Dishing with Dee: Italian Charities dances to tune of Maltese art

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Last week we were admiring the lovely spring weather, but we must have tempted fate. Who would have thought we would be engulfed in snowstorms this week? Hopefully, the old bromide will hold true as far as March is concerned. You know, the one about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb. I hope it’s true!

Regarding the backlog pertaining to the “Focus on Queens” photo page, I think we have straightened it out and we will play catchup in the next few weeks. We are positive it will all come into focus. Pardon the pun, just couldn’t help myself! Sorry for the delay. I know it’s disappointing when you look in the paper for your or your organization’s photos and they are not there, but help is on the way, I promise you.

Cathy Nolan had a fund-raiser at Dazies in Sunnyside and was able to get Denny Farrell, Nydia Velazquez and Geraldine Ferraro to help her launch her re-election campaign. The place was packed with all her loyal supporters. Good luck, Cathy!

Constance Maltese had a super art exhibit of her works at the Italian Charities Building on Queens Boulevard. The scope of her work was amazing. You have all seen her popular portraits of current people in the guise and garb of famous people from the past — the ones that look like magazine cover or poster illustrations.

In the exhibits were large three-quarter-length formal portraits, still lifes, scenes, nudes and the adorable four oval portraits of her grandchildren.

It was totally amazing that they were able to get this most important exhibit together in such a short period of time. Friday night the Italian Charities held a dance. When the dance was over, which was rather late in the evening, they then had to clean up the place and move all the easels and flush???????? doors that are used to display all the various works of art. They also rolled out a red carpet that was the official entrance into the exhibit space. They set up a bar in the lobby and they had several circular tables arranged in the display area filled with cheeses, crackers and trays of fresh fruit. The tables had beautiful floral arrangements on them.

They also had a woman playing the harp and a man accompanying her on a cello. They both played beautiful classical music during the entire exhibit.

There’s a huge painting on the back wall of the Italian Charities Building.

Lisa Rosen of Sotheby’s and Constance Maltese spent the better part of a year restoring the painting. The Italian Charities gave plaques of appreciation for their tireless efforts to Lisa Rosen, Constance Maltese and Rose Sproviero.

Both Serf and Connie said they are exploring the possibility of making the upper floor into some sort of permanent exhibit space. Hope that it comes to fruition as it adapted itself beautifully to the exhibit.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) was the keynote speaker at the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at Terrace on the Park. Senator Clinton looks good and sounds even better. When I asked her to pose for a photo op with DA Brown, she graciously accepted. Just as she walked over to him the band started to play. She and the DA spontaneously broke into an impromptu dance, a very charming humanistic change of pace. The attendees were delighted.

Did you hear Jay Leno’s St. Patrick’s Day joke? When St. Patrick drove all snakes out of Ireland, where did they go? The answer: They all came to America and passed the bar exam.

Remember when I told you I was a guest on the “Spin Doctor” program on QPTV and also told you how much fun it was? Well, the Struhs brothers, William and James, the producers of the show, and Mike Niebauer, the “Spin Doctor,” invited me back again as a co-host. We interviewed Michael Benjamin, who is running against Chuck Schumer for U.S. senator. He is an energetic young man and has lots of good innovative ideas, but he does not have the Republican Party backing, nor can he come anywhere near Schumer’s $20 million war chest. But then again everyone has to start somewhere and very seldom does anyone win the first time out.

I doubt if this is his race to win at this particular time, but it’s good experience, so keep on trying and good luck. I must admit after only two experiences on QPTV I’m hooked. If anyone out there needs a co-host, I’m available!

At the last meeting of the Jefferson Democratic Club they had Council Speaker Giff Miller as their speaker. Giff is a rather serious contender for the mayor’s race. Keep your eye on him. He’s one to watch.

At the March 109th Pct. Community Council meeting the cops of the month were Officers Damon Fazio and Brian O’Keefe. In one of our recent Focus on Queens pages we had mistakenly identified Frank Seabrook as cop of the month. It should have said he is retiring after 20 years of service in the 109th. Sorry about that.

Happy birthday to Times Ledger Managing Editor Roz Liston, and reporters Alex Davidson and Michael Morton. Congratulations to Forest Hills reporter Tien-Shun Lee. Tien was married last week and is leaving us. We are happy about your wedding but sad you are leaving. Good luck, we will miss you.

Now for our usual drill, call me at 718-767-6484 or fax me at (718) 746-0066 or my e-mail address is

Till next week,


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