Selected Works

Nonfiction
A look at life in little-known mountain towns of the Sicilian hinterlands.
A true account of the last years of an ancient Sicilian giant bluefin tuna trap.






Tags

Out of Palermo

Volunteers to fix apt confiscated from Mafia

April 6, 2016

Tags: volunteers, mafia, Albegheria, Santa Chiara, Addio Pizzo, poor, poverty, family

The city has given two apartments confiscated from the Mafia to needy, homeless families. But the apartments needed lot of work. So volunteers from the anti-Mafia association Addio Pizzo ( Goodbye, Protection money) and the mission of Santa Chiara put on a fund-raising dinner that brought together unemployed construction workers, architects, tradesmen and donors. A woman immigrant who had been helped by the mission volunteered to cook a dinner from her own country. Together they will fix up the apartments in a hurry before squatters can move in.

Italian Judge breaks up families to save children from the mafia

February 26, 2016

Tags: Judge, mafia, children, family, break, chain, ndragheta, calabria, generations, jail, death, abuse

And that's not easy because the family as the basic unit of Italian society is built into the Italian constitution. This judge says it is abusive to bring a child to mafia meetings, indoctrinate him for entry into criminal organizations, and reduce his life's horizons. That it is just as much a crime as giving a child a syringe or a kalishnokov rifle. Read the story in English in The Guardian by clicking on the caption.

Archbishop Lorefice took in four Nigerian immigrants

December 30, 2015

Tags: immigration, Corrado Lorefice, adopt, refugees, family, children, live, palace, archbishop, mercy, kindness, Palermo, sicily, sicilia, rescue, life, shelter, home

Palermo's brand new Archbishop Corrado Lorefice has installed four Nigerian refugees in the bishop's residence, the diocese's incredible palace across from the cathedral on Via Vittorio Emanuele: a young Nigerian woman, and a Nigerian mother of two small children.
He encouraged others to do the same, especially in this Year of Mercy as prescribed (more…)

Dead man walking

November 12, 2015

Tags: pentito, mafia, provenzano, chauffeur, state's evidence, witness, testimony, witness protection program, Ficarizzi, clan, mob, family, danger, death, murder, threat, what a life

Stefano LoVerso,, for years the chauffeur of Mafia kingpin Bernardo Provenzano, turned state's evidence and was put into the government's witness protection program in a city in northern Italy. LoVerso had to leave his family behind in Ficarizzi. He said in this exclusive interview with a La Repubblica reporter that if the Mafia can't get you, they will get at the family you left behind. He has a wife and children and he decided to come back to Sicily to live with and protect them until he meets his own death, which he fully expects. The protection program cannot protect you if you come back to Sicily. LoVerso says it is the bosses who should be exiled. He knows they will get him, he just doesn't know when. "The mafia doesn't forgive," he says. Imagine the stress and ulcers of living like that! Interview in Italian.


[Sigh. Working on getting the embed code to work. Meantime, here's the link to copy and paste:]
http://video.repubblica.it/edizione/palermo/il-pentito-in-bicicletta-che-sfida-la-mafia--non-lascio-la-sicilia-se-ne-vadano-i-boss/217730/216926

1944 Sunday dinner under the grape arbor

March 25, 2015

Tags: sicilian, italian-american, sunday, dinner, grape arbor, family, fun, carlstadt, new jersey, nana, papa, grandparents, tradition, outdoor, alfresco, together, famiglia

I remember these Sundays as something fun. The food and the fun on the lawn would go on into evening when I would catch fireflies and put them in a jar with holes punched in the cap for air. We little kids had a tin tub for a pool and a garden hose draped (more…)

The Cuticchio family

October 17, 2014

Tags: cuticchio, puppet, sicilian, palermo, sicilia, sicily, italia, italy, culture, family, figli d'arte

A multi-headed monster puppet representing the Cuticchio family of puppeteers
In the hundreds of episodes that make up one drama from the repertoire of the Siciilan puppet theater, there is one many-headed monster which appears only once onstage. This lifelike sculpture is a spoof on that monster, representing instead the now-deceased head of the Cuticchio family and his children, puppeteers all, growing from his head.

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