A Century of Sinatra – Limited Edition Prints

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Frank Sinatra 100th Anniversary Collage_James Fiorentino
“Frank Sinatra, 100th Birthday,” James Fiorentino (2015) Original Available | Limited Edition Prints

Celebrating a Century of Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998)

From humble beginnings, Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra has become one of the twentieth century’s most timeless stars. Born to Italian immigrants in a tenement in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra was the only child of Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa and Antonino Martino “Marty” Sinatra. Sinatra was delivered with the aid of forceps, which caused scarring and perforated his ear drum, causing lifelong damage. His father Marty was an illiterate bantamweight boxer who worked his way up the Hoboken Fire Department to the rank of Captain; mother Dolly was in turns a midwife, local interpreter and a force to be reckoned with. From a young age Frank loved jazz music, and began singing professionally as a teenager.

In an early gig Frank worked as a singing waiter at “The Rustic Cabin” in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, but he soon became frustrated with his band’s lack of success and succeeded in being amicably released from his contact to join Tommy Dorsey at the Palmer House in Chicago. With Dorsey, Sinatra recorded over 40 songs. As those songs rose the charts, Sinatra pushed for solo songs, and, eventually, to be released from the contract with Dorsey. A year after his first recordings with Dorsey, “Sinatramania” had fully gripped an audience of teenage bobby soxers, who propelled the blue-eyed singer to the top of the Billboard charts. In October of 1944 an estimated 35,000 fans caused a near-riot outside the the Paramount Theater in New York, where he had made his legendary review only two years prior.

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“Yankee Legends Collection” at the Yogi Berra Museum

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Join us for an extraordinary art exhibit featuring the Yankee Legends Collection by nationally acclaimed watercolor artist James Fiorentino.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reception from 6 – 9 pm
Cocktails and Hors d’Oeuvres

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center
Montclair State University Campus
8 Yogi Berra Drive, Little Falls New Jersey

Looking back on a Legend: Yogi Berra (1925 – 2015): Our Favorite Yogi-isms

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Original for Sale or Lease
Yogi Berra, James Fiorentino (Original for Sale or Lease)

Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was a legendary baseball catcher, manager, and coach who spent 18 of his 19 seasons playing for the New York Yankees. Well-known for his “yogi-isms,” his wisdom and paradoxical wit is evident in his list of quotable quotes. In tribute to this late, great legend, we’ve compiled a look back on his best yogi-isms for an insight into his life.

I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.

Born to Italian immigrant parents in 1925, young Yogi was the middle child in a family of five. He attended a Catholic high school in St. Louis, growing up on Elizabeth Avenue with Joe Garagiola. His baseball career began in the American Legion leagues, where he was bestowed his famous nickname by friends who joked he resembled a Hindu yogi sitting around with his arms and legs crossed.

In baseball, you don’t know nothing.

In 1942, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Yogi’s childhood friend, Joe Garagiola. The Cardinals’ team president at the time, Branch Rickey, knew he would be leaving to the Brooklyn Dodgers and planned to sign Yogi to his new team. Unfortunately for Rickey the Yankees signed Berra before Rickey could pick him up for the Dodgers. The rest, as they say, is history.

If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.

When he turned 18 less than a year later, Yogi joined the Navy – it was WWII, and the young Yogi trained as gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion of France. He was fired upon but not hit, remaining stationed on the boat for twelve days, firing machine guns and launching rockets to provide cover for Army forces landing on the beach. Berra served the remainder of the year in North Africa and Italy, returning home to the US after suffering a hand wound.

Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.

After his wartime service, Berra returned to the Minor Leagues, playing for the Newark Bears. He was mentored by fellow Navy veteran Bill Dickey, and was called up for his first Major League game September 22, 1946. That season he played 7 games. The following year he played 83, surpassing more than 100 games in each of the following fourteen years.

Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.

Yogi Berra’s career with the Yankees was legendary, racking up 10 World Series championships, 15 All-Stars, and American League MVP three times. He was a power hitter, excellent at hitting poor pitches, sending low pitches into deep home runs, chopping at high pitches for lines drives. As a catcher Berra is nearly unparalleled,

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

Yogi Berra’s funeral will be televised today, September 28 on the YES Network at 10 am. The funeral will be held in at a private ceremony in Montclair, From the outpouring of love it is clear Yogi must have attended many funerals in his day.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center is holding a Memorial Tribute for Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra on October 4, 12-4 pm.

AtDF is hosting an exhibition, Yankee Legends by the acclaimed American artist James Fiorentino on October 22, 6-9 pm, at The Yogi Berra Museum Learning Center. You can purchase tickets here.

Endangered Species

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Most kids and adults are aware of Earth’s first five worst mass extinctions, at least peripherally: it is one of these extinctions in which the dinosaurs perished, along with woolly mammoths, sabretooth tigers, and other now-fantastical beasts. Many are not aware that we are currently undergoing a sixth mass extinction, the contemporary, human-induced mass extinction in which animals are now going extinct at a rate estimated to be 100 – 10,000 times the normal background extinction rate, which is about 10 to 25 species per year.

To raise awareness for endangered and threatened species in our own midst, Art to Dream For has partnered with local artist James Fiorentino. For Fall 2015 Fiorentino has painted a series of AtDF Limited Edition Exclusives. 

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How Apex Predators Maintain Ecosystems

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“We all know that wolves kill various species of animals, but perhaps we’re slightly less aware that they give life to many others.” 

(If you’re watching the above video at work, please note the audio starts with several seconds of authentic wolf howls, so adjust the volume on your speakers accordingly)


An apex predator resides at the top of their food web, with no natural predators in their habitats. The gray wolf was one of the predominant apex predators in North American, but by 1926, wolves had been extirpated from Yellowstone National Park. Within a few years a team of visiting scientists observed “deterioration progressing steadily,” a result of overgrazing by elk, whose populations began to rise once its natural predator, the wolf, was artificially removed from the environment. When wolves were reintroduced to the park in 1995, the phenomenon was quickly observed in reverse: as wolves preyed on elk, the willows and aspens they once grazed with unchecked abandon began to regenerate, bringing with them a host of new life – a process known as the trophic cascade, a phenomenon in which the apex predator suppresses or alters the traits of their prey, thereby releasing life in the next trophic level. 

In the story Yellowstone’s trophic cascade, elk had grazed so much of the vegetation away that the landscape of the park was visibly altered. In areas where wolves were introduced, they “radically changed the behavior of the deer, avoiding parts of the park where they would be trapped the most easily,” in valleys and gorges. Quickly, these areas began to regenerate, with the height of some trees quintupling within six years. As the aspen, willow, and cottonwood began to flourish, the birds – from songbirds to migratory – once again took roost.

Beavers, “ecosystem engineers” themselves, also began to re-emerge, building dams that provide homes for otters, muskrats, fish, reptiles and amphibians – the next low trophic level. But the cascade had other effects, for the wolves began to prey on coyotes, who in term were preying on small mammals like mice and rabbits. As the number of mice and rabbits began to grow, new predators moved in – birds of prey like eagles and ravens, badgers, weasels, and foxes, with whom coyotes typically compete with for food. The carrion left by wolf kills feed not only vultures but other creatures from bears down to ants. Bears, another apex predator, were also being supported by the regenerating vegetation and game around the course of the rivers, which had begun to change as the elk grazed elsewhere and new native populations moved in.

And here is the story of how wolves changed rivers: not just transforming the ecosystem, but shaping the physical geography of a national treasure, Yellowstone Park.


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