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September 23, 2011     Post-Gazette
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September 23, 2011

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POSTmGAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 Page 13 J'E"Lf ' i ...mrethanmeets'heeye i oooooooeeooooooooooooooooooooooooooeoeoooelooi I A Nostalgic Remembrance LITTLE BIG SOLDIER Cunningham) and his core | ......... ~ I (DVD) team of Stella (Hermione Well Go USA Norris), Cass (Daniel Mays) Last week's edition fea- tured a story about the last of the season's Italian feasts, Saints Cosmas and Damian. It was a two-day gala event in East Cam- bridge. Feast chairman was Sal DiDomenico, Sr. Saints Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers who traveled from their Middle Eastern origins to spread the word of Jesus. They were martyred due to their being executed by the Romans during the last cen- turies of the Empire. The memory of them was stron- gest in the area of Gaeta, a coastal city about half way between Rome and Naples. As a result, they became the patron saints of that area of Italy, and the memory of the martyred brothers is celebrated each summer wherever people from Gaeta gather. East Cambridge has a large population of people from, or descended from, that west coastal city in Italy, and annually they celebrate the memory of Cosmas and Damian in their commu- nity. The kick-off began with a Saturday night concert sponsored by the Privitera family. Each year, the enter- tainment has included a singer or singing group from the '5Os or '60s, quite often famous doo wop stars. This year, Robert Louis Ridarelli was the featured singer. If this name doesn't sound familiar, it is because he uses the stage name, Bobby Rydell. You folks with a bit of grey or white hair (like me) might remember him from back in the day. His hits include "We Got Love," "Wild One," "Volare," 'The Cha Cha Cha" and "For- get Him." He also has two films to his credit, with a starring role in "Bye Bye Birdie." As we sat listening to him, he not only sang all of his hits, but included those of his old friend, the late Bobby Darin (also Italian). Bobby Rydell was the head- liner, and the evening's en- tertainment began with an appearance by Ayla Brown. She is an up and coming pop singer who happens to be the daughter of Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts, and Gail Huff, a reporter from WCVB-TV. Tall and statu- esque, Ayla started out as a basketball player, but about five or six years ago she appeared on American Idol and wowed the nation with her singing. Since then, she has been climbing a vertical path to stardom. Loretta and I were joined by several music loving friends that included Dean Saluti, his wife, Margie Cahn, Patt and Chuck Centore from Concord and Waltham's Bill Strachman with his partner, Jane Rollins. All of us agreed that the concert was an event we will long remember. On the following day, the statues of the two saints were carried through the streets of West Cambridge in the annual parade cel- ebration that is part of the event. Members of the Saints Cosmas and Damian Society marched along car- rying or accompanying the statues, while two bands serenaded the onlookers. When the parading group reached Cambridge Street, they stopped in front of the DiDomenico flower shop, Flowers By Sal. With the statues now stationary, people began pinning money on the robes that covered the two martyred saints. Rolls of bills pinned to long ribbons were lowered from windows on the upper floors and the roof of the DiDomenico building. While this was going on, confetti flew everywhere and the two bands offered their rendi- tions of traditional Italian songs. It was quite spectacu- lar. Again, Dean, Margie, Bill and Jane joined us to view the last Italian feast day of the season. I had to do a lot of explain- ing to Bill and Jane who are not Italian. Actually, Margie is not Italian either, but being married to Dean, she's become more involved in things Italian than many ladies I know who have Italian last names. Bill is Jewish and Jane is a W.A.S.P. They were fasci- nated and intrigued by the cultural events they became involved in for the weekend, and when everything was said and done, we headed to a Cambridge restaurant where I continued my expla- nations of the celebrations tgo~ Italian saints. Later that night, when I was home relaxing, I began thinking about the back-up musicians that accompa- nied both Ayla Brown and Bobby Rydell. They were young and they were good, and it made me reflect on my experiences as a young musician. Oh, I didn't men- tion that while we were in front of Sal's flower shop waiting for the procession and the saints to show up, there was entertainment, a duo with a singer. The mu- sicians were Andy Greco on guitar and Jerry Tramontozzi on accordion, two musicians I worked with decades ago. As a matter of fact, I worked with Jerry as part of the Ken Reeves Orchestra in 1958, 53 years ago. When I started out as a musician, I was just a kid in my late teens and was lucky enough to make it with older seasoned performers. The only problem with that is, today, most of them are gone, and I'm the old timer. Andy and Jerry are among the few who are up there in years and are still playing. Look- ing at people like Ayla Brown and her musicians and those who backed Bobby Rydell, I realized that enter- tainment is a young person's profession and only a select few stay with it after the grey hair starts to show. Babbononno and Dad both told me that music was a young person's profession when I started out and to make the best of it while I was in my 20s and 30s, because they almost guar- anteed me that, as I got older, no matter my talent level, I might be replaced by younger musicians. Babbononno's explanations in his fractured English in- cluded advice based on his experiences. He told me to become a band leader if I wanted to last forever. But if I remained a side man, I might have a short career. Dad agreed, and as I listened I was convinced that music for me would be an avoca- tion, something I could do evenings and on weekends ... something called Plan B. Well, here I am 53 years later, retired from music, retired from the Boston Pub- lic Schools but not retired completely. I teach at three colleges and continue to write this column. I guess I'm lucky. Most people my age who want to work wind up bagging groceries at supermarkets like Stop & Shop. College teaching is one of the few areas where age is a plus, not a minus. So, with your permission, I'll stay off the musical stage and continue to write and teach. The positive aspect of this is that it affords me more time to spend with my wife, who early in our mar- riage stayed home nights while I was out playing music. GOD BLESS AMERICA Saint Vincent DePaul (Continued from Page 5) their name from the Priory of Lazarus which the Fathers began to occupy in 1633. It was during this period that Vincent de Paul established the Daughters of Charity. St. Vincent's charity did not end at Paris; In the period of the Thirty Year War, Vincent made urgent appeals to the Ladies of Charity for assistance. Though honored by the powerful of the world, Saint Vincent remained deeply rooted in humility. The he reached to all the prov- Apostle of Charity died in inces desolated by misery. Paris on September 27, 1660. On August 13, 1729, Vincent was declared blessed by Benedict XIII and canonized by Clement XII on June 16, 1737. He was made patron to the Sisters of Charity by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Saint Vincent is the Patron of Charitable Societies. Little Big Soldier is the story of a soldier (Jackie Chan) and a general (Wang Leehom) who come from op- posing states and also have very much opposing views on the war and the world. Chan, in one of his finest perfor- mances, plays a soldier from Liang who ultimately sur- vives the war by playing dead. Leehom plays a gen- eral from Wei, who is wounded fighting for his country. A painful yet comi- cal journey commences when the soldier decides to kidnap the general and bring him back to his state in the hope of collecting a reward. When the unlikely duo is confronted by danger, they quickly learn that they must join forces in order to survive! (1 hr. 32 mins.) SWINGERS, HOSTAGE, ROUNDERS (Blu-ray) Lionsgate Lionsgate debuts three movie classics that are big- ger, better, more thrilling and more hilarious than ever -- on Blu-ray disc. Swingers, Hostage and Rounders each feature blockbuster stars Bruce Willis, Matt Damon, Ed Norton and Vince Vaughn. Swingers: LA meets Vegas in this quintessential film about the unwritten rules of the social scene. Hostage: Willis finds himself in the thick of another family's drama with dire conse- quences as he tries to keep the father's secret. Round- ers: This crime-drama film looks at the underground world of high stakes poker and stars Damon as a re- formed gambler. (96 mins./ 113 rains. / 121 rains.) THE BEAVER (Blu-ray) Sony Pictures Home Ent. Walter Black {Mel Gibson), was once a successful and happy family man but has now hit rock bottom. In his darkest hour, he finds a rather unusual savior: a beaver hand puppet that takes over his life in an at- tempt to change things for the better. Jodie Foster di- rects and co-stars with Gibson in this darkly comic journey of self-discovery and a solemn ode to the strength of family, which film critics are calling "bold," "complex" and "funny." (1 hr. 31 mins.) OUTCASTS (3-DVD) BBC Outcasts explores survival, sex, politics and the drive for power in a new post-Earth era. With Earth no longer habitable, a group of coura- geous pioneers have traveled to another planet to begin again. They built the town of Forthaven on Carpathia and have the unique opportunity of creating a new and better future on another planet. Led by President Tate (Liam and Fleur (Amy Manson), they're determined to run the civilization in a demo- cratic way, but tough deci- sions in the past may prove divisive. This new frontier sci-fi series is "out there"! (7 hrs. 50 mins.) TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: SEASON 9 (DVD) Lionsgate Join the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as they face off against new opponents -- the evil Lord Dregg and Hi- tech -- while also fighting against their own uncontrol- lable mutations in the mind- bending Season 9! With the help of Carter, a new ninja ally, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello strug- gle to stop Lord Dregg from enslaving Earth, while over- coming Replicon, a battle droid that regenerates after each defeat. Featuring non- stop, sewer-to-street action, these eight adventures will leave you wanting more turtle power with their "riv- eting" performances! (2 hrs. 56 rains.) THE GRACE CARD (DVD) Sony Pictures Home Ent. After police officer Mac MacDonald (Michael Joiner) loses his son in an accident, years of bitterness and pain erode his love for his family and leave him angry with God ... and everyone else. Mac and his new patrol partner, Sgt. Sam Wright (Michael Higgenbottom), join forces to help one another when it's impossible to look past their differences -- es- pecially the most obvious one. Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild rela- tionships and heal wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer The Grace Card ... and never underes- timate the power of God's love. (1 hr. 42 rains.) THE CONSPIRATOR (2-DVD) Lionsgate In the wake of Abra- ham Lincoln's assassina- tion, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President and others. Against the ominous back- drop of post-Civil War Washington, Union war hero Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) reluctantly agrees to defend the lone woman charged, Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), before a military tri- bunal. As the nation turns against her, Surratt is forced to rely on Aiken to uncover the truth and save her life. Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait in order to capture the only con- spirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her son, played by Johnny Simmons! (2 hrs. 2 mins.)