Arts & Leisure

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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Tony-winning actor Anthony Crivello

If the rollicking boogie king and swingin’ clown prince Louis Prima was a tough act to follow in his lifetime, imagine what it must be like to bring the musician back to life on stage in a way that pleases and amazes listeners. That’s exactly the challenge Anthony Crivello has tackled with “Louis & Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara,” which closed at the Royal George Theater on May 17. Presented by Hershey Felder, the production traces how Prima took unknown teenager Keely Smith and shaped her into a sassy stage foil via a two-week gig on the floor of the …

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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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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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Conductor/Pianist Francesco Milioto

As a six year old, Francesco Milioto remembers walking into his bedroom, finding his desk moved, and seeing an upright piano where none had stood before. “It was not something I had asked for. But my father had decided I would take lessons” — and as it turned out, from someone who’d never given lessons before. The gambles of such hopeful parents often end in failure or a child’s disinterest. But in Milioto’s case, it definitely resulted in huge win. Growing up Toronto, he studied his craft extensively at the Royal Conservatory, University of Western Ontario (where hearted a top …

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Special Events Maven Patti Lupo

It’s commonly believed that party music should fold into the background. But singer Patti Lupo deserves (an earns) the attention of those who attend upscale celebrations. Whether she’s performing at a wedding or other noteworthy occasion, or singing Christmas songs as part of The Caroling Party, Lupo displays matchless talent. And remarkably, she’s dedicated it not so much to stardom as making special events shine. Lupo, who has an Italian father and a half-Italian mother, grew up with music all around her. “My [maternal] grandparents sang in church choirs in New York, where my mother grew up,” she says. “My …

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Sitar master Clar Monaco

That an Italian-American musician might master violin, accordion, piano or guitar should never come as a surprise. But the sitar? In the wrong hands, that’s the cultural equivalent of pouring curry sauce over a plate of meatballs. But Clar Monaco tackled the instrument with a diligence and intensity that has made him one of the area’s best sitar players. As for what drew him to Indian music, Monaco, 57, says it began about 20 years ago; he started studying under Mushtaq Hussain Khan of Mumbai, India. “He was giving concerts around the U.S. but Chicago was his base for a …

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Theater director Dominic Missimi

Dominic Missimi is retired — officially, unquestionably retired — from Northwestern University, where he spent 30-plus years as a theater professor. Beloved by his students (many of whom went on to Broadway), the founder of the honored as Donald Robertson Endowed Chair in Music Theatre, and the skipper of some 80 university productions, Missimi hung up this hat a year ago. But at 69, Missimi is active to the point of putting men a third his age to shame. He spoke to Fra Noi between frantic paces in Brunswick, Maine, where he was directing a production of “Gypsy.” “Lots of …

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Alternative rocker Phil Angotti

Having just turned 50 in June, Phil Angotti’s at an age where most rockers call it a day. But look at Angotti’s calendar and you’ll see this Southeast Side native is busier than ever. He’s fronting the reunited pop band Material Issue (now dubbed “Material Reissue”), filling in for the late Jim Ellison. His new disc, “People and Places,” showcases his affection for the catchy, melodic rock he loves. And he still plays for enthusiastic audiences when he’s not working at his Wicker Park music store, Avenue N Guitars. “As you get older you get more sentimental, and you’re happy …

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Flamenco dancer Chiara Mangiameli

Native Italian Chiara Mangiameli has established herself a leader in Chicago’s dance scene, which might not seem surprising given how Italians throw themselves wholeheartedly at anything artistic. But her choice of genre is anything but typical, at least for someone born and raised in Milan: She’s dedicating her life and career to mastering flamenco dance. “Every time I’ve visited Seville, Spain to study, I’ve felt very comfortable and at home,” says Mangiameli, who today runs her own dance studio in the Logan Square neighborhood. “Italians and Spaniards seem to share cultural similarities that make them compatible. I felt an affinity …

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