August, the eighth month of the modern year was named for the Roman Emperor Augustus. It was connected with some happenings in his career, which were fortunate. The month was earlier called Sextilius, the 6th month when counting March as the first. To make August equal to July, the Roman Senate took one day from February and added it to August.
Alfio Bonanno, the Italo-Australian singer with parental roots in Calabria and Sicily will be back, by “popular demand” at the Free I.A.H.F 32nd Annual Italian Family Festa in San Jose, California on Saturday, August 25th and Sunday, August 26th at the beautiful Guadalupe River Park between Julian and Santa Clara Streets in downtown San Jose. Circle those dates on your calendar.
I kid you not, when I say that Alfio is back by “popular demand”, because back in 2010 all IAHF President Ken Borelli and committee knew, was that Alfio had been a crowd favorite at New York’s 10-day Feast of San Gennaro, which draws thousands of joyful celebrants back to Little Italy (around Mulberry, Canal and Grand Streets) each year, but the quality of Alfio’s voice and talent far-exceeded everybody’s expectations. In his remarks to an admiring and applauding audience Alfio Bonanno said he selected songs from his album, “Classic Rewind”, as a tribute to America’s great singing sons of Italian immigrants. For more info, I.A.H.F., 425 North 4th Street, San Jose, CA 95112, telephone: , or www.italianfamilyfestasj.org .
Alfio, a native of Sydney, Australia, is considered one of the great voices in contemporary music today. With his old-world charm and his confident swagger, ALFIO offers a refreshingly cool and modern throwback to the legendary singers to which he is often compared. As he continues his travels reaching the shores of almost every continent, his Italian heritage never strays from the heart of his music. Dividing his time touring between Australia, America and overseas, he is rapidly gaining fans all over the world. While studying voice in Parma, Italy, ALFIO was on the road to becoming a tenor, but the constraints of that particular musical track clashed with his strong desire to sing contemporary and classic songs while still being able to compose his own music. ALFIO sings and delivers songs with strength and passion that remind us of Italian singers of yesteryear like legends Claudio Villa and Mario Lanza.
Captivating his live audiences with equal parts music journey, extraordinary vocals and comedic banter, ALFIO effortlessly brings all generations of music lovers together in one audience; and regardless of what language he sings in. ALFIO is also an accomplished songwriter, musician and composer. He is reaching critical acclaim with his own penned songs such as “Il Nostro Sogno”, a song about the wish for world peace. “Voce Pura” is his loving tribute to Maestro Luciano Pavarotti, which was written after a wonderful dinner they had together in Sydney and sent to Pavarotti right before his death. For more info about ALFIO visit his website at: www.alfiomusic.com.
Boxing, not baseball, was the “bonding” experience many Italian born fathers shared with their sons during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. August birthday boy, Arturo Criscione recalled after reading ex welterweight champ Tony DeMarco’s book, “Nardo” (his birth name was Leonardo Liotta) that the book brought back memories of “mio padre” and I watching the “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports”.
We never missed it and really enjoyed watching this together on television. When Rocky Marciano fought we would go to the Civic Auditorium in San Jose and watch it on closed circuit T.V. (Go to www.tkotony. com to see old fight clips). Tony De Marco was one of our favorites and so was Carmen Basilio “the Onion farmer”. We really looked forward to “fight night” and gathered around the T.V. If a fight was not televised we would group up around the radio and excitedly listen. We liked to read “Ring” magazine, too.
Cicheti is a Venetian dialect word for those small snacks or small plates served in Venetian wine bars and workingmen’s bars of Venice that originally served as quick meals for workers on the go. Some think the word “Cicheti” stems from the French word chiquer, “to chew”; others believe its root is the Latin ciccus, meaning “trifle”. Cicheti may be the Venetian equivalent of Spain’s tapas, Greece’s mezedes or American appetizers but not quite as skimpy. Cicheti, in Venice often include local sardines, which are plentiful in the Lagoon, the body of water that surrounds the city. Other popular cicheti often include anchovies stuffed into sweet peppers, baccala mantecato (a dried cod mousse) often served over grilled polenta squares, insalata di polpo (marinated octopus) and deep-fried rice croquettes.
Enrico Caruso (1873-1921), who was born in Naples and died in Naples in August 1921, was the first well-known performer to make a record. He sang ten songs and was paid $500. Caruso made his first recordings in 1902. The ten sides he recorded for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company in Milan in April 1902, were so successful that Caruso has been generally credited with turning the gramophone, until then regarded as a toy, into a musical instrument.
He signed an exclusive contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1904, and all of his subsequent records were made either in New York City or in Camden, New Jersey. The majority of these acoustic recordings have never been out of the catalog, and despite the sonic deficiencies, his entire recorded legacy has been repeatedly reissued on long playing records and compact discs.
Frank Capra, the Sicilian immigrant who became a renowned film director, died in 1991 at age 94. Winner of several Academy Awards, Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” became an American classic within his lifetime.
Now the U.S. Postal Service has honored Frank Capra with a “forever” stamp along with 3 other great film directors John Ford, Billy Wilder and John Huston.
The triumphant “little guy”. The films of Frank Capra (1897-1991) are like love letters to the courage of the everyday, ordinary man. Mixing humor and pathos, Capra’s films, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town(1936), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) still move us with their belief in the “little” guy’s ability to prevail over cynicism and corruption.