martedì 12 giugno 2012

Interview with Vincenzo Damiano, Bar Caffeteria Damiano, Via del Parione, 46r

1. Vincenzo, tell us a little bit about yourself ...

My name is Vincenzo Damiano. I'm 47 years old. My starsign is Sagittarius, I'm a bartender, I do it (my work) with love and hope that everyone who comes here feels at home ... and then if you want to know ... I'm married with two beautiful kids ... Andrea and Maria Claudia.

2. Tell us about your Bar Caffetteria Damiano

This bar was created in 2003. It had already been working so much with the students because in front of the bar was a faculty called Faculty of Education that worked with bargirls aged 17 to 18 years.

3. What did you do (and where) before opening the Bar Caffetteria Damiano?

Before starting the bar I went to school. I studied surveying. I came to Florence and I loved the city. And that's when I started working as a bartender. Since then I can not do without this work; it’s like a drug for me. I can not live without this work.

4. What prompted you to start your own business?

The fact is that I love being with people. I love people; the beautiful ones, ugly ones, fat ones, sad ones, and I try in my small way of being able to put everyone at ease in front of me. After almost 25 years in this field of work, one also becomes a bit of a psychologist.

5. Describe a typical day for you

My typical day ... I get up at 7:30am, I come here to the bar ... it's like playing the fool, I get busy, the game, I am the people, laugh, joke ... and then work at the same time. I especially like when I see people who are a bit sad - I try to cheer them up a bit.

6. What is the best thing about working for yourself?

The fact that no one can say anything ... I do not take orders from anyone, but only for myself. This can be a risk though. In practice if you work for someone else and you lose a customer, you won’t lose your job. Whereas when you work for yourself and lose customers, your business may gradually fail.

7. How has business changed since you started?

This is a good question, this activity is now suffering because of the dramatic falls in circulation in this activity as you feel the crisis in all sectors and throughout the world ... but after 25 years of this work I can still enjoy myself because I sincerely make sure I'm really enjoying this job.

8. What is your favourite thing about Florence?

I like the globalism and tourism in Florence; you can talk with somebody from Russia one day, somebody from China another day, somebody from India, America or England another day. Florence is multiethnic: you can meet people from all over the world here.

9. What is your least favourite thing about Florence?

Hypocrisy. In general I do not like hypocrisy, not only in Florence but throughout the world.

10. What advice would you give to young people (who are hoping to start their own business)?

To believe with all their strength so it will have a high power. I wanted to have my own business and with many sacrifices I made it. I think that nothing is impossible; you can live your dreams if you work hard, though you may have to sacrifice a lot.

11. If someone is visiting Florence for a day, what would you recommend they do / see?

One day in Florence is not enough; Florence is such a unique city. But at least visit the Uffizi.

Athens and Florence: the Foundational Relation of Western Culture

Piazza della Signoria shines in the sun of June. The severe solidity of Palazzo Vecchio, the graceful and spacious arches of the Loggia de' Lanzi, the crowd of classical and Renaissance statues staring at the passersby with their eloquently silent gaze- all this conjures up a sense of harmony, lightness and luminosity as one could find only on the Acropolis, when the summer sun and its reflections on the Aegean immerse the Parthenon and the temple of Poseidon in a bath of light. Florence as the new Athens: the proofs of this equation are under the very eyes of the one who looks at the city on the Arno through that idea of beauty first incarnated on Greek soil. One would have no difficulty thinking that Plato would have found himself at ease under the porch of the Uffizi or strolling along the benches of the Arno: he would have admired here that same sense of equilibrium and profoundly discrete beauty that nourished his soul in his native Attica, where he spent his days walking out and about with Socrates through the Stoá Poekíle and the Agorá. We know for sure that his alleged reincarnation -if we want to agree with Cardinal Bessarion- enjoyed Florence very much. Georgios Gemistós, called the Plethon, lived here for four years during the period of the Council of Ferrara and Florenze (1437-39), teaching at the Studium on the differences between Aristotle and Plato and reintroducing to the West the texts of the latter. He was among those Greek scholars and prelates who came as the delegation from the fading Byzantine Empire to discuss the re-unification of the Eastern and Western churches. When he arrived, the power of the Medici had just begun and Florence was not yet very far from the violence and austerity of its Middle Ages. The city was not yet adorned with statues purposefully remindful of Classical Antiquity and the dome of Brunelleschi had still to gentrify the fierce skyline formed by the multitude of spear-like towers. Born in Greece and raised on the texts of divine Plato, Plethon is among those, who bringing Platonism back to the West contributed immensely to giving Umanesimo its form. Benozzo Gozzoli represented him in the center of his fresco in the Cappella de' Magi: the philosopher stands side by side to the artist, as if the latter wanted to underline a spiritual offspring from the former. Plethon stands out from the middle of the crowd for his intense look and his penetrating eyes that provoke the observer. He was indeed a father-like figure to many geniuses who populated that period: Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Poliziano, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo all fed and debated (sometimes harshly) on the rediscovered words of Plato and Plotinus, Proclus and Damascius opened up to them by Plethon: from this fermentation the idea of homo copula mundi finally came out as an unshakable cornerstone, on which Europe and the Western world founded its astonishing development. Maybe there is no more powerful symbol of this new spirit and its view on man and the world than Michelangelo's David: a miracle of beauty, balance and nobility incarnated in the decisive and strong gaze of a young boy, who stands in front of Palazzo Vecchio as an image of the daring attitude of this new Athens that is Florence. Constantinople was then agonizing, the whole of Greece was already under foreign yoke: yet, in its ultimate struggle the Greek world gave us its most delicate and fruitful flower. Without Greece there would have been no Renaissance, no Michelangelo, no Ficino, no Botticelli. Maybe, it is worth keeping this in mind, in this period in which Greece seems again caught in an agonizing struggle.

mercoledì 30 maggio 2012

Istituto Europeo Study Abroad Art Program, Florence – Interview with Ashkon Farhangi

Sculpture by Ashkon                                                              Self portrait by Ashkon

Nationality: USA
In Florence for 4 weeks to study painting, sculpture and Italian with Istituto Europeo
Speaks English, Spanish, Farsi, (and a little bit of Italian)
Loves cereal
Hates getting up early

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m 18 years old and I’m from San Francisco, California. I have a younger brother who is 15. I have just finished high school so I don’t have an occupation yet. Painting and sculpture are my hobbies (I like art in general). I also play tennis and soccer. I’m Persian but I’ve lived in the USA for my whole life.

  1. What made you want to come to Florence to study art?
Specifically Florence because it’s a beautiful city (I hadn’t been before, but it’s what I’d heard). Two of my cousins did their study abroad semesters over here and they recommended it. Before coming here, I spent three months in China studying kung fu.

  1. How does Florence compare to China?
Florence as a place is definitely very different to China. China was dirty, the air was hard to breathe; very modern, a lot of skyscrapers. Sometimes monotonous because it all looks the same (you can be anywhere in the city and not know where you are).  Obviously in China they speak Chinese. I found people in China somewhat nicer than here in Florence. Maybe because there weren’t many foreigners, so they were eager to talk to me and the people I was with.

  1. How has your experience in Florence met your expectations?
I guess it has actually; but the one thing I wish was different about Florence was if there were more trees – it seems very dry here. I also thought it would be more expensive to eat and go out here; but I’ve found it quite cheap. And a lot of places have student discounts, which I’ve used extensively.

  1. Tell us about the art work you have made while you’ve been here (the materials, the process, difficulty, the teacher, etc.)
I built terracotta sculptures; I moulded them. One of them took two weeks, and the self-portrait took one week. I used classic sculpting tools; wooden knives and metal sculpting tools. I didn’t like my self portrait at all, so I feel like it’s still not finished. It’s hard to sculpt yourself (I was looking in a mirror). I hadn’t realised how inaccurate my image of myself was until I started sculpting. My teacher was a really nice guy; he was very straight and honest; he told me when my work was good or bad – he didn’t embellish or worry about my feelings. I liked that though – it made my work a lot better. This was my first time really sculpting. I think I have gotten better at it since the beginning.

  1. What is your favourite thing about Florence?
The architecture is so pretty. I’ve studied a lot of architecture, so whenever I go someplace new, I am very aware of the buildings around me. The style here is very different than the style in the USA. I like the way they use colours more extensively and in a different way than in the USA.

  1. What is your least favourite thing about Florence?
I don’t really have any complaints although the internet isn’t great here. Something that surprised me also was when you walk into a store, the sales people don’t respond to you the way they do in the USA. In the USA sales people fall over themselves to sell you stuff, but here it’s sort of like it’s not worth it to them to act differently than they normally would to sell something. It’s nice in some ways but also frustrating in other ways.

  1. What do you miss most from home?
I guess I miss my family and friends. But I told everyone from home I’d be away for a month and that I’d try not to contact them during that time. Because I was going away for such a short time, I wanted to be present here in Florence; knowing full well I’d see everybody soon enough.

  1. What are your plans after Florence?
I have an internship in San Fransisco at a small company that is developing an iPhone/iPad app. I’ll be there for two months before starting university. I haven’t decided what I’m studying yet, but I’m interested in math and economics.

  1. What advice would you give to other young people thinking about studying abroad/in Florence?
Definitely do it. As far as having places to study abroad go, I think Florence would be the best because it’s full of college students. The whole city is student-friendly with the discounts and stuff. It’s small enough that you don’t need a car, and it’s super pretty here too. But I heard it sucks in winter. I definitely met a lot of people at Istituto Europeo and made some friends. Istituto Europeo was a very supportive place, like they set up my apartment and made it easy for me to move here, and any time I needed directions or anything I was able to get help from the staff at Istituto Europeo.

  1. If someone was visiting Florence for just one day, what would you recommend they do/see?
I’m not really the kind of person who likes to see the big touristy things, and since I was only here for four weeks I didn’t get to see any of the museums – I’m going to try to see some in the next few days before I leave though. So there’s not any one place in the city that I’d say was my favourite. That said though, the Ponte Vecchio is pretty cool.

mercoledì 16 maggio 2012

Antonio Skármeta "Los días del arcoíris" (the days of the rainbow) - Planeta, 2011

By Fabrizio Ulivieri

The book is written in an atmosphere wherein we feel we are no longer able to breathe. It is set in Europe and Skarmeta leads the reader in a cold and undemocratic Santiago, where a standing frozen  rain is imbuing the citizens bones with Pinochet’s political oppression.
The characters are humble and almost basic people. They live as they eat and breathe: they eat  Italian, they love Italy (which is a hope for many of them) and they breathe a gray life: the life that the dictator Pinochet concedes and which is the only one possible for any of them.
In spite of  this suburban and subhuman atmosphere the book seeks out color, for the essence of life, that democracy might represent, but which probably will never represent because democracy is in reality only an adjustment (compromise) between past and present, between lobbies and citizen and for this reason freedom and happiness are not inherent to the very nature of democracy.

martedì 15 maggio 2012

Palazzo Pitti parla giapponese e invita a conoscere il Paese del sol levante. In mostra l’arte e la cultura del Giappone nell’incontro con l’Occidente

Linee, colori e suggestioni racchiuse in 500 opere che raccontano la ‘terra di incanti’ dell’Estremo Oriente, lungo un percorso di mille e 200 metri di superficie espositiva. Così a Firenze, a Palazzo Pitti dal 3 aprile al primo luglio 2012, si celebra il Giappone. Nella reggia fiorentina che nel 1585 ospitò i primi ambasciatori giapponesi mai arrivati in Italia, la manifestazione ‘Giappone, terra d’incanti’, suddivisa in tre mostre dai titoli differenti, illustra l’arte e la cultura nipponica. Vediamo di seguito più nel dettaglio le tre parti dell’esposizione.

Di Linea e di Colore. Il Giappone, le sue arti e l'incontro con l'Occidente
Al piano terreno di Palazzo Pitti, nell’antico quartiere estivo dei granduchi, oggi Museo degli Argenti, le luci sono puntate sull’arte giapponese dal XIV al XIX secolo, epoca in cui il Giappone era il paese degli shogun e dei samurai. Questa parte della manifestazione espone raffinate realizzazioni artistiche e artigianali, dalle armi alle armature dei noti guerrieri, ai dipinti realizzati su paraventi dorati o su rotoli, destinati ai templi buddhisti e shintoisti o alle abitazioni. Non mancano opere che gli shogun dedicarono alla celebre Cerimonia del tè, kimono dagli straordinari tessuti, maschere e costumi variopinti per il teatro.

Alcune sale sono dedicate l'Ukiyo, il ‘mondo fluttuante’, una cultura parallela legata ai mercanti del periodo Edo (1615-1868), amatori della bellezza e dell’eleganza che predilessero artisti come il grande Hokusai, presente in mostra con lo straordinario capolavoro ‘Cinque dame’, rotolo verticale conservato nel Museo Hosomi di Kyoto.

Una parte di questa mostra è inoltre riservata all'incontro tra la cultura giapponese e quella europea e italiana, attraverso l'esposizione di manufatti giapponesi di tipo Nanban, che  letteralmente significa ‘barbari del Sud’, così come i giapponesi definivano gli europei tra il XVI e il XVII secolo.

L'eleganza della memoria. Le arti decorative nel moderno Giappone
La Sala Bianca, in Galleria Palatina al primo piano di Palazzo Pitti, ospita invece opere dei più famosi artisti giapponesi del Novecento, in particolare della seconda metà del secolo, quasi tutti nominati dal governo giapponese ‘tesori nazionali viventi’, il riconoscimento che fin dal 1950 viene assegnato per preservare tecniche e abilità artistiche.

Innovativi per concezione e per design, i lavori e i manufatti esposti esprimono stretti legami con la tradizione artistica classica del Giappone, sia per quanto riguarda le tecniche che i materiali: splendidi kimono, eleganti contenitori rivestiti della celeberrima lacca giapponese, ceramiche di elevata qualità, metalli dalle eleganti patine, notevoli e originali intrecci di bambù.

Giapponismo. Suggestioni dell’Estremo Oriente dai Macchiaioli agli anni Trenta
La terza mostra, dal suggestivo titolo ‘giapponismo’ si snoda nei locali della Galleria d’arte moderna e illustra la profonda influenza che la cultura nipponica ebbe sull’arte italiana tra la metà dell’Ottocento e i primi decenni del Novecento. Il Giappone era infatti rimasto isolato dal resto del mondo per oltre due secoli, aprendosi soltanto verso il 1860.

Da allora, grazie alla presenza di padiglioni giapponesi alle Esposizioni universali e alla permanenza di europei e statunitensi nel Paese del sol levante, l’interesse degli occidentali per le arti e la cultura del Giappone crebbe e si diffuse velocemente, diventando in certi casi una sorta di mania. Pensiamo per esempio all’arredamento, all’oggettistica e all’artigianato, dai ventagli ai kimono, ai paraventi. E, in campo strettamente artistico e pittorico, alle xilografie policrome di maestri come Utamaro, Hokusai e Hiroshige, ai quali si ispirarono anche i grandi delle avanguardie europee come Whistler, Manet, Degas, Vang Gogh, Gauguin e Monet.

Molti importanti artisti italiani accolsero e coltivarono il ‘giapponismo’, che influenzò musicisti come Puccini e Mascagni e pittori quali De Nittis, i macchiaioli toscani Fattori, Signorini e D'Ancona e altri esponenti dell’arte italiana di tutte le regioni: Tranquillo Cremona, Vittore Grubicy, De Pisis, Cambellotti, Michetti, Balla, Boldini, Cavaglieri. Non ultime, le maggiori manifatture del tempo, come la Richard Ginori, le vetrerie di Murano e le ceramiche di Galileo Chini. In mostra sono presenti opere di tutti questi artisti, affiancati da preziosi oggetti giapponesi. Un confronto e un incontro da non perdere.

Titolo della manifestazione: Giappone, Terra di incanti
Luogo: Palazzo Pitti, piazza dei Pitti, Firenze
Periodo: dal 3 aprile al 1° luglio 2012
Orario: Galleria Palatina e Galleria d’arte moderna, martedì – domenica: 8.15 – 18.50, chiuso il  lunedì
Museo degli Argenti, lunedì – domenica: aprile e maggio 8.15 – 18.00;  giugno e luglio  8.15 – 18.50, chiuso primo e ultimo lunedì del mese
Prezzo: Biglietto della mostra, che consente l’ingresso anche alle collezioni stabili dei musei di Palazzo Pitti che l’accolgono, oltre al Giardino di Boboli, con validità 3 giorni
intero: € 18.00
ridotto: € 9.00 (per i cittadini dell’U.E. tra i 18 ed i 25 anni)
gratuità per i cittadini dell’U.E. sotto i 18 e sopra i 65 anni
Info e prenotazioni: Firenze Musei 055.290383 - - 

giovedì 10 maggio 2012

L’esposizione ‘Americani a Firenze’ mostra la città dipinta da giovani artisti americani fra Ottocento e Novecento

Chi visita Firenze quest’anno non può perdere l’occasione di scoprire i forti  legami che la città ha intessuto con la cultura americana e con alcuni grandi artisti d’Oltreoceano. A 500 anni dalla morte di Amerigo Vespucci è infatti in agenda nel capoluogo una serie di eventi e manifestazioni che celebra l’Anno vespucciano, dedicato alle influenze storiche e artistiche instaurate con il Nuovo Mondo.

La mostra ‘Americani a Firenze’, aperta dal 3 marzo al 15 luglio 2012 a Palazzo Strozzi, punta i riflettori su giovani pittori che fra la metà dell’Ottocento e il primo conflitto mondiale soggiornarono e vissero nella città culla del Rinascimento. Sono esposti capolavori di John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Frank Duveneck, William Morris, Hunt, Frederick Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, Julian Alden Weir, Thomas Eakins, Robert Vonnoh, Edmund Charles Tarbell, Joseph Pennell, Cecilia Beaux and Elizabeth Boott Duveneck.

Firenze ebbe un forte impatto su questi artisti che a loro volta lasciarono un segno indelebile nella cultura della città che, capitale d’Italia dal 1856 al 1870, alla fine del XIX secolo era dinamica e cosmopolita. Questa mostra invita turisti, visitatori e cittadini a esplorarla attraverso lo sguardo di quei giovani intellettuali americani.

Affascinati dal mito dell’arte, della storia e del paesaggio naturale italiani, di cui avevano solo letto e sentito parlare nei salotti e nelle accademie, questi artisti e artiste vennero in Toscana per apprendere le ultime tecniche pittoriche, studiare storia dell’arte e immergersi in un’atmosfera mediterranea fatta di luci e colori irresistibili all’occhio del pittore. E pur essendo stati difensori del centro storico e medievale fiorentino, all’epoca oggetto di progetti di riqualificazione urbana, abitarono prevalentemente sulle colline, tra le ville, i giardini all’italiana e la ricca vegetazione creando opere e racconti che contribuirono a diffondere oltre Atlantico il mito della Toscana e dell’Italia.

Tutto questo è contenuto nell’avvincente repertorio di immagini esposte a Palazzo Strozzi, che comprende ritratti dalla forte intensità psicologica, paesaggi naturali, scene di vita all’aria aperta o di tranquilla intimità domestica. Opere che risentono della formazione accademica americana, del confronto con l’impressionismo francese e con le tele dei pittori italiani più sensibili agli effetti di luce: i macchiaioli e i naturalisti toscani.

Attraverso questi dipinti sarà inoltre possibile ricostruire la vita e l’attività degli americani a Firenze e quella di intellettuali, collezionisti, scrittori che da loro furono anche ritratti, da Henry James a Vernon Lee.
‘Americani a Firenze’ è anche una mostra con una forte componente femminile, dove le donne sono spesso rappresentate con vestiti bianchi per esprimere  innocenza e purezza ma altresì emancipazione, fiducia e speranza nel futuro, come prometteva la giovane nazione americana.

La mostra a Palazzo Strozzi è infine una meta ideale anche per le famiglie. Sono state previste iniziative per i bambini, da specifiche didascalie ad audioguide differenziate. Completano l’offerta un kit di testi e giochi e una sala lettura attrezzata per leggere e conversare d’arte.

Americani a Firenze. Sargent e gli impressionisti del Nuovo Mondo
Luogo: Firenze, Palazzo Strozzi, piazza Strozzi.
Periodo: dal 3 marzo-15 luglio 2012
Orari: tutti i giorni dalle 9.00 alle 20.00, iovedì dalle 9.00 alle 23.00
Informazioni:  +39 055 2645155
Prezzo Biglietti:  intero € 10,00; ridotto € 8,50; € 8,00; scuole € 4,00

giovedì 3 maggio 2012

Italian Companies responding to the crisis through hard work and commitment: an interview with Antonella Rossi

(Transcript translated)
Who is Antonella Rossi? Could you tell us about your current company?
Beginning professionally as a tailor in the family, from 1950 in Empoli, in a drapery shop run by Rino Rossi and Anna Fabiani Rossi. Together with my sister Lina, I created my first collection of hand-made and embroidered couture bridal gowns called “AnnaLina”. We use the art of cutting and embroidery; elements that have always characterized the production in the workshop, which is now in its third generation. This is a tailor shop where the search for fabrics, fancy embroidery, love for lace, and the frills and ruffles are the rouches and volants and the key features in the construction of a dress. Be it wedding, cocktail or ceremonial; we use traditions handed down over time, with pride, from mother to daughter.
Today the Antonella Rossi brand is present in many countries. This is with the help of my three daughters, Erika, Anna and Julia. The distribution is in selected, upmarket shops, scattered around Europe, the United States, the Middle East and China. For the more discerning customers, a "tailor one-to-one" service is offered within the customer’s home in every corner of the world.
The workshop, located in a charming building in the heart of Rome, includes a very feminine and glamorous collection, designed for the modern and dynamic woman, committed to work and family. 
Strong points: the lines are wrapped and sexy, using soft and delicate fabrics like jersey and lightweight satin or taffeta, and the Mikado

Can you separate your public and private lives; can you disconnect from work or is it with you 100% of the time?
During working hours, my work absorbs me completely and I am unable to attend to my personal life. In my free time though, I devote myself to my passions: painting, sculpture, music and theatre.

How has your job changed since you started?
I started to work early because I found myself catapulted from morning to evening, having had a significant loss in the family, I tried to follow my way of doing business by associating the concept of art, fashion and culture. The biggest change occurred in the last two years because the aim of my project is to gain visibility abroad and thus open up new markets.

What are the biggest problems in running a business as an entrepreneur?
The main problem is access to credit facilities and European funding: Unfortunately in this society, the entrepreneur is often alone and has to deal with an important sense of responsibility towards people who work for them.  So two aspects: difficulty finding investments for growth and sense of responsibility toward employees.

You've been struck by the "disease of the century." Do you want to talk about this? And especially how it changed your relationship with your work?
Regarding this question my answer is "yes", it has changed my relationship with work, both physically and financially: surely I can testify on both issues that I came out stronger and more determined.

What are the future projects for your company?
The biggest project that I'm pursuing right now is to present the Antonella Rossi brand as a brand of the world.

This question is quite rhetorical but inevitable: that this country needs to become modern? Especially that politicians should?
From my point of view, the way in which the Italian system was brought forward does not work. To improve our country's system we should leverage on what we are good at: tourism, cuisine, the arts, and, last but not least, fashion. Fashion is where I wish to move up to place me in an important position amongst the small and medium enterprises in crafts and ultimately, our story will be… The excellence of MADE IN ITALY.

You live in Rome: how is your relationship with this city? You're not originally from Rome ...
Coming from a situation where one breathes the Tuscan Renaissance, living in Rome means living in a city where the empire is felt in every corner. The best thing to do is to see it again through tourists’ eyes, and then discover the wonders and enjoy all that surrounds me... no wonder it is called the Eternal City

A word of advice to young people who are looking for work
The youth are our future and our hope. I would advise them to study and enter the workforce during university to pursue the goal they have set; always aim high; and that any job will do.

giovedì 26 gennaio 2012


BRILLANTINA LINETTI: "Anch’io ho commesso un errore. Non ho mai usato la brillantina LINETTI"
Più che un tormentone! un mito della pubblicità italiana, che tuttora perdura nella lingua italiana. Pubblicità e ripresa da Totò nei suoi film. 
Incarnata da Cesare Polacco dal 1957 al 1968, che divenne famoso proprio grazie a questa sua interpretazione e gestualità ossessiva: si toglieva con studiata lentezza il cappello e rispondeva "Non è esatto! Anch'io ho commesso un errore, non ho mai usato la brillantina Linetti" (era quasi calvo). E ogni volta il pubblico televisivo invariabilmente attendeva le immancabili battute finali!

lunedì 23 gennaio 2012


OLIO SASSO LA PANCIA NON C'E' PIU' era una pubblicità, un tormentone trasmesso dal 1965 al 1976. Girata in modo molto neorealista con la luce da sogno pasoliniano con uno stile naif e con la colf di colore che parla in venxiano.
Per un'Italia neorealista e sull'onda del boom economico era lo stile giusto.

domenica 22 gennaio 2012

Etta James, la fiera nunca domada (In memoriam)


Sábado 21 de Enero de 2012
Diego A. Manrique

Activa desde 1954, la cantante mantuvo su dignidad hasta el final, en una carrera que incluyó blues, jazz y soul. Murió en California víctima de una leucemia

Etta James, que falleció hoy en el hospital Riverside Community de California, por culpa de complicaciones en la leucemia que padecía, por  era la proverbial dama de armas tomar. En 2009,arremetía contra Barack Obama, que prefirió llamar a Beyoncé Knowles para las celebraciones de su toma de posesión en Washington. El presidente y su esposa bailaron acaramelados con At last, uno de los grandes éxitos de Etta,pero cantado por Beyoncé.
Otra suplantación más, que dolía por venir de quién se suponía lo bastante sensible para evitar esos deslices. Llovía sobre mojado, dado que Etta James había sido encarnada por Beyoncé en la películaCadillac Records, un retrato de la discográfica Chess que se tomaba muchas libertades con la historia real deEtta. Su indignación resultaba comprensible: Beyoncé, el modelo fashion de feminidad negra, se llevaba toda la atención mientras ella, la original,solo podía actuar en locales modestos.
Y es que EttaJames siguió trabajando hasta que su cuerpo dijo basta, debilitado por la leucemia y el alzheimer. En noviembre, Verve/Universal publicó The dreamer,un disco de soul sorprendentemente robusto, y no digamos para tratarse de una cantante de 73 años. La jubilación nunca fue una opción para artistas como Etta James, que no componían y que no recibieron suficiente compensación de muchas de las discográficas que contaron con sus servicios.
Paradigma delas glorias y miserias de la música negra, Jamesetta Hawkins nació en LosÁngeles en 1938. Nunca conoció a su padre, posiblemente blanco (ellasospechaba que pudo ser Minnesota Fats, un maestro del billar inmortalizado enla película El buscavidas). Educada musicalmente en la iglesia baptista,era menor de edad cuando llamó la atención de Johnny Otis, otro extraordinariobuscavidas, que la lanzó con una canción lujuriosa, Roll with me Henry,púdicamente rebautizada en la galleta del disco como The wallflower.
Tuvo más éxitos considerables durante la segunda mitad de los años cincuenta pero su visibilidad aumentó en 1960, cuando fichó para el sello Chess, en Chicago.Leonard Chess la vio como vocalista de amplio espectro y la hizo grabar desde baladas empapadas de violines (Trust in me o la citada At last)hasta sesiones de jazz, aparte de un incendiario directo, Etta James rocksthe house. Con la eclosión del soul a mediados de los sesenta, Ettapudo sacar al aire todos sus recursos de mujer brava y lenguaraz. Fascinó al gran público con Tell mama y la doloridaI’d rather go blind,ambas grabadas en 1967 con los músicos blancos de Muscle Shoals, en Alabama.
Todo setorció poco después. La muerte de Leonard Chess provocó la decadencia de su compañía, incapaz de proporcionar el impulso que necesitaba Etta. Aún peor:ella, que había flirteado con muchas drogas, se convirtió en heroinómana. Los años, las décadas, se fundieron en un vertiginoso carrusel de malas compañías,detenciones, condenas, intentos de desintoxicación. Aunque también hubo discos con admiradores como el productor Jerry Wexler, responsable del potenteDeepin the night.
Pudo equivocarse a la hora de escoger amantes pero Etta nunca desperdició sus poderes: durante su época dura, el redactor de estas líneas acudió a verla a un pequeño restaurante del downtown de Los Ángeles. En un escenario mínimo,con una banda elemental, dio cumplida cuenta de sus clásicos…y desapareció nada más cobrar, a pesar de que había accedido a una entrevista.
Con la ayuda del experto David Ritz, explicó sus altibajos vitales en una descarnada autobiografía, Rage to survive: the Etta James story (1995) . Se podía permitir la sinceridad ya que su carrera se volvió a enderezar a finales de los ochenta. No pudo tomar el puesto de Janis Joplin, como fantaseaban algunos productores, pero facturó discos espléndidos en Island y Private Music.Solucionó elegantemente caprichos -o encargos- como Mistery lady,colección de piezas identificadas con Billie Holiday, yChristmas,canciones navideñas.
La reedición de su material clásico, en antologías del calibre de R & B dynamite oThe Chess box, ayudó a situarla históricamente. Había en ella un descaro natural, que explica tanto sus andanadas contra Obama y Beyoncé, como las audacias en su repertorio. Para consternación de sus doctores, su reciente disco contenía odas al alcohol y al tabaco, aparte de una insospechada versión de Welcome to the jungle, de Guns ‘N’ Roses.

lunedì 16 gennaio 2012

Grande Cinema Italiano all'ISTITUTO EUROPEO: IL GRANDE SOGNO di Michele Placido

Il grande sogno
Acquista su   Dvd Il grande sogno  
GENERE:  Drammatico
DURATA:101 min

Nicola è un giovane poliziotto che ama il teatro e vorrebbe diventare attore. Laura è una studentessa universitaria di matrice cattolica pronta a lottare contro l'ingiustizia. Libero è un leader del movimento studentesco. Gli anni sono quelli che precedono, attraversano e seguono il 1968 e i suoi rivolgimenti. Nicola, infiltrato dai suoi superiori nel movimento, si innamorerà di Laura e cercherà anche di comprendere un mondo che gli è al contempo congeniale e lontano.
Michele Placido decide di raccontare se stesso e la sua gioventù. Lo fa cercando di descrivere mondi differenti che si incontrano/scontrano in un periodo di fermenti sociali e culturali.
Anche se i paragoni sono sempre azzardati non si può non pensare a La meglio gioventù di Marco Tullio Giordana in cui, quasi rileggendo uno degli slogan dell'epoca, il privato si faceva politico e viceversa. Qui è come se ci fossero due film in uno. L'uno narra delle vicende amorose di Nicola, Laura e Libero e l'altro delinea un ritratto di quegli anni esplorato con uno sguardo forse inconsciamente unilaterale. Uno sguardo che, e in questo Placido è scopertamente sincero, è ancora quello del poliziotto Michele che osserva, senza davvero comprenderlo fino in fondo, un tentativo di cambiare il mondo per lui tanto confuso quanto in fondo velleitario perché dai sogni ci si risveglia. In giorni poi di rinnovata polemica sul ‘cattocomunismo' il personaggio di Laura (che resta positivo nonostante le sue contraddizioni e ha una matrice cattolico progressista) finisce col far nascere quesiti sul ‘chi produce cosa' nel nostro sempre più complicato Paese

martedì 10 gennaio 2012

Il film della settimana all' ISTITUTO EUROPEO: Oggi Sposi - giovedì 12 dicembre ore 14

Oggi Sposi (2009)
Acquista su   Dvd Oggi Sposi  
GENERE:  commedia
Durata: 118 min. 

La storia: nel medesimo periodo e nella medesima città ci sono quattro coppie che si devono sposare. Prima coppia: degli squattrinati che per non rivelare la loro indigenza ai parenti meridionali imbucheranno settantadue invitati al gigantesco e coattissimo matrimonio tra il mago della finanza, connesso con la  mafia, e la giovane stellina televisiva (seconda coppia)
Terza coppia: una coppia multietnica composta dalla figlia dell'ambasciatore indiano e il pugliese di origini contadine che lavora nel commissariato in cui un PM tutto casa e lavoro si innamora della giovane promessa sposa di suo padre (quarta coppia)
E’ una commedia brillante e divertente. Un prodotto industriale semplice ma godibile. Un film stupido ma che rende la vita più brillante perché provoca stupore ed estraniazione dai problemi. Di-verte in senso pascaliano del termine.
118 minuti passati in allegria.

mercoledì 4 gennaio 2012

THE FEMALE FACTOR Growing Beyond the Fields

Claudio Palmisano for the International Herald Tribune January 4, 2012

The three generations of farmers on La Mia Terra farm, from left: Tiziana Lauretti, Fia Maria, her grandmother, and Iolanda Di Girolamo, her mother. As small farms struggle in Italy, some women are stepping in with creative survival tactics like agricultural tourism, farmers’ markets, organic farming.

PONTINIA, ITALY — On her tiny farm in a former marshland reclaimed under Mussolini, Tiziana Lauretti grows plums and favetta di Terracina, the bright red, sweet strawberry celebrated in this patch of central Italy.
But oscillating demand for her crops and volatile food prices have pushed Ms. Lauretti to adopt the survival tactics typical of many small farms in Europe.
These days, visitors to this family owned homestead can gawk at a motley crew of farm animals, as well as two tetchy peacocks, the most recent addition to the menagerie, or buy homemade prune or strawberry jam. During the school year, she said, classrooms of children “who have never seen an egg outside of a supermarket” get their hands covered with flour while baking pizza in a small wood-burning oven on the farm, which covers just three hectares, or about seven acres.
If Ms. Lauretti’s experience is typical of small farmers scrabbling to make a living in an increasingly globalized economy, it is also typical in another way: Women, who manage one-third of Italian farms, have been particularly open to branching out the core business, what operators call multifunctional agriculture.
“I couldn’t make a living only by selling strawberries and plums,” Ms. Lauretti said. “Either you have a large farm, or you diversify, like we did.”
Andrea Segrè, dean of the faculty of agriculture at the University of Bologna, said women were finding “lots of space” in multifunctional areas like agricultural tourism, farmers’ markets, organic farming and direct sales.
And agriculture schools across Italy have seen an increase in enrollment, particularly among women, he said. “The agriculture of the future is very much female, as it has always been,” he said. Preliminary 2010 census data, issued in July, showed that the number of Italian farms had decreased by 32.2 percent in the previous decade, but fewer women than men had decided to throw in the towel.
The Italian experience is by no means unique, but the female farm work force is significantly higher here than elsewhere in Western Europe. In the most recent Eurostat figures available, from 2007, Italy had a female farm labor force of 1.3 million, well ahead of comparably sized European Union nations like France and Germany, neither of which reached even 340,000.
Even another traditionally agricultural country like Spain only had 660,000 female workers, half those of Italy. And for all these countries, the profile was similar for women who manage farms.
Mara Longhin, president of Donne in Campo, or Women in the Field, part of the Italian Farmers’ Confederation, said women “are way ahead of the curve” in diversifying, noting that most small farms cannot sustain themselves through crops or livestock.
The involvement of women in multifunctional agriculture has helped society in important ways “like food security, rural development and the safeguarding of the natural landscape,” she said. Increasingly in Italy, too, farms have begun to offer day-care services in rural areas “where there isn’t a lot of support for working mothers,” said Ms. Longhin, who runs a dairy farm in Campagna Lupia, near Venice.
Silvia Bosco, who follows women’s issues for Coldiretti, another farmers’ confederation, said government support for women in business was “practically nonexistent.”
“There’s a lot of talk about equal opportunity,” she said. “but in practice it is limited.”
Women are vastly underrepresented at a political and institutional level, added Susanna Cenni, a member of the Democratic Party who sits on the agricultural committee of the lower house of Parliament.
“There is an enormous distance between the reality of women working in agriculture and their representation” in government or boardrooms or research and economic institutes, “even if they are competent,” she said. “Unfortunately, politics count, and in politics, men are the first pick.”
Agriculture Minister Mario Catania said in an interview that the economic crisis had sharply diminished public spending, meaning that “there are no resources to put on the table” for female farmers. In any case, Mr. Catania said, earmarking money according to sex is “not simple to enact.” Italy would do better, he said, to improve family services like day care to help more women join the work force.
Not all the farms run by women are mom-and-pop operations, of course. In various sectors, like cheese-making and especially wine, “there are many names that count,” said Veronica Navarra, president of the Italian Observatory for Female Enterprise and Labor in Agriculture, a government-run organization.
“The world of agriculture in Italy used to be very male-oriented, but now there’s been a reversal,” she said, thanks in part to a few institutional and grass-root networks that offer both financial and moral support to women.
Gaetana Jacono is the sixth-generation descendant — but first woman — to manage Valle dell’Acate, a 100-hectare Sicilian wine estate that produces about 400,000 bottles a year. The business now exports 70 percent of its production, thanks to Ms. Jacono’s foresight. She said that in Sicily, the top-selling women wine makers, of which there are several, “are tight” and often travel together.
“We have great respect for each other’s work, I think more than men do,” she said. “Women can work together, we have this in Sicily and it only gets stronger as time goes on,” she said, adding that discrimination, “which certainly exists,” had been a strong bonding agent.
Such hurdles include trying to get credit. In June, Ms. Lauretti inaugurated a homey five-room bed-and-breakfast here, crafted from a hulking barn that once housed 20 dairy cows. But before she could get a loan to do the work, she said, her husband, who works for the state railroad, had to offer a guarantee, “even though I owned the land and the house.”
She is the third generation to take over the farmstead, just a short drive from Sabaudia, a popular beach midway between Rome and Naples. Her grandmother, Maria Fia, now 91, still shuffles through the farmyard with the help of a cane.
Ms. Lauretti’s 16-year-old daughter, Giulia, is studying for a pedagogical high school diploma so she can open a day-care center on the farm when she graduates, “even though there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved in that,” Ms. Lauretti said.
And she is still unsure that the gamble will pay off. “It’s taken a lot of money, and a lot of hard work,” Ms. Lauretti said.
Her mother and co-farmhand, Iolanda Di Girolamo, echoed that sentiment: “Sacrifices, many, many sacrifices.”