Tag Archives: free event

Please join us for our remaining three events of 2017

waiting for lefty by work of art productions and vito marcantonio forum

We have three (3)! VMF events that we are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring to round-out the year. A stage reading of “Waiting for Lefty” on 12/10/17, a fundraiser for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico on 12/16/17, and a free reading circle event on 12/20/17.
You can contact us for details on any of these events, however, we really would appreciate you reading everything here first:
WAITING FOR LEFTY
Sunday, December 10th at 3pm at
The Roy Arias Stages (2nd floor)
777 8th Ave between 47th and 48th Streets
Tickets will be $10 at the door.
or a reservation can be made by emailing
Directed by Art Bernal with an introduction by Gerald Meyer and an epilogue by Roberto Ragone as Vito Marcantonio, this stage reading will be dedicated to Marcantonio, who was born on December 10, 1902.

Description of the play from Wikipedia:
The play is composed of seven vignettes. The first takes place at a union meeting of taxi drivers, where union boss Harry Fatt tries dissuading the men from striking. A few drivers ask of the whereabouts of Lefty, their elected chairman. Fatt reminds them their elected committee is already present, then lets Joe, one of the drivers, speak. Joe maintains he is not a “red boy”, citing his status as a wounded war veteran, but complains of how any driver who expresses dissatisfaction with working conditions is labelled a “red” (slang for communist) by the bosses. He says his wife has convinced him to strike for higher wages.

In the second vignette, set a week before the union meeting, Joe comes home to find that the furniture, not yet paid for, was repossessed. Joe’s wife Edna urges him to lead a strike and demand a living wage. Joe argues that strikes do not work and that he would lose money while on strike. Edna criticizes the union as only benefitting its bosses. Joe admits the union bosses are “racketeers” but refuses to stand up to them. Edna announces she is going back to her old boyfriend, since he earns a living. Joe protests, and Edna implores Joe to start a workers’ union without the racketeers. Joe, swept up by her passion, tells her he is going to find Lefty Costello.

The next vignette features Fayette, an industrialist, and Miller, a lab assistant. Fayette raises Miller’s salary as a reward for his loyalty, and reassigns him to a new laboratory where Miller will help create poisonous gas for chemical warfare. Miller loses enthusiasm, but Fayette believes the world is on the brink of war, and that the U.S. must be ready. Miller grows distraught, reminiscing about his brother who died in the previous war. Fayette expects Miller to provide a weekly confidential report on the project’s leader Dr. Brenner. Miller refuses to do any “spying”, insisting he would rather lose his job than agree to such terms. Miller’s outrage grows and he punches Fayette in the mouth.

In the fourth vignette, Florence tells her brother Irv that she loves her boyfriend Sid. Irv urges her to break up with Sid, since he earns too little money as a taxi driver. Sid enters and Irv exits. Sid says he knows he is like “rat poison” to her family and knows that she is reconsidering whether to marry him. He laments their lowly status as “dogs” under the thumb of powerful rich men. He is upset that his brother, a college boy, has swallowed the “money men”‘s propaganda and joined the navy to fight foreigners who are, ultimately, just like himself. Florence says she will follow Sid anywhere, but he tells her to be realistic.

Back at the union meeting, Fatt brings up Tom Clayton, who took part in an unsuccessful strike in Philadelphia. Clayton says that his experience taught him that Fatt is right. Clayton’s brother then runs on stage and outs Clayton as a company spy who has been breaking up various unions for years. Clayton leaves and his brother voices skepticism of Fatt’s supposed ignorance of Clayton’s true identity.

The next vignette occurs in the hospital office of the elderly Dr. Barnes. The younger Dr. Benjamin enters, upset that he has been replaced for surgery on a patient in the charity ward by an incompetent doctor named Leeds, the nephew of a senator. Barnes reveals that the hospital is shuttering the charity ward because it is losing money. Furthermore, they are firing some staff, including Benjamin. Though Benjamin has seniority, he is being fired because he is Jewish. Barnes takes a phone call and learns that the patient has died in surgery. Benjamin grows furious, saying he was skeptical of the ideas of radicals until now, and vowing to fight on even if it means death.

A man named Agate talks to the taxi drivers, insulting their weakness and insulting Fatt. Fatt and his armed guard try to detain him, but Agate eludes them. Agate proclaims that if “we’re reds because we wanna strike, then we take over their salute too!” He makes a Communist salute. Agate incites the drivers with fiery rhetoric about the rich killing them off. He tells them to “unite and fight!” and not to wait for Lefty, who may never arrive. A man runs in and reports that Lefty has just been found, shot dead. Agate yells to his fellow union men, “Workers of the world… Our Bones and Blood!” and leads them in a chorus of “Strike!”

Hurricane Relief Fundraiser for Puerto Rico
Dec 16th, 4PM-8PM
The Hurricane Fundraiser relief effort for Puerto Rico has been moved to 12/16/17. We will have more info on how you can help so please stay tuned!

i-vote-my-conscience by annette t rubinsteinChelsea Rising Reading Circle | Dec 20th, 6PM-8PM
On the third Wednesday of every month, The VMF has been sponsoring a reading circle run by Co-chair Gerald Meyer, on I Vote My Conscience by Annette T. Rubinstein. There is no admission charge and being that this is the final installment in the series–this event will end with a celebration–so don’t miss it!
Penn South Reading Room
339 W 24th St
New York, NY 10011

Vito Marcantonio Commemoration 2016

Vito_Marcantonio_Forum_City_Hall_2016_320x180

Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954): Fourth Annual Commemoration

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) invites one-and-all to attend “Vito Marcantonio: Fourth Annual Commemoration,” which will be held @ 3:00 PM, on Sunday August 28th, outside City Hall Park across from the Woolworth Building. We are assembling there because it is nearby the site where, at fifty-one, the East Harlem Congressman fell dead. After the event, attendees will retire to a restaurant two blocks distance away.

The one-hour-long program will feature the reading of “The People’s Proclamation for Vito Marcantonio.” In addition, there will be dramatizations by Roberto Ragone and LuLu Pascale. Gerald Meyer will deliver a eulogy. Elected officials are invited to attend.

Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954), who represented his community in the House of Representatives for seven terms (1934-1936, 1938-1950), was elected to office as a leader of the American Labor Party. Through his activities, in and outside of Congress, Marc, as he liked to be called, earned the status of national spokesperson for American Progressives. He became an unrivaled leader in the struggle for racial equality, the rights of the foreign-born, and against McCarthyism in all of its ugly manifestations.

Marcantonio was devoted to the cause of Puerto Rico’s independence. In 1950, declaring his need to “vote his conscience,” Vito Marcantonio was the sole member of Congress to vote against United States participation in what he termed, the civil war raging in Korea. Vilified and slandered in his life time, Marc’s East Harlem’s mostly Italian-American, Puerto Ricans, and African-American constituents remained fiercely loyal. However, in 1950, when confronted with a “regular” Democrat who was also endorsed by the Republican and Liberal parties, Marcantonio was defeated.

Marc was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, a nondenominational cemetery located in the northeast Bronx, because Cardinal Spellman refused to allow him to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Subsequently, Vito Marcantonio’s colossal work for all those shut out of participation in the American dream has been erased from American history. The Vito Marcantonio Forum is dedicated to righting this wrong by bringing information to the American progressive community and through the production of creative works. We invite you to join us in the work that will materialize this goal.

ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE book presentation

VMF AUTHOR SERIES presents

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTUREITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni 

Wednesday, May 18th 2016, 5:00-6:45 PM

Prof. Gerald Meyer will chair a discussion of ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni. Italian/English bilingual readings of Arturo Giovanitti’s poetry by VMF members: Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, & Roberto  Ragone.

Where: NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, corner of Mulberry & Prince Sts., one block south of Houston St.

Books available for purchase.
Free admission, light  refreshments served

marcella bencivenni

Author Marcella Bencivenni

VMF AUTHOR SERIES
This event is co-hosted with Italian American Writers Association (IAWA)

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; and the critical role of the Left that rallied to Marcantonio.

The Italian American Writers Association will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2016. Since 1991, IAWA has given voice to writers through its literary series every second Saturday of the months. Readings begin with an Open Mic: IAWA-East is held even months at Sidewalk Café and IAWA-West continues at Cornelia Street Café on odd months.

Website: iawa.net
BLOG: italian american writers café http://newsite.iitaly.org/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/italianamericanwritersassociation

Ralph Fasanella movie screening this weekend!

Movie Screenings at the Mulberry St branch of the New York Public Library this Saturday, February 20, 2016, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Maria Lisella, Vice President of the Vito Marcantonio Forum, has been instrumental in helping put together two events happening this weekend in New York City. Join us for an afternoon of 16mm films celebrating the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Little Italy, in conjunction with our NYPL Community Oral History Project! 
  • 1pm: It’s One Family – Knock on Wood (1982) – Orlando Furioso is a five foot tall performer living in Brooklyn, and is made of wood. Fifty years ago he was carved from oak and given a suit of armor by Papa Manteo and his children, Orlando’s sword still flashes on a stage. In It’s One Family: Knock On Wood, we meet puppeteers Mike and Aida Manteo, their children and grandchildren, a family bound together by a Sicilian folk tradition that dates back to the 16th Century. Mike still builds marionettes; Aida sews capes and gowns; on stage, Orlando woos Angelica in the court of Charlemagne, as the entire family works together to entertain audiences across America. Directed by Tony DeNonno. Runtime – 24 minutes.
  • 1:30pm Ralph Fasanella: Song of the City (1981) – A film documenting the life and art of Ralph Fasanella, a self-taught painter born in Greenwich Village in 1914. Raised in a struggling immigrant Italian-American family, Fasanella grew up to become a school truant, laborer and union organizer before discovering his true vocation as a painter. Working within the broad tradition of “social primitivism”, the artist, through his detailed canvases, interweaves scenes of his troubled youth, urban landscapes, labor history and social-political causes. Runtime – 25 minutes. VMF Vice President, Maria Lisella will give a short introduction before the film is shown.
If you are unfamiliar with the life and times of the great Ralph Fasanella, you should check this video produced by Italics:

VMF and IAWA events for April and May 2015

The Vito Marcantonio Forum and friends have a number of events coming up in late April and early May 2015. Make sure and read everything carefully!

Four Voices

Thieves in the Family by maria lisellaThe Italian American Writer’s Association (IAWA), along with VMF forum founding member Gil Fagiani and Vice President Maria Lisella, PRESENTS: 

Four Voices

Who: Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, Katrinka More, and Elizabeth Poreba will read from new books and new work.

When: April 29th, 2015 at 6PM

Where: Jefferson Market Library, 425 6th Ave, on the southwest corner of W10th St, in Greenwich Village in NYC: 212-243-4334 Free Event

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Here is a list of the rest of our upcoming events:

VMF Celebrates Labor History and Literary Events in May

Mulberry Street branch of the New York Public Library | Vito Marcantonio Forum event with Professor Gerald MeyerWHAT: The NYC Labor Council and New York Labor Historians Association are marking NY Labor History Month with a roster of special presentations including this one focused on the American Labor Party.

WHO: Gerald Meyer, leading authority on Vito Marcantonio will present a lecture on the famous Congressman who represented East Harlem by closely examining his role as the sole spokesperson for the American Labor Party.

DATE: Monday, May 4, 2015

TIME: 5-7 PM

LOCATION: New York Public Library Mulberry St. branch @10 Jersey St. bet. Lafayette and Mulberry Streets, one block south of E. Houston Street.

DIRECTIONS: B/D/F/M to Broadway/Lafayette; #6 to Bleecker St.; R/N/ to Prince Street. The library is handicapped accessible. http://www.nypl.org/locations/mulberry-street

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Politics, Poetry and Unsung Heroes

vito marcantonioWhat: Event features VMF co-founders at the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) Reading.

WHO: Stephen Siciliano will read from his latest novel-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. Gil Fagiani, subject of a recent New York Times article and IAWA Board member will read from his new work, Stone Walls published by Bordighera Press.

DATE: Saturday, May 9, 2015

Gil Fagiani founding member of the Vito Marcantonio ForumTIME: 5:45-7:45 PM

LOCATION: Cornelia St. Café, 29 Cornelia St.; 212-989-9319.

DIRECTIONS: A, B, C, D, E, F, M to West 4th St.; #1 to Christopher St.-Sheridan Square

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LEFT FORUM

WHO: Vito Marcantonio Forum members Gerald Meyer, Roberto Ragone and Gil Fagiani will lead a panel discussion on Congressman Vito Marcantonio’s unheralded leadership focused on civil rights both in Congress and in his political work.

Vito Marcantonio Forum author, professor, and chairmanWHEN: May 29-May 31, consult online calendar for specific time, location

WHERE: John Jay College, 524 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019

CONTACT: leftforum@leftforum.org | 212-817-2003

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

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)