L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-5-5-2022

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THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2022 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 R udolph Valenti- no's story is out of the ordinary. H e e m b o d i e s s u c c e s s a t i t s highest, the chance of reach- i n g t h e t o p w h e n d o i n g i t , everywhere else, is forbidden, unthinkable, a pure utopia. This is the very meaning many migrants gave to the Ameri- can experience, and not with- out reason, considering the i n c r e d i b l e p e r s o n a l g o a l s many of them achieved. Millions of paesani left with empty pockets and nothing to return to but, on the other side of the ocean, they met, thanks to their hard work, a life unimagin- able even just one generation before. They made it despite the difficulties, and their stories created - through the collec- tive word of mouth of those who had remained, who didn't have the courage or the opportunity to sail across the ocean - the myth of "Merica." Because, of course, the extraordinary success of just a few is louder than the silent and disillu- sioned return of many who couldn't make it, nor could find the simplest, humblest of jobs to stay in the New World. Rudolph Valentino, the American myth of an Italian icon From the Editor But Rudy, incredible charmer of the newborn art of cine- ma, which made him the first, iconic "Latin lover," tells us also of the deep connection migrants keep with their home- land, their family, and their home. Before during and after becoming a star, he ran away and came back, he returned and left again, he abandoned and found back his Castellane- ta many times. He moved just like the waves of the sea, fol- lowing his desire and need to leave, widen his horizons and give a chance to his dreams. But he also followed his yearn- ing to return, to reconnect, to challenge what he had left behind. To find relatives and ancestral landscapes, to show what he had achieved, but also to keep his family connec- tions alive. Back and forth, in endless alternance, just like depression and excitement, ambition and failure. Castellaneta and Apulia didn't treasure him enough. It was a world too far behind back then, at the moment of his triumph, too far from the illusions of Hollywood, too realis- tic - even today – to claim for itself the all-American myth that Rudolph embodied and still represents. Nobody would have fainted in the street for him, here; no crowds of scream- ing women would have killed themselves for a seductive actor and dancer with magnetic eyes, as happened in the Summer of 1926 in New York. Simple people couldn't fall victim to mass hysteria: they may have been attracted by his charm and by the lifestyle he represented, but they had other things to do, they had to put bread on the table, and work in the fields under the August sun. Castellaneta didn't seem too interested in him, a myth of silent cinema, because he was different. He was too Ameri- can, very Parisian, very international, in a time when being cosmopolitan wasn't fashionable, especially there, in the deep South of Italy, a place of landed estates and analpha- betism. He was too wealthy, too "aristocratic;" he could afford all whims and all vices; he was different from the rest if it's true that he had the opportunity to travel and study, rather than picking olives and digging the earth. Even today, Castellaneta isn't claiming her lost child back, even if it could become quite a tourist magnet. Perhaps too much time passed, perhaps that silent but alluring star has faded too much to attract, contrarily to what happens in Hol- lywood where, every year, Rudolph is remembered in a grandiose commemoration at the Hollywood Forever. There, if you are born in Italy, it's hard not to feel out of place dur- ing the ceremony, unless you pretend to be an extra in some sort of candid video showing a plethora of widows crying under their black veil, while leaving red roses on the grave of an old actor, on the anniversary of his death. To say it all, the modern Italian inability to claim back charming Rudolph is out of the ordinary, too. We can't bring him home: the man who walked into the history of world cinema – and women's imagination - with a step of tango, strengthening the myth of the Latin lover, of the fearless knight in a shiny armor who dies young. Just like it really happened to him, who left this world when he was at the apex of success, of a popularity which, in many ways, has never been matched by anyone. Similarly, we seem not to recognize the history of our compatriots' migrations as part of our national identity, of our national growth, even if millions of them left – and keep on leaving – from North and South. Even those who migrate t o d a y , a n d o f t e n c o m e b a c k h o m e a s w i n n e r s , a r e called cervelli in fuga, an expression that highlights their status as migrants, but also the need to bring them back so they can be exploited, not admired and respected as a capital of Italianità and a model to celebrate, regardless to where their talent blossomed. Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italiana all'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano 610 West Foothill Blvd. Unit D, Monrovia, CA 91016 - Tel.: (626) 359-7715 PLEASE SEND CORRESPONDENCE TO P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), www.italoameri- cano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian newspaper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which represents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian lan- guage and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Giudici SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTORS Catherine Accardi Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Nicoletta Curradi, GenerosoD'Agnese, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Alfonso Guer- riero Jr., Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003

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