Personality Profile: Mike Manna

On Monday, October 9 from 5:30 – 11:00 PM, Pittsburgh area boxers will take on boxers from Italy at The Grand Hall at the Priory.

The event is presented by Pittsburgh Building Trades Donnybrook. Former World Champion and Boxing Hall of Fame member Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini will coach top amateur boxers from Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, while Olympic Gold Medal boxer Roberto Cammarelle will be managing the best boxers from Italy.

One of the Pittsburgh boxers is a friend of Ciao Pittsburgh, Michael Manna. We interviewed Michael about 4 years ago, but chatted with him again and updated our Q&A with him below.

Ciao Pittsburgh: How many years have you been fighting?

Michael: I had my first actual fight in 2011.

Ciao Pittsburgh: How did you get into boxing?

Michael: To prove something. When I was a kid, I would mess around in the boxing gyms but never fought until 2011. I wanted to do something to occupy my time plus I wanted to prove a point that no matter what life or someone throws at me, I will still be standing at the end.

Ciao Pittsburgh: What kind of training do you do during the year to stay in shape?

Michael: A lot of running and a lot of boxing-training which consists of shadow boxing, bag work, mid work, sparring, jumping rope, and running for rounds. Running for rounds means that I’ll take the number of rounds I will fight and try to run as hard as a I can on a track for three 3-minute rounds with a minute break in between. This allows me to get used to the rounds and catching my breath after each round. [Read more…]

Pittsburgh Opera presents Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

Mozart’s screwball comedy returns to the Benedum for the first time in seven years
Pittsburgh Opera presents Mozart’s beloved madcap comedy The Marriage of Figaro, at the Benedum Center November 4th -12th.
Figaro is in love with the Countess’s servant Susanna, who he plans to wed that very day. However, their employer Count Almaviva has his eye on Susanna. In fact, the Count intends to invoke the hated feudal practice of droit de seigneur – the infamous right of the lord to sleep with a commoner’s bride on her wedding night. Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess are understandably outraged at this possibility, and are determined not only to prevent it, but to teach the Count a lesson while they’re at it.
The cast includes a quartet of talented American singers making their Pittsburgh Opera debuts plus some returning favorites.
Debuting are bass-baritone Tyler Simpson, a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera, as Figaro; star soprano Joélle Harvey, singing the famously challenging role of Susanna; baritone Christian Bowers, who recently sang in Bordeaux and Malta, as philandering Count Almaviva; and eight-year Met Opera veteran bass Brian Kontes as the scheming, meddling Dr. Bartolo.

[Read more…]

2017 Italian Heritage Day

Italian Heritage Day is an annual program offered by the Senator John Heinz History Center that occurs on the first Sunday of October. The main objective of Italian Heritage Day is to offer fun, interactive activities for families to learn about Italian American history and culture together. All activities, which are facilitated by local organizations and museum representatives, are designed with the whole family in mind; we have arranged them so that tutta la famiglia can play together.

Besides fun family activities, Italian Heritage Day also features local Italian American organizations that offer programming in our region year round. Visit the bazaar to find out where they meet, when they meet, and what aspect of the Italian culture they specialize in. Learn how you can celebrate your Italian heritage every day!

Read more at the Heinz History Center website.

National Prosecco Day; I’ll Drink to That!

By Alberto Amore

Prosecco is the best selling sparkling wine in the world and more than 4 million cases have been sold in the US alone, so it is only proper that we celebrate with a glass or two.

National Prosecco Day will be held on August 13. The day will be marked with festivals, promotions and all manner of Prosecco based treats. Think, Ice cream strawberries and prosecco, Pizza and Prosecco tours and Prosecco donuts! If that isn’t living the sweet life, I don’t know what is.

Prosecco is named after the Italian village in the Veneto region near the city of Trieste where the grape and wine has its origins. Most Prosecco wine is still a product of this region although grapes can be sourced from Brazil and other countries.

Prosecco is a variant of sparkling wine which can be enjoyed in the very celebratory and bubbly ‘spumante’, the effervescent ‘frizzante’ or the relaxing ‘tranquillo’. Being Italian, these bottles of bubbly are very fresh and uncomplicated heralding the arrival of autumn in Europe and reflecting on the fruits of the season’s harvest. [Read more…]

40 decades later,’The Fever Still Burns’

By Alberto Macchione

It could be argued that there were three truly significant Italian American movies that cemented Italian culture into the zeitgeist. The Godfather, Rocky and Saturday Night Fever, the latter of which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year.

Each of those movies was sold as ‘The American Dream’ all with anti-hero leads, all with flawed characters, failing the expectations of their families, their peers and the country that their families emigrated to. Underneath the Red White and Blue sheets were a different dream. The dream of a Red White and Green flag from southern Europe that had been defeated by war and had left regions with endemic poverty and few opportunities for growth. These people left close-knit communities and loving homes to make a life for themselves. They left to build America.

They went to survive, they went to make it. They didn’t always win like Vito Corleone. For most of them, winning was just Rocky Balboa making it to the final round. Surviving every well-trained punch that the stars and stripes adorning Apollo Creed could give. The subtext is America beating down this ‘other’ with all it might, The Italian Stallion, who with almost no education, no finance and poor preparation had the guts and determination to stand toe to with the world champ and take him to task. For most of them winning was just trying, such as disheveled and beaten Toney Monero crossing the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan in the final scenes of Saturday Night Fever, traveling from youth to adulthood, from the very ethnic coffee drinking Brooklyn to the white tea drinking Manhattan (Italy to America).

[Read more…]