Category Archives: Entertainment

Festa di Ferragosto By Marianne Peri-Sack

CIAO ST. LOUIS and the Sicilian Cultural Association of St. Louis combined efforts to bring Festa di Ferragosto to St. Louis on Aug. 12 at Orlando Gardens at the Hoffmeister location. The price was $50.00 each which included buffet dinner and open bar from 4-9 p.m.

Like most Italian things, this holiday is steeped in tradition and goes back to Emperor Augustus who founded it in 18 BC under the name of Feriae Augusti (Festivals Holidays) adding it to earlier ancient Roman festival that fell in the month. These holidays normally celebrated the harvest or a long period of rest which were a welcome relief after the intense period of hard labor. This is also the period when many Italians go on vacation. Horse races were organized such as the “Palio dell’ Assunta” the colorful and famous race in Siena. People from all over the world come to watch this event. Celebrations are many and varied from town to town but the holiday is often celebrated in conjunction with Aug. 15, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a public holiday in Italy.

The highlight of the evening was the performance of Savio De Martino direct from Italy. The singer-songwriter began his artistic career at the age of 7 years. He offers a varied repertoire of Italian pop to jazz, from blues to good light music and his talents and passion for music have brought him a wider and wider audience. Quite a trooper, De Martino performed for five hours straight and the happy dancers filled the dance floor all during that time. Also, from Chicago was fantastic Italian DJ who played the music with multiple lighting effects while also projecting live videos of musical extravaganzas. It was a splendid evening for those wanting to celebrate their culture while having a great time.



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St. Louis International Film Festival will take place Nov. 1-11, 2018.

J. Kim & Sharon Tucci Italian Focus

Sponsored by Pasta House Co.

Call Me by Your Name

Friday, November 10 at 8:00pm

It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family’s 17th-century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend… Read more

Doc Shorts: The Unexpected

Friday, November 10 at 5:00pm

Unusual dispatches from around the globe.

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The Leisure Seeker

Saturday, November 4 at 6:45pm

The first film in English by Italian director Paolo Virzi (“Human Capital”), “The Leisure Seeker” — which debuted at the Venice film fest — tells the story of a runaway couple going on an unforgettable cross-country journey in their vintage camper. Seriously ill… Read more

Let Yourself Go

Saturday, November 11 at 6:30pm
Sunday, November 12 at 5:20pm

In this Italian variant on the screwball comedy, an uptight psychologist gets more than just a physical workout when he signs up for personal-training sessions with an attractive young instructor. Toni Sevillo (“The Great Beauty”) is outstanding as Elia, a… Read more

Pizza Shop: An Italian-American Dream

Sunday, November 12 at 2:45pm

What is an immigrant’s typical experience in America? What does he sacrifice, and what does he gain? “Pizza Shop” provides one family’s answer to those questions, lovingly illustrating what it means for Charlie and Fred Osso, immigrant brothers from Calabria,… Read more

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Brave Chihuahua from Italian crime movie wins Palm Dog

CANNES, France: A tiny chihuahua won the “Palm Dog” award at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, for its performance in “Dogman”, an Italian film about an animal groomer who reluctantly gets involved in burglary.

The unofficial award is made every year at the festival as an “antidote to the extreme serious human ego issues at the real ceremonies,” said organiser Toby Rose.

In the film, directed by Matteo Garrone, known for Naples mafia movie “Gomorrah”, the burglars shut the chihuahua in a freezer to stop it yapping. It is later rescued by the film’s hero.

“Dogman” is competing for the Palme d’Or – the official prize given to the best film that will be awarded on Saturday.

(Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Circus Flora Opens Soon

by Annette M. Graebe

Make plans now for our favorite local circus — Circus Flora!  (Yes, they’ve changed their season from a hot, muggy summer to early spring, and they’ve moved down the street!)  Show dates:  April 19 – May 13.  Circus Flora beginnings go back to the Spoleto Festival more than thirty-two years ago.  Under that red and white Big Top, they still continue that rich, Italian tradition incorporating original, new artists and techniques.  This year’s show is “The Case of the Missing Bellhop” as the plot twists and turns to the delight of the audience.   It includes a full cast of characters – including a troupe of trained pigs!  For more information and tickets, visit  Tickets ($12 – $60) will be available at their new box office opening Monday at 10 a.m./phone: 314-230-9191, or tickets may be purchased through MetroTix (with a service fee).  Look for the red and white tent at their new location at 3401 Washington Blvd. — not far from The Fox.

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Triumphing over familial, cultural and professional obstacles Ermal Meta

April 2018 | 

Triumphing over familial, cultural and professional obstacles Ermal Meta

Ermal Meta è un cantautore, compositore e polistrumentista italiano di origine albanese. Cresciuto ascoltando musica classica,  ha cominciato da ragazzo a suonare il piano e la chitarra insieme a vari gruppi prima di entrare a fare parte degli Ameba 4 in qualità di chitarrista. A partire dal 2013 ha intrapreso una doppia carriera da solista (pubblicando tre album in studio) ed autore scrivendo brani per molti noti interpreti italiani. In qualità d’interprete insieme a Fabrizio Moro di Non mi avete fatto niente, canzone vincitrice del Festival di Sanremo 2018, Meta è stato automaticamente designato come rappresentante dell’Italia all’Eurovision Song Contest 2018 a Lisbona.

What is sometimes lost among the roar of the crowd and the glare of the bright lights within the entertainment industry is the fact that behind some of those smiles, are people dealing with painful memories. The admonition of “one must walk a mile in another person’s shoes before judging them” holds true to this day. Take, for example, the story of Ermal Meta, a singer/songwriter and poly-instrumentalist who was born in Fier, Albania on April 20, 1981.

Ermal, whose name means “mountain wind,” grew up in a polarizing home setting; culturally nurtured by his mother, a professional violinist, but also suffered greatly at the hands of an abusive father. By age five, he began seeking refuge from his ordeal and gravitated toward music for solace and inspiration. The political climate in Albania during the nineties was a period of instability as communism had fallen and the country lacked direction, offering little hope and few opportunities for Ermal and those of his generation. At age 13, the difficult decision was reached whereby he, his mother, brother, and sister fled the country and relocated to the Italian port city of Bari in the southern region of Puglia to begin life anew. They were immediately welcomed with open arms and, within a few years, Ermal began his musical journey by learning to play both the piano and guitar.

He joined several fledgling bands in the process and performed publically throughout the region. He also enrolled in college during this time and began formal studies in foreign languages only to later abandon his education to exclusively pursue his musical aspirations on a full-time basis. He achieved his objective of forming his first band as he partnered with Fabio Properzi (guitarist/vocalist), Tullio Ciriello (bassist) and Luca Giura (drummer) to form the group “Ameba 4.” The outfit caught the attention of noted record producer Corrado Rustici with their demo tape. This fruitful relationship led to an invitation to participate at the 2006 Sanremo Music Festival in the “Giovani” portion of the competition. The entry “Rido forse mi sbaglio” was eliminated but would lead to the signing of a recording contract with legendary record producer Caterina Caselli on her “Sugar” music label. Their eponymously titled debut album in 2006 featured their Sanremo single along with 12 other original compositions.

After a brief tour in support of their release, the band would break-up in 2007. The recording and touring experience proved invaluable to Ermal and he used the opportunity to front his own group which he christened “La Fame di Camilla.” With complete artistic control, he developed and refined the group’s music catalog and sound production to his liking. The group participated in numerous public exhibitions and musical festivals all throughout Italy and Europe plying their trade and sharpening their performance skills for a couple of years. It was only then that he was prepared to release the group’s debut album, “La Fame di Camilla” (2009). The album was well received and the single/video “Storia di una favola” garnered awards and earned the band much-deserved notoriety. The group’s good fortune continued with an invitation to the 2010 Sanremo Music Festival as they submitted the song “Buio e luce.” Although the entry was eventually eliminated from the competition, the song would serve as the title track to their second album (2010).

The release entered the charts, enjoying a lengthy stay and found its way into numerous radio playlists earning valuable time in regular rotation. An extended tour throughout the peninsula exposed the group to new markets thereby generating increased record sales. The group eventually returned to the studio and released their third and final release “L’attesa” (2012). The single/video “Suzy e l’infinito” became another hit for the band. The recording was tabbed by the critics as the group’s best, as it reflected maturation in the band’s music and lyrics. Despite all the positive results, Ermal sensed that he needed to reach the next level of his personal development and that would require that he disband the group and embark on a solo career.

Wasting no time, he immediately began writing compositions for other established artists including Emma Marrone, Francesco Renga, Patty Pravo, Chiara Galiazzo, Marco Mengoni, Francesca Michielin, Francesco Sarcina, Giusy Ferreri, Annalisa Scarrone, and Lorenzo Fargola. Emboldened by the demand for his talents, Ermal made the difficult decision to leave his family in Bari and move to Milan. Once he settled in the music epicenter of Italy, he commenced work on his debut solo album “Umano” (2016). Ermal played the majority of the instruments on this recording and composed nearly all the music and lyrics. The recording was self-produced and yielded four hit singles including “Odio le favole,” which was entered into the 2016 Sanremo Music Festival in the “Nuove Proposte” (Newcomer’s Section), finishing in third place.

His momentum continued with his second solo release “Vietato Morire” (2017). The album achieved platinum sales and the title track was entered into the 2017 Sanremo Music Festival and finished in third place among the 20 other contestants in the “Categoria Campioni” (Champions Category). Ermal’s best was yet to come and his star burned brightest at the recently concluded 2018 Sanremo Music Festival as his composition “Non mi avete fatto niente,” co-written with and performed as a duet with Fabrizio Moro, captured first place at the prestigious annual Italian music competition. The hit single made its way onto his third solo album “Non abbiamo armi” (2018) which has already entered into the charts. Because of their victory, Ermal and Fabrizio will represent Italy at the 2018 Eurovision Music Competition in Lisbon, Portugal in May of 2018.

For more information you can visit his Facebook Page at
Photos courtesy of

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Italy awaits! With or without a plane ticket

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First Team JUVENTUS Official Trailer NEW (2018) Netflix Documentary Series

If you have Netflix check out this series. Even if you don’t like Juve it is very interesting. A great look into top tier professional soccer. Da non perdere. Don’t miss it.

First Team JUVENTUS Official Trailer #1 NEW (2018) Netflix Documentary Series HD A look behind the scenes of Juventus FC. Follow the club during the 2017-2018 both on and off the field, with interviews to legends like Alessandro Del Piero and players like Federico Bernardeschi, Giorgio Chiellini, Douglas Costa, Gonzalo Higuaín, Claudio Marchisio, Miralem Pjanic, Daniele Rugani, the captain Gianluigi Buffon and the coach Massimiliano Allegri. Watch

First Team: Juventus on Netflix: Subscribe To MovieAccessTrailers To Catch Up All The New Movie Trailer, Movie Clips, TV Spots & Trailer Compilation just for you. Subscribe Now and Turn The Notification On to never miss any Official 2018 Movie Trailer from us.

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Italian Film Festival St Louis April 6 -28, 2018

Save the dates: April 6-28
Enjoy ten recent Italian films and a program of short films at the 2018 Italian Film Festival USA of St. Louis.
Free Admission
Screenings held at Washington University (WU), St. Louis Community College (STLCC), St. Louis University (SLU), and Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC).
Sponsored by Volpi Foods, Lou Smith in memory of Jeff LeGrand, the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. In collaboration with WU’s Program in Film and Media Studies, Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures, SLU, STLCC and SWIC.


AT WAR FOR LOVE •  Director, Pierfrancesco Diliberto, Comedy, 2016, 99 min.
Friday, April 6 • 7:00 p.m. • SLU, Busch Auditorium, Cook Hall, 3684 Lindell Blvd.
SHORT FILM PROGRAM •  Comedy, Drama, Animation, 2017, 120 min.
Saturday, April 7 • 7:00 p.m.  • SWIC, Liberal Arts Theatre, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville
THE ORDER OF THINGS •  Director, Andrea Segre, Drama, 2017, 112 min.
Friday, April 13 • 7:30 p.m. • WUSTL, Jerzewiak Family Auditorium, Laboratory Sciences Building
CUCINÌ •  Director, Ciro Fabbricino, Documentary, 2017, 54 min.
Saturday, April 14 •  5:30 p.m. • WUSTL, Jerzewiak Family Auditorium, Laboratory Sciences Building
Saturday, April 28 •  5:30 p.m. • WUSTL, Jerzewiak Family Auditorium, Laboratory Sciences Building
IT’S ALL ABOUT KARMA •  Director, Edoardo Falcone, Comedy, 2017, 90 min.
Saturday, April 14 • 7:30 p.m. • WUSTL, Jerzewiak Family Auditorium, Laboratory Sciences Building
WORLDLY GIRL •  Director, Marco Danieli, Drama, 2016, 101 min.
Friday, April 20 • 7:30 p.m.  • WUSTL, Brown Hall
FUNNE, SEA DREAMING GIRLS • Director, Katia Bernardi, Documentary, 2016, 78 min.
Saturday, April 21 • 5:30 p.m.  • WUSTL, Brown Hall
IT’S THE LAW •  Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone, Comedy, 2017, 92 min.
Saturday, April 21 • 7:30 p.m. • WUSTL, Brown Hall
EASY  •Director, Andrea Magnani, Comedy, 2017, 91 min.
Film Sponsor: CIAO
Tuesday, April 24 • 7:00 p.m. • STLCC-Florissant Valley, Terry M. Fischer Theatre, 3400 Pershall Rd.
♦ Special appearance by director Magnani ♦
THE LAST PROSECCO •  Director, Antonio Padovan, Drama, 2017, 102 min.
Friday, April 27 • 7:00 p.m. • STLCC-Meramec Theatre, 11333 Big Bend Rd.
Film Sponsor: Comunità degli italiani
♦ Special appearance by director Padovan and co-producer Alessia Gatti ♦
FRIENDS BY CHANCE •  Director, Francesco Bruni, Drama, 2017, 106 min.
Film Sponsor: Julie and Nicholas Poulos
Saturday, April 28 • 7:30 p.m.  • WUSTL, Jerzewiak Family Auditorium, Laboratory Sciences Building
See you at the movies!
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My Top 5 Italian Indie Bands

During my 6 months exchange here at UKC, the thing I have probably missed the most was concert season for all my favourite Italian indie bands. So, to make up for it, I am going to tell you all about them and why I love them so much.

Fast Animals and Slow Kids – Also known as FASK, they are the band that first got me into Italian indie, because my Tumblr crush at the time really loved them, so I had to love them as well. They have been around for over a decade now, starting off in central Italy’s Perugia. They have released four albums, but never forget their origins and humbly start every live show stating the band’s name and where they come from, as if they were just introducing the main band and needed audience to remember them. Over the years their emo and punk rock sound has become even more gritty and hardcore. They are the band you want to go see live during exam season – scream from the top of your lungs, jump and push for two hours straight and get all your stress out. I have seen them live five times now and the best memories I made are losing a shoe, my bra constantly unclasping from how much I was jumping around, and drenching my shirt in sweat. Their music is pure energy, and you would not tell that they seclude themselves in the rural Italian countryside to write and record all their songs. The best part though – they go drink a beer with their fans after every show.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Te lo prometto’: “We will be friend/ I promise you/ I already have a couple of ideas/ To make you unhappy/ I can ruin everything and I will/ It’s a tendency to distress* / That I can’t contain anymore/ I can’t contain myself anymore”

I cani – This was the second indie band I fell in love with. They cannot actually be called a band since they only have one member, Niccolò Contessa, though he never performs alone and he calls I cani – literally “the dogs” – a project more than a band. During their prime years, now gone, they were the epitome of hipsterdom, with songs titled ‘Wes Anderson and ‘Hipsteria. Their sound is more mellow, and they mostly fall into synth pop and the electro/techno genre.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Il posto più freddo’: “Cause now the night is gone and the drugs have come down/ Here for you is the loneliest creature in the world/ And the shivers come up from the legs to the chest/ The coldest place is right here in my bed/ Please stay with me another moment/ Please stay with me till I fall asleep”

Calcutta – Another one-man band, Calcutta is one of the newest faces in the Italian indie scene, with his first successful album Mainstream being released in 2015. He has a wide variety of influences, from Italian singer-songwriters of the 60s to tropical and Brazilian beats. What mostly stand out are his lyrics; apparently nonsensical, they mostly aim to evoke an atmosphere. He was also recently involved in a controversy, as he was paid €5000 by the city of Bologna for the playlist that was going to be played in the town’s square on New Year’s, but not DJed by anyone.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Gaetano’: “I painted a swastika in the centre of Bologna/ But it was just to start a fight/ I didn’t want to party and I needed a pretext/ To let you go”

[Trust me, I’m from Bologna, it’s fine, we are not offended by the swastika thing. We actually have meme-events on Facebook about going to find that piece of graffiti.]

Willie Peyote – Guglielmo “Willie” is a rapper more prominent in the indie scene than in rap. When I first saw him live it was the first time he was playing in a venue that made Italian indie history, and he couldn’t believe he was performing there as well. If you saw him you would not think his stage name is of a psychoactive drug: scrawny and nerdy with glasses, but he can rap fast. He has a funky sound and his lyrics are smart and play with words and your expectations.

Favourite lyrics, form ‘C’era una vodka’: “I have had issues with alcohol in the past/ But now everything is fine/ We got back together”

Ex-Otago – They are my new love. Their style can only be described as indie pop, whatever that oxymoron means. What I most like about them are the very simple beats you cannot stay still to. Their lyrics are very simple as well, you will remember the chorus after the first listen and sing along every time after that. They are the band I listen to while making dinner, cleaning my room and folding laundry. They are even approved by my British housemate who only listens to grime.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Quando sono con te’: “When I’m with you/ I feel inside me/ A racket, a music/ And I don’t know where it comes from/ And it probably doesn’t have a name/ But it caresses me and it invades me”

Italian indie can take on many different faces and sounds. So why do I like it so much? Well, firstly, it is not just me. I feel that this genre of music is what most of my generation back home listens to. It just gets us. They understand what being a 20-something in a messed-up country means. Recurring themes and lyrics in these artists’ songs are about not seeing a future for yourself, an inability to communicate and to create meaningful interpersonal relationships. There is an overarching feeling of instability and uncertainty, feelings that pervade everyone in their 20s but I feel are extremely prominent in my country, were people have not been able to see a future for themselves since the 2008 financial crisis. The one verse that I feel encompasses this feeling the most is from Fast Animals and Slow Kids and it says: “Hopes when you are 20 ears old, being still but feeling distant”. We do not listen to this kind of music to get even more depressed about our situation, but to connect with people from our generation that get it as well. It is a for of escapism from the older generations that screwed everything up for us and are now telling us to that we are not working hard enough.

My hope is to have widened your horizon of what is out there in the indie music scene, and to have showed you how other people can relate to music. Maybe you will pick up one of those bands, even if you don’t understand a word they are saying.


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