San Francisco’s Italian Consul General Looks Forward to the Year Ahead
The year 2017 has begun con gusto and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Italian community, and fellow Italophiles, look forward to a year filled with the charm and culture that represents our native Italy.
On that note, Italian Consul General, Lorenzo Ortona is in his fifth month as Italy’s representative to the San Francisco Bay Area. In his statement of September 2016, Consul General Ortona expressed recognition of his important task and appreciation of the Bay Area Italian community by saying, “It has made a decisive contribution to the creation and growth of this marvelous city known and loved around the world.”
For the rest of the story ⇒ http://www.italoamericano.org/story/2017-2-14/san-francisco-italian-events2017
The art of making pizza to become part of the UNESCO Intangible Patrimony
Pizza finds a place on every country’s table and is topped with countless delicacies, each country creating its own – more or less – orthodox version of this quintessentially Italian food. Yet it remains Neapolitan in the minds of all of us and having a pizza in Naples is certainly on the bucket list of more than a foodie.
Neapolitan pizza, or “verace pizza Napoletana,” as it is known in Italy, has been a “specialità tradizionale garantita” (S.T.G., a guaranteed traditional specialty) since 2010: this means the European Union recognized that a true Neapolitan pizza can only be produced in a certain manner, in a certain area. Manner: with a dough as supple and simple as that of bread and only a handful of allowed toppings, like Sammarzano tomatoes, olive oil, basil and mozzarella (di bufala) or fiordilatte (cow mozzarella), to create the perfect Margherita. Sammarzanos, garlic, oregano and olive oil for the humble and flavorsome Marinara. Area: Naples.
The sweetest thing: cannolo siciliano and its amazing history
Cannolo siciliano: is there any other Italian dessert this popular in the world? Tiramisù may be one of its more glorious competitors, but cannolo making is an art that you can’t reproduced at home with the same simplicity. We can all make a good tiramisù in our own kitchen, but preparing cannoli right is far from an easy task.
Cannoli siciliani have also a huge identity-defining power: Italian bakeries all over the world make of their presence on the shelves a symbol of “italianità” and heritage associated with only a handful of other products.
THEY CROSSED MY PATH AND THINGS HAVE NEVER BEEN THE SAME
“It’s finally here. Mom is so excited!!!”
These were the words of my daughter Kim telling the Facebook family about my “Life with the boys”.
When this year’s US Tour was announced I checked the list of cities that Il Volo would be making and right away knew that they would not be coming back to the “Wild West”. Two cities jumped out. New York and Radio City and Las Vegas. I had lived in Manhattan years ago. Years before the boys were born but always loved the memory. It just seemed so far away now. Vegas seemed closer to Waco so I just casually announced to my family that someone should take me there. I knew that Kim 8 had the most flexible work schedule and was used to “corralling” her mother thru the Airports. It was early so the idea sort of died until we got a call from my 81 year old sister in law in Lubbock. “I want to go. I want to go”. I knew that Jo had never heard of Il Volo so I kept saying “are you sure”? Well in the end she was talking about IL DIVO but insisted that she would love Il Volo and wanted to go. The trip came back to life. We finally got the tickets, hotel and airline tickets. I WAS GOING ON MY LAST LONG DISTANCE ADVENTURE.
The time flew by and we were getting excited about this trip. ONE PHONE CALL put a damper on the trip. My sister in law JO died in her sleep. A few weeks later my husband fell and cracked the knee cap of his already bad leg. Then my son wound up in the emergency room with terribly high blood pressure. By this time I felt there was a sign that maybe I should stay home. Everyone told me to GO. I found a ‘baby sitter” for my husband and asked Myron to find someone that might enjoy the concert and use Jo’s ticket. He did and her name was Ronda. A lovely lady that had not been a fan but I know she is now.
I will not bore you with the trip to Las Vegas. It is not easy for a 81 old lady with a daughter that was protective and always wanting to put me in a wheel chair. I was using a cane and got some perks to get thru faster in the check in line. One person yelled at me “do you have metal, pacemaker or other artificial item” so I told him “no, I still have my own parts”. I did get to go thru some faster check in.
ARRIVED VEGAS. Took a taxi to Monte Carlo motel. MY FIRST trip to VEGAS. I was in shock to see the masses of people checking in and checking out. The hotel is under renovation but the PARK Theatre had already been redone. A taxi driver told us that once the hotel is completely renovated they will rename it to “Park”. We arrived THURSDAY morning and walked three miles on the strip. Friday we went downtown to the old VEGAS on FREEMONT STREET. Another three miles. Kim has some device that counts your steps and converts into miles. TIRED is the magic word. SATURDAY the day of the concert we did not leave the room till it was time to go to eat at d. Vino Italian Food and Wine Bar – Monte Carlo.
Myron had mentioned that it was right across the Park Theatre and a nice place for Il Volo fans to informally meet and have dinner. I turned over my extra ticket to a friend of Myron’s who later turned out to be Rhonda. The Park Theatre has an unusual (to me) seating arrangement. We where slightly elevated after the “Orchestra” section and had a great view. Finally the orchestra came out, played and THE BOYS APPEARED. So handsome, confident and professional. I saw them in Dallas on their last US Tour and they were boys and this Saturday to me they became grown men. My Dallas concert was AN EXPERIENCE because it was my first time seeing them live. It takes a while to transfer your VIDEO images to LIVE so I had a special experience in Dallas. NOW I could sit back and just listen. Their voices changed so much. It is amazing how far they have come only in such a short time. As soon as I get my house back in shape and get enough sleep I will get back on YOUTUBE and close my eyes and listen to the concert from Radio City. They will always be “boys” to me but I am so proud of the grown young men.
In my younger days I did get a chance to travel some and to different countries and before leaving always had an anxiety attack on wanting to be sure I knew not to make mistakes in etiquette and tipping. Due to a certain size of my pocket book I did not stay at ‘THE RICH AND FAMOUS” establishments but still knew I had to be a good guest.
I AM READY TO GO ON MY “LAST” LONG TRIP
and decided to check out what is written about learning to be a very ‘smooth’ and “knowledgeable” traveler. I will comment of my experience upon my return.
TheAmerican Hotel & Lodging Associationoffers excellent advice on tipping standards in their Gratuity Guide. They list the staff members who should be tipped and a recommended amount. For example, it’s customary to tip $1-$5 to the bellman who takes your suitcase to the hotel room. You can decide how much, based on how heavy your belongings are, whether he showed you around, or provided you with useful information. Everyone appreciates a tip, but there’s another way to show your appreciation—take time to write an online review or letter mentioning a staff member’s exemplary service to the hotel’s general manager.
Hotel Courtesy Shuttle Driver: $1-2 per person, $5 per party. Valet/Parking Attendant: $1-5 when car is delivered. Bellstaff/Porters: $1-5 per bag when escorted to your room. Tip the same if you request bell staff service while checking out. Doorstaff: $1-2 for getting a taxi. If they unload your luggage, tip in proportion to amount and weight. Concierge: $5-10 depending on how involved the service, or lump sum upon departure. Housekeeping: $1-5 per night, and tip should be left daily in the morning. If possible, leave a note saying the money is for housekeeping. Delivery of Special Items: $2 for one item, $5 for more. Tipping is not required for someone fixing something broken or bringing something missing. Room Service: A gratuity of 15-20% should be added if hotel did not include a room service charge on the bill. Bartender: Tip 15-20% of total beverage tab. Server in Restaurant: Tip 15% of total bill or 20% for exceptional service. —Renee Sklarew
Dani, Emilia(and sometimes Daniela) will be working with Kelly to bring us a weekly “Off Stage” feature. You already saw the first one!
Jana and Leelee will be helping to edit, draft and post various articles. The two of them will also bring us“Il Volo Professional”, which are the guys professional singing engagements, interviews, etc. (You saw their 1st one yesterday) Daniela and Emiliawill assist them in this endeavor. Just in time for concert season too!
Danielawill continue to update us in comments and submit articles for posting.
Sandi Eyman and Angelicawill cover our Outlook email.
Ann Scavo, Jane (maryjane), Mary Bohling, Gina, Kitty and Myronwill continue doing what they do.
Kelly, besides her new column, “Off Stage”, will continue her administrative duties along with birthday videos, handling technical issues, paying the bills and keeping up with our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and etc.
Marie,will continue administrative duties which include writing, editing, drafting, scheduling, posting your stories, updating header photo’s, and etc.
Thank you so much volunteers!
We are renewed, refreshed and stronger than ever. What fun we are all going to have promoting and sharing the love of those marvelous Il Volo guys.
“We keep wondering WHY and answering in a variety of ways. WHY do we love IL VOLO. I truly believe that the MUSIC they CREATE with their VOICES caught our attention. THE love of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca came later. When we play their CD we might not sing with them out loud but our brain does. The article talks about singing in a choir and since I am not able today to do this the boys are my PRIVATE CHOIR. ~ Gina
Sing From The Heart, Spark Your Brain ~ Huffington Post
Neuroscience proves that group singing makes us happier, healthier, smarter and more creative. Every time you sing, you fire up the right temporal lobe of your brain, and release endorphins including oxytocin which result in heightened states of pleasure, bliss, bonding and love.
These chemicals also enhance neuroplasticity of our brains, boost our immune system, fight illness, depression and strokes and help us handle pain better. What’s more, choral singers have been shown to have enhanced learning skills, synchronized heartbeats and enter patterns of yogic breathing. So what better activity for one’s mental health than a daily dose of song?
Singing together is a super-dooper drug that integrates the mind and body and helps to heal our brains and enhance our learning abilities! And it’s free because we all have a voice!
We spend about 85 percent of our time in the left side of our brain, which deals with logic and analytics. This drains our mental battery. The right side of our brains, which deals with intuition, emotion, creativity and fantasy, needs to be recharged.
Activities which recharge our brains include meditation, being in nature, connecting with loved ones and — you guessed it — singing with others!
Ten reasons to make singing your drug of choice:
Release endorphins and increases levels of oxytocin
Improve posture, breathing and blood-flow
Save money: our voice is our free human instrument
Create new neural pathways and improve brain meta-plasticity
Ward off age-related decline by continuously ‘exercising’ your brain
Heal depression, strokes and speech abnormalities
Promote social bonding and cohesion; and rediscover your own identity
Relieve mental health issues; feel happier, better connected and supported
Connect with other diverse voices and your community
Be smarter, healthier, happier and more creative
A Song For The Future
Our brains developed with singing and music as a survival mechanism. Before there were governments or nations, tribes and groups used songs and dance to build loyalty to the group, transmit vital information and ward off enemies. Those who sang survived.
As workaday stress and media consumption make us ever more isolated, rates of anxiety and depression rise. So, it is fundamentally important to nurture the attributes of humans that set us apart from machines, love, compassion, creativity, courage and so on. When we regularly engage in singing and other creative pursuits, we build bridges of understanding between diverse people and feel part of a bigger, connected universe.
Happy, healthy, empowered individuals and supportive communities are better-placed to solve some of society’s biggest challenges, such as mental illness, loneliness and isolation, cultural tension and unemployment.”