Author Archives: admeyer73

Next Vito Marcantonio event

Upcoming Events:

  1. Sunday Feb 5, 2017 12pm to 4:00 @ Gaetana Ristorante Italiana 143 Christopher Street on the corner of Greenwich St.  We will hold our first Vito Marcantonio Awards Luncheon. Our Honoree is Melissa Mark Viverito, City Councilperson from East Harlem and President of the NYC Council. Details to follow.
  2. Saturday March, 4th 3:00 to 4:45 @ Mulberry Street Public Library. In honor of Women’s History Month:
  3. Beloved Comrades: The Political and Personal Partnership of Annette T. Rubinstein and Vito Marcantonio. Presented by Stephen Siciliano and Gerald Meyer. Date is TBA.

Friends of the VMF Celebrate 5th Anniversary and Fundraiser

Vito Marcantonio Forum 5th AnniversaryWhat: The Friends of the Vito Marcantonio Forum will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF), whose public events have included nearly 30 lectures and panels accompanied by skits, dramatizations, presentations, and readings for diverse audiences ranging from 20 to more than 100 In addition, the VMF supports a website and has uploaded over thirty videos on youtube. The VMF has encouraged significant efforts to produce research and writings on these topics, and it has served as a clearing house for information on Vito Marcantonio and his world.
 
The Program: The celebration will present poetry, dramatizations, and interactive talks about Marc and his world, performed by Gil Fagiani, Gerald Meyer, LuLu LoLo Pascale, and Roberto Ragone.
Additionally, Bernard Johnson will perform a dramatization of Paul Robeson. Many may recall that Johnson’s last performance in October, 2014 for the VMF received a standing ovation.
When: Sunday, July 17, 2016 from 12 noon to 4PM.
 
Where: Gaetana’s Cucina Italiana, 143 Christopher Street in the West Village (northwest corner of Christopher Street and Greenwich Streets), between Hudson and Washington Streets.

For tickets and/or make contributions:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2569152

Cost: Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The entry fee entitles you to appetizers and one nonalcoholic drink. The VMF also needs and believes in angels.  At moderate prices in an atmospheric setting, Gaetana’s offers a full menu of typical Southern Italian dishes and beverages of all types. Benefactor tickets for $100 and donations are welcomed and needed.
For tickets, please send a check made out to Gerald Meyer and write on the memo line “Friends of the Vito Marcantonio Forum.” Checks should be mail to either Gerald Meyer 381-2nd Street Bklyn 11215 or Roberto Ragone 231 W148th St. #1R NYC 10039.
 
About VMF: The Vito Marcantonio Forum honors the memory of Vito Marcantonio, one of the most progressive Congressmen in American history. A protégé of LaGuardia and Leonard Covello, Marcantonio has been called the Thaddeus Stevens of the 20th century. In the House Marc led the fight against the poll tax and to make lynching a federal crime. He defended the rights of immigrants, and championed Puerto Rico’s independence. In the postwar era, he fought against McCarthyism at home and the Cold War foreign policy. He represented East Harlem from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s, and although he ran on multiple party lines, Marcantonio was a leader of the American Labor Party. Because of his unshakable stand for progressive causes and defense of working people, ruling circles and the commercial press heaped on him buckets of slander. His district was gerrymandered and laws changing election procedures were passed with the intent of defeating him. Yet, he won time after time. The attacks, especially red baiting, intensified during the McCarthy period. In 1950, the Democratic, Republican, and Liberal parties coalesced to defeat the last American Labor Party Congressman. Despite endless opposition, Marcantonio never backed down. He was planning another run for Congress, when on August 9, 1954 at the age of 51, he was stricken by a massive heart attack near City Hall. And although he died with a rosary in his pocket, Cardinal Spellman refused him a Catholic burial; Vito Marcantonio is buried near his mentor, La Guardia at historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
 
Donations are not tax deductible.
The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years, educator Leonard Covello; and the critical role of the Left that rallied around Marcantonio.  

 

The Resistance Reading Series presents: An evening of poetry and prose

THE RESISTANCE READING SERIES

Sunday, February 21, 2016

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

An Evening of Poetry and Prose

hosted by Tsaurah Litsky

featuring

Gil Fagiani

&

Bonny Finberg

WHERE: Gallery Gaia
79 Hudson Avenue at Front Street
Brooklyn, New York
Vinegar Hill, North Dumbo
A few blocks from the York Street
F train subway stop
THE RESISTANCE is a monthly reading series designed to foster light in these dark times.
* Come early to sign up for a space in the Open Reading!

Michael Parenti’s book presentation was a success!

Michael Parenti at the Vito Marcantonio Forum for Waiting for Yesterday SymposiumMichael Parenti was on hand for the Symposium of the latest of his 25 books entitled Waiting for Yesterday. Pages from a Street Kid’s Life (Bordighera Press).

The New York Public Library hosted the event at their Mulberry Street branch in New York City on October 31st, 2015.

The symposium was moderated by founding member Gil Fagiani, who also performed the first reading alongside Ketty Romagnoli, Litany of San Vito by Gil Fagiani, a poem dedicated to Marcantonio and his legacy.

Ketty Romagnoli reading at the Vito Marcantonio Forum symposium for Michael Parenti

Gil Fagiani & Ketty Romagnoli

Ms. Romagnoli of Bologna, is a digital media strategist and event planner by trade who has been researching Marcantonio and Covello’s roots in Italy. We look forward to her contributing her findings in the near-future.

The event featured a book presentation from author and journalist, Stephen Siciliano, who recently completed a full-length novel about Vito Marcantonio entitled the Goodfather. Siciliano discussed many aspects of of Parenti’s Waiting for Yesterday, highlighting sections found to be of the most historical and social significance.

vito marcantonio forum with LuLu LoLo Pascale

LuLu LoLo Pascale

“I know the house you grew up in.” said LuLu LoLo Pascale.  “A close friend of mine also lived in that house and so I took a picture and framed it for you.” Dr Parenti delightfully received the picture and gave thanks. Pascale, an East Harlem native herself, as well as an international playwright and performance artist, read, “Homage to Puglia” and “Coming Home to Both Worlds,” from Parenti’s book.

Vito Marcantonio Forum Co-chairman, Roberto Ragone, said “Halloween is the one day per year the country says you can be someone who you’re not. So I am going to be Vito Marcantonio while I read the following speech.” Ragone, who has experience working for the City Council, Mayor’s Office, and State Senate, dramatized a speech by the late, great congressman from East Harlem. Ragone also read, “Someone Else to Remember” and “Inventing Space,” his two favorite chapters from Parenti’s Waiting for Yesterday. 

vito marcantonio forum presents a book party event for waiting for yesterday by michael parentiBertell Ollman, the renown political theorist was in attendance and acknowledged by Parenti. East Harlem author and historian, Christopher Bell was also acknowledged. Artwork and online media was provided by Adam Meyer and Gabrielle Napolitano. The VMF thanks the New York Public Library for providing the venue  for the event. Also special thanks to Maria Lisella for press and promotional work.

Michael Parenti actively writes and lectures on a wide-range of topics. You can find his website at MichaelParenti.org and if you are interested in purchasing Waiting for Yesterday, you can find it at Amazon.com.

admeyer73

October 7, 2015

In Honor of Italian American Heritage month, Hostos Community College is sponsoring a presentation and book signing:

Congressman Vito Marcantonio,
Champion of Immigrant Rights

Introduction: Susan Miceli, LCSW
Opening remarks: Vice President for Academic Affairs, Christine Mangino
Presentation by Professor Gerald Meyer
Dramatizations: Vito Marcantonio Forum founders, Roberto Ragone & LuLu LoLo Pascale
Book signing of Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, 1902-1954, by Professor Gerald Meyer

Hostos Community College event 10-15-15 with the Vito Marcantonio Forum Gerald Meyer book signing

Location:
Hostos Community College

450 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451
located at C391 in the C Building

Complimentary refreshment will be served
Admission is free of charge. Must have valid picture ID to be admitted.

 

Thank You for Attending our Walking Tour of East Harlem

September 19th, 2015

Over forty people gathered at the Lucky Corner on East 116th St & Lexington Ave for “Walking in the Footsteps of Vito Marcantonio,” a walking tour of East Harlem. Another cultural/educational event sponsored by the Vito Marcantonio Forum.

Vito Marcantonio Forum - Melissa Mark-Viverito with Gerald Meyer and Roberto Ragone

Professor Gerald Meyer with Melissa Mark-Viverito. Photo by Daniel A. Nelson of the Columbia School of Journalism.

 

VMF Co-Chairman, Dr. Gerald Meyer, spotted Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito in the crowd and promptly summoned her to the microphone where she said enthusiastically:

“This is a great way of remembering someone who is a great individual. Following in the footsteps of places that were important to Vito — someone who fought really hard on issues that we still care about today — in terms of living wage, in terms of immigrant rights… I feel really proud to represent a district that had been represented by Marcantonio.” 

Vito Marcantonio Forum - LuLu LoLo Pascale

Playwright/Actor and Performance Artist LuLu LoLo Pascale shares her early memories of Marcantonio.

The walking tour continued with a re-enactment of Marcantonio’s speech at the Lucky Corner by actor, activist, and Co-Chair of the VMF Roberto Ragone.

At a stop in front of educator Leonard Covello’s home at E116th Street, writer and performance artist LuLu LoLo Pascale, related her memories of having known Marcantonio and Covello as a child. She also read an excerpt from Covello’s breakthrough autobiogrphy, The Heart Is the Teacher.

A walking tour stop on E116th Street included a visit to Haarlem House, which was later renamed LaGuardia Memorial House. Pascale and Dr. Meyer discussed the historical significance of what was originally the Home Garden Settlement. What was interesting was a street vendor in front said he knew Marcantonio and that it was he who got his mother an apartment back in 1949.

VMF - Christopher Bell_walking tour of east harlem 2015

East Harlem native, Author and Historian, Christopher Bell.

Local author and historian, Christopher Bell, who has a chapter about Marcantonio in first book, Remembering East Harlem, discussed the importance of the next stop at 247 East 116th Street (between Second and Third Avenues): The Fiorello LaGuardia Political Association and later the Vito Marcantonio Political Association was often referred to as the “political club.”

Our Lady Queen of Angels School on 229 E112th St, New York and 229 E113th Street Our Lady Queen of Angels Church on 229 E112 Street are important for the fact that they will be at the site of a Papal visit next week.

Attorney Frank Marcantonio, who is a relative of Vito, read a letter to Cardinal Dolan about how Cardinal Spellman denied Vito Marcantonio a Catholic burial during the crazed Joseph McCarthy anti-communist era. The walking tour ended at Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church, the site of Marcantonio’s baptism.

The Vito Marcantonio Forum thanks all who helped in presenting at the various stops as well as those who helped with audio & video, making signs, writing copy, contacting press, promotion, and more: Rita Barakos, Christopher Bell, Lizette Colón, Gil Fagiani, Lionel Francois, David Giglio, Maria Lisella, Frank Marcantonio, Adam Meyer, Gerald Meyer, Daniel A. Nelson, LuLu LoLo Pascale, Roberto Ragone, Luis Romero, Rosemary Siciliano, and many all who supported the cause — we cannot thank you enough!

Melissa Mark-Viverito looks on as Gerald Meyer speaks about Marcantonio altered on online photo application

Melissa Mark-Viverito (left) with friends and members of the VMF look on as Gerald Meyer speaks at a key location about Congressman Vito Marcantonio.

Update on VMF events in May

Panel at the Left Forum “Vito Marcantonio: Champion of Civil Rights” was a great success. It attracted an appreciative audience of approximately 30 people who range from contemporaries of Marc to community college students.

An older attendee from Jersey City, NJ later noted that Roberto Ragone reminded him of the “Hoboken Kid,” Frank Sinatra, because he “enunciated every syllable.

Longtime VMF member, David Giglio filmed and edited the event at the Mulberry St Library entitled “East Harlem Remembered.” His books are available on the VMF merchandise section of the website. Please enjoy the video and pass it around:

 

Congratulating Poet Laureate, Maria Lisella

The Vito Marcantonio Forum’s Vice President, Maria Lisella, has been named the 6th Poet Laureate of Queens, NY.

Maria Lisella sworn in as poet laureate 2015

Maria Lisella sworn in as poet laureate 2015

For many years, Maria Lisella wrote about her travels. She has visited over 60 countries and her work has appeared in the Dallas Morning News, FOXNews.com, AFAR, Sherman’s Travel, Travel and Leisure, German Life Magazine, Global Foodie, The New York Daily News, Spa Review Magazine, Travel to Wellness yet never leave the travel trades: Agent at Home, Travel Age West, Travel Market Report, Travel Weekly, Jax Fax Travel Marketing and more.

NYQ Books has recently released Thieves in the Family, Her work has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize award for work appearing in Amore on Hope St. (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada) as well as The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Feile Festa, FoxHill Review, Gradiva, New Verse News, Philadelphia Poets. Co-curate Italian American Writers Association literary readings at Cornelia St. Cafe and Sidewalk Cafe in New York City.

maria Lisella with the selection committee for the poet laureate

Maria Lisella with the selection committee for the poet laureate

In 2011, Maria Lisella joined forces with as many people she knew interested and was successful in launching the Vito Marcantonio Forum. In 2013 she rand for Vice President of the nonprofit and was elected in 2013.

Ms. Lisella has been especially helpful to the VMF in organizing numerous public events, writing press releases, and publicizing. It’s amazing how much press she is able to generate both in the United States and abroad.

The acting officers and members of the organization are grateful for her outstanding service and commitment to the organization. For an interesting interview on the subject, please see the NY1 article and video.

Politics, Poetry, and Unsung Heroes

Politics, Poetry, and Unsung Heroes

SATURDAY, MAY 9
5:45-7:45 PM
$8 cover charge (includes complimentary drink)

Cornelia St. Café @ 29 Cornelia St. off Bleeker
A, B, C, D, E, F, M to West 4th St.; #1 to Christopher St.-Sheridan Square

painting of vito marcantonio | the goodfather by stephen sicilianoTwo founding members of the Vito Marcantonio Forum will present their work at a Literary Reading sponsored by the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA).Gil Fagiani, will read from his new work, Stone Walls published by Bordighera Press.

Stephen Siciliano, a screenwriter, will read, accompanied by a pianist, from his latest completed manuscript The Goodfather that tells the life story of the radical congressman Vito Marcantonio from the perspective of la famiglia Fortunato, who lived down the street from him in East Harlem.

This wonderfully stimulating event will take place this coming Saturday, at 5:45, in the Cornelia Street Cafe. We look forward to seeing you at this celebratory event. Here is some additional info about Fagiani and Siciliano:

Gil Fagiani has published seven collections of poetry. His latest book, Stone Walls, focuses on his relationship with his father growing up in Stamford, Connecticut. This fall Guernica Editions will publish Logos, which chronicles Fagiani’s experiences in a South Bronx drug program in the early 1970s. Fagiani was the subject of a New York Times article by David Gonzalez,“A Poet Mines Memories of Drug Addiction.”

An independent scholar, translator, essayist, short story writer, and poet, his translations have appeared in such anthologies as Poets of the Italian Diaspora, edited by Luigi Bonaffini and Joseph Perricone; and Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943. He co-curates the Italian American Writers’ Association’s reading series, and is an associate editor of Feile-Festa: A Literary Arts Journal.

Los Angeles-based Stephen Siciliano is a journalist, scriptwriter and a script reader for the Creative Artists Agency and United Talent Agency. As a correspondent he works at Bloomberg BNA, Los Angeles Business Journal and as managing editor for Downtown Los Angeles News. He co-founded and edited the Spanish-language weekly, La Otra Orilla (The Other River Bank) in 

His adaptation of Jodi Picoult’s novel Change of Heart is set to be filmed later this year.  His latest novel-manuscript is The Goodfather, which tells the life story of the marvelous and radical congressman Vito Marcantonio from the perspective of la famiglia Fortunato who lived down the street from him in East Harlem. His reading will be accompanied by  New York-based pianist and composer Peter Dizozza.