Home / Tag Archives: North End

Tag Archives: North End

Giovanni DeCunto: Pioneering Expressionist

Giovanni DeCunto (photo ©Nicola Orichuia)

Giovanni DeCunto realized he could live with his art at the tender of age of 12, when the mother of one of his best friends bought a painting for $35. “I thought I had a million dollars!” he recounts. Hailing from Lawrence, Mass., where his grandparents moved from outside Naples, the 67-year-old artist has come a long way since the days of selling art for a few bucks. Regarded as one of the nation’s leading expressionists, works by DeCunto can be found today in prestigious collections at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the ...

Read More »

North End laureate, Part II

Ciardi-home

Two years after the death of his father, John Ciardi moved with his family from the North End out to the “country” (i.e., Medford) and into a house they shared with Aunt Christina and Uncle Alec. Together, the families struggled to make ends meet. Echoing the lives of many North Enders, Christina worked at Schraff’s as a candy dipper while Alec was a barber on Causeway Street. The mother kept the house with its chickens and giant garden, and then worked some nights on the late shift as a men’s tailor. The children also helped out, working various jobs after ...

Read More »

Birthday bash celebrates Ovid and Sulmona

ovid2

Boston celebrated the 2,000th anniversary of Publio Ovidio Nasone’s birth in style. On March 17, a group of students from the Abruzzese town of Sulmona (Ovidio’s birthplace) held a special presentation at Filippo Ristorante in the North End, where over 100 representatives of the community gathered to hear more about the Certamen Ovidianum Sulmonense. The Certamen is an Italian national competition in Latin among high school students, focusing exclusively on Ovid, the famous Roman poet who lived during the reign of Emperor Augustus. “Our goal is to promote the works of Ovid,” said Professor Caterina Fantauzzi, who accompanied a group ...

Read More »

PIB and Dante Alighieri host North End documentary screening

doc-pib-home

When: Sunday, April 24, 2016 – 6:30 p.m. Where: Dante Alighieri Society – 41 Hampshire St., Cambridge MA Professionisti Italiani a Boston and Dante Alighieri Society will host a special screening of the recently released North End documentary produced by the North End Historical Society. The documentary producers will be present at the screening. The screening will take place on April 24 at the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts in Cambridge. Click on the flyer below for more details:

Read More »

John Ciardi: North End’s poet laureate

Ciardi-home

“I was born June 24, 1916, at 25 Sheave Street in Boston’s North End, which was then as now, though more so then, Little Italy … . My mother, in the custom of her tribe, bore me in the same bed in which she connived me … . ” So wrote John Ciardi, renowned poet, translator and teacher. I had long known of Ciardi’s translation of Dante, and I knew he was Italian American, but I did not know he had been born in the North End. Truthfully, I don’t recall now how I discovered that he was. But what ...

Read More »

Richard Aliberti: The North End’s Artistic Soul

Aliberti2

The North End is a place full of history and — nowadays — restaurants, but upon closer examination it is also a neighborhood full of art and culture. Anyone who has ever glanced up to take in the bronze statues or plaques that adorn one of the country’s finest Little Italies will have encountered the skillful hand of Richard Aliberti, an artist that has been in and out of the neighborhood for the past three decades, but who has left a lasting impression on it. “I wasn’t expecting to make a living off of art,” he explains as he thinks ...

Read More »

Long-awaited North End documentary premiers at Suffolk U

A clip of the North End documentary by NEHS.

On Jan. 20, the North End Historical Society presented its long-awaited documentary “Boston’s North End: An Italian American Story” at Suffolk University’s Modern Theatre. It was mostly filmed and directed by Maureen McNamara of Kendall Productions in Cambridge, with post-production editing done John Balcom of John Balcom Productions in Los Angeles. “As the title indicates, it is not so much a documentary history as it is the story of the things that made the North End special,” said James Pasto, co-founder of the North End Historical Society. “Those things include Sunday dinners, nicknames, street corners, doo wop, world boxing champion ...

Read More »

The power of the piazza

I AM Books

I had a hunch before opening I AM Books, the country’s first Italian American bookstore. Based on the feedback I received from readers of Bostoniano, I felt there would be a need for a common place where people could start a dialogue about their shared heritage and their roots. Soon after opening the bookstore last year, I realized this was only one of the many elements that people appreciate about the bookstore. I think what really excites people is the physicality of it. As human beings, we need places we can anchor ourselves to. These are places we rely on ...

Read More »

Allegro Concert Series come to Boston

del-fra

Starting in April, Sounds of Italy Festival will be roaring back with a two-month-long concert series that will showcase some of the best Italian talent currently living and performing in the Boston area, as well as important guest artists from Italy. Co-organized and hosted by I AM Books, the country’s first Italian-American bookstore, the concert series will feature 10 different performances throughout the months of April and May. For two months, audiences coming to I AM Books at 189 North Street in Boston’s historical North End neighborhood will have a chance to listen to genres spacing from jazz to pop ...

Read More »

Ciao, Johnny Shoes

Johnny Shoes (photo courtesy Stefano Salimbeni)

“È finita la canzone,” the song is over: it was the first quote by Johnny Shoes Cammarata that I ever put on television; many more followed. The year was 1998, and I — 31 and hungry for the spotlight — had just begun telling Italian and Italian American stories for RAI, the Italian national TV network I still work for today; Johnny, then in his mid-sixties, was already in a nostalgic mode, constantly looking back to the ‘good old days’ when “everyone knew everyone” in Boston’s North End and “you could leave the doors open”… all that jazz old timers ...

Read More »

Here at last: North End’s story on film

Pasto - Film Image

In July 2013, I wrote about the North End Historical Society’s documentary. I had thought that the film would be premiered in early 2014. I was optimistic. Nevertheless, good things come to those who wait, and the film was finally premiered on Jan. 20, 2016 at Suffolk University’s Modern Theatre on Washington Street – and with our thanks to Suffolk University and John Nucci. This is only its first showing, and there are many others planned. The film is called “Boston’s North End: An Italian American Story.” As the title indicates, it is not so much a documentary history as ...

Read More »

World War II and the North End

italian4

In his book, International Conflict in an American City: Boston’s Irish, Italians, and Jews, 1935-1944, Rodney Stark discusses the conflicts between Irish, Italians, Blacks, and Jews before and during World War II. The book is a reminder that a war which eventually became a paradigm of ethnic unity was preceded by often acrimonious inter-ethnic battles about the fascism, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Roosevelt’s’ WPA, Mexican anti-clericalism, and growing anti-Semitism. We get some insight into this in some letters between William Foote Whyte and North Ender Frank Luongo, which I found in Whyte’s archives at Cornell University. Whyte, who had ...

Read More »