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Archive for January, 2010

CiaoAmerica! Magazine is compiling a list of the 50 most influential Italian Americans in 2010. Below is a preliminary list, culled from many submissions to CiaoAmerica! by readers. The next step is to finalize the list of the top 50. Did we miss someone who should be on the list? Send your comments to CiaoAmerica! Magazine at editor@CiaoAmerica.net. The comment period ends on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Here is the list in no particular order:

Lady Gaga | Nancy Pelosi | Danny DeVito | Madonna | Leon Panetta | John Podesta | Antonin Scalia | Jerry Colangelo | Maria Pinto | Leonardo DiCaprio | Giada deLaurentis | Kara Dioguardi | Samuel Alito | Tom Colicchio | Andrew Cuomo | Andrew Napolitano | Rudy Giuliani | Janet Napolitano |Tom Perelli |Gay Talese | David Baldacci | Geraldine Ferraro | Martin Scorsese | Raymond Odierno | Jay Leno | Samuel Palmisano | Bruce Springsteen | Maria Bartiromo | John DeGioa | Paul Otellini | Lidia Bastianich | Francesco Vezzoli | Peter DeFazio | Bill Pascrell | Joe Girardi | Andre DiMino | Dominic Massaro | Robert De Niro | Joseph De Raso | Joseph DiTrapani | Dana Perino | Kenneth Langone | Jim Messina | Sylvester Stallone | Anthony Fauci | Peter Pace | Peter Secchia | Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimo’ | Mayor Adrian Fenty | Connie Morella | Gene Dodaro | Rachel Ray | Carla Gugino | Bon Jovi |

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UNICO National, one of the many national Italian- American organizations speaking against MTV’s portrayal of Italian Americans in the “reality” series “Jersey Shore,” is holding a “Summit On the Shore: Anti-Italianism – MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ and a Whole Lot More.” UNICO President Andre DiMino said that “It’s only appropriate that we bring this to the place where this abomination of a TV show was filmed.”

We applaud UNICO’s advocacy during the past several months.  Their press releases have been well-circulated, so much so, ironically, that they may have helped make “Jersey Shore” one of MTV’s most watched shows. Now, however, we need to move beyond MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and find, as former OSIA national president Joseph Sciame recently said, a “national spokesperson who can rally us together.”   

We believe the “Jersey Shore” experience should be the catalyst that finally drives the leadership of the national Italian-American organizations to come together and speak with one voice.  Until then, nothing will change, and the usual fragmentation of national Italian American groups will persist.

We applaud the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, CUNY, for presenting a colloquium on “Guido an Italian-American Youth Style” with Donald Tricarico and Johnny DeCarlo.

 Finally, once again, we raise the question– directed this time to the leadership of our national Italian American organizations–Why does the Italian-American Congressional Delegation continue to be silent on MTV’s “Jersey Shore”?

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Robert De Niro, in presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes, to Martin Scorses, his longtime friend and collaborator said: “Marty sleeps, drinks and eats film. I hear there are videos on the Internet of Marty having sex with film.” “We’re like an old married couple,” said De Niro. “We built a life together, we have great memories — we just don’t sleep together anymore.”

The Cecil B. DeMille award winners are chosen by the HFPA board of directors and presented each year (except for 1976). The first woman to receive the award was Judy Garland in 1962 (following Fred Astaire which delighted her no end), the next was Joan Crawford in 1970. The list of winners provides a spectrum of talented human beings who have had a definite impact on the world of entertainment, be it Alfred Hitchcock, Lucille Ball, Sidney Poitier, Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, Barbra Streisand or any one of those thoughtfully selected for the honor.

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Joseph Sciame, former National President of OSIA and currently the vice-president for community relations at St. John’s University, commented in an email he sent out early this week, on the “Jersey Shore” MTV controversy and the reaction by Italian-American organizations.  We think that the following excerpts of his statement ought to be shared with the entire Italian American community.

We have never, ever been good at “advocacy” let alone “lobbying” and other than the anti-defamation initiatives we have all activated over the years, i.e., the OSIA Commission for Social Justice, the UNICO effort this time which received wide publicity and the NIAF’s ongoing favorable relationship with “The Hill,” what else is it that we can do? Is there no national spokesperson who can rally us together? Is there no US Senator/Congressperson, Governor or other statesman who can say something?

It does seem to me, and I have shared this with many folks INFORMALLY in the past, we need in 2010 (as we have not done heretofore) a major meeting of the minds…ALL Italian-American organizations, with some top level speaker who can get us ALL on the same plate.

As we noted on our blog on December, we have not  heard any comments or criticism of “Jersey Shore”  by the Congressional Italian-American delegation. The delegation is co-chaired by Rep. Bill Pascrell, who coincidentally represents New Jersey’s Eighth District, and Rep. Pat Tiberi from Ohio.  Their silence has been deafening. If they have indeed not responded to the across-the-board criticism of “Jersey Shore” by all national Italian-American organizations, then we Italian Americans deserve better representation.

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Official Launch in New York City on January 13-14

 Hundreds of chefs in more than 50 countries will be cooking tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese simultaneously on January 17, 2010, in celebration of International Day of Italian Cuisines. Each year, chefs around the world prepare an authentic Italian dish to promote and maintain the identity of Italian cuisine on international markets. “The International Day of Italian Cuisines is without a doubt a celebration of Italian flavors and culinary culture,” says food writer Rosario Scarpato. Read more . . .>>

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