Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cineforum Italiano: Scialla! (Take it Easy)

At Letelier Theater in Georgetown on June 3rd at 4:00pm Passatempo will be screening a delightful, award-winning comedy from Italy about an unlikely coexistence between a father and his newly-discovered teenage son.  It's an early Father's Day Celebration.

Bruno (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) has lost all zest for life - his career is flagging and his passion for teaching has become an apathetic routine with equally uninterested students, including 15-year-old Luca. One day Luca's mother reveals a secret that turns Bruno's life upside down: Luca is his son. Awkward.

This is classic comedy served up Italian style - warm and funny but never over-sentimental or patronizing. "Scialla" is Roman slang for "take it easy", and this film is pretty much just that. Not loud or vulgar but simple and amusing. Al dente!
Genre: Comedy
Director: Francesco Bruni
Released: 2011
Duration: 95 min.
In Italian with English subtitles.

Event Schedule:
  • June 3, 2012 at Letelier Theater in Georgetown. 3251 Prospect Street, NW, Washington, DC UPPER COURTARD.
  • 4:00 pm: Sign in, enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks during the film. 
  • 4:15 pm: Program begins with introductions and film 
  • 6:15 pm: The film will be followed by small reception which provides an opportunity to socialize and discuss the film.
  • $10 for members of Passatempo.  Click here to RSVP.  
  • $15 for non-members (cash only, no credit/debit card processing)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Wine & Food Tour of Tuscany

Do you enjoy wine and food from the Tuscany region of Italy?  You may want to consider joining Passatempo and Chef Vincenzo D'arista on a very special tour of Tuscany this fall.   

The trip will be September 28 - October 7, 2012.

Chef Vincenzo, who has lived and worked in Tuscany, will be your private chef and tour guide for the week. You'll be introduced to chefs, winemakers and the wonderful people of Tuscany. It promises to be the kind of experience that comes through traveling with an insider. 

June 15 is the deadline for trip registration

The trip will cost $3,900 per person which includes airfare, accommodations, ground transportation and most meals during the trip.  There's a $350 single supplement.  A 10% discount being offered when two people register at the same time and a 25% discount when four people register at the same time. For more details and to contact the tour leaders, click here.

These are some brief highlights from the "Tastes of Tuscany Tour" being offered by Passatempo:
  • The food at the Duca di Orvieto restaurant in Orvieto is fresh and all handmade using local products and carefully researched traditional recipes from the renaissance times.  The group will enjoy lunch there on the first day of the trip during a stopover between Rome and the Estate of Monaciano.  Monaciano is where the group will be lodging for the eight nights of the trip. The Estate is only 7 km from the historic center of Siena, nestled between the hills of the Chianti.
  • The group will experience one of those Italian traditions that you just have to see for yourself: The Grape Festival in Impruneta.  The parade happens on the last Sunday in September every year. The town of Impruneta is world-famous for its production of terracotta.
  • Siena is a masterpiece in medieval architecture and home to beautiful traditions.  The group will enjoy the day in Siena and in the evening they'll go way off the beaten path through a nature reserve to experience home-made pizza from a wood-burning oven deep in the Tuscan countryside under bright stars.
  • Monte Amiata is the highest mountain in Tuscany and a tour of the area is an unforgettable highlight.  This solitary mountain in the very heart of the region rises between the valleys of the Orcia, the Fiora, and the Paglia, and is the result of powerful volcanic eruptions that occurred between 180 and 290 million years ago.
  • The "not-to-be-missed" famous hilltop towns of Volterra and San Gimigniano will be visited with local guides.
  • San Giusto a Rentennano is a world-class winery that isn't typically visited by tourists but the group will meet the owners and enjoy lunch with local foods.  The winery visit is followed by a trip to visit the best castle in Tuscany and birthplace of Chianti wine: Brolio Castle.  The group will tour the museum, the gardens, enjoy the spectacular views and taste traditional recipes with dinner on the castle grounds.
  • A free day to explore Italy's renaissance city of Florence followed by dinner at the home of an incredible chef.
  • Of course, no visit to Tuscany would be complete without a visit to one of Italy's most well-known symbols: The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • The group returns on Sunday, October 7. The traditional Columbus Day holiday in the United States is on October 8 which provides an opportunity to rest before returning to work.

About Passatempo

The mission of Passatempo is to promote an appreciation of Italian language and culture through Italian language lessons, cooking lessons, film, art, music, literature, wine tastings, sports, travel and social engagement. We help people with a strong interest in Italy connect with one another, both online and in person. Membership is FREE and we're open to all levels of Italian language from zero to native fluency. The club is based in our Nation's Capital of Washington, DC with events in Dupont Circle, Friendship Heights and other neighborhoods all around DC.

Monday, May 7, 2012

CiaoDC May Calendar

Welcome to beautiful May!  There are so many fabulous events to share with you this month, we barely know where to start.  Mark your calendar for a month of everything Italian...plus an Italian Style Mother's Day that's worth writing home about to Mamma!  Check facebook and twitter for give aways and special events for The Servant of Two Masters and Hamlechino!  WIN TICKETS TO SERVANT OF TWO MASTER HERE!

Through May 19: Hamlecchino, CiaoDC.com discount Code: CIAO ($20 ticket offer)Through May 31: Constantino Nivola: 100 years of Creativity, Embassy of Italy
May 7: Caravaggio: Interpretations of His Life in Film, National Gallery of Art5555
May 9: La Prima Cosa Bella, Embassy of Italy
May 10: Aperitivo at I Ricchi, Italians in DC
May 10-May 30: Everywhere Nowhere Exhibition, Embassy of Italy
May 12: Peabody Opera Class Does Puccini, presented by Lyric Opera Cabaret Series
May 12: European Union Embassies Open House, Embassy of Italy
May 13: Mother's Day at DaMimmo's - Little Italy, Baltimore.  Enjoy special discounts and complimentary dessert for Mother's only!
May 13: Mother's Day Sparkling Brunch at Cafe Milano
May 15: Frescoes Step by Step, Embassy of Italy
May 15-June 24: Carlo Goldoni's commedia dell'arte The Servant of Two Masters, Shakespeare Theatre Company
May 17, 24: Casa Italiana Cooking Classes, Casa Italiana Language School
May 18: In the Light of Naples: Francesco de Mura in America, Embassy of Italy
May 20: Highlandtown Wine Festival, Baltimore, MD
May 20: Opera Night at Sotto Sopra
May 20: Italians in DC Festival, Woodrow Wilson Plaza, Free Admission - tickets for apertivio and wine tasting available; volunteers wanted!
May 23: SIF's 24th Annual National Education Leadership Awards Gala, National Building Museum
May 23: Winemakers Dinner at Germano's, Baltimore, MD
May 24 - June 12: Paintings from Accademia Carrara, Embassy of Italy

Faction of Fools' HAMLECCHINO is Hamlet like you've never seen him before

Photo By: C. Stanley Photography

To laugh or not to laugh? That is not the question.  In Faction of Fools’ HAMLECCHINO: Clown Prince of Denmark, the pensive and tormented character of  Prince Hamlet is infused with the comedic spirit of Arlecchino, the servant-like Commedia dell’Arte character, to create a fresh take on the prince who must avenge his father’s death. 

Hamlecchino (Matthew R. Wilson) was already feeling uneasy about his father’s death and the speed with which his mother, Queen Gertrude (Eva Wilhelm) gave her affections to Claudius (Billy Finn), the elder Hamlet’s brother, and Hamlecchino’s uncle, who is now the King of Denmark.  Learning that Hamlet was overthrown in a treacherous murder plot carried out by his uncle King Claudius, further tortures Hamlecchino, as he becomes “a rogue and peasant slave” to the retribution he must carry-out.

Taking on the nimble characteristics of Arlecchino, Hamlecchino is seen bouncing around and reasoning aloud to himself about whether and how he should seek revenge against King Claudius.  But all this talking aloud about his uncertainty, agony, and contemplation of suicide, lead the characters to believe that Hamlecchino’s madness is due to his unrequited love of Ophelia (Emma Crane Foster).  The inaction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is intensified by Hamlecchino’s foolery, as he sways between intense protestation of his duty, and a lamenting for the lack of passion he has to get the job done.  Yet we see him accidentally bring Polonius to his grave, for which he shows little remorse. Hamlecchino merely breathes an unsympathetic “farewell” after seeing Polonius (Toby Mullford), the father of Ophelia, fall at his hands.

The nimble Hamlecchino, played by Faction of Fools artistic director, isn’t the only character refashioned with a whimsical fa├žade in this slapstick comedy.  In fact, we see many of the stock characters of Commedia dell’Arte adapted to HAMLECCHINO.  Pulcinella materializes as the apparition of the elder Hamlet that only Hamlecchino and some foot soldiers can see. Polonius is the know-it-all-character, or the Dottore, who is actually far from it, and his daughter Ophelia along with Laertes (John V. Bellomo) are the innamorati, the over dramatic lovers who are more overtaken with the idea and emotions of love, than their object of affection.  Gertrude is the easily aroused Donna Zezza, and Claudius the infiltrating Capitano.

It is not only the commedia dell’Arte characters that lend themselves to this re-envisioned Hamlet, but also the antics of the 16th century theater that we have come to know and love while laughing at the Fools for the past three seasons. The out-of-place limbo dance and calypso music as the Norwegians seize Denmark; the skull that is found during grave digging that Hamlecchino moves to sing a ‘”cha-cha-cha” ditty as he reminisces that it was his favorite jester; Polonius trying to communicate with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern through gestures and slow speech, even though they are using ASL; and plenty of sexual innuendo add to the comic relief of the serious plot.

Amazement doesn’t stop in HAMLECCHINO.  Amelia Hensley and Marianna Devenow, two Gallaudet students that play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, give added depth to the player’s use of over–the-top physicality. Ophelia’s ribbon-climbing acrobatic scene and dramatic song near her death marvel, while also setting a more somber tone.  And the intense sword fight that leads to death of most of the characters is well choreographed, but may leave some front-row audience members anxious about their own fate.  One lucky one might just catch the crown!
HAMLECCHINO, the final show of the Faction of Fools’ third season is playing at Gallaudet Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm, and a matinee show on Saturdays (2 pm), through May 19  -  Follow the link to buy tickets.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cineforum Italiano: Diciotto anni dopo (18 Years Later)

Happy Mother's Day on May 13th! Get ready for a warmhearted road movie that easily shifts gears between drama and comedy as two brothers drive across the gorgeous Italian countryside.

Brothers Mirko (Leo) and Genziano (Bonini) haven't spoken or seen each other since their mother died in a car accident when they were teenagers. Soon after, Genziano moved to London and became a successful stockbroker while the stuttering, insecure Mirko stayed to work as a mechanic in the family-run garage.

Eighteen years later, Genziano returns to Rome, for 24 hours, for their father's funeral only to discover that the man's dying wish was to have his ashes laid by his wife's grave, in Calabria. Which means his sons must make the trip to southern Italy in the antique Morgan in which their mother died, which he painstakingly and secretly rebuilt over time.

Along the way this charming film provides plenty of adventures, laughs and insights about family relations and settling old scores. The brothers have to cope with a broken down car, strange motels and hitchhiking, as well as years of suppressed anger, jealousy and resentment. Will they make it to Calabria in one piece? And can they bury the past?

Cineforum Italiano sponsored by Passatempo, LLC.

Genre: Comedy

Director: Edoardo Leo

Released: 2010

Duration: 100 min.

In Italian with English subtitles.

Plan for the event:

  • May 13, 2012 at Letelier Theater in Georgetown. 3251 Prospect Street, NW, Washington, DC UPPER COURTARD.
  • 4:00 pm: Sign in, enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks during the film.
  • 4:15 pm: Program begins with introductions and film
  • 6:15 pm: The film will be followed by small reception which provides an opportunity to socialize and discuss the film.

Ticket Prices:

  • $10 online with your RSVP. Click here.
  • $15 at the door (cash only, no credit/debit card processing)



Photo Gallery:


Getting to Letelier Theater: Street parking is free on Sundays. There's also a parking garage available directly next to the theater on Prospect Street for $4/hr. There are several public transportation options. The theater website describes the options in detail: http://leteliertheater.com/directions/