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Italian Charities of America held its 85th Annual Dinner Dance.
by Milano52
Nov 02, 2021 | 14323 views | 0 0 comments | 657 657 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Queens, New York –  On October 24, 2021, Italian Charities of America held their 85th Annual Dinner Dance at the Roma View in Howard Beach, Queens.
Italian Charities of America is a nonprofit organization located in Elmhurst, Queens that promotes Italian American culture, heritage, history, and language as well as events for the local community since 1936. As in the past, Italian Charities of America honored distinguished notables who have been an instrumental force in preserving Italian American culture and heritage.
Cav. Joan Marchi Migliori, Director for Community and International Programs and CUNY/Italy Student Exchange Program at the Calandra Italian American Institute and Program Chair for the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee-NY was presented with the Christopher Columbus Award for successfully bridging the cultural connection between Italy and America in countless ways.Joan Marchi-Migliori receiving the Christopher Columbus Award
Giovanni P. Silvagni, Esq. owner/founder of law firm Silvagni and Como, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. and Vice President for the Associazione Culturale Italiana di New York received the Italian American Humanitarian Award as a testament to his exemplary public servant role in assisting Italian American families and his involvement in numerous Italian American and community organizations.Giovanni P. Silvagni, Esq. receiving the Italian American Humanitarian Award 
Mary Christine Modica, President of Cellini Lodge No. 2206, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America received the Italian American Leadership Award for being a true leader in her many roles within the lodge and state level of the OSDIA to benefit the Italian American community.Mary Christine Modica receiving the Italian American Leadership Award
Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Editorial Director of L'Idea Magazine and Idea Press, and Editor-in-chief of OperaMyLove and OperaAmorMio magazines, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless and lifelong dedication in documenting and highlighting through his work the richness of Italian culture and heritage for present and future generations.Tiziano Thomas Dossena (with wife Nicoletta) receives the Lifetime Achievement Award Ffrom italian Charities of America’s President Domenic Giampino.
Stanislao G. Pugliese, PhD, a professor of modern European history and the Queensboro Unico Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies, received the Renaissance Award for educating, inspiring, and revitalizing interest in Italian and Italian American history and heritage through his teachings and published works.Dr. Stanislao Pugliese (with wife and mother) while receiving the Renaissance Award.Deputy Consul Riccardo Cursi while thanking the organizers Domenic Giampino, Alan Hartman,  and Josephine Manzella for their work with Italian Charities of America.

In attendance, many members of several prominent Italian American organizations in New York as well as special guests; Deputy Consul Riccardo Cursi from the Consolato Generale d’Italia NY, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who presented President Domenic Giampino with a Proclamation for Italian Charities of America.

Italian Charities of America’s President Domenic Giampino receiving the Proclamation from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. To the right, It. Charities’ Vice President Alan Hartman.
President Domenic Giampino said, “Celebrating 85 years of promoting Italian American Heritage, Italian Charities of America is committed to its mission for present and future generations of Italian Americans. This year we honored 5 great Italian Americans that exemplify great strength and dedication to Italian American heritage.”
Vice President Dr. Alan Hartman said, “Our 85th Dinner Dance was a beautiful, joyous, and well-attended event. It also showed how Italian Charities of America journeyed through the challenges of the pandemic with success and is now ready to commence a new period of growth and outreach.”Deputy Consul Riccardo Cursi, Italian Heritage Cultural committee president JosephSciame and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said, “Our Italian American community is important to us and the Italian Charities of America have preserved the Italian culture and heritage traditions in #Queens. Family is what defines Italian Charities of America, empowering one another to help each other in not just a traditional aspect but a communal one as well. We are grateful for our Italian family and all they have done for the Queens community thus far. Congratulations to Italian Charities of America on their 85th Annual Dinner Dance!”
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From the earliest I can remember, I’ve always loved music. Exclusive interview with songwriter, singer and entertainer Paul Loren
by Milano52
Sep 08, 2021 | 20850 views | 0 0 comments | 1463 1463 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Paul Loren is a singer, songwriter, producer, and consummate entertainer. A native New Yorker, Paul was raised on the rich legacy of soul, classic pop, and the Great American Songbook, and in those musical idioms, he feels most at home.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaHello Paul. I heard so much about you and wanted to find out more about your singing career. When did you start to show interest in music?

Paul Loren: From the earliest I can remember, I’ve always loved music. I don’t think there was a time when music wasn’t part of my world. Maybe I was three or four years old when I started singing.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaHaving worked with him many years ago, I know your father was an excellent showman himself, although not a singer. Did his background sway you at all toward music and entertainment?

Paul Loren: Probably by osmosis, yes! Looking back, it was just unavoidable to see my father up on stage (with the band) and not be enthralled by it all. I guess in some ways, show business was in my blood.

“I know a place”. Click on the image to view the video

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYour parents are both Italian Americans. How much did being Italian American influence your life and career choices?

Paul Loren: Being Italian, I come from a very creative stock. My ancestors were from the South and were able to make a whole lot out of very little. My father comes from a small volcanic island, Panarea, off the coast of Sicily. Every time I set foot on that soil, I do feel a certain music and rhythm in it—maybe it’s the sea, the tides, the volcano (Stromboli)—or maybe I’m a musician and I’m just looking for it. But I think it’s there, it’s inevitable. The same with my mother. Part of her family came from near Naples, and those old Neapolitan songs are woven deeply into my identity.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaExcuse my stereotyping, but most Italian men love to cook. Do you? Do you have any hobbies?

Paul Loren: The kitchen is my second home, apart from the stage. Maybe even my first! Tonight, for example, I made a ‘spaghetti al tonno’ for dinner. Quick, easy, and delicious. Nothing beats Italian food for showing off fresh ingredients that are seasonal. If I have the day off from performing or the recording studio, I spend it mostly in the kitchen.


Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou completed your first headline tour in 2019, after having performed as a support artist for The Temptations, Brendan James, American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, and David Bromberg. It was extremely successful, selling out Joe’s Pub at the Public in NYC multiple times. Since then, you were asked by Jennifer Lopez to perform at her Birthday Gala in Las Vegas, showcased at The SoHo House NYC, were a featured artist at the AAA Radio Convention in Boulder Colorado, and shared the stage with Paul Shaffer, Queen Latifah, and Christie Brinkley at Target’s launch event for New York Fashion Week. It seems you are fully recognized for your singing talent. How difficult was the transition from support to headline artist?

Paul Loren
: I’m very grateful for the folks that support my music, and when real ‘touring’ or roadshows come back safely I can’t wait to headline again. The transition is a career-long process, I think. It has taken many years, and will probably take many more. I’m ready and excited, however. I hope to keep growing a larger audience and perform for more and more people every year.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYour appearance on “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” showcased your talents for millions of viewers. Was this a very emotional experience for you and your family and friends?

Paul Loren: It truly was. Emotional in the sense that I was really honored to be up on that stage, and given a real chance to be myself under pressure. It felt like a small victory after years in the business. I’m glad friends and family enjoyed it as much as I did.

L’Idea Magazine
Matt Micucci, on Jazziz Magazine, stated that you evoked “smoky jazz club atmospheres and early-Sun Studios Elvis records with your new, tender ballad ‘Nighttime (Is the Loneliest Time).’” Can you tell us what inspired you to write this song?

Paul Loren: That song came very quickly to me, and actually I wrote it around midnight in maybe 15 minutes or so. It definitely reminds me of the standards that I’ve always loved, like Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours” or a classic country song like Ernest Tubbs’ “Walking the Floor over You.” It’s that age-old theme: “I can’t sleep a wink because my love isn’t here with me.”

Tiziano Thomas DossenaThey say that at the beginning of your solo career, you took “elements from early R&B, jazz, and Brill Building pop and with them crafted your music with an ear towards timelessness.” Do you agree with that statement? Do you feel that you are somehow, musically speaking, an ‘old soul’? 

Paul Loren: I definitely grew up listening to timeless American music from the 50’s and 60’s—all mid-century pop, no matter the genre. When I launched my solo project, it was a conscious decision to pay homage to the music I loved so much, but also make it contemporary—writing and singing about my own life, currently. At some point, my buddy and business partner Evan just started calling me “Mr. Leisurely”—maybe because I reminded him of those old-school Rat Pack entertainers, and the name just stuck. While I do prize my ‘leisure time,’ most days I find myself quite busy and hectic with work!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou had the rare opportunity to record in the world-renowned Sun Studio in the same room as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and so many other pioneers of Rock and Roll. They say that for a singer it is a unique, unrepeatable event. Was it so for you?

Paul Loren: It really was extraordinary. When you walk into that small studio, you can feel the weight of history and the ghosts of the greats all around you, or at least I could. It’s amazing to me how much enormously influential music and giant personalities started in such a tiny space.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena
Your single “We’ll Be Together Again,” written and recorded at home during the early spring of 2020, was defined as a beacon of hope for those affected by the uncertainty of a tumultuous year. I was told that all of the proceeds from the song have been sent to a COVID-19 relief charity. Is it so?

Paul Loren: Yes, it’s all true. I wrote that song the very first week of our New York City shelter-in-place lockdown, in March of 2020. It’s funny to hear the song now and imagine that it was not so long at all after the lockdown that I wrote it. (I can’t believe we’re still living with it all a year-and-a-half later.) But I think it holds true to this day. Many of us have actually had the chance to be ‘together again,’ while others have simply not. Regardless of the circumstance, it is indeed a song of hope and optimism.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaThere is something completely new in your last recordings, isn’t there?

Paul Loren: Like so many of my fellow musicians and entertainers in this last year, I’ve faced lots of cancellations and some real career uncertainty. Pairing that with some personal obstacles, and it definitely gave me a lot to write about! About 25 songs came pouring out of me during the spring and summer of 2020, all of them digging into some deeper truth than my previous material, I’d say. I recorded two albums’ worth of material, each with 11 songs, and both telling the story of my life in 2020 as it happened.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaSo, your new album “Betwixt” is coming out in the fall, but your first single from that album, “No Room For Yesterday” got off to a hot start on ‘Spotify’s Indie Music Playlist’. Could you tell us more about it?

Paul Loren: Yes. “Betwixt” comes out on October 22nd—the first of the two albums. “No Room For Yesterday” is a classic rockabilly-influenced song that imagines life in a time of scarcity… much like we’ve known it this last year and a half. But even in scarcity, it’s important to raise a glass and toast to the unknown. That’s what the tune is about. I thought it was a nice way to introduce my (slightly) new sound to an audience, and the album in general.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaAs I understand, “Marlena” is your second single and it has received a lot of praise, both from the critics and the public. Could you talk a bit about the birth of that song?

Paul Loren: The initial melody for “Marlena” came during a long road trip home to New York from Nashville in the spring of 2020. I was just humming it incessantly during the drive (maybe to keep myself occupied or awake!) and I didn’t end up finishing the song for another couple of months. In fact, the song was finished just 2 days before the actual recording session. But once I sat at the piano to finish it, it took less than an hour to write both the words and music. In some ways, the song seemed to write itself. Let’s just say that it was more than ready to be birthed after those 2 months in gestation!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaCould you tell us more about the other songs in this album?

Paul Loren: Another favorite of mine on the record is a song called “An Evening Such As This” which actually started as a poem first. That’s very rare for me to write the words before the music, but in this case, I did. I love the way that one came out. There are some classic country-influenced tracks like “Isn’t Everything Enough?”—which references the Bakersfield, California sound of the 1960’s—and even a nod to Roy Orbison with the song called “Come Back Around.” It’s all some new musical territory for me, but all very natural.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaA companion album, “Between”, will be released in 2022. Could you tell me more about that?

Paul Loren: Yes, “Between” is ‘Volume 2’, I’d say. Both records were actually made at the same time, and I only split them up when I sequenced them—otherwise, they would’ve been combined into one big double album… hey, maybe we’ll release a ‘collector’s version’ on vinyl of both “Betwixt & Between” at some point!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou also had a weekly online music show…

Paul Loren: That’s correct! I played every Monday evening from mid-March 2020 until the end of that June—15 weeks of livestream concerts on both Instagram and Facebook Live. I took song requests from fans and played some of my own favorites. The repertoire seemed to be very musically diverse. In one show alone, I’d play perhaps a Whitney Houston, Elton John, or even an Everly Brothers song.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaAny other projects you are working on at this time?

Paul Loren: Partially inspired by last year’s livestreams, I’m currently working hard on 20 new cover songs in the studio. The song selections are also really all over the map, ranging everywhere from Hall & Oates to Madonna to Tina Turner—all songs I’ve grown up with and seem slightly out-of-the-box for me as an artist… but that’s the fun of it. They’re pleasantly surprising. I can’t wait to share some of these covers with everyone.

“No room for yesterday”. Click on the image to view the video

Tiziano Thomas DossenaAny future concerts our readers should know about?

Paul Loren: I’ll be hitting the road in early 2021 with my band—I’m truly excited to perform all these new songs live in front of audiences around the U.S. and even internationally. We’ll be posting all the dates to my website, so stay tuned!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaWould you define yourself as a singer or an entertainer?

Paul Loren: I’d probably call myself a ‘songwriter’ and ‘recording artist’ first. The singing and entertaining are really done in service to the songs and I often think of them as secondary, or better yet, serving the higher purpose of the song itself. The record-making process is also very important to me, and again, it’s all done in service to the song.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYour dream?

Paul Loren: I’d love to keep sustaining myself with my music and art. I’m grateful to have made a life out of it for all these years, so far, and hope to keep doing it even better and bigger—to keep growing a larger sustainable audience—one who really connects with what I make and release.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaCould you try to describe yourself with only three adjectives?

Paul Loren: Hmmm, ok…! Curious. Intentional. Patient.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaIf you had the opportunity to meet an individual from the past or the present, who would that person be and what would you like to ask?

Paul Loren: Well, my answer might change every day (there are so many fascinating folks to choose from!), but today I’m going to have to say, Louis Armstrong. I’d like to know how he kept it all together, especially in the segregated show business (and America) of the early 20th century, and what made him persevere—both musically and in life.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaA message to our readers?

Paul Loren: I’d like to thank them all for their interest, and do hope they enjoy my new music. If we have some fans of cocktails out there, specifically drinks that include amari, aperitivi or bitter(s), they can follow me on Instagram and/or YouTube where I post many recipes for fun. The Negroni happens to be my favorite drink and in addition to music, making delicious cocktails and discovering new amari is a real passion of mine. Grazie tante!

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Blood Memory, prose Poems: Reading these poems is an adventure of sorts in the emotional world
by Milano52
Aug 22, 2021 | 21456 views | 0 0 comments | 797 797 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Review by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

In this outstanding collection of poems in prose, or prose poems as they may be defined, Michelle Reale evaluates and presents the doubts, soul’s contortions, and general emotions of her youth as well as the appraisal of her father’s troubled early life. She does this with a sensitive and expressive tone and an enviable mastering of the language, leaving to the reader nothing to imagine and everything to feel and visualize through her words, as in the poem Blood Memory, which gives the name to the collection:

“At the start, a surging melancholy.  The clash of chromosomes, the unseen bruises on the helix, contorted. A crimson drop, no mere stain, spreads into the woven, familiar fabric.  Worsted, twisted, taut, like hands around a throat. Like a whole apple in the mouth.  Memory like a cleft in the chin, indelible. There is pressure on the throat from works unspoken, truths not told.  Release the bottleneck. The trauma thrums nice and steady, predictable.  The eye is persistent in the witness of the curse of skipped generations. Grim acceptance. The waiting can drive those who are aware enough to the threshold with empty hands.”

Reading these poems is therefore an adventure of sorts in the emotional world. Be prepared to capture the emotional state of the writer as well as one of the protagonists of the poem, whether being a youthful Michelle or her father. Be prepared to sense her regrets about certain aspects of her family relations but also her awareness of the boundless love that surrounded her at home, as in the poem Stregoneria:

“…I tried, but never managed, to be able to contain all the things that I loved.  I made lists and put my dead grandparents on the top of every single one of them, and even that wasn’t enough. My mother’s superstitions kept my father awake at night, staring into the nothingness that enveloped him for years…”

These poems will touch you and bring you close to the poet, and that would be already a great reason for reading Blood Memory, but there is certainly more value to this collection than the emotions that it may pass on to you as a reader. The linguistic approach is poised and equilibrated, bringing to the printed page a feeling of stability even when the words may seem aggressive or judgmental, and the state of mind shared may be frustration or anxiety, allowing the reader to actually enjoy these poems for their construction as well as for their content.

Furthermore, even though the word Italian appears only twice in the book, and in unusual circumstances (note: “The Italian Presbyterian minister…” and “…the Italian Pentecostal Reverend Mother…”), the whole book feels Italian American through and through, presenting situations that are, if not typical, at the least normal in our community, with an emphasis on family values, love, stubbornness, love of food and traditions, etcetera. Blood Memory is therefore a collection of poems that our readers will certainly love.



IMPRINT: Idea Press


ISBN# 978-1-948651-24-0


PRICE: $12.95

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“I’ve wondered if even my most pessimistic books aren’t pessimistic enough…” Exclusive interview with award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi.
by Milano52
Aug 02, 2021 | 22831 views | 0 0 comments | 782 782 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Paolo Bacigalupi is a successful science fiction and fantasy writer. He has won the HugoNebulaJohn. W. CampbellCompton CrookTheodore SturgeonEdgarPrix Planète SF des blogueursSeiun, and Michael L. Printz awards, and has been nominated for the National Book Award.

His nonfiction essays have been syndicated in newspapers, including the Idaho Statesman, the Albuquerque Journal, and the Salt Lake Tribune.

His fiction work includes various novels, a novella, novels for young adults and young readers, and many short stories, which appear in the volume “Pump Six and Other Stories,” various magazines, and the anthology “I’m With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet.”

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Hello, Paolo. You started your writing over twenty years ago with short stories and non-fiction essays. What topics were your essays about?

Paolo Bacigalupi: Some of my essays were travel essays, because I spent a lot of time in China, and wanted to share parts of my experiences there. Some of them were about my hometown, and what it was like to be living in a rural mountain valley, both culturally and in terms of the landscape.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Do you still write non-fiction essays or are you now focused just on the novels? Do you expect to navigate away from your environmentally-focused thematic in the future?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I enjoy writing fiction more, so that’s where I focus my efforts these days. Honestly, I don’t know how my thematic interests will evolve in the future. It’s a process.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: They claim that the eleven stories in “Pump Six” represent the best of your work (including the Hugo nominee “Yellow Card Man,” the nebula and Hugo nominated story “The People of Sand and Slag,” and the Sturgeon Award-winning story “The Calorie Man”). Do you agree with that statement? Would you have chosen the same stories for that collection if you had to do it today? Which one is the short story that you are the proudest about and why?

Paolo Bacigalupi: It’s flattering to think that those stories are my best work. Certainly, they were the ones that garnered the most attention, but I think that also has to do with the dynamic of being a new unknown writer bursting into the scene. For a period of time, you’re sort of popular simply because you seem new and fresh.

The stories in Pump Six are the first short stories I ever sold, and I arranged them in chronological order, so you can see the way my writing and interests evolve over time. “Pocketful of Dharma” was a simple cyberpunk-inspired piece of science fiction. By the time I wrote the short story “Pump Six” I was thinking about endocrine disruptors and artificial chemical hormones and how those can fundamentally alter our biology and society. I think that represents a certain evolution.

As for the story that I’m most proud of right now, it’s not in that collection. It’s a story I published last year called “American Gold Mine” and it’s about how for-profit news media affects society.  I like it because it’s relevant to our present moment, and it’s as good a warning as I could craft.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You also have published many other short stories after “Pump Six”. Should we expect a second collection to be published anytime soon? If so, what stories would it possible include?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I think I will do a second collection. Much like Pump Six, I think there’s a good chance it will include everything I’ve written since then, also in chronological order.  Alternatively, I may do a collection that is entirely focused on my environmental and social writings. I could see grouping stories around topics like pollution, media, global warming, etc, and that might be an interesting thing for readers to have access to.


Tiziano Thomas Dossena: How do you feel being Italian American influenced your life and your life choices?

Paolo Bacigalupi: It’s hard to say. I’m a fifth-generation Italian-American, so despite how Italian-sounding my name is, I’m pretty watered down. On the other hand, I grew up hearing stories about how my great-great-grandmother Maria Bacigalupi came to America and worked as a seamstress to put all four of her boys through college. And there were stories about how my great-grandfather became very wealthy, and then went bankrupt in the Depression and how he moved to a tiny apartment next to a cemetery where he lived for the rest of his life, but he also managed to pay back every single debt he had.  My grandfather worked hard and saved enough money so that he could put every one of his children and grandchildren through college. I think that kind of ethic of striving and helping out your later generations is something that has stuck with me.  It gives you a sense that you can succeed, even if things are hard, and it also sort of reminds you that you have a duty not just to yourself but to the ones who follow you. In some ways, when I think about my son, I think not just about giving him the education and skills to succeed in life, but also in terms of handing off a planet that will support him and his children, and their children. That’s what a lot of my writing has been about.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Your debut novel “The Windup Girl” was named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten best novels of 2009, and also won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Internationally, it has won the Seiun Award (Japan), The Ignotus Award (Spain), The Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis (Germany), and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (France). It appears as a grand slam of a kind for a novelist. Did the success of this novel make it easier or more difficult to write the following novel?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I think that success definitely can make things more difficult, but in a way, I was lucky, because by the time I wrote The Windup Girl I’d already written four other failed novels and spent about ten years building my craft. So I’d had a lot of time to figure out what I was trying to do with my writing and why I was writing, and that sort of acted as a rudder that helped me steer through some of the storms that success can bring. If Windup Girl had been my first novel ever, I think that level of success would have probably destroyed me.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: The main thematic of “The Windup Girl” is bioengineering. Do you feel that our world is (unfortunately) coming close to your fiction work? Do you believe or hope we are going to correct our seemingly doomed trajectory toward self-annihilation?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I think we make choices every day. Some days I think we’re steering toward a better future, and some days—especially over the last four years—I’ve wondered if even my most pessimistic books aren’t pessimistic enough. I worry that despite all of our technological advances that we’re still basically hairless apes, and just as stupid and tribal and short-sighted as those ancient ancestors of ours.


Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Right after “The Windup Girl,” you published a novel for young adults, “Ship Breaker” (National Book Award Finalist and Michael L. Printz Award Winner This effort turned out to be the first of a very successful trilogy of books since it was followed by “The Drowned Cities” (2012 Kirkus Reviews Best of YA Book, A 2012 VOYA Perfect Ten Book, and 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist), and “Tool of War.”  Was it always in your plan to make it a trilogy or did you find it necessary to expand the original first story? What is the thematic of these three books? 

Paolo Bacigalupi: I wrote Ship Breaker because I realized I wanted to write stories for young people, particularly to highlight some of the issues I think they’ll face in the future, and the kind of world we adults are handing off to them, whether that’s the challenge of facing global warming, or the problem of politics turned violent. I was also concerned that kids don’t read enough, so I was trying to write stories that would be exciting and page-turning enough to keep a kid engaged.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You also wrote another Young Adult book, “The Doubt Factory” (Edgar Award and Locus Award Finalist). What topics did you touch on, this time?

Paolo Bacigalupi: That one is about public relations companies that try to throw doubt on science, for example how Hill & Knowlton worked with cigarette companies to throw doubt on the idea that cigarettes caused cancer. Chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, energy companies, and more all use specific techniques to confuse the public about how dangerous their products are and to avoid regulation. I wanted to tell a sort of thriller/crime caper story about those topics.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You also contributed a story for the anthology “I’m With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet,” for which the royalties go to, an international grassroots movement working to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It appears to be a choice coherent with your writings’ topics. What was your story about?

Paolo Bacigalupi: Right. “The Tamarisk Hunter.” Originally that story was published in the environmental journal High Country News.  It’s a global warming story focused on drought and how people try to adapt to water scarcity.  It was my first time writing about global warming and actually formed the seed for my later novel “The Water Knife.”

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Your novella “The Alchemist” is paired with Tobias Buckell’s “The Executioness” in “The Tangled Lands.” How did you work it out to create a common realm with another writer? 

Paolo Bacigalupi: Sometimes writing can feel lonely. Toby and I decided to build a shared world so we could have an excuse to chat with each other and be creative together. It’s not actually very hard to collaborate, but it is important to work out the ground rules ahead of time.  It takes a lot of honesty and openness and sometimes when you disagree about something it can be uncomfortable, but overall, it’s a lot of fun. Mostly we were interested in writing fantasy stories that also carried an environmental metaphor. In the stories, everyone can use magic, but whenever it’s used, a magical plant called bramble grows up and starts to overcome everything, to the point that it eventually swallows up whole towns, cities, and empires, because people can’t stop using magic. It was a way to play with the ideas of the Tragedy of the Commons and global warming, without ever using those terms.


Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You also wrote “The Gambler,” which was nominated for the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette. Does this story break a bit from your other ones? Do you feel that ethics has been really dwindling in journalism? With the excessive amount of disinformation the world is suffering, do you see a possible positive outcome in which our society finds a way to curtail somehow all these conspiracy theories and falsehoods?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I used to work for an environmental news organization and it meant that I had a lot of time to observe how changing technologies have affected the profession. Pay-per-click advertising models create incredibly perverse incentives to pander to various audience slices to gain attention and ad dollars. This applies to websites as well as social media and large-scale news organizations.  As long as the news is connected to advertising revenue, there is going to be an incentive to pander to audiences. I wrote the Gambler because I was seeing how news organizations were learning to only post news that people would read, instead of news they needed to know, and I wrote “American Gold Mine” because I was seeing how news organizations profit from pandering and stoking the biases of their audiences, gaining viewers and ad revenue, the more outlandish and pandering they are.

I think that we have to rethink how news gets its revenue, and how social media gains revenue. This also applies to social media accounts, we all have an incentive to post things on Twitter or Instagram, or Facebook that will get us more likes and more shares, and if we don’t get those, we’ll post different things, that will be more viral. The problem is that virality doesn’t equal importance or accuracy. It’s just the thing that gives our brains the biggest drug hit of dopamine when we see them. Overall, if we’re going to get rid of disinformation, we have to get a handle on how news orgs make money, when and where advertising is allowed on news and social media, and we have to get rid of things viral sharing incentives such as like buttons and share statistics. If we get rid of the rewards for sharing bad and inflammatory information, I think the problem will at least be mitigated.


Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Is there a new book to be published soon? Are you working on any new novels at the moment?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I’m actually working on a fantasy novel right now, and it’s set in a world that’s inspired by the Italian Renaissance, actually. A few years ago, I started getting interested in Italy and my family’s history and when The Windup Girl was translated into Italian I had my first chance to visit. Since then I’ve kept returning to study the language and to explore more of the country. At some point, I started writing a short story that was strongly influenced by that Renaissance history and culture that I was reading about, and the more I wrote, the more I liked it, and the more ideas I had, and the bigger the story grew….. well, at this point, it’s probably going to be at least two novels, maybe more. I love the world that I’m building, and the fact that I get to visit Italy and use that as research and inspiration is a huge bonus.


Tiziano Thomas Dossena: If you could define yourself with three adjectives, what would they be?

Paolo Bacigalupi: Sharp. Silly. Anxious.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What other interests do you have besides writing? Any hobbies?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I do a lot of outdoor activities.  I live in Colorado, so I mountain bike in the summer, and I downhill and cross-country ski in the winter. I climb mountains. Lately, I’ve been doing more and more running, and just recently ran ten miles. I’m thinking I might try to train for a marathon now.


Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Paolo Bacigalupi: It’s interesting that you ask. I have a list of things that I’d like to do and like to learn. One of those is to learn more Italian and get really comfortable with the language because I’m still very clumsy with it. I think in ten years it would be really nice if I can find a way to have an apartment in Italy and live there for at least half the year, writing, studying, enjoying the good life. I’d like to learn to play a musical instrument, maybe guitar, and I’d like to learn to draw as well. I want to be studying more history, and I want to be meeting more educated and interesting people. I hope in ten years, I’m filling my days up with a good mix of interesting conversation and time out in the sun and nature, and pleasurable silences and times for learning.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Any unrealized dreams you feel like sharing with our readers?

Paolo Bacigalupi: I’ve actually accomplished all the goals I used to have in terms of a career, or in terms of having something that I thought I needed to prove. The thing that I’d really like to work on now is figuring out how to live a happy, balanced life. That’s a lot harder than writing a novel, it turns out. It takes real practice.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: If you had the opportunity to meet and talk to anyone from the past or the present, who would that person be and what would you like to tell him (or her)?

Paolo Bacigalupi: If I was going back in time to tell someone something, I’d go back in time to the moment when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was organizing the New Deal and tell him to build a lot of railroads and mass transit and to ban automobiles because personal autos are something the future can’t afford.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: A message for our readers?

Paolo Bacigalupi: Read all my books. Of course. LOL.

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Here comes Berry!!! A new book by Corky DeYulio touches children’s hearts.
by Milano52
Jul 12, 2021 | 22142 views | 0 0 comments | 2438 2438 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

By Tiziano Thomas Dossena.

Corky De Julio’s “Berry the Parrot” introduces Berry, a pleasant parrot who believes that he can have a better life if freed from his cage. The reality of a life where you have to fetch for yourself hits him soon enough in this wonderful story aimed at teaching children that every position in the world and in a society of any kind comes with certain responsibilities and dues to pay. Furthermore, another lesson taught is that one should not judge just by appearance only, but by behavior, instead. Two lessons that will be easily absorbed by young children and that will help them understand their playing partners, and maybe even adults around them, a little more.

The approachable language and amusing interactions of the parrot with the various characters, along with the teaching concepts that are embedded in the story, make this book a wonderful choice for any young child, from the pre-readers (parents would have to do the reading, obviously) to the advanced readers.

Beautifully illustrated by Danny Jock and Dominic Campanile, this is the first of a series of books on the adventures of this delightful new character.

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“From day one, I realized that I would dedicate my life to dance.” Exclusive interview with Alessandra Corona.
by Milano52
May 03, 2021 | 24847 views | 0 0 comments | 1039 1039 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

ALESSANDRA CORONA, a native of Cagliari, Sardinia, was trained at the National Ballet Academy in Rome, where she studied ballet, Graham, Limon, Cunningham, and jazz techniques.  In Italy, she danced for Asmed Ballet Company, directed by Paola Leoni, and Gino Landi.  She performed with Danza Prospettiva, directed by Vittorio Biagi, at the Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma and in Lausanne, Switzerland.  She toured internationally for five years as a principal dancer with Renato Greco Dance Company abroad and in the U.S.

Upon moving to New York, Alessandra joined Ballet Hispanico and quickly rose to the rank of principal dancer, touring with the Company for 15 years, originating roles in many ballets, and performing with the Company in the U.S., Europe, and South America.

At the invitation of Ann Reinking, she toured Europe and Asia for two years in the international company of Fosse, and appeared in the City Center Encores! production of Richard Rodgers’ No Strings, directed by Reinking.  She has performed as a guest artist at various international dance festivals, including “Notte di Stelle” at the historical amphitheater in Cagliari, Villa Pamphili Summer Festival in Rome, Jacob’s Pillow, and the Seattle International Dance Festival in the U.S., and more.

 A resident of New York City, she founded Alessandra Corona Performing Works in 2012. 

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : Alessandra, when did you start dancing and when did you realize this was going to be your life’s work?

Alessandra Corona:  When I was very young, I would always ask my mother to watch ballet performances on TV while my brothers were watching cartoons. I first started going to ballet classes at nine years old. The director of the school, Inez Palladino, was the pianist from the National Ballet Academy of Rome and the teacher, Paola Leoni, was also from that school. From day one, I realized that I would dedicate my life to dance.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : How difficult was the change, emotionally and physically, going from the National Ballet Academy to an actual Ballet company?

Alessandra Corona: I had decided to move to Rome and spend my final year of study at the National Ballet Academy there. But when I met with the director, Giuliana Penzi, she encouraged me to leave school and start dancing immediately. She advised me to audition for the Renato Greco dance Company and I won a six-month scholarship to train for the company. After only two months, I was invited to join the company where I worked and toured for five years.  The transition from the Academy was challenging insofar as we had to study many different techniques besides ballet: Graham, Limon, jazz, tap, etc. So, physically, it was demanding, but emotionally, it was very exciting and fulfilling.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : Were the experiences with the Asmed Ballet Company and Danza Prospettiva very different?

Alessandra Corona: Asmed Ballet was based in Cagliari and directed by Paola Leoni. The repertoire was mostly ballet with some Graham-based choreography by Joseph Fontano (National Ballet Academy). The company toured only in Sardinia. Danza Prospectiva was based

in Rome and directed by Vittorio Biaggi who choreographed his own version of the “Sagra della Primavera” of Stravinsky, which was a unique experience: we were on stage for 45 minutes without pause, the music was impossible to count so we had to memorize completely, we had to cover our bodies and face with clay. The piece premiered at the Bejart Ballet theater in Lausanne.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : You then toured as the principal dancer with the Renato Greco Dance Company for five years? Was this still exclusively ballet? Where did you tour? What is the most important lesson you took away from those years?

Alessandra Corona: Yes, I toured with Renato Greco Dance Company for about 5 years as a principal dancer.  Classical ballet technique was a basic requirement for the company but the repertoire was based on Luigi and Matt Mattox technique, repertoire was mostly choreographed by Renato Greco and Maria Teresa dal Medico. The company toured all over the world including China, Egypt, and the U.S.  I performed the principal role of “Donna Laura di Carini” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

Renato and Maria Teresa taught us how to sustain our determination and passion and how to persist in the face of difficulties.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : How did you end up joining the Ballet Hispanico? Was this a big change, as performances go? You quickly rose to the principal dancer position and toured for fifteen years. What made you leave?

Tiziano Thomas Dossena 
: During my tour with Renato Greco in New York, there was an audition for Ballet Hispanico. At that time I couldn’t speak any English, but the artistic director, Tina Ramirez, communicated in a few Spanish words that she wanted me to join the company. This was a big change from my former experience because, as a repertory dance company, each piece was created by a different choreographer with his or her own style that had to be learned.  After a few years, I became a principal dancer and toured globally for 10 years, after which I was invited as a guest artist for the following 5 years for the most prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, Wolftrap,  and American Dance Festival. My career with BH company started in January 1991 and finished in spring 2006.

After that period, I was ready to try something different, like musical theater, and I started to take voice classes and was invited by Ann Reinking to join the first international company of the musical “Fosse.”

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : You toured Europe and Asia for two years in the international company of Fosse. Was this as exciting as it sounds? Which one was the most thrilling performance?

Alessandra Corona: It was very exciting; company members were top-level artists from all over the world, the orchestra and technicians were fantastic.

The most memorable performances were in Tokyo and Osaka. We stayed in Japan for about a month and performed every night to full houses in 2,000-seat theaters. Publicity for the show had started one year prior to our arrival and audiences were knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

A German paper lauding the Fosse performance…

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : So, now you have your own performing company. Could you tell us when was it born and what are the goals you aim to achieve with it?

Alessandra Corona: I founded the company in 2012, first of all, to share my artistic experience with younger professional dancers to give them the same performing opportunity that I had. I also started to develop my own choreographic skills. I want to create a company with a unique aesthetic, integrating theater, visual art, and original music.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : One of the works you choreographed is “Labyrinth”, which had its world premiere on January 10th. Could you tell us what was the theme and what was the emotional response you were aspiring to evoke with this choreography?

Alessandra Corona: My latest work is “Labyrinth,” from which we presented a short excerpt at the Booking Dance Festival on January 10. Because of the pandemic, we had to create a piece that was filmed outdoors and presented online. This will be included in the upcoming world premiere of the full version in a theater on May 6. This choreography was about isolation within a group and the personal struggle for freedom that we are all experiencing during this time. The Labyrinth is symbolic of the path we construct through our lives- it is both confining and liberating at the same time.

A scene from Labyrinth

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : What is your online project “We can still dance” about?

Alessandra Corona: During the lockdown, I asked the dancers to create a short dance within a confined indoor space. The idea was to inspire them to keep moving and adapt to a restricted environment. The second part was during summer where we could film the dancers outdoors.

I created a surreal backdrop simulating a field of sunflowers, which gave a sense of spaciousness and freedom.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : What other projects are you developing at this time?

Alessandra Corona: ACPW is currently completing work on two new pieces to be presented at the St. Jean Theater in New York on May 6. One is the full version of Labyrinth choreographed by me in collaboration with the dancers and the other is the full version of “Breaking through the Generational Curse” by Maiya Redding. We started these two projects last year and were scheduled to perform them in April 2020, but this was interrupted by the pandemic.

A scene from “Amore Impossibile”

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : You also teach dancing online. How does that work?

Alessandra Corona: I was teaching ballet classes online every day since March 2020, mainly to the dancers in the company to keep them connected and physically prepared. From June 12 to July 10, 2020, each Friday the class was open to the public and the contributions received were donated to the BLM organization. Teaching online is limited but it helps a lot to keep us connected emotionally.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : What is your dream?

Alessandra Corona: My dream is to continue to be engaged in exciting creative projects with the company and tour with them.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : Do you miss Italy, and in particular your Sardinia? When this virus has finally gotten out of the way, do you plan to tour Italy with your company?

Alessandra Corona: I miss Italy and, in particular, Sardinia very much! The company has toured in Sardinia and Rome and I find it interesting to share Italian culture with the dancers and at the same time share the American artistic style with Italian audiences. I feel fortunate to be part of two different artistic worlds. We definitely look forward to touring again in Italy.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : Do you have any suggestions for a young woman who wants to become a dancer?

Alessandra Corona: It is very hard work and you have to be very committed.  I recommend that one dedicates a long time to the preparation and to acquiring a solid technical base. You need to sustain a strong belief in yourself and continue to nurture your dreams.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : What are your other interests? Do you still cook Italian style?

Alessandra Corona: Being the artistic director, I am involved in all aspects of the production process, including costume design, set and lighting design, and other visual effects such as video, plus collaborating with the music composer. I continue to expand my knowledge in these areas.

Of course, I cook Italian style!  I make some specific Sardinian dishes such as “Fregola with clams” and “Malloreddusu alla campidanese”.

Before the pandemic, we organized parties for the audiences following the shows to meet the artists featuring Sardinian cuisine, including pasta, different cheeses, and wines.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : If you had to define yourself with three adjectives, what would they be?

Alessandra Corona: Passionate, determined,  graceful…

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : If you had the opportunity to meet a person from the past or the present, anyone you want, who would that person be, and what would you like to ask them?

Alessandra Corona: I would have loved to meet Pina Bausch and ask her “Can I please work for you?” “Can you please create a piece for my company?”

Tiziano Thomas Dossena : A message for our readers?

Alessandra Corona: We are very excited that theaters are finally reopening and we are looking forward to welcoming audiences to our upcoming show! We want to let everyone know that the protective measures in place ensure that it is safe for people to enjoy and support the artists!

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Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: Master Goldsmith and artist in NYC
by Milano52
Apr 19, 2021 | 8807 views | 0 0 comments | 506 506 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Article and interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon, Master Goldsmith and artist, philosopher of life and amiable character of New York’s cultural elite, met us in the Upper West Side for an exclusive interview. His creative energy is felt only to hear him speak and can be observed in his gaze, which reflects his love for life. With a recent past full of successes, both as an artist and as a goldsmith, with international collaborations that have distinguished him for his professionalism and originality (Scanno Award, Daikin Orchid Women’s Golf Award, etc.), this Italian personality is bringing his great cultural contribution to this intricate metropolis that always needs new voices. Here’s what he told us.

Symbol for the Premio Scanno Award created by Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Who is the person that you think has had more influence on your artistic activity and how did it happen?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: Certainly Maestro Valerio Passerini, but now I have to say that all the people I met were inspiring for me, some on an artistic level and others on a human level, two things that I wrote separately but that are not. Anyway, I met Maestro Valerio Passerini in June 1997, after a year living in Florence, where I had done an Engraving and Repoussage course; I went to meet him personally in his studio in front of the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina in Siena. With the Maestro I have to say that there was immediately a certain feeling that led me to move to Siena in his studio as an engraver. He did not pay me but gave me the chance to start my artistic life in the field of creative jewelry; in fact, seeing him make some Etruscan earrings, I asked him to teach me the goldsmith’s art, which was for me immediately easy to interpret and realize.

I was in his studio for a year. After that period, I moved to the studio I had at home and from there I continued to work for an exclusively private clientele, which I created in the year spent with the Maestro in his studio. Sincere thanks, then, to Maestro Valerio Passerini.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Do you have an artistic ideal as a Master Goldsmith to which you aim? Who is the goldsmith/artist you most admire and why?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: I do not have an artistic ideal or a Master by whom I am inspired, and I say it with great humility, in fact, looking at my Work you can go from modern to classic, ethnic to contemporary to sculpture; I mean, that mine is a constant search day after day through daily life that I then transform figuratively and materially into jewels or sculptures, so I think that life itself is the greatest teacher.

Fortunately I have been able to travel a lot and in cultural, linguistic and food diversity, I have been able to learn a lot, but above all it has given me the chance to see things from different angles and perspectives and understand that there is a right and wrong for each one of us and that all preconceptions bind us and do not free us from what we are in nature, that is, we are pure creation and from this we just let go and feel part of the universe and become like the tools I use when I have to create a jewel or a sculpture. So there are fortunately many Masters, and if I think of a future this excites me and inspires me even more.

Bracelet from the Etruscan Collection

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Why do you use silver, bronze and silk thread in your sculptural works?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: I started using bronze, silver, silk thread and other materials, since I felt the need to get out of the usual canons and rules of jewelry; I needed to experiment, to know myself and get to know my creativity better. I felt the need to construct an object not contained in space but to use the same space and fill it harmoniously and with balance, but still considering the creative aspect. So the first object was made of pure 925 silver and blue silk threads, a ring that I called Throne. From there, slowly, I moved on to make larger sculptural objects, however always keeping my Goldsmith background. For this reason I use materials that bring me back to the color of yellow and white gold, but the thread comes from the need to give shape without too much invading the space that surrounds the same object; it is as if there were so many pieces, one independent from the other but put and seen together form a shape. This is connected to the first question, all the people and the coincidences of life are like a puzzle that in the end takes ever more form and meaning.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You often work coupled with artists (painters and sculptors), creating jewels that recall their art. How does this combination work? What difficulties did you encounter in these projects?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: The collaboration with artists was born with the art gallery INNER ROOM OF CONTEMPORARY ART of Siena, whose president and founder is the artist Federico Fusi. The gallery invited various artists every month and commissioned me a piece of jewelry that would reflect the same theme of the show, the collaboration consisted of talking with the artist and understanding what he wanted, even if I have to say that most people let me interpret their art in extreme freedom and with trust in my work, so it is always easy to work with great artists because they are also always the most humble; I must say that this collaboration gave me the opportunity to wander in conceptual jewelry, which led me to collaborate with artists such as Lucio Pozzi, Gilberto Zorio, Alfredo Pirri and Jan Fabre. At this moment I am collaborating with the artist Dove Bradshaw;  I carry out her ideas, suggesting the type of material and the working methodology for the replication of her concepts; also, in this case, her full availability, humility and trust in my work, makes the collaboration constantly creative and a mutual exchange, therefore constructive.The difficulties in the job, sometimes, are in finding the right balance between imagination and possibility of realization; I must say, however, that having a strong old-school artisanal base, I have always managed to satisfy the creative need of both the artist with whom I collaborate and mine.

Jewel based on the sculpture s byi Jan FabreOriginal design and jewel from the Etruscan Collection

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: How much influence have you had, both in your creativity and in the production itself, by the places where you lived? New York, for example, how much did it affect your Work?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon:
 Tuscany gave me the Classic, the Renaissance, the sense of balance of eternal beauty. Japan gave me Modernity, Contemporaneity linked to a past full of sense of honor. My first line of modern or contemporary jewelry, as we want to call it, was born from a trip to Japan in 2005. I went to Nagoya for the Expo; entering the railway station of Nagoya, I saw a chandelier with glasses cut perpendicularly and with the light that brought me back to the florescence of the diamond under the sun; from that experience, after a year and a half, I created the first ring inspired by that wall lamp, and so the Nagoya collection was born.

Here in NYC I’m dedicating myself to refine the completely different typology and production process, including material and equipment, from the creative and design one I was doing in Italy; here it is much more technical and based on speed; I would say at the moment I am in a phase of learning rather than creative, since I believe I still need to have even more knowledge and background. However, I think that a city like NYC, so dynamic and in constant change, can only add important information to my cultural background that, mixed with everything, can only give good results.

Earrings from the Nagoya CollectionEarrings from the Nagoya Collection

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Could you explain to our readers how it works, in general, the production of a jewel designed and produced by you and which tools do you use?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: The realization of an object starts from the client who orders me a jewel to make; first of all, I try to identify the person in front of me and understand which jewel is best suited to his/her personality, after which I make project drafts until I find the subject that inspires me and that satisfies me most of all, because, as I always say, the realization of a jewel starts from your ego and in the need to satisfy it, and I say this in a positive sense.

Using the inspiration from a painting of Matisse (the leaves) Mazzon created a,pendant and a ring with white gold, turquoise and diamonds, for his customer Franca Maffei

Found the right design, I start with the work phase, which is still very artisanal. I take pure gold and bring it with a copper and silver alloy from pure to 18K, then, according to the jewelry I have to make, I laminate it and work on it. My work is always and directly done with the metal in an artisanal way, I do not use wax nor I prepare models before the realization of the object itself, so for me it is like sculpting directly from the material and then arriving at the final result; this implies really small margins of error, but at the same time it leads you to confront yourself. I like to consider making a jewel as a metaphor of life, in the sense that every time I create a new jewel it’s like taking an introspective trip with all its difficulties, victories and secrets that I find when I’m in the creative and working phase.

The tools I use are from various pliers to torches, and I work with the microscope. For some jobs I have to use a specific tool for that job, such as a hacksaw, etc.

Original design and bracelet from the Buccellati Collection

L’IDEA: Which projects are you currently working on?

Enrico Giuseppe Mazzon: Now I’m working on a couple of orders from Italy, a pendant with opals, tourmalines and diamonds, and a series of rings with diamonds; here in NYC, as already mentioned, I am in constant collaboration with the artist Dove Bradshow, a collaboration born in 2014 after my visit to New York, and now, after having made a golden reproduction of a broken goose egg, I am reproducing, from a pyrite, a pair of earrings in pure silver; I am also producing a copy of a silver earring by the artist Berridge, and completing the reproduction of bullets fired by NYC police in pure silver, plus other projects of which we are still discussing the details in this period.

Bracelet Gallery

Ring Gallery


Pendants and Necklaces Gallery

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From Cinematica to being an Ambassador of Italian Excellence in the World: the success continues for a great Italian singer. An exclusive interview with Romina Arena.
by Milano52
Apr 19, 2021 | 25573 views | 0 0 comments | 2900 2900 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

nterview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Here we are back with Romina Arena, the “Queen of Popera”. In our last interview, we covered many topics, but the news of newfound events and successes surrounding her persona has reached our magazine and I felt it would be appropriate to have an update, which she kindly agreed to.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou just launched with huge success a new major movie album ‘CINEMATICA VOLUME ONE’. I see that it contains a very interesting selection of songs…

Romina Arena: Yes, this is one of my most heartfelt records so far I have ever released because it contains some of my most adored movie soundtracks that have accompanied my life and career! The record holds the title of ‘CINEMATICA VOLUME ONE” a brand name that with my team at THE ROMINA ARENA COMPANY, in collaboration with my co-creators, my personal manager and executive producer Jay Hall, my Chief of physical productions Chris Fisher, and my Chief Creative strategy Content Officer and Disney executive ‘EXTRAORDINAIRE’ Forrest Fisher, have created to transport all of my fans to the world of cinema and exciting inspiration, via the recording of the most successful movie soundtracks, books, and TV specials!

This is one special music compilation released by my brand new label POPERASTAR RECORDS and is having a terrific success, beyond our expectations! If you have followed my career, you know I come from the world of music scores for cinema and theme songs, such as my work with the great late Maestro Oscar-winner Ennio Morricone, and if you loved that collaboration, you will love CINEMATICA VOLUME ONE!.

Some of the theme songs (which I am sure will be very familiar to your readers) are the revisited SOMEWHERE (from WEST SIDE STORY), ARTHUR’S THEME, BABY MINE from DISNEY’S DUMBO, and many others, including my very own (and first rock song) SATELLITE, which became the super successful soundtrack to the major Bafta award-winning MICROSOFT videogame GOTHAM RACING TWO, which I composed and recorded in several languages for the release of the videogame in several markets, and so much more for all of our listeners to discover! CINEMATICA is the gift that keeps on giving! You can find it on all the digital platforms, including of course SPOTIFY, PANDORA, AMAZON MUSIC, APPLE MUSIC, and of course you can purchase music from my own website at! I hope you will all enjoy it!

Again, I never leave anything to the case; I always love to tell the stories behind these movies and also how emotional it is the connection that our hearts have with films and music and when you bring these two magical media together, game over! You will never forget that one scene or one song! It is all to discover, so let me know your thoughts! I executive produced the album, but I have to give a shout to everyone who’s been with me on this amazing journey, from my personal manager and A&R Jay Hall, my chief Creative Strategy Content Officer Forrest Fisher, my Chief of productions Chris Fisher, my adored attorney of over 20 years the great Brad Rubens, my Art Director and development Eric Carlson, and my Ohana family!

Of course, the album is dedicated to God, my adored mother Rita, and to all of you media and fans who are making me who I am; I’d be nothing without you!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou are currently involved with two major movie musicals for one of the largest Hollywood studios. What does that entail?

Romina Arena: At this point, I cannot reveal a lot, since I am under a very tight NDA (non-disclosure agreement), but all I can say is that dreams do come true. I am starring, composing the music, writing these major massive movie musicals, and executive producing them…and the team I have around me is a true dream team! For the rest you’re just going to have to wait and see…it won’t be too long! Stay tuned and follow me on my website or on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and everything in between!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaI heard you are working on a new Spanish, French and American album… Could you tell us more about that?

Romina Arena: Just as above I cannot reveal much at this time, but all I can say is that I sing, write and speak fluently in ten different languages and I have been writing a lot of music lately, and I always felt the need to communicate to all people of all walks of life my passion, my pain, my triumph, and music has always been my true connector!

Yes, there is a wonderful Spanish/Italian project in the works and since I have always been a huge Edith Piaf fan ever since I was 10 years old (raised by a French nanny along with my mom who used to bring me to France every year, spending the summer holidays in Monaco and in Nice), I have always wanted to work on a French album and I am doing something very, very exciting, working with some major music producers of the French world, so I’ll be able to share more once we are ready!  I am writing as always all the songs, but I am also revisiting some classics, presented in a whole new way, so just wait and see what I am cooking up!

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  Is it true that you are at this moment composing the music for a variety of major up and coming motion pictures and TV shows? Which ones are they?

Romina Arena:  I am doing a large variety of projects but once again, due to contractual signed deals, it is hard for me to reveal all the details. I have been writing music and recording for major networks lately such as ABC, ESPN, and more. What I am working on, though, are some very large new motion pictures and streaming series needing specific sounds such as the ones I produce, so they will be released soon!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYour fantastic cinematic travel book about Italian locations of famous movies, ‘WHERE DID THEY FILM THAT? ITALY” is a best seller. Do you have any intentions of transforming it in a travel show or a podcast?

Romina Arena: Thank you for your kind words!  Yes, this is a spectacular book that anyone can find in all local bookstores, such as BARNES & NOBLE, and of course, I don’t have to tell you, also on all digital platforms ( amazon has both versions, hard copy and digital).

As I mentioned above, my love for cinema has always been so strong and so inspiring to me. WHERE DID THEY FILM THAT?ITALY (the first of a franchise of books that will transport the readers to many places around the world), is what I consider ‘A TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MOVIE LOVERS AND A MOVIE GUIDE FOR TRAVEL LOVERS”, and especially now it is a wonderful way to learn about Italy by discovering the major movies filmed there, from THE GODFATHER to CINEMA PARADISO, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and many more!

Recently, I was approached by a major TV producer asking me to turn the book into a TV/streaming series and I accepted, so now development has started and I just cannot wait to bring this special cinematic travel project to you all!

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  Heard through the grapevine that a major 8-times Oscar-winning film producer in Hollywood is currently developing a major motion picture, and now even a large Broadway musical, based on your life story. Could you reveal the name of the producer? How proud do you feel about such an honor? Are you expected to collaborate with the songs part of the musical?

Romina Arena: Yes it is true! Although I cannot reveal yet the name of the major producer attached, he is a very, very famous one in Hollywood!  The story is going to be made into a movie and for me is truly a pleasure to produce and co-write the screenplay with an Oscar-winning writer, as well as to write the score and all the songs of the movie. Of course, this is my life story and you can only do it once as a movie, so we put a lot of incredible work and attention into it. I truly hope my story will inspire and motivate you all to never give up and always believe in the power of your dreams!

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  I am sure that Sicilians will be very proud to have you as their Sicilian Ambassador to the World. When did the region of Sicily choose you, and what does that entail?

Romina Arena: A couple of months ago, a major Sicilian journalist, Giovanni Vallone, a man of great brilliance, kindness, and desire of promoting Sicily through all of the wonderful work he does, has contacted me because he and the members of his Cultural division of Sicily, which he founded, all agreed for me to become one of their representatives in the US and in the world on behalf of Sicily as their Sicilian Ambassador of culture in the world!  My role is to create opportunities, events, and a variety of projects promoting my adored Sicily, which I consider like the Hawaii of Italy! I am extremely honored to work with Giovanni and all of the wonderful members of his Cultural division in Sicily and what we have defined as ‘THE SICILIAN MASTERS” which are selected individual with great talent and brilliance, in promoting Sicily in high regard!  I am the most successful Sicilian-born female bestselling music artist across the world, therefore I was chosen to contribute through my many activities!

I am so committed to present Sicily in the best way as possible because my gorgeous island deserves it, so I am so grateful to Giovanni for have given me this precious title!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaAll these are big news, but it seems there is even more big news. I heard the announcement that the President of M.I.R.E. (Movement of Italians Residents Abroad) has named you ‘OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR OF ITALIAN EXCELLENCE IN THE WORLD!” With this new title, you will be representing officially Italy around the world, with major Italian events, awards, consumer products… Tell us more about this new position of yours, please.

Romina Arena: This is so very exciting! And even more exciting to not only represent Sicily in the world but Italy! I owe all of this to the brilliant and great President of M.I.R.E. (Movement of Italians Residents Abroad) Commendatore Dr. Vincenzo Odoguardi (and wanted to thank publicly also Mr. Maurizio Bezzeccheri, Former Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Pompei, who introduced me to Dr. Odoguardi!)

I was so honored to receive this prestigious title, and I have begun working with the President on various major projects about promoting the authenticity of Italy in the world, create spectacular partnerships, and opportunities, events and consumer products with my name and IP, and talents while expanding Italian culture, heritage, and diversity!

We will reveal little by little all of the major and wonderful projects we are working on, but I would love to take a moment to thank you and the Media and all the Fans around the world who have supported me throughout the years with my music, my personal remarkable survival story. I am the proof that dreams do come true that if we have faith, we are thankful to God and we are grateful to all that comes to us, “appreciation becomes the currency of the soul” because appreciation appreciates!

I truly believe in the power of my dreams and if we all release anxiety and trust the universe, all things are possible! I am a kid from Sicily, but everything I wanted to do in my young career so far I was able to achieve it, so I pass on to you all positivity and encouragement; it is never too late to create greatness in your life, we just have to trust God’s timing. When God puts a dream in our hearts, it will come to pass, but we must trust and be patient and also translate our faith into action!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaThe number one Italian actress of the moment, the stunning and amazing Claudia Gerini (PASSION OF THE CHRIST, SUBURRA, JOHN WICK 2) recently started a major partnership with you. What is this partnership about?

Romina Arena: I am the most fortunate person in the world, because this amazing, brilliant, beautiful woman has come into my life, like my angel, like the sister that I always wanted to have, and our minds immediately connected, flying over the same wavelength! Claudia has been an Italian superstar since she was a little girl, a multi-talented woman in so many aspects when it comes to entertainment.

From being the number one Italian actress in the world, with huge successes, to be a breathtaking ballerina and singer, Claudia has shown the world what true talent really means.

She and I met during a major award ceremony in Hollywood and immediately connected. We have been developing recently several movies, TV series, and even consumer products which will see her be the lead actress and even producer with me. We have many wonderful projects currently in development, but all I can say is that she and I are creating magic together and soon enough will share more! Stay tuned! It is a true honor for me to work with her and have her as my ‘sister”. I simply adore her!

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  I understand from your answers that you keep yourself super-busy, but I would like to know how you are coping with this Covid19 situation. How much do you miss having a live audience?

Romina Arena: This has been the toughest time for me, as I am sure for everyone.

Of course, I believe that performing artists, actors, or anyone who performs in front of a camera is suffering terribly! I personally felt sadness for those people out there who are battling this terrible infection and for those who lost unfortunately their dear ones!  In my case, though, the worst part of it has been not been able to go to Sicily to visit my adored mama Rita, who has been battling other kinds of health serious issues, and this is breaking my heart!

As far as my business, however, things are going so well and I am thriving with so many wonderful projects and dreams coming true! I cannot stay still for a second. I have to constantly move forward! And I have to say that I have been busier than ever. Although I am a performing artist as well, I would say that during this past year, I have been writing so much music for film, streaming, musicals, books, designed new products and so much more, so I will not let Covid stop me!

My deepest wish and prayer go out there to everyone, and I’d like to remind you all that eventually we will be getting out of this situation and we will be happy again; let’s not lose hope, because hope is greater than fear and we must stay strong! God is good!

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  Where do you find the inspiration for your songs in such a period of turmoil in the world?

Romina Arena: My inspiration, as you have probably figured out from my previous answers, comes from God first and foremost! I am a survivor and even in the darkest times of my life, God has always picked me up, no matter how many times I fell! My faith is so strong and that love, passion, and the care I have for the world and for all people and animals drive me. Love is the biggest instrument for me and connects so well to my music, so definitely, I lead with the heart when it comes to creating music. My goal is to touch you all because you are all my “ARENA OF AMORE”!

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Romina Arena: Oh, wow! That is a very tough answer to give since I love to live the moment and although we all have to plan somehow our future, I know that life is so precious and we musty enjoy every single moment, living in the moment. However, my focus is to grow even more with my music and my entrepreneurship activities, to create many jobs, support my most important charities, create a legacy that will support others and their dreams, and support medical research to cure cancer. Of course, I have one personal, massive, big dream, and I can almost touch it because I worked so hard for years to achieve it, but I won’t talk about it…you will just have to wait!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaThe Covid19 situation has forced people to stay home and their life has become a different kind of life, unfortunately, almost surreal; most of the people are suffering Cabin fever at this moment. You are a woman who has shown so much purpose, energy, and achievements in spite of the various lockdowns and isolations. Could you please send our readers a message of hope?

Romina Arena: As I mentioned before, HOPE IS GREATER THAN FEAR! We must believe that all of this will soon pass, not to lose faith and focus but instead take advantage of this moment to explore further your dreams to reinforce your loving relationships with your dear ones, your children, your pets too! God will not forget us, we will overcome this and be stronger and much more appreciative for all that we have!

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“My Heritage Is Everything To Me.” An Exclusive Interview With Historian Stephanie Longo.
by Milano52
Dec 22, 2020 | 37804 views | 0 0 comments | 3958 3958 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
“My heritage is everything to me.” An exclusive interview with historian Stephanie Longo.

Interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Italian-American historian Stephanie Longo has dedicated her life to celebrating and focusing on her family’s heritage. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA, she holds dual Italian citizenship and descends from the towns of Guardia Lombardi, Avellino Province, and Lamezia Terme, Catanzaro Province, Italy.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian and French from the University of Scranton, a Master of Arts degree in History, focusing on Italian-American studies, also from the University of Scranton, and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Regent University.

Ms. Longo is currently the associate producer and chief administrative officer of The Italian American Podcast and is an adjunct instructor in the history department at Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou seem to be extremely proud of your heritage. What do you know about Guardia Lombardi? Have you ever visited that town? Are you working on any projects related to Guardia Lombardi?

Stephanie Longo: Guardia Lombardi has been a part of my life well before I ever set foot in Italy. My grandfather, the late Joseph Anthony Longo, was born there in 1916 but, unfortunately, died before he was able to return for a visit, which was a dream of his. He died eight years before I was born, so I never knew him. As a child, my first contact with Italy was via my mother, Ann Marie, telling me that all her father wanted to do was go back to Guardia. I distinctly remember her taking my finger to trace the map of Italy as a child, repeating, “This is Italy, my daddy was born there.” Just that act made me curious about my Italian heritage. When I enrolled at the University of Scranton as a French major, I had to pick up a second foreign language—there was no question that I would take Italian. I loved it so much that I decided to declare it as a second major. My mother and I finally made it to Guardia for the first time in 2005 and it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. We have been back since, but that first trip will always be etched in my mind—the emotion of seeing the house where my grandfather was born is something I still feel strongly even today. Getting to see the church (Santa Maria delle Grazie) where generations of my family worshipped helped me feel connected to my ancestors, knowing that they walked where I was walking. While the first trip over was surreal, subsequent trips were more of a homecoming. After that first trip, Guardia became mine. It’s still my ancestral town, but now it belongs to me, too. I am so grateful for that and cannot wait to return.

My grandmother, Anna, was born to immigrants to Scranton from Nicastro (now Lamezia Terme) in Catanzaro Province. My Nonna died when my mother was 10, so we didn’t have a lot of information about her family. While under COVID-19 lockdown, I made a strong effort to research as much as I could about Lamezia, joining groups on Facebook, and even finding distant relatives! I have not yet had the privilege of visiting Lamezia, but I am looking forward to it as soon as restrictions are lifted. I am sure I will have the same feelings I had when I first visited Guardia and I am sure that I will fall in love with Lamezia just as I have with Guardia.

Currently, I am working on a project focusing on Guardiese immigrants to northeastern Pennsylvania—my hometown of Dunmore has a predominantly large Guardiese population that I have studied extensively. I was able to collect a wide variety of images of these immigrants in their new lives here in the United States and am putting together a history of Guardia and this immigration to our area, including how traditions were preserved. I love discovering the stories of these people and am so proud that part of my ancestry comes from this town.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaStephanie, you are a historian and you focus on the Italian Americans of Northeastern Pennsylvania. How big and influential was and is this ethnic group in that area?

Frank Carlucci’s Columbus statue in Scranton.

Stephanie Longo: According to the United States Census, there are 17.8 million Americans who claim Italian origin, with 1.4 million of those living in Pennsylvania. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties take up five spots among the top 20 “Most Italian” towns in the United States, with Dunmore ranking highest (12th place). There is a vast array of opportunities to discover our area’s Italian culture. Among these opportunities are, of course, the region’s Italian restaurants, many of which have been recognized nationally for their quality and authenticity. One just needs to visit any of the area’s Italian enclaves, such as Carbondale, Dunmore, Jessup, and the “Pizza Capital of the World” Old Forge to sample these delicacies. Or one could stop at any of our region’s Italian specialty stores to purchase authentic products.

For people interested in history and culture, one just needs to take a walk around downtown Scranton’s Courthouse Square to see the works of world-renowned sculptor Frank Carlucci in his masterpieces that are our Columbus and George Washington statues, among others. Carlucci was known for creating the Grand Staircase at Ellis Island, where many immigrants to our great nation made their first steps in America. Or one could stop by the Ritz Theater and Performing Arts Center, which is one of only two theaters that remain in use that were originally founded by Sylvester Poli, an Italian immigrant without whom the modern cinema industry would not exist.

Corsa dei Ceri

In Scranton’s West Side is the jewel that is the Church of St. Lucy, sculpted by Agostino Russo and where St. Francis Cabrini actually ministered during her life. A visit to St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Rotunda at Marywood University would provide the opportunity to view the artwork of Gonippo Raggi, whose works have been catalogued by the Smithsonian Institution.

And a visit to Jessup’s St. Ubaldo Cultural Center would make the perfect opportunity to discover more about La Corsa dei Ceri, widely considered to be the nation’s number-one representation of Central Italian American culture and history.

I strongly urge anyone who is interested in Italian American history and culture to visit Northeastern Pennsylvania, it’s truly a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered!

Italians at the Columbus Day parade in Scranton on the day the Columbus statue was inaugurated in 1892.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYour books, “Italians in Lackawanna County,” recognized with a Gold Award in the History category in the 2019 Nonfiction Book Awards, and “Italians in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” address specifically this ethnic group interaction with this area. Could you talk a bit about these two books? 

Stephanie Longo: “Italians of Northeastern Pennsylvania” examines the entire Northeastern Pennsylvania region and tells stories of Italian communities in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, as well as in areas such as Williamsport (Lycoming County). The book tells the story of the Italian immigrants who came to work in the coal and rail industries and contains older photos up until about the 1960s. “Italians of Lackawanna County” focuses exclusively on Lackawanna County’s Italian enclaves, such as Scranton, Dunmore, Jessup, and others. This book also picks up where “Italians of Northeastern Pennsylvania” leaves off and focuses on modern-day representations of Italian American culture in our area. I often tell people that “Italians of Lackawanna County” is the sequel to “Italians of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” because when you read both books, you get a full sense of just how important Italian heritage and culture is to this region.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou also published a book about Dunmore, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Scranton. Could you tell us about that book? What motivated you to write it?

Stephanie LongoMy book on Dunmore coincided with the borough’s 150th anniversary in 2012. The main goal was to provide readers a pictorial history of our town. Every single person who has been fortunate enough to live in Dunmore bears a strong level of pride in our town—this book was not meant to be a full history of our town because no book can ever be considered a “complete” history, in my opinion. Rather, my idea was to share as many archival photos as possible so modern audiences could see familiar locales in other times and place themselves there, hopefully strengthening their bonds to our town. I also wanted to recall some legendary locals who people knew and loved who are still spoken of fondly to this day. My book on Dunmore is a fun glimpse into a small town that has a lot of heart.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou are presently the associate producer and chief administrative officer of The Italian American Podcast.  What exactly are your duties for the Podcast?

Stephanie Longo: I genuinely have the best job in the world! Through my work with the Italian American Podcast, I am fortunate enough to live my passion every single day in a multitude of ways. In terms of the Podcast, I am responsible for developing and researching new show topics as well as coordinating episodes with the Podcast co-hosts. I also work extensively with the Italian American community at large on several of our initiatives, such as our #SupportItalianAmerican campaign, where we are seeking to promote Italian American businesses that need that extra boost during these difficult times. I also moderate the Podcast’s New Neighborhood group and work on developing and deploying new initiatives, all with the overall goal of bettering the Italian American community by creating more links between people. No two workdays are ever the same and I love that—I love that I am able to learn more about my own culture by being surrounded by so many people who are just as passionate about their heritage as I am. It truly is a blessing to work for such a wonderful company!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou also have a blog ( What do you write about in the blog?

Stephanie Longo: Irpinia Stories is a passion project for me that began while I was working at a former employer. My heart has always been with Italy and I wanted to do something that kept that love alive since my day job did not have anything to do with Italy at all. Guardia Lombardi is in Irpinia, and as I studied the area more and more, I realized that a lot of Americans of Irpinian origin didn’t know much about the area. This blog is my way of teaching people about the culture and lifestyle of Irpinia, while showing its importance to Italy as a whole. Irpinia just marked the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Irpinia Earthquake, and the area is still rebuilding in many ways, even 40 years later. There is a tenacity in the Irpinian people that shows in how they handled the aftermath of the quake—this tenacity can be linked to the Irpinian diaspora, too. As immigrants, they had to fight to survive in their newly adopted land. And they did. This blog aims to unite the Irpinia of our ancestors with the Irpinia of today. I am really proud of my work and am always on the lookout for new topics!

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou are an adjunct professor at Lackawanna College in Scranton. Do you also teach about Italian Americans in that college?

Stephanie Longo: I enjoy my role as an adjunct at Lackawanna College because I am able to help students gain a deeper understanding of American History and how the past affects our present lives. I do not teach an Italian American history class per se, but I am lucky to be able to discuss Italian American topics when they come up. I’ve seen my students’ surprise when they learned about the 1891 New Orleans Lynching where 11 Italians were murdered and how that was the largest mass lynching in American history. I’ve been able to tell them about Philip Mazzei’s role in the founding of our country. I’ve even been able to help correct some of the false narratives surrounding Christopher Columbus via class discussions by pointing students to primary sources debunking modern theories. I always try to give my students more information so that they can make their own decisions about what happened or might have happened in American history. It is always an honor when they message me privately asking for more resources to learn more about any historic topic.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYou are an award-winning journalist, the former editor of The Villager newspaper (Moscow, PA) and The Abington Suburban (Clarks Summit, PA), as well as a former correspondent for Go Lackawanna (Scranton, PA). What did you write about in these roles?

Stephanie Longo: My work in community journalism was very fulfilling to me because I had the opportunity to actively participate in the life of the communities I served. Whether I was writing about the developments at a school board meeting or plans for an upcoming annual ice festival, my articles served as a lens through which people were able to discover what made those communities tick. I thoroughly loved my time in community journalism. I got to know members of the communities I served who then became friends. I was also able to participate in many community activities, which cemented those communities becoming a part of me, too. It was an honor and a privilege to serve.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaWhich one is the award that you received that touched you more, emotionally?

Stephanie Longo: My first visit to Guardia Lombardi was shortly after “Italians of Northeastern Pennsylvania” was published. By this time, I had been in touch with the town, especially with the town’s historian, the late Salvatore Boniello, for my BA thesis and had remained in regular contact with everyone. When I wrote that I was coming in 2005, Signor Boniello asked if I would be interested in giving a presentation at the local school, which I gladly accepted. I had no idea that during this event, they would present a plaque to me, naming me an honorary citizen of Guardia Lombardi. I can’t properly explain what this gesture meant to me. It was as if everything came full circle for my family—to see town documents where ancestors had to sign their names with an “x” because they couldn’t read or write and to be that descendant who came back as a writer of their history was deeply moving and such an honor. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. Everything I do is in their memory.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaYour roots as an Italian have obviously influenced your career choices. How much did they influence all the other aspects of your life?

Stephanie Longo: My heritage is everything to me—it influences how I relate to the world around me. It influences my actions and my choices. It influences how I treat others and how I would like to be treated as well. It’s always there. It’s my North Star, guiding me through my days and encouraging me to do better, to be better. I couldn’t be more proud to have been given something so precious as this.

Tiziano Thomas DossenaWhat do you think is our responsibility as writers in this tragic period of forced quarantine for the nation?

Stephanie Longo: A writer is someone who observes the world and describes it through the lens of his or her experience. Our responsibility in this incredibly difficult time is to describe our thoughts and feelings as they happened, without fear of being judged. How we handle this time is up to the individual— some people are using it to learn new things, while others are just trying to make it through this overwhelming situation. There are no right or wrong answers as to how we should live this moment in history—the only thing we can truly do is live our lives as best as we can, knowing that this moment will pass.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena:  If you had the opportunity to meet a character from any historical period, who would he or she be and what would you like to ask them?

Stephanie Longo: I genuinely can’t choose! I would want to meet my ancestors from both my Campanian and Calabrese sides. I never knew my maternal grandparents, so I would give anything to be able to sit down and talk with them. There are so many questions I would ask my ancestors that I could probably fill a book! I would love to understand their motivations for coming to the United States and their feelings about leaving Italy and creating a new life here. I would also love to convey to them how thankful I am for the sacrifices they made for me because, without their courage in leaving everything they ever knew, I would not be fortunate enough to live the life I have today.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: A message for our readers?

Stephanie Longo: When you find something you are passionate about, you need to do whatever you can to keep that passion alive. I discovered my passion for my heritage at a young age and it has grown with me as I’ve gotten older. It’s to the point where this passion goes beyond anything I could properly explain. Being able to devote my professional life to something I love so much is a dream come true, as there are many people out there who, for whatever reason, were unable to follow their passion. I’ve found that when you put what you truly love doing front and center in your life, opportunities come and you end up in a place where every day is filled with joy. I hope everyone reading this is inspired to really sit down and examine what they are truly passionate about and then take the steps necessary to bring that passion to life in their daily lives.

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A Feast of Narrative. Three new anthologies by Italian American Writers
by Milano52
Dec 12, 2020 | 30926 views | 0 0 comments | 2395 2395 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The collection of short stories in “A Feast of Narrative Volume One” is aimed at presenting the richness of styles and creativity of Italian American writers. It consists of two sections for a total of twenty-three short stories, eight of them nonfiction and fifteen of them fiction, and eighteen authors.

Altogether, the stories that appear in this anthology explore different topics, some of them typical of the Italian American world, while others universal, offering a gamut of styles and approaches to writing that proves the existence of a vast group of Italian American writers who deserve recognition for their work. 


A Feast of Narrative Volumes Two and Three in this series of Italian American Writers, contain a very interesting amalgam of different stories and authors. What is common, other than their belonging to the same ethnic group, is the validity of their content and the message they send to the readers. Some stories are funny commentaries on social gatherings of some kind, wakes included, while others address different topics with a more somber tone, such as war events, the constant search for our roots, the changing of neighborhoods, the Covid19 crisis, and so on. Regardless of the topic, these writers prove that passion for writing is another element they have in common with each other. This is their message and it proves that having them together in this anthology is the proper decision.

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