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Biography

I am an author, journalist and critic living in Long Island City (Queens, NYC). I have contributed features, reviews, essays, and opinion pieces to a wide range of print and digital publications including The Nation, Film Comment, Newsday, Gay City News, The Advocate, Cineaste, In These Times, The Italian American Review and Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and online publications PopMatters, The New York Journal of Books, Rootsworld, and La Voce di New York.

My well-reviewed non-fiction book An Offer We Can’t Refuse: The Mafia in the Mind of America explores some of my longstanding preoccupations as a writer: cultural mythologies and their social impact; ethnic identity and stereotypes; popular culture, especially film, and how such social categories as race, class, sexuality and gender interact in American society. I also am a contributing author to many other books, including The Routledge History of the Italian Americans, The Essential Sopranos Reader (University of Kentucky Presses), Mafia Movies (University of Toronto), Our Naked Lives (Bordighera Press).

I have also appeared in several documentary films and I present my academic papers at conferences in the US and abroad.

I am currently researching a book about the Sicilians of New Orleans, whose importance to the history, culture, and unique flavor of my second favorite American city isn't fully appreciated outside the Crescent City.

Here's a select list of my work over the past few decades:

AUTHOR

An Offer We Can't Refuse: The Mafia in the Mind of America, ( 2007), Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus, Giroux. Examination of the "Mafia myth" in popular culture, and how pop culture representations reflect (or don't) the reality of organized crime.

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

The Routledge History of the Italian Americans (2018), Routledge. Contributed essay to this major volume of historical scholarship

Our Naked Lives (2013), Bordighera Press. Contributed essay to collection of writings by Italian American authors

The Essential Sopranos Reader (2011), University of Kentucky Press. Contributed essay to collection of critical commentary on the HBO series, "The Sopranos"

Mafia Movies: A Reader (2011), University of Toronto Press. Contributed two essays to anthology of film criticism focusing on American and European crime film genres

Mediated Ethnicity (2011), University of the City of New York. Contributed an essay on the treatment of ethnicity, race and sexuality in US cinema

Is the Mafia Still a Force in America? (2006), Greenhaven Press. Contributed an essay to collection of commentary on organized crime in America

American Voices: Culture and Community (2006), McGraw Hill. Contributed an essay to this textbook

Writing in a Changing World: Writer's Guide with Handbook (2003), Longman UK. Contributed an essay to this textbook

Witness to Revolution: The Advocate reports on gay and lesbian politics, 1967-1999 (2000), Alyson Press. Contributed two articles, one of which originally appeared as an Advocate cover story

Reggae, Rastafarians, Revolution: Jamaican Music from Ska to Dub (2000), Schirmer Ltd. Contributed an essay on reggae music

JOURNALISM

The Nation
America's oldest journal of politics and opinion

PopMatters
Leading online journal of pop culture

La Voce di New York
Online newspaper, Italian/English

 

Gay City News

Reporting and feature articles for leading LGBT print and online newspaper

I-Italy
Website and print magazine

Rootsworld
Reviews, essays and interviews about music from Africa, Europe, and the Americas

New York Journal of Books

Book reviews and critical essays

 

Italian American Review

Peer-reviewed academic journal published by Queens College/City University of New York
 

Voices in Italian Americana (VIA)
Peer-reviewed academic journal



CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

"Salento Visions: Tradition and Modernity in the Music Videos of Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino,"  2019, City University of New York

The Scandalous Bodies of Guglielmo Pluschow: Constructing a Homoerotic Mediterranean through Photography," 2018, City University of New York

"La Notte della Taranta: Musicking as a Social Act and Metaphor for Social Relationships," 2017; City University of New York
"Social Media and Sicily's Anti-Mafia Movement," 2014; City University of New York
"Cosimo Matassa: 'We Were Just Neighbors," 2013, Italian American Studies Association, New Orleans
"Roy Paci: You Must Protect the Dialects," 2013, City University of New York
"Fuori in Italia: A Gay Grandson Encounters La Madrepatria," 2012, City University of New York
"Whose Family Values? The Cinema of Ferzan Ozpetek," 2011, City University of New York
"21st Century W.O.P.s," 2008, Experience Music Project Annual Conference, Seattle
"Race, Sex and Ethnicity in Italian American Cinema," 2007, 43rd International Festival of New Film and Video, Pesaro, Italy
"A 'Finook' in the Crew: Vito Spatafore, The Sopranos, and the Queering of the Mafia Genre," 2007, American Italian Historical Association, Denver, CO

DOCUMENTARIES
I have appeared on camera in the following documentary films:
The Italian Americans, Public Broadcasting System, 2015
The Godfather Legacy, History Channel, 2012
Beyond Wiseguys, Public Broadcasting System, 2008

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