Tag Archives: NYPL

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:


May 10th 2014 Book Lecture with Slides by Simone Cinotto was a success!

Special thanks to everyone who attended the VMF and IAWA sponsored presentation of

Vito Marcantonio Forum book party for The Italian American Table May 10th 2014 (1)The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City

Gil Fagiani of the Vito Marcantonio Forum and the Italian American Writer’s Association, delivered an informative introduction for Simone Cinotto, author of his latest soon-to-be-a-classic book, The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City. The event took place at the Mulberry St branch of the New York Public Library on May 10th, 2014 at 2pm. The Community Room, so graciously offered for the event, was filled to capacity with people from all walks of life as well as prominent individuals including: a distant relative of Vito Marcantonio, a psychoanalyst who specializes in the psycho-dynamics of the Italian American experience, five members of the faculty/staff of Hostos Community College, interested in the cultural history of Italian Americans in New York City from the 1880-1940.

Cinotto discussing "The Italian American Table"

Simone Cinotto

The Vito Marcantonio Forum’s next event will be August 9th 2014 at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx at the site of Marcantonio’s grave. It will mark the sixtieth anniversary of his demise. A review of the book, along with ordering information is provided below:

The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City


“Full of rich analysis and insights, this first book-length scholarly study of Italian immigrant foodways in the United States offers an explanation for why and how food became so closely attached to the creation of Italian American ethnic identities. A convincing and significant contribution.” —Donna Gabaccia, author of We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans

Looking at the historic Italian American community of East Harlem in the 1920s and 30s, Simone Cinotto recreates the bustling world of Italian life in New York City and demonstrates how food was at the center of the lives of immigrants and their children. From generational conflicts resolved around the family table to a vibrant food-based economy of ethnic producers, importers, and restaurateurs, food was essential to the creation of an Italian American identity. Italian American foods offered not only sustenance but also powerful narratives of community and differ- ence, tradition and innovation as immigrants made their way through a city divided by class conflict, ethnic hostility, and racialized inequalities.

Drawing on a vast array of resources including fascinating, rarely explored primary documents and fresh approaches in the study of consumer culture, Cinotto argues that Italian immigrants created a distinctive culture of food as a symbolic response to the needs of immigrant life, from the struggle for personal and group identity to the pursuit of social and economic power. For generations of Neapolitan, Sicilian, and Calabrese immigrants in New York, Italian American cuisine was much more than a remnant of the home country; Cinotto shows, in vibrant detail, how the Italian American table we now celebrate emerged as the outcome of years of selective incorporations of cultural fragments, resources, and meanings available to the immigrant community. Adding a transnational dimension to the study of Italian American foodways, Cinotto recasts Italian American food culture as an American “invention” resonant with traces of tradition and shows how generations of creative, ambitious improvisers in tenement kitchens and behind restaurant stoves cooked, ate, and shared the foods that helped them make their way into American culture.

ORDERING INFORMATION Phone orders: (800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada); (773) 702-7000 (International) Fax orders: (800) 621-8476 (USA/Canada); (773) 702-7212 (International) Online orders: www.press.uillinois.edu U.S. Mail orders: Customer Service, Chicago Distribution Center, 11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago IL 60628 Exam copies: Visit www.press.uillinois.edu/books/exam_copies.html Ebooks: Check with your preferred ebook store for ebook availability and ordering.
University of Illinois Press 1325 South Oak Street Champaign, IL 61820-6903

Here is a video of the previous lecture and slideshow Cinotto performed at NYU: