Tag Archives: Maria Lisella

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 event at Hostos Community College was a success!

October 15th, 2015
In commemoration of Italian Heritage Month, Hostos Community College’s Division of Student Development Enrollment Management proudly presented,

Vito Marcantonio: Champion of Immigration Rights 

vito_marcantonio

Vito Marcantonio

Marcantonio, who served as Congressman from East Harlem for fourteen years (1934-1936, 1938-1950), organized a powerful political coalition of his constituency’s mostly Italian-American, Puerto Rican, and African-American residents. Marcantonio’s dedication to his beloved East Harlem, a working-class community where he spent his entire life, continues to inspire his admirers.

The standing room-only event featured presentations and dramatizations of letters and speeches about the late, great Congressman. A number of areas of the College helped plan and promote the event and the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF). Special thanks to Nydia R. Edgecombe, Director of Alumni Relations, for her creativity and dedication in making the proceedings memorable for faculty, staff, students, and the many visitors in attendance.

susan miceli

Susan Miceli

Hostos counselors Professor Susan Miceli coordinated the production and promotion of the event that included a sumptuous spread of Italian specialties.

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Christine Mangino, provided insight and inspiration in describing the importance of observing Italian Heritage Month.

Poet, translator, and short-story writer, Gil Fagiani and Professor Lizette Colón read “The Litany of San Vito,” a poem written by Fagiani in dedication to Marcantonio:

Gil Fagiani and Lizette Colon

Gil Fagiani and Lizette Colon

San Vito of East Harlem, pray for us
San Vito bread of the poor, pray for us
San Vito crucified by Wall Street, pray for us
San Vito martyr of McCarthyism, pray for us

From the jail cell walls, San Vito deliver us
From the backyard crap game, San Vito deliver us
From the loan shark’s vig, San Vito deliver us
From the drunken stupor, San Vito deliver us

From TB and asthma, San Vito deliver us
From the social worker’s visit, San Vito deliver us
From immigration raids, San Vito deliver us
From the landlord’s greed, San Vito deliver us

Professor Gerald Meyer, who currently teaches World History at Hostos, also is well known for having written the most important book on the subject: Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, 1902-1954. 

“Leonard Covello, Marcantonio’s teacher and mentor, created a club called the Circolo de Italiano, that helped Italian students learn to help one another as well as their families in the community of East Harlem. Covello firmly believed the children of immigrants must learn their parents’ languages ”

The Lucky Corner in East Harlem New York City

American Labor Party rally at Lucky Corner during Marcantonio’s mayoral campaign, November, 1949.

Marcantonio went on to become a congressman who championed the rights of immigrant groups that included mostly Italians and Puerto Ricans. Dr. Meyer described, in depth, how Marcantonio publicly defended Pedro Albizu Campos and Clemente Soto Vélez, who had been imprisoned for treason by the United States government for their involvement in the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

LuLu LoLo Pascale, community activist and performance artist, dramatized letters to Marcantonio from his constituency. An East Harlem native who grew up on the same block, Ms. Pascale reminisced talking to Marcantonio in the street when she was a small child. With a heavy heart, she recalled, “It was so long ago… if only I could remember what he and my father used to talk about!”

Roberto Ragone

Roberto Ragone reenacts Marcantonio speaking at the Lucky Corner

“When I put on this fedora, I become Marcantonio,” said Bronx native, consultant, and actor Roberto Ragone, who dramatized a Mayoral campaign speech made in 1949, the night before election day at the “Lucky Corner” on East 116th Street and Lexington Ave.

“[I pledge] our City shall be free from fear – fear of discrimination and fear of want,” Ragone read with much fervor and enthusiasm, “I pledge to fight for the ‘little’ people of the City of New York.”

Dr Gerald Meyer

Dr Gerald Meyer

Professor Meyer, Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, LuLu LoLo Pascale, Roberto Ragone, Ria Barakos, Luis Romero, Terry Anderson, Adam Meyer, and a dozen others dedicated to the cause formed the “Vito Marcantonio Forum” in October 2011.

The community based organization brings together people from a wide variety of backgrounds dedicated to disseminating and sharing knowledge of the life and work of Vito Marcantonio (1902 to 1954). For more information, please see the group’s website at www.VitoMarcantonioForum.org

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.

VMF events in September & October 2015

Vito Marcantonio Forum Celebrates Pope Francis’ Visit and Italian American Culture Month with a People’s Pilgrimage to East Harlem

Vito Marcantonio Forum 2015

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 @ 12:00PM

Walking in the Footsteps of Vito Marcantonio.

Starting at Lucky Corner at the northeast corner of 116th St. & Lexington Ave at 12pm. Highlights include a visit to Vito Marcantonio’s home, Our Lady Queen of Angels Elementary School that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit (the church was shut down to parishioners’ protests in 2007). VMF will appeal to the Vatican to bless Marcantonio who was refused a Catholic burial by Cardinal Spellman in 1954. Route details will soon be posted to VitoMarcantonioForum.org  Weather will be great!

See below for a map of the tour. For questions or if you get lost, call or text Adam Meyer at 347.813.1396

Vito Marcantonio Forum - Program for Walking Tour of East Harlem_09-19-15

Map of Procession

 

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Marcantonio and Immigration

VMF dramitization of Leonard Covello by LuLu LoLo PascaleThursday, October 15, from 2:00 to 3:30, @ CUNY’s Hostos Community College, Bronx, NY. This will be VMF’s 3rd program at Hostos. The focus for this program will be:

Marcantonio and Immigration.

Presenting: Professor Gerald Meyer with life-long East Harlem resident performance artist, LuLu LoLo Pascale and activist, actor and marketing expert, Roberto Ragone. The format encourages audience participation.

Light refreshments will be served | Admission is FREE!

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I’m Dying Now and I Did Not Kill Emmet Till

VMF - emmet till play flyer

THE PRODUCER’S CLUB
358 West 44th Street
New York, NY off 9th Ave
Admission is $10.00 

Friday, September 25, 2015 at 8PM
Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 8PM
Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 6PM

A play directed by VMF member Art Bernal with an acting appearance by VMF co-chairman Roberto Ragone.

The murder, the trial, the injustice for all is covered in this play. DON’T MISS IT. For more info, email dramaworkshopproject@gmail.com or call 201-416-9516

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Michael Parenti Book Presentation

waiting for yesterday by Michael Parenti

Saturday, October 31, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 @ NYPL’s Mulberry Branch Library, VMF will present a symposium on Waiting for Yesterday (Bordighera Press), Michael Parenti’s memoir of growing up in Italian Harlem. The event will be moderated by Gil Fagiani. Speakers will include author Stephen Siciliano and dramatizations by life-long East Harlem resident performance artist, LuLu LoLo Pascale and activist, actor and marketing expert, Roberto Ragone.

Parenti received his PhD in political science from Yale University and for many years, he taught political and social science at various institutions of higher learning. Eventually he devoted himself full-time to writing, public speaking, and political activism.

Parenti is the author of 23 books and many more articles. His highly acclaimed writings cover a wide range of subjects: U.S. politics, culture, ideology, political economy, imperialism, fascism, communism, democratic socialism, free-marketorthodoxies, conservative judicial activism, religion, ancient history, modern history, historiography, repression in academia, news and entertainment media, technology, environmentalism, sexism, racism, homophobia, Venezuela, the wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, ethnicity, and his own early life.

Michael Parenti blog banner

Don’t miss these VMF events in September & October 2015!

Vice President Maria Lisella on Italics TV

Maria Lisella is the second woman and the first Italian American to be named Poet Laureate of Queens earlier this year. Recently she appeared on Italics TV. Maria also serves as the Vito Marcantonio Forum’s Vice President. Check out the video right here and like, share, tweet it, or simply tell me people about it!

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.

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

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