Some of the many films screened recently at the Calandra Institute's #DirectedByWomen event, presented by Calabrisella Films.

ITALICS: Television for the Italian-American Experience

ITALICS, hosted by Anthony J. Tamburri, Dean of the Calandra Institute, brings the best of the Italian-American community to your home each month on CUNY-TV, TW Ch.75 and RCN, Ch.77 in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and The Bronx.

ITALICS premieres the last Wednesday of every month at 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 11:00 PM. ITALICS will be rebroadcast on the first Saturday of every month at 8:00 PM and the first Sunday at 10:00 AM on CUNY-TV, Ch.75 and RCN, Ch.77 in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and The Bronx; and subsequently on demand at

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Watch previous editions of ITALICS on demand at and Web Extras on the ITALICS YouTube Channel.

Contact:  Lucia Grillo  212-642-2049    

The second in ITALICS’ 9th Season of Italian Heritage and Culture Month Specials, this edition features the Honorable Natalia Quintavalle, Consul General of Italy in New York, and Giorgio van Straten, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York. In her 29 years as a career diplomat, Natalia Quintavalle has worked on U.N. issues - at the Italian Permanent Mission in Geneva, and at the Permanent Mission in New York. She was Italian Consul in Toulouse, First Secretary at the Italian Embassy in Riyadh, and has been Italian Consul General in New York since September 2011, now serving her third term. Giorgio van Straten is an Italian writer and cultural broker, editor, and translator of major literary works, and a director of the Italian literary magazine “Nuovi argomenti.” He has written for musical theater, served as Chairman of the Orchestra della Toscana, on the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia, President of the Italian Association for the Performing Arts, General Director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Director of the Palazzo Delle Esposizioni e Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, and on the Board of Directors of RAI. In 2015 he was named Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York. (Taped 10/08/15)​
ITALICS kicks off its 9th Season of Italian Heritage and Culture Month Special Episodes. This edition features Joseph Sciame, Chairman of the Italian Heritage and Culture Month Committee of New York, as well as Angelo Vivolo and Frank Fusaro of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. Joseph Sciame is Vice President for Community Relations at St. John’s University. He is currently President of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee, and the Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations. Angelo Vivolo is President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. After a decade teaching, he became a third-generation restaurateur and is the owner of the Vivolo Restaurant Group in New York City, which includes Vivolo’s, Cucina, and Bar Vetro. Frank Fusaro is the Chair of the Board of Governors for the Columbus Citizens Foundation. He is Co-Founder and President of Forum Personnel. (Taped: 10/08/15)
ITALICS continues its coverage on being LGBTQ in Italian America. As a follow-up to our January 2014 episode, “Gay in Italian America,” in this edition, correspondent Lucia Grillo talks with members of the LGBTQ community: Lailah Lancing is a singer-songwriter and actress, whose look inspired that of her friend, actress Laverne Cox, for the film “Grandma,” in theatres now; Margo Singaliese is a veteran actress who has appeared Off-Broadway and on TV in shows such as “The Sopranos;” and filmmaker Mikki del Monico came out while directing his first feature film, which recently had at run at Anthology Film Archives. (Taped: 09/30/15)
In celebration of Italian American legend - Frank Sinatra - ITALICS goes to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center for a conversation with author Charles Granata, amidst the official exhibition of the Frank Sinatra Centennial, “Sinatra: An American Icon,” curated by the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE. Granata is author of “Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording;” producer of historic box sets “A Voice in Time, Frank Sinatra in Hollywood” and “Frank Sinatra: The Complete Recordings 1943-1952;” and producer and engineer for Nancy Sinatra’s weekly radio program, “Nancy for Frank,” on Sirius-XM. Granata discusses the vast musical legend the performer left behind as well as the man beyond the talent that earned Sinatra the sobriquet “The Voice:” his political activity and commitment to social justice for a period of his life.
Queens Poet Laureate, Maria Lisella, talks with Anthony Tamburri. Professoressa Margherita (Laura Caparrotti) teaches us Italian summertime words. Native New Yorker Maria Lisella is a journalist specializing in travel. She is also a poet: her latest poetry collection is titled “Thieves in the Family.” she has produced two chapbooks: “Amore on Hope Street” and “Two Naked Feet .” Maria co-curates the Italian American Writers Association readings in New York City; is vice president of the Vito Marcantonio Forum; and has recently been named Queens Poet Laureate.
ITALICS finds out how an old-school pizzeria in Williamsburg, Brooklyn alters tradition to accommodate its changing clientele. Marina Benedetto of Yeah Dawg talks to us about her vegan, gluten-free hot dogs. Celebrating its 43rd year, the New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators honors distinguished members of the community – actor Paul Sorvino, rock bassist John Regan, “tailor to the stars” Nino Corvato, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Matilda Raffa Cuomo. ITALICS goes to the state capital – and is joined by governor Andrew Cuomo.
ITALICS visits personal histories of Italian Americans as well as the conditions all too real in present-day Italy. Genealogist Mary Tedesco of Origins Italy joins us in our studio to unlock the door to knowing from whence we came. Director Francesco Munzi talks about his latest film, “Black Souls (Anime nere),” in which a Calabrian family struggles with its place in society - grappling between retaining its power via the ‘ndrangheta and breaking free from archaically violent ways in a society that doesn’t leave much choice.  
Professor Emeritus Jack Barbera of the University of Mississippi delves into three of Tennessee Williams’ works - “The Rose Tattoo,” “Baby Doll,” and “Orpheus Descending” - and discusses the late playwright’s compassion for and representation of Italians, women, and Blacks. At the New York Vegetarian Festival, Chef Jay Astafa shows us how to make homemade mozzarella – with cashew milk!
Women’s History Month Special. This episode focuses on Italian American women in the public eye. Pop icon who often refers to, embraces, and sometimes seemingly desperately clings to her Italian roots: Madonna Louise Ciccone, aka Madonna. Kay Turner (The New School) and Chris Cuomo (University of Georgia) discuss the “Material Girl” as Italian American woman. Valerie Smaldone, one of America’s favorite voices, in radio, commercials, and television, on her multifarious career as a media personality and entrepreneur, women in media, and not being afraid to “be fabulous.” Professor Margherita gives us a lesson on Italian words for this month, dedicated to women.
In honor of Black History Month, “Italics” looks at the role of the press – both radical and mainstream - in the assimilation of Italian immigrants to the dominant white culture from 1886 through 1920 and its relevance in thinking about racism in our society today, and amidst recent outpourings of the masses into the streets for #BlackLivesMatter. Scholar Peter Vellon (Queens College/CUNY) explores this in his new book, “A Great Conspiracy Against Our Race: Italian Immigrant Newspapers and the Construction of Whiteness in the Early 20th Century.“ “Italics” catches up with Mr. Vellon and Dr. Joseph Sciorra at the Calandra Institute. Professor Margherita talks of love, in it’s various forms, with February’s Italian words of the month.