nostra cultura: art, film, music, theater, folklore, etc.

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Malaisa -- Italian MC aka la female guerrera


Nancy Azara is the author of Spirit Taking Form: Making a Spiritual Practice of Making Art (Red Wheel Weiser). View her exhibit, Hand Garden.

18 Hands by Nancy Azara

18 Hands, carved and painted wood with silver leaf and encaustic

Nicole Lanzillotto and Amy Cross (recent graduates of Smith College) explore the themes of immigration, working-class life, trauma, survival, and activism in their collaborative collage, which speaks to their own Italian American and Chinese American family and community histories. Lanzillotto writes, "The project itself was an act of resistance -- an attempt to heal -- to connect the personal and political histories of our lives, and to bridge the gap between academic and emotional work." (See closeup photo)
Julie Gimbrone (also a recent graduate of Smith College) explores the interconnections between the processes of (im)migration, modernity, and assimilation for Italian American identity by reimaging the yard shrine. This tradition provides a place of understanding how Italian Americans negotiate their anxieties of being revealed as vulgar and uncouth "gavones" while also asserting their rebellious distinctiveness from and opposition to white Anglo-Saxon middle-class American normativity. (See closeup of altar)

For more information on Italian American culture, including folklore, music, film, etc., see Joseph Sciorra's site.

"Northern State is just what rap music needs right now: young, female-centric insight and intellect that amuses as it amazes." --- The Village Voice. Check out these rising stars: Hesta Prynn, DJ Sprout and Correne Spero (aka Guinea Love) of Northern State bring their fabulous Italian American and Jewish Long Island selves to hip hop, rapping their way to the top of the chart.


Fuori/outside, Kym Ragusa
(12 min./Color/1997)

In fuori/outside the videomaker, a woman of African American and Italian American descent, examines her relationship with her Italian American grandmother. The lives of the two women are inextricably linked to local geographies; family stories embedded in the walls of tenement buildings and suburban landscapes. Personal memories overflow into public spaces, contradictions around race within the family are contextualized within larger conflicts between Italian Americans and African Americans. The foundation of fuori/outside is the powerful bond between the two women, marginalized by color and age, that survives the instability of family, class and ethnic identity. code: africandiaspora af-am cc

Best Video, South Bronx Film and Video Festival, 1997 For other films by Kym Ragusa see Third World Newsreel at

Natalie Marrone and The Dance Cure is a contemporary, all female performance company based in Columbus, Ohio dedicated to the creation of culturally driven dances that bring to life the broader scope of human experience. For more information, including a schedule of events see

© 2014, Malia Collective