Greetings dear friends and kind readers and welcome back for another July visit here on the Front Porch where we’re still chatting about all of last week’s fun events – from the annual Fusellitaro Pizza Challenge (see photos at right) to the remarkable Friday evening visit from Richard and Sharon Jenkins to Elissa Sweet’s beautiful, floral-themed birthday bash. What a full and wonderful week it was!
Let me begin by sending congratulations to my WBLQ buddy Ken Collins who is (justifiably) bursting with pride these days, thanks to his grandsons Dan and Dylan LaBelle. Dylan, a lefty pitcher for the Chariho Chargers, was the Division II-South league’s Cy Young award winner and pitched in the playoffs which ended with the Chargers capturing the Division II crown after sweeping Ponaganset in the championship series. Dan, who graduated from Chariho Tech in June, traveled to Louisville, Ky., last month for the 2018 national SkillsUSA championship where he took home a silver medal as a member of a three-member Crime Scene Investigation team along with Zachary Richard and Sloan Smith. Beam on, Kenny!
Congrats also to Westerly artist Serena Bates, who has been enjoying some attention for her beautiful work. Serena invited to participate in the Tuscan Sculpture Symposium — an exclusive event that takes place in Italy during the first two weeks of September — and he work is featured in “Western Art Collector,” as a part of the Artists for Conservation Festival Show and Sale. Then, for the cherry on the top, she’ll be the featured “Artist in Residence” at the Ocean House in October, during the Columbus Day weekend. Well done Serena!
Now, back to the Fusellitaro Pizza Challenge and the three contestants, Amanda Sammataro-Barelli, Brent Fusaro and Chris Sammataro. What fun to witness such friendship and to catch up with such wonderful people — like Peggy (Mahgreeet) Basile Sammataro and her husband, David (Squeak, who’s been very busy making scrumptious dinners at the Elks Club on Friday nights,) their son-in-law, Chris Barelli, Marge and John Fusaro, Lisa Luzzi Fusaro and her girls, and Nancy Murano and her sister, Elaine Eisenhaure. What fun!
As far as the visit from Richard Jenkins Friday night, what an excellent event (held at the United) and how interesting to listen to such an accomplished actor so patiently and generously discuss his work. Filming “The Shape of Water,” was like being on the set of a classic movie set from the 1940s, he told the audience – which was full of movie fans like Rita and Paul Piliero and Fran and Les Roby of Peekskill, N.Y., and Watch Hill. “You’d think Spencer Tracy was going to walk around the corner,” Jenkins said. “It was the kind of movie I grew up with … the way it was shot and told.”
Jenkins, who grew up in DeKalb, Ill., said he always wanted to be an actor — ever since he saw “Bye Bye Birdie” in Chicago when he was young. What he never knew — until he went home years later — was that his father was not originally in favor of his son’s decision to be an actor (“he’ll starve to death” his dad told his mom) until his high school English teacher stepped in and told his dad, “he’ll never forgive you ... for the rest of his life.” “He was my biggest fan,” Jenkins said. Stay tuned for more on Jenkins’ visit and and ciao bella.