, and the flavor exciting and memorable. We had a tough time deciding on what to get with the house red sauce. We finally settled on the thin-sliced ricotta-filled ravioli and we were darn glad we did. Mark Giannini’s tomato sauce is a thing of spicy beauty, and was the ideal covering for the juicy but delicate stuffed ravioli squarelets. I’d like to try just about everything else in this dynamite red sauce. We were unable to consume an entree course, but I was tempted to order the Braciole di Carne - sirloin beef rolls stuffed with garlic, Parmigiano and parsley simmered in tomato sauce and served over orrechiette. Mark says “it’s my mother’s special recipe and the favorite here. We serve it all year round.” Well, next time for sure. We did have a little room left, however, so we had another special, a devilishly delicious creme brulee with fresh berries. What a way to polish off a magnificent meal! With its very intimate atmosphere, great food and reasonable prices, I’ll be back there soon. You should try it too!
Buon appetite! Pasta D’Arte 6311 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60646 773-763-1181 www.pastadarte.com
Very intimate dining atmosphere
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 17
Recipes My Nonna Taught Me By Francena Illustrations by Chuck Lawson
Recreate the aromas and tastes of your Nonna’s kitchen. This delightful is a tribute to the author’s Sicilian Heritage and her beloved nonna. It is filled with old world recipes. This simple easy to follow cookbook makes a great gift, hostess gift and stocking stuffer. A MUST for your collection!! Available at FRANCENA’S!!! Send $12 to FRANCENA 125 Boyce Road, Centerville, OH 45458
Author Maria Liberati does a superb job at bringing great food and ambience to life. In The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions, Maria shares classic Italian recipes with a hint of memories. As a former international supermodel, Maria Liberati international supermodel, now celebrity culinary chef/ Author. Just released her newest book, “The Basic Art of Italian Cooking.” She began writing food articles and restaurant review columns. She has conducted cooking programs while in Italy and then in the States. Maria divides her time between her office and residence in the USA and Italy.
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ANCIENT ITALIAN HISTORY Across
3. Romans were the first to utilize this building material 5. What Roman emperor built Castel Saint Angelo as his mausoleum? 7. What Roman emperor was largely responsible for the evolution? 10. Women in Ancient Rome wore bandages around their feet and legs. 13. To define actions in word form? 15. What Roman emperor took control of the empire in 285 AD and restored strength? 16. Who was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire? 17. Julius Cesare was born by the operation called caeso matris utere
1. What prominent Roman became joint consul with Julius Caesar in 44 BC. 2. What wars in which Rome and Carthage contested supremacy in the 3. What assassination took place in Ides of March 4. When one is trying to describe? 6. What was the proclamation issued in 313 AD, granting permanent 8. What group, from 800 BC to their decline in the 5th century BC, 9. Caledonia was the Roman name for what country 11. What flower was named for a Roman gladiators sword? 12. What did St. Basile build in 372 AD in Caeserea? 14. What were the last words of Julius Caesar?
Joke “Vot do you mean it’z illegal?” asks the German driver. “Quattro meansa four” replies the Italian official “Qvattro is just ze name of ze automobile”, the Germans retort unbelievingly. “Look at ze papers: zis car is designt to kerry 5 persons.” “You can’ta pulla thata one on me!”, replies the Italian customs agent. “Quattro meansa four. You hava fivea people ina your car and you are thereforea breaking the law.” The German driver replies angrily, “Dumbkopff! Call your zupervisor over, schnell! I vant to speak to somevone viz more intelligence! “ “Sorry”, responds the Italian official, “ He can’ta come. He’sa busy witha 2 guys in a Fiat Uno. Winter 09/10 / AMICI 19
IES OF FIVE CENTUR ITALIAN-AMERICAN
H I S T O RY
1974 John Joseph Sirica, is named by The Time Magazine “Man of the Year”. The publication tells its 25-million readers, “One judge, stubbornly and doggedly pursuing the truth in his courtroom, regardless of political implications, forced Watergate into the light of investigative day... One judge brought the White House tapes out of hiding.”
Ella Grasso, the only child of immigrant parents, is elected governor of Connecticut. Grasso becomes the first woman elected governor in her own right the United States.
“John Scarne,” born Orlando Carmelo Scarnecchia, celebrates 40 years as magician, He entertains at the White House 43 times. Scarne, also the world’s foremost gambling authority, sells 7 million copies of his 15 books on gambling. When the ITALO-AMERICAN TIMES asks Scarne:”Any advice to gamblers?” He replies, “Don’t gamble.”
Michael Dukakis, Maassachusetts Governor issues a proclamation 50 years after the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, reflecting on the convictions of the two Italian anarchists: “The atmosphere of their trial and appeals was permeated by prejudice against foreigners and hostillity toward unorthodox political views.”
20 AMICI / Winter 09/10
1980 Jimmy Carter, at age 60, awards a belated Medal of Honor to Anthony Casamento, at a White House ceremony. The citation reads in part: “Despite the heat and ferocity of the engagement, he repeatedly repulsed multiple assaults by the enemy forces.”
Mike Eruzione, U.S. Olympic ice hockey captain, fires off a 30 – foot shot into the nets giving the USA a shocking 4-3 upset over the Russians at Lake Placid. “The Miracle on Ice,” brings a gold medal for Eruzione and his team. The nation puts aside double digit inflation, Russians in Afghanistan, hostages in Iran, and Cheers!
“Harry Warren,” known as “Mr. Hollywood Musical,” dies. The noted songwriter, born Salvadore Guaragna in Brooklyn, is one of the few composers ever to win three Academy Awards. His hits include: “That’s Amore,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “You’re My Everything,” “Serenade in Blue,” “The More I See You,” “The Shadow Waltz,” “This Heart of Mine,” and “ You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.”
Mario Cuomo, son of a hardworking grocer and immigrant mother, is elected Governor of New York and is the first American of Italian heritage to attain the state’s highest office.
a c s o T Faust and By John Rizzo
Those of us in Chicago that love opera should feel very lucky because we have a local professional company, the Lyric Opera, that is currently firing on all cylinders in producing the finest music drama available anywhere. In a number of ways, it is still true that the Metropolitan Opera of New York is the foremost organization of its kind. But as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and an enthusiastic although infrequent patron of Lincoln Center, I can attest to the fact that the Lyric Opera productions I have seen in recent years are either equal to or better than those I have seen in New York. So be assured that you cannot go wrong by purchasing a ticket to the Lyric during the tenure of Director William Mason. Two examples of absolutely magnificent exhibitions of theater are this Lyric season’s Faust and Tosca. One thing that both productions share is the conducting of Lyric Music Director Sir Andrew Davis. Under Davis’ talented baton, the Lyric Orchestra is playing better than ever. He has the strings sounding like a sonorous quartet, with each section blending sensitively with the other while still claiming its own proper definition. The various wind choirs are gaily splashing nuanced colors throughout the aural spectrum. In short, the Lyric Orchestra comes across more as a chamber than a symphony orchestra, reminding one of Bartoletti at his best. This kind of restrained instrumental ambience is the perfect vehicle for Gounod and Puccini, Verdi’s comments about the Italian’s “Symphonic” tendencies notwithstanding. Faust, of course is a French opera, but its Italian formal roots cannot be ignored. The French opera tradition itself was begun by an Italian during the reign of Louis XIV. It may have been Louis’ regent, Cardinal Mazarin (ne Mazzarino) who imported the Florentine composer and dancer Giovanni Battista Lulli to the French court, but it was the Sun King himself who gave the Italian the commission to establish what became the Paris Opéra. He also inaugurated the coveted Prix de Rome, which funded the most talented French artists to study their craft in Rome. Charles Gounod won this prize and learned how to compose opera in Italy. As for Faust, it was originally performed as a kind of singspiel, with the arias and ensembles alternating with spoken dialog. When it quickly promised to be very successful, Gounod composed the recitatives, transforming it into an Italian style opera. In this form it became the world’s most popular opera and was the premiere production of the Metropolitan Opera (sung in Italian) in 1883.
Ana Maria Martinez
Deborah Voigt &James Morris
Ana Maria Martinez & Piotr Beczala
Lyric Opera of Chicago The Lyric Opera production of Faust is nothing short of brilliant. It is beautiful to see and its outstanding cast is a delight for the ear. The choruses are also top-notch -- the numerous crowd members moving with precision and purpose. Most noteworthy is the singing of tenor Piotr Bezcala in his Lyric debut. His “Salut! demeure chaste et pure” in the glorious third act was stunning, the very best tenor singing I have heard since Pavarotti and Domingo. Is he for real? We’ll find out over time. This is about the fifth or sixth time I have seen Lyric’s Tosca set, \originally designed by Franco Zeffirelli, and I enjoy it now just as much as ever. In this familiar milieu we find a new cast, new, that is, for this latest Lyric version of Puccini’s violent and ultra-passionate melodrama. Led by Debora Voigt in the title role, we have James Morris as Scarpia and Vladimir Galouzine as Cavaradossi. I have heard that another local critic has said that the voices of the principals are better suited for Wagner than Puccini. Certain Wagnerians may not be able to do justice to Puccini, but I don’t believe it is because of their voices. Puccini’s music can be sung beautifully by any type of voice, from the very lyrical to the strongly dramatic, and the Lyric principals, especially Voigt, carried off their roles masterfully. I was, however, a tad disappointed with Galouzine’s performance. Don’t get me wrong he has a great voice. It’s just that last year when I heard him do such a wonderful job as Canio, my expectations were perhaps a little high for him in the Puccini role. He was superb in the duets, but he tended to overemphasize the downbeats of the arias, making the vocal line more choppy and less legato than I prefer. Again the chorus was excellent, as it needs to be in the conclusion of Act One, the most spectacle-filled part of the piece. And as the stage filled with colorfully dressed celebrants, and Morris sinuously wove his sinister parlando over the ritual chanting, and the organ-spiked orchestra throbbed through its pulsating vamp, I felt like I was once more united with a very dear friend. And I thought to myself, “This is Tosca, and this is the way it’s supposed to be!” Performances of Tosca at Lyric Opera this season: Tuesday January 19, 2010 7:30 PM Friday January 22, 2010 2:00 PM Monday January 25, 2010 7:30 PM Friday January 29, 2010 7:30 PM Call 312-332-2244 www.lyricopera.org
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 21
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urin, also called Torino, is a northern Italian city that, like the best of weddings, combines something old and something new. While Turin is best known as the repository of the shroud of Turin (a fabric believers maintain covered Christ after the crucifixion) and birthplace of Fiat and Italyâ€™s automotive in-
24 AMICI / Winter 09/10
dustry, the cityâ€™s hosting of the XX Winter Olympics has attracted fresh attention to Turin. Founded by the Romans in 28 BC, Turin today has a population of one million and is just an hour from both the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. To reach Turin, international visitors fly to Malpensa Airport in Milan, also an hour away.
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 25
2008-09 national italian restaurant guide Email us for info on
CHICAGO & SUBURBS, IL 3 Olives Restaurant / Twist Lounge 8318 W. Lawrence Ave. Norridge, IL 60706 Phone: (708) 452-1545 Agostino’s Ristorante 2817 N Harlem Ave, Chicago, IL agostinogustofino.com Phone: (773) 745-6464 Amalfi Ristorante 298 Glen Ellyn Rd. Bloomingdale, IL 630-893-9222 Capri Ristorante Italiano, Inc. 1238 W. Ogden Ave. Naperville, IL 60563 Phone: (630) 778-7373 Custom House 500 S. Dearborn St. Chicago, IL 60605 Phone: (312) 523-0200 Gioacchino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 5201 St. Charles Rd. Bellwood, IL 60104 Phone: (708) 544-0380
Stars Restaurant Review Rating!
La Piazza 410 Circle Ave., Forest Park, IL Phone: (708) 366-4010
Cafe Zalute & Bar
Osteria via Stato 620 N. State St. Chicago, IL 60610 Phone: (312) 642-8450
Giuseppe’s La Cantina 1062 Lee St Des Plaines, IL Phone:(847) 824-4230
Porretta Ristorante & Pizzeria 3656 N Central Ave Chicago, IL 60641 Phone: 773-736-1429
Victoria in the Park 1700 S. Elmhurst Rd. Mount Prospect, IL Phone:(708)456-1575
Spacca Napoli Pizzeria 1769 W. Sunnyside Ave. Chicago, IL 60640 Phone: (773) 878-2420
BOSTON, MA Bacco Ristorante & Bar 107 Salem St. Boston, MA 02113 Phone: (617) 624-0454
Venuti’s Ristorante & Banquets 2251 W. Lake St. Addison, IL 60101 Phone: (630) 376-1500
Fiorella’s 187 North St. Newton, MA 02460 Phone: (617) 969-9990
Via Carducci 1419 W. Fullerton Chicago, IL 60614 773-665-1981
Sorento’s Italian Gourmet 86 Peterborough St. Boston, Ma, 02215 Phone: (617) 424-7070
NEW YORK, NY Tarry Lodge 18 Mills St.
MILWAUKEE, WI Alioto’s 3041 N. Mayfair Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53222
Carmine’s 2450 Broadway New York, NY 10024 Phone: (212) 362-2200
Vince’s Italian Rest. 4747 N. Harlem Ave. Chicago, IL 60634 Phone: (708) 867-7770
9501 W. Devon Rosemont, Il Phone: (847) 685-0206
Phone: (414) 476-6900 Buca di Beppo 1233 N. Van Buren Phone: (414) St. 224-8672 Milwaukee, WI 53202
Carini’s La Conca D’oro 3468 N. Oakland Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53211 Phone: (414) 963-9623 NEW JERSEY Tutto Pasta 200 Washington St. Hoboken, NJ Phone: (201) 792-102 LAS VEGAS, NV Gina’S Bistro
4226 S. Durango Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89147 Phone: (702) 341 1800
Port Chester, NY 10573 Phone: (914) 939-3111
Massimo al Ponte
CONTACT US FOR RATES TO BE LISTED IN OUR NATIONAL RESTAURANT GUIDE 26 AMICI / Winter 09/10
Restaurant 8313 W. LAWRENCE AV. NORRIDGE, IL 60706 TEL: 708.452.1545 FAX: 708.452.4475
Come experience the taste of Italy!
FANTASTIC SERVICE REASONABLE PRICES CHARMING ATMOSPHERE
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 27
C R NO Is An Italian With Conviction
By Andrew Guzaldo One would look at the elegant Gina Carano, and Along with Lisa King, Carano served as a mennever suspect, unless you were a MMA fan, know tor to aspiring female fighters in the Oxygen reality that she is a rising star in the art of Muay series Fight Girls. She will also be featured Thai boxing. in the film Blood and Bone slated to be reGina “Conviction” Carano was born leased sometime in 2008. on April 16, 1982 in Dallas, Texas. She was profiled in a feature story for the She is a Muay Thai specialist that had ESPN series E:60, and was voted “Hottest her first start fighting out of the famed Woman In America” by Big Biz Magazine Master Toddy Gym in Las Vegas, NV, in the Spring 2008 issue. which led to a role in the reality series “Gina Carano” is one of the fastest-ris“Fight Girls”. Under Master Toddy, ing stars in the MMA, also in any Gina competed multiple times interGoogle search you might do. nationally, garnishing a 12-1-1 profesShe is now the third most sional Muay Thai record. searched person on YaI have to be honest, I didn’t know hoo! We shall be hearmuch about Gina Carano, being I am not much of a fan of ing much more about MMA. And then seeing her name spreading across the Interthe Gina Carano net like wildfire, not to mention her photographs, I looked with Italian Convicinto this lovely female, Italian’s background. tion in the future. Carano, whose nickname is Conviction, starred in the cult film Ring Girls which is a story based on true events, where five women from Las Vegas take on the ultimate challenge of fighting the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world.
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Ariana Petrignani Mora’s Relationship between Differentiation in Italian Americans By Chuck Giampa As a former member of the Augustus Society, I could never understand why none of the Augustus Society’s scholarship recipients ever became a member of that wonderful organization nor did I read about them stating their pride of the Italian American culture. In discussions with other members, we came to the conclusion that the recipients and other young Italian Americans in our society are probably growing up in a different world than the founders of the Augustus Society grew up in. We felt that the young Italian Americans of today are growing up in an environment in which the pride of continuing the Italian American culture has diluted greatly over the past 50 years. So it was interesting when I received a call from one of the “cousins,” Ariana Petrignani Mora (the other cousins being Natasha & Elizabeth, who all graduated from Gorman High School with my niece Dominica). Ariana explained that she is now a pre-doctoral intern. In October, she will be defending her dissertation: The Relationship between Differentiation of Self and Chronic Anxiety in Italian Americans. More information about her survey is detailed in the side bar accompanying this article. Ariana’s father was born in Italy and her mother was born in Czechoslovakia. Her parents were entertainers and appeared in the major showrooms in Las Vegas. Her mother passed away when she was 15 years old and her father now lives again in Umbria. Ariana speaks several languages. She always wanted to know more of the culture of Italy and Czechoslovakia. She felt it was part of her own identity. She is a psychological therapist specializing in Children In Care (the foster system), Marriage and Family Therapy.
Ariana stated that her work “is very rewarding, working with children in-care, who come from broken homes, that have attachment issues (abandonment) to help them explore and process their feelings ... establish positive relationships with adults ... and being supportive to them.” Regarding her study, Ariana mentions that Italian Americans are the 5th largest ethnic group in the USA. Italian American research is very limited. Current studies generally are based on white middle class Americans. Italian Americans tend to rely on each other (family) for support; not sharing their problems with strangers.” Thus, is the purpose of her study? Ariana’s goal is to, “further knowledge and research of the Italian American culture because current research is limited. The Italian American culture is unique. In order for a better understanding of others it’s important to understand our own culture.” Please take the time to read the side bar. I encourage our readers to go online and participate in Ariana’s survey. Back to beginning of this article, thanks to the young Italian American professionals like Ariana Petrignani Mora, I’m encouraged once again that our young Italian Americans are, indeed, proud of our culture and are in the forefront of furthering that pride.
Photo by Vincenza Abbatiello Gargonza, Tuscany near Siena
SUMMARY OF STUDY (By Line) The Relationship Between Differentiation Of self and chronic anxiety in Italian- Americans. The number of Italian-Americans is increasingly growing in the United States and so is the need to gain a better understanding of the appropriate treatment and assessment of this culture. This research will provide insight into the ways in which Italian-American individuals think, feel, and experience anxiety. That is I am looking to see if culture, the Italian American culture, influences people’s thinking, feeling and anxiety. If you are an Italian American who would like to further the research on your culture, please take 15 minutes to complete two online surveys. The first 300 participants will be included in a prize drawing to win one of three gift cards, each valued at $100, if desired. All information that you provide will be confidential and anonymous. Please participate! Results will have meaningful implications for the assessment and treatment of the growing number of Italian Americans. For surveys, please go to: www.surveymonkey.com/ItalianAmericansurvey
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 29
t has always been the belief of wine geeks in the know that Italian wines are the best wines to pair with food. It is also a unanimous fact that the best style of wine to pair with food is sparkling wine (yes, even with a great steak). Given these two statements, logic would lend you to believe that Italian Sparkling Wine is the be all and end all of food and wine unions. Why then, has Italian Sparkling wine been given such a bar rap? Truth be told, Italy produces some of the finest sparkling wine produced by man; wines that will truly make you weak in the knees. In fact, in most cases, Italian Sparkling Wine Producers use the same methods of creating sparkling wines as the famed producers in the Champagne region of France. In Italy the regions of Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia Romagna are three of the prized queens of sparkling wine, each producing completely different but equally pleasurable sparklers, and yes, they all pair brilliantly with food. Like so many wonderful things, sparkling wines were first created by accident. Sparing the technical details, suffice it to say that a particularly cold winter was to blame. The cold temperature managed to stop the fermentation process in the bottle; this being halted, left some sugar in the wine. When spring rolled around and the temperature increased, a second fermentation began in the bottle. The left over sugar that did not turn to alcohol in the first fermentation caused carbonation in the wine. Once this “happy” accident was discovered, a few procedures for re-creating the natural effect were developed. The method developed in France and used in the finest Champagne houses is called Classic Method, Metado Classico or Methode Classique, depending on what country you are in. This means that the second fermentation - the one that causes the bubbles - happens inside the bottle. This process takes a little more effort and a few more steps but the end result is worth it. The drinker will generally find as a rule of thumb that the smaller the 30 AMICI / Winter 09/10
bubble, the better the quality. In Italy, two different styles of sparkling wine are produced, spumante (fully sparkling or fully charged) and frizzante (semi sparkling or semi charged). Each has its own merits and occasions. In the Piedmont region of Italy you will find a few different types of sparkling wines. Everything from the infamous Asti - using the Moscato Bianco grape - to more traditional styles made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (two of the three approved grape varieties allowed for use in Champagne, France) are produced. Do not let the cheesy commercials from the late 1970’s fool you, sparkling wines from Asti can be can be complex and delicious with a nice balance of peach and acidity and can pair equally well with everything from shellfish to strawberries. For a sweeter sparkling wine try something from Moscato d’Asti. Like Asti, these wines are also made from the Moscato Bianco grape but are a bit more sweet and are a brilliant wine to pair with (or pour over) fresh berries. Piedmont is also responsible for my new favorite wine, Rosa Regale. This wine is a sparkling wine made in the Brachetto d’Acqui zone of Piedmont from the Brachetto grape. I have to tell you that this is a sparkler that tastes like nothing else. When you take a sip it has a beautiful cocoa and strawberry palate that will make you fall in love with the next person that you see, so be careful. If you try this with chocolate covered strawberries you had better be sitting down. The mere thought makes me a little light headed. The Veneto region of Italy is producing a sparkling wine that is gaining popularity here in the states. Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene is the name of the region in Veneto and Prosecco is the name of the grape variety. These wines can be sweet or dry and are famous for being the base of the classic Bellini cocktail invented at the famed Harry’s Bar in Italy. To make one on your own, pour prosecco over a bit of peach puree in a fluted glass. In fact, you can use any type of fruit puree. A company called The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley makes a variety of fresh fruit purees that would work wonderfully. Proseccos on their own are well worth the less than twenty dollars they generally cost. Talk about a value! I doubt you will find a better wine at that price. They vary in style from light and crisp to full and flavorful. Maschio dei Cavalieri makes, in my opinion, some of the best. Proseccos can be paired with light appetizers or fresh fruit but can also have the structure to stand up to quail, seafood with butter sauces or pastas in cream sauces. Now, we come to the Emilia Romagna region – and I am going to ask you to just trust me on this one: Lambrusco is good. Yes, I said it and yes, I truly believe it. Lambrusco is worth revisiting. These, too, come in a sweet and a dry style. I know, I know, I can hear you gasping as you read this, but believe me; you are depriving yourself of some of the most wonderful juice being made in Italy. They have a great, fresh, red cherry flavor making them the perfect companion to barbecue. A good majority of Lambrusco is frizzante (semi sparkling) and even though it is red it should be served chilled. Honestly, Riunite makes a dry lambrusco called Vivante that is a remarkable pairing with pizza. I guarantee that if you try it, you will not recognize it as the same sweet elixir from the 1970’s. I really hope that you revisit this gem. If you take one thing away from this article, I hope that it is the fact that sparkling wines are not just for special occasions. In fact, at the price point that most Italian sparklers tend to be these wine can be – and should be – every day wine. So, I invite you to join me in the crusade to introduce the world to Italian sparkling wines. Buy some, try some and share with a friend!
Giada Valenti Italian Singer and Songwriter By Andrew Guzaldo Giada Valenti has been recognized for her special voice and great stage presence. With her 2008 release, And I Love You So, Giada plans to bring her sophisticated music and European style to music fans worldwide. And I Love You So features Giada’s interpretations of such songs as “La Vie En Rose”, “It’s Impossible”, “Grande Grande Grande”, and “Se (love theme of Cinema Paradiso)”. “If you listen to the pop/jazz music you will definitely want to get a hold of “And I Love You So” and you will feel the memeorable music of Giada Valenti. Giada Valenti was born in the beautiful town of- Venice, Italy. Giada was showing her talent at a young age of seven, playing the piano and singing. She toured with a professional band at the early age of twelve. This was not all; she studied piano and music, at the Santa Cecilia music school in Venice and received her music degree at Tartini in Trieste. To add to her qualities, she studied jazz with well-known American singer Dawn Mitchell.
Giada moved to New York in 2004, after her music got serious interest from a major record label. In December 2005, Giada’s self-released CD Italian Signorina was launched in the USA with great reviews. Italian Signorina featured the song “Caruso” that Giada performed on the red carpet at the Columbus Day Parade in 2005 through 2007, in New York City. Giada has performed a selection of songs of her new CD “And I Love You So” at the 2008 edition of the Columbus Day Parade. The Organization of Italian Charities In America named her woman of the year, in October 2008. Since her arrival in New York, Giada has attracted a fast-growing fan base. She performs regularly in theatres, clubs, casino hotels, and festivals throughout the U.S., and is a frequent guest on radio shows in the tri-state area. Producer Sonny Grosso and musical director Phil Ramone selected Giada for a role in the Broadway musical Be My Love, based on the life story of tenor Mario Lanza. Giada’s most recent venue was a Tribute to Love, at the Di Capo Theatre in New York. Giada is working on a new filming project which will be released on a PBS Special this coming January 2010. She will also be doing her first official USA tour, for the upcoming year, together with her new CD release There are a number of things coming her way in the upcoming year, we know she will do well ,on all her new ventures.!!!
TIM McGRAW , FAMOUS COUNTRY SINGERAMERICAN PATRIOT, SHARES ITALIAN HERITAGE By Christopher Guzaldo Tim McGraw was born May 1st, 1967 he is from Delhi Louisiana, USA. His birth name was Samuel Timothy McGraw; he is the son of Elizabeth D’ Agostino. He is Italian on his mother’s side, and Irish on his father’s side. Tim’s father was a baseball player, a relief pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Met’s, he was known as “Tug McGraw”. Tim McGraw is known for his most famous country-western, consisting of a variety of love songs, such as Live Like You Where Dying and Its Your Love featuring his wife Faith Hill. Tim has succeeded in selling over 40 million records in his career. One of his more successful albums was released in 1992 “Not a Moment Too Soon” was the #1 country music album in 1994. The “Indian Outlaw”, was quite controversial given the fact, it presented the Native Americans, as patriots.There were some radio stations that
would refuse to play the song. This song was McGraw’s first top ten country became single. His second single from the album, “Don’t Take the Girl”, became Tim McGraw’s first #1 country single and the following year, the album’s title became a #1 country single. McGraw won an Emmy Award of Country Music, for Album of the Year and Top male vocalist in 1994, along with three other albums that he wrote in the 1990’s. McGraw has also shown his ability in acting; he had a supporting role, in the Billy Bob Thornton film Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, and the lead role in Flika. He is also a minority owner of the Arena Football’s Nashville Kats. It is known to many that McGraw, would like to run for public office, preferably for Governor of Tennesse, we don’t know when, however we will soon find out. It is also not known what party he will run for. However with the way politics goes it is anyones guess how he will run. Mc graw quoted, Governor seems more likely. “It’s more of a leadership role, and I think that’s something that I’d do well... that doesn’t rule out senator; I just think that as governor of a state, there would be a lot more opportunities to make some Winter 09/10 / AMICI 31
NIAF presents EXPLORING SICILY FROM WEST TO EAST Weekly Departures Starting February 2010 9-Days starting at $1,899 from New York, JFK For Information and Reservations, Contact:
Marianna Pisano, Unitours Inc., 3010 Westchester Avenue, Purchase, NY 10577 Telephone: 888-846-6423 – Fax: 914-253-9001 – email: email@example.com Day 1 - DEPART - Today we depart JFK on our overnight flight to Palermo [via Rome] aboard a wide bodied jet. We will be served complementary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft Day 2 – PALERMO – Today we arrive Palermo airport where we will be met by our Tour Manager and transferred to the our hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. Day 3 – PALERMO/MONREALE -This morning we will visit the Zisa Castle, the Norman Cathedral and Independence Square. After some free time we continue to Monreale where we visit its famous Cathedral and Benedictine’s Kiosk built by the Normans over an ancient mosque. Return to Palermo for dinner and overnight. Day 4 – ERICE/MARSALA - This morning will make our way to the 13th century city of Erice with its medieval Norman Castle, and mother church. Continue to Marsala. Here we will visit the Salt Pans and enjoy a light lunch inside of a wind mill. Return to Palermo for dinner and overnight. Day 5 - CATANIA/GIARDINI NAXOS – Morning departure for Catania which was built in 729 BC with the name “Katane,” which means “grater” in Sicilian. It was conquered by the Romans in 263 BC. The Roman influence can still be felt, as some architectural ruins of the Augustan period still remain. After the Byzantine domination there was the Arabic and then the Norman supremacy, which brought many changes and innovations to the town, the building of the Cathedral, and the many monasteries. With the Aragonese, Catania had a period of economic recovery and cultural revolution; in fact, it was during this period that the first university of the island was born. The following Spanish domination and the earthquake in 1693 plunged the land into a serious economic crisis. This period was then followed by an important rebuilding campaign that continued after the unity of Italy. The XIX century saw a flourishing period of cultural splendor for Catania, involving expansion and growth in worldly, literary, musical, and theatrical expressions. We will visit Catania’s most significant monuments: the Elephant Fountain, the Cathedral (XI century), and the beautiful baroque city centre. After some leisure time for shopping we continue to our hotel in Giardini Naxos for dinner and overnight. Day 6 – TAORMINA/SAVOCA - Taormina, known in the ancient times as Tauromenion. The town lies in an elevated position of amazing, almost unique beauty, affording magnificent views of the sea and clear sky with miles of a curving coastline and picturesque mountain scenery, while the majestic pyramid of Mt. Etna on the other side constitutes a scene of indescribable beauty. Upon arrival, we will visit the most impressive monument of the city: the Greco-Roman Theatre. Continue to Savoca. Here you will be able to walk in the footsteps of Michael Corleone’s. This is the town in Sicily where part of the Godfather movie was filmed. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight Day 7 – RAGUSA - Ragusa is really two separate towns, both of whom were combined to form one municipality in 1926. Lower Ragusa, known as Ragusa Ibla, or simply “Ibla,” is the ancient part of the city, rebuilt after suffering heavy damage due to the infamous 1693 earthquake that devastated southeastern Sicily. Upper Ragusa, or Ragusa Superiore, is the main part of the new city, which was built on the ridge across from Ibla after the earthquake. Due to the fact that upper Ragusa was built in the early 1700s, most of its churches and main buildings were thus constructed in the Baroque and New-Classical styles. Most of the city’s history deals with the old city of Ibla. Populated by the indigenous Siculi in ancient times, the town was called “Hybla Heraea,” from which the name Ibla was derived. Ibla’s best-known church is the Basilica of St.George, whose entrance is reached by climbing a spacious set of elegantly decorated curving stairs. The majestic dome of the church towers above the town and dominates the Piazza del Duomo and its neat rows of palm trees beneath it. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 8 – ETNA - Mt. Etna is Sicily’s tallest peak and one of Europe’s most famous active volcanoes. The most violent eruption to take place in the XX century was in 1910, which lead to twenty-three additional craters being
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formed. In 1928, a lava flow destroyed the village of Mascali. Other eruptions have followed, the most recent being in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1991-92, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. Upon arrival we will visit the area 2.000 meters (6.000 ft) above sea level, where the Crateri Silvestri are located. A chance to go up to the main crater on 4x4 or free time to enjoy the mountain. Lunch at a nearby agriturism. Afternoon free. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. Day 9 – HOME - We will transfer to the Catania airport to board our flight to New York JFK [via Rome] where we arrive with memories of a lifetime. DEPOSITS AND CANCELLATIONS: A deposit of $300 per person is required to secure reservations, which sum will be applied to the price of the tour. Reservations made within 60 days of departure must include full payment. Balance is to be paid in full no later than 60 days before departure of tour. Return checks must be replaced in the form of a certified check or money order and must include a $50 return check fee. Cancellations made from time of reservation up to 60 days prior to departure -- $100 per person processing charge plus any air penalties. Cancellations made 59 to 8 days prior will incur additional penalties. NO REFUND for cancellation made within 7days of travel. All cancellation and refund claims must be in writing to Italy Travel. COST FROM NEW YORK (JFK)* (Price per person, based on double occupancy) $1,899 $2,099 $2,299 Feb./March/Nov. April/May June Sept./Oct. U.S. and Italian airport taxes, security fees and airline fuel surcharge ARE NOT INCLUDED. (Currently and subject to change until airline tickets have been issued $375 per person) RESERVATION FORM Choose one the following departures. (If tour selected is full, another departure will be offered.) 13-Feb-10 06-March-10 13-March-10 20-March-10
27-March-10 03-April-10 10-April-10
Reservation Form – NIAF Exploring Sicily from West to East Mail to: Marianna Pisano, Unitours Inc., 3010 Westchester Ave. – Purchase, NY 10577 Please reserve ___ seats on this Sicily Tour Enclosed please find deposit of $300 per person, make checks payable to Italy Travel, PLEASE ENCLOSE A COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT Name(s) (as appears on passport)
City, State & Zip
___ I prefer a single room - $300 supplement and limited in number.
Telephone: Day Evening
Charge my deposit to ___ Visa ____Mastercard _____Amex _____________________________________________________________________ Card # Exp. Date Signature ____________________________________
221 Powell St. San Francisco Calif. 94102. Tel- 415.397.7720 Fax- 415.986.7050 www.kuletos.com
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TORONTO AND MONTREAL CANADA, HOSTS ITALIAN FASHION WEEK 2009 By Andrew Guzaldo The Italian Trade Commission launched their Italian Fashion Week 2009, which took place in Canada’s cities of Toronto and Montreal. The weeklong event was part of an initiative by the Italian Trade Commission to showcase the latest in Italian innovation, artistry and styling in fashion design. The President of the Italian Trade Commission Honorable Dr. Lucarelli stated, “Canada is known for its multicultural nation, and was honored to have the best in Italian culture Montreal and Toronto,” “Through art, architecture, and fashion, Italy has played a major role on influencing Canadian culture. Many celebrated Canadian artists and designers have paid homage to Italian culture with artistic inspirations inspired from the rich history and romance.” Italian Fashion Week featured its fall and winter 2009 collections in the month of September, in Toronto, and in October finished up with their innovative styles in Montreal. In this period of Italian Fashion week, there were retailers from all across Italy showcasing their products. Also added to this prestigious event were products and activities, which featured the best in music, art and foods. The Canadian Government hosted a VIP, that was an invited only, fashion show and cocktails welcome. This was a most memorable experience for the Italian Trade Commission, and they were congratulated for preparing such an event, with a number of fashion contests, giveaways and a host of activities, that will leave the Canadians heart beating with admiration and love for the Italian’s. Toronto and Montreal, prestigious list of retailers that participated were. Andrew’s Belstaff ,Armani Jeans, Penny Black, She’s So, Fabiana Filippi, Cinzia Rocca, Seventy Save the Queen, Harry Rosen- ETRO, Brunello Cucinelli, Marcello Tarantino, Milli, Armani Collezione, Blumarine, Valentino, Cavalli, Moschino C+C, Missoni, Nicolas Menswear -Aspesi, Boglioli , Lardini, Ermenegildo Zegna, Allegri ::: Nicolas Womenswear – Aspesi, Boglioli, Gunex, Rivamonti, Perry’s – Paul & Shark, United Colors of Benetton – United Colors of Benetton, Sisley, Via Cavour - Pal Zileri The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) is a public agency, that has proven itself with a worldwide network of offices, whose mandate is to promote trade, industrial and technological cooperation, with foreign companies and to disseminate economic information on Italy. The Montreal office, the event’s organizers, is responsible for the promotion of consumer and agrofood products across Canada. The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) also gathers economic and market information from all over the world to keep Italian companies informed. ICE’s head office in Rome is the headquarters for 17 offices in Italy, and 107 offices worldwide. Press seats for the fashion show were quite limited, however available. Whereas many of these events, the media is somehow, but thanks to the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) that did not happen, and should be commended for their marketing promotions.
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Alessandro Benetton discusses Falabella group with President Uribe of Colombia
By Andrew Guzaldo
Bogotá, Colombia, October 23, 2009. Alessandro Benetton, Executive Vice Chairman of the Benetton Group, met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe today in Bogotá. Discussion included the country’s economic and social evolution, with particular emphasis on the growth and assurance of foreign investment. The meeting was part of a business trip to Latin America, where the Benetton Group has had commercial relationships for over 20 years. In particular Mexico where, during the last few days, Alessandro Benetton met Carlos Slim Helú and his son Carlos Slim Domit, owners of the Sears group, with which Benetton signed an important commercial deal last year. Mr. Benetton and President Uribe discussed Colombia’s achievements in the areas of public order and security, its openness to the international markets, and its image abroad. They also addressed the Colombian economy, economic growth rates (among the highest in South America for the past 20 one for children) inside Falabella stores during fall/winter 2009.
Alessandro Benetton will inaugurate the first three, at Santa Fé shopping center in Bogotá, during this trip. The corners will join Benetton’s eight other stores in Colombia, and additional openings are planned for spring/summer 2010. Alessandro Benetton’s trip to Latin America began in Mexico (October 2021), where he assessed the Group’s commercial progress one year following its return to the country, in collaboration with local partner Sears. years), and the main investment sectors. In particular, Alessandro Benetton expressed to President Uribe the Group’s interest in expanding its commercial operations in Colombia. In this climate of collaboration and growth, Benetton has officialized a significant trade agreement in Colombia with Falabella, a major South American department store chain. Following the success of similar agreements in Chile and Peru, Benetton will open seven corners (four for women, two for men and Mexico now has 18 United Colors of Benetton stores and about 120 corners in Sears’s department stores. By the end of 2011 points of sale are expected to rise to a total of 215, as Benetton aggressively pursues development in this key market of the Americas. For further information: Call 39-0422-519036 website www.benettongroup.com
Benetton opens the first store of the future in Istanbul. In the frame of its Opening Soon… project giving form to the Group’s innovative retail spaces around the world
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Italian Immigrant Settlement was a Legacy of Pride By 1910 hundreds of Italian Americans called this 12-block area of San Jose home. By 1916 the population of San Jose’s little Italy soured. “We were like the Letters of the Residents of the settlement were proud of their meager homes and gardens Alphabet. Alone, we had Little and the area bloomed with pride. There was an abundance of fruit tree, Meaning, but together we were vegetables and flower gardens surrounding each plot of land. Trees, laden with prunes, cherries and apricots bore testimony to the community’s’ part of a Great Meaning” flourishing lifestyle. It was no wonder that the grapes grew so large and fruit to unusual size and quality, most of the young immigrants had been By Cookie Curci schooled early on in life by their parents and their parents before them My grandfather was never a man of many on the grafting, planting and pruning of fruit bearing trees. By the time words, but when he spoke we listened. Though a child was 10 years of age he, or she, knew all there was to know about Cookie Curci his words were few they were filled with wis- vegetable gardening and fruit trees. They had to, it meant survival in the dom. He would often say to us: “Pray for the things you want, but work old county and now in the New World as well. In 1906, these very same Italian immigrants began work on the for the things you need”. If grandpa said that phrase once, he said it a construction of a lavish church, one that would embody the spirit and thousand times. Like many of his generation, who came to America durage-old beliefs of these tenacious immigrants. They wanted their church ing the great migration, grandpa was a man of deep faith, but he also realized that hard work would provide him and his family with the material to represent century old traditions and community spirit; it would be built in the likeness of the great St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. It would be lothings in life. His work in the fields, in the factories and in the orchards of the val- cated on San Fernando Street and run by the Jesuit fathers. Originally, the ley was honest and fulfilling because it came forma a place of pure and church was built for persons of Italian decent only, but the church became clear devotion. Looking back now to a century ago I can visualize in my a church for all the people. Though they had a meager income that didn’t mind’s eye the finale of my grandparent’s long journey to America and reflect the grandeur of the new church, the elaborate building was how they sailed aboard ships that took them months to reach New York’s an important part of their cultural beliefs. Many years ago, I asked my grandfather why port of entry. it was so important for his I can feel my ancestor’s people to construct such a lavish joy and their sense of fear and place of worship. expectations as they made their Grandpa responded in his arrival past the gates of Ellis Isnative Italian, translated into land, and how they worried for English it means something like their siblings that were forced to this: “Out of our habits grow our return to Italy because they were character, on our character we rejected by the health inspecbuild our destiny.” The church tors for having a small limp or had come to represent the young deformity. immigrant’s cultural heritage and Grandma would often tell me their hope for the future. Their of these days, of her sadness honest work was their contribuand separations and of her great tion to their community and to hope for a better life and how their future generations as well. the excitement of their journey In time, San Jose’s urban far outweighed their fears. Apsprawl engulfed this cluster of prehensions may have been Italian Americans and their living there, but it was not upper most spaces. And, in 1969, bulldozers in their thoughts. raised the magnificent Holy FamThe expectations of jourily church to make way for the neys end made them oblivious Guadeloupe expressway. Though to the enormous challenges that Cookie Curci’s Grandparents another church was built on Pearl Avenue, the awaited them. First, and foremost, they would grandeur of the original church was gone forevhave to gain acceptance in a New World, which er. But, by then, the successful immigrants had moved on to better parts of practiced beliefs and cultures different from their own. But the whispered town, opened businesses, started new careers and eventually assimilated promise of streets paved in gold was too overwhelming to ignore. They would gladly face the unknown to find this golden opportunity. into their extended community. Though San Jose’s “Little Italy” is gone Soon enough, the immigrants would learn that all they had heard of the now. A sense of appreciation for these early immigrants and their spirited bountiful New World was not all true. Though they would discover that accomplishments remains an indelible part of our community’s heritage the streets of America were not paved in gold, they did find what they and its lifestyle. The many local families whose ancestors came to San Jose from the were looking for in precious opportunity. They would survive. old country share a special bound of thanks to their parents and grandparThey etched out a living for themselves and moved into a 12-block area of San Jose south of First Street. It was a perfect location for hous- ents. They’re grateful for the way they held tight to their Old World ways ing the hopeful young immigrants. Despite their language barrier and and rituals while at the same time embracing the new burgeoning lifestyle unskilled labor they were able to find employment. They rolled up their of the Santa Clara valley. I suspect there would be no “silicon valley” sleeves and got to work and soon another of America’s “Little Italy’s” was and perhaps no industry as we know it today without people such as my created. City dwellers would refer to the community of immigrants by a grandparents and their generation of industrious workers who planted and number of names, some colorful, some unflattering, but I believe ‘little harvested orchards of fruit trees abundant vegetable fields and worked in Italy” to be the most accurate. The area served as home to many newly the long cannery lines. To this day, the imprint made by our immigrant ancestors anchors arrived ethnic groups of different cultures and backgrounds, but it was the many of us to this beautiful valley while at the same time their lofty and Italian community that prevailed. inspiring dreams continue to give us our wings. 36 AMICI / Winter 09/10
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H1N1 Vaccine prevention against the seasonal flu Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld has had a long lasting relationship in the Italian American community. He was honored by the Foreign Minister of Italy, who conferred these honors to the Doctor as“Commendatore and Grand Uficiale della Republica Italian”
Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld T he swine flu is generally more Does vaccination against the seasonal flu prevent H1N1? Again, the
benign than the seasonal flu. Although it has caused several thousand deaths, the numbers are not comparable to the seasonal flu, which accounts for some 36,000 fatalities every year in this country alone. Certain individuals are known to be vulnerable to severe manifestations of H1N1 flu--pregnant women; the very young (ages six months to 24 years; anyone with significant pulmonary disease such as asthma; those with an impaired immune system or who have serious ancillary diseases such as HIV or cancer. Healthy elderly folks are generally not considered to be at risk. All these individuals should be vaccinated. They should have priority receiving the H1N1 vaccine that is in short supply. I believe that this vaccine is safe because it is produced in very much the same way, as is the seasonal flu vaccine. The consensus also appears to be that if you have been exposed to the swine flu, and are not in a high-risk group, (e.g. a health adult), you should not rush to take Antiviral such as Tamiflu or Relenza, but simply wait and see. The fear is that widespread prophylactic use of these medications in those not really at risk may well result in resistance to them later on if and when you really need them.
consensus is that it may provide some protection, but not completely. Should everyone take it nevertheless? Absolutely, except if you are al- New release lergic to egg or chicken protein. How can you differentiate among the common cold, the seasonal flu, or the H1N1 (swine flu). Severity of symptoms: a cold comes on gradually; the symptoms are mild and almost entirely respiratory (cough, nasal stuffiness). By contrast, when you have any kind of flu, your symptoms are more severe, come on more abruptly; and the fever is higher. If you develop them now, it’s probably H1N1. Also, an important difference between the seasonal and H1N1 flu is that in the latter, you are more likely to have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in addition to the respiratory complaints. Here’s what I tell my patients: Try to follow good hygiene; wash your hands frequently, and avoid exposure to someone who’s sick with any respiratory infection. Get the seasonal flu vaccine, and the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible (it is currently in short supply) if you fall into any of the risk categories described above, but also if you are a caregiver, or live in a retirement home. Follow the news bulletins about the characteristics of the infection, especially in your own community. Isadore Rosenfeld. M.D.C.M. F.A.C.P. All books available Rossi Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell at Amazon.com Medical College
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Story by Bob Carr and written by Eugene Luning There are some men who refuse to die and then there are some men, too, who refuse to live life only for themselves. It is my honor and pleasure, this issue, to write of a man who is both of these things. Lieutenant Joe Dilger.
Twenty minutes later, we picked up movement. By squelches, I kept the lieutenant up to speed on the situation. We were counting NVA lanterns coming over the hilltop trail. One lantern for each five men. We counted seventy-five lanterns. They were probing near, hoping to draw fire.
I first met the lieutenant in the late Fall of 1967. I was in the Central Highlands at LZ Uplift and had just come down for a last-light insertion. It certainly wasn’t my first. But it was for Joe. And he was going to be in the Command/Control slick that night. And I remember seeing he didn’t have his M-16. So I asked him about it. “I’ve got my weapon right here,” he replied. He was referring to the .45 on his hip.
Then one of them tripped a Claymore wire and so we blew them all. We busted through up the hill, set up a defensive position, and, within thirty minutes, the lieutenant had us pulled. He’d been working toward our extraction since my first call at the tree-line. He was always thinking of his men’s welfare.
We dropped into our LZ that night and everything looked proper. The chopper pulled up quickly from between the trees. And, just as soon as that, we were in contact with the enemy. A platoon’s worth, I figured. And I remember hearing the sound of the C/C slick overhead and the unfamiliar sound of a handgun up there in the near-darkness. Yes, that’s right. Lieutenant Joe Dilger, laying on the floorboard on his stomach, unloading his .45 into the darkened jungle. I remember radioing up in the midst of the firefight, “Well done, John Wayne.” But he got us out that night and that’s all that mattered. And he never forgot his M-16 again. Four or five missions later, we got dropped into an LZ in the Sui-Ca Valley. It was another last-light and there were four Americans and two yards of us altogether. The drop was clean. We zig-zagged out ten minutes and then stopped for our listening halt. I remember the yards starting to talk rapidly. “What’s the matter?,” I asked them. “Beaucoup VC,” they replied. And they were right. So we kept on moving for more than an hour and I remember the fresh trails we kept coming across. So we set up an NDP in the darkness and laid out the Claymores. We knew they were close but we still hadn’t seen them. And then I heard the lieutenant’s voice on the radio. “Be advised,” he said. “You have thirty minutes to get back to the LZ.” “It took us an hour and a half to get to where we are,” I replied. “You don’t have a choice,” he said. “Do not get compromised.” It turned out there was a full enemy regiment in the area that night. Brigade Intel had failed to pass along the word to the lieutenant until we were already on the ground. But as soon as he heard, he got us extracted. He always did. Lieutenant Joe Dilger always thought of his men first. And then there was the night south of LZ Pedro, another last-light in the DMZ. That night, the pilot of our slick was new and he was afraid of the size of the designated LZ. When he balked, the lieutenant was all over him on the radio. But the pilot still set us down in the middle of a huge field, hundreds of yards from the tree-line. We were forced to cross a trail we’d been sent to watch. About as compromised as you could be. At the tree-line, I radioed the lieutenant. I explained our situation. He agreed it was bad, but said we had to head for another LZ. I remember crawling on our bellies into a thicket and setting up our NDP. We weren’t far off-grid and I could tell from a hill above us that we weren’t far from the new LZ.
On April 20, 1968, Lieutenant Joe Dilger was the first man on the ground to clear an LZ at Signal Hill in the A-Shau Valley. They had to repel off the slicks to get in. Behind him, the second chopper lost power and most of the men onboard were thrown clear. Except for Sergeant Larry Curtis. He was thrown on his back and the skid of the chopper landed on his chest. He was saved only by the softness of the mud and the size of his pack. Quickly, the lieutenant set up a perimeter with the eleven available men on the ground. But they started taking fire almost immediately. Turbitt, Lambert, and Noto were all killed during that first day of the fight. And, at some point, Lieutenant Joe Dilger was struck in the upper chest by an SKS round. The entry wound was no bigger than your pinkie finger. But the exit wound was enormous. I was the one called in to identify the body. I remember walking in and seeing the lieutenant on the gurney. I didn’t want to remember him that way. So I did my job, signed off his death on the log-book, and then got out of there as fast as I could. I believe that was April the 22nd, 1968. In 1991, I received a phone call from my old team leader, Seymour. He asked, “Do you remember Joe Dilger?” I replied, “Of course I do. He was a great man. I had to identify his body.” There was a pause on the line. “Well, Bob,” Seymour said, “from one NCO to another, you sure didn’t do a very damn good job. ‘Cause Joe just walked into our reunion. Alive and well, Bob.” I literally dropped the phone on the floor. Two weeks later, I was fortunate enough to get Joe Dilger on the phone at his mother’s house in Louisville. I will never forget that conversation. And I will never forget last year’s reunion in Louisville. I remember talking to Parkinson before I flew out and him telling me that some anonymous benefactor had set us up for a prime-rib riverboat cruise. 74 of us. And that anonymous benefactor was none other than Lieutenant Joe Dilger. It is difficult to sum up my thoughts about this great man. But here’s my try: If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today. Nor would Doug Parkinson. Nor would Bob Ankony. Lieutenant Joe Dilger was a total leader. He was a man who not only refused to die; he was a man who refused to live life only for himself.
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 39
PROMISES TO KEEP The Beginning “We make this wide encircling movement in the Mediterranean, having for its primary object the recovery of command of that vital sea, but also having for its object the exposure of the underbelly of the Axis, especially Italy, to heavy attack.” —Winston Churchill, November 11, 1942 It was shortly aft er 9:00 AM on Tuesday, February 15, when eightyear-old Maria Forte, along with her litt le dog and her best friend, Sabett a, walked briskly through the chill that hung in the morning air on the ti ny Italian farm. Friends for as long as either could remember, they went to school together, spent most of their waking hours together, and on days like today, even did chores together. The dog was a small mongrel of unknown ancestry, a friendly thing, with large black spots and an absurd orange blotch across the nape of his neck. As a young farm girl, Maria had learned not to adopt any of the animals as pets. Her little mixed breed was the one exception to this rule; in spite of this special status, however, he was simply known as Dog. Pushed by shifting winds, the stench of gun powder from yesterday’s artillery duel now permeated the foothills around Pico. A scattering of small blue patches filtered through the clouds, suggesting that the long, dismal rainy season might be over. This winter had even brought some snow. It was a stingy snow that neither accumulated nor lasted. When it did fall, however, the two girls would scamper about, scoop the snow into cups, and sprinkle them with a few drops of wine. Once the treats were devoured, they rinsed their cups and prayed for more snow. As they neared the henhouse, the chickens began milling about nervously while the resident rooster craned his neck and fl ared his wings in protest of this unwelcome trespass into his harem. As if mocking his fuss, Maria cupped her hand behind her ear. “Listen, Sabett a! Do you hear that?” “How could I not hear it?” her friend frowned. “Anyhow, it’s just the same old noise he always makes.” “No, no, besides him, I mean. There isn’t any more thunder this morning.” “You’re right!” Sabett a’s eyes widened as she turned toward where the mountains cascaded southward. “Do you suppose it means the fighting has stopped?” For over a month, the village of Pico had woken daily to the sounds of war, roughly ten miles away. Maria had heard the adults speak often about a great battle being fought in nearby Cassino, and that once it was over, the victorious Americans would, no doubt, be coming to their village. Now that the noise had stopped, perhaps it meant that the Americans would be here soon. That would be a good thing, because her father, Domenico Forte, was living in America, and she wanted very much to go there and meet him for the first time. Comforted by the silence beyond the horizon, Maria and Sabett a continued on toward the henhouse, fanning seed, while the chickens dashed about, forming tiny scrums at each dropping of grain. As they walked along, Maria reflected on the significance of her job; after all, chickens were very important to life on the farm. First, of course, there were the eggs. The math was simple, one day, one chicken, one egg. There were eighteen chickens, so that meant eighteen eggs each day. There were nine mouths to feed: Maria; her mother, Maria Civita; her two brothers, Rosario and 40 AMICI / Winter 09/10
Atti lio; her sister-inlaw, Vittoria; her nephew, Mimino; her aunt, Menica; and her two grandparents. It didn’t always come out perfect. Sometimes two or three chickens would forget, but on a good day, each person was treated to two eggs. Maria’s thoughts were suddenly jolted back to the henhouse by the sight of the struggling hen whose eyes bulged like marbles as she strained in a futile attempt to deposit her egg. “Look at the poor thing,” she said. “Is there something we can do?” asked Sabetta. “I’m not sure, but maybe if I …” Maria reached down and lift ed the hen from the nest, gently grabbed the partially emerged egg with her fingers, and tugged on it slightly. With that, the egg popped out and the hen suddenly cackled, as if in relief. “There,” said Maria, returning the hen to its roost. “That’s bett er now; isn’t it?” She then placed the egg in Sabett a’s upraised apron and the two girls proceeded to rummage through the rest of the hen house. “That’s it for in here,” said Sabett a. “Now let’s look in the haystack.” The girls exchanged knowing nods. Very often, some hens would climb onto the perimeter of the haystack, burnish little pockets with their torsos, and proceed to lay their eggs. This is where Dog became an important member of the egg-fetching team. Upon seeing the girls move toward the haystack, he would instinctively rush ahead and sniff out the spot where a hen was nesting. Ignoring her protest, he would push her aside with his nose, pick up the egg with his teeth, return to Maria, and gently deposit it into her outstretched hand. The egg-napper would then repeat the process for as long as any eggs remained in the haystack. Dog had been doing this for as long as Maria could remember, and he was so accomplished at the task, she thought it to be a universal canine skill. Soon Sabett a’s apron was filled with the harvest, but as the girls turned to walk back toward the house, they heard an unfamiliar rumble coming from behind the southern horizon. Suddenly, the sky was filled with warplanes, and bomb after bomb began crashing into the monastery atop Monte Cassino. Hens scattered wildly about as the girls staggered back against the henhouse wall. Huge columns of smoke spit skyward from atop the mountain. The henhouse wall began to shake, causing Sabett a to release her grip on her apron. Eighteen eggs also fell, crashing to the ground. High above their heads, the giant formation curled into a sweeping arc as the children ran screaming toward the farmhouse.
*** When he reached his Columbus Avenue apartment, Domenico paused for a moment to study the Parker house, which stood directly across the
street. Nice lady, Mrs. Parker, always waving and chatting. Last summer, her son Jake joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. It happened last Thanksgiving on a small island that Domenico had never heard of, called Tarawa. In one of the most savage battles of the Pacific war, over three thousand marines, including young Jake Parker, were killed. Things were much different now. Mrs. Parker had become a recluse, hiding from the outside world behind foreverdrawn shades. In her front window hung a small, rectangular, redbordered cloth, fringed with yellow tassels and centered by a small gold star, silently proclaiming to all who passed that young Jake Parker would never be coming home. Domenico shook his head and turned up the walkway to his apartment. He stomped the snow from his shoes, unlocked the door, and fumbled for the entry foyer light. At last, able to feel his toes and see what he was doing, he picked up the remnants of a newspaper and labored up the stairs to his tiny apartment. As was his custom, his landlord, Mr. Balducci, had left the newspaper for Domenico—an act for which he was sincerely grateful. On the other hand, Mrs. Balducci would systematically disembowel the newspaper and refold it in a way that one would wrap fish parts. For this, Domenico was not so grateful. He tossed the paper, such as it was, onto the small linoleum-topped table in the kitchenette, rinsed out his thermos, and lift ed an old, thickly caked pipe from his coat pocket. With pipe in hand, he then retrieved a small box of cigars from the drain board. They resembled charcoal twigs more than they did tobacco. He broke one of them into small pieces and pressed the resultant mess into the bowl of his pipe with the stub that was once the middle finger of his right hand. He looked forward to the sharp bite that the tobacco would soon deliver. In truth, he had long since become indifferent to the unkind remarks made about its wretched odor. Whenever he tamped his tobacco with the one-knuckled finger, his thoughts would return to that day in the factory when he made the fateful mistake. It was the duty of a crane hitcher to see that the large steel cables were properly secured to whatever object was being lifted, and once satisfied that the load was in balance, to slide the cables onto the lifting crane’s giant hook. He remembered hitching the load and circling the raised index finger of his left hand, signaling the crane operator that the load was ready to be lifted. In a moment that he would regret for the rest of his life, Domenico forgot that he still had the middle finger of his right hand around the cable. It took only a fraction of a second before the one-inchthick steel cable pulled taught against the giant hook and the upper half of his finger fell to the factory floor. Now, as he sat at the table staring down at his painfully acquired tamping tool, he thought a loud, “Stubido!” He picked up his newspaper and turned to the first section. It showed an item that had been circled in the evening’s listing of radio programs. It was one of his landlord’s favorites: Gabriel Heatt er at 9:00 PM. Domenico had listened to the program a few times and thought this Heatter fellow to be rather odd. Here it was, 1944, with the world self-destructi ng all around him, and Heatter would religiously begin every broadcast with the words, “There’s good news tonight.” He made a silent prayer that for tonight, at least, Heatter was right. At last—the front page! Slowly and deliberately, the words of his newly adopted language formed on his lips as he read the headlines.
The Italian Campaign stalled along the Gustav Line in early 1944.
National Archives and Records Administrati on February 7, 1944: Allied arti llery pummels Castle Hill in the town of Cassino, directly below the abbey.
Allied Headquarters, Naples, (UP) - American Flying Fortresses and big siege guns of the Fift h Army poured a drumfi re of death into the ancient Benedicti ne monastery of Monte Cassino today, and front reports said the two-way bombardment had knocked out the powerful German defenses inside the shrine and on the surrounding mountain slopes. No! This can’t be! The newspaper crumbled in his fists. The unlit pipe fell to the floor. His face slumped forward into the paper. “Padre eterno! Che so fatt o?” He moaned between sobs, “Eternal Father! What have I done?”
National Archives and Records Administrati on February 15, 1944: The destruction of the Benedictine abbey. Winter 09/10 / AMICI 41
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An Historical Odyssey By Leonardo Solimine
uster’s Last Stand at the Little Bighorn River in 1876 retains a special place in American history. The nearly complete annihilation of Lt. Colonel George Custer’s last command at the hands of mostly Sioux Indian warriors provides an endless source of study and debate for historians and scholars alike. One of the lesser known participants from that fateful day is Custer’s orderly-trumpeter, John Martin (born Giovanni Martini). He endures in American history as the last white man to see Custer alive. et Giovanni Martini’s role at Little Bighorn is only one chapter of a life rich with historically significant experiences. He not only rode with Custer and the Seventh Cavalry, but also marched with Giuseppe Garibaldi in the Italian Wars of Unification, fought in the Spanish-American War, worked in New York City’s subway system at the beginning of the 20th century, and ultimately honored by the US Army at Arlington National Cemetery. ccording to a 1906 newspaper account, Martini was born in Sala Conizalina, Italy, in 1847. His birthplace and year, however, remain in dispute. Liguria and Romagna continue to claim that honor. Even his birth year is unclear with dates ranging from 1841 to 1853. In his youth, he served as a tamburino (drummer boy) with Garibaldi in the Trentino campaign of 1866 against Austria in Risorgimento. By 1873, Martini left Italy for the United States and landed in Brooklyn, New York. As often occurred with immigrants in their effort to “fit in”, he anglicized his name to John Martin. is arrival in Brooklyn coincided with a severe national recession. Immigrants to America had few employment choices in the late 19th century, and the U.S. Army opened its arms to recent arrivals in search of employment. Italy, in particular, endured decades of revolutionary activity and intermittent war in the period preceding unification. The almost constant strife produced battle-hardened men anxious to prove their worth and earn a living in their new country. Martini was no different, and in 1874, with few options, he enlisted as a trumpeter and received an assignment to Company H of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. He was not alone, however, and other Italian-Americans served in the U.S. Army including Charles Camillus DeRudio (Count Carlo Camillo Di Rudio), John James (Giovanni Casella), Frank Lombardy (Francesco Lombardi), and Felix Vinatieri (Felice Villiet Vinatieri). y early 1875, a geological study discovered gold in the Black Hills, then considered part of the Department of Missouri. Although still legally Indian territory, anxious prospectors flooded the Black Hills as treaty talks lingered on until ultimately failing. Within a year of the gold discovery, thousands of white men had arrived. While most of the Plains Indians resigned themselves to life on the government Reservations, others – encouraged by Sitting Bull - banded together determined that war was their only recourse. John Martin (Giovanni Martino) ,the photo dates back to after his arrival in America. A phenomenon of the massive Italian immigration to Italy during one 25-year period (1875 to 1900) Martino’s region was, Campania. In general, emigrations of such scale resulted in economic upheaval in both Italy and the United States.
larmed by the increasingly hostile actions of the Indians, the US Secretary of War deemed military intervention the only resolution and assembled troops under the leadership of Brigadier General Alfred Terry to handle the situation. Included in the expedition was the renowned Indian fighter and Civil War hero, George Armstrong Custer. mpetuous and often reckless, Custer sought glory and a quick end to the Indian problem. Custer’s regiment located Sitting Bull’s immense Indian camp on the Little Bighorn River (Montana) in the late afternoon of June 25, 1876. Neglecting his general orders to wait for General Terry’s main column, Custer opted for an immediate attack. Severely underestimating the Indian warriors’ numerical superiority and resolve, he divided his 647 men into three smaller battalions. s Custer’s five companies (roughly 210 troopers) rode towards the enemy camp, the other two columns attempted to circle around to block any escape. Moments before launching his attack, Custer sent John Martin off to locate Captain Frederick Benteen - leading one of the remaining two columns – requesting immediate support and ammunition. Buglers often served as messengers during campaigns. Apprehensive about Martin’s poor English, Lieutenant W.W. Cooke (Custer’s Adjutant), hurriedly penned and signed the infamous order: efore Martin departed, Custer rode up and instructed, “Trumpeter, go back on our trail and see if you can discover Benteen and give him this message. If you see no danger come back to us, but if you find Indians in your way stay with Benteen and return with him and when you get back to us report.” As he rode to deliver the message, Indians fired upon Martin, wounding his horse in the process. Finally locating Benteen, a relieved Martin handed him the message. Scanning it quickly, Benteen asked for Custer’s location with Martin replying that they were three miles away. artin’s wartime experiences did not end with Custer’s defeat, however, and he eventually participated in the Nez Perce campaign (1877), and the Spanish-American War (1898-1899). Promoted to Sergeant in 1900, Martin retired from the Army in early 1904 after nearly 30 years of service, the last few with the Coastal Artillery. Eventually settling in Brooklyn, Martin worked as a tickettaker at the 103rd Street Station for the New York City subway system. artin never forgot his Indian Wars experiences and was very proud of his service, and particularly of his role in the Battle of Little Bighorn. He supplemented his income by appearing in New York City stage productions, often playing bugle calls between acts or telling war stories. As his small fame began to grow, he readily traded in his subway job for LT. Col. George Custer a better one at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he spent the rest of his working days. n late December 1922, he was severely injured by a beer truck and passed away at his home on Christmas Eve; John Martin was laid to rest in the nearby military cemetery at Cypress Hills. His services were recognized and honored more recently by the Arlington National Cemetery’s “Taps Project”; established in 1999, this permanent exhibit pays tribute to nine famous buglers in U.S. Army history. rom Garibaldi to Custer, San Juan Hill to the 103rd Street Station, and finally Arlington National Cemetery, Giovanni Martini lived an historical odyssey, and his experiences may likely remain unparalleled. For most, however, Martini’s life and experiences are summed up in one statement: The last white man to see Custer alive.
Winter 09/10 / AMICI 43
By Cristoforo Magistro
Here is a part 2 of a three-part article that you will be able to enjoy reading. This part takes place in Lucania in the 1950s. We hope you will enjoy reading it. “People did not emigrate just because they were in need of bread. On the contrary, the youngest often left to pursue their ideals of freedom, to set them free from their patriarchal society, to come to that “other” life they had not always truly been told about by films, novels and tales by those who had already been in America. It must be remembered, that in lands such as the under-developed south and the poor country showing love in personal relationship was choked back, it was considered a weakness to hide except for in weddings and funerals. I do not remember anything special about baptisms; maybe birth was not important because there was nothing deliberate in it. Being born does not happen; it just comes as good weather in summer and cold in winter do. Actually, in our dialect the verb to be born was used only in the impersonal form, like to rain and to snow. That boy was also different because he seemed to come out of a good film where people love each other and say it to each other, without been sugary, but they say it. My grandmother’s love for him lay under ancient forms. “My breath, my breath” she called for him when I went to see her to open, read and answer his letters. I liked these words, they seemed to me thick, old-time and full of flavor like sauce, our tomato puree, cotted in the sun. I thought they expressed one mother’s love at its best. I just found them very sad. They reminded me the rituals of Lent and of Our Lady of Sorrow. I was the only grandchild “to have an education” so the scribe’s task was unquestionably mine, but it was not a burden to me. My grandmother was as moved as she confused me with her son but I was happy to be overlapped. I used to read his letters to her thrice making a short break after one slow reading and the next one and trying to change expression somehow. In those letters, the language was clear and essential words were things. - I am fine. I have found a house. I have a lot of friends. I earn well. The weather is fine. And yet, in the end she always asked me: “Then, is he fine?”. Yes, sure, I answered her and I was sorry about my lacking words, my being unable to enrich them with some lightly baroque translations making her dreams extend and open to new spaces. However, I got even with my answers. I told my uncle about every passing cloud above our village, every slightest event about my relatives, every egg from the neighbors’ hens and every fancy crossing me. Indeed, when right nothing happened, I invented shamelessly. I was sure that my uncle would understand and make out my secret messages. Sometimes he gave me reply making my understood that everything was good with him, really good. I had stocked treasures of beautiful and unlikely stories through which every time I filled up three or four pages and I think that Medieval chronicles were an example of historiography rigor in comparison with the odd contents of those ancient writings of mine. “Does he say when he comes back?” she asked me in a low voice, “No, not here” I answered her. I drawled my voice on the lie of “heeere” and she was thankful to me. After my reading I carefully unstuck the ugly, very gummy stamps I know the set of Brazilian governments of those days better than the Italian one This ritual has been repeated more or less in the same way for several years. As soon as my grandmother received a letter she sent for me and I went to her place in the afternoon. That was the only task of mine, which I did at the right time and my mother reproached me with it a little. One day, a particular letter arrived including some press cuttings advertising a workshop, Magistro workshop... in S. Paulo. We came into play, too. We entered History, too, even if through a workshop rolling shutter. News was spread in a flash among our relatives and friends, that is to say throughout the whole village and my grandmother became unbelievably loquacious, and higher, so it seemed to me. On the next days home atmosphere was not very quiet. My father wanted 44 AMICI / Winter 09/10
all of us to move to Brazil. My mother opposed passive but steady and indifferent resistance against all the sparklings of the Brazilian treasures that we were loosing if not leaving. “The air”, the air was not good. For us children particularly for Maria, My mother was absolutely sure about it. I have never understood why she thought Maria was most unfit among her three children for the climate of the coffee country. On those days air was very important, the polished stated that the air of the Tower, the old part of the village, was different from that of the Gypsy’s Road, which was so called because the sons of the wind quartered there. Certainly, these two areas were five hundred meters far from each other with a drop of twenty meters about. Is not a mere nothing, is not it? The old country world used to neglect some things, as already said about the short attitude to purification, but on the other hand it used to give other things a total and a little bit mad importance. I have heard tell of cancelled engagements because of the air incompatibility between two lanes, of never born loves because the girl was accustomed to the water from a certain fountain and she could have never lived in another village with a different water. I have heard tell of friendships lasting for generations which were broken because of arguments about the lesser or greater quality of wine, tomatoes, pumpkins from one land rather than the other one of the village countryside. No joke on these things and it was foolish not to understand them, considering the sprouting sybarite subtleties on the genuine people’s tough hide, the tough and pure representatives of the country world were so called, - it can be approximately translated into “the authentic”, but dealing with a religion, even if a lesser one, maybe it is more correct to talk of “the orthodox”. Already in the sixties, the air matter had been loosing importance and now I hope that someone will still remember it to give comfort to this memory of mine. I would not be considered odd if I talk about it. Anyway, the Brazilian air was not good for Maria so my family did not leave to Brazil. It is her fault if even now I cannot dance, wear light clothes and I have become fat and pale. On the contrary, an aunt of mine went there with her husband and their five children. They sold all what they owned, just a few things, and they left. We used to make a sort of farewell party, before leaving, if we just had the chance of. The atmosphere of those situations was something unreal, something between laughing and crying, a wedding lunch and a funeral one. It was a party for those who, by leaving, were going to renounce their own family, break those one thousand threads, which had kept them tied until then to their beloved-hated village. They preferred to expose themselves to ridicule before the more highly civilized travelers rather than to dislike Master Pasquale, cousin Francesca, neighbor Filomena by leaving their caciotta cheese at home. Comfort presents exchanged, relatives were given a kind of severe prayer or an order overflowing with love, I do not know. “Keep you strong” That was the ritual formula. Before the spreading violence of history sending people off under far-away skies, people did not give up reminding everybody the principle of personal responsibility which makes a man man. Such words mean a way of thinking according to which just those who fight successfully and deserve succeed in standing. Good health is something one must get for oneself. Keep one strong, it depends on one only.” (to be continued) ” If you are interested in authorizing a research project in your Ancestral town, go to: http://www.myitalianfamily.com/research/home_research.htm or call us direct at 1-888-472-0171. If you are interested in traveling to your Ancestral town, go to: http://www.myitalianfamily.com/trips/ or call us direct at 1-888-472-0171.
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ITALIAN AMERICAN WINS IN NOV 3rd, 2009 ELECTIONS
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( WASHINGTON , D.C. —November 4, 2009) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) congratulates the following Italian Americans who have won elections across the United States. In California, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi won a special election for the 10th Congressional District. He now joins the Italian American Congressional Delegation as its 31st member. In New Jersey, former federal prosecutor Christopher J. Christie wins the governor’s seat. Christie’s running mate, Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno, will become New Jersey ‘s Lt. Governor. A former legislator Ken T. Cuccinelli II was elected Virginia ’s next attorney general. Incumbent Mayor Thomas Menino was re-elected for a record fifth term in Boston, Massachusetts. As a nonpartisan educational foundation that promotes Italian American culture and heritage, NIAF celebrates the achievements of these public servants and wishes them much success as they work to solve the challenges that face our nation during these difficult times. We look forward to these elected officials continuing the rich contributions that Italian Americans have made to our nation.
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(sent by Rafael of Lakewood)
I will seek and find you. I shall take you to bed and have my way with you. I will make you ache, I will make you shake & sweat until you moan & groan. I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop. I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I’m finished with you. And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.
All my love,
T A E
N G S L
A U G U S
E M E
T O C
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B VITTORIO VENUTI HAS ALWAYS TOLD HIS CHILDREN, “MONEY COMES AND GOES”.HOWEVER YOUR REPUTATION IS WHAT MAKES YOU RICH. A TESTAMENT TO HIS PHILOSOPHY IS THE GRAND BANQUET AND RESTAURANT FACILITY, BEARING THE FAMILY NAME IN ADDISON. THE STRUCTURE WAS DESIGNED WITH CLASSIC ROMAN ARCHITECTURE, AND ITALIAN MARBLE. THIS IS A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT, OF 42 YEARS OF HARD WORK AND DEDICATION, IN THE DINING INDUSTRY. THE LOBBY OF VITTORIO’S PALAZZO FEATURES A SOARING 30-FOOT CEILING AND TWIN, CURVING STAIRCASES, WITH GOLD RAILINGS, WHICH EMBRACE AND MAKE A PERFECT FOUNTAIN, PHOTO BACKDROP. AS YOU MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE DYNAMIC FACILITY, YOU WILL DISCOVER A WEDDING CHAPEL AND RECEPTION ROOM, THREE PRIVATE BRIDAL ROOMS, RESTAURANT, LOUNGE, TWO VERANDAS, AND A BANQUET AREA WITH FIVE BARS AND PARTY STYLE SEATING FOR 750, AND THEATER STYLE SEATING FOR 1,000.APPROXIMATELY SIX YEARS AGO, VENUTI KNEW HE WANTED TO EXPAND, SO HE PURCHASED A TRACT OF VACANT LAND THAT WOULD ALLOW HIS DREAM, TO COME TRUE, AND BUILD THE SPACIOUS VENUTI’S. “HERE IS WHERE I WANT TO BE.” HE TOLD HIS FAMILY AFTER 11/2 YEARS, OF DESIGN WORK AND THREE YEARS, IN GETTING REQUIRED PERMITS TO BUILD THE FACILITY. VENUTI’S
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HOSTED ITS FIRST WEDDING APRIL 8, 2006. VENUTI’S RESTAURANT AND THEIR ADJOINING LOUNGE OPENED JULY 5TH, OF THE SAME YEAR. THE BANQUETS ROOMS ARE PROUDLY NAMED, VENEZIA, VERONA, VOLARE AND VITA (THE VENUTI’S LINK THE LETTER “V.”) VENUTI GREW UP IN ABRUZZO, ITALY. HE CAME TO CHICAGO IN 1958. HE WORKED IN THE STEEL MILLS, AND CLEANED THEATERS. ONE YEAR LATER HE BROUGHT HIS FIANCÉE TO THE UNITED STATES TO GET MARRIED. HE AND HIS WIFE, ALBA MADE THEIR HOME IN CHICAGO. IN 1960 VENUTI WORKED AT A DINER, AND THEN AT THE LEGENDARY GINO’S EAST. HE WENT INTO BUSINESS FOR HIMSELF IN 1965. HE OPENED HIS OWN RESTAURANT ON ST. CHARLES ROAD, IN VILLA PARK. WHERE HE LATER MOVED IT TO NORTH AVENUE. NOW IN HIS 70’S, VENUTI WAS IN ITALY, WHERE HE PURCHASED TWO PASTA MACHINES, WITH 20 DIES, WHICH ENABLE VENUTI’S TO SERVE MORE CUTS OF PASTA. MRS. VENUTI IS NOT AS BUSY IN THE FAMILY BUSINESS NOW, AS SHE WAS IN THE PAST, HOWEVER SHE CONTINUES, WITH HER HUSBAND TO MAKE MAMA V’S LIMONCELLO. THE VENUTI PRIVATE LABEL IS SOLD, AND SERVED AT VENUTI’S. DAY TO DAY RESPONSIBILITIES ARE BOW SHARED BY THE VENUTI’S THREE CHILDREN, FRANK, ALEX AND MARIA. THE SENIOR VENUTI IS STILL, AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE BACKBONE OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS, FRANK SAYS, “HE HAS THE VISION AND PERSEVERANCE, AND THIS IS ALL HIS VISION.” THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, HIS DAD HAS BEEN GENEROUS, FRANK SAYS, “HE WILL OFTEN GIVE FOOD AWAY TO THOSE IN NEED. HE BELIEF IS NOT TO SQUEEZE PEOPLE. IF YOU CAN HELP A PERSON, HE SAYS, HELP. HE’S ALWAYS WORKING, ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT THE BUSINESS. HE IS A HERO TO ALL OF US.”
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