The Italian Church in Bucharest

The Italian Church "Our Blessed Savior" is a Catholic church, built between 1915-1916 in Bucharest. It was consecrated by bishop Raymond Netzhammer in 1916. The funds were donated by King Victor Emmanuel III, the Vatican, the Italian Embassy and the Italian community in Romania that in 1915 numbered about 7000 people. An Italian journalist of the time launched an appeal to his compatriots: "Italian citizens, rather than cross the ocean to America and you experience surprise that the tycoons will not integrate you and die of hunger, better come in Romania, which is a rich country and has a very welcoming people of Latin origin, as us!"

The church is located on the busiest boulevard in Bucharest, Nicolae Bălcescu, and is owned by the Italian government. Architects were Mario Stoppa and Giuseppe Furaboschi. It was built after the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazzie in Milan, built in old Lombard style. The church in was built in order to recreate the typical atmosphere of Italian churches, with Romanic and Renaissance influences. The church parsonage was built in 1924 and for a time hosted the Italian school. The campanile is 27.75 m high and is equipped with four bells. The apartment buildings surrounding the church were built in the thirties, changing the atmosphere around the church. The earthquakes in 1940, 1977 and 1986 seriously affected the Italian Church, being further consolidated and restaurated.

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The first parish priest, Antonio Mantica, served here by the end of 1949 when he was arrested and forced to leave Romania. The second priest, Clemente Gatti, served until March 1951 when he was also arrested, sentenced to 15 years in prison and deported in April 1952. The church was closed until 1968, when it was reopened during the visit to Romania of the Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani. It remained opened only for occasional services such as Easter, Christmas, Feast of Our Lady, etc.. The church was reopened after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. The Italian church hosts organ concertos, and Baroque music concertos.

John Houseman

John Houseman (born Jacques Haussmann, September 22, 1902 – October 31, 1988) was a Romanian-born British-American actor and film producer. Academy Award-winning actor John Houseman's main contribution to American culture was not his own performances on film but rather, his role as a midwife to one of the greatest actor-directors-cinematic geniuses his adopted country ever produced (Orson Welles) and as a midwife to a whole generation of actors as head of the Julliard School.

Houseman was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1902, the son of a British mother of Welsh and Irish descent and a Jewish father of Romanian ancestry who ran a grain business. He was educated in England at Clifton College, became a British citizen and worked in the grain trade in London before emigrating to the United States in 1925, where he took the stage name of John Houseman. He became an American citizen in 1943.

He directed "Four Saints in Three Acts" for the theater in 1934. Houseman joined with Orson Welles (whom he affectionately called "The Dog-Faced Boy") in 1937 to mount startling productions of the classics in their avant-garde Mercury Theater. Their most important success was a modern-dress version of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," in which the spectre of Hitler and Mussolini's Fascist states were evoked. The Mercury Theatre on the Air subsequently became famous for its notorious 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, which had put much of the country in a panic.

As a producer assigned to Unit 891 of the Federal Theater Project funded by the government's Works Progress Administration, he produced the legendary production "Cradle Will Rock," a musical about the tyranny of capitalism. On Broadway, apart from the Mercury Theatre and the WPA, Houseman directed "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1939) and "Liberty Jones" and produced "Native Son" (1941). During World War Two, Houseman went to work for the Office of War Information and was involved in broadcasting radio propaganda for the Voice of America. After the war, Houseman returned to directing and produced Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1953 version of Julius Caesar (1953).

Toward what looked like the end of a long career, when he was 66 years old, Mr. Houseman helped establish the school of drama at the Juilliard School and also became the co-founder and longtime artistic director of the Acting Company, the touring repertory group whose alumni include Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone. He resigned as artistic director last summer.

He helped establish the acting program at New York's famous Julliard School for the Arts, where he influenced a new generation of actors. Ironically, he had appeared in only one major movie, in a supporting role, before being tapped to replace James Mason in The Paper Chase (1973). He won an Oscar for the role and began a 15-year career as a highly sought after supporting player (Three Days of the Condor, Rollerball, The Cheap Detective, Ghost Story, My Bodyguard, Naked Gun, Winds of War, Noble House, and many others). Houseman, who wrote three volumes of memoirs, Run-Through (1972), Front and Center (1979) and Final Dress (1983), died in 1988 after making major contributions to the theater and film.

Simona Noja

Simona Noja (born March 9, 1968 in Huedin, Romania) is the Executive Director of the Vienna State Opera Ballet School, and former soloist, dance instructor and co-founder of the ballet school "dance arts" in Vienna. She is known as "the Maria Callas of the ballet".

Noja received training in the Olympic gymnastics team of Romania and studied ballet at the Art Academy in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). She completed a degree in linguistics (Romanian-English) at the University "Babes-Bolyai" in Cluj-Napoca in 1994. Between 1986 and 1991 she was soloist dancer at the Romanian Opera in Cluj-Napoca, and from 1991 to 1995 Soloist at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf. She joined Vienna State Opera as a principal dancer in 1995.

Simona Noja had acclaimed performances as principal dancer ​​at the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Teatro Municipal (Santiago de Chile), Ballet de Cuba (Havana), Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow), La Scala (Milan), Balletto dell'Opera (Rome), Dresden Opera, Teatro San Carlo (Napoli), Royal Swedish ballet (Stockholm), Finnish National ballet (Helsinki), Stuttgart Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

In 2002 she founded the cultural foundation "Simona Noja," and in 2006 the dance school "dancearts" in Vienna along with her husband, Boris Nebyla. Between 2006-2009 she was a guest teacher at the Vienna Festival ImPulsTanz. In 2009 she founded the company & dance studio theater RenaissDance. Since 2010 she was appointed Executive Director of the Vienna State Opera Ballet School.

Simona Noja won the Silver Medal at the dance competition in Jackson, USA (1990), was voted Best Dancer of the Year by the magazine "Danza e Danza" (2001), and received the Star of Romania (title: Chevalier) (2002) and the Austrian Honorary Cross for Science and Art, First Class (2008).

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Ileana Sonnabend

Ileana Sonnabend (née Schapira, October 28, 1914, Bucharest, Romania - October 2007, New York City) was a dealer of 20th century art.

Her father, a successful businessman, was the financial counselor of King Carol II of Romania. Sonnabend was, for many years, married to Leo Castelli who she met in Bucharest in 1932 and married soon after. The couple had a daughter, Nina Sundell. They went in 1935 to Paris, then she and her husband left Europe in 1941 and settled in New York City.

In 1957 she opened her first art gallery in New York, where exhibited works by Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg. She promoted new artistic trends as Neo-Dada art and Pop Art, showing works by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and James Rosenquist. She ran a contemporary art gallery in Paris during the early 1960s. After leaving Paris, she opened a Sonnabend Gallery in New York City in 1971, at 420 West Broadway, in SoHo, and will make a habit of promoting new forms of art (Minimalism, Arte povera, Conceptual art, Performance, Transavanguardia, Neo-Expressionism, Neo-Geo, New photography) both on Europe and America.

In the late 1999s, the gallery moved to Chelsea and continued to be active until Sonnabend's death. After the death of Ileana, some work in Sonnabend Collection were traded in two auction sales which totaled $ 600 million. The event is considered "the largest private sale of art ever (NY Times)".

Fortress Valley Cave

Peştera Valea Cetăţii (the Fortress Valley Cave) is located near Râşnov, Braşov County, Southeastern Transylvania, Romania.

The cave was first opened in 1949, when a hydraulic blowup removed a rock and caused a huge flood in the Fundata valley. In 1954, a group of young from Râşnov managed to enter the cave through the opening. Margareta Dumitrescu and Traian Orghidan conducted the first study of the cave complex in 1958 and published a description and a sketch of the cave, indicating its length of 270 m. In 1981, a team from "Emil Racoviţă" speleological club in Bucharest have mapped 857 m with a 36m level difference. In 1988 and 1989 were mapped another 63 m, respectively 38 m, with a level difference of 38.5 m and a development of 958 m. The cave has undergone a continuous process of destruction due to uncontrolled access to various visitors.

Since February 2010, the protected natural area of ​​the Fortress Valley Cave is in the custody of a firm. From this time, the damage of the karstic formations was fortunately stopped, and the cave was set up using the latest technology. The cave was opened for visiting by the public in December 2010 after a titanic work of restoration. Due to the amazing acoustic of the cave, it used also for classical music concerts.

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The Eye of the Noisy

Dofteana is a commune in Bacău County, Moldova, România. The commune is situated around confluence between the Trotuş and Dofteana rivers, in a beautiful natural place. It was first attested in a document of 1436, issued by the hospodar (voyvod, ruling prince) Ştefăniţă, who donated to his adviser Babor Plopescu six villages on the Trotuş and Tazlău valleys, one of which was Dofteana, called Dohtana in that period.

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Ochiul Huitorii (approx. The Eye of the Noisy) is located behind the Dofteana rail station. It is a niche in a wall of salt that attracts moisture, a natural barometer announcing weather: when moisture in the air increases, on the rock it forms a trail of water and the locals are sure it will rain.

Dan Lecca

Runway photographer Dan Lecca is the undisputed king of the runway. He reigns supreme towering above the other photographers, a modern day Moses on the Mount, graybeard, stern and imposing. At just about every fashion show, when he walks up to the podium, the others part for him as the Red Sea did for Moses. "Dan Lecca is a gorilla in a group of monkeys" (Jason Riffe).

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He was a Rock and Roll star in Romania. His group was called Choral and was #1 in Romania in 1968. Dan left Romania in 1970. He went to Rome where his wife's parents were and worked for 9 months until they got enough money to go to the States. He came here not speaking a word of English. Lecca took a job as a short order cook and eventually landed in a textile studio as a 'man Friday', answering telephones and running errands.

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In 1976, he went to Puerto Rico for work and bought a Cannon FTB with a normal lens for $170. He loved 3 of the slides so much that he became immediately hooked. The camera became his tool to do something artistic. At first, he had no idea what he was doing. He bought a long lens and a wide lens. The camera went everywhere with him: to work, to lunch, on the streets. He had become a shutterbug. Some English clients told him he should go to the Paris Vision fabric show. He had some time to kill, so he went to a couple of shows and snapped pictures. It wasn't difficult to get into fashion shows then like it is today. Lecca met John Duka (one of the founders of KCD) at one of these shows. At the time, he was working for New York Magazine and bought some of his pictures. He also met a Texan, Terry Weir, at the shows. He offered him a job as an assistant at his studio. He was setting up to shoot something for Saks (Fifth Avenue) when Dan made a comment about the lighting in front of the client. Maybe the client heard him, because the next day, Linda Gaunt (who now works for Armani) called Lecca and offered him the job for the next month. He rented the studio from Terry.

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That was the beginning of an astounding career. Dan is shooting runway for some of the biggest newpapers and fashion magazines in the world. His client list includes: Harper's Bazaar, Allure, Town & Country, Marie Claire, The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine among others. In addition, Dan is currently the house runway photographer for many of fashion's best known designers including Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Celine, and shortly Louis Vuitton. His wife is shooting for The New York Times. "Do you remember in National Geographic where you see the top monkey ruling the pack? That's Dan, he's the top monkey on the runway scene. Everyone follows his lead, he has that kind of domineering personality. It's an unwritten law that he oversees the runway scene and straightens-out any problems happening up there" (Bill Marpett).