From music to book, from photography to cinema: spring in San Francisco has never been as full of Italian events as this year. Indeed, whoever loves Italy and its history, culture, and art cannot miss the April’s journey among a series of events, such as performances, conferences, photo exhibits, and movie screenings, with the same destination: the Italian culture.  

Starting with photography, Marco Paoli’s exhibition opened last week presenting sixteen large black & white photographs from his book Silenzio and from his forthcoming publication Ethiopia. Born in Tuscany, the Italian photographer lives now in Florence after he started working in the cinema industry and in theatrical productions in the 80s. While considering the journey as a spiritual adventure, he pushes the viewers towards looking for something inside them, which is often forgotten. His exhibition is an exploration of photography as individual memory through the raw material collected during his travel experiences around the world. Travel and place end up being metaphors for an artistic exploration around a variety of concepts: silence, memory, emotion and inner journey. As pointed out by the artist, “Photography is a slice of time and in the moment I shoot a photo I am living in the present but I am also aware that I am creating a memory”. The exhibition is held until Saturday, May 2nd from Monday to Friday 10am-4:30pm at the Italian Cultural Institute (814 Montgomery Street) in San Francisco.

For those who like books, San Francisco and the Bay Area will welcome Italian author Mario Marazziti, a spokesman for the Comunità di Sant’Egidio, the Rome-based progressive Catholic NGO, and the co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. In his book 13 Ways of Looking At The Death Penalty, Mr Marazziti explores the death penalty and the awareness risen among different countries and communities, which consider it as “the destruction of human life”. Proven ineffective as a deterrent for crime, it is now seen as an instrument the state uses to contain or eliminate its political adversaries: a tool of “justice” that affects religious, social, and racial minorities, a sanction that cannot be fixed if unjustly applied. The book exposes the inhumanity and irrationality of the death penalty in some states in America and, while he mixes polemics and stories, it tries to compel both the heart and the mind. The two book presentations will be: Tuesday, 14 April starting at 12:30pm at Book Passage Library at 1 Ferry Building in San Francisco and Wednesday, 15 April at 7:30pm at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar Street) in Berkeley.

Music lovers will get a full evening of the best Italian trends in piano music thanks to the Five O’Clock Piano Duo introducing the content of their recent album, called Italian Connection. The concert, which reveals different styles of the contemporary piano music, puts together the music of Aldo Cusano, Davide Zannoni, Lorenzo Fiscella and Damiano D’Ambrosio, who will be using their poetic images coming from a simple but also deep observation of reality, location and space. The Five O’Clock Piano Duo is formed of Emilia Pinto and Massimiliano Chiappinelli, who played in different concerts both in Italy and abroad and made some recordings for RTS Belgrade and Vatican Radio. The event “Five O’Clock Piano Duo: The Italian Connection” will be held Thursday, April 16 – 6.30-8pm at the Italian Cultural Institute (814 Montgomery Street) in San Francisco.

American Frontier is a journey taken by architect, photographer, filmmaker and architecture critic Emanuele Piccardo and part of a larger research project, called Living the Frontier, conducted with architecture historian Luca Guido. The exploration of the frontier’s emptiness takes them to an artistic and architectural experimentation and to a new awareness: as the frontier no longer exists or only persists in fragments where the wilderness can still be found, like for example at Yellowstone, it can be also turned into a museum like in Cody, Wyoming, where the partially reconstructed Old Trail Village disregards modernity and take us back to the time of the legendary William Cody . In other locations like Shoshone Falls in Idaho, holiday homes are mixed up with water scarcity generating a radical effect. Through the photographer’s lens, a new iconography for the landscape generates, showing how the American frontier has been, some times, changed by humans and, in others, been kept uninhabited as before. The exhibition will open Tuesday, April 21 until Friday, May 15 from Monday to Friday 10am-4:30pm at the Italian Cultural Institute (814 Montgomery Street) in San Francisco.

This year’s edition of the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) will include two Italian movies: Sworn Virgin (Vergine giurata) directed by Laura Bispuri among different countries such as Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Albania, and Kosovo, and The Wonders (Le meraviglie) by director Alice Rohrwacher, who tells the story of a guy and a girl who pick a back-to-the-land lifestyle in the central Italian countryside. For more information on screening and venues, visit the SFIFF website. 

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