Winter issue 2013
feAtures Joel Stein Meet Milton actor Joe Mantegna Jaime Partagàs
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16 18 26 30
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6 9 10 13 14
extrAs Cigar Labels Cigars in reveiw the Libation Lounge Pour Discissions Watch reveiw
Cover actor Joe Montegna
stAff LiSa M. FiguereDO eDitOr-in-ChieF & FOunDer
SuSan CueSta aSSiStant eDitOr
PauL guzzO SeniOr Writer
SCOtt DeitChe Writer
Mark DenOte Writer
Art & PhotogrAPhy Contributors Tampa Tribune & uSF DePartMent OF SPeCiaL COLLeCtiOnS
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©2013, BossaNova Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use without written permission from the BossaNova Agency, of editorial, pictorial, or design content, in any manner is prohibited. The opinions of writers commissioned for articles are not necessarily those of the agency. All advertising is subject to approval before acceptance. BossaNova Agency reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. The BossaNova Agency assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters, emails and their contents sent to the BossaNova Agency become the sole property of the agency and may be used and published in any manner whatsoever without limit and without obligation or liability to the author there of. Cigar City™ is a trademarked name and logo, any reproduction or use without written permission will fall under the trademark infringement laws and will be executed under the fullest extent of the law. BossaNova Agency only holds the rights to use the name and trademark under the rules and regulations of the owner of the Cigar City™ 4
Flor de tampa, 1910
the City of tampa cigar label for alvarez-Valdez and Company, 1918.
the el Dedicado cigar label from Cuesta, rey and Company, 1903
From the Cigar City Collection
a el Principe de gales label from the Vicente Martinez-ybor Cigar Factory, 1853.
Mi eleccion, a cigar label from Manrara Brothers Cigar Company, 1900.
the Bucal cigar label of Cuesta rey and Comapany, 1929
the Flor de Martinez ybor cigar label as presented in a progressive proof book, 1895.
the Flor de ybor City from the arturo Fuente Cigar Company, 1910.
the Virginia Lee label of William J. Seidenberg and Company, 1895. All lables courtesy of the USF Special Library Collection
Cigars in review
by Joe Baker
tabacalera Falto Vejigante (grand Corona) tabacalera falto | ring gauge: 58 | Length: 6 ” | filler: Dom/nica/Cameroon | binder: Dominican | Wrapper: ecuador the “Vejigante” is the latest edition the tabacalera Falto family. named after a folk lore character in Puerto rican festivals this character is typicality seen in bright bold colors. its obvious owner Luis Falto wanted to translate that into his cigar with a bold and flavor driven cigar. Made in the La aurora factory Luis Falto himself blends each cigar and it is only produced in one size. at first glance you cant help but notice this large 6x58 ring gauge cigar. With its near flawless ecuadorian wrapper that's semi oily and its color reminiscent of roasted coffee beans. it sports a quadruple cap with a smooth draw. Strong white pepper notes hit you immediately as you lite up and remain in some form for the remainder of the smoke. Dark chocolate, hints of cinnamon, nuts and fruit are primary. a complex cigar that has a wide array of flavors to be found but remains with a consistent core of notes that you can count on throughout the entire smoke. Complex, airy and loads of flavor. great burn and a nice flaky ash. you can count on a 1.5-2 hour burn time. in our book this is another home run for Falto Cigars. a flavor packed cigar that hits on all the major category's a great cigar should. Works well as an after lunch cigar and pairs nicely with your favorite glass of red wine.
La Palina Classic robusto La Palina Cigars Classic | ring gauge: 52 | Length: 5” | filler: Dom/nica | binder: ecuador | Wrapper: brazil the Classic robusto is a beautiful looking cigar that has a fantastic Brazilian habano wrapper. the satin like finish on the wrapper looks regal sitting next to your favorite marble ash tray and brown leather chair. Peppery laced start with earthy undertones morph into buttery almond flavors then take on more of a nutty walnut characteristic. Dark chocolate found nearing the last half of the cigar and the peppery tones are consistent throughout. Sweet hints of plums are fleeting with a grass like overtone remaining the entire smoke. a well balanced cigar in both flavor and burn. its name rings true and is reminiscent of vintage classic cigars of old. it pairs well with a new soon to be classic rum, South Sea. its butter cream notes, with dark chocolate compliments the plum and peppery notes quite well. the earthy undertones are further complimented by the smoky and vanilla flavors found in South Sea. the cigar is a medium bodied with lots of spicy aromatic smoke that will please even the most discriminating cigar connoisseur. Perfect as a afternoon smoke or early evening cigar while relaxing after dinner on the patio with a glass of South Sea rum and several cubes of ice. in our opinion a more classic pairing cannot be found. Burn time is forty-five minutes to a hour. Winter iSSue
the Libation Lounge
by Scott M. Deitche
Simply, Gin. gin has always been a polarizing spirit, often saddled with a bad rap. One of my favorite artists is William hogarth, a renowned englishman of the 18th century who worked in a variety of mediums, including prints. Perhaps his most recognized piece is gin Lane. Completed in 1751, gin Lane is a work of deft complexity, biting social commentary, and a wholesale indictment of the ‘evils’ of gin. the Lane is a place where rioting, lawlessness, disease, and death rampant. run gin Lane was an illustration of the gin Craze, the where english government outlawed foreign spirits to encourage home-grown distilling with intended the effect of buoying the price of grain for farmers. What ensued was an explosion of cheap gin shops peddling low-quality, high-alcohol libations for the populace. and a further blow to gin’s reputation But, for me, gin is a complex and evocative drink. and the parallel to the seedy reputation of low-quality gin is the snobbish sophistication of high-end gin, particularly in england. even James Bond, who is often featured ordering a vodka martini (the ultimate blasphemy), actually drinks his fair share of gin. Of late, gin has been enjoying resurgence in popularity in america. Spearheading this trend has been the rise of craft distillers who have taken gin to the next level, bringing both classic elegance and bold experimentation to the spirit. For many, the king and queen of popular gin are tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire. Both are excellent in a variety of cocktails and on their own. Beefeater is an acceptable well spirit as well, but go any further down and you might find yourself in gin Lane. a few other straightforward brands are on my list of go-to gins. Maxim’s is a sweet and smooth gin from France. new amsterdam is a low-priced dry gin that works surprisingly well in gin-based cocktails. it lacks any bold flavor, so it’s a good bet for gin novices. But it’s well worth seeking out some of the newer brands on the market and giving a try to the craft distilleries. Last February i stopped by the Corsair Distillery in nashville and sampled their signature small batch gin. it’s a bold gin and not for the faint-hearted. it has notes of citrus and heavy juniper flavor. Death’s Door gin is produced in Wisconsin. it’s a vibrant and layered spirit with a smooth finish. Some of the other excellent small batch gins include greylock gin from Massachusetts, and Junipero from San Francisco new gins are emerging all the time. With each distiller putting their unique spin on the libation, the resurgent gin trend is taking this classic spirit to new levels. So put away the vodka, expand your libation palette, and try a few of these classic gin cocktails: 10
The Gimlet 2 oz. gin ½ oz. lime juice Add into a mixer with ice. Shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime. (Rose’s is favored)
Tom Collins 2 oz gin 2 oz lemon juice ½ oz simple syrup Club soda Slice of lemon Cherry Add gin, syrup, and lemon juice in highball glass with ice. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with lemon and cherry.
The Vesper 3 measures of Gordon’s 1 of vodka ½ a measure of Kina Lillet Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?" The Vesper as described by James Bond in the 1953 novel, Casino Royale.
by Mark DeNote
The Beers of 2013 Welcome, 2013! this looks to be another record-setting year for tampa Bay beer, but as a year goes, this year has some big shoes to fill; 2012 was one of the tampa’s best beer years. here’s a brief look at what tampa can expect from 2013 through beer-colored glasses:
Cigar City brewing every year gets bigger for this bastion of tampa beer, and 2012 was no exception. 2012 saw Cigar City expand to take over their entire industrial park. as 2012 ends, the brewery will likely double the amount of beer packaged from 2011. tampa’s craft brewery also opened a brewing facility in tampa international airport, the only operational brewery of its kind in an airport. 2013 should usher the opening of the Cigar City’s brewpub in the northdale area of tampa. the brewpub will feature tampa-inspired Cuban cuisine paired with culinary-inspired beers, and should open in March 2013. Cigar City also joined the ranks of tampa Bay Brewing Company and Jacksonville’s intuition ale Works as a canning Florida brewery. Cigar City’s core beers are now sealed inside lightproof aluminum cans and available throughout the state of Florida.
Dundin brewery tampa Bay’s elder brewery will be expanding their lineup of events and hosting both neighbors and traveling friends for collaboration beers in 2012. Dunedin is currently planning three collaboration beers for 2013. One with terrapin Brewery of athens, georgia; another beer, a barleywine, jointly brewed with Dunedin neighbor Seventh Sun Brewery (the second in their “Sun and the Sword” series); and finally a special saison for tampa Bay Beer Week brewed in collaboration with Cigar City Brewing and Seventh Sun Brewery. Combine this with the addition of Dunedin Brewery’s Spring Beer Jam event in the last weekend in March, and an already full calendar of releases, seasonal taps, and events pouring out, and 2013 is almost full for this Pinellas pub.
seventh sun brewery 2012 saw Dunedin’s second brewery open its doors, and 2013 will rise with this new brewery expanding production. the brewery’s recent addition of tanks and space will make the Seventh Sun a little brighter for tampa: this fledgling brewery will be able to make four times as much beer and expand the size of their wood cellar. to date, Seventh Sun has over 100 gallons of beer aging in wood and spirit barrels.
three Palms brewery One of tampa’s newest and tiniest breweries is looking to begin expanding its portfolio of beers with an india pale ale, an imperial stout, and a barleywine this year. Look for three Palms to open their own tasting room and possibly expand before 2013 closes.
Cycle brewing/Peg’s Cantina the gulfport craft beer mainstay now has its own brewery. the setup is much the same at the pub, for now, but according to head brewer Doug Dozark, Cycle will be “constantly brewing new stuff, and finally some big beers when our new brew house finally arrives.” Look for Cycle to open a separate location in Saint Petersburg early to mid 2013.
rapp brewing Company Pinellas’s newest brewery opened its doors in 2012 and under the watch of owner greg rapp, the brewery uses its tiny 55-gallon system to tap a steady stream of new beers. in 2013, rapp plans to expand distribution area, add a wood and barrel-aging program, and explore all the colors of the beer rainbow by brewing more styles of beer. rapp will be digging deep, as he already brews 28 different styles of beer–more styles of beer than he can pour from his 20-tap tasting room.
tampa bay brewing Company tampa’s most photogenic brewpub saw two television specials in 2012. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives showed off tampa’s first brewpub, then the Weather Channel’s Plane Xtreme flew with owner Dave Doble while he moonlighted delivering small airplanes. all of this airtime combined with new distribution of kegs and cans of Old elephant Foot iPa has helped make 2012 a banner year for tampa Bay Brewing Company. 2013 should see the ybor City pub add One night Stand Pale ale to its canning lineup as well as a continued rotation of seasonal beers.
there has been no better time in tampa’s history to enjoy handcrafted beer. Currently over a dozen breweries in Pinellas, Pasco, hillsborough, and Manatee work to make tampa Bay a craft beer destination and to fill the glasses of Bay area beer lovers. in the rear view is a time, four short years ago, when tampa’s breweries could be counted on one hand. here’s hoping that growth and support continue for tampa breweries, for where communities support local breweries, great beer pours forth.
Mark is a craft beer enthusiast and traveler who enjoys sojourning at local pubs and haunts of brew culture. He lives with his family in Hernando County, Florida and frequents the Great City of Tampa and beyond in search of craft beer, beer enthusiasts, and the next pint. Questions for Mark? Email him at TampaAles@gmail.com Winter iSSue
orefici time Pieces by Joe Lordi
he sub-$1000 watch market is a horological free for all. Big brands like Movado and hamilton dominate the category while other brands, many of dubious quality, jockey for recognition. yet those looking for a reasonably priced, luxurious timepiece are often left uninformed of many quality brands (especially the small-production brands secretly prized by watch collectors) and settle for what their friends say is a “good watch” or fall prey to questionable deals. Consider the italian brand Orefici, one of the afore mentioned hidden gems of the watch world. though they are a relatively young company, their horological roots can be traced back to 1930s Milan where the founder’s grandfather was a goldsmith. three of their current production time-
pieces are immediately worthy of mention. keep in mind that the following models are available in a variety of finishes, each seems to have a special luster in gold. the Clasico World time is clean and elegant with a world time function, short central seconds hand, and rich black leather strap. For those looking for a tougher timepiece with very original complications, the regata yachting is an awesome choice. the case is composed of 30 different elements, including uniquely tooled screws and a rifled crown, and houses a regatta timer and chronograph. Last but not least is the Subacqueo rubber with a rubber bezel and strap. it’s a stealthy understated chronograph that can take any abuse, from cigar ash to saltwater, and still make quite a statement.
i’m A sissy; Joel stein is not by Paul Guzzo
have a confession to make–i am not that tough. those who know me well are probably laughing at me for feeling the need to make such an admission, but those who only know me skin deep often mistake me for being some super-macho man. it is easy to understand why–the shaven head, stubbly face, tattoos, six mangled, once-broken fingers, and a front tooth that i need to take out when i eat, do indeed paint a picture of a man who prefers to scrap first and come up with a peaceful solution to a problem later. and our society paints such individuals as “manly men.” however, the truth is that i shave my head because i am balding; never shave my face because i am lazy; my tattoos are of snakes kissing, a question mark, the Libra sign, and the symbol of the god of writing–nothing that strikes fear in hearts; i broke numerous fingers playing FLag football and lost my tooth when i was mugged at the age of 21. the truth is, while i have some macho qualities, most things that define a macho man elude me. now that i have two boys, i hope that those things i cannot do will never appeal to them because, if they do, i will be outed as the sissy that i am. no father wants that; we all want to be seen as toughguy heroes to our sons. So there was something ironic about me having coffee with author, tV personality and nationally-known journalist Joel Stein. Skin deep, Stein looks like a total “fun-boy,” as perfectly cropped hair, tailored clothes, darkrimmed glasses that probably cost more than my car, straight and whitened teeth that do not come out, manicured nails and vocabulary so perfect that he doesn’t even dangle a participle, paint such a picture. if not for the fact that he has a wife and son, it would be hard to convince any overtly macho, closed-minded man that Stein is straight. however, while behind my macho exterior lies a little nancy, behind Stein’s nancy exterior lays a macho man. in fact, Stein may be the most macho man in america. 16
“Sure, that’s what people say when they see me,” laughed Stein when approached with that theory. “i am the new poster boy for machismo.” While he laughs it off, i believe it to be true. Stein was anything but manly as a little boy. all of his friends were girls. he played with an easy Bake Oven rather than a football. he collected glass horses and stickers rather than baseball cards and bugs. rather than playing sports, he chose to write. Of course, the writing thing worked out for him, as he is now one of the most successful journalists in the nation. Writing is also what finally led him down the path to “machismo.” Well, writing and a penis. it began at his wife’s sonogram when the doctor pointed to what looked like a smudge on the screen and stated it was a penis. Prior to that moment, Stein said he never cared what the sex of his child was. however, when he learned it was a boy, he freaked out. he was not sure if he was ready to be a role model to a boy. “i pictured that penis wanting to go camping, that penis wanting to play baseball, that penis wanting to get into fights, and i freaked out because i am not capable of any of those things,” admitted Stein. in order to prepare for being a father to a boy, he set out to learn everything that society feels a man needs to know and wrote about this journey in his new book–man mad: a Stupid Quest for masculinity. he joined the Boy Scouts to learn to camp, completed army boot camp, spent 24 hours with the L.a. Fire Department, was taught to play baseball by a former Major Leaguer, raced a Lamborghini and even fought uFC hall of Famer randy Couture. “i actually punched him,” laughed Stein. “i grazed him in the back of the head. i don’t think he even knew. i don’t think he could feel it at all.” So is it possible that he went from a man devoid of most manly skills to one of the most well-rounded men in america? “not exactly. i learned a lot but i don’t have muscle memory of most of it,” he admitted, explaining that while he was provided MMa lessons, he doesn’t think he could use those skills in a fight or would consider himself qualified to coach baseball. he said there are only a few abilities he feels he can continue to use following his crash course on machismo. he can pitch a tent, he can cast a fishing pole and he can fix a few items around the house. “Fixing things gets you intercourse,” he laughed. “Women really do like it.” he does not believe that remembering specific skills matters, however. his journey taught him that there is only one lesson he needs to pass on to his son, only one lesson that separates the men from the sissies–never be afraid to try something new. not mastering a skill you want to attempt does not make you a failure. never trying does. and it is that newfound courage to take on all challenges–not the fact that he sped around a track in a Lamborghini or survived boot camp– that makes Stein, a man who still loves easy Bake Ovens, one of the most macho men in america. While men like me are ruled by fear of being called a sissy, he is not. i look tough, but until i overcome my fear of embarrassment, i am a sissy. and if i don’t overcome it soon, my boys will either see me as a sissy or grow into sissies themselves. i’ve always been envious of Stein’s journalism career. now, i am jealous of his machismo as well. To read more about parenting from Paul Guzzo, visit www.facebook.com/TheOverNightFamilyMan. His book, The Overnight Family Man, a journal of his journey from single man to father of three in less than one year, is due out in mid-2013.
M E E T M I LT O N
by Paul Guzzo
The Man who inspires Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
o the layman, it would have appeared to be the worst Boddy Shoppe–by day and a bouncer at a popular tampa nightclub–the premiere in the film career of the world’s biggest Mad hatter–by night. he had the build due to the gym and the social stahollywood star–Dwayne “the rock” Johnson. tus due to the club to pick up most women, he said, and often tried to after all, he is accustomed to red carpeted affairs pick them all up all at once. While he knew that he one day wanted a famsurrounded by dozens of paparazzi and hundreds of ily, he was far from ready to settle down; he was enjoying the tampa adoring fans screaming for him to show them his nightlife as any 20-something in his position would. trademark pearly white smile as camera flashes pop all however, on May 21, 1977, whether he was ready or not, he took his around them. On this night, however, Dwayne Johnson’s movie premiere first step toward becoming an overnight family man when he met was on the opposite end of that spectrum. a few hundred people stood Milton’s sister, Pico. around the pavilion at tradeWinds island resorts during the 2012 trias the club was closing that night, Pico was on her way out the back Fitness World Challenge in St. Petersburg, Florida. a projector sat atop a door and caught Bruce’s eye. he rushed over to her, scored her number table and a small white movie screen was hung on a C-stand. the film and a few days later they went on a date to the movies to see rocky. the was just as low budget as the theatre setup; it was cell phone footage that date went well and a second was in order. When Bruce inquired if she had been blown up a few sizes too large to fit the movie screen. would like to do something that Saturday, she explained it was her yes, to the layman, this movie premiere appeared…well…lame. youngest brother’s 15th birthday. her brother Milton, she said, was born however, those who have known the world’s biggest star since he was with Down syndrome. their parents had passed away years ago and he considered tampa’s version of Dennis the Menace as a young boy run- was sent to live in foster care, as none of the family’s siblings could finanning around wrestling auditoriums in the 1970s, knew that this was one cially afford to look after him. Since it was his birthday, she was planning of his most meaningful films. on doing something very special with him. She was taking him to Circus the movie was of him wishing Milton McBride rosen, a man with World, a year-round amusement park near Orlando. She told Bruce, howwhat many describe as “severe Down syndrome,” a happy 50th birthday. ever, that he was more than welcome to go with her and Milton. Wanting in the cell phone video message, to come off as loving and caring to he called Milton his friend and score points with Pico, he agreed. Within months of moving in with the rosens, Bruce, however, quickly learned brother and expressed his endearing love for him. Finally, he called that he did not have to pretend to Milton was able to shower, brush his teeth, him a true champion, one of his love Milton to score points–he actudress himself, go to the bathroom on his own ally did fall in love with the teenage greatest inspirations and sung him happy birthday. boy. and feed himself. “Sandwiches, though,” “i've considered Milton my Milton took to Bruce right away. brother since i was five years old,” he was drawn to his powerful laughed al. “no more eggs.” said Dwayne Johnson when asked physique and outgoing personality to elaborate on his relationship with Milton. “and when i look back on and would not stop staring and smiling at Bruce, begging with his expresall the years right up to today, he's always been one of my truest inspira- sion for Bruce to pay attention to him. Milton was so innocent, so excittions. Overcoming every challenge in his path, but more importantly than ed about everything he saw and did at the amusement park and so happy that, for all of us who consider Milton family, he makes our lives better to have people to share his birthday with that it was impossible for Bruce just by being himself…and that’s a very special thing.” to not want to reciprocate that love. Milton spent most of the day at Most who hear about the relationship between Milton and the rock Circus World being carried on Bruce’s shoulders. Of course, that didn’t are shocked. in this tMz world, how could a juicy celebrity tidbit about take too much strength. the 4’11” Milton weighed only 60 pounds. his one of the world’s biggest stars being close friends with a 50-year-old shirt was as thin as paper and hung off his famished and malnourished man with Down syndrome have been kept a secret for so long? frame like cheap curtains. Shocked that someone could be so unhealthy, Well, if you find this news amazing, as the old cliché goes, “you ain’t Bruce fed Milton from morning to night, buying him whatever his heart heard nothing yet.” it is not cliché to call the story of “the rock’s” long- desired–from cotton candy to corn dogs. By day’s end, Bruce had fallen time friend Milton truly inspirational. it is the story of a boy with Down in love with Milton. syndrome who struggled to survive the neglectful foster home system of “he seems to have that effect on most people,” said al. “that is why i the 1970s, who was labeled a loser, someone not worth the system’s time can’t understand how he was treated so badly at his foster home. how could or money, yet who was rescued and raised by rambunctious twin 23-year- [his foster mom] not have wanted to treat him better?” old brothers. it is the story of a boy with Down syndrome who went on When Bruce and Pico had picked Milton up that day, Milton was waiting to inspire countless professional wrestlers, athletes and entertainers, for them at the end of his foster home’s driveway. But when they dropped including Freddie Solomon, Mark Consuelos and, of course, Dwayne him off that night, Bruce lovingly carried Milton inside. he was dismayed “the rock” Johnson. at what he saw. the foster home was in shambles. a handful of other fosall of these factors and more are why Dwayne Johnson had to do ter kids were crammed inside of it. Out of space, Milton slept on a mattress something special for his friend’s 50th birthday when his schedule didn’t on the floor and didn’t have any sheets to keep him warm. allow him to attend the party. a simple phone call would not have sufOn the way home, Pico told Bruce the rest of the dismal story. the ficed. if he could not have been there in person, he needed to do the next woman housed foster kids simply to collect the government checks and did best thing to honor a man who most will say has lived the most amazing not use the money to care for the kids as she was supposed to. and, sadly, 50 years of anyone else they know. this was as good as Milton’s life would get, she explained. his foster mom this is the story of Milton, those who helped to make his life so spe- had tired of housing a teen with Down syndrome so she had requested that cial, and those whose lives he touched forever. the state find him a new one. the state had lamented that would be impossible because of his “condition” and age, so they had begun the process of ruce rosen did not appear to be parenting material. shipping him off to a mental hospital, where he would spend the rest he was a 23-year-old co-owner of a popular tampa gym–the of his life.
Bruce was heartbroken. Milton was a sweet and loving boy. he deserved a good life. So when Bruce returned to the four-bedroom rental home he shared with his twin brother al and their four dogs, he told his twin brother about Milton and said he wanted him to come live with them. Most people would have told Bruce he was crazy. the twin brothers were only 23. the Boddy Shoppe, while popular, was still a new business. al had just launched a career as a professional wrestler that would soon take him on the road and Bruce was moonlighting as a bouncer to help cover the bills until the gym took off. they had no time for a child, let alone one with Down syndrome. Just as importantly, they Dwayne “The rock” Johnson and milton as kids had no parenting experience. Like Bruce, al is not most people. though he had never met Milton, he said yes. the following day, Bruce picked up Milton from the foster home and explained to the foster mother that he would be living with the rosen boys from then on. She did not flinch, readily giving him up on the spot, telling Bruce to contact the government about Milton’s relocation. When Bruce brought Milton home, al knew he had made the right decision. the site of the emaciated boy broke his heart. and when their four dogs rushed to Milton to greet the stranger in their home, rather than cowering in milton and Dwayne at Dwayne’s wedding fear Milton showered the dogs with love–he was so happy to hug and kiss the animals and receive kisses in return that he purred. From the moment he met Milton, al did not just see a boy with Down syndrome, he also saw a boy who ly mimicking how he saw his foster dads cooking for him each morning, needed love and who had endless love to give. but he had placed the pan on the couch while he waited for them to cool the next day, Bruce informed the state of his decision and they readily down. Luckily, the couch did not catch fire; the pan only burned a hole made available the proper paperwork to make him Milton’s official foster dad. in it. Bruce and al were taking a boy off their hands who the state considered a lost While this incident almost turned catastrophic, it also proved to the cause, saving the state the money it would cost to care for him in a psychiatric brothers that they were on the right track in terms of developing Milton’s ward. they did not seem to care if he was going to a good home, as long as abilities. When they first brought him to their house, he didn’t even know they did not need to tend to him any longer. that frying pans were cooking utensils, yet just months later he knew how the rosens’ family and friends told them they were crazy and that attempt- to crack an egg, turn on the stove, fry the egg with a spatula and then turn ing to raise Milton would not end well for any of the parties involved–Milton off the stove. the rosens believed that they needed to give Milton the or the brothers. Bruce and al scoffed at such accusations, boasting that they benefit of the doubt that he could take care of himself, believing his were more than capable of raising Milton and explaining their theory that all inability was not due to stupidity but because no one ever asked him to they needed to do was shower Milton with love. take on self-responsibility. they would show him how to care for himself in the end, their theory proved correct. however, during the first few and wait for him to mimic them. Within months of moving in with the months they realized that besides love they also needed patience. it was a rosens, Milton was able to shower, brush his teeth, dress himself, go to tough adjustment. the bathroom on his own and feed himself. “Sandwiches, though,” Milton was 15 but might as well have been a baby. Besides being mentally laughed al. “no more eggs.” slower than others his age, he had never been taught a thing. he could not talk; he was even given chores around the house–he had to let the dogs out he only grunted specific noises for yes and no. he could not dress himself, and clean up after them in the yard. “We wanted him to have responsibilbrush his teeth or wipe his butt. al and Bruce rosen, twin brothers who just ity. When we met him, he had the ability of a baby,” said al. “Just months a week earlier would spend nights out at the bar picking up women, sudden- later, he had the ability of a seven or eight year old, which is a long way ly found themselves bathing a teenage boy. for a boy like Milton to go in such a short time. he was so much smarter On one occasion, Milton was playing with the phone and accidentally called than others gave him credit for. he even learned a few words during someone. the man on the other end thought Milton’s grunting was a prank those first few months–yes, no, more, and some others. i think if we had call so he hung up and dialed 911. When the police arrived at the rosens’ gotten him at a younger age he would be able to talk full sentences today home, they understood but told the rosens they had to keep a better eye on rather than just one word here and there and grunts.” Milton. the rosens, much to the shock of their friends and family who origithey didn’t listen. nally told them they were crazy to become foster parents for Milton, were a month or two after Milton moved in with them, al was on the road turning out to be tremendous parents. however, they are quick to say that wrestling and Bruce had to run a quick errand. rather than bringing they did not do it alone. Milton’s sister and other siblings helped out as Milton, he figured Milton would be safe for such a short period of time. much as possible. and the members of the rosens’ gym became Milton’s Less than an hour later, Bruce returned to a couch with a large hole in it. extended family; each of them looked out for Milton as though he was Milton had actually successfully made himself scrambled eggs by perfect- their son. Winter iSSue
he life of a professional wrestler in the 1970s was akin to that of a gypsy. this was pre-WWe days, before major wrestling companies existed. Wrestlers back then worked the “territory circuit,” spending a few months to a year in tampa wrestling for Florida Championship Wrestling, for example, and then heading to tennessee to become part of Memphis Championship Wrestling before moving on to texas to compete in World Class Championship Wrestling. Moving from territory to territory meant that one group of fans never staled on a wrestler’s act; he would move on before they bored of him. it was also the only way to obtain national exposure as a wrestler in those pre-cable days; national exposure was necessary if a wrestler was ever to realize his dream of becoming the world champion. While the lifestyle could sometimes be grueling, it was also fascinating, as they were always meeting interesting people in interesting places. Once a wrestler was on the road for years, it was hard to shock him. rocky Johnson broke into the wrestling business in the 1960s and retired in 1991, spending the first few decades of his career as a territorial wrestler before hitting it big with the WWF in the 1980s. his ex-wife, ata, was born into professional wrestling royalty. her father was WWe hall of Famer “high Chief ” Peter Maivia. Between rocky and ata Johnson, there are few places in the united States they did not visit during their time as part of the national family of professional wrestlers. they met tens of thousands of colorful characters throughout their travels, yet they both place Milton at the top of their list of most intriguing people they have ever met, a list that includes a who’s who of professional wrestlers and athletes, a list that includes Muhammad ali, with whom rocky used to spar. they met Milton during rocky’s first stint in tampa that began in late 1977. through his circle of professional wrestler friends, he learned that the rosens’ Boddy Shoppe was where the local wrestlers worked out. When he first walked through the Boddy Shoppe’s doorway, it was the same gym he had been in in every other territory he’d visited–a typical muscle head gym. nothing stood out about it, until he met Milton. “i’d met quite a few kids with Down syndrome, but had never seen one at a gym,” said rocky. “When Milton attended a school for the mentally handicapped by day and was
ata k” Johnson, rocky Johnson and Family photo: Dwayne “The roc 20
then dropped off at the gym by the school bus in the afternoon to begin his day as an athlete-in-training. the training was al’s idea. as a Jewish child attending a school that employed an anti-Semitic teacher, al was often treated badly. One teacher went so far as to kick al in the ribs when he talked during class. this poor treatment filled al with anger and this aggression was leading him down the wrong path in life. Fortunately, he said, sports provided him with an outlet for that anger and it provided him with a reason to stay on the straight and narrow. While Milton did not have anger issues, al felt Milton needed to find a purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. however, while Milton was full of love, he was shy, afraid to get involved with an entire roomful of people. al would get Milton to work out here and there, but he was not taking to it like he hoped. in the early days, Milton preferred to sit in the corner of the gym and watch the members rather than join them. rocky Johnson realized early on what al was up to and agreed with the
“Dwayne was always looking to get into something and that made Milton happy,” said al. plan. rocky too had a tough childhood and was “saved” by athletics. he would watch Milton shyly sit in the corner each day at the gym, nervous to engage the gym members as they laughed amongst themselves. Finally, one day he called to Milton and asked him to bench-press with him. Milton was apathetic at first, not sure how to react, but after gently asking a few more times Milton was coaxed to the bench. he took part in rocky’s entire workout that day. Milton was a big wrestling fan, often attending matches in tampa. he had seen rocky wrestle a few times and looked to the “good guy” wrestler with the adonis build who rarely lost as a hero. When that hero took interest in him, it made his day. Working out suddenly went from an afterthought to his only thought, determined to impress his wrestling idol. Other professional wrestlers and athletes took note that Milton was breaking out of his shell and joined in. Besides rocky, Milton’s closest friend was nFL star Freddie Solomon, who had been one of the rosen brothers’ best friends since college. if both rocky and Solomon were at the gym, Milton would bounce from one to the other, taking part in both their workout routines. if they arrived at different times of the afternoon, Milton would work out twice. and of course he always found time to exercise with his two dads. On some days, he would work out for hours straight. there are few more colorful characters in the world than professional wrestlers. they get paid to be larger than life in terms of their physique and personality. Just as Milton would mimic al and Bruce at home to learn to care for himself, in the gym he began to mimic the over-the-top personalities of the wrestlers. gym regulars included rocky Johnson, Steve keirn, tonga “haku” Fifita, Les thornton, Scott Mcghee while future WWe hall of Famers who popped in on occasion included “Superstar” Billy graham, Pedro Morales and “the nature Boy” ric Flair. “they all took interest in Milton,” said ata. “they all seemed to compete for his attention, doing whatever they could to make him laugh. it was so good for his confidence.” no longer did he hide in a corner. instead, he began strutting about with his chest puffed and head held high. When the theme song from the movie rocky was blared over the stereo, he would break and begin shadow boxing in front of the mirror or jokingly spar with his newfound wrestler friends. he walked and acted like one of them. Seemingly overnight, Milton went from a shy teen with Down syndrome to “one of the boys at the gym.” Being one of the boys meant he regularly had his “balls busted.” When his shyness wilted away, al and Bruce added gym chores on top of his home chores. Milton’s job was to be the gym’s regulator. they had ten rules at the gym: members had to wear shirts, they had to put all their
weights back, they had to clean up after themselves in the locker room, littering was prohibited, and so on. Milton was told to make sure everyone followed those rules. Members began purposely breaking them to get under Milton’s skin. Fifita said he would often throw coffee cups on the ground and refuse to pick them up until Milton would grunt angrily at him. rocky said he would refuse to put his weights back unless Milton forcefully asked. “he has never been able to speak full sentences,” said al. “So he would walk up to someone who broke a rule and say the number they broke–four! and he would hold up four fingers. But sometimes, yeah, the guys would ignore him to get under his skin and make him angrily tell them. Sometimes even then they would ignore him until he sulked away, and then they would yell to him and pick up their coffee cup or whatever trash they threw on the ground to bug him.” “it was all in fun,” said tonga. “everyone loved Milton. But that was how we treated our friends and we honestly did not see him as being any different than us. he was part of our family, part of our brotherhood.” Some of the gym members thought of him as more than family in the brotherhood sense. “he is a son to me,” said ata Johnson. “i love him so much.” “Milton is my son,” said rocky Johnson. the Johnsons lived around the corner from the rosens during their first stint in tampa and rocky and al quickly became best friends. Before al blew out his aCL in 1979 during a battle royal in texas that included andre the giant and ended his wrestling career, he and rocky had even begun tag teaming on occasion. the closer al and rocky became, the closer Milton and rocky became. “i just took to him,” said rocky about Milton. “i just fell for the boy
Gym Regulars at the Boddy Shoppe Rocky Johnson, Steve Keirn, Tonga “Haku” Fifita, Les Thornton, while future WWE Hall of Famers who popped in on occasion included “Superstar” Billy Graham, Pedro Morales and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Tonga “Haku” Fifita
The Boddy Shoppe Gym opened it's door in 1977, it was the 3rd gym in Tampa, Florida and for over 28 years served the Tampa Bay area as well as hundreds of professional athletes and Freddie Solomon, bruce rosen, milton and al rosen
and wanted to help take care of him. i used to take him out to eat all the time. i wanted to help al and Bruce in their mission to beef Milton up so i’d buy him a sandwich whenever he wanted to join me, which was often. all he wanted was to be loved and give love, so any opportunity to do both he would jump at. he’s wonderful. i got real attached to him and he got real attached to me. When i walked into that gym, no matter what he was doing he would stop and run to me and give me a hug.” When the Johnson’s told Milton he could stop by their home whenever he wanted, he became a regular houseguest. ata said she would often cook him authentic Polynesian dishes. “it was usually some sort of raw fish. if he liked it, he would just say, ‘good’ and if he hated it he would say, ‘yucky.’ he would also say ‘yucky’ when he was mad at me,” she laughed. “and when he was happy with me, he would say, ‘girl,’ meaning i was his girl. he would call me all the time. Since he couldn’t talk, he would just call and say, ‘girl,’ and i would say, ‘i love you Milton.’ he would grunt happily and then hang up. he always
celebrities. Thousands of members have their own stories about this gym. As Rocky Johnson stated: The Boddy Shoppe was often imititated but never duplicated. Owned and operated by Al & Bruce Rosen, this gym was one of a kind. If Yankee Stadium is the house Ruth built–the Boddy Shoppe was the house Milton built. Those who know Milton McBride Rosen would agree! Become a fan of the Boddy-Shoppe-Gym today on Facebook! Winter iSSue 2013 WINTER 2013
made me so happy.” Because rocky and ata looked at Milton as a son, their real son, Dwayne, considered Milton his brother. they were ten years apart in age when they met–Milton was 15 and Dwayne was five, which made them a perfect pairing in terms of maturity. “they were always laughing,” remembered ata. “all [Dwayne] wanted to do was make Milton laugh and he usually could. Because Milton couldn’t talk, they never really had conversations, but that didn’t matter to them. they learned to communicate through looks and expressions. they were so much fun to watch together. [Dwayne] looked at Milton as a little kid.” “Dwayne was always looking to get into something and that made Milton happy,” said al. “We called Dwayne ‘tampa’s Dennis the Menace.’” Milton, however, called him “ewey.” Dwayne’s parents’ nickname for him is “Dewey,” but because of his struggle with speaking it always came out “ewey” when Milton said it. to this day, Milton refers to his famous friend as “ewey.” the Johnsons lived in tampa for two years before relocating to a new territory. a few years later, they returned for a second stint, during which time they lived with the rosens for a few months. “it was real dysfunctional,” laughed Bruce. By that time Bruce and al had bought a four-bedroom house. Bruce was married to Pico and they’d birthed a daughter, Jacquelyn, and also legally adopted Milton. they had one bedroom that they shared with their new baby, al had a room, the Johnsons had a room and Milton and Dwayne shared a room. Milton and Dwayne’s was always the loudest, with Dwayne mimicking professional wrestlers by slamming himself around the room as Milton roared with laughter in approval. “that was how Dwayne was,” said al. “i remember one Christmas we were visiting the Johnsons, who were living in [Jonesboro, georgia while rocky was wrestling in atlanta.] they bought Dwayne one of those car tracks and we could not figure out how to put it together. Milton went upstairs to Dwayne’s room after we gave up and an hour later comes downstairs and said, ‘Done.’ he figured it out! then, all of a sudden, we hear a CraSh and run upstairs. Dwayne had climbed onto something and jumped and dropped an elbow or knee on the car set and smashed it.” as they grew older, Dwayne turned into a stud athlete and the popular boy, but he never left Milton behind. he always loved him. Dwayne attended the university of Miami and played football. he was busy, yet whenever he could he would send Milton a letter and include Miami football memorabilia. When he finished college and his Canadian football career ended, he returned to Florida to learn to become a professional wrestler. his father tutored him on every aspect of the profession, from how to deliver an exciting match to how to cut the type of promo that can captivate a crowd. and when he returned home and found Milton hanging out with his mother, he and Milton would continue his training together. “Dewey would use a hairbrush as a microphone and pretend to be the ring announcer and he would tell Milton to take off his shirt and be the wrestler,” laughed ata. “he would have Milton flex and then say some kind of question like, ‘So tell me what you’re going to do to your opponent!’ and Milton would
Johnson milton with alta
The rock with m ilto
grunt into the hairbrush. Dewey would then translate for him, ‘So you said you’re going to crush him and beat him in seconds!’ to see those two boys grow into adults and still have so much fun together was so touching.” it was this playful personality that launched Dwayne’s career in the WWe. When he harnessed that character he polished with Milton, he went from an afterthought in the WWe to the biggest star in wrestling history. When Dwayne won his first WWe championship, one of the first people he visited when he returned to Florida was Milton. he let him wear the belt and reminded Milton that he was the real champ. in a way, he was correct. Dwayne’s title, after all, was a prop used in a television show. Milton, however, had countless championship trophies that he had to earn.
n the 1980s, when the legend of Milton began to spread throughout tampa Bay, he was nicknamed “the hulk.” One reason was because in those days of non-political correctness, it seemed like an apropos name for a teenage boy with what local newspapers described as “Mongoloid features,” much like the incredible hulk. the other reason was because Milton’s build turned from frail to massive due to the intense workouts al and Bruce put him through and the numerous side workouts he performed with the gym’s members. When al first got Milton on the bench, all he could press was 20 pounds. Within a year he was bench-pressing 145 pounds. his first competition took place in 1979. it was not a Special Olympics event, but an open bench press contest for “regular” people that included top athletes from the high school level all the way to the pros. the rosens were nervous. they paced back and forth while they waited for Milton’s turn. they entered Milton in the competition because they thought it would be good for his confidence. it didn’t matter that he couldn’t win–being part of that atmosphere while his friends and family cheered him on would provide him with the type of high not available anywhere else. But as his turn on the bench crept closer, they became concerned that the competition could crush his confidence. he had come so far, but what if he froze up in fear from all those eyes on him? Would he be able to recover? their fear was quickly put to rest–Milton coolly stepped up to the bench and pushed 145 pounds off his chest. the crowd erupted in supportive cheers and Milton smiled from ear to ear. Following the event, the rosens presented Milton with a trophy. “he earned it,” said al. By 1988, 11 years after the rosens took him in, Milton was weighing a solid 145 pounds and bench pressing 275. Benching almost double his body weight is a task that most non-handicapped gym regulars can never do. he became a dominant Special Olympics competitor. early on, before weight lifting was a part of the competition, he won first place ribbons in the softball throw and took second place in the 50-yard dash. in 1987, weight lifting became an event in the Special Olympics and Milton charged through the competition, winning the state title in Lakeland and seemingly earning himself a spot at the international games in South Bend, indiana. unfortunately, due to politics, he was bumped from the competition in favor of the second place finisher, something Special Olympics rules allowed. While the rosens were
n ric Flair with milton
The rosen family
furious over the turn of events, Milton didn’t flinch. to him the competition wasn’t about winning, it was about pushing himself. this attitude turned him into an inspiration to others at the gym. the late Freddie Solomon would stay with the rosens for a period during the offseason to get into shape, often working out with Milton because no one pushed him harder. When Solomon made it to his first Super Bowl, he flew Milton and Bruce to the game as a thank you to Milton for helping him to prepare. “he would stand over people and grunt, ‘More, more,’” said al. “he was always pushing people to do more than they thought they could. and when a man like Milton who came that far in life told you that you needed to do more, you did more. you didn’t want to be weak around someone who had been so strong. nothing seemed to scare Milton.” in time, a mural of the incredible hulk replaced a mirror on the wall at the Boddy Shoppe. a similar mural was painted in Milton’s bedroom. Milton began signing in at the gym as “Milton hulk” and he would growl like the hulk when pushing one last rep off his chest. he had become a real life super hero–his power was a never ending supply of confidence and the ability to inspire whomever met him. “al and Bruce deserve all the credit in the world,” said rocky. “that boy was given up on and they turned him into someone special.” everyone wanted to work out with Milton. the gym was known for being a haunt for famous athletes, yet ironically these superstars looked at Milton as the biggest celebrity there. the Boddy Shoppe closed in 2005 after a 28-year run. and during that time, Milton inspired countless famous men and women. the who’s who that sweated alongside Milton and now earnestly call him a friend includes nFL players Vinnie testaverde, Paul gruber, aaron Brown, eric truvillion, Steve Courson, ron Mikolajczyk; MLB players Joe Carter, Danny tartabull, Steve henderson, Darryl Strawberry; and television personalities Bill Logan and Mark Consuelos. the boy who was once deemed a loser by the state, someone who should be shut inside a mental institution for life because there was nothing for him in the outside world, turned into an inspiration to countless people and a champion. however, no matter how much he changed, one part of him remained the same–his heart, and that is what his friends and family find most endearing about him. that is what they all say makes him a true champion–he has the biggest heart in the world.
ocky Johnson does not remember what the injury was. he could have tweaked a knee or sprained an ankle or hurt his back. Whatever it was, it was due to him carrying around too much bulk so as he rested his injury, he also began dieting to drop the excess pounds. around this time, Bruce began to notice food had gone missing from his house–a lot of food. rocky then noticed food he had never purchased appearing in his refrigerator and pantry. When Bruce lamented to rocky about the missing food and rocky told him about the found food, it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on. Milton did not understand the concept of dieting. he had always been told to eat more in order to get bulky and rocky was one of his biggest supporters when it came to putting on pounds. Milton thought that rocky was not eating because he did not have food and he thought he was laid up in bed because he was sick from malnutrition, so he began sneaking food to rocky so he would eat. On another occasion, rocky had recently lost a wrestling title. again, the belts are props–wrestlers win and lose them according to what is best for the storylines. Milton, however, was unaware of this fact; he still thought wrestling was real. a few nights after rocky dropped his title, Milton appeared at his home with a few ribbons and medals he had won at Special Olympics competitions. he wanted rocky to have them, thinking they would help heal his emotional wounds. then there was the time al took Milton with him on a wrestling trip to texas and sat Milton in the front row. al was wrestling that night, so he was in the locker room, leaving Milton with Dwayne and ata. rocky was wrestling notorious bad guy Stan “the Lariat” hansen that night and as hansen beat rocky down in the corner, Milton sought to rescue him and rushed the ring. Luckily, security stopped Milton in time and when rocky realized what was going on, he gave Milton the thumbs up and began his comeback that resulted in a victory.
milton mcbride rosen
“those stories sum up his heart,” said ata. “We were always looking out for him, but he was also looking out for us. any time he has ever seen me upset, he has come over to me and literally wiped the tears from my face and hugged me. When he hugs you, you can actually feel the love radiate off of him. he doesn’t need words. he expressed his love fine through his emotions.” “he forced me to grow up,” said al. “i think any success i enjoyed is because Milton helped me become an adult. he needed an adult in his life and Bruce and i willingly filled that void. But he also always made us feel like kids. everything to him is always as exciting as the first time he saw it. that rubs off on everyone around him and makes you appreciate life more.” “no one has ever loved me like Milton,” said Bruce. “not my biological family, no one. his love is so unconditional.” “With everything that happened to him, he could have given up on the world very easily. i know because of his condition some people would say he didn’t know better. i don’t believe that,” said rocky. “i have done a lot of work with children with Down syndrome and i can tell you that Milton is indeed special. Some kids unfortunately do give up and lose that light in their eyes. Milton is now into his 50s and still has the light. he never stops loving me as much as he did when he was in his 20s.” “When i met him, i did not expect him to be with me for so long,” said ata. “he is one of those special people and not everybody gets the opportunity to know a person as special as him.” But that is al’s plan–to allow the world to know Milton. he is looking to make Milton a hollywood story. “i don’t think hollywood could create a story as special as the true story of Milton,” said al. “he has lived an amazing life–a true rags to riches story if you count blessings as riches.” and if such a film ever becomes a reality, is there a chance his real life friend “Dewey” would be a part of it? “that would be nice, right?” laughed al. “Maybe a cameo?” either way, Dwayne Johnson will always be a part of Milton’s life. they are after all, brothers. Winter iSSue
e has acted on Broadway and in television and film. he has carried films as a leading man and stolen the show as a character actor. he has portrayed historic men such Dean Martin and Fidel Castro and he has turned fictitious characters such as Joey zasa and Fat tony into icons that transcend reality. he has performed in comedies, dramas, soap operas, thrillers, love stores, cartoons and more. he has lent his voice to Oscarnominated documentaries and books on tape. he has been directed by legends such as Francis Ford Coppola, Woody allen and David Mamet. he has over 140 titles on his iMDB page, has won a tony, and has three emmy nominations and a star on the hollywood Walk of Fame.
TONY AWARD WINNING ACTOR
JOE MANTEGNA by Paul Guzzo
here are few people in the entertainment world who would not since Mantegna became involved. to thank him for all he has done, classify Joe Mantegna as one of the most well-rounded actors of Prometheus Cigars has released 5,000 angelenos robusto gordo cigars the past few decades. yet, Mantegna is still not comfortable in his with Mantegna’s signature on the second band. at the request of career. he still worries that it could all end tomorrow. Mantegna, Prometheus will donate a portion of the sales proceeds from “that’s the scariest thing about being an actor,” said Mantegna, the star angelenos robusto gordo JM to Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, of the Criminal minds. “i read an interview with tom hanks once in which has been helping sexually, physically and emotionally abused chilwhich he said that even as successful as he has been, when a job is done dren since 1986. he gets a little nervous and wonders if anyone will want him for another the cigar was created by the Fuentes and, according to Mantegna, was film. the second a television show comes to an end or a movie wraps, rolled and blended to be what he would consider the perfect cigar for his you are technically an out of work actor until that phone rings with tastes. another offer. While it is scary, it is also what makes acting so exciting. “it is everything i want in a cigar,” he said. you never know what the next offer will be and you never know if it will it is fitting that Mantegna enjoys such a special relationship with the be your defining role. i enjoy that unknown element of acting.” Fuente family, a family that made a name for themselves in tampa, as his a perfect illustration of never knowing from where the next acting job history of cigar smoking is linked to the same city. in the early 1960s when will come is the a teenage Mantegna story of how decided to try a cigar Mantegna was hired for the first time–it was to narrate the docua mentary The Fuente havatampa Jewel. Family: an american “Back then, we Dream. smoked whatever we “it all began on could get our hands on the set of baby’s and was cheap,” he Day Out in 1993,” laughed. “We played began Mantegna. poker on Fridays and the film was liked to smoke cigars shot in Chicago, the and drink beers. it was city where the 65an odd thing for us to year-old Mantegna get into i guess. today was born, raised young men smoking and cut his teeth in cigars is pretty normal, the acting business but back then only old in local theatre. he guys at the race track and his fellow smoked cigars. it was movie bad guys, not a big thing yet. Joey Pantoliano and years later, when the Brian haley, would cigar craze hit, it felt often enjoy cigars good; it felt like my together while on The great jazz trumpeter arturo Sandoval, Keith parks president of promethus Cigars & Carlos & Carlito Fuente love of cigars was legitbreak, sometimes owners of arturo Fuente Cigar Company pictured here with Joe at a God of Fire Charity for Children in need event. imized. Cigars were not on set and somejust for old men like times in the city’s george Burns! they numerous cigar were cool!” bars and shops. it became such a regular activity for the trio that Mantegna suggested they take a photo of themselves smoking cigars on set and send it to Cigar aficionado to see if the magazine would run it in its photo section. a few days later, Mantegna received a call from the Angelenos Robusto Gordo JM magazine asking for an interview with the three friends so it could add a blurb to the photo. When asked what their favorite cigars were, the other two actors gave the normal hollywood response of Cubans. Mantegna, Strength: Medium however, named the arturo Fuente hemingway as his favorite. “i thought nothing of it at the time,” said Mantegna. “then fast forward a few months later. i am in Chicago again and i stop by up Down Base Flavors: Leather, Cigar, one of the best [tobacco] shops you will ever find. and i walk in Cream, Caramel, Cedar, and see Carlito Fuente. i later learn he visits all his top vendors through- Black Pepper, & Brown out the year. i just happened to walk in during his visit to that one. he Sugar. was so excited to see me that you would have thought i was his long lost son. he was so happy that i mentioned his cigar as my favorite in the magazine. and that started a relationship that has lasted ever since. We’re Wrapper: Ecuadorian now friends and help each other out with charity functions and so forth. So when he asked me to narrate his documentary, it was a no brainer. he Tobacco Origins: Ecuador told me all the money goes to charity, which i was fine with, so i told him & Dominican Republic. to pay me with a box of Opus X cigars, and that is what he did.” his relationship with the Fuente family has also cultivated a line of cigars bearing Mantegna’s name. Since 2006, Mantegna has supported the “god of Fire Charity Dinner for Children in need” as co-chair of the event along with keith Park, President of Prometheus Cigars. the dinner has raised over $800,000
Glengarry Glen ross opened first in Chicago in 1984 with veteran character actor robert prosky as Shelly and a then-unknown Windy City actor named Joe mantegna as ricky.
baby’s Day Out: Joe mantegna, brain Haley & Joe pantoliano
Vito antuofermo (The ant), Joe mantegna (Joey Zasa), & al pacino (michael Corleone) in The Godfather iii.
Criminal Minds: Matthew Gray Gubler, Paget Brewster, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, A.J. Cook & Kirsten Vangsness. 28
and, as the years went on the quality of cigars he smoked improved. he no longer smokes what is most affordable. rather, he smokes what he enjoys the best. “i prefer a mild cigar, which is why i love the hemingway,” he said. “But on occasion i do like to indulge in something bolder like the Opus. i honestly cannot remember the last time i smoked a machine-rolled cigar. as my career has progressed, it has allowed me to afford better cigars and to meet more and more people who are true cigar aficionados who will tell me about new cigars they love and sometimes even give me some to try. it is definitely a perk of success.” it is not a success that came overnight. While the volume of roles he has played and the high quality productions in which he has starred or co-starred now make him one of the busiest men in hollywood, there was a time he was just a fledgling actor in Chicago wondering if his dream would ever come true. “i acted for 15 years before i got my big break,“ he explained. that big break was a lead role in the nowlegendary Broadway playwright David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen ross. the play won a Pulitzer. Mantegna walked away with a tony award and a huge career boost. “that was the biggest jump in my career in terms of one level to another,” said Mantegna, who starred in the play through parts of 1984 and 1985 Following his wrap on the play, he became a hollywood regular on the set of films starring heavyweights–tom hanks’ The money pit, richard Pryor’s Critical Condition, nick nolte’s Weeds, Dennis Quaid’s Suspect and more. he was also cast in the leading role in several critically acclaimed films, such as House of Games, Things Change, and Homicide, all written by David Mamet. his jump from working actor to household name and recognizable face occurred when he played the role of Joey zasa in the blockbuster The Godfather: part iii. Mantegna said it was an awe-inspiring experience. after struggling for 15 years, in the span of the next seven he won a tony award and was acting in a Francis Ford Coppola movie opposite al Pacino. “i had mixed feelings on that set,” he said. “at first i kept thinking, ‘holy shit, i’m about to say line to Pacino in a scene directed by Coppola.’ and then i thought, ‘What the fuck? Where did i hope this would all end up? Didn’t i always think i was good enough to make it to this point?’” Following The Godfather: part iii, opportu-
nities were endless for Mantegna. he found success in every genre of film and television. if you have turned on your television in the past few decades, chances are you have seen Mantegna. Or perhaps, you have heard his voice. no matter how many television and movie roles the iconic actor has played, he may forever be best known for being the voice of Fat tony, the mafia boss on The Simpsons. yet, while some actors would prefer to be known for more thespian roles, Mantegna embraces the Fat tony fame. he is proud that the character has survived 22 seasons, making it one of the longest running guest characters on the show. and of the 26 episodes in which the character has appeared, he has provided the voice of Fat tony in 25 of them, missing the one because he was in europe. “i’ll do the voice even if Fat tony only has one word,” said Mantegna, explaining that the character’s voice is based on that of an uncle of his who smoked too much. “i don’t like to miss one show. if they call me to be on an episode, i’ll do whatever i can do to be on it. “it is an honor to be part of a show with such a worldwide impact. i have been to australia and had people run up to me quoting the character. i was the grand marshal at the hollywood Christmas Parade and had more people yelling Fat tony to me than any other character i have played. “i had a guy run up to me on the street once and show me that he had a full arm tattoo of Fat tony and told me he was his favorite character. i said, ‘really? i wouldn’t have guessed!’ then i made i sure he didn’t follow me home,” laughed Mantegna. “the show is enormous and so loved. i am flattered to be on it.” however, what he is most flattered by is his recognition as an actor with eclectic skills. Whether his name is first on the call sheet or fifth, he is confident that his character will be remembered when the end credits roll, a testament to the fact that while he has over 140 acting credits to his name, he only accepts roles of interesting characters in projects he believes in. “you’re only as good as the last thing you were in,” he said. “you always have to make sure it is your best.” Most would agree that he has always given his best performance, which is why, while he will always worry that another acting job will come, most experts would agree that he will have countless opportunities to entertain his fans for years to come.
portrait of Jaime partagรกs. Collection of the national Library of Cuba, Havana
JAIME PARTAGÁS Y RABELL FOUNDER OF LA FLOR DE TABACOS DE PARTAGÁS Y COMPAÑÍA by Orlando Arteaga Abreu arenyS De Mar iS a COaStaL town in Catalonia, about 40 kilometers from Barcelona and home of an important port on the Mediterranean Sea. this is where the tailor Jaime Partagás gras wed teresa rabell Pallarola in 1815. their first-born son, Jaime, was born here on December 7, 1816, followed by a brother, Sebastián, two years later.it is unknown whether the father aspired for one of his sons to follow in his footsteps into the family trade, or if there was one or more occasions on which he spoke to them about a land where, as it was told, pure gold was used to pave streets and roof the houses. the truth is that the first-born son, Jaime Partagás y rabell, at just 14 years of age, surprised everyone by setting sail on July 29, 1831 and heading to “Cubita la Bella”, the dreamt-of havana, in order to “make it in america”, a goal sought after by many at the time. at age 18, while under the protection of compatriots and family members–he was a family member of Prudencio rabell, a very well-known Catalan in the tobacco industry back then–he had already begun working in the cigar trade having gained employment with Juan Conill y Pi, another Catalan, who years later (1840) would found the city’s first large tobacco leaf warehouse, located on the corner of Cristo and teniente rey Streets. around 1838, Jaime started to produce cigars in a small and modest store and, using his own assets, as well as those of his wife, Catalina Puig, founded the Partagás factory in 1845, located in the building of the Calle industria, where it is located to this day. traditionally, the cigars of this enterprise have been referred to as “Partagás”. yet the name registered by the founder, and under which it still functions today, is actually “Flor de tabacos de Partagás y Compañía”. to get acquainted with the origin of this name and themotives that lead to its adoption, we must goback in time a little bit and refer to what is historically known as the first Cuban cigar brand, “Cabañas”. Whose cigars were crafted since 1797 in a farm-like facility, founded by the
Cuban Francisco Álvarez Cabañas on Calle Jesús María number 12, intramural havana, and which were marketed in London since 1833. Later on, after the passing of its founder, when the Spanish royal monopoly of the “real Factoría de tabacos de La habana” vanished4 and under management of the asturian Manuel gonzález Carvajal, the small business moved its location and became one of the most important cigar factories of the city. By the time Jaime Partagás inaugurated his new factory, the “Cabañas” havana cigars held an outstanding position of preference among smokers of the united kingdom’s capital, where they had become one of the top-selling brands. trying to take advantage of the prestige earned through the years by the Cabañas brand, Jaime requested and was granted the registration of the brand “Flor de Cabañas” in 1848 and started to use it with discretion to identify the cigars he exported to england. On the labels, right after the brand name and written in very small charaters, one could read: “de Partagás y Compañía”. the savvy Catalan estimated that when reading “Flor de Cabañas”, the consumers would assume that these were the best cigars of that famous factory. Winter iSSue
it wasn’t until five years later that gonzález Carvajal uncovered the subterfuge and immediately filed a lawsuit against Partagás, demanding him to abandon the use of the brand he considered to be of his exclusive property. On December 1, 1854, the Catalan was notified about the judgement against him, forcing him to adopt another name; it was then when he decided to register the name “Flor de tabacos de Partagás y Compañía”. around the same time he inaugurated his cigar factory, Jaime Partagás purchased the large farm known as “hato de la Cruz”–about sixty caballerías, which equals about eight hundred hectares (2,000 acres)– located in the municipality of Consolidación del Sur, Pinar del río. Primarily dedicated to tobacco farming and serviced by 45 lessees, to whom the owner used to give cash advances charged against future crops. Jaime Partagás gradually expanded his business activities on the farm and opened two general stores where the resident farmers could purchase as many items on credit as they needed for either their homes or for work on the farm. adjacent to hato de la Cruz was another Catalan’s property, that of Pedro Mató estalella, a similar operation, dedicated to the leasing of land for growing tobacco, purchasing crops and paying out cash advances or offering credit against crops at the stores he owned. a bitter rivalry surfaced between the two, one that not only competed for sales and credits in their businesses, but also, and especially, tobacco purchases from the growers. a trade in which Mató always got the worst part. in 1864 or perhaps somewhat earlier, Mató extended the boundaries of his farm, invading part of the land owned by hato de la Cruz in the process. after discovering this, Partagás didn’t take long to react and filed a complaint before the town’s mayor. the dispute lasted two years and, in the end, Mató was ordered to return three quarters of a caballería–about 10 hectares or 25 acres–he had usurped and to tear down, at his own expense, whatever he had built on it. Wednesday, June 18th, 1868, 11 p.m. Jaime Partagás rides back to his farm on a lonely road, accompanied by Pedro arias, his right-hand man. all of a sudden, a shadow emerges from the darkness, blocking their path. a gunshot is heard and Jaime, his face soaked in blood, falls from his horse. Meanwhile, arias’ horrified beast gallops away at full speed and the murderer flees, disappearing back miinto the darkness. initial investigations pointed to the freed slave Pedro Diaz, a farmer living on a tobacco plantation near Pedro Mató’s and Jaime Partagás’ stores. When taken to court, he confessed to having shot his victim because of offers made by ramón novell–Mató’s partner and manager of his general store–and José Lino Ortega, who priovided the gun. as Partagás was fighting for his survival, the trial against Pedro Díaz, novell, Ortega and Mató began. the first three were sentenced to jail, whereas Pedro Mató, Volunteer Captain, City Councilman of the Consolación City hall and alleged instigator of the attempt was released “due
to insufficient legal grounds for his detention”, according to the judge’s ruling. On July 17, 1868, Jaime Partagás died at 34 San rosendo, in the municipality of Pinar del río. that was the end of a man whose name, for over 160 years, has remained on the havana cigar brand he created. Months later, the accomplices ramón novell and José Lino Ortega were released on bail,while Pedro Díaz turned up dead in the prison infirmary. upon Jaime Partagás’ death, the surviving owners of the factory were his widow. Catalina Puig, and their children, José, teresa, Clementina and adela. all of whom formed partnership with the asturian Juan antonio Bances gonzález and ultimately sold him both the factory, brands included, as well as the properties in Pinar del río.
Three labels from partagás circa 1850s, indicating different qualities of tobacco (Superior, bueno & Flor). Top two from the collection of Lon Schwartz. bottom from the collection of amir Saarony.
above: Label from “Flor de Cabañas by partagás” 1850. From the collection of Tony Hyman, national Cigar museum, u.S.a. below the Lable: This is the oldest known box of Havana cigars. exhibited in the 1851 Great World exhibition in London. The cigars inside are the original cigars and are called La Cabañas. These are the cigars whose reputation caused partagas to sell his cigars under the Cabañas trademarked name (without permission of course). From the collection of Fox Cigar merchants, Dublin and London. photo: nik Wing right: partagás receipt may 13, 1865. Signed by José partagás, son of the founder, who would inherit the company 3 years later. From the collection of amir Saarony.
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PARTAGAS EL LIBRo (The Book)
at 270 pages and with more than 500 images, Partagás el Libro shows the great history of one of the world's most famous cigar brands. the lives and exploits of the men who owned it, their successes and foibles. including, for the first time ever, the label from the cigars Jaime Partagás was convicted of forging another brand's cigars. the book looks at the owners, the cigars, advertising and competitors from the early era, as well as current quality control, the history of readers at the factory, an interview with the director of the factory and a word from the face of Partagas today, abel exposito, the manager of the La Casa Del habanos in the factory. as a special treat, Simon Chase, from hunters and Frankau and one of the world's leading experts on the Cuban cigar and its history, writes about his early memories of visiting the Partagás factory. Many images and documents from the collections of the national Library of Cuba, the national archives of Cuba, Partagás archives, the Museum of tobacco in havana and collections private and public from all over the world. Collaboration with researchers, historians, collectors and writers from Cuban and abroad, the book will be an entertaining read to anyone who is interested in cigars, Cuba or history. Profits from this venture will generate a donation to the museum to help them to continue to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and promote the fascinating history of the cultural icon we call the Cuban cigar. With almost 2 years of effort by historians, writers, researchers, museum directors, collectors, cigar industry executives, cigar enthusiasts, translators, photographers and many others in Cuba and around the world, the finished product is finally in production. to quote from the introduction: i’d like to start off by telling you how this project came about. it was never intended to be an academic or all encompassing history of one of the icons of the cigar world. it is meant to be entertainment for those of us who share the passion for burning leaves. this project evolved over time due to my obsession for the history of Cuban cigars and the culture surrounding them. i have had the pleasure of getting to know many fellow collectors and addicts in the past years and realized that much of the history of cigars has not been preserved or properly researched. in my personal quest for information i befriended zoe nocedo Primo, the tireless director of the tobacco Museum in havana. it became obvious fairly quickly that the museum is drastically underfunded. this is an issue in our “western” world but in a country like Cuba, it is completely understandable. the government has many priorities, and as much as i believe a museum honouring an important part of patrimony is important, the government has to prioritize many, many issues before this. through many years of collecting cigar antiques, ephemera and paraphernalia in havana i have come to realize that fellow collectors and i are rapidly stripping the country of many of the rarest and best pieces. this realization gave birth to this project. Profits from this venture will generate a donation to the museum to help them to continue to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and promote the fascinating history of the cultural icon we call the Cuban cigar. as i started off by clearly stating that this is not meant to be
an academic or comprehensive history. it never was. it was produced with the dual intention to inform and entertain. it was not produced with tremendous resources of either time or funds but fueled by the immense devotion of those involved. Many people around the world gave of their time, energy and enthusiasm to help this project progress. to all of them i am extremely grateful. this really has been a labour of love and passion. it has become an obsession for myself and i cannot express the pride with which i undertook the production of the book you hold in your hands.
for more information on how to get a copy of this beautiful book, visit their website at www.oldcubancigarstuff.com
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Tampa Bay History Magazine