Tag Archives: fundraiser

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:
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

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:

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.