Lou Carlozo

Lou Carlozo is award-winning journalist who spent 20 years reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chicago Tribune. He began writing for Fra Noi in 2007, and claims maternal and paternal southern Italian lineage. The monthly Lou&A columnist and a music reviewer/writer, his work has appeared in Reuters, Aol, The Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and news outlets around the world. In 1993, he was a Pulitzer Prize team-reporting finalist for his contributions to the Tribune’s “Killing Our Children” series. He resides in Chicago with his wife of 21 years, a hospital chaplain, and their teenage son and daughter.

Muralist Tony Passero

  Where other Chicago commuters see filthy expressway viaducts or bleak train station walls — that is, if they see them at all — muralist Tony Passero envisions possibilities: outsized felines with piano-key teeth; cubist creatures of red and orange in surrealistic tango; kaleidoscopic owls orbited by Technicolor eggs. Passero’s public artwork enthralls enough to make drivers screech in their tracks to do a double take. Yet to properly assess his work means leaving your assumptions at the nearest exit ramp. For starters, he’s self-taught. And bottom line, the majority of his city mural work is self-funded, with Passero also …

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Painter Bob Proce

With his exhibit “Over 50,” which runs through July 10 at Oak Park’s Narrow Gallery, Robert M. Proce pays tribute to the dignity and grace of an older generation. Having worked so long in the painter’s medium, Proce knows well both his craft and the age group he depicts. “The ages range from 50 to 102,” says Proce, 75, whose parents hailed from Calabria and Pomarico. “Actually, I’ve completed 65 portraits to date, and hope to reach 100 by sometime next year.” It’s a prolific level of creativity that would put artists half his age to shame; “Because of space …

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Veterans Post Commander Diana Fecarotta

With a great uncle, two uncles and a father serving in World War II, Diana Fecarotta had a tough act to follow. But because of her family’s example, Fecarotta went on to distinguish herself in service to her nation: serving in the Marines from 1966 to 1968 and the Air Force Reserve from 1972 to 1975. Yet her contributions are far from over. Fecarotta is now the first woman to serve as a commander of an Italian American War Veterans post, taking the lead at the IAWV Guido Belmonte Post #4 after a quarter of a century as a member. …

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People’s poet Cin Salach

  It’s one thing to hone your talent as a professional poet — not easy in a field filled with sticky sentiment — but quite another to take it to a level where people entrust you to turn their most personal details into powerful verse. Yet Cin Salach — the talent behind poemgrown — ranks as a poetess of uncommon ability, poise and sensitivity. Her business is simple to describe, but difficult to do as artistic disciplines go: Salach interviews clients to create custom poems often presented as gifts. Italian on her father’s side via Sicily (Cellaccio was likely the …

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Italian American Executives of Transportation 2014 Dinner Dance

Every year, the Italian American Executives of Transportation undertakes two noble goals: to give students a chance to further their academic dreams and recognize those who’ve made a big difference in the lives of others. That they feed people generously at their annual banquet is another story (which we’ll get to eventually). But to be sure, a capacity crowd enjoyed the festivities at the Nov. 22 event, held at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. “Without the help and encouragement of the officers, board members, our committees, and the membership of the IAET, this event could not be possible,” says Vito …

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Italian Sons and Daughters of Italy/IANU Foundation 2014 Biennial Convention

by Ron Gruendl During the opening luncheon at the ISDA Convention in Chicago this summer, Hilton Worldwide executive Robert Allegrini opened his remarks by noting his first ISDA convention was held in Pittsburgh back in the late 1980s. “I never thought that a quarter century later, I would be addressing you as a keynote speaker,” he quipped. Allegrini said that his remarks would focus on evangelism “in the noble cause of promoting, preserving and protecting the Italian American culture and heritage.” When visiting the Coliseum in Rome at 10 years of age, his father dug a small stone from a …

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Mosaic impresario Matteo Randi

This we know: Italians and their ancestors claim crucial contributions in just about every classic art form. But the place of mosaics in Italian history is far lesser known to many art lovers. That’s why the Chicago Mosaic School in the city’s North Center neighborhood plays two vital roles: not just as a place to learn the craft, but also to pass down ancient traditions. “It’s about 25 centuries old as a medium and if we want to be correct, we should give credit to the Greeks for the invention,” says Matteo Randi, educational director at Chicago Mosaic. “But the …

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Bernard A. Affetto & Co.

If Italian family traditions begin at home, then so, too, should Italian family business ventures. While Lewis Affetto was only 16, he helped his father, Bernard, with tax work he did out of their residence in Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood. “I’d do bookkeeping for family businesses and some simple tax returns,” recalls Lewis Affetto, who’s of Sicilian lineage. “It just came naturally to me. Then I took some accounting classes in high school and did very well, so I decided it was the right way to go.” Boy, was it ever. Today Lewis and his sister Maria Gambino run Bernard A. …

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Elevator expert Robert Capuani

Growing up the son of Italian immigrant parents in the Taylor Street area, Robert Capuani learned a lesson that prepared him for a lifetime of success: “My father always told me, ‘No one’s going to give you anything for nothing,” and that you’ve got to work hard to set and achieve every goal.” As director of the Elevator Safety Division for the Illinois fire marshal, you could say Capuani has taken a steady ride to the top floor of his profession. He started the state’s program in 2006 and today, “We’re responsible for 34,000 elevators in the whole state outside …

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Alta Villa Banquets

What’s the secret sauce that makes Alta Villa Banquets of Addison such a success? From a culinary standpoint, you could start by noting that all the food, from sausages and soups to pastas and pizzas, is made fresh on the premises. You could also look at the long history Alta Villa has enjoyed serving Chicagoland’s Italian-American community and the many special events it has catered for the area’s unions. (It recently hosted the 100th anniversary of the Cement Mason’s Union Local No. 502, attended by Gov. Pat Quinn and more than 700 guests.) But even if you consider all that, …

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