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December 9, 2003

Dear friends and supporters of the IOHI,

Thank you for your past support of our growing Institute. Let me share with you why your continuing financial support is so important. The IOHI has had a highly visible role locally and internationally in things Italian, of which we are very proud. Ours is the only organization in the U.S. that focuses on the oral, folk, and regional cultures of the many Italies. Its reputation is strong. Indeed, the executive of the national American Italian Historical Association has recently requested that the IOHI organize their annual conference in Los Angeles in 2005, the first to ever be held in Southern California.

The conference, Speaking Memory: Oral History, Oral Culture and Italians in America (November, 2005),* will specifically focus on those areas of study we best represent. An impressive local organizing committee has already been formed and is gearing up for this important meeting. The IOHI is functioning as a valuable magnet for the networking of scholars devoted to Italian American studies in Southern California--networks which will endure beyond the 2005 conference.  We are taking this opportunity, also, to offer a month-long festival: Italian Los Angeles: Celebrating Italian Life, Local History, and the Arts in Southern California.**
        
The IOHI’s growing credibility has also helped us garner more support for its programs and research projects from the Italian Consulate, as well as from our close ally, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Los Angeles.  And the IOHI has just been awarded a grant to help produce Italian Los Angeles: The Italian Resource Guide to Greater Los Angeles by the National Italian American Foundation. This will prove a valuable guide to anyone interested in Italian life and history in LA:  from markets, restaurants, businesses, and artisans, to cultural and educational institutes and associations, to festivals and celebrations, historical sites, human resources, bibliography, and more. It will be both an online resource and a publication. I am busy, along with student and community interns, collecting data for this important project. Please send us your information about Italians in Los Angeles to be included in the guide. Ask for a questionnaire! 

Of course, I continue to represent the IOHI wherever my research and conference activities take me. This spring and summer offer a particularly full agenda:  I will present a series of lectures on Italian folklife at the University of Slovenia, in Lubliana; I will chair three song panels at the quadrennial meeting of the Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et Folklore in Marseilles, France, and will also read papers at a dance conference in Monghidoro (Bologna, Italy), at the International Oral History Association meeting in Rome, and at an international traditional song conference of the Kommission fuer Volksdichtung (an international academic society of which I have been president since 2000) in Riga, Latvia. The conference is hosted by the University of Latvia and by Latvian President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, herself a folksong scholar and colleague.  

The IOHI’s reputation is one of which I am proud, and to which I continue to devote my best energies. Please support our work by renewing/initiating your membership*** and by contributing to our work financially, in kind, and/or as a volunteer. We truly do need your help. 

Auguri e buone feste,

Luisa Del Giudice
Founder/Director

***  Please note a very special, limited offer on the attached membership form! First-come, first-served.


*Conference Program highlights include:  1)  Plenary speaker:  Alessandro Portelli, Università La Sapienza, Rome: “What Makes Oral History Different;  2) UCLA programs: a)  presentation of the Repertorium Colombianum, b) Oral history research workshop by the UCLA Oral History Program; c) Sound and visual archives presentation by the Italian Oral History Institute and the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archives;  3) receptions, concerts, exhibitions, traditional Italian frame drum and dance workshops; 4) historic and cultural tours of Italian Los Angeles [Some of these events are reserved for conference registrants only]


**Festival Highlights:  1) Concerts and workshop on traditional Italian music and dance: frame drum, pizzica and tarantella (Musicàntica, Los Angeles-based southern Italian and Mediterranean music ensemble); 2) Poetry readings: local Italian writers present their work (Italian Writers of S. California, etc.); 3) Exhibitions:  a) Leo Politi: children’s book illustrator, muralist (with the cooperation of the Children’s Department at LAPL): b) Alan Lomax in the Salento (1950s):  Photographs; 4) Films: documentary and feature films produced on and by Italians on their local communities, and by Italians about Southern California; 5) Italian Los Angeles online: Presentation of www.italianlosangeles.com; 6) Lectures & book presentations: 1) presentation of IOHI/IIC publication: Performing Ecstasies:  Music, Dance and Ritual in the Mediterranean (proceedings of 2000 UCLA conference); 2) Lecture: “Dancing Towers:  The Gigli di Nola and the Watts Towers of Los Angeles” (with Joseph Sciorra, Calandra Institute, CUNY)
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