My Dear Cenacolisti:

We trust that you and yours are faring well during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Please continue to be vigilant! It appears that the State of California and the San Francisco Bay Area will soon start to return to our (hopefully) normal lives. And our sincerest hope is that we will be able to again meet at the SFIAC.

Thursday Speakers

For May, Ron Fenolio stacked the program slate with our very own Cenacolisti, (and as a matter of fact, all three were Past Presidents and two were Men of the Year!) First, conducting a celebration of the contributions by our Mothers and other women to our lives was a great way to honor Mother’s Day. Thank you Ron! Chuck Stagliano captured our attention with some history of long-distance running and tales of his own adventures all over the world as a runner. Ron Fenolio, again ran the show with a slide presentation and fascinating lecture about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, followed by a lively discussion with 31 participants! And finally, Professor Giacomo (aka Jim Boitano), took us behind the scenes of Sergio Leone’s paradigm-shifting Westerns, and he has further explored this topic (including pictures and video links) in this bulletin’s La Cultura Italiana.

Likewise, we can look forward to Alex Rynecki’s presentations for this month, the first on extreme adventure in Patagonia and the “Land of Fire” by Margie Winslow, who has thrilled us before; and another, presented by his daughter Elizabeth, a filmmaker and author, on chasing a family legacy in art. Since last month’s “Mother’s Day Luncheon” was so successful, we have decided to celebrate Fathers Day in the same way on June 18th. I am sure everyone has meaningful stories to share about Fathers, Grandfathers and other Mentors.

Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in La Cucina Cenacolista! Andy Canepa has a cross-cultural recipe for us this week!

And if you have a favorite recipe and a memory to go with it, send it on over to:

Incidentally, I personally believe that our use of the Zoom medium has actually been a blessing to our Club. It’s obvious that several of our members whom we have rarely seen at the Thursday Luncheons are now appearing and participating through Zoom! We now routinely have as many as 28 to 30 members using Zoom when we would only attract about 20 members actually traveling to San Francisco for the Thursday Luncheons.  Participation in May topped out with 42 participants! (It just keeps getting better!)

Our Vice President David Cobb is looking for a way to continue to use Zoom for members who cannot come to the City when things get back to the “new normal.”

Annual Meeting

The 30th of June marks the end of our fiscal year, and our Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for noon, Thursday, June 25, 2020 via Zoom. (Members only). Five members of our Board are retiring: Catherine Accardi, Ephraim Hirsch, Alex Rynecki, Ken Sproul and our Immediate Past President, Franz Cristiani. At this time I would like to personally thank each and every one of these Cenacolisti for their time, leadership and wise counseling for the steering and managing of the activities of the Club. I also wish to thank the Board members still fulfilling their terms: Pietro Bonanno, David Cobb, Ron Derenzi, Ron Fenolio, Eugene Lanzone, Peter Sherwood and Dr. Don Zingale. A special thanks, as well, to our “Minister Without Portfolio” Chuck Stagliano, for his unstinting support of the work of the Board.

Alex Kugushev who has, in the past, devoted so much of his talents, has agreed to come back to the Board, which leaves us with four vacancies. Joining the Board of Directors only requires one year of Il Cenacolo membership and the desire to serve, participate and lead us on our common objective of preserving and presenting Italian Culture. It is a two-year term. Please consider volunteering for these vacant positions. If you are interested, do contact me 415-713-9219 dtgiannini@gianninilaw.com or David Cobb 707-888-2311 ayrtoncobb@gmail.com. We can guarantee that your service on our Board of Directors will be rewarding.

Annual Meeting Agenda: Il Cenacolo in the Age of COVID

Traditionally, the agenda at our Annual Meeting includes election of the new Board Members, reports on the finances, state of the organization, and future plans of the Club—and this year will be no different. With one major exception: all of these issues are impacted by the “elephant in the room”—COVID-19.  In only a few short weeks, the world has been turned upside down. Although we can imagine that this virus will be conquered or at least managed eventually, life as we knew it will probably not return for quite awhile.

So, what does this mean for our highly social cultural club? This glue that binds us—our meeting, and eating, and sipping and laughing and even crying together—how can we sustain and re-create this in a “touchless” world?

As this is our first-ever virtual annual meeting, it is an exceptional opportunity for everyone to come together, and weigh in on the state and future of our Club in the age of COVID. We will open the floor for new ideas and perspectives on Il Cenacolo in the New Paradigm. This is a critical and timely discussion we need to have together. We Cenacolisti are known to be innovative, resourceful and proactive!

So please mark you calendars in RED:
Thursday, June 25, 2020, Noon, Zoom*.
I will see you there!

Passing the Torch

Well, dear Cenacolisti, the end of June will also mark the completion of my two-year tenure as your President, and this is my final message to you. It has been so different from my first term as President, (1986-88) over 30 years ago! You could say it was a simpler time, then. Our bulletin was a 2-4 page printed sheet, snail-mailed to the all-male membership. We dined at Fior d’Italia. Not only did we not have a website, the World Wide Web had yet to be introduced!

In these past two years, I feel privileged to have been President to celebrate Il Cenacolo’s historic 90th anniversary, the admission of women to the Club, the complete renovation of the website, and the almost-seamless shift to Zoom (thanks to Vice President David Cobb). I am delighted at the successes of our classic events such as the Opera Outing and the Holiday Gala, and the cultural events such as Il Cenacolo at the Italian Film Festival, the Behind-the-Scenes Tour at the Opera House, and our Symphony and Opera Nights. I am continually amazed by the excellence of our Thursday speakers, and the collective effort that goes into the monthly programs and ever-expanding bulletin, with Jim Boitano’s superb essays as the cherry on top! Of course, wonderful luncheons and staff at SFIAC have enabled our enjoyment of food, wine, and camaraderie. I am proud and grateful to all of the Board members and Cenacolisti who have supported me as President, and all of our loyal members who have made Il Cenacolo what it is today.

For the past 92 years, Il Cenacolo has endured as it marched along with the times, and I am confident that we will prevail through the Age of COVID. A new President and new incoming Board members will take over the helm, and I feel assured that the Club will be in good hands. 

Very truly yours,