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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.

Bronx River Assembly

VMF member Saudy Tejada has long been involved in the Bronx River Sankofa and they are having a free annual event at the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community College. It’s a FREE EVENT if you RSVP in advance:

RSVP here

For more information call (718) 430-4636 or contact Joseph Sanchez at joseph.sanchez@parks.nyc.gov

2015 Bronx River Sankofa Assembly

Published article on Marcantonio in Italian America Magazine

VITO MARCANTONIO FORUM - Italian America Winter 2015 - by Maria LisellaVMF Vice President Maria Lisella published this article in the latest edition of the Italian America Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

The article appears on page 10. Behold:

VITO MARCANTONIO FORUM - Defender of Human Rights by Maria Lisella

 

The Drama of the Vito Marcantonio Phenomenon (1902-1954)

Vito Marcantonio Forum & The Drama Workshop Project Present a FREE Performance:

A Theatrical Reconstruction of Congressman Vito Marcantonio’s Effective Radical Legacy

Gaetana’s Restaurant — 143 Christopher Street (on the NW corner of Greenwich St) in New York City | Sunday, Oct 19th 2014 | 12pm to 4pm

Video: Vito Marcantonio: Synopsis of A Great Life (Being Updated)

Theatrical Resurrection of Congressman Vito Marcantonio’s Radical Legacy

WHAT: The Vito Marcantonio Forum will present a theatrical presentation through dramatizations of his speeches as well as remarks from his contemporaries and supporters, Paul Robeson and Leonard Covello. The audience will move through creative monologues, and scenes between Marcantonio and his mentor, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Audience participants will be pre-selected to read segments from a script entitled: A People’s Proclamation for the People’s Politician.

WHO: The Vito Marcantonio Forum or the VMF is an educational organization that studies and highlights the career of the seven-term Congressman from East Harlem and promotes public awareness of Vito Marcantonio’s historical and cultural contributions that addressed the familiar issues of immigration, civil rights, civil liberties, foreign aid, taxation and affordable housing, making him a model for contemporary politicians. This special event is co-sponsored by the Vito Marcantonio Forum & The Drama Workshop Project.

The VMF sponsors scholarly presentations within the framework of artistic events such as poetry, film, and theater and is available to perform in other venues. For inquiries contact,www.vitomarcantonioforum.org

WHEN: Sunday, Oct 19th 2014 | 12pm to 4pm

WHERE: Gaetana’s Restaurant: 143 Christopher Street (on the NW corner of Greenwich St) in New York City

COST: Gratis – Gaetana’s will donate appetizers and discounted house wine, but we encourage guests to purchase lunch. Limited the first 50 people so RSVP today at: vitomarcantonoforum@gmail.com or by phone: Roberto Ragone (917-923-4765)

Roberto Ragone, Actor/Business Consultant, as Congressman Vito Marcantonio

Art Bernal, Actor/Director, as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia

Bernard Johnson, Actor/Director, as Paul Robeson

Eduardro Sanchez, Actor, as Dr. Leonard Covello

Marilyn Ocasio, Actress, Scene Narrator

Concluding Remarks: Dr. Gerald Meyer, author of Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician (1902-1954)