Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ennio, Franco and Clint Eastwood - Oh My!

Ciao a tutti,

Oh what a night! I was invited last night to a private event held by the Consul General of Italy, Diego Brasioli, at the Cultural institute for the purpose of meeting and interviewing Oscar honoree, Ennio Morricone, for our radio show "Filippo and the Chef."

I had been to the Italian Cultural Institute many times but it was never like it was last night. From valets parking cars to heavy security at the door, to ticket takers at the door not letting anyone in unless they either had tickets or where on the list. I drove with two of my friends, who had tickets. Isabella Carlini, who works at Paramount, had gotten two tickets from the Studio and had invited composer, and mutual friend of ours, Marco Missinato.

I didn't have a ticket but was told by the Consul General that my name would be on the list. Well, my friends got in, no problem, and they turned to see me giving my name to the list taker, and hearing her say my name wasn't on it.

Come to think of it, since she knew me, I wonder if she was just pulling my chain. Just as she was saying this, Elisabetta, the Consul's secretary saw me and grabbed my hand and brought me in, grazie Elizabetta.

Once inside, the tables were turned with my friends who weren't allowed upstairs into Fracesca Valente's big, beautiful office, where the press was meeting with Ennio, but I was. Of course, I found a way to get them up and can I say, a good time was had by all. As if meeting and interviewing Ennio the night before he was to be honored with an Oscar at the Academy Awards wasn't enough, guess who showed up, Clint Eastwood. I learned that night that he would be presenting the Oscar to Ennio.

The press went wild when Clint walked in, it was quite a frenzy. I just stayed back and watched it happen knowing I would have my moment with Ennio and I was hoping Cint too, afterwards. And so it was to be the case.

It was interesting how some of my friends didn't understand why I was so excited about interviewing Ennio since they didn't know him. I assured them all that they knew him and all I had to do was whistle a few notes of the opening theme song for "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," and they then got excited too.

This was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity too because it is interesting to learn that Ennio, who has scored over 400 movies has never stepped foot in Hollywood, or for that matter, the US. He supposedly has been offered all kinds of money and incentives over the years, including a villa in Los Angeles, to come here and work with the studios, but he has always declined. Now here he was, and I was about to interview him.

I had of course known of his music since I remember hearing the theme song I referred to earlier, but I came to know his name when I was taken by his music for "The Mission." That theme with the oboe line is heaven sent. If you haven't heard the soundtrack, you owe yourself at least a listen to that piece called "Gabriel's Oboe."

I was so grateful that the Maestro, at the end of our interview gifted me a CD, that was going to be released after Celine sang his song on the Oscars, called "We All Love Ennio Morricone," especially since it has that instrumental piece.

What can I say, he was so gracious and forthcoming with his answers and I could have talked to him all evening. Getting my friends in to meet him was special to me too especially since Marco is Italian and has known of him all his life. This is the case not only because the majority of the Maestro's movie and TV scoring has been on Italian films and shows, but also Marco, being a musician and composer has known and admired Ennio for years.

I especially thought it was interesting because, just a week or so before I had interviewed Marco because he officially released his CD Series called Pets Love Music and launched the complimentary company and website for the series which includes music for Dogs, Cats and Horses, yes horses. Veterinarians, animal whisperers, trainers and everyday animal owners and pet lovers swear to the effects of music on animals, and the positive effects of his music in particular.

I of course have heard all of his Cds and own them all, as well as have purchased them for friends and family, pet owners and non-owners alike, because the music is for everyone. You can learn more about it when we air the interview with Marco on our show next week, or you can go to our website and hear the interview in the archives.

This picture of Marco and the Maestro felt like a passing of the baton. You can see how the Maestro is smiling, truly it was his first and only smile of the evening, and he gave it to Marco.

Technically, we cannot say that in this picture Maestro Morricone was passing the baton to Maestro Missinato, because Ennio has movies he is scheduled to compose well into 2008 already, and we can expect for many years after that. This is what he said in the interview and I can't wait for you all to hear it. It should air in a couple Sundays from now, but again, if you miss it, you can always go to and catch it in our archives.

If that wasn't enough, I got to share a moment with Clint Eastwood and talk to him about Monterey and Carmel. We all know he had been the Mayor of Carmel for years, and I was born and raised in Monterey the next city north of there. He was very pleasant and gracious as well, considering everyone wanted his time.

I can imagine it was a busy time for both of them. It was a treat to see them both on TV on Sunday. Yes, on TV, can you believe it, I wasn't invited. I was just as surprised as you are, he, he. But hey, I got more than I bargained for regarding the Oscars in this one evening alone. Next year however, I want the Red Carpet!

Speaking of more than I bargained for, I got to meet and get my picture taken with the great Italian actor Franco Nero. If you think you don't know him either, you would be surprised if you clicked on his name and saw all the films he has done. Oh, that reminds me, Ennio Morricone also wrote music for "Cinema Paradiso," now, that I know you know!

And again, speaking of getting more than I bargained for, as if all this wasn't enough for one evening, Isabella surprised me with passes to a private screening of "Dream Girls" on the lot of Paramount Studios in the screening theater where they premiered it, two nights before it was expected to win many Oscars. How cool was that? I can tell you, too cool.

I had seen at least one movie there before, for an actual premier, and the experience is always welcome. The seats alone are the most comfortable movie seats you ever will sit in. I understand that when they were first purchased they cost $8K each or something like that. And boy was this the perfect place to see a movie with music in it. As you would expect, the sound system was out of this world.

I myself was out of this world. I was flying so high, grateful for an evening of a lifetime. Here are pictures of Isabella and I after asking the Security Guard to indulge us a bit by taking our picture in front of the theater which, as you can see was already being prepared for a red carpet event on Oscar night. And I wasn't invited to that either, can you imagine?

Finally, here is a picture that the guard insisted we take. He walked with us to these gates while telling us the story and why we had to take our pictures. He said that these were the original gates that Frank, Dean, and Jerry used to use when they worked on the Paramount lot. Now what made him say that, to me of all people, I don't know. But having just performed "The Three Paisans" a couple days before, I took that as a good omen!



P.S. If you haven't seen this Oscar clip, or even if you have, you will get a kick out of it, if not chocked up. This clip begins immediately after Clint Eastwood speaks of him and after they showed a clip of Ennio conducting an orchestra playing a medley of his most recognizable movie music. You will delight at his modesty and sincerity as Ennio Morricone accepts his Oscar; expresses gratitude to his piers and to those who wanted him to have this honor; wishes this award to all those who deserve it; and finally dedicates it to his wife Maria. (In English and Italian)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Speaking of Frankie's - Everyone Goes to Frankie's

Ciao a tutti,

In my last post I mentioned that Frankie opened up his restaurant for us, The Three Paisans, so we could have drinks after the success of our show. Actually, he had his staff keep it open, but that's not the point. The point is that writing that, reminded me that I was invited to dinner there a few weeks ago and some of the things about the evening struck me so funny that I had to take some pictures and blog about it.

Here is why...

I was supposed to meet the Italian-American author, Paul Paolicelli, author of "Dances With Luigi," and Italian-American entertainment lawyer Claire Ambrosio for a meeting. When I asked Claire where we were meeting, she suggested dinner at Frankie's, "although," she added, "I don't know how much we will get done there because everyone goes to Frankie's." I asked her what she meant, and she said I would see once I got there. I hadn't been there in a long time, and I guess I have been missing out.

This is what happened. First of all, there are tables all over the restaurant covered in white linen. But there is only one table that isn't, it is just a round wood table in the back of the restaurant, and not just anyone can sit there, I imagine. The restaurant had just opened when we got there so there was no one there, but when we came in, the waiter lead us straight to the wood round table, which incidentally used to be a wagon wheel or something.

Come to think of it, that doesn't sound right because it seats at least eight, and that sounds and looks too big for a wagon wheel, but I digress. So, we sit down and from the three of us, we quickly grow to four, and then after a few minutes, Frankie himself joins us. Then some director guy, and then some producer guy and then this couple comes by to chat. People kept coming by to say hello or to chat because they knew one of us, all of us, or Frankie, or course.

Every time someone we knew or didn't know would come up to the table, Claire would look at me and say, "See what I mean, everyone goes to Frankie's." The whole thing had me very amused, but not surprised. But when the priest came by to say hello I thought, that is it, I have to take some pictures and blog about this for my friends on the net. And so, here I am.

Let's see, the first picture above is the picture that started it all. The second picture was taken because we didn't have a picture of just the four of us so since we had already gotten up from our "special table" and since it was happily a mess, with empty plates of what was very delicious food, we decided to sit at another table and pose for the picture.

That would be me next to Claire, Frankie across from Claire, and Paul Paolicelli, across from me. Those of you who are also fans of my show "Filippo and the Chef" will remember Paul from one of our shows where we interviewed him and he read from his book. If you missed it on radio you can always hear it on our archives.

Finally, I don't know why this last picture was taken while Director Anthony Arezzo was giving me one of his credit cards, or was it his business card? At any rate, I had it so I included it. Not pictured is Margi Higashi who was taking pictures. She is very key to all this, but she tries to stay behind the scenes. I hope it was okay to print her name... if I can, I will tell you more about her later, but you will have to stay tuned.

Of course, if you go to Frankie's you might just see her there because, remember, "Everyone goes to Frankie's."


P.S. With everyone hugging and kissing at Frankie's, I thought this might be the perfect time to share this video I found on of Italians giving away free hugs. This is an interesting concept and "Leave it to the Italians." (Background Song in English)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Three Cheers For - The Three Paisans

Ciao tutti,

What can I say about my own show? Well, actually, it wasn't just my show so I guess I can say lots. It was a great show, I mean really, what can I say? I can say this, I had a lot of fun and so did the audience. First of all it was a sold out crowd and it was so funny. It was held at the Catalina Jazz Club which is a traditional Jazz Supper Club, very high end, in other words, not cheap, and they do things a certain way, and they get a wealthy clientele... you get the picture.

Well, the night of The Three Paisans, the place magically turned into a classy Las Vegas club of the '50's or something, reminiscent of an evening where Frank, Dean and Sammy would appear. And it is not just me that is saying that, the audience said that, and better yet, the Catalina management said the same thing.

So many "paisans" came out to see three of their own and to have a nice evening out, and they were ready to party and have some fun. The audience started coming in, in their furs and Italian suits, and you knew this was going to be a grand affair. Minutes before we were due to go on stage, the manager came to us in the green room and said that we couldn't start yet because they were behind in serving the food.

He went on to say that in the years that he has managed the place he had never seen anything like this. He said, "No one is sitting down to order, everyone is walking around talking to everyone else and hugging and kissing and no one is ordering." We had to laugh and we knew we were in the right place and we knew our audience was too. These we Italians! Gotta love it! We have a flair, don't we?

We didn't start till almost an hour afterwards and the timing couldn't have been better, not just the timing on when we started, but the timing of the three of us on stage. To say we had fun is an understatement. We all knew each other and we knew each others' work, but we had never been all three on the same stage at the same time "doin' tings togeda, you know what I mean?" And to watch it unfold was a blast for us.

From the reaction of the audience during the show, the standing ovation, and them hanging around afterwards not wanting to leave, I would say it was a party that has to be repeated.

Oh, and do I have to splain that everyone had a comment or suggestion to make. "You shudda done this song," "You shudda said this...." "Next time tell this joke..." We knew we had been successful in inviting the audience to have a good time with us when they felt so part of our family that they felt like they should tell us what to do.

Then again, when I tink about it, the audience was full of actors, directors, producers, agents, and all of them Italian, except Debbie Gibson, you remember her, well hold on cause she's making a comeback. Anyway, back to my story, they were all from Hollywood and all of them were our friends, so what would you expect? On the contrary, it couldn't have been better, except maybe us having had a second show. But we got those offers too, so I am sure I'll be writing more about that in the future.

Before the night was over Frankie opened up his restaurant, "Frakies on Melrose" for us so we could have a drink and celebrate together. Since I was on stage most of the time, I didn't take too many pictures, you know what I mean? But afterwards I took these of Joey Mike and I with a few friends, like Frankie's lovely daughters.

There, have I said too much? You just had to be there! And maybe you will be, who knows, "The Three Paisans" might just be coming to a theater near you.


P.S. Here is a video I thought you all would enjoy. It is of the "Rat Pack," with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. with Dean's background vocals to the song "Ain't That a Kick In The Head." Now, Joey and I sang that, but those of you who were there know we changed the words a little bit. And by the way, contrary to popular belief, Frank, Dean and Sammy were not the original rat packers, there was another group before them called that. Anybody know who? In the words of Mike Marino, "I could tell you, but I don't want to be a snitch." (Background Song in English)

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's Carnevale - Not Halloween

Ciao a tutti,

I remember growing up, my Grandmother especially, telling us kids about the tradition of Carnevale and Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday) in Italy. People in the town would get all dressed up in costume and parade about the town and party throughout the whole week before Ash Wednesday and Lent.

It was a tradition that I had only heard about and not experienced as a child until I grew up and got to see some of the festivities in a few of the various parishes of New Orleans years ago. I also came to learn that even that experience paled in comparison to those of the festivities that take place in Venice every year. I have yet to experience that but I did get to experience a carnevale close to home this past weekend.

Though no longer a child, I did experience carnevale through the eyes of children. So many happy children dressed up in their favorite costumes, singing, eating, dancing, eating, playing games, eating, and generally having a great time and eating.

I was invited to this carnevale festivities by Betti Engler of Fondazione Italia because she wanted to introduce me to some of her organization's activities, and I am glad I went. Above is a picture of us in our Carnevale hats. Betti is the one with the crown and the one with the cap is Maria Romano.

I applaud them all for bringing this festival and experience to the children of the Los Angeles community. Every child was welcome and every child got a taste of a bit of Italian tradition, food and culture, not to mention language which is the main thrust of this organization.

The Fondazione Italia is a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1998 for the purpose of promoting the study of the Italian language and culture throughout Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

They offer classes all over teaching the Italian language to all that are interested. The beautiful thing is that they are governed by a volunteer Board whose members have backgrounds in education, community service, philanthropy, law and business.

I got to meet some of these wonderful people who volunteer their time to help keep this beautiful language of our heritage and the culture alive. Above I am pictured with one of them, the President of the organization Paolo Miliozzi, Ph.D. in the cape, and Teresa d'Agostaro, la Regina (Queen) with the beautiful Principessa (Princess). It was so great to see so many people speaking Italian, like the cave woman with whom I am pictured, Tatiana, and that goes double for the children. Hearing them run around and yelling out a few Italian words or phrases was music to my ears.

Fondazione Italia develops partnerships with local schools and cultural and community organizations interested in starting or expanding Italian language programs for children and adults. Fondazione Italia provides the collaborating organizations with instructional materials, administrative and financial support.

Both curricular and extra-curricular programs are offered. Extra-curricular classes and activities typically take place after school, in the evenings or weekends, like this festival at St. Eleanor's Hall in Burbank this past weekend.

Finally here is a picture of Paolo again with his beautiful wife and daughter, and two beautiful princesses, Alessia Rimicci in yellow and Vincenza Iannone in Blue.

I look forward to learning more about this organization and seeing them grow. I hope to bring you more news and encourage you who are in the Los Angeles area to check out their class schedule and see if there might be a class time and schedule right for you, cosi quando vi scrivo in Italiano ci capiamo!

Che bella lingua!


P.S. I thought it only fitting to post a video that I got off of Youtube of some of the costumes from the Carnevale di Venezia this year. (None Spoken with Musical Background)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Capulets and the Montegues - Red State versus Blue State?

Ciao a tutti,

I heard that there was a production of "Romeo and Juliet" that was worth seeing and that was quite different. Well, honestly I wasn't sure if I was up to seeing a production of "Romeo and Juliet" in the middle of a busy weekend and an adaptation at that. I had read "Romeo and Juliet," I had seen movie versions of it, and above all, I had played Romeo in the play in Junior High School and knew as much about the Capulets and the Montegues as I wanted to know.

Of course I could blog about it because the story does take place in Italy, and the families are Italian and, oh by the way, have you heard this? There is a rumor out there in the world of historians that William Shakespeare was born of Italian parents, Southern Italian no less. I can't wait to see how that plays out in history.

But in the meantime, there was one more thing that got me to go see this play, I found out the director was Italian-American. That did it. Off I went with an equally reluctant friend who I forced into going with promises of doing something fun afterwards. Some chance this play had. But I did have an open mind. I really did otherwise I wouldn't have gone at all.

When we arrive and picked up our tickets, I asked if I would be able to meet the director after the show. Instead after sitting a moment Judith Bourne of Borne Identities, a public relations firm, approached me and asked me if I could come with her to met the director before the play. And meet him I did, Joe Regalbuto. It was interesting talking to him about the play but all the while I am thinking, "I know this guy, but from where?"

Then he goes and says that a few years back he had met President Bill Clinton at a National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) event in Washington and that he was sitting with Geraldine Ferraro directly behind the podium on the deus at that event. Well, I was at that event. As a matter of fact, I sang at that event right at that podium two feet from where he must have been sitting. What a small world. We both remembered the exact things about that night, so that must be it, right? Wrong. I still wasn't satisfied. I felt like I knew him from something else.

I had my picture taken with him and started to head into the theater when my friend says, as we walk away, "you know who he is?" "No," I said, "who?" "He's Murphy Brown's colleague on the show." That was it! I knew I knew him. So he was Italian-American all this time. Very cool!

Back in my seat I tried to figure out what was going to be so different about this play. Boy was I in for a surprise. First off the play was set in the States, in modern day dress, but retaining the Shakespearean old English and the dialog just as he wrote it. And the two feuding families were prominent and politically charged families, one being from a "Red" State and the other from a "Blue" State. That in itself made it interesting enough.

So overall, the concept made it worthwhile seeing. But so much more happened during my watching this version of "Romeo and Juliet" that I never would have expected. I watched the play glued to my seat as if I was seeing this story unfold for the first time ever, and in a sense I was. The characters were all cast perfectly and the roles acted beautifully making the whole experience surprisingly believable, even though they were speaking in old English.

But that was the best part. I hate to admit this, but admit it I did right to the director after the show. I told him that for the first time, even after having played Romeo and studied the play, I felt like I truly understood each line. It was no longer poetry or just beautiful words strung together but these people were actually talking to each other and saying something meaningful and conveying a message. Old English and prose was just a language that they used combined with their own understanding of what they were saying and gestures and body language of today, I got it, I really got it.

Joe thanked me and said that it was one of his desires to have that happen, and it did. He wanted the actors to talk to each other not recite Shakespeare to each other. And that happened in a way I had never truly seen or appreciated before. Kudos to all the actors and to Joe.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the roles of Romeo and Juliet who, I was delighted to learn afterwards by the way, were played by two Italian-Americans, Matty Ferraro as Romeo and Gina Regalbuto as Juliet. And what a Romeo and Juliet they were. True to the image those two names congers up, these two looked like they were matched in heaven. When these two were on stage together, the whole stage lit up on fire and I had to wonder if they were really acting or if these two really had the hots for each other. That's when you know you have some great actors and acting.

As they interacted individually with the rest of the cast they brought that same youthful innocence the characters warrant, and strength, that two young lovers faced with such devastating circumstances needed. Together with the entire cast they brought the story to life for us, making it today, and bringing it home to our lives as if they were members of our circle of acquaintances who were going through these difficulties. That is when theater is not good but great and I thank Joe, Matty, Gina and the entire cast for bringing "Romeo and Juliet" to life for us. I hope this show has a life beyond this incarnation so many more people could have the same experience I had.

Happily I waited for the actors to come out so I could meet them and be photographed with them for the blog. Gina was just as delightful as you would have expected. It was a pleasure to talk with her afterwards and I look forward to seeing more of her on the big and little screen as well as on the stage.

That actually goes for Matty as well who is so dynamic and charming he is bound to get himself any role he really wants. Interestingly, when I went to introduce myself to him I said, "Ciao, I'm Filippo of." He interrupted me and finished my sentence "Filippo and the Chef, I know who you are, I get your E-mails." Somehow he made it on to our newsletter list and I couldn't be happier.

He went on to say that his manager is Italian-American also and that he had shared the E-mails with him. What can be better than a big network of Italian-Americans connected, helping each other out and keeping us all in the know.

Matty I am glad you are on my Newsletter list and now both you and Gina are on my list of people to watch, because I predict you are both going places.

In Bocca al Lupo (Literally translates to "In the Mouth of the Wolf" but means "Break-A-Leg!)


P.S. In complete contrast to the wonderful adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" as directed by Joe Regalbuto, I thought it might be fun to include here a video of one of Italy's most revered comedian, the late, great Toto in a movie version of "Romeo e Giulietta," where he comically re-enacts the balcony scene, with "almost" the same dialog as Shakespeare wrote. If you don't understand the Italian and don't know Toto, you could probably still laugh just looking at his antics and comical expressions. (In Italian)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Italian Talent of Another Kind - Cathie Russo

Ciao a tutti,

It is interesting to me how in this Country when we talk of Italian-American entertainment we immediately assume accordions and "Volare." And I am not putting that down at all because that is what I often do myself, and I enjoy hearing it and seeing it performed. If not that, then we think of Frank and Dean and the songs of the '40's and '50's etc.

I never really stopped to think about it until recently, that these artists weren't singing "Italian-American" music, but the music of that era. They just happened to be Italian-Americans themselves and did it in their own style and fantastic ways. It seems that in so many ways, we have stopped the clock on Italian music here in this Country and the funny thing is I'm not the only one that thinks so, so do all the Italians from Italy I have ever spoken too about this.

I finally just got it recently during a radio interview when I was asked if I agreed to the "put downs" of the music of today that the host was saying. I couldn't agree or condone putting the music of today down because much of it isn't intended for me, just like the music I sing wasn't intended for the my grandparents, lets say, who might have thought Frank and Dean couldn't sing because they didn't sing classically or operatically.

I know that I like many styles of music and some of that includes music of today. I only sing in a few of those styles and that is the way I like it. I also know that there are many people who like what I do and I thank them and God for it. Lets continue to enjoy what we can offer each other. That, in a nut shell was my answer over live radio.

Interesting how soon after this revelation I was asked by a friend if I would go see her cousin sing and blog about her as a favor. This friend asked me to be kind since it isn't
"my kind of music," and that her cousin really didn't do the Italian-American stuff.

Imagine my surprise when I went to hear this singer and she sang rock and used profanity, sang about drugs and.... Well, do you know what I thought? I loved it. What I saw was a true Italian-American artist who sang the music of her day, as a matter of fact, she wrote it, better still, and who wasn't afraid to speak her mind about the world she saw and how she saw it. Even better still the songs were thought provoking and the melodies were memorable. I think she has a great thing going and when she finds her market, or her market finds her, she can be a name we can all say, you heard about here first.

The surprises keep coming. I bought her CD, even though she wanted to gift me one, because I wanted to encourage and support her efforts, and I played it in the car on the way home. The songs weren't all profane or about drugs or all very rock, some were almost jazzy with genuine scatting and a little bit of folk and funk. As a matter of fact, she had some interesting things she did with her voice that made the whole collection eclectic and definitely notable.

I do have one complaint though. Believe it or not, I found the CD too short. Yes, though it technically is "not my style of music," I liked the realness and rawness and sincerity and melody of the songs so much that I listened to the whole CD three times between the venue where she performed and my home.

For those of you who might like "this kind of music," or for those of you who want to venture out and try something very different, or for those of you who want to support a young Italian-American singer/songwriter you can go to her CD Baby page and buy "Cathie Russo - four tide of the clearview."

You can also learn more about her at her MySpace Page by clicking here.

Brava Cathie, I looking forward to catching your show again when you are in town.


P.S. Speaking of young Italian-Americans doing their thing, here is a video of some young Italian-Americans using todays technology to "advertise" their new Italian-American club. I really liked how the group is open to everyone, Italian-American or not, as long as they are interested in the culture. And best of all, he's playing an accordion, now THAT's Italian, he, he.
(In English)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's No Secret Anymore - Dr. John Demartini

Ciao a tutti,

The "Secret" is no "Secret" anymore. Of course I am referring to the popular movie making its way into the hands of so many people these days called "The Secret." Though I knew about this movie what seems like a long time ago now, it recently was featured twice on the Oprah Show and since then the DVD sales have gone through the roof.

One of the featured teachers in the movie is Dr. John Demartini who was well known before the movie came out, but not to me. Since then, I have come to know his wisdom and have had the pleasure of getting to interview him on my "Filippo and the Chef" Show a few months ago and what an incredible experience it was. You have to hear that interview, he was so magnanimous and gave of his knowledge so lovingly. I thought it was special how he knew we have a large Italian-American following and that he got a kick out of knowing he was speaking directly to those that share the same heritage as he.

Ever since then I have been making it a point to read as many of his books as I can, listen to his words, and see him live every time he comes into town because here is someone who has done the research and is living the words he teaches. The beauty is that he is not teaching people to be like him, but to be everything they can be by using the tools that he has learned, putting them to work for our individual goals and souls.

Now if you are looking at the picture above and you think I look funny and Dr. D looks mischievous, you are right on the money and I have to tell you what happened. At the moment before the picture was snapped, Dr. D tickled me on the side. I think it shocked me and then I started to laugh. Come to think of it, when was the last time I was tickled? Maybe he is on to something here. Maybe he was trying to teach me to laugh more or just to tickle more, I don't know but I laughed and hopefully you did too now that you know that story.

It is so great to see the caliber of people that come out to hear Dr. D speak, although I guess it shouldn't be to shocking to see the Director of "The Secret" himself there, Drew Heriot, since he directed Dr. D in the movie. I had met Drew a couple times before at Dr. D events and it has been great seeing his career really take off. The great thing about this guy, in my opinion, is that after the popularity of this movie, this guy can write his own ticket in Hollywood and is getting requests to direct left and right, but he is keeping true to his dreams of bringing similar themed, inspirational films to the world.

To that end Drew has teamed up with multi award winning Director/ Photographer/ Writer Mikki Willis, seen here pictured next to Drew, to form Elevate Films, a full service production company committed to producing groundbreaking entertainment that dares to explore the full depth of human experience.

Through their love for life and Earth, the Elevate team created The Elevate Film And Music Festival to challenge the international film community to produce works of social and global importance. It is currently the fastest growing festival in the world. I plan on going to the next one so I can tell you all more about it. I hope and trust there will be some Italian "love of life" represented there too.

The reason I posted two pictures here is not because you have to see what is different in both pictures, although it is funny to see that, but to tell you what happened in between the pictures. While standing there I heard they were calling out raffle numbers. At the end of the Demartini seminar they raffled off some of his books and CDs. In my subconscious mind I heard them call out a number and no one respond. Something reminded me that I had been given a raffle ticket when I walked in the seminar hours before and that I should look at it now.

Just as they were about to call out another number I realized that the number they had been calling was mine. I ran up on stage and claimed my prize, which was a hug from Amanda, pictured here, who I knew but hadn't seen that night up until then, and the latest book of Dr. Demartini's to hit the book stores "Count Your Blessings - The Healing Power of Gratitude and Love."

I was already grateful to be there, and to have won this just added to it. Though I am presently in the middle of studying my Dr. D "The Breakthrough Experience" book and haven't had a chance to read this new one yet, the chapters I have perused show promise that it is another hit. Of course I wouldn't expect anything less.

So in this final picture is Amanda Kroetsch, who did the raffle that night, but more importantly is the "Thank God I..." girl. This is a book series we will all be hearing about and healing because of thanks to CO-founders Amanda and Italian-American John Castagnini. You know, in Sicilian, and Italian for that matter, there is a saying, "Ogni mali un veni pi nosciri." Loosely translated every ill or bad thing doesn't necessarily come to bother, or bring harm. In this series, real people will be sharing how they are grateful that certain ills or bad things happened to them, and why. This should help us see that sometimes, if not all the time, we are blessed with whatever comes.

Or if you go by what Dr. Demartini says, we were calling it in all the time by our choices, our beliefs, our fears, our questions...


P.S. Here is a very wonderfully long clip of a Dr. Demartini interview with New York's Alan Steinfeld I got off of (In English)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Introducing "The Three Paisans" Joey, Mike & Filippo

Ciao a tutti,

Today we officially introduced the first show of the newly formed group, "The Three Paisans." The story goes that Hollywood entertainment Attorney Claire Ambrosio was talking to Jimmy Kimmel's wife one day. Although Claire works primarily in the movie industry, she has retained the right to work, on an as needed basis, with her three favorite, living, Italian-American entertainers, i.e. Joey, Mike and Me.

So, during this conversation Claire says something like, "it sure would be easier to work with them if they were all together." I guess the light bulb went off and they both looked at each other like she had just hit upon the next best idea since "American Idol." Out of that conversation came the idea for "The Three Paisans," with a working title of "The Three Gumbas."

That very week Claire set up a dinner meeting with me to discuss this. I liked it right away but I didn't care for the name. I also liked the idea of including a female singer.

That weekend I met up with Joey and Mike and we talked it through and decided we were in. So Claire set it up for the four of us to meet and talk this out officially. Well, we all thought it was a great idea but we couldn't agree on the name. Either Joey or Mike came up with "Three Wise Guys and a Broad" or was it "Three Gumbas and a Dame?" In any case, none of that stuck, and we couldn't decide on a female singer, but by the end of that dinner meeting, "The Three Paisans" had been born.

I wanted to take a picture of us that night because I knew history was being made, but for some reason, we didn't get around to it. Well, history is still being made everyday, and so it's never too late. Speaking of pictures, above are pictures of us on our first official poster. Remember you saw it here first.

See you at the show,


P.S. I thought it fitting for my fans who may not know Mike Marino to remind them that we recorded an interview with him a few months back on the Filippo and the Chef show number 14 the "Bruschetta and Oven Dried Tomatoes" show. To hear that go to and click on Shows and Recipes. Here is a clip of Mike cutting it up with fellow Italian-American host and comedian, Jay Leno, and Italian Model, Fabio, on ABC's Tonight Show, and more.... (In English)