Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Anniversary "America" - 500th Anniversary!

Ciao a tutti,

According to a new book entitled "Amerigo, The Man Who Gave His Name To America," by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto today, April 27th, 2007, is the 500th Anniversary of the naming of "America" after the great Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

According to, the earliest known use of the name America for this particular landmass indeed dates from April 25, 1507. It appears on a globe and a large map created by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. An accompanying book, Cosmographiae Introductio, explains that the name was derived from the Latinized version of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci's name, Americus Vespucius, in its feminine form, America, as the other continents all have Latin feminine names

For more information on Amerigo Vespucci, click on his name.

In case you are interested, here is the resolution by the U.S. Congress making it official, per

How is that for an interesting bit of trivia?

Buon Aniversario America!


P.S. While I was in Monaco a few years back, I had the pleasure of seeing the the Amerigo Vespucci, one of the Italian Navy's Flagship Tall Ship come into port on the day of the Italian Independence. It was a site to see. I missed out on the opportunity to board it since they closed it down early because Prince Rainier was going to be attending a ceremony on the ship that afternoon. I did however get to see Prince Rainier and Prince Albert.

Here is a video I found on from someone who did get a chance to board the Amerigo Vespucci when it was in Casablanca in 1970, and took this video. (Music Background)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Buon Compleanno (Happy Birthday) - Chef Richard

Ciao a tutti,

Today was Chef Richard's Birthday and his wife Elaine threw him a big Birthday bash at their home. It was supposed to be a surprise party but his wife didn't think she would be able to cook him his favorite dishes without him getting suspicious. So she gave Richard the biggest gifts of all, a party, and she did all the cooking herself for all their guests.

People came from all over to help him celebrate and in some cases surprise him, like his sister Irene and her husband who surprised him all the way from New Jersey. That is Elaine, Richard's wife in the picture below and Irene, Richard's sister in the picture below that.

Not to confuse the issue but a mutual friend of ours surprised us by cutting her trip back east short and coming to the party and she is Evelyn, pictured below with me. Elaine, Irene, Evelyn, oh my! Thankfully in the picture below that is Camile, and not Eve or Ira or Ilene otherwise I never would have been able to keep all the names straight.

I surprised Richard too by bringing my computer and my Filippo and the Chef briefcase and acted surprised when I saw all those people there pretending I didn't know we weren't recording a show. After we laughed about that for a moment we both looked at each other as if to say, it would have been a fun idea to record a show during the party. Maybe next year.

We didn't record a show, but everything our show is about was going on right there before our eyes. Talk about family in the kitchen. Even though Elaine had everything already cooked and ready to go beforehand, and all the food was beautifully served on the dining room table buffet style, people still gathered in the kitchen and were helping out, whether she needed it or not. Everyone was chatting and laughing away...

Now that's Italian.

There were a few other surprises in store for him, like a roast that I hosted with friends and family saying the funniest things, things I didn't know about him. Since I was hosting, a job I am getting really used to, and enjoying very much by the way, I did a lot of talking, but everyone expected me to sing too.

That reminded me of a funny story that I shared with everyone during the roast. The story goes that after having known Richard a few years, I happened to have heard it was his Birthday on a particular day, actually, April 22nd to be exact. I called him on that day a few years back and said "Richard, it's Filippo. Happy Birthday."

There was a pregnant pause on the phone and I wasn't sure what was going on so I said, "Hello Richard are you there?" He answered, "Yes." I repeated myself, "Richard, it's Filippo. Happy Birthday." At this point he pulls the phone away from his ears and yells out to his wife. "Listen to this, the only person who didn't sing Happy Birthday to me was the singer, Filippo."

I laughed so hard at that as did all the guests at his party. So, true to form, I didn't sing to him on his Birthday again. But luckily, Camile Saviola did. I introduced her and off she went talking about the fact that Richard and her had been childhood friends and she told of all the mischief that children get into, especially these two, what a pair.

Richard, if you haven't noticed can be soft spoken and quite, just unfortunately, not when he is doing the show with me, he, he. Camile on the other hand is a ball of fire.

Of course she is a pro. You may not know her name but you have seen her on everything on TV, from Becker to First Mondays, where she had a staring role opposite Joe Montagna. I could go on with Broadway credits like playing the role of Mama in "Chicago" opposite Melanie Griffith, and she was awarded this and that and something else and the other thing.

She lived up to the actor/entertainer that she is by making us all laugh with her stories and then touching us with her song. Finally, after all that, Richard got up and kicked everyone out.

No, I am just kidding. He thanked us all and said nice things about the people who had just roasted him, as well as all the guests.

I then taught everyone how to sing Happy Birthday in Italian and we sang to Richard in English and Italian while his grandchildren brought out the burning cake.

Happy Birthday Richard, and remember, next year we are working on your Birthday and recording a show, with everyone being invited.


P.S. Speaking of singing Happy Birthday, here is a song called Buon Compleanno by Irene Grandi, an Italian pop singer, that I had never heard but just found on that I thought might be fun to post. (In Italian)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

La Musica Del Mondo - Music Of The World

Ciao a tutti,

Every time I hear Musicantica perform I always learn something. More than that, I feel something, I experience something, I enjoy them. It is not just about the music they do, it is how they do it, why the do it, the way they do it.

I have known them and of them for many years and have been a fan since day one. I have performed with them and seen them perform just the two of them or with a full dance and musical troop on stage. From small coffee houses to large stages, they are always good and always real.

I am talking primarily of Roberto Catalano and Enzo Fina who are the creators of the group Musicantica which performs folk music of Southern Italy: songs and fables from the oral tradition passed on from generation to generation by the fishermen, peasants, and street vendors of their homeland.

This is music that existed before music was written. As a matter of fact, much of this never got written, and still is not written.

I titled this post "Music of the World," because this is music that has had influences from all over the world. Since Italy, and Southern Italy specifically, was conquered by so many different tribes over the centuries, each had left their musical mark, among other things.

What world influence the music didn't already have when Enzo and Roberto came to learn it, they have since added to it, combining many rhythms, beats, and melodic lines of the musical world they know, love and continue to study.

Make no mistake, the music is still Southern Italian, and the two of them are unmistakably the same. I remember when I started telling stories on stage, after I had only sung for years without speaking, people used to come up to me and say, "I don't know what I like better, when you sing or when you speak."

I thought to myself the same thing this last time around that I went to see them knowing I would be interviewing them for our Filippo and the Chef radio show and probably be telling them just that. When they speak they are very funny. Not only what they say, but the fact that they are in their own world, and it is a beautiful thing because they invite you in it, which is what this music does too.

But they themselves have these private jokes that we are not really in on, and it doesn't matter because it adds to the fun. Even if you were in on it, you would have to understand their dialect so it doesn't really matter. They are two friends making music on stage who love what they are doing, believe in its power and yet in its simplicity, and you feel it.

So simple in fact that they invite the audience to participate. One song in particular was a song about a man standing outside in the rain serenading his lover telling her that not even the rain will make him leave until he gets a glimpse of her at the window, or something like that.

Enzo and Roberto had someone pass around plastic bags, like the ones you put your vegetables in and had us all move them in between our fingers. I tell you what, if you closed your eyes, it sounded like rain. The room just transformed and we all felt like we too were standing in the rain with the hopeless romantic.

On another song, they passed out straws, yes straws like you would have with your soda, that had been cut on the tip and when you blew through them they actually made a sound. That had the opposite effect of the rain, that made everyone in the room break out into a roar of laughter. It was pretty funny, so funny I don't even remember what the song was supposed to be about.

That is just it, they are pure and real and they just do what they do and you just feel free and open. Part of it is the music, part of it is them, after all, they are sitting up there drinking wine throughout the whole show. Part of it is the instruments, and part of it is just magic that is centuries old.

The type of instruments they use are centuries old too. Some of the instruments they have made themselves fashioned after the originals, and some they invented themselves, fashioned after whatever sound they wanted to make at that time.

But it all works and between the two of them, in any one given song, they can pick up and play a number of these instruments to give the flavor they want at the moment, as they feel it.

And what did I learn this time? Well, lots, but one of the things I was surprised I didn't already know was that the mandolin is not an instrument without a family. Rather I thought that the guitar was part of the mandolin family. Well, actually, the mandolin has a more immediate family. In Italian the mandolin is called a "mandolino."

Roberto taught me during the intermission that the mandolino is the smallest instrument of the mandolin family. As we get larger we have the mandola, then the mandocello, and finally a mandolin that actually stands on the floor and is called a mandobasso. Seems to me that the violin family is closer to the mandolin than the guitar.

Grazie Roberto for the music lesson. Surprised that I didn't know this Roberto added the lesson to the second part of the show. See what I mean? This is how this music was meant to be performed, in the moment and even played with make shift instruments. When someone felt like joining in, they just picked up a sound maker, even if it was a gardening tool or something and they joined in.

In the top picture, on my left is Enzo and on my right is Roberto. Then the other pictures are of course of the two of them on stage as well as Roberto explaining to me the origins and demonstrating the various instruments they had on stage.

If you tune into the radio show you will see what I mean about the way they talk and how sincere and pure their intention is for keeping this music alive as well as the instruments. You will also hear a song from their CD. For more information about them, do click on their website at

Oh, I almost forgot, for a small fee they will not only come to your house and perform, but they will create a cooking experience with food from the regions of Italy from which they came and get everyone in on the action. Then they will perform a live show with as much audience participation as you want.

Now that's Italian.

Viva la musica!


P.S. This video I found on is not exactly like the music that Musicantica performs per se, but I thought it to be a great example of combining traditional southern Italian instruments and rhythms with a more pop feel and sound and to me it works. You can hear the middle eastern influences as well. I enjoyed it, hope you do too. (In Southern Italian Dialect)

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Goal To Help The Children Of America- Michael Torchia

Ciao a tutti,

If you can't tell from listening to the Filippo and the Chef show radio transmissions or our podcast archives, I really enjoy what I am doing. One of the most satisfying parts about what I am doing is doing the interviews.

It amazes me how Italians have risen to the top of so many Industries and it has been a pleasure learning how they did it and what they are doing etc., as I do each interview. The ones that touch me the most however are the ones in which we talk about what the individual's passions are about helping other people or the world.

In a way I have to say that this seems to come out in almost every interview, on some it comes out while we are recording and unfortunately on some, when the computer is off. Though some people use their influence, their art, or their abilities to help others, there are those that are dedicated to only doing that.

That is what I felt from my interview with Michael Torchia. Here is a man who has had great success, and continues to have success, in his field as a health and wellness expert and personal trainer to the stars like Kim Cattrall, Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Joe Mantegna, Sinbad, Roseanne Barr and Matt Damon.

Now he is taking his knowledge, experience and influence and putting his passion into helping people live healthier lives, and most of all children. Among the many projects he is involved in and the many ways he is planning on achieving his goals are a podcast and radio show that is well underway called "Shape Up America," and a television show called "On The Road to Celebrity Fitness."

He has taken his message to such shows as, the NBC Today Show, Dateline, ABC News, CBS Morning News, Fox News, E!, Extra, American Journal, Inside Edition, Life & Styles, The Larry Elder Show and the Montel Willams Show.

His biggest passion seems to be caring for the children of this country who seem to be suffering from, among many other things, obesity. In fact, one of Mike's favorite quotes is "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children," by Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

He has started a campaign to get junk food out of the schools and to revolutionize what the children eat at schools as well as bring fitness in again to those schools that don't offer it anymore.

That seems to be such a big undertaking considering how much money is made off of selling children junk food and how little parents know about the effects of those foods and the chemical additives in them, both the ones listed on the ingredients and the ones that are legally not listed, etc.

But Michael is bound and determined to see it happen and has aligned himself with some powerful people and organizations. Just like he succeeded in shaping his body to the amazement that it is today and has been for years, I hope and trust he will help take care of the children by shaping up their schools and their bodies too.

Michael went from being 20 pounds over weight as a child to winning Teenage Mr. America, Collegiate Mr. USA, Mr. California, National Bodybuilding Champion to World Bodybuilding Champion.

Now he is championing the health and bodies of the children of America. More power to him.

Hear his passion come through on our interview with him that already aired but you can catch it at our show archives at

In the pictures above you will also see friends of Michael, Rona Freeman a Fitness Trainer in her own right, Austin Fuentes, and me with one of those infamous smiles.

May it be just as Michael says for the good of all the children.


P.S. While doing research on to find the perfect video for this blog post I came across yet another Italian pop artist I had not yet heard of, Povia. I found this song to be so interesting I am posting it for all my fans that can understand Italian.

The song is called "I Bambini Fanno Ooh!" It translates into "children say Ooh," and is referring to the expression of innocence by children and how beautiful it is when they are looking at the world and being surprised at all they see, experience and discover. In the song he goes on to say that he is ashamed about the fact that he doesn't say ooh anymore and that he should, because he sees the beauty that we miss by our jaded way of looking at the world.

What could be more beautiful than to look at the world through the eyes of a child. I had to post this video to go along with the work that Michael is doing to help the children be children again, happy and healthy.

May we find the child within us too and be able to say "ooh" more often.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Director Peter Miller's Film - Sacco and Vanzetti

Ciao a tutti,

About four or five years ago, I was invited to the National Italian American Foundation's (NIAF) Convention in Washington, D.C. to sing for the NIAF Board of Directors. I was also invited to participate in all the conferences, dinners, meetings, seminars, etc. held during those three days.

Remember when I said in a previous post that I would eventually get to talking about some of the people pictured in that post which had gotten too long for details? Well, one of those people pictured in that post with me was Joe Cerrell. At the time, Joe was the President of NIAF and he personally took me and introduced me to many of the movers and shakers that were present at that event.

I guess, Joe knew something I didn't know. Come to think of it, he is one of the worlds most noted Public Relations Consultant, of course he knew. Saying I was honored is an understatement.

Not only that, at every meeting I attended he introduced me from the podium along with the other honored guests. Honored is not the word, there has got to be a stronger word for what I felt.

Someday maybe we will talk about some of the very interesting people I met at that event and at many similar events since then, as if the ones I have posted about till date are not interesting enough.

One of these people was a man who was in the process of raising awareness for a film he was working on about two Italian immigrants who lived at the turn of the Century named Sacco and Vanzetti.

I had never heard of these two or the incredible story about their lives here in America that not only captivated the world but rallied the world to their cause.

I remember thinking this story was very important and I was disturbed that I hadn't heard of it before. I remember wishing I could help this man get this very important story out to the general public.

Unfortunately, I had long forgotten this meeting, this story and about Sacco and Vanzetti until I read in one of the Italian Internet Forums that I belong to, that a film was going to be screened in Los Angeles about Sacco and Vanzetti.

I was reminded of that man I had met years ago and wondered what had happened to his film, or if this could be the same man.

I made contact with the production house and secured myself tickets to the screening and an interview with the Director immediately afterwards.

The film was mesmerizing and compelling to say the least! More about the film in a moment.

Then I got to meet the director, Peter Miller and the first question I asked him is if he had ever been involved with NIAF.

Imagine how happy we both were that we had indeed met years earlier. And I couldn't help but be amazed at how wishes do come true. Here I was in a position to do what I had wanted to do years ago, help Peter get the story out.

And here it is.

First of all, Peter gave a great interview and you just have to hear it when it airs in a few weeks on radio. If you miss it, do go to and hear it in our archives which are usually updated a week or two after the shows air.

Secondly, as a way of telling you about the film, here is a breakdown of the story as described by Willow Pond Films on their website. Do visit them to learn more.

AND VANZETTI is an 80-minute-long documentary that tells the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant anarchists who were accused of a murder in 1920, and executed in Boston in 1927 after a notoriously prejudiced trial.

It is the first major documentary film about this landmark story. The ordeal of Sacco and Vanzetti came to symbolize the bigotry and intolerance directed at immigrants and dissenters in America, and millions of people in the U.S. and around the world protested on their behalf.

Nearly eighty years later, the story continues to have great resonance, as America once again grapples with issues of civil liberties and the rights of immigr

O AND VANZETTI brings to life the personal, political, and legal aspects of this heartbreaking story. The powerful prison writings of Sacco and Vanzetti are read by actors John Turturro and Tony Shalhoub. A chorus of passionate commentators propels the narrative, including a number of older people with personal connections to the story.

Artwork, music, poetry, and feature film clips about the case are interwoven into the storytelling. Through the tragic story of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the inspiring images of those who keep their memories alive, audiences will experience a universal – and very timely – tale of official injustice and human resilience.

Incidentally, John Tuturro was one of these people that I met at the NIAF Convention that year in Washington, or was it a few years before? I don't remember now, but nevertheless, I met him there. It all ties in together somehow.

And speaking of "tying in," go see this movie and see how the story of these two Italians in America tied the whole world in, in a way that hadn't happened before and hasn't happened since.


P.S. Here is the Trailer of Peter Miller's Documentary "Sacco and Vanzetti," as released by First Run Features, featuring the voices of John Tuturro and Tony Shalhoub. (In English)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Buona Pasqua (Happy Easter) - From Filippo and the Chef

Ciao a tutti,

Buona Pasqua (Happy Easter) from Filippo and the Chef, (Chef Richard).

Artist Anthony Mancini from New York did it again with this great graphic he sent us for Easter as a greeting from him and his wife Grace and as a gift to not only us, but now to all our fans.

Grazie Tony and a Happy Easter to all.


P.S. Growing up every year I would hear from my Mother and Grandmother how Easter, and Easter morning especially, was celebrated in the town in Italy in which they grew up. They would tell us that each town in Italy had their own tradition but that most of the traditional ways of celebrating the morning of Easter would involve Statues of Jesus and Mary being paraded through the streets.

In my Mother's particular town the two statues would start at separate ends of the town and then meet in the middle of the piazza in front of the main cathedral. The statues where then moved to animate them to express the joy Mary had in encountering her risen son.

This ritualistic procession is known as l'Incontro, or the Encounter. Every town did it differently. But you will get a good idea of the processions from the videos below.

This first video is quite unique, if you don't have time to see them all, I would recommend seeing at least this one.

See also the joy of the people when the procession is done. It is quite moving actually how the ritual helps the celebration be complete. (In Italian)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Patrizio - The Italian

Ciao a tutti,

About a year and a half ago I was putting together the Italian Music Store Page on our Filippo and the Chef Show website before we officially released the website.

In so doing I came across a singer I had never heard of so I browsed his website, listened to the sound clips and liked it so much that I bought his CD. The CD I bought was simply titled "Patrizio - The Italian."

From what I gathered it was his debut CD and he was just starting out. I remember commenting to Chef Richard that I thought he would go far, and I wished that on him, in my mind. Little did I know that a year and a half later I would be wishing him the same in person.

Skipping back a few months to this past September, I had a friend say to me that she had seen and heard an Italian singer at the Los Angeles Italian Festival and that I had to interview him for our radio show.

I remember the exact word she used to describe him was "Dreamy." I was not I able to be at the Italian Festival because I was performing in concert in Long Island at the exact same time.

I remember she also called him "Fabrizio." Every few months she would ask me if I had contacted "Fabrizio" and if I was going to interview him soon. I was getting the hint that this was not about her thinking I should interview "Fabrizio," but that she wanted to meet him.

Well, all these stories come together when I found out that a singer named Patrizio Buanne was going to be singing in Los Angeles. The singer who's CD I bought and enjoyed and put on my web page.

I made contact with his management team and secured myself great tickets to the concert as well as a backstage pass and an interview that same night for both our show producer Laura and myself.

The show was great and Patrizio did a great job entertaining the audience mixed with Italians, Americans, Russians, Persians, Iranians, you name it, everyone was getting into it.

I even saw some friends there who came from as far as San Diego as well as Marcella Leonetti Tyler the Los Angeles Area Coordinator for NIAF with her whole family and some guests she had invited. It was a really fun evening of entertainment including the opening act, Patrizio's friend Matt Dusk.

When the show ended and we got backstage the first person I saw, even before seeing Patrizio was Tony Renis. Immediately afterwards, I saw the funniest thing happen right before my eyes.

Some of you may remember that I posted a picture of Tony Renis and I at an event about a year or so ago. In the post I mention how a friend of Tony's took my debut CD to him and asked him if he would be interested in working with me.

The story goes that Tony looked at all the popular Italian songs I sang covers for on the CD and said, "He sang the most popular Italian songs except my 'Quando, Quando, Quando.'" And that was that.

Well, right before my eyes, I watched Patrizio approach Tony and give him a hug and then apologize for not singing "Quando, Quando, Quando," on his debut CD. Right away, I knew I would like Patrizio as a person too, not just as a personality, because he was so sincere and that was a very sweet gesture.

I just had to get in on that moment because it was a moment we shared in common that I would later tell him about in the interview, but for now, I had to have a picture of the three of us which you will see as the first picture posted above.

While Patrizio continued entertaining his audience off stage, Laura and I stepped aside knowing we would have time with him later and mingled with some of Patrizio's other guests, like Doug DeLuca, Producer of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Show, who Laura had not met yet, and so we took the above picture of them.

Part of entertaining his adoring fans backstage included a special moment wherein he sang Happy Birthday in Italian to a fan who was very young at heart. I had to capture that moment in the picture you see above.

When we finally got around to the interview, we tried to do it in the main room but we kept getting interrupted because people just couldn't get enough of him.

So we went to his dressing room and his Manager stood guard behind the door to make sure we were not disturbed. He came in a couple times when he heard us laughing like crazy, and then another time when he heard Patrizio break out into a song.

You will have to hear the interview on our show when it airs on the radio, and if you miss it, do go to and visit our archives to hear it there after it airs in a few weeks.

In case you are curious, he sang "'O Marinariello," a traditional Neapolitan Song.

So, here we were having a good time talking as if we had known each other for years. Being a singer, and singing some of the same songs he does, we certainly had many levels we connected on and we could have gone on for hours. In fact we went on pretty long.

I felt bad afterwards because I knew how tight his schedule was, yet he was the one that kept up some of the bantering and some of the joking around, so I know he was having fun too.

Right in the middle of all of this I remembered my friend who kept telling me that I had to interview this Italian singer she referred to as "Dreamy." I hadn't made the connection up until then. Then all of a sudden he said something about having sung a song at the Italian Festival here in Los Angeles, and without skipping a beat I said, "'Fabrizio,' you're the guy."

He looked at me with surprise and said, "PATRIZIO." I said, "of course, I am so sorry, I mean Patrizio." And I went on to tell him the story. He laughed and didn't mind it one bit. Which lead us to a conversation about his name, especially his last name as to how many people mispronounce it and the many ways they do.

We concluded that part of the conversation with the correct pronunciation of Patrizio Buanne, but he went on to say that his fans better know him as simply, "Patrizio."

Patrizio it is, and Patrizio he was indeed!

I again reiterate how I think he will go far, I wish him the best and I look forward to seeing him again on his next trip to the States.

A presto,


P.S. Here is a video cut off his debut CD "Patrizio - The Italian," that I found on of him singing "Il Mondo," (In English and Italian)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Italian Show Rocks The Airways" - NIAF News Monthly, May 2007

Ciao a tutti,

As many of you know our radio show, Filippo and the Chef, was honored with a National Italian American Foundation vote of confidence in the form of a NIAF Grant this past year. As part of the honor came the official welcome into the NIAF Forum of Print and Broadcast Journalists of Italian Ancestry.

That event took place a few weeks ago in Santa Monica, California. Here is the press release from that event as reported by Elissa Ruffino, Director of Communications for NIAF.

NIAF Networks in Santa Monica

Against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and swaying palm trees, NIAF hosted print and broadcast journalists of Italian ancestry at the Foundation’s sixth annual media networking forum.

The dinner reception was underwritten by Il Fornaio (The Baker) in Santa Monica with Chef Claudio Zorloni preparing regional specialties for more than 30 guests.

Il Fornaio’s General Manager Raymond Byrne welcomed all to the coastal bistro.

During the reception, NIAF Vice Chairman Joseph R. Cerrell opened the evening and introduced Italy’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Diego Brasioli, as well as the three media hosts, Anthony D’Alessandro of Variety Magazine, Ken LaCorte of, and Kim Rouggie of KTLA-TV.

The co-hosts spoke about the importance of supporting NIAF’s programs and events, and with self-introductions, many realized that their families had emigrated from some of the same towns in Italy.

Special guests included actor Peter Onorati, NIAF grant recipient Filippo Voltaggio, and the Foundation’s area coordinators Marcella Leonetti-Tyler and Doug DeLuca.

Representatives from the Los Angeles Daily News, Fox Sports Radio, Teleitalia, La Repubblica, Il Sole 24 Ore, Business Week, Metropolitan News Enterprise, and RAI-TV lingered after the event to trade stories and exchange business cards.

NIAF’s media forums give professionals in the communications field an opportunity to foster working relationships with colleagues and learn about the Foundation’s many programs.

Through these events, NIAF has established an excellent rapport with members of the media and continues to work with many to promote Italian Americans and the important issues they face.

I also just recieved NIAF's upcoming Monthly Newsletter that will be released next week for May. I was delighted to see that they had highlighted my presence at this event and spotlighted Chef Richard's and my Filippo and the Chef show on the front page with a picture, an article, and the headline "Italian Show Rocks The Airways."

The article reads:

A love for Italian cooking and a vivacious personality has led NIAF grant recipient Filippo Voltaggio to create "Filippo and the Chef," a radio show and soon-to-be television program.

During the bi-weekly, hourly show, Filippo and chef Richard Lombardi cook an authentic Italian meal. But their growing number of listeners tune in for more than "il piatto del giorno": the show's lively conversation about all things Italian.

Each show features a notable Italian or Italian-American. Past guests have included composer Ennio Morricone, Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, and U.S.
television personality Paul DiMeo.

Click on the image for a full view and for the full article.

It was interesting to to get to meet in person some of the people who's articles I read in magazines and newspapers, who's voices I hear on the radio, and or who's faces I see on television on a day in and day out basis.

I felt like I knew them already as people often say to me after they have listened to my show or my CDs over the years. Being that we were all Italian-Americans however made us all feel even more familial and helped us establish an immediate connection.

Though some of the topics in conversations to which I was a party revolved around current media events, journalistic issues, career moves etc., I would say most of them had an Italian-American twist.

During the course of the evening I reflected on how at Italian-American social gatherings and parties I am often asked where my family came from in Italy and usually people share the same with me. Before long a kinship is almost automatically established and the relationships evolve from that other words, strangers no more.

Here we were professionals at a networking mixer and the conversations took the same turn, or in some cases even started that way. I guess it is true "The 'mela,' (apple) doesn't fall too far from 'l'albero,' (the tree)."

Of course many of you within the community know some of these faces, and I don't just mean in the Italian community.

The first picture is one of Joe Cerrell and I, NIAF Vice-Chair and founder and chairman of Los Angeles based Cerrell and Associates, Inc., ranked as one of the nations largest independent public relation firms specializing in public affairs, political consulting, issues management, special events coordination and media and government relations.

Incidentally, among many prestigious honors and awards over his long illustrious career, Joe was just inducted in the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) Hall of Fame and recently received two "Awards of Excellence," from the Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles.

I just realized that I could not only go on and on about Joe, but could do so about every single person in that room that night.

I think for the sake of trying not to let this post get too long, I will just mention the names for now and elaborate on future posts since I will be connecting with almost all of these people in the near future.

Nevertheless, it was wonderful to connect with them all that night and I thank NIAF for giving us all the chance to network, see some friends, and make new ones within the business.

Below the picture of Joe and I is a picture with one of my favorite, sweet and beautiful anchor women, KTLA's Kim Rouggie. Now see, I got a great story about Kim and I, but I guess I have to save it for another event when there is less to talk about.

Next to me in that same picture is Vince Delisi, News Director at FOX Sports Radio.

Below that is a picture of Actor Peter Onorati and I. In the picture below that is Marcella Leonietti-Tyler, Area Coordinator for NIAF, and Mario Trecco, Editor of L'Italo-Americano Newspaper. I got a great story with him too, augh!!!

The picture below that one is the one used by NIAF in it's May Issue of the Newsletter and it includes Ken La Corte, Director of News Editorial at Fox News, and Daniela Roveda.

The next picture is Anthony D'Alessandro, Director of Data Management at Variety Magazine, who, Joe Cerrell quickly pointed out, among other things, has the distinction of sharing a sir name with Congress Woman and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who's maiden name is D'Alessandro.

Below that is a picture of news talk radio host Rick Amato from "The Rick Amato Show" in San Diego.

Below Rick and I, is a picture of Doug DeLuca and I. Doug is the Producer of the ever popular Jimmy Kimmel Live Show on ABC, he is a NIAF Area Coordinator, and he just added "Proud Father" to his list of titles. Congratulazione Doug and Ali.

Directly above is a picture of me next to Silvia Bizio of Excell Italy and the CEO of several world class magazines including LUXURY and FASHION, Piero Cammerinesi.

And finally this is a picture of a correspondent and the director of the Italian Newspaper "Il Corriere Di Los Angeles," Franco Brescia.

I guess that's it.

Now, after all this, how do I sign off as a journalist?

How about this?

"I'm Filippo Voltaggio reporting live from Santa Monica, California. Now back to you!"


P.S. Speaking of Doug DeLuca and the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show, here is a clip from of Jimmy interviewing a fellow Paisan, Italian Canadian Enrico Colantoni wherein he talks a little about his Italian upbringing. (In English)