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Florence Scala, 1918-2007

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

I remember hearing many stories about her when I was growing up. My grandmother lived down the street from her. My grandfather talked about how they went to school together. I even got to meet her when I was in fourth or fifth grade. My Italian class at Andrew Jackson Language Academy went on a “field trip” to her restaurant (some field trip; we walked there). I may not have known her personally but I do know that she loved our Taylor Street neighborhood and that everything she fought for was in the name of justice. She fought against the development and building of the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) because so many people in the predominantly Italian neighborhood would have lost, and did end up losing, their homes. My mother’s Uncle Joe was one such victim. I remember him, my grandmother and my mother talking a lot about “Newberry Street”, the street that essentially was removed from the city grid (in that neighborhood, at least) to make room for the unsightly and sterile UIC campus. Just think of all the culture that instead could have been cultivated in that area…

Ms. Scala was and always will be a leader, a role model, for us Italian-Americans, especially those of us from Taylor Street. Read more about Florence Scala here.

Posted by Francesca

Thoughts on Festa Italiana

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

The long-awaited Festa Italiana has come and gone. I have mixed feelings about the event….

Friday night was a blast. The highlight had to be the Italian karaoke. When I first learned of it, I thought it would be real Italian songs. Instead, it was a catalog of songs by Italian-American artists like Frank Sinatra and Bon Jovi. Mom actually got up on stage with Anna, her new BFF that she just met Friday at the fest, and sang “Beauty School Drop Out”. Talk about hilarious… Then Felicia got on stage and sang “Crazy For You” by Madonna. She rocked the house! It was hot and the Peroni beer was cold, so it was going down fairly easily. It was so awesome to see people I grew up with that I haven’t seen in years. The fest officially ended at 10:00pm so we joined the party going on at La Vita, and that’s where our night ended.

I never did make it back on Saturday to see Old 97s. I had to work at outdoor event and after being out in the sun and heat all day, I was in no condition to go to a crowded street festival. I came home and crashed. I was disappointed to miss Old 97s but hopefully I’ll get another chance to see them soon.

Sunday was the final day of the festival and the entertainment schedule was headlined by Chicago’s own Jimmy Damon. I endured the performance for my mother’s and my aunt’s sake. It was actually entertaining, especially watching all the drunk people dancing in the middle of the street.

Yes, the festival was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing folks I hadn’t seen in a while. However, it was a bit commercialized and the fact that Jam Productions oversaw the whole affair kind of took away from its authenticity, it’s Italian-ness. The ending time also needs to be pushed back a bit. Ten o’clock on Friday and Saturday, and 7:00 on Sunday, were way too early. No one was ready to leave but we were forced to do so by “security”. I do hope that this becomes an annual thing. With just a tweak or two, it has the potential to become really awesome.

Posted by Francesca

It doesn’t please me, but…

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007
It happened. We knew it was going to. It was inevitable. Whatever your opinion, the fact remains that Barry Bonds hit career home run number 756 last night. He is now at the top of the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hungry Hungry Hippo

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Hungry Hungry Hippo, originally uploaded by superstarsinger.

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