Music Adventure

I first traveled to Europe fifty years ago. During the four months I lived in Paris I preferred listening to British rock and American soul, tuning into pirate stations such as Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg to hear the Beatles and Rolling Stones.


I also listened to Antoine, Johnny Hallyday, Mireille Mathieu, Michel Poinareff, and Sylvie Vartan to some extent but French vocalists seemed to lack intensity and feeling.

However, passing through Italy I was glad to catch one of those French pop singers, while in Greece I strained to hear Arabic music some distance away.

Over time I tired of rock and desired something different, preferably quieter. I was drawn to Afro pop, rai, fado, and even popular Greek vocalists.

Now I look forward to exploring the choices in Athens and spend too much money buying laika CDs there.

This year I brought back a number of discs by Stelios Bikakis, Giorgos Giannias, Pantelis Pantelidis, and Paschalis Terzis. Plus a couple of surprising purchases: Takim and Zipelia Cress.

I heard a few cuts of  Takim during the few minutes I spent in a store buying a CD by one of the artists already on my list. But it was long enough to realize I definitely liked what I was being exposed to.

I number of young musicians collaborated on this project and the performers are seven men who recorded after a ten year hiatus. The name sounds Turkish and the music has a distinctly eastern flavor.

I was introduced to Zipelia Cress by Vangelis, who is the composer of the music played on this CD. It’s mellow rock inspired by the familiar San Francisco sound. I returned to the store for his autograph but passed up buying a follow-up CD with a harder edge.

I didn’t find everything I looked for this time but I’ll undoubtedly return with a new list in a couple of years.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Jerk Alert

Out Of The Blue was written and directed by Edoardo Leo (Italy) 2013, who also plays a supporting role as the roommate and friend of the protagonist. The film was a North American Premiere during the 2013 New Italian Cinema Events at Landmark’s Clay Theatre in San Francisco and was the local competition winner this year.


Andrea is a handsome, totally self-absorbed, shallow man in his late thirties who works in product placement at a movie studio. Everything about him: his clothes, apartment, and sports car are meant to impress those around him, especially women he desire sexually. He is oblivious to the needs and desires of others.

He’s confronted by a young woman who claims to be his daughter. Her recently deceased mother was someone he barely remembers sleeping with years earlier.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Culture Clash

Kryptonite!, directed by Ivan Cotroneo, (Italy) 2011, is set in 1973 Napoli. As Rosaria, the mother of nine-year-old Peppino, is taking her son to school, the two are stopped by a cousin who thinks he’s Superman. Gennaro doesn’t let them pass until he conducts a thorough search of Rosaria’s purse for kryptonite, the dreaded substance he believes prevents him from flying.

Peppino is repeatedly tormented by his classmates and terrorized by the teacher. At other times the young boy is shuttled from one family member to another while his mother works as a secretary in the family firm and his father sells sewing machines in a nearby town.

Peppino accompanies his spinster aunt desperate to find a husband. Or he’s taken in tow by a rebellious, carefree younger aunt and uncle so eager for new adventure that they often forget about the boy.

Despite the chaos that surrounds him, Peppino not only survives but also manages to find inner strength and even wisdom, his formative journey aided by imaginary visits from his recently deceased cousin who eventually gains the full status of super hero.

Throughout the film there is a continual intergenerational struggle between rigid, traditional attitudes and the allure of popular music, youth culture, and more radical politics of the time. The first-time director manages to bring the various threads to a satisfying resolution.

Information and tickets for New Italian Cinema screenings available at the San Francisco Film Society.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved