Amsterdam > Milano > Bari > Foggia

Trip Start Sep 07, 2006
Trip End Dec 19, 2006

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

(Alternativa Caffetteria, Foggia, Italia, November 16, 2006)-Good morning, everybody, bon giorno, it's a beautiful Thursday morning in this little city in the Deep South of Italy off the Adriatic coast, and Mark Ritsema and I are waiting to be driven 90 minutes to the airport in Bari to catch the plane back to Milano for our presentation of VA TUTTO BENE / IT'S ALL GOOD at the City Lights Bookstore in the C.S.O.A. COX 18 this evening.

We spent four hours at the Milano Malpensa Airport on Tuesday between arriving from Amsterdam and departing for Bari, where we spent the night in a fine four-star hotel and met our Southern Italian host, Vito Laterza, for our press conference in the morning with the regional President and other dignitaries at the announcement of the second annual Primo Matteo Salvatore.

We have a few good laughs with the locals, including Angelo Cavallo who was Matteo Salvatore's manager for the last years of his long and artistically productive life and bandleader Ninni Maina who was his unfailing friend and companion. Ninni will drive Vito, Mark, and me to Foggia for a sumptuous southern repast and our 5:00 pm press conference with the festival organizers there, who all treat us throughout with ceaseless concern for our comfort, ease and well-being.

The press conference in Foggia was a little more spirited. The early going was centered on a brilliant piece of pending legislation in the region of Puglia (Apulia) that would provide a living for poets, musicians and other folk artists who could not otherwise secure their sustenance by means of their work in art. Dedicated to the spirit of Matteo Salvatore, this law, when passed, will be the first of its sort in modern times and should serve as a template for communities all over the world.

[I have an Italian text of the proposed legislation which Vito Laterza has promised to translate for me, so I'll insert it when I get the English text.]

Then they presented the Primo Matteo Salvatore, announced the lineup for the festival, talked about me as the featured artist from America for a minute and opened the floor to questions from the attendant media. I got off a few heated ripostes while advancing the standard left wing beatnik/dopefiend/poet provocateur agenda, and then we were free to enjoy the delights of this lovely place, including a fantastic home-style southern Italian meal at Bellami, the venue where we will perform on Saturday night.

Now we're off to Milano for two days and return here on Saturday for the Primo M.S. I've got a lot of pals in Milano from my visit there with Stefano Gebhardt in 2005 and look forward to seeing them again.

In closing, I'd like to say I'm sorry to have caused any concern about my health in my last entry here. I had pretty much recovered from my digestive nightmares when I wrote and really didn't mean to alarm anyone. Illness happens, we go through the hard parts and then it's over, or either it lingers, but we have to get through it in any case, god willing. Rest assured I'm feeling far better now and having a natural ball in Italy all this week. Thanks for caring!
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joebryak on

How bout that
4-star hotel, feted n greeted by such as the Regional Prez--another ezzample of that old one about a prophet in his own country, etc. And more to come--some sort of law, provisions to support not just 'The Arts' but . . . the !#^&ing artists! We await the translation of this groundbreaking work with bated breath!
Meanwhile folks here perform for as little as free drinks and a smile from the barmaid.
Too bad you missed Dennis & Pat's wedding. They met on a footbridge over St. John's Bayou. Each 'side's' folks approached middle from opposite ends of bridge for ceremony. One wit said it reminded him of the scene in one of those spy movies where they would exchange prisoners. Nice ceremony, then procession featured whole bunch of us singing 'On the Sunny Side of the Street.'
Fabulous food at reception afterward at Sound Room. Good music, and Prof. Arturo (Arthur Pfister) performed some dyno epic poetry. He's an evacuee, btw, now esconced in Connecticut.
Caught him next day at Maple Leaf. Yrs truly read my story about an asskickin to remember, this by flashlight. No regional president, but then Italy doesn't have crawfish etoufee, so there's a tradeoff. Cheers, Joe

britabee on

Glad you are better!
Hi John - Its miss (big) 'B' from the 'D' - you had me worried there! Glad you are better. Say hello to Italy for me- I must visit there one day soon. I think I would like Positano, Naples and Lake Como...Maybe the countryside too...I have several travel books of Italy - I have always sorta felt like I would end up there! We are doing OK In the 'D'- The elections sure helped cheer up some of us suffering free thinkers...although its nothing to get too giddy about.
Take care and God bless! Love Brita

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