Runaway Spoon

Interim UDC President Promises Leadership

May 20, 2013

Virginia Ali (left) & Gerald & Barbara Lang (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Virginia Ali (left) & Gerald & Barbara Lang

Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., interim president of the University of the District of Columbia, was introduced to a gathering of alumni and supporters at a Sunday brunch where university leaders pledged to “nurture the next generation” of leaders.

Lee Brian Reba & his mother, Arlene Reba (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Lee Brian Reba & his mother, Arlene Reba

Lyons, a respected educator and decision-maker, came out of retirement to take the interim post, effective March, 2013. “I’ll do all I can on my watch to continue this great legacy” at the university, promised Lyons in his talk before 122 attendees at the Mayflower Hotel.

The Alumni Legacy Brunch, honoring the Golden Jubilee Class of 1963, received a welcoming letter from Mayor Vincent Gray.  He was unable to attend, so Patricia Elwood, head of Protocol and International Affairs in the Executive Office of the Mayor, presented the congratulatory document.

Patricia Elwood & Joy Arnold Russell (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Patricia Elwood & Joy Arnold Russell

Presiding over the program was UDC’s Lee Brian Reba, executive director of corporate relations and special events.

Among the participants were Judith Terra, chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and member of the UDC Foundation, Inc., board of directors; Felicia Murphy-Phillips, UDC Foundation’s executive director; Donnel Jones, president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, Dr. Alton B. Byrd, president of the UDC National Alumni Society; Jerome Shelton, member of UDC’s board of trustees;

Nigel Parkinson, president and CEO of Parkinson Construction which is building the new student center; and Jay Narain, president of CONSYS construction which built the business school and renovated the new UDC plaza deck.

Christine M. Warnke (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Christine M. Warnke

Others included Virginia Ali, owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl; DC Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Barbara Lang and her husband, Gerald; DC Democratic Party leaders Christine M. Warnke and Virginia E. Hayes Williams; PR expert Jan DuPlain; and Diana Mayhew, president of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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Celebrity Star Wigs on Display at Italian Embassy

May 1, 2013

Jane Fonda’s funky “Barbarella” outfits, Elizabeth Taylor’s elaborate gowns and exquisite wigs worn in the film “Cleopatra,” and much more, are on display at the Italian Embassy as part of the celebration of the 2013 Year of Italian Culture in the United States.

Fancy wig with a bird (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Fancy wig with a bird

The handmade costume and wig creations by Italian craftspeople for the film industry are the real icons, not reproductions.

The exhibition – “Star Wigs: La Mano Italiano Crea” is open for public viewing until May 7 at the embassy, 3000 Whitehaven NW, DC.

Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero introduced the opening night show at an invitational reception that drew several hundred guests. The Dress in Dreams show by Elisabeth Cantone and Francesca Silvestri is a tribute, as stated by the event promotion, “to one of the most important cultural and historial heritages that is not well known abroad and even in Italy: how to create a character in the film industry.”

Wig with flowers (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Wig with flowers

A purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the intricate skills of the craftsmen and women whose excellence, devotion to details and loving work accomplished in their shops greatly contribute to making  certain films works of art. 

Cleopatra (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Cleopatra

The exhibits consist of wigs and theatrical costumes from films such as The Leopard, Casanova, Marie Antoinette, Barbarella, Moulin Rouge, Cleopatra and others, created by the Laboratory Rocchetti & Rocchetti, Costume Maison Farani, Peruzzi and The One, with their skilled artisans.

Jane Fonda's outfit in the movies (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Jane Fonda's outfit in the movies

At the embassy reception, Laura Delli Colli, journalist and author of several cinema books, presented the documentary Handmade Cinema, directed by Guido Torlonia and Colli, which includes interviews with famous figures of the Italian film industry.

After the embassy opening, there was a private reception at Cafe Milano.

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Georgetown Pizzeria Spotlight on WETA TV 26

April 29, 2013

Pizza in Washington, a new local program from WETA TV 26, explores the flourishing pizza scene in Greater Washington and features Georgetown’s il Canale on 31st Street NW.

Pizza in Washington premieres Tuesday, May 7 at 8 pm on WETA TV 26 and airs through the month. It is a half-hour program that approaches the subject -- pies – as a work of art.

Thin crust pizza is the way to go (Photo by: il Canale) Thin crust pizza is the way to go

To film the documentary, producers and crew set out on a culinary voyage and visited a dozen eateries in the area which offer pizza from true Neapolitan to New York style.

 “As Washington’s local public television station, we are proud to once again feature local flavor, sights and sounds with a new program that provides an inside look into several top area pizzerias and the fascinating story behind them,” said Kevin Harris, vice president and television station manager of WETA.

Pizza in Washington is a dynamic, fun program that showcases one of the region’s favorite foods.”

No other Georgetown restaurant was mentioned in the segment.

Il Canale, Georgetown, was selected by WETA to be included in the program.

Il Canale’s pizza is baked in a wood-fired brick oven imported from Italy. The restaurant’s pizza-making mastery is authenticated by Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the official Italian organization that certifies mastery Neapolitan style thin-crust pizza. The association defines the preparation, the ingredients and baking methods.

Il Canale is owned by Giuseppe “Joe” Farruggio, a native of Sicily.

Publications and blogs have written about the upswing of pizza establishments in the DC area over the last several years and how locals have taken to the pizza renaissance with the passion worthy of Italians.

In somewhat related news, Nick Squires, writing in Rome for The Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group Limited) has an article reprinted on The Drudge Report today, April 29, quoting the Italian Business Federation (FIPE), on the shortage of pizza makers in Italy.  “…with a slice of pizza an increasingly popular lunch time option in times of economic hardship, the pizza sector is booming…and an estimated 6,000 new ‘pizzaioli’ are needed," according to FIPE.

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