Page 1


Fall 2007

JOURNAL Lt. Dan Band entertains troops on USO tours NIAF News Giorgia Fumanti: FROM MY HEART Larry Manetti From Chicago to Hollywood To Autism With Love Dinner Dance Visit Campania with Amici Journal National Italian Restaurant Guide $2.50 US Fall 2007


Emmy and Golden Globe Winning Actor, Director, Musician and co-founder of Steppenwolf Theatre and Operation Iraqi Children



CONTENTS Amici Journal Editorial...............................................................................1 Gary Sinise in His Mission as The Messenger................................ ...2, 3, 4 Cassareto Clan’s Loyola Roots Run Deep..............................................5, 6 Robert Allegrini...................................................................................... 8, 9 Larry Manetti...................................................................................... 10, 11 Reverend John Michael Guzaldo..............................................................12 Dr. Anthony Fauci receives Medal of Science..........................................13 Attorneys Romanucci and Rogers at Public Justice Foundation............. 13 St. Andrews Rocket Team.........................................................................13 Dominic Candeloro...................................................................................14 Dominick’s Commitment to the Easter Seals............................................15 Hope for Chicaldren with Autism in Northwest Suburbs.........................16 Campania.............................................................................................18, 19 Genealogy and the Internet.......................................................................20 Five Centuries of Italian-American History............................................. 21 The Rewards of Writing it Down - Comrades Lost and Found..........22, 23 Faces from the Past...................................................................................24 Taylor Street Archives - Tiritilli’s Tavern................................................. 24 Cyrus Cosentino World War II Hero...................................................25, 26 NIAF News...............................................................................................27 Rachael Ray.............................................................................................. 28 Delicious Recipes..................................................................................... 29 National Italian Restaurant Guide.............................................................30 Restaurant Radio Chicago........................................................................ 31 Filippo And The Chef......................................................................... 33, 34 La Piazza Restaurant Review....................................................................35 We Love Asparagus!.................................................................................36 Don’t Miss Events.....................................................................................38 Maria Santissima Lauretana di Altavilla Milicia Feast.............................39 Casa Italia Summer Art Exhibition.....................................................40, 41 Lyric Opera’s Season................................................................................ 42 Sue Nigro Contrabassoon..........................................................................43 Giorgia Fumanti From My Heart........................................................44, 45 Puzzle.........................................................................................................46 Arturo Gatti Once Again Retires...............................................................48 Elmwood Park Youth Football..................................................................48 Vincent Francis Papale The Invicible........................................................49 Poems........................................................................................................51



Send us your Press Releases, Photos, Stories, Poems, Comments, Recipes - Amici Journal is here for you!

GET INVOLVED! Call our office or visit the website.

Send us information or contact us at:

Amici Journal, P.O. Box 595, River Grove, IL 60171 773-836-1595 Fax 773-622-2766 www.amiciorgit.net E-mail: amiitalia@sbcglobal.net Call or email for Amici Journal rates, demographics and production information


For only $14.95 (4 issues) Send this form or its copy to Amici Journal address or visit the website.


Copyright © 2004 AMICI JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS, INC. P.O. Box 595, River Grove, IL 60171 www.amiciorgit.net Founders Terry N. Geraci; Andrew Guzaldo; Salvatore Terranova; Joseph C. Nugara, Sr. Publishers Terry N. Geraci & Salvatore Terranova Executive Editor Andrew Guzaldo Creative Designer Dana Rohacova Publishing Consultant & Production Director Joseph C. Nugara, Sr.

Bassano del Grappa in Veneto

All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system without written permission of Publisher. All information contained herein is deemed reliable and is submitted subject to errors, omissions, and to change of price or terms without notice. Printed by MultiAd


Benvenuti, we at Amici Journal would like to thank all of those who have supported our journal with their letters and kind input. To those that advertise with us, we are always at your service. In this issue we present to you another Proud Italian American, Mr. Gary Sinise. Mr. Sinise an Illinois celebrity who has made tremendous contributions to Society throughout the world. This is an exclusive article, which will explain what the real “Lieutenant Dan” and CSI: New York’s Detective Mac Taylor really is about. The charitable causes he has contributed to and the helping hand he has given to so many can only define Mr. Sinise as heart moving. The founder of “Operation Iraqi Children” through his many USO tours in the region has also entertained thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and civilians, while they fight for peace and democracy in overseas. Mr. Sinise is, as you will read, a real SUPERSTAR. I would agree that the most insidious aspect of the defamation of our Italian American Character is the stereotyping of our community as simply uneducated thugs. I would also agree that unlike all of today’s ethnic minorities, the Italian American people are their worst critics. Instead of chastising each other we should praise our unique achievements. Our culture is more than infamous characters. Even in the ancient Coliseum our history has been plagued. The slaughter of Jewish and Christian slaves is not something we should be proud of. Nonetheless, this does not take away from the magnificence of ancient Rome. Similar to our Roman Ancestors our Italian American Roots has been tainted with events and characters we are not proud of. But like our humble and proud forefathers that traveled across a giant ocean and suffered at the hand of real adversity and prejudice we cannot dwell in the past. We need to remember the past, so that we can live in the present in a way that secures a great future for our children and the children of our children. This is the legacy, which we share with many other ethnic groups, like the Irish, the Greek amongst others, which also emigrated with our forefathers. This legacy of purity of heart and understanding of our place in history could not be more obvious than the actions and lives of those who fought in World War II. I owe much, if not my undying gratitude to my Great Uncles who fought for our country and returned to create a legacy of their own, their families. Many of you have family members who showed equally as remarkable lives. These are the Heroes of the Past. Now we are faced with a dilemma, which is causing some within our community to question if we should honor the achievements of greats like Mr. Robert DeNiro, undeniably one of the greatest actors ever. Have we become so diluted in definition that the work of art of such great actor is judged by context of the roles. Of course not! This is tantamount to saying that Enrico Fermi’s part in nuclear armament is equivalent to Pontius Pilot’s role in Crucifixion. If anyone can tell the difference between Art and Evil it should be those whose heritage has seen Michelangelo and Mussolini. Nonetheless, that is part of our heritage and as so we need to put it in perspective. Amici Journal prides itself in exhibiting exceptional people who have made extraordinary contributions to our society. As such, are very proud to have our cover graced by the likeness of Mr. Robert DeNiro and other exceptional people. Where else can we find such exceptional people? None other than in places like National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. The NIASHF will be celebrating their 30th Year Anniversary in a Gala on November 3, 2007. This is a place one most definitely should experience. The Historical Hall of Fame is a wonderfully educational experience that will overwhelm you and humble you all at the same time. I recently visited and my experience was breathtaking to say the least. I stood in awe as many eras passed before my eyes. Also, take notice of the planned Gala; Amici d’ Italia has in store for October 19th 2007. This is their 1st Annual “To Autism With Love” Dinner Dance Gala for the Autism Foundation. We could certainly use your support. The proceeds for these events will be going to help the Autism Foundation. Please send all correspondence to Amici Journal Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 595, River Grove, IL 60171 or email us at amiitalia@sbcglobal.net. Look for AMICI JOURNAL in your Local stores or call 773-836-1595 to arrange for your own subscription. THIS EDITION IS DEDICATED TO MADALENA GUZALDO Sincerely Andrew Guzaldo, Editor/CEO Amici Journal

IACC Invites you to Celebrate its

100th Anniversary Gala & Awards Dinner

y Single Ticket $250 VIP Ticket $3,500 (table of 10 and special mention at the Gala

Featuring an exclusive Fashion Show by Oro di Roma Il Gioiello Made In Italy and a display of Ferrari, Maserati & Lamborghini Saturday, September 22, 2007 Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Grand Ballroom Navy Pier 600 East Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60611 For more information contact Beatrice Ghislandi at (312) 553-9137 ext. 11 or e-mail to bghislandi@italianchamber.us Italian American Chamber of Commerce Midwest 500 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 506 Chicago, IL 60611 Phone: (312) 553-9137 / Fax: (312) 553-9142 Website: www.italianchamber.us E-mail: info@italianchamber.us

Fall 2007 / AMICI 1




“My mission is to let the troops know that they haven’t been forgotten at home and to boost morale,” says Gary Sinise. These days that has to be far easier said than done, but maybe not to a man who always welcomes a challenge, the tougher the better. By John Rizzo


ust where is the silver lining for a youngster in Iraq or Afghanistan who endures the scorching and inescapable 130° heat and the gritting sand in everything, or the almost extraterrestrial terrain? With buzzing death zipping past his head, and the knowledge that with his next step or with the next revolution of his Humvee tire he could have a limb or two blown off by an unseen RPG or an IED, just how can his morale be boosted? For one of these patriotic heroes, who apparently hangs in there for little more than to await his turn to demonstrate the greatest expression of love according to the Christian Bible (John 15:13), what else sustains him? He hears how the majority leader of the U.S. Senate laments that the “war is lost,” and that the “peoples’ house,” the U.S. House of Representatives, has passed a resolution to “bring the troops home now.” He knows how getting the funds from Congress for his food, clothing and ammunition are like pulling teeth. He sees the mainstream media broadcasting film of terrorists actually killing American soldiers while continually harping on polls that seem to show that the vast majority of the American people think that the “war is a mistake.” He learns that his Commander-in-Chief is in the midst of a highly political confrontation over the war. Yet in the face of all this doom and gloom, enter a spirit-lifting, heaven-sent blessing from home in the person of Gary Sinise. What a treat it must be for the poorly used and under-appreciated troops to have a 2 AMICI / Fall 2007

a celebrity of Sinise’s stature and record of achievement look them in the eye up close and assure them how much the folks back home really honor the effort and sacrifice of their sons and daughters on the deadly front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. (The late Bob Hope had the same dedication to our soldiers in harm’s way.) Feeling that plenty of sacrifices have been made for us by our military personnel, this is Sinise’s humble way of giving something back to them. Of course, a message is only as believable as the messenger’s credibility, and in his support of the troops no one is more credible than Gary Sinise. There is simply no other person who comes to mind who has devoted more of his time and treasure to the war effort and the well-being of the troops than the man who so many know today as Detective Mac Taylor on the hit CBS series, CSI: New York. Sinise was a participant in the first USO program in Baghdad in 2003. The next year he co-founded Operation Iraqi Children with author Laura Hillenbrand (Seabisquit: An American Legend). To date this organization has shipped tons of apparel and school supplies to children in Iraq and Afghanistan, all directly distributed by American troops. Has Gary’s self-proclaimed mission succeeded? Yes. And how do we know? Because the reenlistment rate for all services has set a record high since the all-volunteer military began! As the most self-sacrificing non-combatant donor to the cause since 9/11, Sinise certainly deserves

part of the credit. A thoughtful man as well as a caring one, he does not foresee a quick end to either his efforts or the war in the Middle East. “I think it’s a war my children and grandchildren will be fighting,” he predicts. “The main challenge for an American president, even with a Democrat in there, is to manage the war between the Islamic Jihadists and the West.” This from a man, who knows a quite a bit about challenges. Of all the challenges faced by Gary Sinise, the challenge of leadership is most apparent in his past and current career. Many people think that leadership is a neat thing, a blessing, having the power to give orders, to tell others what to do and then reaping the lions share of acclaim for success. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Leadership is working harder than anybody else and enduring the crushing stress of taking on everybody else’s problems. When you are a hireling, taking orders, all you have to worry about is showing up on time and fulfilling your own responsibilities as best you can. But a leader has to worry about not only his performance quality but that of every one under his supervision And if anything goes wrong, with anything a subordinate might do, guess who gets the blame? Ultimately leadership can be a thankless exercise indeed. Much of the time and money spent by Gary Sinise in his worldwide support of the American military is spent on his leadership of the Lt. Dan Band, the fifteen-person ensemble’s name taken from the character portrayed so brilliantly by Sinise in his Oscar-nominated performance in Forrest Gump (1995). “We play 30 to 40 gigs a year,” claims Sinise, many of them at American military bases overseas. But he doesn’t make any money from this. “I make a living as an actor and have fun as a musician.” In performance Gary leads his band by being a groovin’, hard-driving bass player. Many think that a bass player is just a sideman, a small cog in a big machine. But with any kind of a band that plays American music, the bass player is the heart and soul of the outfit, the person most responsible for the rhythm, the prime element in music. The drummer is very important to the integrity of a band’s rhythm but mainly in embellishing it. It’s the bass that lays down the beat that establishes the pulse of the music. With a weak or unsteady beat, you could have the greatest musicians and singers in the world, but the band won’t swing. Fortunately for the Lt. Dan Band, Gary is a great bass player. Especially because the group, co-founded by Chicago guitarist Kimo Williams in 2003, is essentially a funk-oriented rhythm band that boogies down with such foot-stompin’, body-pumpin’ tasties as “Feelin’ Alright” by Three Dog Night, “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix and “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lt. Dan Band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“My wife understands how important it is for me to be in support of the troops.” Gary Sinise’s leadership of his band has to be bolstered by the inspiration of his self- sacrifice. At the recent sold-out “Rockin’ for the Troops” concert held at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Ill. it was a somewhat shocking revelation when Gary announced, “Tonight is my 26th wedding anniversary.” He assured the audience that his wife, the former Moira Harris, whom he met back when he performed with the Steppenwolf Theater Company, “understands how important it is for me to be here to support the troops.” Nevertheless, it is still a personal hardship, and further proof of his sense of commitment, to be away from his loving spouse on such an auspicious occasion. It is a mark of the excellence and depth of Gary Sinise’s character that he has routinely sought out tough challenges throughout his distinguished career. His success story is not one of rags-to-riches like those of other well-known personalities. Born a fourth-generation Sicilian in Blue Island, Ill., Sinise lived briefly in Harvey, Ill. before moving at the age of 9 to Highland Park, Ill., where he grew up in relative affluence. Gary’s father, Robert, was a successful film editor who first thrived in the peculiar genre of Grade B horror movies (Blood Feast – 1963, Two Thousand Maniacs, 1964, etc.) before moving on to more conventional TV work (Baywatch, 1989). Gary could have exploited the Hollywood connections his father surely must have made, or could at least have comfortably pursued a

“We play 30 to 40 gigs a year.”

financially rewarding professional career. But upon a somewhat late graduation from high school in 1974 he chose instead, with a couple of youthful partners, to establish a theater company, an endeavor with an almost 100 percent failure rate! In retrospect it is not surprising that Sinise made the choice he did. At 18 he was irrevocably hooked on theater – he had been ever since a fateful incident in high school. As Gary recalls, “One day, I was standing in the hallway with some of my buddies and I guess we were real scruffy looking. Then Barbara Patterson, the drama teacher was walking past us and said that we would be perfect for some tough guys in West Side Story that was going to be put on. We knew it was about gangs and fighting and rumbling so it sounded like it would be cool to be in.” Thus began Gary’s lifelong love affair with the Theater. The company that Gary Sinise co-founded in 1974 was the Steppenwolf Theater, which is today one of the most prestigious institutions of its kind. Again taking on the burden of leadership, Sinise served as artistic director and star actor as he guided the company through the inevitable growing pains in its formative years. Not only was he a superb stage actor but also an outstanding director, and his work attracted considerable praise and attention to himself and the company. He brought both his acting and directing talent to bear in bringing a Steppenwolf production to the screen in the 1992 remake of the film Of Mice and Men. With Sinise in the role of George, and co-starring John Malkovich as Lennie, this movie was easily as good, if not better, than the 1939 version with Burgess Meredith and Lon (Wolf Man) Chaney, Jr. (Interestingly, Gary’s dad, Robert, worked under his son as film editor for this flick.) Sinise became a superstar with his gripping portrayal of officer/ double-amputee Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump (1994). This was the springboard for his appearance in a number of notable film productions, Fall 2007 / AMICI 3

“I make a living as an actor and have fun as a musician.”

including Apollo 13 (1995) and Ransom (1996). As good as he was in these Hollywood movies, Sinise possibly outdid himself in his uncannily convincing performances in the title roles of the made-for-TV movies Truman (1995) and George Wallace (1997). He has amassed a host of awards for his movie performances. Suffice it to say that he is amongst the best of the film actors. But the highest form of acting, and the most demanding, is stage acting. His involvement with the 2000 Steppenwolf version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which he produced and starred in, is a tribute to Gary Sinise’s acting talent and theatrical savvy. Not only was it a hit in Chicago, but also it was widely acclaimed in London (where they know a little bit about good acting) before a triumphant run on Broadway. Today Gary lives in California (when he’s not out entertaining the troops) with his wife and three children. He still, however, has strong ties to Chicago where he remains a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble and, of course, is a devoted Bears fan (“I went to the Super Bowl”). Unlike most of those profiled in Amici Journal, Sinise did not hesitate to plug his two favorite Italian restaurants. “I like Gianni’s (Trattoria Gianni) and Vinci best.” Gary Sinise is a Chicago Italian-American who continues to touch our hearts in many ways – as a man of the Theater, as a musician and as a patriot. He is a man that is very thankful for the success he has had, and in sharing that with those he cares for.

There’s not a lot more than we can do to express our pride and gratitude than to wish him and his family God’s blessing and to exhort him to keep up the good work. For more information visit: www.operationiraqichildren.org and www.ltdanband.com

Come experience the taste of Italy!

8313 W. LAWRENCE AVENUE NORRIDGE, IL 60706 TEL: 708.452.1545 FAX: 708.452.4475



Italian Restaurant 4 AMICI / Fall 2007


Originally published in Loyola, the official alumni magazine of Loyola University Chicago IN THE LATE 1920s, Frank Cassaretto sat in chemistry class at Northwestern University. The professor asked his students, “How many of you believe in God?” Some, including Cassaretto, raised their hands. The professor looked at them with skepticism. “We’ll just see how many of you are left by the time you’re through with this class,” he said. Cassaretto, a spiritual man and a devout Catholic, believed that science and religion were not incompatible, but rather, inseparable. He left Northwestern and never looked back. Cassaretto graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1930, and later that year began a teaching career at Loyola that would span four decades. His wife and companion, Agnes, became the first unofficial secretary of the Loyola chemistry department. Students, colleagues, and family members remember the Cassarettos as deeply devoted to the Jesuit ideal of education, seeking God in all things, and living as people for others. Together they started a family that would become intricately involved with and dedicated to Loyola University Chicago.


Professor Cassaretto helped to raise money for Madonna della Strada Chapel, now a landmark of the Lake Shore Campus. The chapel was built in 1938 despite the financial challenges of the Great Depression. Mrs. Cassaretto played her part in Madonna della Strada’s construction as well; she played bridge with other wives of faculty members, and at the end of each game, all winnings were contributed to the chapel fund. Professor Cassaretto earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1939. In 1942, he enlisted in the Air Force and spent World War II teaching navigation and meteorology to service members. When he returned from the war, Loyola was flooded with GIs and in need of professors with doctorates, so they brought in an emeritus professor from Northwestern to oversee Cassaretto’s doctoral program. It was the same professor whose chemistry class Cassaretto had left years before. “They got along, and I don’t believe my father ever commented on it” says Mary Simon, Cassarettos’ eldest daughter. “The professor probably never knew how he brought my father and Loyola together.”


The Cassarettos had three daughters, Mary, Toni and Gemma, who attended and even taught at Loyola and Mundelein. Mary Cassaretto, now Mary Simon (BA ’53), was admitted to Loyola in 1949, when she was 16 years old, and later joined her father on the faculty, teaching sociology. She met her husband, Raymond Simon (BA ’53, JD ’56), in the Sodality Room in the office of Joseph Hogan, S.J., on the third floor of Lewis Towers in 1950. The Simons have continued to be active in the Loyola community. The Helen V. Brach Foundation recently established the Raymond and Mary Simon Chair in Constitutional Law at Loyola in honor of Raymond Simon’s recent retirement from the foundation’s presidency. Several of the couple’s eight children are also Loyola graduates, and the Simons recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006 with a party at LUMA (Loyola University Museum of Art), on the same floor in Lewis Tower where they met. Toni Perille (MUND ’56), attended Mundelein College, where she was taught by Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, a friend with whom she remained in contact for many years. “She was a wonderful teacher,” Perille re-membered. “She would draw stick figures to help us understand difficult concepts. She had a great sense of humor.” After receiving her master’s de-

Agnes and Frank Cassaretto gree in early child education from Mundelein and sending the youngest of her six children off to school, Perille worked as an educator, devoted her energies to numerous charities, and engaged in pastoral work. Sadly, Toni Perille passed away on May 6, 2007. She will be missed by the Loyola community and by all whose lives she touched. Frank and Agnes Cassaretto’s youngest daughter, Gemma Allen Nader (BS ’66), attended Loyola while both her father and sister Mary were members of the faculty. Since receiving her law degree from the Univer-

“I feel a bond to Loyola and Mundelein that will never break.” -Toni [Cassaretto] Perille (MUND ’56)

sity of Michigan, Allen Nader has founded her own firm and has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business. She was also the first of many Cassarettos (including her two children) to attend the Rome Center, which her father encouraged and helped John Felice to start in the early 1960s while both were instructors at Loyola. When Agnes Cassaretto underwent major surgery in 1976, Felice was her first visitor. Before even Mrs. Cassaretto’s immediate family could get in to see her, Felice convinced the hospital staff to let him in by claiming to be her “Italian fiancé.”

Fall 2007 / AMICI 5

“All of us were really fortunate and blessed for my father to have made that decision all those years ago to come to Loyola.” - Mary [Cassaretto] Simon (BA ’53)


Frank Cassaretto teaching

Frank Cassaretto retired from Loyola in 1972. By all accounts, he was extremely dedicated to helping his students to succeed, and his wife is credited with enabling and encouraging him to excel as an educator. “He gave a quiz every day and corrected it himself,” says Mary Simon. “He wanted to see whether the lesson had gotten across, and if it hadn’t, he would re-present it. If it was possible for you to learn chemistry, he would teach it to you.” Understanding that many students, particularly veterans, had to work their way through school, Cassaretto ran an unofficial student employment office. Former students would call him when they needed students to work part time in labs and stockrooms. “Our father’s parents died when he was young, so he always appreciated students who came from a less than ideal situation, or who needed

a little extra help,” says Gemma Allen Nader. Frank Cassaretto’s funeral mass was held in 1987 at Madonna della Strada, the chapel he had helped to build nearly a half-century earlier. He and Agnes Cassaretto, who passed away in 1996, are remembered as people of great faith, generosity, and commitment to Jesuit education. The Agnes and Frank Cassaretto Scholarship in Chemistry, supported by the generosity of the Cassaretto family and Brach Foundation, annually provides two $5,000 scholarships, as well as two Cassaretto Medals of $500, to outstanding Loyola chemistry students. The heirs of Frank and Agnes Cassaretto continue to attend and give back to Loyola—the third generation has too many Loyola graduates and Rome Center alumni to list. “Our involvement as a family has been total, with Loyola and with the Jesuits,” says Mary Simon. “I feel that all of us were really fortunate and blessed for my father to have made that decision all those years ago to come to Loyola. I can’t imagine it differently.” Given the family’s continuing connections with and support of the University, it seems a blessing on both sides.

Romanucci & Blandin Serving justice and restoring lives, one case at a time.

Experienced and skilled representation in catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death and workers’ compensation claims. Ranked in the top 100 lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyer Network and SuperLawyers. Voted by their peers as one of the top eight aviation lawyers. More than three dozen recoveries for clients in excess of $1 million. Tony Romanucci and Stephan Blandin are passionate advocates for victims both inside and outside of the courtroom. They have taken a leadership position at the national and local levels through legislative action and volunteer commitments on the boards of organizations that help the severely injured.

6 AMICI / Fall 2007

Mori Milk congratulates Dario Franchitti on winning the Indy 500

3600 N. River Road Franklin Park, IL 60131 www.morimilk.com (847) 671-3326

www.spaccanapolipizzeria.com If you want to go to Italy, but just can’t get away right now for whatever reason, go to Spacca Napoli. After a couple of hours there you’ll feel like you’ve just been to Napoli for a really great dining adventure!




Open Wednesday through Sunday Lunch: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm; Wed. - Sat. Dinner: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm; Wed. - Thurs. 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm; Fri. - Sat. 12:00 Noon - 9:00 pm; Sun. Closed Monday and Tuesday Fall 2007 / AMICI 7

Proponent of all things Italian ROBERT ALLEGRINI

By John Rizzo

“I’m probably the only executive in Chicago that has one of these on his desk,” said Robert Allegrini, as he affectionately held a mysterious looking black article, about seven or eight inches in length. On closer inspection, the object on the desk of the Michigan Boulevard office resembled a miniature version of an unusually shaped submarine, and that’s exactly what it was. “This is a model of an Italian ‘Human Torpedo,’ used during World War II in the Mediterranean,” he continued. What he was referring to was officially called the Silura a Lenta Corso (SLC), or “slow moving torpedo,” a secret weapon of the Italian navy. The tiny submarine, operated by two men wearing scuba-like gear, was used to transport, usually by night, an explosive mine that would be attached to the hull of an unsuspecting enemy warship. Nicknamed maiali or “pigs” because they were difficult to maneuver, these “Human Torpedoes” were effective enough that the British constructed a number of their own SLCs towards the end of the war. That a Director of Communications for a 23-state region of the Hilton Hotel chain would be so steeped in Italian history to be aware of such an obscure subject might be a surprise, but not if the man is Robert Allegrini. Of course he did not get to occupy an office with a Grant Park view simply because he was a whiz in Italian history. Raised in Elmwood Park, Robert Allegrini’s father is a second-generation Piemontese and his mother was born in Lucca. After graduating from the village’s public high school he did his undergraduate studies with a major in Journalism at Northern Illinois University. Prompted by a strong desire to become a diplomat, immediately after college Robert went to Washington, DC where he served as an intern in the office of Representative John Grotberg, from the congressional district now represented by former Speaker Denny Hastert. During his internship he was awarded a yearlong Fellowship in Foreign Affairs at the University of Florence, sponsored by the Italian Government. Allegrini’s work for the congressman had been so outstanding that Grotberg assured the young man a paid staff position upon his return from Italy. Silura a Lenta Corso (tiny submarine)

After graduation from Northern Illinois University and before the start of his congressional internship, Allegrini found himself with some empty time on his hands, so he enrolled in a six-week course in the Evelyn Echols Hotel and Travel School. Why hospitality? As Robert put it, “Because diverse international cultures meet and interact in hotels.” He excelled in his schoolwork to the extent that Evelyn Echols herself assured Allegrini that she could find a job for him with a hotel if he so desired. But Robert still coveted the diplomatic track and he went off to study in the birthplace of the Renaissance. He did not know it at the time, but by taking that class he had taken a crucial step in assuring his future. Unfortunately, shortly after Robert’s return from Italy, Representative Grotberg suddenly died, leaving Allegrini without a job or a sponsor. With his political and diplomatic career apparently at a dead end, he took up Echols’ offer and landed job in-group sales at the Mayfair Regent Hotel on East Lake Shore Drive. From there Robert went on to work for Swissotel in Chicago and subsequently in Asia and New York. When he had the opportunity to continue his professional career at home, like any good Chicagoan, Allegrini accepted the position of Director of Public Relations for the Chicago Hilton. He then moved up the Boulevard to work for Hyatt for a time, before taking his present position with the newly reorganized Hilton chain. Befitting an achiever of Robert Allegrini’s caliber, his office walls are festooned with certificates of merit and professional awards, but displayed most prominently are the two honors that mean more to him than any others, his appointments as Cavaliere (1991) and Commendatore (2002) of the Republic of Italy. Now the model of the “Human Torpedo” on the desk begins to make more sense, but these are but the outward trappings of one man’s deeply held feelings for Italian history and culture. Robert 8 AMICI / Fall 2007

Allegrini’s fascination for all things Italian goes back to an unforgettable moment during a visit to Rome when he was just five. In front of the great Coliseum, Robert’s father knelt down and picked up a small stone. “Just think,” his dad said, “this pebble could be over two thousand years old. Son, never forget that you come from a glorious culture.” Who knows whether the kid understood this or not at the time? But it seems that throughout his life Allegrini has demonstrated over and over again that he learned this lesson well. “I’ve been in the trenches since I was twenty-five,” asserts Robert today, referring to his tenure as Executive Director of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian-Americans (JCCIA). He is also the founder of the Chicago Chapter of the Accademia Italiana di Cucina, whose membership includes some of the area’s best Italian restaurants. He is not only Italian in ethnicity, but in fact, establishing dual American-Italian citizenship in 1996. The latest benchmark in his long record of service to the ItalianAmerican community is his appointment as a member of the board of directors of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). Where many individuals would consider being elected to the board of directors of a prestigious organization like NIAF to be a culmination of their efforts or the capstone of their careers, Robert Allegrini sees his directorship as a new beginning. “I intend to raise my voice,” to make NIAF more effective in its battle against the defamation of Italian-Americans. Robert perceives the root of this problem to lie not only with external forces but with Italian-Americans themselves. “The key is history,” he points out, “and it is regrettable that so few Italian-Americans are in touch with their roots… Has it all come down to calling ‘sauce’ ‘gravy’ that is the most important test of being Italian?” Part of the problem is the educational system that is commonly teaching that Columbus enslaved

In 2002 Allegrini was appointed as Commendatore of the Republic of Italy and began the genocide of the noble Native Americans. “This,” he argues, “is all bunk!” and, “hardly anyone knows that the origin of the word ‘America’ is derived from the name of [Florentine explorer and cartographer] Amerigo Vespucci.” For Allegrini, the most insidious aspect of the defamation of ItalianAmericans is the rampant stereotyping in all forms of the public media of group members as Mafia or cosa nostra characters. When he discusses this subject, you can sense the intensity of his heartfelt attitudes, because he becomes visibly animated and his voice discernibly raises a couple of notches in pitch and volume. Once more Robert lays the blame for this problem squarely at the feet of Italian-Americans themselves. “There’s simply no other ethnic minority in this country that would stand for this kind of abuse,” he fumes. Picking up steam, he rails at a number of entertainers, and he even takes a swipe at Amici Journal for featuring on one of its covers Robert DeNiro, whom he thinks has portrayed far too many Mafia types. On the other hand, he praises actor Stanley Tucci, who has vowed to never again accept a role that portrays an Italian Outfit character.

Allegrini points with pride to what he sees as some recent victories, like when, at the instigation of NIAF, the Colorado state legislature intervened to have the term “Wopburger” removed from the menu of an Italian-American owned restaurant. He also cites the illconceived high school play, Fuggidaboudit, and the valiant efforts of the Italian-American community to have it banned in Batavia. Ultimately, what will Robert Allegrini be thought of? Will he be seen as a contemporary Saint George, who bravely battles and slays the evil dragon of Mafia-stereotyping? Or is he just some latter-day Don Quixote, ineffectually tilting at windmills in a market-driven society that has a seemingly insatiable appetite for Italian-style gangster flicks and characters? Only time will tell. Whether or not you agree with his point of view, you have to admire his passion and recognize that Robert Allegrini is a very serious man who must be reckoned with. Also, given his brilliant and successful career, there is no question that here is yet another Chicago Italian-American that the entire community can cheer on.

TRUSZ TRAVEL Personal Service Cruises & Package Tours



40 W. 222 LAFOX RD. ST. CHARLES, IL 60175

• Mexico • Caribbean • Europe • United States • Alaska • Hawaii MAIN OFFICE 6902 W. DIVERSEY CHICAGO, IL 60707


Travel Consultant (773) 237-2672, (630) 833-6361 Fax: (773) 237-2647 Fall 2007 / AMICI 9



t was easy to sneak into Universal Studios in those days,” recalls Larry Manetti. And that’s just what he had done that fateful day back in 1972. He needed a break after a TV show he had been in was abruptly cancelled. So for Larry, the cafeteria of Universal was just as good a place as any to maybe connect with someone who could do him some good. Suddenly, Larry saw a very serious looking man purposely striding towards him. Was it the Universal security guard? “Are you a Universal contract actor?” barked the stonefaced man. Manetti, a third generation Italian whose people came from Pisa and Lucca, had to be thinking, “The jig is up,” or something to that effect as he prepared to be tossed out on his ear. Had he come all the way to Hollywood from the rough Italian Chicago Avenue neighborhood for nothing? Had he studied with the renowned Ted Liss for this? Had his agent, the well-known Shirley Hamilton been full of it when she told Larry to “go to Hollywood?” Larry thought about how he had unexpectedly begun his acting career. (His lifelong pal, Dennis Farina, was still a Chicago cop then and hadn’t even begun his.) It all started when he spotted this dropdead gorgeous lady dressed to the nines in the Merchandise Mart. “I went right up to her and introduced myself,” says Larry, who could never be called bashful. “Soon we were dating and going everywhere together.” The beautiful girl was one Barbara Rucker, who was modeling, studying acting and appearing every now and then in commercials. Maybe just to be close to his new girlfriend, Manetti started taking acting lessons and drove Barbara to her various engagements. One day he took her to a United Airlines commercial shoot where they were plugging how comfortable it was on the new “five across” feature. One of the actors didn’t show up, so Larry made the best of the situation. “All I had to do was to sit down in one of the seats,” he remembers. After that he got Shirley Hamilton to represent him, and she really did right by him, landing more commer-

10 AMICI / Fall 2007


cial gigs and even a role in a Marcello Mastroianni movie, Permette? Rocco Papaleo (1971). Apparently exhausting the career opportunities in Chicago, Manetti took his agent’s advice and moved to LA. He must have regretted that decision, sitting there at the Universal cafeteria with that threatening guy hovering over him, grilling him about being a Universal contract actor. When Larry admitted that he was not under contract, however, the man asked, “Well, are you an actor?” Larry nodded and the man said, “Then follow me!” It turned out that the man was not a security guard after all, but was an enraged Jack Webb (“Just the facts!”), who had just fired the entire cast of a made-for-TV movie he was producing and directing called Chase, which was a pilot for a series that ran for about a year. The original cast was holding Webb’s feet to the fire for more money that was just not in the budget. Larry Manetti’s career was about to take off. But regardless of Jack Webb, Larry Manetti would have gotten nowhere if he did not possess that mysterious attribute common to all successful film personalities whereby the camera “likes” the subject. And Manetti definitely has that “camera likeability.” More importantly, Larry is likable to people. Maybe this is a great talent that is often overlooked, because all too few of us have it. With Larry Manetti, time and again, the right people took a liking to the unassuming Chicago boy. It was while working in the movie and series Chase that the young actor caught the attention of writer/director Stephen J. Cannell, an incredibly powerful force in ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s television, who became Larry’s good friend and supporter. Cannell was a writer for the hit series Baa, Baa, Black Sheep that marked Manetti’s greatest success to date. “I thought that being in this series was the best thing that ever happened to me. Something I could never surpass.” The star of Black Sheep was another Chicagoan, Robert Conrad (perhaps best known as James T. West of Wild, Wild West), who also took a great liking to Larry Manetti.

Larry recalls one time when Conrad tossed him some keys saying, “Here’s the keys to my apartment. Use it if you need somewhere to stay.” In fact, Robert Conrad has become so associated with Larry Manetti that you can find, on a number of sites on the Internet, that Conrad and Manetti are “half brothers,” which Larry says is “just a rumor.” In the late ‘70s, when Conrad directed the Cannell-written, filmed-in-Chicago series The Duke, naturally Larry Manetti was in the cast. “It was great to be back home,” Larry says. At this time, he made friends and worked with some guys that all Chicago Bears fans know and love, Dick Butkus and Ed O’Bradovich. Conrad had told Larry that he “had an angel on his shoulder,” but perhaps it was just that Manetti was a super likable fellow. Before this series, however, Larry was seen and liked by yet another influential talent, Donald P. Bellisario, story editor for Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and director of several episodes of Battlestar Galactica (that included Larry Manetti in the cast). When Bellisario directed Magnum, P.I., he cast Manetti as one of the regulars (Orville “Rick” Wright) on one of the most popular TV shows of all time. One of the main reasons for the show’s popularity was its format. In most episodes, the regulars would be joined by a guest star, who would usually supply the episode’s main plot interest. The highest rated Magnum episode ever was No. 145, “Laura,” first aired on February 25, 1987, guest-starring Frank Sinatra in his last acting role. Larry Manetti was responsible for Sinatra’s fabled appearance.

Today it is common for many ItalianAmericans to claim that they were “friends of Frank.” Of course most of the claims are false. But likable Larry Manetti really was a friend of Frank Sinatra. Indeed, just as the closeness of Manetti with Robert Conrad has spawned the false rumor that the two were half brothers, it is written in a number of places that Larry Manetti is Frank Sinatra’s “foster child.” The Manetti/ Sinatra friendship did not happen overnight, but evolved over a period of years. According to Larry, “The first time I met Frank Sinatra I was a caddy for him at one of the country clubs in the Chicago area. The next time, I spotted him at the Ambassador East. He was talking to Jilly (Rizzo). I got my nerve up and went up to him and introduced myself. The third time was in Vegas at the Stardust. He had just finished appearing on Frank Rosenthal’s talk show.” (Robert De Niro fans will remember his superb portrayal of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, the fictionalized Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal in the 1995 movie, Casino.) “When Sinatra saw me, he recognized me and asked me to meet him in the bar.” From this point on, Sinatra and Manetti were good friends. When Larry asked Frank if he would be interested in acting in a Magnum episode, the Little Giant from Hoboken quickly acquiesced, saying, “I was wondering when you’d get around to asking me.” After Magnum, Larry Manetti appeared in a number of TV roles in hit series such as Walker, Texas Ranger and JAG, but it’s hard to think of him as any other character but the P.I.’s loyal friend, Rick, such was the memorable power of that show. Today Larry is making some movies and preparing to do the audio version of his now out-of-print book, Aloha, Magnum. He lives comfortably with his wife Nancy in LA, but regularly gets back to Chicago, where he has three brothers and a sister. Leo Durocher once said “Nice guys finish last.” He has been proven wrong so many times, however, that the phrase has hardly any meaning. In the case of Larry Manetti, again the lie is strongly put to the adage. And all Chicago Italians can be proud of one of their own making it so good – and making so many friends along the way.

Fall 2007 / AMICI 11

Amici d’ Italia



o Autism With Love

Dinner Dance

Friday, October 19th, 2007 6:30 pm Cocktails 7:30 pm Dinner, Entertainment Dancing to the Bob Perna Orchestra Victoria BeauJolie 9950 W. Lawrence Avenue Schiller Park, Illinois $75.00 per ticket For more information contact us at (773) 836-1595 or email us at amiitalia@sbcglobal.net Web-site: www.amiciorgit.net JOIN US ALONG WITH THE EASTER SEALS CHICAGO FOR A FUND RAISING EVENT IN SUPPORT OF AUTISM RESEARCH AND EDUCATION. In connection with TO AUTISM WITH LOVE DINNER DANCE, Amici Journal will publish a directory which will include acknowledgement of sponsors, supporters and advertisers, call for ad rates! PLEASE HELP SUPPORT THE EDUCATION FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM

Amici d’Italia Association (A.D.I.A.) Productions NFP

12 AMICI / Fall 2007

Amici Journal Publications



ather John was born in Schaumburg, IL on May 13, 1969 to Dr. And Mrs. Michael Guzaldo, currently of San Marcos, Texas. His paternal grandparents are Jenny and the late Anthony Guzaldo of Elmwood Park, Il and the maternal grandparents are Josephine and the late John Cardenis of Texas. Father John moved to Texas after the 5th grade. He graduated from San Marcos High School Bishop Aymond anointing Father Guzaldo and attended Texas State University, University of Dallas and the University of St. Thomas in Houston where he earned his Masters of Divinity Degree. Father John was a teacher and a football, soccer coach in NY and later entered the Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving and also St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. Over the seven years in the seminary, Father John served at several parishes in Austin and did his Chaplainry at Hillcrest Baptist Hospital in Waco. He also studied in Mexico and spent time in parishes in Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador. Father John is currently assigned to St. Helen’s Parish in Georgetown as an associate pastor. The beginning of St. Helen’s Catholic Church dates back to the 1920s when a small group of predominantly Hispanic Catholics, having no place to attend Mass, asked Father O’Reilly, C.S.C., to celebrate Mass for them in Georgetown. Father O’Reilly, who had been a professor of Spanish at Notre Dame University in Indiana, came to Austin in 1904. Although in poor health, the priest used to visit neighboring parishes and was instrumental in building churches as far away as Temple and Waco.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI TO RECEIVE NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE NIAF and Amici Journal Congratulate Fauci on the Award (WASHINGTON, D.C. -July 24, 2007) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) congratulates Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C., on receiving the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for science. The National Science Foundation administers the award, which was established by Congress in 1959. During a ceremony at the White House on July 27, President George W. Bush will present the prestigious award to Fauci and seven other individuals for their pioneering efforts in scientific research. Fauci will receive the award for his ground breaking work in understanding the human immune system and its relationship with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). His work has served as the foundation for current treatment strategies for HIV, and the AIDS virus. A longtime NIAF supporter, Fauci received the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award for Medicine and Science during NIAF’s 19th Anniversary Awards Gala in 1994. Last year, Fauci served as a keynote speaker at a NIAF Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. During the forum he discussed the timely issue of the bird flu epidemic before Members of Congress, prominent Italian-American business executives, and health care experts. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Fauci earned his doctorate in medicine from Cornell University Medical College in 1966. He completed his internship and residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Fauci has served as visiting professor at major medical centers throughout the country and has delivered major lectureships worldwide. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his scientific accomplishments including the National Medal of Science and 32 honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the United States and abroad. NIAF is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. For more information visit www.niaf.org.

Chicago Attorneys ANTHONY ROMANUCCI and LARRY ROGERS contributed $61,000 to the Public Justice Foundation Chicago trial attorney Tony Romanucci (above), of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, greets Rev. Jesse Jackson at the entrance of Gibson’s July 18. The two dined with Robert Johnson, a forensic economist from Los Altos, Calif., who was there to claim his successful auction bid ─ dinner with Jackson ─ following the Public Justice Foundation’s annual gala fundraiser held July 17 at the Field Museum. Along with Chicago attorney Larry Rogers Sr., the duo contributed $61,000 to the foundation. Jackson was Romanucci’s guest at the fundraiser.

Team Members left to right kneeling:Mike Cinquino, Sasha Johnson, Mike Williamson, Standing: Team Leader Len Johnson, Team Members Kenneth Johnson, AJ Witzke, Electronics Mentor Nick Cinquino

ST. ANDREWS ROCKET TEAM FOLLOWING IN PIONEER’S FOOTSTEPS Just minutes from where NASA rocket pioneers created the massive Saturn V rocket that launched the first humans to the moon, a new generation of rocket scientists launched their vehicles to the skies on Saturday, April 28, in Huntsville, Ala, as part of the NASA Student Launch Initiative. Amongst 15 middle and high

school teams from 12 states, 2 Illinois schools took part in this event: Byron High School from Byron and St. Andrews Lutheran Church and School from Park Ridge. The St. Andrews Rocket Team (also known as Team Orion). Team Orion was working hard all year to design, build and test a rocket; prepare a scientific

payload to ride on board; post their Web site (www. orionrocketprojectsli.com); and present formal project reviews to a panel of NASA engineers. This was a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in aerospace and engineering activities. Both Illinois Teams were recognized with plaques for their outstanding work.

Fall 2007 / AMICI 13




ominic Candeloro was born in 1940, to Lodovico Candeloro (Casoli CH) and Yolanda Giannetti (Amaseno FR) in Chicago Heights, Illinois, a town populated by thousands of Italian immigrants from San Benedetto del Tronto, Caccamo (Sicily), Amaseno, Castel di Sangro and other Italian towns. Given the fact that Italy was an enemy of the United States in World War II and post war Italy was invariably described as “war torn,” his early perception of his Italian heritage, aside from the warm family environment in which his family nurtured him, was negative. Candeloro was not alone. Most of the second and third generation Italian Americans in his age cohort did not learn the Italian language and the vast majority moved out of Italian enclaves into the suburbs. Candeloro received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and went on to graduate work in history at the University of Illinois. There he encountered Professor Rudolph Vecoli, who was soon to become the leading scholar of the Italian American experience in the world. As Vecoli’s research assistant, Candeloro rediscovered his “Italianita” eventually leading a major project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that documented and disseminated the history of the Italians in Chicago. Candeloro is the author of three books on the subject and has written numer­ous general articles on Italian Americans on the national scene as well as micro studies on Chicago Italian businessmen, immigrants from Pizzone (Molise) and San Benedetto del Tronto. He has served as President, Newsletter Editor and Executive Director of the American Italian Historical Association and has organized four annual conferences for that group in Chicago. He is past president of the Italian Cultural Center in Chicago and now serves as a part time staffer directing the library and organizing cultural programs. Candeloro and his family spent 1982-83 in Italy as part of the Fulbright fellowship Program and the Illinois Humanities Council with the Studs Terkel Award has honored him. The Illinois Grand Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy conferred its Leonardo Da Vinci Award on Candeloro in 2005. Amongst the many honors these are just a few mentioned for Dominic Candeloro: Chicago’s Italians: Immigrant, Ethnic, American, Arcadia Making of America Series, 2003; Images of America: Italians in Chicago, Arcadia Publishers, 1999; Voices of America: Italians in Chicago, Arcadia, 2002; Images of America: Chicago Heights, Arcadia Publishers, 1998, with Barbara Paul; Images of America: Chicago Heights Revisited, Arcadia Publishers, 2000, with Barbara Paul; Chicago’s Italians: A Survey of the Ethnic Factor, in Peter Jones and Melvin Holli’s Ethnic Chicago. Candeloro is involved in the “Italians in Chicago Project”, this is a very interesting photo exhibit displayed at the Italian Cultural Center. He is continuously looking for photos, documents, and other memorabilia, also interviews with Italian Americans of all generations. Mr. Candeloro can be reached at D-Candeloro@govst.edu.

14 AMICI / Fall 2007


Pictured left to right: Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago President and CEO, F. Timothy Muri; Dominick’s President, Don Keprta; Ester Seals Headquarters President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Williams.


t a ceremony on Friday, May 4th, Dominick’s President Don Keprta announced the company’s commitment of $400,000 to name the Vocational Training and Work Center and the Research Node Connection Lab in the new Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research. The ceremony celebrated Dominick’s

and Safeway’s (parent company of Dominick’s) commitment to Easter Seals and included remarks by Safeway Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Burd; President and CEO of Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago, Tim Muri; President and Chief Executive Officer of Easter Seals, Inc., James E. Williams, Jr.; Illinois Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Jack Levin and 27th Ward Alderman, Walter Burnett. The Naturals, featuring musicians and former Easter Seals students Maurice Snell and Terry Bracie, and current student Genevie Turner, performed at the ceremony. Dominick’s and Safeway support people with autism and other disabilities through a range of innovative vocational training programs. Working with Easter Seals Transition and Workforce staff, Dominick’s trainees get on-the-job experience at the company’s stores. Upon successful completion, trainees are offered jobs and gain access to meaningful employment. Currently, several trainees are working with Easter Seals job coaches at Dominick’s as part of the program. During the month of April, Dominick’s and Safeway divisions across the U.S. raised funds for Easter Seals at checkout lanes nationwide.

Easter Seals is one of important charities and causes that receive financial sponsorship from Safeway and The Safeway Foundation. Since 1985 Safeway has raised more than $78 million for Easter Seals. Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago would like to thank Dominick’s and Safeway for this important partnership. To learn more visit: www.eastersealschicago.org

Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research building in progress.

Nuccio & Rocco Invite You To

Vince’s Italian Restaurant

Holiday Shopping Plaza 4747 N. Harlem Ave., Harwood Heights, IL (708) 867-7770, www.vincesonharlem.com

Serving Pasta, Veal, Steaks, Seafood & Pizza • Distinctive Dining • Cocktail Lounge • Live Entertainment - Fridays and Saturdays • Banquets for all occasions - extensive dining and corporate facilities for up to 100 guests • Delivery and Carry-Out, Catering Service Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week Proud Sponsor of Easter Seals Chicago

Visit our other restaurants at www.RoccoVinos.com


Ristorante, Pizzeria 902 Army Trail Rd., Carol Stream, IL

Reservations on weekends, Party Rooms available

(630) 736-1600

RoccoVino’s Italian Eatery Counter Service

627 Meacham Rd., Elk Grove, IL

(847) 524-2411 Fall 2007 / AMICI 15



oaring Eagle Academy, founded by Speech Language Pathologists, Linda Cervenka, Deanna Jaconetti-Tyrpak, and Michele Ricamato, will be the first school in the Midwest committed to a social and academic learning environment for students aged 3 to 21 diagnosed with Autism. The school will combine Illinois Learning Standards with a relationship based methodology called the DIR® (Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship) Approach. This educational opportunity is not currently offered in the public or private schools in IL. What is Autism? Autism is a complex neurological disorder that involves a range of delays in communication, social interaction, cognitive and motor abilities. Today, Autism affects 1 in every 150 children and has become a national epidemic. There are many widely accepted misconceptions about children with Autism that have lead to the lowering of educational expectations. At Soaring Eagle Academy we will challenge those misconceptions and empower our students to soar. What is different about the philosophy of Soaring Eagle Academy? We believe that children with Autism have the capacity to use meaning-

16 AMICI / Fall 2007


ful communication, be problem solvers and creative thinkers, and develop rich relationships. The Academy will provide a comprehensive program that fosters emotional development as the foundation for learning and social skills. Academically, students will have access to the Illinois educational curriculum for Reading, Math, Social Science and Science. Each child’s individualized program will be developed by utilizing their natural interests, the DIR® Approach and Illinois Learning Standards Goals and Benchmarks. What is different about the daily program of students attending Soaring Eagle Academy? Each child with autism is unique and requires a thorough understanding of their strengths, challenges and differences to truly provide an appropriate education for them. For each child, we will create a joy for learning in a calm and nurturing environment based on their individual needs and interests. Curriculum will be interactive and dynamic; children will feel, see and hear the information. This multi-sensory approach is provided so students can learn the way they know best. Each child will be respected and supported throughout the day and their behaviors will be seen as clues to their world.

We see children with autism for who they are and try to understand the underlying meaning of their behaviors, so strategies for coping can be developed. Family involvement is viewed as a central component; parents are welcome in our classrooms and therapy sessions. What is DIR®? The DIR® approach was developed 20 years ago by Drs. Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, PhD. It is a unique approach that focuses on the whole child looking at 1) a child’s developmental milestones critical for healthy emotional and intellectual growth 2) the unique way the child processes information in their world and 3) how the child interacts and builds relationships. This model embraces the emotional development of the child as the key to growth of their mind and body. DIR® techniques encourage children to engage in dynamic, interactive and meaningful communication and learning. The power of human connections and relationships is the key to life success. Soaring Eagle Academy is the key to positive change in our community for children with Autism. For more information or to make a donation, please call (312) 683-5151 or visit the web site www.soaringeagleacademy.org.


Amici Journal CAMPANIATOUR $1,669 - March 12-20, 2008

9 Days - Departing from Chicago, O’Hare with Alitalia Airlines For Information and Reservations, Contact

Unitours, Inc. – 3010 Westchester Avenue – Purchase, NY 10577 Tel: 800-777-7432 – Fax: 914-253-9001 - E-mail: mpisano@unitours.com Day 1 - DEPART - This evening we depart Chicago for our overnight flight to Naples via best connections. We enjoy in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft. Day 2 - NAPLES - Arrive Naples airport you will be met and assisted by your tour director. Transfer by private motor coach to Grand Hotel Salerno located in the city center, your holiday residence for one week. Check-in, room assignment. Welcome drink and rest of the afternoon at leisure. Welcome Dinner & Overnight. Day 3 – ERCOLANO/VESUVIO - 9.00 a.m. Departure for Ercolano. Ercolano was buried in ashes by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Guided visit to the archaeological excavations. In the first afternoon continue to Mount Vesuvius up to 3000 feet, world famous for the 79 AD eruptions that buried both Ercolano and Pompeii. Walk to the volcano’s summit. Return to the hotel for dinner & overnight. Day 4 - ISCHIA - 08:30 a.m. Departure for Ischia. We proceed to the port of Naples were we board our ferry to the fabulous island of Ischia. Panoramic tour of Ischia Porto and visit the quaint village. Free time for lunch or shopping. In the afternoon continue the visit to the “tropical” thermal complex. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 5 - SALERNO - Today we visit our host city of Salerno, which will include the Cathedral, the historical center of town and the Corso. Rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. Day 6 - CASERTA/CASERTA VECCHIA/NAPLES - 8.30 am Departure for Caserta where we will visit the Royal Palace; It was designed and mostly built by the Dutch architect Ludwig Van Wittel, who received the Italian onomatopoeic name of Vanvitelli. King Charles, who wanted to build a new Royal Palace, a “residence” fit for a Bourbon King and his Court, called him to Naples. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 7 - POSITANO/AMALFI/RAVELLO - 9.00 a.m. Departure from our hotel. Our last stop will be breathtaking Positano. Continue to Amalfi. Our sightseeing will include the cathedral and the charming web of small streets around it. In the afternoon we proceed to Ravello. Ravello is situated about 5 km from Amalfi up on a hill, overlooking the coast from Maiori to Amalfi. Ravello was founded in the VI century A.D after Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 8 – PAESTUM/AGRlTURlSMO - 9.15 a.m. Departure for Paestum [a UNESCO World Heritage site] , the ancient Poseidonia was founded by the Greeks at the end of the 7th century B.C. Visit the ancient temples dating back to the 6th century B.C. and to the Archaeological Museum of Paestum with its rich collection of Greek art and antiquities. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 9 - USA - This morning we transfer to the Naples airport for our flight back to Chicago via best connections. TOTAL TOUR PRICE: The tour price is based on airfare, land rate and rate of exchange in effect at the time of arrangements. Plus tax and fuel surcharge. All rates are subject to change without prior notice. Should the rates go up or down prior to departure, an adjustment will be made. The tour is subject to a minimum number of participants. Should fewer than 25 participate, we will offer alternate dates. ACCOMMODATIONS: Specially selected hotel based on twin occupancy with private bath. A single room supplement will be charged where requested and available. If you do not have a roommate and Unitours, Inc. is unable to arrange one, you will be billed for the single room supplement. All singles are subject to availability. MEALS: Breakfast and Table D’ Hote dinners are provided daily except where noted in the itinerary. An extra charge will be made when coffee, tea or other beverages are not included in the menu of the day with the dinner meal. 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. Any balance is to be paid in full no later than 60 days before departure of tour. Final payments received at Unitours after 30 days before departure must include a $25 per person late payment fee. (This does not apply for new reservations made after 30 days of departure.) $100 fee applies for cancelation once deposit has been processed.



ampania is a region of Southern Italy, that covers 13,595 km² and has a population of 5.8 million. It is home to some of the area’s (indeed Italy’s) most notable features - Roman sites, spectacular stretches of coast, tiny islands. The name derives from Latin, as it was called by Romans Campania felix (“fortunate countryside”), a name that is shared by the French province of Champagne. (note: don’t misplace with Campagna Romana - a low-lying area in the Lazio region of Central Italy). Campania is divided into five provinces: Avelino, Benevento, Caserta, Napoli (Naples) and Salerno. The region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea and includes one of the finest coastlines in Italy. In front of the Gulfs of Naples and Salerno, we can admire marvelous and enchanting islands: Capri, Ischia, Procida. Campania is extraordinarily rich in remains of the classic antiquity. You can’t miss visiting the Roman ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the Greek temples at Paestum. Amphitheaters, triumphal arches, villas, bridges and tombs of the Roman Imperial Age are numerous and remarkable. The Temple of Neptune is the most impressive of the Greek ruins at Paestum. Together with the Temple of Hephaestus (“Theseum”) in Athens, they remain the best-preserved Greek temples in the world, both from around 450 to 420 B.C. Other tourist attractions include: the volcanoes of Vesuvius, the Sibyl’s cave at Cumae, and the beauty of Amalfi Coast. Naples, the capital of the region for almost 3000 years, is Italy’s most controversial city: You’ll either love it or hate it. It’s louder, more intense, more unnerving, but perhaps ultimately more satisfying than almost anywhere else in Italy. If Sophia Loren (a native who moved elsewhere) evokes the Italian woman for you, you’ll find more of her look-alikes here than any other city. Naples also gave the world Enrico Caruso. Salerno, the main town of the “Costiera Amalfitana”, situated in the middle of two enchanting coasts, the Amalfi and Cilento coasts; was the seat of the oldest university in Europe, the Schola Medica Salernitana, the most important source of medical knowledge in Europe in the early Middle Ages. Salerno is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As for the Campania taste, pizza in its modern aspect was born in Naples. Historical and original pizza from Naples are pizza fritta (fried pizza), with or without being stuffed with ricotta cheese; if stuffed it is called Calzone (like single part of trousers); pizza Marinara, with just olive oil, tomato sauce and garlic; and the queen of all pizza, the pizza Margherita with olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and some basil leaves. Campania is regarded throughout Italy as the producer of the best Mozzarella di Bufala (Mozzarella made from buffalo milk), fiordilatte (flower of milk) made from cow milk, ricotta from sheep or buffalo, provolone from cow milk, and caciotta made from goat milk. Buffalo cattle are in Salerno and Caserta. 18 AMICI / Fall 2007



By Joe Nugara Sr.


t wasn’t that long ago when the only way for Italians to find out about their ancestral roots was to “ask Nonna”. These days, genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies around, and many Italian-Americans are embracing it, to find out where they came from. The biggest trend in genealogy today is the use of the Internet. A lot of people believe they can sit at home and discover their roots without leaving their computer desk. Take it from me; nothing could be further from the truth. The web is very useful to find specific pieces of information, but there are almost no pre-written histories of your family just waiting to be discovered. The only way to find your own family history is to go out and do it yourself. Most of us do not know how to get started, and we need a little guidance from those who have been around and know the ropes. Italian-Americans are fortunate to have a group of kindred souls called POINT, an acronym for Pursuing Our Italian Names Together. Members of POINT are called, what else, POINTers. POINT is a national organization founded by Dr. Thomas Militello in 1987 in California. Starting with a small local newsletter, within a few years POINT grew into a full-fledged genealogy magazine available only to POINTers. Later on, he created the surname registry, where any member could submit the list of all the surnames and towns they were researching, and other members would look for other researchers who matched with them. Ordinary people who found distant cousins through POINT wrote many articles in POINTers magazine. Though POINT was a big success, something was still missing. After all, how do you find other genealogists in the local area who might not be POINTers? These questions were asked and then answered in 1992 by Anthony Lascio, a southwest suburban management recruiter and budding Italian genealogist. Mr. Lascio publicized free meetings to be held 4 times per year for anyone interested in Italian genealogy, whether a POINT member or not. He 20 AMICI / Fall 2007

called them “POINTers in Person” or “PIP” and founded the first chapter of “PIP”, which was renamed in his honor after he passed away in 2004. The current chapter leader is Alexander De Volpi and meetings are typically held in southwest suburban Woodridge four times per year on Wednesday evenings. They eat a delicious family-style meal and socialize first and then convene the meeting. In 1995, a small conference was held at the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park where 70 people learned techniques and tips from the most experienced researchers in the area. In 2000, Dan Niemiec and Rose Ducato co-founded the “Chicago-North” chapter and continue to run it to this day, holding meetings at the District Library in Schaumburg and occasionally at the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park. Typically 1530 people attend each of the five meetings per year, held on Saturday mornings. They alternate between having speakers give presentations at one meeting, and just allow everyone to ask questions at the next. “It’s the fastest two hours around,” says Dan Niemiec, co-founder of the chapter. “One question is asked, someone answers it. That leads to more questions, we go off on a tangent, and the next thing you know, time is up! Then we meet for lunch after the meeting and continue the discussion informally.” I saw this process at their meeting in March when I came to ask for help in getting started with my own research. The group has a lot of experts who chime in with answers, and a lot of beginners like myself who can’t believe how much there is to learn. Today, there are 28 chapters of POINTers in Person throughout the country. POINT itself has expanded to over 5000 members in all 50 states, and has added both a national conference held in a different city every two years, and also POINTers In E-mail (PIE) for members to write questions to a large list of PIE members and get answers. In September 2005, a group of members of both PIP Chicago chapters put on a local conference called “Discover Your Italian Roots” at the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park. Over 120 people from 6 states attended the conference and left with renewed interest in their research. It is impossible to measure the success of everyone who has benefited from POINT, POINTers in Person and its various programs. Suffice to say that many thousands of Italian genealogists would have never found their roots and would never have learned about their family history and traditions that have eroded over the years. The value of POINT and everything that has sprung from POINT to our Italian culture and traditions is incalculable. For more information on upcoming meetings, visit www. chicagoitalian.org. Contact Alex DeVolpi at waterfox1@ comcast.net or Dan Niemiec at pipnorth@comcast.net for more information.

Richard Capozola’s

1903 Italo Marcioni (1868-1954), also spelled Marchioni, an Italian immigrant living in New York, receives a patent for the invention of the ice cream cone machine. His patent drawings show a mold for shaping small cups, complete with tiny handles - not a cone. His invention in his patent application is described as: “This invention relates to molding apparatus, and particularly such molding apparatus as is used in the manufacture of ice-cream cups and the like.” Italo Marcioni emigrated to the United States in the late 1800’s, and although he lived in Hoboken, NJ for a time his fame resides solely in New York City. Marcioni always insisted that he had been making cones since 1896 while selling his homemade ice cream (lemon ice) from a pushcart (hokey-pokey) on Wall Street in New York. He originally used liquor glasses to serve his ice cream in. To reduce his overhead, caused by customers breaking or wandering off with his serving glasses, he baked edible waffle. While the waffles were still warm, he folded them into the shape of a cup (with sloping sides and a flat bottom). His waffle cups made him the most popular vendor on Wall Street and soon afterward, he had a chain of 45 carts operated by men he hired. On September 22, 1903, he filed a patent application out of the city and state of New York, and U.S. Patent No. 746971 was issued to him on December 15, 1903. Although he lived in Hoboken for a time, his patent clearly states that he is “Italo Marcioni of New York.”

1905 Genaro Lombardi opens the first pizzeria in America on Spring Street in New York City. Lombardi moved to the US in 1897 and opened a small grocery store in New York’s Little Italy. An employee of his, Antonio Totonno Pero, also an Italian immigrant, began making pizza for the store to sell. Their pizza became so popular that Lombardi opened the first US pizzeria, naming it simply Lombardi’s. In 1924, Totonno left Lombardi’s to open his own pizzeria in Coney Island. Today, pizza is a $30-billion annual industry with more than 60,000 pizza outlets.

1909 Sixteen-year-old Angelo Siciliano is sitting on a Coney Island beach with a pretty girl and later reports, “a big, husky lifeguard kicked sand in my face.” Still scrawny at 16, he couldn’t do much about it. Besides being embarrassed, young Angelo lost his girlfriend. Determined to build his body, he joined the local YMCA, worked on the fitness machines, and even made a crude set of barbells out of a broomstick and two rocks so he could exercise at home. Contemplating the strength of a tiger in a zoo, he then conceived the idea of working one muscle against another. This system became later known as “Dynamic Tension®”. Angelo’s body now developed more quickly and turned him into an 180-pound man who was able to pull a 72 ton locomotive 112 feet along the tracks. He adopted the name “Charles Atlas” given to him after the mythical Atlas, the Titan who held up the heavens. In 1921, Atlas won the America’s Most Perfectly Developed Man contest and first prize. Shortly thereafter, Atlas wrote a 13-page manual on physical fitness, designed to be sold by mail. In 1928 he teamed up with advertising businessman Charles Roman and founded Charles Atlas, Ltd. Atlas advertisements appeared in comic books and magazines and made Atlas into a pop culture icon. (Atlas also popularized the phrase “97-pound weakling.”) Charles Atlas’s daily routine was precise to the point of monotony. He would wake up everyday before 7 am and consume a cup of warm water with lemon juice. Then he would perform 25 minutes of exercises in front of a mirror. Lunch consisted of figs and prunes; dinner was broiled steak with vegetables and fresh fruit. After dinner, he would listen to a little classical music, do 25 more minutes of Dynamic Tension® and go to bed early. Atlas was a most genteel man who often said, “Nothing worthwhile happens after 10:30 pm.” By the 1950’s, Charles Atlas boasts more than 1-million body building followers. The company was a great success and continued on after Atlas’s death in 1972. Fall 2007 / AMICI 21

“Somewhere in North Africa, August 1943” “JIPPA” Kneeling L to R: Sgt. Axel Johnson, crew chief. Cpl.”Smiling” Mike Ingrisano, radio operator. Standing L to R: Lt. Charles Parker, co-pilot. Lt.Nick Pappeliou, navigator. Lt. Addison D. “Pappy” Agle, pilot. Mike Ingrisano made up JIPPA name from the first letter, last name of each crew member and painted each letter under the appropriate position in the plane.

the critical memories because I had written something down. And because of that I can now share my memories of the comrade lost and found. After graduation from Radio Operator/Mechanic School in Chicago in February 1943, I was assigned to the 72nd Troop Carrier Squadron, stationed in Alliance (Nebraska) Army Air Force Base, as a member of a flying combat team. It was then that I met my first pilot, Addison “Pappy” Agle. We were part of the original cadre, and flew together while familiarizing ourselves with the C-53, and C-47 troop carrier aircrafts. Our friendship grew as we logged flight hours on cross country and other orientations flights. But even then, boys would be boys and we took one training flight and our own initiative a bit too far. To announce our arrival over Pappy’s home town in New Hampshire, before landing, we wrote a lipstick message on a pair of ladies panties (the only materials on board for some reason). As we buzzed his family home, we dropped this weighted message. It went straight through a neighbor’s window. Leaving Pappy to visit and make amends, we continued the training flight to visit my family in Brooklyn, and borrowed the cabin coffee canister to bring some of my Pop’s home made wine back to base. All our official missions were completed after we went back to NH



hen people learn that I served in World War II, they often tell me that their relatives served but rarely speak about their experiences. I try to explain that when I was in combat, often, because of my fears, my mind remembered only that which it wanted to remember. The mind has various ways of coping or not coping with traumatic experiences. I had three years of service that ended more than 60 years ago, but I still experienced some of those moments in frightful dreams. So perhaps their relatives also go through the same mental restraints. However, in the past ten years, I have researched, written, and have had three books published, one on the Civil War, and two on my experiences in WWII. My rewards have not really been monetary; none ever came close to the best sellers’ list. But they have been and continue to be personally gratifying and uplifting because I have renewed old friendships, brought some closure to folks who never knew what happened to their relatives, and have uncovered mysteries which I had forgotten or never knew existed. In my last book, AND NOTHING IS SAID, Wartime Letters, August 5, 1943 - April 21, 1945, I published the 350 letters which I wrote to my fiancée. We married when I returned to the US from service in the European Theater of Operations. Because of security, all GIs were restricted from disclosing what combat they had seen. I was still able to capture some of 22 AMICI / Fall 2007

for Pappy and flew back to our home base in Alliance, Nebraska. But our personal adventures were not without their consequences. In June 1943, Pappy told me that he had been assigned to form a replacement crew for overseas service, and would I join the crew as its radio operator. I immediately assented. By early July, our orders had been cut detailing us to Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana, where we were to complete our crew of co-pilot, navigator, and crew chief while waiting for a new aircraft. By late July, we had our aircraft and crew, and we left Baer Field on August 3, 1943, for parts unknown. We flew the northern route which supposedly would take us to the European Theater of Operations. On this route, we flew from Baer Field to Presque Isle, Maine; Goose Bay, Labrador; Buie West 1, Greenland; Meeks Field, Iceland; Nutts Corner, Ireland; St. Mawgam, England; Marrakech, Africa; Algiers; Castel Benito, Tripoli; El Adem (Tobruk), Libya; Heliopolis (Cairo) and finally El Kabrit, Egypt. There we joined the veteran 37th Troop Carrier Squadron, 316th Troop Carrier Group. For the next 21 months, although, we did not fly as crew mates, Pappy and I shared the same experiences in the 37th, and continued our friendship as we moved from Egypt to Tunisia, and then on to Sicily, and finally to the former RAF base at Cottesmore, England. We participated in all the combat missions – Normandy (Neptune), Holland (Market

Garden), and Germany (Varsity). On May 8, 1945 (VE Day), the 37th TCS left Cottesmore for Southampton where we sailed from England to the ZI (Zone of the Interior – the USA). With the war ending in August, I was discharged on September 3, 1945, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Pappy and I went our separate ways, and lost total contact with each other. On May 27, 2004, my wife, Nancy, and I went down to the mall in Washington, DC, where the National World War II Memorial was to be dedicated on May 29. The Government had set up a large “Reunion” tent in which there were placards for every unit that served in the war. There, individuals placed their names and current addresses, hoping that former comrades would see the information. As I looked at the board for the 9th Air Force, I was astonished to see Agle’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address. It was the only name on the board. I immediately sent him an e-mail but did not receive a response. I sadly assumed that the data was not current. Approximately two weeks later, I received a phone call: “Hey, Mike! Where the Hell have you been?” When I questioned him about the e-mail, he advised me he never got it; his system threw out addresses which were not recognized. Then

I asked how he found me. It seems that his daughter had bought him a copy of my book, VALOR WITHOUT ARMS; A History of the 316th Troop Carrier Group, 1942-1945. She was also able to find my phone number, hence, the call. Pappy returned to New Hampshire after having retired from the USAF. His home is approximately an hour’s drive from my brother’s home in NH. Since we were due to visit my brother, we also made plans to visit with Pappy. So in October 2004, we met, after almost 60 years of absence. I learned that he had married (his wife had passed away), and had three daughters. I also learned that he stayed in the service and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. We met again in November 2004 when his daughters brought him to Washington, DC, to visit the memorial. It was another grand reunion over lunch and more emotion. I have gotten him into the correspondence channel with other members of our old outfit. We manage to swap e-mails occasionally and visit whenever we can. The rewards of finding my old friend and comrade, because of my writing (with the aid of the Internet), are truly indescribable.

About the Author: Mr. Ingrisano’s 343 letters to Ms. Bette Hill were published as “And Nothing is Said, Wartime Letters: August 5, 1943 - April 21, 1945” in 2002. Mike Ingrisano was born of Italian immigrant parents and raised in Brooklyn, NY before enlisting in World War II. He earned three Air Medals during the war, and afterward his college education through the “GI Bill.” On June 6, 2004 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his service and that of his troop carrier comrades on D-Day, Normandy. Mr. Ingrisano lives in McLean, Virginia, and welcomes hearing from all those interested in Troop Carrier missions during World War II, especially that of the 316th TCG, or his books. He can be reached by e-mail at mingnan@juno.com


• Acid (Drew Estate) • Arturo Fuente • Ashton • CAO • Casa Torano • Cohiba • Gurkha • Montecristo • Oliva • Rocky Patel • Romeo y Juliet And Many More ! HOURS: Mon - Thu 9 - 7 pm fri - sat 9 - 8 pm sunday 10 - 5 pm


708.453.1689 CELL: 847.845.4612


CHICAGO’S LITTLE ITALY LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE Taylor Street: Chicago ’s Little Italy tells the unique story of Chicago ’s Italian American community. Over 200 vintage photos revisit the people, places and events that define one of the city’s most beloved neighborhoods. In the pages of Arcadia Publishing’s unique pictorial histories, people are rediscovering their heritage. Discover yours today. Taylor Street: Chicago ’s Little Italy is available for $19.99 at area bookstores, independent retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

Fall 2007 / AMICI 23

FACES FROM THE PAST Photographs from your “old neighborhood” Photos from: Provedence Chiappetta Huebener

1951 Provedence Chiappetta, nicknamed Provy. Arthington Street near Western.

1932 Provy’s Grandmother (on the left), Provedenzia Amico, and Mother, Santa Chiappetta. Arthington Street near Western.

Send us your neighborhood photographs with a name, year the picture was taken and street you lived on or place the picture was taken at. Please scan photos at high resolution, or mail originals. Amici Journal, P.O. Box 595, River Grove, IL 60171 or E-mail: amiitalia@sbcglobal.net

24 AMICI / Fall 2007



t would be sacrilegious if we did not express those happy good years of Taylor Street and one of the wonderful social meeting places, that should not be forgotten in the Taylor Street Archives this would be Tiritilli’s Tavern (Solly’s Tavern) at 1435 W Taylor St. Today it would be a Sports Bar. How dignified compared to “Solly’s Tavern”. Actually it was more like Cheers. Solly’s was a much better place. Besides having card games and more games, a volunteer chef was always ready to make spicy meals like snails, sausage or meatball gravy. It also served as the neighborhood’s posting station. Family members were always able to contact or leave a message to anyone in the place whenever necessary. He, Solly, would receive the neighbor’s packages (imagine Christmas time), certified letters and even checks when neighbors were not home. Even the kids would go to Solly’s if they needed help or were stranded until the parents got home from work. No cell phones then, Solly knew his friends and neighbors (customers) and they knew him as one would know their own blood family. Newborns, weddings, graduations, deaths or what ever -- (good news or bad) -- you heard it first at Solly’s. We were in great need during the 60’s when I had to have transportation to go back and forth to St. Luke’s Hospital. All I had to do was call the tavern for a ride and they were in front of my house to take my son and me to the hospital… and then back home again. I never knew who would be at my door. It seems that through it all Lou Briatta who everyone knew as Uncle Lou was always front and center from the Briatta barbershop. There was always an array of heroes as well such as Hot Dog, JB (Mike or John Fiore), Butch (Papaleo) or Gino LaBalarte. This is the brotherhood that Taylor Street had. It’s over 22 years when Solly was forced to shut down due to poor health and you can rest assured that a day does not go by when the old timers sitting at the Conte di Savoa have not mentioned Solly’s. I bet they still know the phone number. In memory of all the departed loved ones who have given us these unforgettable memories. We pray somewhere in time our children will inherit a bit of the camaraderie that existed on the Taylor Street memory lane all the life’s treasures that came from the Taylor Street we were blessed to have had. Taylor Street lies in the shadows of Chicago’s Loop. At the turn of the 20th century, a band of tribes from southern Italy (Campania/ Napoli, Sicillia/Palermo, Apuglia/Bari, Calabria/ Reggio, Bassilicata, Molise, Abruzzi …) emigrated

to this country. They settled in Chicago’s Taylor Street neighborhood—later to become known as “Little Italy.” These early inhabitants of Taylor Street, our immigrant parents, sought, for themselves and their offspring, a new and better life. Centuries earlier, other Italians had also crossed the great ocean to the Americas. Those 15th century Italians were the discoverers and the explorers who first mapped and ultimately named this great country. Our parents carried within them, on those ships embarking from Italian ports, a precious cargo: --a gene pool that sprang from the loins of the Caesars and the Michaelangelos. Yes, these immigrants, our parents, were the descendants of a noble people who, for a millennium, had nurtured, defended and ultimately passed on all that has come to be known as Western Civilization. It is important that we preserve the memory of those original immigrants who made this fateful journey and settled into Chicago’s Little Italy. It is equally important that we preserve the memories of their first generation offspring, those who were born and raised in this subculture called Little Italy. The story of our peoples successes and our peoples failures cannot be fully appreciated without the knowledge and understanding of the subculture that had been created for those immigrants and their offspring by the major society into which they were cast. Those first generation Italian-Americans, nurtured through the Great Depression and the Great War by their immigrant parents, reshaped and redefined that subculture… enabling future generations of Italian-Americans to claim their share of the American dream and eventually earn a place in the executive suites of corporate America. Anyone who once resided in Taylor Street’s “Little Italy” is eligible to be listed in the Taylor Street Archives. A $1,000 scholarship is given out each year to the student who writes the best story on “Growing Up in Taylor Street’s Little Italy.” Both the Archives application and the scholarship application are available by calling Vince Romano 888-724-7392 (toll free). Would you like to share your stories about growing up in and around Little Italy? Please call (312) 746-5656 to sign up. In the Chicago Public Library adults and children are invited to read stories from the Taylor Street Archives, including The Club: Cinder Stadium, Vince Romano’s Taylor Street Oddyssey, Nick Caruso: My Way, and many more!

CYRUS COSENTINO Leyden Township World War II HERO By Terry Geraci


native Chicagoan, Cyrus Cosentino was born on November 27, 1922. He grew up in the hub of all Chicago Italian communities at 718 W. Taylor St. in Chicago, IL. He was of course raised in a home filled with the traditional Italian heritage but he was taught to be a proud American boy. In this day and age not very many World War II vets remain alive, that is why it is so very important that the few remaining Vets heros from WWII be recognized by all Americans for their undying efforts, dedication and heroism. Cyrus was WWII soldiers he does not think of himself as a hero. In fact he could not understand why we were making such a big fuss over him and his actions in WWII. He entered into active military service in the U.S. Army on March 9, 1943 and he is a surviving Veteran of The World War II Conflict. Cyrus joined thousands of other soldiers in battling tyranny on the many beaches of Normandy, France and he participated in the first wave of D Day landings. Cyrus survived the

most dangerous assignment and his actions on D Day and throughout his two years and 9 months and twenty days earned him (4) Bronze Battle Stars and several other commendations. He also served in the European-African middle Eastern Theater battles, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. He earned 4 Bronze battle stars, good conduct medal and a World War II victory medal and then he was honorably discharged from The U.S. Army on Dec. 21, 1945. Cyrus currently resides in Leyden Township. On July 12, 2007 in the chambers of the Leyden Township City Hall Cyrus was honored and presented with a formal resolution Presented by Leyden Township supervisor, Bradley A. Stephens. Special thanks to The Leyden Township board and Supervisor Stephens for continually serving Leyden Township in every possible positive way. At age 82 Cyrus is one of the most humble, unassuming, gentle, and grateful people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. My chest swelled with pride and a tear ran down my cheek as I shook

his hand. I was honored and humbled to be in the presence of this 5’6” 140 pound giant, who paved the way for me to keep My freedom. Our national language could have very well been German as ADOLPH HITLER threatened world domination. Old Glory would not be dotting our beautiful blue skies all over America. Cyrus makes you realize quickly that we must never get complacent and take our freedoms for granted. We must be ready at all times to do whatever it takes to preserve Our freedom. But for the grace of God, Cyrus would have been one of the many thousand of young men who gave their lives in the most important victory of any time in history. According to his family Cyrus is just an ordinary man. An extremely humble person and just a wonderful human being we also found him to be a sweet man who didn’t’t quite understand what he accomplished to deserve such an honor. He said“ I could never dream that anyone would ever take the time and make such an effort to honor me in any way.” “ I only went in to the Fall 2007 / AMICI 25

Armed forces to serve my country.” I did what any American soldier would have done under the circumstances. The real heroes are the men who gave their lives to keep America free.” Cyrus and veterans like him are our only link with the past history of an era gone by. We must make every effort to keep their heroism alive and remember, how they foiled Adolph Hitler’s plan to dominate and rule the world. The City Hall was filled with residents and many of his family members who flew in from various parts of our great nation to be in attendance for this auspicious occasion honoring their family hero. Among those family members present were George & Mary Farro, Bill & Michelle Newby, Tony & Rene Boubin, Gary and Stephanie Wren, Tony & Cathy Calabrese a nephew who spoke on behalf of the family for Cyrus, they came in from North Carolina, JoAnn Krieb, Cy’s stepdaughter ,Rosemary VanHorn and her husband Victor and two children, Robin Krieb daughter of JoAnn, Loretta Jackson accompanied by her daughter Dana and her two children Joey and Marie Seno and Loretta’s son, David, And Lorettas Daughter Diane and her family from New York city. We also give a special thank you to a couple other Italian Americans who worked diligently to help put this program together. Ray Bernero, Trustee from the Village of River Grove and Frank Bottigliero Director of Veteran’s Affairs in Leyden Township. Mille Grazie

Cyrus Cosentino, who lost four bronze medals and other commendations in a fire was presented with medals at a Leyden Township Board meeting.

LEGION AUTO, INC. Daniel L. Jaconetti D.D.S. Ltd. General Family Dentistry Hours by Appointment

24 Hour Emergency Service

9442 W. Irving Rd. Schiller Park, IL 60176

(847) 678-1130

7601 W. Montrose Ave. Suite 3 Norridge, IL 60706

(708) 453-8700

(847) 678-1709 (fax) (708) 453-1564 (fax)

We take pride in providing you with a comfortable office experience where our qualified staff is friendly and knowledgeable.

www.jaconettidds.com Tooth Whitening * Veneers * State-of-the-art endodontics TMJ Treatment * Children and Infant Care * Dentures/Partials Cosmetic Procedures * Oral Surgery * Intraoral Photography Periodontal Disease * Dental Implants * Crowns/Bridges Trauma * Sports Dentistry 26 AMICI / Fall 2007


ASK FOR MICKEY! Tell him you saw his Ad in Amici Journal.

Phone (815) 838-1333 Fax (815) 838-7415

NIAF News Dedicated to promoting the language, culture and traditions of Italians and Italian Americans

Fall 2007 / AMICI 27

If you are humble and hardworking, opportunities will arise for you.



rowing up in a family steeped in culinary tradition, Rachael Ray was exposed to a wide range of cooking techniques. She insists that cooking is a way of life she was simply born into. Rachael says “My first vivid memory was watching Mom in a restaurant kitchen. She was flipping something with a spatula. I tried to copy her and ended up grilling my right thumb! I was 3 or 4.” August 25, 1968 Rachael Domenica Ray was born in Glens Falls, NY in a family of Sicilian ancestry. Her maternal grandfather Emmanuel emigrated from Sicily to the Adirondacks. He cooked everything for his family of 12, mostly using the ingredients from his own garden. Her maternal grandmother was Middle Eastern. Her relatives on her father’s side are Creole from Louisiana. She has a younger brother, Emmanuel, and an older sister, Maria. The Ray family owned several restaurants called the Carvery, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, then relocated to upstate New York, where her mother managed a restaurant chain. In her early twenties, Rachael moved to New York City, where she got her first job as candy manager at Macy’s. She later helped open a New York prestigious marketplace called Agata & Valentina. Moving back to upstate New York, Ray managed Mister Brown’s Pub at The Sagamore, a famous hotel on Lake George. From there, she became a buyer at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet market in suburban Albany. She began teaching a cooking course there showing people how to make meals in thirty minutes or less. This eventually caught the attention of a local television station WRGB, (CBS TV affiliate), and became “30-Minute Meals” segments. In its first year the segment became a major success, nominated for two regional Emmy awards. Her TV work grew to include a series of lifestyle and travel segments following the theme of “You do not have to be wealthy to lead a rich life.” The Food Network picked up 30-Minute Meals in November 2001, after seeing Rachael on The Today Show. Rachael has turned her “30-Minute Meals” concept into a bestselling series of cookbooks. To date she is author of 16 cookbooks, and is also Editor-in-Chief of her monthly lifestyle magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, launched in 2005, offering smart and easy recipes as well as practical advice on food destinations and entertaining. “My life has been a total accident – a very happy, wonderful accident that I didn’t and couldn’t have planned,” says Ray. Rachael has a huge connection with the audience; she has a terrific talent, positive energy and heartwarming smile. She can be funny and entertaining and that’s what the viewers love. Despite her growing celebrity she is determined to stay grounded and hold on to her down-to-earth values. Ray married a lawyer and musician John M. Cusimano on September 24, 2005 in Montalcino, Italy. They live in a small, rustic, lakeside cabin in the town of Lake Luzerne in the Adirondacks with Rachael’s mother Elsa, and her beloved pit bull IsaBoo.

On September 18th, 2006, the new daily one-hourlong talk show, Rachael Ray, had its premiere episode, airing on 172 stations, covering 97% of the country. CBS Television Distribution produces the show in association with Harpo Productions and King World Productions, Scripps Networks and Watch Entertainment. “From the moment I had Rachael on my show, I knew she had ‘it,” said Oprah Winfrey. “She has that connection with her audience that most people only achieve one-on-one.” “People know me for my love of food, but I have so much more I want to share,” said Rachael Ray. “This show is all about taking a bigger bite out of life. I want people to see themselves in this show, because life is full of messes and successes, and getting there is half the fun.” Of her “30-Minute Meals” Rachael Ray earned a 2006 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show and nomination for Outstanding Service Show Host. On December 5th, 2006 in the episode of her syndicated television show, “Rachael Ray”, Rachael was presented with a certificate by Erin McKean, the editor-in-chief of American Dictionaries, which declares that “EVOO” (extra-virgin olive oil) will be added to the 2007 Oxford American College Dictionary. Rachael began using this term on her shows on the Food Network - after a while ‘extra-virgin olive oil’ is a lot to say repeatedly. Rachael Ray’s non-profit organization, Yum-o!, launched in 2006, empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. “Throughout my life I have met people who also were influenced by lessons learned in the kitchen. Together we formed Yumo! to introduce more kids to cooking. We want to help parents and kids enjoy cooking together and to break down the myth that cooking is hard or confusing.” On April 26th, 2007, Rachael Ray announced the launch of her Yumo! Organization’s partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation – a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association – to educate and empower families across America to make healthier food choices by providing them with the tools and information they need to transform their eating habits.

Rachael Ray is a person who is very anxious to use her abilities and her popularity to produce good things for others.

28 AMICI / Fall 2007

DELICIOUS RECIPES CRISPY PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED COD AND ASPARAGUS SALAD from EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY • Four 6- to 8-ounce cod fillets • 4 slices prosciutto • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) • 1 large onion, chopped • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard • Salt and pepper • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on an angle into bite-size pieces • 1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped • Lemon wedges, for serving In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the thyme Photo: Tina Rupp and mustard, then scrape into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet; set aside. Pat the cod dry and season with pepper. Wrap each piece of fish in a slice of prosciutto. In a large nonstick skillet, heat half the remaining EVOO over medium-high heat until rippling. Add half the fish fillets and cook, turning once, until the prosciutto is crisp and the fish is firm, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and fish. Pour water, 1 inch deep, into the onion skillet and bring to a boil. Add salt and the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes; drain. Toss with the reserved onion mixture to coat. Divide among 4 plates and top with the tomato. Serve the cod and lemon wedges alongside the salad. SERVES 4

TORTELLINI IN BRODO DANNY AIELLO’S FAVORITE RECIPE FROM HIS GRANDMA • 1/2 pound escarole • Olive oil, for sautéing • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • 2 quarts chicken stock, Salt to taste • 1 (13-ounce) package fresh cheese-filled tortellini • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, for taste Clean escarole well, soaking in cold water and salt to remove any dirt or sand. Drain and rinse with cold water. Heat sauté pan and add enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and escarole and cook until leaves are translucent. Remove from heat and let cool. When escarole is cool enough to handle, chop it up and set aside. Bring stock to a boil and add salt to taste. Add tortellini to stock and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Throw in the escarole and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve with grated cheese. SERVES 6

2008 national italian restaurant guide Email us for info on CHICAGO AND SUBURBS, IL 3 Olives Restaurant / Twist Lounge 8318 W. Lawrence Ave. Norridge, IL 60706 Phone: (708) 452-1545

Amalfi Ristorante 298 Glen Ellyn Rd. Bloomingdale, IL 630-893-9222

Caponies Trattoria

3350 N. Harlem Ave. Chicago, IL 60634 Phone: (773) 804-9024

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

La Piazza

410 Circle Ave., Forest Park, IL Phone: (708) 366-4010 www.piazzacafe.com

Osteria via Stato

620 N. State St. Chicago, IL 60610 Phone: (312) 642-8450

Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

Vince’s Italian Restaurant 4747 N. Harlem Ave. Chicago, IL 60634 Phone: (708) 867-7770

BOSTON, MA Bacco Ristorante & Bar 107 Salem St. Boston, MA 02113 Phone: (617) 624-0454


187 North St. Newton, MA 02460 Phone: (617) 969-9990

Ristorante Villa Francesca 150 Richmond St. Boston, MA 02109 Phone: (617) 367-2948

Sorento’s Italian Gourmet 86 Peterborough St. Boston, Ma, 02215 Phone: (617) 424-7070


3041 N. Mayfair Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53222 Phone: (414) 476-6900 Buca di Beppo 1233 N. Van Buren St. Milwaukee, WI 53202 Phone: (414) 224-8672

Carini’s La Conca D’oro 3468 N. Oakland Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53211 Phone: (414) 963-9623

1769 W. Sunnyside Ave. Chicago, IL 60640 Phone: (773) 878-2420


Venuti’s Ristorante & Banquets

Amador’s Bistro Italiano

2251 W. Lake St. Addison, IL 60101 Phone: (630) 376-1500

Via Carducci

3367 Bayshore Dr. Naples, FL 34112 Phone: (239) 775-7666

Bellagio of Naples

1419 W. Fullerton Chicago, IL 60614 773-665-1981

492 Bayfront Pl. Naples, FL 34102 Phone: (239) 430-7020

Trattoria Milano Italian 336 9TH St. N

Stars Restaurant Review Rating! Naples, FL 34102 Phone: (239) 643-2030

NEW YORK, NY Borgo Antico Italian Restaurant 22 E. 13th St. New York, NY 10003 Phone: (212) 807-1313


2450 Broadway New York, NY 10024 Phone: (212) 362-2200

Carmine’s Rhode Island - NEW! 100 Twin Rivers Rd. Lincoln, RI 02865 Phone: (401) 475-8600

Massimo al Ponte Vecchio 206 Thompson St. New York, NY 10012 Phone: (212) 228-7701

PHILADELPHIA, PA Dante & Luigi’s

762 S. 10th St. Philadelphia, PA 19147 Phone: (215) 922-9501


241 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106 Phone: (215) 238-9983

Mama Yolanda’s Italian Restaurant 746 S. 8TH St. Philadelphia, PA 19147 Phone: (215) 592-0195

Mio Sogno Italian Restaurant

Phone: (415) 668-2221

Puccini & Pinetti

129 Ellis St. San Francisco, CA 94102 Phone: (415) 392-5500

Ristorante Umbria

198 2nd St. San Francisco, CA 94105 Phone: (415) 546-6985

ST. LOUIS, MO Favazza’s

5201 Southwest Ave. St. Louis, MO 63139 Phone: (314) 772-4454

John Mineo’s Italian

13490 Clayton Rd. St. Louis, MO 63131 Phone: (314) 434-5244 Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant 5257 Shaw Ave. St. Louis, MO 63110 Phone: (314) 772-8272

Tony’s Restaurant

410 Market St. St. Louis, MO 63102 Phone: (314) 231-7007 Concetta’s Italian Restaurant 600 S. 5th St. St. Charles, MO 63301 Phone: (636) 946-2468

Ricardo’s Italian Cafe 1931 Park Ave. St. Louis, MO 63104 Phone: (314) 421-4833

2650 S. 15TH St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 Phone: (215) 467-3317

Carrabba’s Italian Grill


The Old Spaghetti Factory


221 Powell St. San Francisco, CA 94102 Phone: (415) 397-7720

10923 Olive Blvd. Creve Coeur, MO 63141 Phone: (314) 872-3241 727 N. First St. St. Louis, MO 63102 Phone: (314) 621-0276


2221 Clement St. San Francisco, CA 94121


Amici Journal and Amici d’ Italia invite you to visit their website of Italian-American interests

RESTAURANT RADIO WELCOMES AMICI JOURNAL AND ITS RESTAURANT GUIDE “Restaurant Radio Chicago” is proud to be a new addition to the Amici Journal and also welcomes them to the Restaurant Radio Network! Each week on Restaurant Radio Chicago Hosts Dane Neal and Tom Reboletti take an inside look into the restaurant scene in Chicago, and around the country. The show features the top Restaurant Owners and Chefs, who in their own word tell the story of their success’, the challenges and most of all their passion for what they do. Restaurant Radio Chicago is also considered to be the radio show that the restaurant industry listens to, with features on restaurant hygiene, marketing, legislation and current trends nutrition and ecoconscious issues... even advice for new restaurant owners and those who are looking to get into the business. ...And for the diner looking for that perfect place to eat, Restaurant Radio Chicago “sets the table” for the weekend, with restaurant selections and special deals for every taste and budget!


Traveling - Entertainment - News - Sports - History


Restaurant Name: About The hosts. Tom Reboletti, is a former restaurateur, and current food industry veteran, a local restaurant consultant and also an expert in the area of restaurant real estate. Tom is also proud to be perennial Chairman and Emcee at Chicago Italian American Charitable Organization events. Dane Neal is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and personality, known for his work on GASOLINE ALLEY “The Fastest Show on Radio” and also as the longtime CoHost of the “Joe Gentile Morning show”. Listen to “Restaurant Radio Chicago” every Friday morning between 8 and 9 am on WJJG 1530 AM “Chicago’s Hometown Station”... and “the Restaurant Radio Minute” airing each weekend on hundreds of stations around the country... listen for updates on the Amici Journal and for more info on “Restaurant Radio” please log on to www.restaurantradio.tv Restaurant radio is sponsored by Turano Baking Company and by Radio Active energy drink.

Address: City:



Telephone: Web site: For information call 773-836-1595 or e-mail at amiitalia@sbcglobal.net / Web site: www.amiciorgit.net Make all checks and money orders payable to Amici Journal Publications P.O. Box 595 / River Grove, Illinois 60171

Fall 2007 / AMICI 31

Venuti’s Ristorante and Banquets Warm Setting and Fine

2251 W. Lake St. Addison, IL 60101 Phone: 630-376-1500 Fax: 630-376-1503

Lavish Accommodation for

Italian Cuisine

Up to 1000 Guests

Dining Indoors

Three opulent Bridal Suites

Or on the

Quaint Chapel

Patio Restaurant

For up to


100 guests

Monday - Saturday

Dramatic marble

11:00am - 11:00pm

Double Staircase

Sunday 12:00am - 9:00pm

www.venutisbanquets.com www.venutisristorante.com events@venutisbanquets.com

And Giant Dance Floor


SOON MORE THAN A RADIO SHOW By John Rizzo “We invite you to cook along with us, sing along with us, drink along with us and enjoy life along with us. After all, we’re family!” Thus begins the Italian-American radio show Filippo and the Chef. But it will soon be more than a radio show. “This show is going to be on TV,” promises Filippo Voltaggio, one of its stars. “I can’t tell you any more right now, but it’s going to happen.” With the risorgimento that is the awakening of the thriving Italian-America community, it’s about time we had our own show. Just look at the myriad of cable TV offerings, where most service agreements offer hundreds of channels. There are African-American shows, Mexican-American shows, Polish-American shows, Chinese-American shows and Indian-American shows, just to name a few of the TV choices that target various ethnic groups. But no Italian-American shows.


ure, there are a number of cooking shows that specialize in preparing Italian recipes, but we’re talking more than that. How about a show that presents a variety of Italian cultural features, or has, as Filippo puts it, “talk segments with celebrities or up-and-coming artists who discuss what it’s like to grow up Italian-American.” Filippo and the Chef, originally based on two of the real glories of Italian culture – music and cuisine – will soon be such a show. If it can be done, these are the guys who can do it! Filippo Voltaggio is a second generation Sicilian and prominent professional singer who has performed throughout the U.S. and the world. Among his popular CDs are Reel Italian and Love in Italiano. Originally an operatic baritone, Filippo today specializes in the more popular repertoire and uses one of his hit Italian tunes “Dimmi, dimmi, dimmi” as a kind of theme song for Filippo and the Chef. Comfortable singing in a number of languages, he is a winner of the Sergio Franchi Vocal Competition and has been awarded a grant from the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). Music has always been an important part of his life. When he was very young Filippo took piano lessons and, of course, he sang. “I can remember being stood up in the center of the kitchen table,” he recalls, “and singing for our guests.” A very personable fellow, Chicagoans may remember his appearances as Master of Ceremonies for the “Miss ItaliaUSA” Contest. Rich Lombardi, the “Chef” of the show, is a third generation Italian whose family hails from Campania and the Puglia. “I took to Italian cooking when I learned how to breathe,” he claims. But before Rich got into “broadcast cooking,” as he calls it, he made a living in the hightech industry, designing “micro computers.” Then he established a small restaurant called Mama Rose’s in Orange County. At first it was only open on Friday and Saturday, but it became so popular that it soon was serving Italian-American dinners seven days a week. (For Rich, the term “ItalianAmerican” is key, because this, he says, is more descriptive of his cooking concept than “Italian.”) While running his restaurant, Rich exploited an opportunity that came from his wife, who worked with a group of dieticians. Soon he was packaging a number of diet-friendly meals for the clinic’s customers. From this endeavor he designed and mass-produced some of those fully prepared yummy deli entrees for Trader Joe’s. At some point, Rich got the idea of having a “Cabaret Night” at his restaurant and asked around for an appropriate singer to headline the event. He was referred to Filippo Voltaggio. At first, Filippo was not interested. But Rich was persistent and called Filippo many times, always being turned down. Finally, from their many conversations the two men took a liking to each other and Filippo agreed to a one-time appearance at Rich’s restaurant. But this event was so successful that they had to do it again. The format of Italian cooking to music was so appealing that their Cabaret Night soon became the popular radio show that is broadcast every Sunday on satellite radio and selected National Public Radio affiliates.

Each Filippo and the Chef show is structured around a particular snazzy recipe, brought enjoyably to life by Richard Lombardi. The recipe process, however, is spiced not only with tasty herbs and the like, but also with Italian-style music performed by Filippo and a lively interview with the weekly show’s special guest. A typical example of a show is the one titled “Spaghetti Lobster Tail.” This installment features not only the recipe for this dish, (See below) but also an interview with Italian-born songstress, Giada Valenti. Ever since World War II, virtually all Americans of Italian ancestry completely assimilated into American society. This phenomenon, however, is a two-edged sword. On the one hand Italian-Americans represent one of the most successful ethnic groups of all. On the other hand, many members of this community have lost almost all touch with their incredibly rich cultural roots. While the dark side of the Italian-American experience has been commercialized to the point where ItalianAmericans are commonly associated with organized crime, the “Mafia,” La cosa nostra and the like, the countless cultural, scientific and commercial contributions of our people are often forgotten. But fortunately this situation is beginning to change. Led by the universal appeal of Italian music and Italian food the country is starting to regard the ItalianAmerican community in a new light. But what’s most important is that ItalianAmericans themselves are enlightened about their heritage. Thanks to the efforts of folks like Filippo Voltaggio and Rich Lombardi, a fuller view of the entire spectrum of Italian culture is coming more into the perspective of Italian-Americans. When Filippo and the Chef goes on TV, the show should have a ready-made audience. You don’t come across it so much anymore, but remember every now and then, seeing a crowd gather in front of the display window of an appliance store? Upon further inspection it turned out that the center of interest was a TV monitor that showed the faces of the onlookers. People like to see themselves on TV! Let’s make it soon, guys. Fall 2007 / AMICI 33

FILIPPO & CHEF: SPAGHETTI LOBSTER TAIL Ingredients: 1 Can Italian Style Crushed Tomatoes 1 Can Italian Style Whole Tomatoes 1/2 cup Pure Virgin Olive Oil 6 whole garlic cloves Parsley Flakes, Oregano Granulated Garlic 1 Lobster Tail, shell on 1/2 pound of spaghetti pasta Preparation: Sauce: Pour olive oil into a 2 qt. saucepan. Heat olive oil until medium hot. Place Garlic cloves into oil. Let garlic cook to dark brown. Remove garlic. Pour 1 can of crushed tomatoes Cook until hot. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of parsley flakes and 1/2 tablespoon oregano with 1/4 tablespoon of granulated garlic. Stir. Add can of whole tomatoes crushing them slightly as you pour them in. Simmer on low heat, turning the sauce up from the bottom of the pan every 10 minutes, for 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Lobster Tail: If frozen, defrost. Place the Lobster Tail on a cutting board, shell side up and, with a heavy knife, cut down through the shell and cut the tail into segments about 1 inch thick. Wash the segments in cold running water to remove any small pieces of shell. Hold tail segments in a small bowl. Finish: In a 4-quart pot boil water and when the water comes to a boil add spaghetti. Add lobster to the tomato sauce and continue to simmer. Stir the pasta, keeping the strands from sticking together. Test spaghetti for, it should be finished in 7 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and return it to the hot pot add one or two spoons of sauce and mix. Place pasta in a serving bowl and top with lobster segments. Serve hot. Serves 2.

A mici d’ italia italian american association The purpose and eligibility of Amici d’ Italia (Friends of Italy) is dedicated to the promotion of the Italian American heritage. WE CAN ALL GIVE TOGETHER TO OUR ITALIAN COMMUNITY, AND PUT OUR IDEAS TO WORK! “A Country is not a mere territory; the particular territory is only its foundation. The Country is the idea which rises upon that foundation; it is the sentiment of love, the sense of fellowship which binds together all the sons of that territory.” Quote: Giuseppe Mazzini

Yearly Membership Only $50.00! Additional Family Members $25.00! To join the Amici d’ Italia Association and for more information visit the website

www.amiciorgit.net or call


amici d’ italia association, p.o. box 595, river grove, il 60171

34 AMICI / Fall 2007

o i c c u Tot izzeria P

Pizza - Pasta - Dinners - Sandwiches Carry Out - Delivery

Order Today!

708-456-5600 708-456-5660 fax

7543 W. Montrose Ave. - Norridge, IL Monday -Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


11 am to 11 pm 11 am to 12 pm 3 pm to 12 pm 3 pm to 12 pm




By John Rizzo


he next time you go out to dinner, if you desire not just to eat and drink, but to experience a true adventure in fine Italian dining, then La Piazza is the place for you. Especially if you have an artistic bent, as the Owner/Chef Gaetano di Benedetto is a genuine food artist, whose culinary creations are inventive in concept, outrageously delicious and presented with the colorful composition of a Renaissance painting. Di Benedetto, a native of Sicily, came to America about fourteen years ago. He spent a couple of years in Florida where he was involved in establishing the first independent Italian restaurant in Disneyland. After moving to Chicago, Chef Gaetano opened La Piazza, which has ever since been a successful enterprise in a very unforgiving business. La Piazza is definitely an upscale place, so be prepared to spend a few bucks, but compared to downtown, you’ll find your evening well worth the price. La Piazza is a very colorful place, and this even includes the outside premises, which feature a small outdoor dining area. The exterior walls are cleverly painted in such a way that you can hardly wait to see what’s inside. Upon entering La Piazza you find yourself in a large room filled with all kinds of art and a view of the busy kitchen. Straight ahead is a typically Italian display case, filled with scrumptious looking edibles. From here you proceed to the room that gives the restaurant its name, an extremely pleasant chamber that vividly projects the illusion of a piazza in some Italian town. At the same time, this visual pleasure tweaks your anticipation of the meal to come. This is where we were seated. There are two other interior dining rooms, both more subtly lit than the piazza room. These are remarkable for their intriguing wall hangings and murals. All three rooms have walls painted with colors from the red-orangeyellow part of the spectrum, which yields a very


comfortable ambience. There’s also a room downstairs, an intimate club with a small bar and some tables called the Sotto that offers live jazz most days of the week. Of course no restaurant is any better than its service, and here we were treated very well indeed. Our excellent server was a most gentile lady from Bari named Dora. With her charming accent she introduced the different dishes, explaining in detail what each selection was, its ingredients and how it was prepared. She also suggested the appropriate wines for each course. Regarding the wine (one of my favorite subjects!) at La Piazza, the list contains the greatest variety of Italian wines that I have ever seen. Many of the reds and whites were entirely new to me. The best time to become acquainted with some of these heretofore unknown vintages may be on Mondays, when La Piazza offers bottles of wine at half price! Each La Piazza dinner begins with a Garbanzo dip. This is a real Mediterranean touch reminiscent of the hummus varieties you’re likely to encounter in this part of the world, but it was the best I’ve ever had. Served with warm, homemade focaccia fingers, we had two helpings. Chef Gaetano graciously offered my wife and me a liberal sampling of his fare. Most of the dishes were from the regular menu, but a couple were typical of the specials featured daily. All pastas are homemade. The following titles and descriptions of the selections we had give you a good idea of the kind of gourmet cuisine served at La Piazza. The specials are indicated. Antipasti: Involtini di melenzane - Eggplant stuffed with ricotta, parmesan and spinach, topped with tomato sauce and baked with mozzarella. Calamari ripieni Porto Rosa - Tempura-fried calamari roll stuffed with asparagus, topped with spicy shrimp sauce, with soy-lime cintronette and borlotti bean aioli. Tortino di granchio - Panseared crab cakes served with red pepper vinaigrette, aioli, raspberry-chipotle coulis and mâche salad. Tortino di patate - Butternut squash-potato cake with caramelized onions and

mascarpone royale, with mushroom ragout. Insalate: Carpaccio di barbabietole - Thinly sliced beets dressed with honey-champagne vinaigrette, mâche, cherry tomatoes and breaded goat cheese. Pastas: Chef Gaetano’s delight (special) - Pasta sautéed with butter and parmesan until creamy, then topped with fresh summer truffle (from Perigord, France) shaved tableside. Raviolini alle noci e ragout di gorgonzola al balsamico di Modena (special) - Raviolini stuffed with walnut and salami tossed with gorgonzola fondue and drizzled with balsamic vinegar from Modena. Cannelloni alla Fiorentina - Cannelloni stuffed with ricotta, spinach, mozzarella and Parmesan, baked with tomato sauce and béchamel. Risotto: Risotto ai funghi - With assorted mushrooms and demi-glace, finished with Parmesan and truffle pesto. Entrées: (We had two seafood dishes, but there are plenty of interesting meat selections on both the regular and special menus.) Marlin marinato al pepe nero alla carbonara (special) - Marlin encrusted with black peppercorn and roasted in black butter served with tagliolini carbonara. Squalo in zuppetta dei tropici (special) - Grouper (in place of shark loin) poached in tomato fumet accented with jalapeño, cumin, heart of palm, cilantro and lemon juice. Dolci: Tiramisu The next time we go to La Piazza (and we definitely will!) I think we’re going to try the Chef ’s Choice. With this selection, Chef Gaetano interviews you briefly as

to your likes and dislikes, then personally prepares a fourcourse dinner with the right wines to be served family style. I can hardly wait! Buon appetito! La Piazza, 410 Circle Ave., Forest Park, IL, (708) 366-4010, www.piazzacafe.com Fall 2007 / AMICI 35

d’Albenga. It is deeply fruity flavored and tender crisp. Purple asparagus spears are between 10% and 15% wider at the base than green asparagus spears. Prolonged cooking causes purple asparagus to turn a deep green color. To retain the vibrant purple color, it is best to cook purple asparagus just until tender crisp.

Health Benefits Throughout the ages, asparagus has been prized for its medicinal properties - it is a natural diuretic and laxative with a beneficial effect on the kidneys, liver and bowel. Specifically, asparagus is rich in vitamins C & E, folate (= folic acid, vitamin B9), dietary fiber, rutin and potassium. Asparagus is low in calories, contains no fat or cholesterol, and is very low in sodium. Asparagus contains ammonia which reduces a high acid level,



sparagus has been used from very early times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. The English word “asparagus” derives from classical Latin, but the plant was once known in English as sperage, from the Medieval Latin sparagus. This term itself derives from the Greek aspharagos or asparagos, which originates from the Persian asparag, meaning “sprout” or “shoot.”

and detoxifies all the body especially in cancer patients. As an addendum, whenever you have asparagus, you may want to squeeze some lemon or lime juice on them to neutralize the strong urine smell which often follows the eating of this food.

History Asparagus officinalis was widely used in the Mediterranean region, where Greeks and Romans used it for food and medicine. They ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest Roman cookbook now best known as Apicius, compiled in the 4th century AD. Wild asparagus was loved by the ancient Greeks but it was the Romans who first cultivated it, more than 2000 years ago. The Emperor Augustus coined the phrase ‘velocius quam asparagi conquantur’, meaning to do something faster than you can cook asparagus. Julius Caesar first ate it in Lombardy and wanted it served with melted butter. And in the time of King Louis XIV asparagus was dubbed ‘The King of Vegetables’.

Asparagus varieties Green asparagus derives its color from the process of photosynthesis as the spear emerges from the soil into direct sunlight. A common misconception is that thin spears are young shoots and therefore more tender. In fact, long, thick dark green glossy spears with tightly closed heads are the best quality. Correct cooking results in vibrant green spears with a delightful tender crisp texture. Most green asparagus is ready-togo. However, if the base of the stalk is tough, simply run a knife along the stalk until it meets less resistance, then cut the end off at this point. White asparagus is grown covered in soil in order to prevent photosynthesis. This process prevents the asparagus from turning green and results in a sweeter and more tender taste. It is generally harvested from late April to early June and has long been considered a delicacy. White asparagus spears are usually thicker than green asparagus. White asparagus also has a thicker outer layer that can be easily removed. Simply use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of each spear and snap off the woody end. Purple asparagus differs from its green and white counterparts, having high sugar and low fiber levels. Purple asparagus was originally developed in Italy and commercialized under the variety name Violetto 36 AMICI / Fall 2007

Asparagus Frittata with Parmesan and Mint 1 lb asparagus 8 eggs 1 1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano Sea salt to taste Clean the asparagus and cut the tough stalk ends. Bring a large pot of cold water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and all the asparagus and boil for 1 - 2 minutes or until the bases are tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Dry well. Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a bowl whisk eggs with a pinch of salt, about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Cut the asparagus into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Warm the olive oil in a large ovenproof non-stick skillet, add the asparagus pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped mint leaves and cook for 1 minute. Add the eggs and stir with a wooden spatula as if you were making scrambled eggs. Continue stirring and cooking over medium-low heat until the eggs are about halfway set. Stir in the Parmigiano. Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake until the frittata is lightly set, about 8 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove the frittata from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 - 6.

Amici Journal congratulates GIOACCHINO’S TO THEIR 30TH ANNIVERSARY!


Phone: 708-544-0380 Fax: 708-544-3362

Closed Mondays; Tues - Thurs 10:30 am - 12 Mid; Fri & Sat 10:30 am - 2 am; Sun 11 am - 11 pm YOUR HOSTS: JACK, NELLA & BIANCA

20 people or more Grilled Chicken Salad, Mostaccioli, Pizzas


$ 75


per person

Not valid with any other offer. Must mention this coupon. Expires 09/14/07


20 people Baked Gnocchi (potato dumpling w/ marinara sauce baked in oven w/ mozzarella and romano cheese), antipasto salad




129 per person

Not valid with any other offer. Must mention this coupon. Expires 09/14/07




• Boasted Chicken • BBQ Chicken • Cheese or Meat Ravioli • Gnocchi • Fettuccini Alfredo • Spaghetti • Mostaccioli Not valid with any other offer. Must present coupon. Expires 12/31/07





per person

Not valid with any other offer. Must mention this coupon. Expires 09/14/07



3 large cheese pizzas FREE Serves 30, Reg. 220.56

Not valid with any other offer. Must present this coupon. Expires 12/31/07


Tax included

3 large cheese pizzas FREE Serves 30, Reg. 206.56


Don’t miss



August 6 - September 5, 2007

September 28 - 30, Noon - 10 pm daily

opened daily

IL BAROCCO E LE FESTE RELIGIOSE IN SICILIA more than eighty black-andwhite and color images taken from the 1970s to the present day by Sicilian photographer Giuseppe Leone. Part 1 contains photographs inspired by the magnificent baroque architecture of the Noto valley - the amazing palaces, churches, and piazzas of southeastern Sicily in the triangle formed by Catania, Siracusa, and Ragusa Part 2 is documenting one full year of Sicilian religious festivals in an explosion of sumptuous color and festive crowds from Christmas to Easter to the many saints’ days (San Giuseppe, Santa Rosalia, Sant’Agata, and of course the cult of San Sebastiano).

Location: Casa Italia, 1621 N. 39th Ave., Stone Park, IL More info: call (708) 338-0723

2ND ANNUAL FESTA DELLA VENDEMMIA Sunday, September 16, 2007, 11 am – 6 pm

Mass in the Casa Chapel at noon, wine tasting from noon to 6 pm, grape stomping competition, wine making demonstration. Farmer’s Market, Food vendors featuring a pig roast & Italian favorites. Bocce tournament, Raffle, New Car Show & Corvette Show, Hay Rides, Children’s Activities, Entertainment by Italian Cultural Center Dancers from Milwaukee, Stella Raimondi, John Vincent and the Italian Cultural Center Singers.

Location: Casa Italia Festival Center, 39th Ave. and Soffel, Stone Park, IL Cost: Event is free, wine tasting is $10.00 per person - unlimited tasting More info: 708-345-3842

THE 2007 IMPRESA AWARDS Saturday, September 8, 2007 Noon

The Women’s Division of The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans invites you to attend a celebration of Italian American Achievements. Awarded will be: Gia Marie Amella, Janet Davies, Josie Falbo, Dr. Francine Palma Long, Lucia Mauro, Angela M. Petrone, Dr. Darlene Ruscitti.

Location: Wyndham Drake, Oak Brook, 22nd St. and York Rd. Cost: Tickets are $55 per person, $15 children under 12 More info: 847-985-9780


The Maroons Ladies Club - An Auxiliary of The Italian American Soccer Club “Maroons” invites you to the Annual Fashion Show “Illumination” benefiting Soccer for our youth. Bazaar - 6 pm, Dinner – 7:30 pm / Fashions by “That Girl” immediately following dinner.

Location: Porretta’s Elegant Banquets, 3718 N. Central Ave., Chicago, IL More info: Donation: $45.00, Call for reservations by September 10, to Ilma Marianetti at 773-792-3974

Italian specialties from regional Italian restaurants, wine and beer, bocce, cooking demonstrations, dancing, amusement rides, Italian folk dancers, many entertainers including The Dupree, fireworks on Saturday, Sunday Mass at 11 am with Bishop John Smith and Monsignor Innocenzi honoring Italian-American war veterans and all other veterans on the festival grounds.

Location: Mercer County Italian-American Assoc., 2421 Liberty Street Trenton, NJ 08629 Cost: Admission is $2.00 per person More info: 609-631-7544, www.italianamericanfestival.com


Taste of Italy, Friday, September 28, Italian Festival, September 29 & 30, 2007 Attractions and exhibits include Italian and Italian-American arts and crafts, an Italian Classic Vehicle show, Italian Film Festival, Historical Photo Display. “Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms” a 7-piece horn band from Columbus, Ohio, which plays Italian songs with a contemporary beat, Chef Nick Stellino headlining a great schedule of cooking demonstrations. Preview of Italian Operas in the 2008 season featuring live vocalists and a commentary by Jonathan Dean. DeLaurenti Bocce Tournament, Bolla Grape Stomp. Location: Fisher Pavilion and the surrounding grounds at Seattle Center More info: 206-282-0627, www.festaseattle.com, free admission


FILIPPO MAZZEI POST 1 - join us to celebrate Italian heritage and Christopher Columbus with a fabulous Dinner Dance. Cocktails and Hor d’oeuvers 6 pm – 7 pm, Dinner 7 pm – 8 pm, Dancing 8 pm – 11 pm

Location: Villa Brunetti – 9755 W. Grand Ave, Franklin Park, IL Cost: Tickets are $45.00 per person in advance, $55.00 at the door, free valet parking. Tables of 8 are $360.00 More info: 708-531-1534

COLUMBUS DAY MASS AND PARADE Monday, October 8 and Saturday, October 13

October 8 - 10 am Mass at Our Lady of Pompeii, Wreath Laying Ceremony in Arrigo Park, Luncheon for mass participants only in Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine Hall. October 13 – Columbus Day Parade, noon on Columbus Dr. between Balbo and Randolph Post-Parade Reception – Immediately following the parade at the Rooftop Garden in Millennium Park at Randolph & Columbus Dr.

Location: The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, 1224 West Lexington Street, Chicago, IL 60607 More info: For more info or to reserve your float, call 708-450-9050



September 20-23, 11 am - 9 pm

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Location: Navy Pier Chicago More info: 312-553-9137, info@italianchamber.us, www.italianchamber.us

Location: Washington Hilton and Towers, Washington, DC Cost: Tickets and tables are scaled from $400 to $1,000 based on location. These seats are proportionally discounted for early registrants. More info: call Elissa Ruffino 202-387-0600, www.niaf.org

The Italian American Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 100th anniversary with this four-day event promoting the excellence of Italian Style including cars, scooters, fashion, jewelry, food and wine, machineries, ceramics, and other. Exhibitors include: CNH, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Vespa, Ernestomeda, Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, Barilla, and more. Come enjoy the fashion shows, seminars, food and wine tasting, cooking classes, concerts. Opened to the public from September 21. Honorary Chair of the event is Italian Senator Renato Turano.

38 AMICI / Fall 2007

As usual, NIAF’s convention weekend culminates with the NIAF annual gala dinner, which this year features Liguria as their Region of Honor. The 2007 gala honorees include presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, actress Ellen Pompeo, singer and actress Connie Stevens, and CEO of the AARP, William D. Novelli.

Maria Santissima Lauretana di Altavilla Milicia Feast Celebrates 107th Year, Annual Religious Feast Labor Day Weekend August 31, thru September 3, 2007 Cermak Plaza at 22nd and Harlem Ave Berwyn, IL A must see for the whole family to enjoy, and involve in such a Sacred Event! ITALIAN FOOD, RIDES AND GAMES FOR ALL THE FAMILY. Concerts daily by the Sicilian Band of Chicago. Itinerary & Entertainment Line-Up: • Saturday September 1, 8:30 pm - Group Infinity • Sunday September 2, 10:30 am - Field Mass, 9:00 am & 3:30 pm - Procession, 5:00 & 8:00 pm Flight of the Angels • Monday September 3 - Entertainment Starts at 7:00 pm Starring Enzo & Iliana Incandela & Tony Spavone, Master of Ceremonies Gino Nuccio More Entertainment to be announced!

Fall 2007 / AMICI 39

The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia


Summer Art Exhibition

Gala Opening & Artist Reception held on Friday August 3rd


he Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia presents an art exhibition that features the work of internationally renowned and contemporary Italian-American artists. The Cultural Center was founded in 1970 by Fr. August Feccia and maintains an exquisite collection of art by Italians and Italian-Americans. This magnificent art exhibition is open to the public with free admission. Many of the contributing artists will be on hand both for the opening reception at 7 pm on Friday August 3 and during the subsequent days of the show. The organizers have brought together some of the most familiar Italian names in the Chicago area art scene. This eclectic art show will feature painting, sculpture, film, photography and more. “We’re Back!”, said Dominic Candeloro, the exhibit coordinator, “For fifteen years we braved the winds, rains, and heat at the Lakefront Chicago Festa Italiana. Now we have the new air-conditioned Chandelier Room at Casa Italia to show our artwork.” Domenica Thompson, of the organizing committee, notes that the group expects to display more than 50 original works of art indoors and several large sculptures outdoors. Under Thompson’s supervision, the Italian Cultural Center will use the momentum from this show to engage the artists in a

John Bucci

Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia gratefully acknowledges the help of Mayor Anthony DeLuca and the City of Chicago Heights for providing easels for this art exhibition

For additional information about this program, please contact Dominic Candeloro at: D-Candeloro@govst.edu (847-951-9109) or visit the web site: www.CasaItaliaChicago.net 40 AMICI / Fall 2007

THE PARTICIPATING ARTISTS ARE: John Adduci - John was born in Chicago in 1948, received a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Illinois University in 1971, and a Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University in 1975. For thirty years, he has been working from his Chicago studio. Vincent Coppola - Vince received a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and also has a Masters in post-modern philosophy. He is currently teaching oil painting and how to use various media. Vince recently com­pleted a memorial piece for the Westchester Middle School. John Bucci - John is nationally known for his traveling replica of the Trevi Fountain and as the designer/fabricator of the remarkable art and history exhibits at the Italian Cultural Center. His projects in the Chicago area include the “On the Road to Greatness” Lincoln statue in Chicago Heights at the crossing of the Lincoln and the Dixie Highways, the Globe in the Columbus Carillon at Governors State University, and a water works display at the Museum of Science and Industry. Anna Pagnucci - Anna is currently completing her MFA in non-figurative painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She has a SA in fine art from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville and an MA in art history from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She has taught at UW-Milwaukee and at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). Thomas Palazzolo - Tom received his MFA from the School of the Chicago Art Institute. He has also studied with Ken Josephson and is currently represented by the Stephen Daiter Gallery of Chicago, IL. His works have been shown at the Betsy Rymer Gallery, Carl Hammer Gallery, Metal Works Gallery. Robert Proce (Procci) - Robert has studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, American Academy of Art and the Institute of Lettering and Design. He has worked as a portrait artist, art director and lettering artist. Va Lizzo - Va has been an artist for more than 40 years. Started with oil painting, then acrylic and water colors. She now works with paper and collage. Dominick M. Maino - Dominick easily brings his profession into the act of photographic creation. As a Professor at the Illinois College of Optometry Illinois Eye Institute, he is aware of the importance of single, clear, comfortable, two-eyed vision. Each of these concepts is applied to his photography. Whether he is photographing a single subject, a fire-eater’s flaming explosion, or a vase of colorful flowers. This fall he will once again exhibit his work at the Gallery ABBA. Rita Dianni-Kaleel - Rita’s award winning work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally for many years. She studied with The Carol Cameron Studio, and continued with the Drisi Studio Of Fine Art, Gerald Merfeld, Brookwood Studio and Koh-Varilla Guild. Julia dal Negro Oehmke - Julia, a portrait artist and sculptor, studied in the Classical style at the Drisi School of Fine Art and later at the studio of Koh-Varilla for sculpting. She has been widely publicized in books and magazines, including Newsweek online. Several of her works have been included in both editions of the Chicago Art Scene book. Cherie Salerno - Cherie is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago-Fine Arts with a graphic arts degree from Triton College. She uses acrylic, watercolor, ink, pencil, and occasionally collage. “Regardless of subject matter, art should effect a reaction in people.” Joe Fornelli - Joe is famous for his paintings of animals and his work with the Vietnam Veterans Museum. He also played an important role in developing the Italian American Veterans Museum at Casa Italia. Christopher & Joseph Burlini - Christopher paints walls. His 200 foot long mural, “Scenes of It­aly” appears at Christ Hospital. His most prestigious masterpiece was done at The Pritikin Estate while executing murals for “The Squished Eyeball Magic Theatre”, in San Francisco. Talent runs in the Burlini family; his sculptor father, Joseph Burlini, will also exhibit during the show and Joseph, in turn, is providing works of art of his late father. Daniel Cull - Dan began creating art while living and working at Lake Tahoe, CA. He is currently a full-time student at Northern Illinois University and is complet­ing a SA in Art with an emphasis in ceramics and sculpture. Louis F. Mustari - Louis received his BAE and MAE from the Art Institute of Chicago and his PhD in Mediaeval and Italian Renaissance Art History from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. He has received numerous awards and recognition including the Art Institute of Chicago Van de Vries Scholarship, Schwartz Gallery, Chicago: 1st Place Award, University of Florence, Italy Fulbright Scholarship. Franco Demonte - Franco has studied illustration and fine art oil painting/old masters techniques at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Michele Price - Michelle grew up in the Northwest Chicago suburbs and attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she received both a BFA in Art Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. She currently teaches art and photography at Buffalo Grove High School. During the summer months Ms. Price enjoys extended travels to photograph such places as Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, Spain, and Italy. Anthony Panzica - Tony is a self-taught 74-year-old artist. Since his retirement 14 years ago, he has painted over a hundred paintings mostly of his Italian family. Josephine Borromeo - Josephine is an International artist who has had group showings and solo exhibits at the University of Illinois, The Art Gallery, Bloomingdale Museum and in Mexico. She received her BSA at the Art Institute Chicago and her MSA at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Nick Bernero - Nick is the youngest artist in this exhibition. He recently graduated from Walther Lutheran High School and will soon be attending University of Illinois. Julie Christensen - Julie’s luscious still-life paintings and her cozy renditions of small town life are alive with warm, positive statements. Lenice Colangelo - Lenice teaches art at the Churchville Middle Shool in Elmhurst. Fall 2007 / AMICI 41


La traviata and La bohème By John Rizzo


f you really and truly want to understand why Italian culture is so celebrated, see an opera, the most uniquely Italian art form there is. And this season, Lyric Opera is staging two of the most popular Italian operas of all. La traviata In a purely musical sense, Giuseppe Verdi was one of the greatest composers that ever lived. His genius, however, was of a very unique type, not the same as that of Bach or Mozart, or for that matter, Rossini or Donizetti. These earlier masters composed effortlessly, their musical creations totally abstracted from their own psyches. Their emotional states did not discernibly intrude on or affect their ability to produce one masterpiece after another. With Verdi it was different – at least some of the time. We have only to consider the dismal failure of Un giorno di regno (1840), a comic opera that Verdi struggled with in the wake of the recent deaths of his wife and two children. He simply could not abstract his art from his profound personal grief. We can also detect Verdi’s deepest feelings at work in La traviata, which was ultimately one of the composer’s most enduring successes. La traviata, photo by Robert Kusel/Lyric Opera of Chicago

In 1851, Verdi’s Rigoletto was triumphantly premiered at the Fenice in Venice, but only after a knock-down-dragout fight between the composer and the censors, in which Verdi vehemently opposed every single change in the libretto requested by the authorities. In the end there was compromise on both sides but mostly on the part of the censors. When the same Venetian censors were presented with a libretto to another Verdi opera titled Amore e morte, scheduled for the Fenice in March 1853, even though its subject matter made Rigoletto seem tame by comparison, there was no enthusiasm for another difficult battle with the strong-willed composer. The censors got their way with changing the opera’s title to La traviata and the Fenice management prevailed in setting the opera in 1700 instead of 1850, but that’s about the extent of the changes. One modification that the censors ardently wanted but did not get was to change the word croce to pena in Alfredo’s line set to an absolutely gorgeous melody. The line reads Di quell’ amor’… croce’delizia al cor, which can be translated, “Love… both the cross and delight of the soul.” The censors thought that the word croce, with its biblical allusion, was downright blasphemous. By changing it to pena (pain) they felt that both the meaning of the line and its poetic meter would remain the same. But Verdi, who always strove to achieve the often elusive parole scenica, would have none of it and the word croce remains.Now why was Verdi so adamant about love being a cross to bear? For him it was exactly that. Probably around 1847, less than ten years after the death of

42 AMICI / Fall 2007

his wife, Verdi began a love affair with Giuseppina Strepponi. In 1852 the composer returned to his hometown of Busseto and lived openly in a midtown villa with the former prima donna and mother of two illegitimate children. The fact that the lovers were not married created such a scandal that Verdi and Strepponi soon moved to the far more private environs of Sant’Agata. Why, we may ask, didn’t Verdi marry Strepponi? He loved her deeply and shared every aspect of his life with her. Verdi had not married Strepponi because of his relationship with Antonio Barezzi, the Busseto merchant who was not only the composer’s unstinting benefactor and stalwart champion, but also the father of Verdi’s dead wife, Margherita, and the grandfather of the two dead children. Although Verdi treasured his life with Giuseppina, he was tormented by the possibility that a second marriage might rupture his bond with Barezzi. The move to Sant’Agata in late 1852 indicates that Verdi’s domestic difficulties had reached a crisis of sorts, and this was at the very same time that he was working on La traviata (he was also composing Il trovatore simultaneously). As one critic puts it, “La traviata is not specifically about Giuseppina Strepponi.” Perhaps not. But how could Verdi have not been thinking about living unmarried with a woman while composing an opera about a man and woman who live together unmarried? So Alfredo’s croce in loving Violetta clearly corresponds to the cross Verdi bore in loving Giuseppina. With La traviata, we can be grateful that the composer’s inner feelings acted on his musical genius. La bohème Giacomo Puccini’s music engages the emotions of his audience like no other composer and his operas mark the culmination of the Italian opera tradition. His most popular opera, actually the most popular of all operas, is La bohème. We can point to a couple of reasons for this. On a conscious level, spectators can easily relate to the opera’s characters and situations. Most of us have experienced “bohemian” chapters in our lives, we have probably had things go wrong with a romantic affair and we have likely suffered over the death of a loved one. Thus it is natural to identify with the drama of the opera. The opera is also filled with some of the most breathtakingly beautiful music imaginable. Combine these elements in a masterful fashion and you have a genuinely immortal work of art. The fusion of music and drama, Angela Gheorghiu (Mimi in La boheme) of course, is the real trick in composing an opera and nobody did this better than Puccini. For those who have never even seen an opera, Puccini’s music still conveys a sense of drama such that it is absolutely captivating. In other words, listeners may not know the story behind the music but they are nevertheless overwhelmed by its dramatic power. Photo by Sasha Gusov Whenever the idea of romantic love arises and La bohème’s first-act duet “O soave fanciulla,” or the second-act aria “Quando m’en vo’” is played, its impact is eerily mesmerizing. A good example of Puccini’s universal appeal is in how the opera’s music is employed commercially. Rarely has the music of La bohème been used so effectively as in the 1987 film Moonstruck. In my view, if you take away Puccini’s rapturously splendid music from Moonstruck’s score, it’s hard to imagine that the movie would have had any recognition at all.

For performance dates, ticket availability and purchase, call 312-332-2244 or visit www.lyricopera.org



Broker Associate Call for your special


Gino Marino Outlet store



High quality men’s fashions at great prices!

Office: 773-792-3000 ext. 240

Sport jackets, slacks, suits and sweaters. Featuring George Baroni and many other outstanding Italian designers.

Cell: 773-936-6000

Gino & Linda

24 CONTI PARKWAY ELMWOOD PARK, IL 60707 Ph: 708.456.7117 Cell: 708.268.7115


is an Italian-American Chicago-area soloist on the contrabassoon, one of only a few in the world. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, she traced her Italian ancestry through Emilio Nigro - her great-grandfather - who came to the USA in 1885 from Matonti, a small village in the Salerno province of Campania. Her solo activities have taken her to Rome, Italy / Salzburg, Austria / Montevideo, Uruguay / and to points throughout the United States. She presents recitals, appears as soloist with orchestras, and has recorded 6 commercially available compact discs - clips of which may be heard at: www.bigbassoon.com

Fax: 773-792-8872

5420 N. Harlem Ave Chicago, IL 60656 As a prominent proponent of the contrabassoon`s solo capabilities, she has commissioned, premiered, and performed over 30 new works by living composers, thereby greatly enhancing the repertoire available for this instrument. Currently, she has 5 new pieces in preparation for their first performances: 2 by Elaine Fine (Charleston IL), 1 by Joel Bjorling (Gilson IL), 1 by Frank Proto (Cincinnati OH), and 1 by Daniele Di Maggio (Milano, Italia!). Information on the premiers of these new works may be found on the “Performances” page of her website, and readers of Amici magazine are invited and encouraged to come out to hear her perform. SUSAN L. NIGRO, contrabassoonist, 179 W. Quincy St. Riverside IL 60546, phone / FAX: 708-447-3950, www.bigbassoon.com Fall 2007 / AMICI 43





iorgia Fumanti was born in Fivizzano (north of Tuscany) and grew up in Aulla, a small town near where she was born; it borders 3 regions of Italy (Tuscany, Liguria and Emilia Romagna). Her Mother’s name is Alba and Father is Alberto, Mother is from Parma and her Father is from Aulla. She has one sister that she loves very dearly; her name is Federica and they are very close. Federica was the one that helped Giorgia as they were growing up, and helped in any way she could and was a very influential role model for Giorgia. Federica is now a beautiful Mother with three wonderful children that Giorgia loves and misses very much. Giorgia’s Grandmother sang for her as a small child, she sang to her sweet and loving lullabies. The love rang out in her voice that was a pleasure to her as a child and she still reminisces today of those loving lullabies. “I believe that this is what always made me long to be a singer, hearing her passionate voice fascinated me.” Giorgia’s Grandmother was very instrumental in her inspiration to become a singer, and her parents taught her true values about life. “At the age of 16 we all realized that my voice was a gift that must have been passed 44 AMICI / Fall 2007

from my Grandmother.” Giorgia sang for the first time in a Christmas concert in the Church in the little town of Aulla in December of 1991, at almost the age of 16. And her first time professionally was in Montreal, Canada in 2003 at the age of 26, it was a Christmas Concert in the majestic Basilica at St. Joseph ’s Oratory. In the busy schedule of Giorgia she always makes time at least several times in a year to go to Italy and visit her parents, sister and loving nieces and nephew, as well as her friends that miss her and are very proud of her. Many are curious to know about Giorgia Fumanti’s love life and if she is married. Giorgia informs us that she has a special man in her life ... a very smart man and not at all jealous of the love she has for her music and her fans. Maybe in our next issue we can find out who that lucky man may be? She has written some songs with music and lyrics, and is constantly trying her ideas of sound on her albums and at her concerts. She has written other songs as well but holds them close and is still a little shy to share them with an audience. Her music is typically about Universal and Spiritual love and Peace. But she plans on

sharing this quite different then the usual songs, very shortly with her audiences and in her albums. Visit www.giorgiafumanti.com. Giorgia Fumanti was always very near to people that many call different, she formed a loving passion for those stricken with Cerebral Palsy, maybe because she always felt different in some way due to her sensitivity. She had a special lovely uncle with some similar illness problems. So the desire to help these people stricken with Cerebral Palsy and to make them feel better and just to see a smile on their faces was always near to her heart. She had some experiences with volunteers when she was a teenager and then worked with people with handicaps for 2 years. Now even though she is very busy, she is proudly honored to stand for them and to use her voice to talk about those that are handicapped. She has finished her World Ambassador engagement with the Cerebral Palsy Association, and now is the spokesperson for another amazing association, it is the Multi-ethnic, for the integration of people with handicaps. This association is based in Montreal Canada. Doing this Giorgia feels she can relate to another situation so that people interact with those that are handicapped.

GIORGIA FROM HER HEART TO AMICI JOURNAL AJ: HOW DO YOU RELAX WHEN YOU ARE NOT PERFORMING OR TRAVELING ? GF: I love nature, I love to walk at long distances and enjoy the beauty of the forests, animals, it helps me in preparing for an upcoming event or to relate to a certain type of music I would like to present! AJ: DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES? GF: Yes I do when I have time I enjoy Yoga, Reiki, however spiritual and personal research are my favorites. Tennis is also a sport I enjoy as well, I love to dance however I am not as good at it when it comes to following a dance course. I prefer to dance in a freely without a course, and let the music guide my way. AJ: WHAT PLACE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO FOR A VACATION IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ANY DESTINATION? GF: I think my homes in Italy and Canada... I am always traveling for work and have been fortunate enough to tour many countries around the world, so it is so nice to stay home! But I really love the sea and warm weather. AJ: HAVE YOU ANY PLANS FOR ANY UPCOMING MOVIE OR PLAY THAT INVOLVES YOUR SINGING TALENTS. GF: I hope so... I would like to be part of a wonderful movie that can inspire millions of people... about peace, awareness, spirituality and Love... and then a movie about my life... I will have so many life-lessons to share. AJ: WHICH WAS THE FIRST ALBUM YOU CAME OUT WITH - FROM MY HEART OR LIKE A DREAM? GF: It was Like A Dream on the music of Vangelis. My artist name was different... I was GioAria... I was too afraid to be fully myself and to believe that Giorgia could really be a singer. I live like Giorgia with so many challenges in my life, good and bad alike... Then I became more mature and I understood that Giorgia and all that she lives for, helps me to be who I am today, the person that I am and the

Giorgia Fumanti with José Carreras in his Asia Tour singer that I am, so I took the courage to stand to honor my past, and present myself to the world like Giorgia Fumanti. “From My Heart” has just recently been released, worldwide. AJ: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR SONGS? GF: I usually always choose the songs, and the music from my heart, I have a strong passion for this, and want to present to the audience what is in within my heart, totally from my heart. AJ: WHEN DO YOU PLAN ON YOUR NEXT ALBUM AND WHO ARE YOU SIGNED UP IN REGARDS TO YOUR RECORDING? GF: I am signed with EMI worldwide. I am already working on my next album, which will be recorded some time next year 2008, but in the meantime I want to present my album From my Heart to so many Hearts throughout the world. AJ: IS IT TRUE ANDREA BOCELLI HAD ANY INFLUENCE IN YOUR CHOICE OF POP AND CLASSICAL MUSIC? GF: Yes he did as so many other individuals have had an influence, however Andrea’s sensitivity and simplicity was of a unique inspiration to me.

AJ: AND HOW DO DREAMS WORK AS A METAPHOR WITH YOUR MUSIC? GF: Music was a dream... a far dream. I studied law, and have worked at so many different jobs and I never said that I wanted to be a singer when I was a child. Then I discovered my voice at 16 and from that moment music became my dream and my life. It took me many years before the dream became a reality, but now I am totally living my dream and I am so grateful for it, it is beyond words. AJ: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO CONVEY IN YOUR SONGS? GF: The magic that music makes me feel. Music is a Universal language. Peace, Love, Spirituality and my true emotions are expressed in my voice. I just feel to be a friend through my voice with so many millions of hearts around the world... and share with them the Magic of music. AJ: WILL YOU BE IN CHICAGO ANYTIME SOON? GF: My album is now being released in the USA, Asia, Canada, and Mexico and very soon in Europe. I expect to be in Chicago for concerts this coming fall or winter. AJ: DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR AMICI JOURNAL READERS? GF: Just to be happy, hold things you love near to your heart, just like the way I am when I sing... and please share with me the magic that music makes one feel.

Fall 2007 / AMICI 45

S p o rt s



rturo “Thunder” Gatti (born April 15, 1972), is a Canadian professional boxer. Gatti was born in Italy and is proud of his heritage and his Italian parents, upon arriving in the states his family moved to Canada when he was young, and was raised in Montreal. Gatti speaks 4 languages English, Italian, Spanish and French. He has lived in Jersey City, New Jersey since 1991. Gatti is considered by many boxing experts and fans alike to be one of the most exciting boxers living today. He participated in Ring Magazine’s “fight of the year” three years in a row, from 1996 to 1998. His brother, Joe Gatti, is also a professional boxer. Gatti, nicknamed Thunder, and in Welterweight Division with a total of 47 fights in his ongoing career, with 40 wins 30 of which were by KO , 8 Losses and no draws. Coined “the human highlight film”, Arturo Gatti has participated in the “Fight of the Year” for three consecutive years: 1996-1998. His three bouts against Mickey Ward are recognized as one of the greatest boxing events ever. Gatti turned pro in June 1991, scoring a third-round TKO over Jose Gonzalez. He then went on to win his next five straight - four inside the distance. After suffering a minor setback to King Solomon in November 1992 (L 6), Gatti won his next 23 bouts - 19 by KO - with 10 of those coming in the first-round and just six extending. On July 22 2006, Carlos Baldomir of Argentina, a surprising recent winner over Zab Judah, went on to defend the IBF welterweight championship against veteran Arturo Gatti, unfortunately Baldomir was

too strong for Gatti. And his loss seems that it may bring him to retire as he said after the fight. Whatever he does his record is a shining one and quite an individual and a role model when it comes to the sport. Always gentlemen and gives credit where it is due. If this happened he would have retired with a record of 40 Wins and 8 losses, of his wins 31 were by knockouts. However Arturo Gatti, was back in action on Saturday July 14, 2007 when former world champion Arturo Gatti fought against Alfonso Gomez in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Gomez didn’t figure to be a huge threat even though Gatti had lost to Mayweather and Baldomir in two of his last three fights. But a determined Gomez landed several clean punches early and continued to apply pressure until Gatti finally crumbled in the seventh, flattened by a flurry of punches on the ropes and a hard right hand that dropped him for good. said

Gomez “Gatti


tough and he was taking all of his hard shots, then a did

combination the


Gomez connects to Gatti with straight left

for him”. Gatti spokesman said he would be coming back to the fights as a Spectator

ELMWOOD PARK YOUTH FOOTBALL FEELING THE RUSH The Village of Elmwood Park is changing the name of its youth football teams from the Raiders to the Elmwood Park Rush, beginning with this fall’s football season. Approved at a recent Elmwood Park Village board meeting, the change means all six of Elmwood Park’s teams competing in the Chicago-land AYF conference now will be known as the Rush, wearing both blue and white Rush jerseys, and the Rush “R” logo on their helmets this fall. “The entire organization is excited about the Elmwood Park Rush,” said Rush president/ general manager Mike Polisky. “The Rush is committed to helping grow youth football throughout Chicago-land and when a town wants to change its name to the Rush, it shows we definitely are having a positive impact with the kids.” “Both the Elmwood Park Youth Commission Football Program and the Chicago Rush share a common commitment to children, families, athletics and sportsmanship,” ELMWOOD PARK YOUTH FOOTBALL FEELING THE RUSH WITH VILLAGE PRESIDENT PETE SILVESTRI said Mitch Wurtz, Elmwood Park football program coordinator. “The Rush name is already generating excitement among our youth players as they now share a local identity with a professional sports team. When told about the switch, one child validated the decision – ‘We’re now the Elmwood Park Rush? COOL!’” For more information about the Elmwood Park Rush, fans can visit www.elmwoodparkrush.com. 48 AMICI / Fall 2007



Vince Papale broke into training camp with the Philadelphia

Eagles in 1976, at age 30, and swept the Nation. Not only did Papale make the team, but by 1977, he was the team captain and made more public appearances than any member of the Eagles. He wasn’t a quarterback, a running back or a linebacker. He was a special teams player and an occasional backup at wide receiver. What made Papale so special was his heart, his determination and his will to do something he dreamed his whole life of doing. A native of suburban Philadelphia, Papale was “Rocky”except Papale was the real thing. “I saw an Italian kid who ran fast,” said former Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil. “He was an athletic guy who could catch the ball and run with it rapidly, and he had tremendous passion.” Papale took that passion and made himself the oldest rookie in NFL history. Just two years before, Papale was bartending at Max’s in· Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, and substitute teaching at Interboro High School where Papale graduated from in 1964. “My teammates thought I was a publicity stunt,” Papale said. “When I first joined the team, there was a lot of hostility and indifference toward me. I took a lot of grief, cheap shots and verbal abuse.” It didn’t take long, however, for Papale’s infectious personality to win over his teammates with the Eagles. “I actually became friends with a lot of the people that were hostile toward me at first,” Papale said. “Once they saw that I could play, they warmed up to me.” Papale only played three seasons in the NFL before bowing out of the game due to a shoulder injury. For his career, he played in 41 games, recovered two fumbles, the first of which, led to Vermeil’s first win as an NFL head coach, and caught one pass for 15 yards. “It’s a great story,” Vermeil said. “He communicated with the fans and they loved who he was. He could help the team with just enthusiasm.” Papale’s story was unlike any other in pro football. Sure, there were guys like Kurt Warner who had to fight through incredible odds to make it out of the ranks of minor league football into the NFL, but Papale, at the age he did it, is truly one of a kind. The story needed to be told, and the NFL thought of just the way to tell it. In 2002, the NFL wanted to commemorate the 25-year anniversary of the release of Rocky with a feature during the pregame show of the Monday

Night Football game between the Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Once Disney acquired the rights to the film, it was time to piece the movie together, starting with the cast. Mark Wahlberg, who is most known for his roles in The Italian Job and Boogie Knights, secured the part of the lead character. Oscar-nominated actor Greg Kinnear took the role as Vermeil. “I think they did a good job,” Vermeil said. “Greg has more talent than what they asked him to do, but he was great.” Vermeil, who was admittedly very intense in his early days as a head coach, was glad that side of him wasn’t portrayed too strongly in the movie. “They didn’t put Greg in any intense coaching environments,” Vermeil said. As for Wahlberg’s character, he had to learn how to be a pro football player and had to involve himself in a special training camp to choreograph the football action of the movie. “It was cool,” Papale said. “Mark nailed it.

He’s total pro and a real chameleon. There was a lot of pressure on him.” Invincible wasn’t the first movie idea that was pitched to Papale about his life story as he had a few previous offers. “They almost made one for TV, but I nixed the project,” Papale said. “There were some things they wanted to put in there that I didn’t think were appropriate. This is a family film.” Papale is also happy that he gets to share his story with his family and many others. “I get to share it with my wife, Janet, my kids and a whole new genera­tion,” Papale said. “It’s a story of a dream, someone who overcomes incredible odds. It could be about anybody.” This story is about Papale and has already thrust itself to be one of the most inspirational sports movies of all-time, right up there with Rocky, Hoosiers and Rudy. “It ranks right up there because it’s a true story and it wasn’t just a cup of coffee,” Papale said. “I was in the league for four years and I was team captain. I didn’t just make one tackle.” Vermeil agrees and believes that the movie will really shine once it leaves theaters and hits the retail shelves. “It was number one in the theater for two weeks, but this is going to be a great DVD seller,” Vermeil said. “It could surpass Rocky and Miracle. People want their kids to see this movie.” The movie has also brought the connection of Papale and Vermeil closer than it ever has been. “I talk to Dick all the time” Papale said. “It meant a lot to me that he endorsed the movie. I love the man to death.”

People all over are starting to love Papale to death - a man who overcame incredible odds to do what he loved. And now people everywhere can watch his story unfold on the Big Screen. Papale, throwing a block on special teams for the Eagles in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fall 2007 / AMICI 49




Three Locations to serve you! Grand Opening in Schiller Park 3720 ROSE STREET SCHILLER PARK, IL Tel: (847) 678-6233 Fax: (847) 678-6242

470 GEORGETOWN SQUARE WOODDALE, IL Tel: (630) 521-0560 Fax: (630) 521-0566

7411 W. GRAND AVENUE ELMWOOD PARK, IL Tel: (708) 452-5652 Fax: (708) 452-8642

Store Hours:

Store Hours:

Store Hours:

Mon - Fri 8am to 9pm

Mon - Sun 7am to 9pm

Mon - Fri 8am to 9pm

Sat - Sun 8am to 8pm


Sat - Sun 8am to 8pm

50 AMICI / Fall 2007


Pizza & Sub Shop


7501 W. Diversey Elmwood Park, IL 60707


Mon ~ Thurs 11:00 am ~ 11:00 pm Fri & Sat 11:00 am ~ Midnight

Free Lunch Delivery 11 am - 3 pm Submarine Sandwiches (Try Our Home Made Meatball Sub!) Grilled Panini - Italian Beef Italian Sausage - Pasta - Soups Salads - Sweets - Italian Ice

Home of the Square Pizza “We don’t cut corners” We Offer Catering for ALL your Occasions at the Office or Home


Smiling angelic face body aching slowly fading. Silently suffering in fear plus pain what I see her endure breaks My heart every time as I leave locking her front door. Racing thoughts difficult to control, I angrily cry, “God how much more? What’s suffering for?” My grief overwhelms weeping the healthy mother which once was Wishing the cancer never crept its ugliness into her life, Causing senseless years of heartache and strife. Mama is courageous strong and faithful without a doubt, A beautiful person inside and out. My hero fights this war against cancer, Please Dear God help this world find an answer? She doesn’t let this disease steal her heart, Nor her memories will never part. The magnificent strong woman she has become, the illness trying To take her happiness before she’s done. Never complains with pain difficulty to sleep, eat or feeling breathless, Feeling fatigued or sometimes restless. Faith, Hope and Love get my mama thru each day Not allowing Cancer to get its ugly way. Remember to appreciate one day at a time. Never forgetting to give always fighting to live. Sometimes we need to let go of life let God take control When your strength parts not allowing pride get in your way Teaches us to survive enjoying every precious day..... A special thank you to my Mom, Mary Patricia who fights for life daily and for teaching all of her family that “Life is a “bella” beautiful gift from God, never giving up when things seem hopeless. Give love. T’aimo mama


Quick Mart

Peter Spino

7450 W. GRAND AVENUE ELMWOOD PARK, IL 60707 (708) 453-3529 Fax (708) 453-3562

As we age in life, we find that those we trust Will some day probably let us down Even the people that were not supposed to You will have your heart broken on many different occasions and ones heart feels the pain harder each time. Remember as your heart may have been broken, the feeling You had will be what others may feel as you may break theirs. You may argue with your best friend, Or blame someone for what others have done. As time in life passes quickly you will feel the tears in your eyes, And you will lose those loved ones and those friends with in your heart. Life is meant that one should take mental photographs of the Times you laughed and loved As if time was standing still in front of you. For every moment of unhappiness There is a moment of happiness you have lost.

Fall 2007 / AMICI 51

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 3 olives RESTAURANT........................................................4

JOURNAL Give your business the right exposure!

AMICI D’ ITALIA...................................................................34 Amici d’ italia dinner dance FOR AUTISM.............12 AMICI JOURNAL 9-DAY CAMPANIA TOUR....................... 17


amici journal radio hour.........................................34

You’ll receive reasonable ad rates, reasonable setup fee, directory listing and link to your business website from our website.

and they came to chicago dvd..............................14

Send us information or contact us at:

Amici Journal, P.O. Box 595, River Grove, IL 60171 773-836-1595 Fax 773-622-2766 www.amiciorgit.net E-mail: amiitalia@sbcglobal.net Call or email for Amici Journal rates, demographics and production information

AMICI Journal RESTAURANT GUIDE FORM..............31 arezzo jewelers............................................... back cover a-theme events catering & gift basket..............46 CIGARS PLUS........................................................................ 23 DANIEL L. JACONETTI D.D.S............................................... 26 ERA CAPORALE REALTY....................................................52 FLOWER FANTASY................................................................16 GINO MARINO OUTLET STORE.........................................43 gioaCchino’s RISTORANTE...........................................37 GUZALDO’S GOURMET COFFEE & GELATO....................9 IACC 100TH ANNIVERSARY GALA.....................................1 JOEL GOULD ATTORNEY AT LAW............ inside back cover LAMBORGHINI CHICAGO....................................................7 LEGION AUTO, INC. .............................................................26 LO-LO’S SUB SHOP...............................................................51 MIDWAYS’ INTERNATIONAL CORP..........inside back cover mori milk..............................................................................7 NIASHF - 30TH ANNIVERSARY...........................................47 ONESTI ENTERTAINMENT..................................................39 ROMANUCCI & BLANDIN....................................................6 SPACCA NAPOLI PIZZERIA.................................................. 7 SPEED’S ii CITGO, INC. ......................................................51 SUPER LOW FOODS.............................................................50 TAYLOR STREET: CHICAGO’S LITTLE ITALY................ 23 TONY SPAVONE’S RISTORANTE.......................................50 TOTUCCIO PIZZERIA...........................................................34 troy realty........................................................................43


TRUSZ TRAVEL.......................................................................9 VENUTI’S RISTORANTE & BANQUETS...........................32 VINCE’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT.....................................15 WIRELESS TOYZ.......................................... inside back cover


52 AMICI / Fall 2007

PHOTOGRAPHERS’ CREDITS • Cover Gary Sinise - photograph © Blake Little, Icon International • Pages 8, 9 Robert Allegrini -photograph by John Rizzo • Page 25 American Troops Northern Coast of France - photograph courtesy of The Normandy Invasion: The story in Pictures, army.mil • Page 26 Cyrus Cosentino - photograph by Terry Geraci • Page 35 La Piazza Restaurant - photograph by John Rizzo • Page 36 Asparagus - photograph by David Lat, Stockxchng • Page 44 Georgia Fumanti - photograph by Daniela Federici • Inside back cover - Chicago Skyline - photograph by Dana Rohacova

Midways’ International Corporation IMPORTING FINE WINES FROM ITALY

Our Wines are Distributed by Wino Distribution, Inc. Downers Grove, IL Phone: (630) 963-2391 Midways’ International Corporation P.O. Box 171, River Grove, IL 60171 (866) 425-6042 (phone), (773) 622-2766 (fax) www.midwaysolutions.net, E-mail: midwayint@sbcglobal.net



Cell Phones Accessories Rate Plans Pre-paid Payment Center Satellite TV/Radio

7500 W. Grand Ave. Elmwood Park, IL 60707


Civil Litigation Medical MalPractice DUI Criminal Law

205 W. Randolph Suite 1550 5839 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL

Telephone 773-281-8744 We also speak Polish

Profile for Amici Journal

Gary Sinise  

11th Edition

Gary Sinise  

11th Edition