Past Speakers and Topics

MAY 2018

The Italian Garden
Mary Menniti

Thursday May 3, 2018

Mary Menniti is from Pittsburg PA, and now resides in Davis, CA. She will tell us how her “Italian Garden Project” was organized to preserve old world food and gardening traditions and demonstrate that the wisdom of the Italian-American gardener is relevant for today and for the future.

Mary has documented gardens throughout the country including in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Cleveland, Pittsburg, San Jose and Sacramento. Her project is now in the Archives of the American Garden at the Smithsonian Institution.

The Shameful Treatment of Italians during WWII
Laura Smith

Thursday May 10, 2018

Laura Smith is a member of “Timeline Members” and has completed extensive research of the Italian-American experience in the United States during WWII. From Monterey, CA to the waterfront areas of San Francisco, to President Roosevelt’s infamous Executive Order 9066, to General DeWitt, to the 10,000 Italian-Americans forced out of their homes and finally to the internment of hundreds of Italians at Fort Missoula in Montana.

Laura is the Managing Editor of, a history magazine based in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic online, and others.

Misfits, Merchants & Mayhem on the San Francisco Waterfront: Focus on Italian Fishermen
Lee Bruno

Thursday May 17, 2018

Lee Bruno will speak about the San Francisco Barbary Coast with its legendary gold-rushers, gamblers and adventurers galore, and the history of the San Francisco waterfront from 1849 to 1934. Lee will also focus on the Italian-Americans of that time period.

Lee holds a Master of Science in science journalism from Boston University, and is the author of Panorama: Tales of the San Francisco 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition. He has been writing for over 20 years about business and technology for the Economist, the Guardian, MIT Technology Review, Red Herring Magazine and Wired, among others. He has lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years, raising a family of four boys with his wife, and enjoys long openwater swims with the eccentrics at the South End Rowing Club.

Plans for the 150th San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade
John Parente

Thursday May 24, 2018

John Parente is a past President and current Board Member of Columbus Day Celebration, Inc. He is also the Chair of the 150th Anniversary Committee of that organization, and will tell us about the many activities planned for this most important Italian-American event.

John is a native San Franciscan, holds a BBA from Gonzaga University and a JD from Lincoln University School of Law. He has been a practicing attorney since 1976.

Istituto Italiano di Cultura: Its Mission and History
Paolo Barlera, Director

Thursday May 31, 2018

Paolo Barlera asks: Is the Istituto Italiano di Cultura a treatment center? He will tell us of the many things the Istituto does to keep Italy’s history and civilization alive in the 21st century, and discuss its mission and history.

After studying philosophy and literature, Paolo has served in the cultural division of the Italian Foreign Office for the past 20 years, and is currently the Director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of San Francisco.

APRIL 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Program change to:

Anna Magnani: First Italian to Win an Academy Award

Jim Boitano, PhD, Cenacolista

To be rescheduled:

Matteo Ricci, SJ in China

Antoni Ucerler, SJ

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Born in Internment
Anna Fiorina Hess, Author

Thursday, April 19, 2018
How Italy Shaped the Views of a Young American

Admiral John Bitoff, USN, Retired

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Lucca, a Repository of Architectural Treasures

David Giannini and Anna Maria Pierini, Cenacolisti

This month’s programs arranged by Alex Kugushev.

MARCH 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Alycia Paletta, CPA

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Ukraine’s Path to Freedom
Kateryna Korniyko

Thursday, March 15, 2018
The San Francisco Fair: Treasure Island in 1939 and 1940
Kathryn Ayres

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Open Forum: The Recent Election in Italy
Moderated by Alessandro Kugushev

Thursday, March 29, 2018
The Tenderloin Endures
Don Falk

This month’s programs arranged by Richard De Bono.


Thursday, February 1, 2018
Joe Carbone
An Italian Library in North Beach: What a Novel Idea!

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Mark Rezente
Mark, a member of SFIAC, will talk about how the Grocery Outlet can get such amazing wines at such great prices.

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Josh Jensen, Founder of Calera
When many California winemakers felt that a good Pinot Noir could not be grown in California, Josh dreamed of proving them wrong. All he needed was limestone. Josh will share his insights of 42 years in the wine business.

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Msgr. Harry G. Schlitt
Odyssey of a Rock and Roll Priest.

This month’s programs arranged by John Benson.


Thursday, January 4, 2018
The Challenge of Producing a Nice Pinot Noir from the Edge of the Continent
David Cobb, Cenacolista, and Ross Cobb

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Laughter from the Hip: How Early Jazz Developed
Mike Greensill, Cenacolista

Thursday, January 18, 2018
The Meaning of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Alex Kugushev, Cenacolista

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Fez, Where the Middle Ages Still Live
Kayvan Tabari, Cenacolista

This month’s programs arranged by David Cobb.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Witness to the Day that Lives in Infamy
David Cobb, Cenacolista

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pursuing My Heritage

Peter Chiarella, Cenacolista

Thursday, December 21, 2017

No meeting in deference to Christmas.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

No meeting in deference to New Year’s.

This month’s programs arranged by Jim Boitano.


Thursday, November 2, 2017
The Great American Songbook—With a Twist!
George Yamasaki and Bill Dito, Cenacolista

Thursday, November 9, 2017
A Brief History of the Ukulele
(With Classic Hawaiian Songs)
Marc Goldyne, Ukulele
Accompanied by Eric Rindal, Steel Guitar

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Seekers of the Good Life: North Beach and San Francisco Then and Now
Ernest Beyl

Thursday, November 23, 2017
No meeting in deference to Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 30, 2017
No meeting in deference to the Christmas Gala.

This month’s programs arranged by Bill Dito.


Thursday, October 5, 2017
The 2017-18 San Francisco Opera Season
Kip Cranna, Cenacolista

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America
Phil Pasquini

Thursday, October 19, 2017
The Life and Afterlife of the Etruscan Banquet
Dr. Lisa Pieraccini

Thursday, October 26, 2017
La Sagrada Familia
Alex Kugushev, Cenacolista

This month’s programs arranged by David T. Giannini.


Thursday, September 7 & 14, 2017
No meetings as per Board decision.*

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Future of Il Cenacolo Through the Eyes of a Savvy Friend

Charles Fracchia

Thursday, September 28, 2017

North Beach and the Italian Bay Area Community
as Remembered by Cenacolisti

Ken Sproul, Moderator

This month’s programs arranged by Ken Sproul.

JULY 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Early Days of the San Francisco Opera

Stewart Hume, Cenacolista

Thursday, July 13. 2017

The Stonecutter's Aria: From Italy to Indiana

Carol Faenzi

Thursday, July 20, 2017

From the Battle of the Bulge to the Nuremberg Trials

Arthur Roth

Thursday, July 27, 2017:

The Italian Film Festival in Marin

Lido Cantarutti, Cenacolista

This month’s programs arranged by Marv Pheffer.

Don’t forget that August is our “bye” month!


JUNE 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017
Liquefaction and Landslide Potential of Quakes
and Faults Near You
Volkan Sevilgen

Thursday, June 8, 2017
A Plan to Change Florentine History
Jim Boitano, Cenacolista

Thursday, June 15, 2017
The Venetian Ghetto
Kathleen Gonzalez

Thursday, June 22, 2017
An Expedition to Nagaland
Mike Prior, Cenacolista

Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Annual Meeting is held at the regular Thursday luncheon.
Members only.

This month’s programs arranged by Jonathan West.

May 2017

During May, learn how two Italian organizations
were formed 100 years ago to assist their Italian immigrant
brothers and sisters to navigate the American system
and become citizens of their adopted country.

Thursday, May 4, 2017
100-Year History of the Italian Community Services
Andy Canepa, Cenacolista
& Anna Maria Pierini, Executive Director, ICS

Thursday, May 11, 2017:
The SFIAC: The Last Stronghold of the Italian Neighborhood
Nickolas Marinelli, Cenacolista

Thursday, May 18. 2017
Luminous Patagonia
Alex Kugushev, Cenacolista

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Il Cenacolo Through the Eyes of our Presidents

This month’s programs arranged by Ron Derenzi.

APRIL 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017
Marshall, Marconi and Mazzei: A Tomales Bay Story
Tony Kilgallin, Cenacolista

Thursday, April 13, 2017
The USS Potomac—A Part of History in the San Francisco Bay
Bill Hodges

Thursday, April 20, 2017
The Legends of Il Cenacolo
Moderator: Jim Boitano

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Sicily—Crossroads of History and Civilizations
Douglas Kenning

This month’s programs arranged by Jim Boitano.

MARCH 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017
Burning Man: an American Phenomenon
Chris Danesi and Brandee Clark

Thursday, March 9, 2017
San Francisco Legend: Naughty Landmarks and Scandalous Stories
Catherine Accardi

Thursday, March 16, 2017
What Italy Means to You

Thursday, March 23, 2017
Il Piemonte and the Alluring White Truffle
Jack Rubyn, Cenacolista

Thursday, March 30, 2017
History, Design, and Development of the Redwood Park
at the Transamerica Pyramid
Tony Guzzardo

This month’s programs arranged by David Cobb.


Thursday, February 2, 2017
The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run
Antonio Rossman, Cenacolista

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Projecting Ancient Rome: Fact, Fantasy and Fiction
Lisa Pieraccini

Thursday, February 16, 2017
The Secrets of the Mummies
Myron Marx, MD, Cenacolista

Thursday, February 23, 2017
Italians Excelling through the Ages—Except in Governance…

This month’s programs arranged by Alex Kugushev.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Open Session

Thursday, January 12, 2017

San Francisco’s Dungeness Crab and Domoic Acid

Angela Cincotta

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Preserve your Life Stories for your Loved Ones

Francine Brevetti

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Italian Life Style and “Made in Italy” in the Global Competition

Mauro Zanetti

This month’s programs arranged by David Giannini.