Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews


Naples Miscellany 11 (mid-February, 2008)

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Art competition. Il Napoli al cuore is the name of an art competition recently on exhibit at the Maschio Angioino. Readers should note that the masculine definite article, il (the), in front of the name of the city refers to the Naples soccer team, not the city, itself. (Thus, "The Naples of today..." would be La Napoli d'oggi..."). So the title of the competition is something like "Naples soccer at heart." It is, in fact, an exhibit and judging of painting, sculpture, videos, and photography presented in celebration of the return of the city's soccer team to the A-League, the major league in Italy.

More than 50 artists from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, and Brazil entered works. I have no idea who won any of the prizes. I picked a painting (shown here) that I liked. It is by Luna Hall.

The Graffiti artist known as Raffo gives us art of a different kind. On a wall in the Ponticelli section of the city, he has spray-painted into semi-permanence his rendition of Edvard Munch's famous 1893 painting, The Scream. No matter what you may have heard as to why the man on the bridge is screaming, Raffo tells us it can only be the garbage situation in Naples. The blood-red backdrop in Raffo's version shows Mt. Vesuvius, and the Screamer is surrounded by piles of garbage bags. Raffo's version has become locally very popular, and photos and postcards are already making the rounds. He says that the Mona Lisa is next! She will be holding bags of garbage. Whether or not she will still be smiling is anyone's guess. [additional items on street art and graffiti:  herehere,  and here.
Women's Basketball. I have learned from a kind correspondent that "Naples has one of the best women's basketball teams in the country...They won the Italian league championship last year, a first for Naples in basketball or any sport in a long time... [It is] a very international team this year with top players from Germany, Latvia, Senegal, the U.S., and Turkey."
Parking. One illicit but widely tolerated profession used to be that of the car-parker. You could double- and triple-park (even for the entire day), leave the key, and he would watch your and everyone else's car and jockey them around so people could get in and out. When it was time to leave, you tipped him (less than the authorized parking garages charged for the same period). It was a valuable service, since there were/are never enough parking spaces in Naples. They city cracked down on the practice a few years ago, and these sidestreet valets all but disappeared. They are making a comeback. A local paper shows a photo of a herd of illegally-parked cars in front of a police station! The photo did not show the parker, presumably hiding off camera. The cops don't seem to mind.

Wrong color! The recently restored white facade of the Albergo dei Poveri, the gigantic ex-Royal Poorhouse is apparently the wrong color, at least partially. Restoration has been underway since 2001 on what certainly had to be the largest dilapidated building in Europe. They looked at the original plans of Ferdinando Fuga and decided that the whole thing was white. Wrong! It was white and pink according to various culture mavens who claim to know. The restorers now say they knew that all along and were going to go back and paint over the white with pink in the proper places. As for the future of the building, that is pretty much up in the air.

(main Albergo article here; Albergo update here.) 

END of Misc. p.#11

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