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Tony, Carmela and Me (Shameless Self-Promotion Department)

Tony, Carmela and Me (Shameless Self-Promotion Department)

George De Stefano (May 15, 2008)
You Talkin' About Me?

"The Sopranos: A Wake" conference will bring over 60 writers and academics from several countries to Fordham University, May 22-24.



 Who could have imagined that a cable TV series about a New Jersey mobster, his family, and his “family,” would inspire an international conference featuring more than 60 speakers from different countries, including the US, Canada, England, and Europe?


“The Sopranos: A Wake” has been organized by David Laverty of Brunel University in London, Paul Levinson and Al Auster of Fordham University, and Douglas Howard from Suffolk Community College. It opens at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus on May 22 and continues through the 24th.  Laverty and Levinson are both hardcore Sopranos devotees. Levinson puts the show up there with the Beatles and Shakespeare and Laverty has edited two critical anthologies, This Thing of Ours: Investigating the Sopranos (Columbia University Press, 2002) and Reading The Sopranos: Hit TV from HBO (I. B. Tauris, 2006).  


They, along with Auster and Howard, have put together an event of amazing scope, with speakers who will expound on virtually every aspect of David Chase’s mob saga – ethnic identity, food (you could do an entire conference on that theme alone), masculinity and violence, crime and justice (with two prosecutors from Palermo), psychotherapy, the show’s dream sequences, obesity (Tony’s), race and racism, sexuality and gender. And I’ve only scratched the surface of this three-day cultural studies throwdown, which promises to be the definitive post-mortem on the beloved (if controversial) and sorely missed series.


I’ll be among the talking heads. My presentation’s called, “A ‘Finook’ in the Crew: Vito Spatafore, The Sopranos, and the Queering of the Mob Genre.”  Other presenters will talk about sex and gender, but I’ve got the fat gay mobster to myself. So to speak. I’m speaking Saturday, May 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. Right after that I’ll be signing copies of my book, An Offer We Can’t Refuse: The Mafia in the Mind of America (Faber & Faber), at a joint author’s signing session.  


The conference, which is free to the public, will be held at Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, Lowenstein Hall, 60th Street and Columbus Avenue.

For more information:
Ci vediamo!

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