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First Person

Where we should be pointing the lens

Just when you thought Italian Americans were free to move about the country without being dogged by stereotypes of criminality and buffoonery, the creators of “The Sopranos” and “Jersey Shore” have us running for cover again. According to Deadline.com, New Line has purchased the screenplay to a “Sopranos” prequel penned by the series creators. Set against the backdrop of the Newark riots in the 1960s, the film is expected to pit younger versions of the HBO show’s older generation of mobsters against their African-American counterparts in a gangland bloodfest. Meanwhile, MTV is doubling down on its commitment to casting Italian ...

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Decoding our community coverage

The Chicago area is blessed with nearly 100 Italian American groups and institutions that meet regularly and host more than 300 special events each year. Fra Noi is committed to shining a spotlight on these activities in our magazine, but that commitment comes with a challenge: how to cover a community that vast within the fiscal and physical confines of the publication. Through trial and error over the past quarter century, we’ve devised a system for accomplishing that, and I’d like to shed light on it now. Since Fra Noi doesn’t have the funds to send photographers and reporters out ...

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Let’s all resolve to mangia italiano!

Because we go to press so far in advance, I’m penning this column in late December, even though it’s destined for the February issue. That places me squarely in the Resolution Zone, that fanciful timeframe during which we bind ourselves to a host of worthy and sometimes unattainable goals for the coming year. Those resolutions can expand, contract and morph as the months progress. As of this moment, I’ve resolved to: 1) Exercise more, consume fewer calories and in general take better care of my aging body. 2) Seek input from current and former Fra Noi readers and the community-at-large ...

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Behind-the-scenes hero Dominic Gambino

Some benefactors are drawn to the limelight that their generosity attracts and others prefer to work their charitable magic behind the scenes. Domenico Gambino is cut of the latter cloth. A co-owner of the Tony’s Finer Food grocery empire, Gambino has been a quiet force for good in the Italian-American community for decades, deploying resources and leveraging connections with little fanfare and great effect. “What I do I do from the heart and because it makes me feel good,” Gambino explains. “That’s all the thanks I need.” Born in Ciminna, Sicily, in 1945, Domenico is one of eight children of ...

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