By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 09, 2001 at 1:11 AM

There are plenty of books to be found about the Italian-American experience, if you look hard enough. But, admittedly, many are cookbooks with a bit of history and culture -- and gorgeous photographs -- tossed in. Others are little more than compendia of "wow" facts, such as books about inventions by Italians or collections of brief bios of famous Italian-Americans from Chef Boiardi (aka Boy-R-Dee) and Al Pacino to Lee Iacocca, Joe DiMaggio and Mario Cuomo.

That's what makes "Italian Culture -- A View from America," written by the father/daughter team of Peter and Sylvia Dorato, so interesting. This independently-published book isn't big and glossy and packed with photos of the rolling hills of Tuscany. It is, instead, the story of a family whose roots extend back into the Basso Monferrato area of Italy's Piedmon region and who made a new home in America.

The Doratos, who live in New Mexico, are well-respected engineers and so their softcover book has a special bent toward what they call "left-brained" Italians: mathematicians, scientists and engineers. Peter Dorato, whose parents were from the northwestern Italian region of Piedmont, grew up in a heavily Piemontese neighborhood in Manhattan and so the book also has a rare Piemontese angle.

You're not likely to find the book in Milwaukee shops (not many of us Piemontesi here, I'm afraid), but it can be easily ordered from TSI Press, 1514 Roma NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106-4513, by faxing a request to (505) 291-0013 or by visiting the publisher's Web site.

Grillo dishes up fifth disc

Milwaukee singer Jerry Grillo launches his fifth CD, "Fever...and Other Symptoms," at a bash June 27 at the Hi-Hat Garage. Grillo and his band -- which includes Scott Currier, Steve Peplin, Kirk Tatnall and Randy Maio -- perform from 9 p.m.-midnight.

For more information on Grillo, the CD or the show, visit

Art in Flux

Flux Gallery hosts "Transmissions," drawings by Shana McCaw, June 15-25 and there's an opening night party from 6 p.m.-midnight featuring the music of The Bird Industry (with members of Mahogany Throttle). Visitors will also get a free copy of McCaw's new book of poems, "Quiz," at the event.

Flux Gallery, 901 E. Center St., in Riverwest, is open Fridays-Sundays. For more information, please call (414) 372-0401.

The Gift to Milwaukee

"The Gift," a unique traveling musical production, begins its summer performances June 22 and is available to community groups, festivals, fundraisers and other events through mid-August.

The show's libretto was written by director Michael Moynihan and is performed by Ivory Black, Abel Cruz, Winston Earl Wood and Michael Gudex. Alyssa Leighton's masks, puppets and sets enhance the show, as does the live musical score performed by One Drum with guest vocalist Annie Denison.

For more information on "The Gift," visit


The Walker's Point Center for the Arts, 911 W. National Ave., hosts "Present In the Text," a piece first performed at Woodland Pattern Book Center last year. The work, which is a tapestry of performances by Bill Sell, Pegi Taylor, Lori Barian and Jennifer Holmes, will be presented in short excerpts on June 14, 8:30-10:30 p.m.

There will also be new works on hand by Chastity Washington, Mark Escribano and a collaboration by Allyson Bahr and Cinnamon Rossman. The performance will follow the 6 p.m. opening reception for the center's Annual Membership Show. For more information, call (414) 672-2787.

Swingin' at the Skylight

The Skylighters of Wisconsin host the annual "Skylight Night: Swing Time on Broadway," Sat., June 16, at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway.

There will be coctails, hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction as well as songs and skits by Skylight Opera performers and students from Skylight's KidsWrites education program. There will, of course, be the always eagerly-anticipated annual Skylight Opera musical revue, written especially for this event each year. Afterward, enjoy an elegant dinner and finally, return to the Cabot Theatre to enjoy the upbeat sounds of Swing Nouveau.

Tickets are $175 per person or $2,250 for a corporate table. For reservations or further information, please call Sara von Hemert, (414) 291-7811.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.