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St. Francis and the Cappuccino

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Okay, so this photo isn’t a cappuccino. But an espresso macchiato from Badia a Coltibuono, Gaiole In Chianti (where I had the most scrumptious Aubergine Terrine on the planet, but I digress...)

After years of living as a fashionista playboy, St. Francis took a vow of poverty. Of celibacy. Of Abstinence. He even poured ashes on his food so as not to taste its flavor.

But did you know that the Franciscan saint unwittingly influenced the frothy concoction imbibed by so many coffee lovers today?

The Capuchin order of friars emerged in the 16th century as a reformist group devoted to following the original ideals of Saint Francis. The Capuchin hood, or Cappuccino, symbolized this spartan order of hermits.

Legend has it that the coffee derives its name from the rich brown color of their hoods (although some will argue that the foam itself forms a hood-like peak).  

In fact, this year, Capuchin monks in Poland decided to use the famous drink named after their order for the greater good. “Cappuccinos for Africa” raised money for children in Chad and the Central African Republic.

So next time you have a Cappuccino, raise your cup to Saint Francis.

(And please don’t tell him about that delectable eggplant terrine, thanks!)

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Assisi, Night and Day, August 2013 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

 Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Greetings from Umbria!

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Greetings from Umbria! Artists including Cimabue, Giotto, Perugino, Fillipo Lippi, and Piero della Francesca spent time in this verdant oasis. How could they not be inspired? Even the crickets in Umbria are creative types, performing a rigorous daily and nightly symphony. Insomniacs needing a quick fix in the US actually pay to hear this chirping sound on their Sound Soothing machine. 

Leave the sound soothers at home.

The Crickets and everything else in Umbria (the divine Bufala mozzarella, for instance!) are all real. All natural. Alleluia.  

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Cultural Cocktail Hour heads to Umbria

Cultural Cocktail Hour heads this summer to Umbria, which is known as Il cuore verde d’Italia‘, “The Green Heart of Italy.”

Check back in September for photography from Umbria, including the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi, seen in the photo at the left.

In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt of a prayer attributed to Saint Francis.

“Make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.”

Similarly, Cultural Cocktail Hour believes that the highest goal of art and culture is to



create joy, and

forge human understanding. 

Wishing my readers a glorious summer!

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Cultural Events LA: June 28, 29, & 30

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 1 Part Architecture, A Splash of Schubert, and a Blaue Reiter Fusion!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Color, Line and Form: Alexei Jawlensky and the Music of His Time

Fri. June 28

7:00 – 8:00 pm

Dr. Polli Chambers-Salazar, pianist

Norton Simon Museum of Art.411 W. Colorado Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91105 626.449.6840


A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. 152 North Central Avenue. Los Angeles, CA, 90012

Image ©Gehry Partners, LLP National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) Proposal, West Elevation 2012

Capitol Ensemble

Sun June 30. 6 pm

Schubert: Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667, Trout.

Free, no reservations

LACMA. Bing Theater. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036. 323 857-6000

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Cultural Events LA: June 14-16

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 1 Oz. Jazz and a double dose of Opera! Enjoy!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Billy Childs Quartet

Fri. June 14th –6 pm

Free, no reservations.

BP Grand Entrance. LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036. 323 857-6000

Los Angeles Dream Orchestra

Sat, June 15 7:00 pm

In celebration of the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi & Richard Wagner, this Award Concert is presented by Bohemians, The Opera Association of Los Angeles, and The Dream Orchestra

La Forza del Destino Overture/Tannhauser Overture/Clarinet Concertino/ La Donna e Mobile/ O Mio Babbino Caro/ Toreador/ Au Fond du Temple Saint

Immanuel Church. 3300 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA 90010

For information on tickets/Donation – 323. 636. 2788.

Free Community Opera Recital at Santa Monica Library

Sat June 15 3:00-4:00

Reservations Not Required

Highlights from LA Opera’s 2013/14 season, featuring soprano Lori Ann Fuller, tenor Ashley Faatoalia, and pianist Paul Floyd.

601 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, California 90401

For more information, see:

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Young Verdi: Altar Boy


By Leticia Marie Sanchez

      Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

In honor of the 200th birthday of Italian Composer Giuseppe Verdi, Cultural Cocktail Hour will be sharing anecdotes about the life of this illustrious maestro.

In his Book of Musical Anecdotes, Norman Lebrecht relates a revealing incident from Verdi’s childhood.

The seven-year-old Verdi, born into a modest family, once served as an altar boy at the church of Le Rencole. During Fête Day, the young boy heard the organ for the first time. Transported by the emanating musical harmonies, the child did not hear the priest’s request for water. Three times did the priest make his demand, to no avail. Enraged at the child with his head in the clouds, the priest struck a severe blow, pushing young Verdi down the three altar stairs, knocking him into unconsciousness.

When the child thankfully awoke from his ordeal, what was the first thing for which he asked his parents? A painkiller? A glass of water? A restraining order on the belligerent priest?


Young Verdi asked for music lessons.


To learn how an older Verdi handled a brazen opera-goer, please read:

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Cultural Events June 8th and 9th

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes a Splash of the Renaissance and a Dash of the heart-breaking Tosca!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Gardens of the Renaissance

An Illuminated Manuscript Exhibition

Getty Center.1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300


LA Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca

Sat. June 8th 7:30 P.M.

135 North Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001   Photo: Robert Millard

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LA Cultural Events May 24th, 25th, & 26th

Memorial Day weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 1 dose of Doheny, 2 dashes of Balanchine, and a swirl of Medici Jewels. On the Rocks!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Da Camera Society

Horszowski Piano Trio

May 24, 8 pm Doheny Mansion

Shostakovich Trio No. 1 in C, Op. 8; Dvorák’s Piano Trio No. 3 in f, Op. 65; Piano Trio No. 1 in F by Saint-Saëns

8 Chester Place, LA, CA, 90007. 213-477-2929

Balanchine Festival: Red

May 25, 7:30pm

Valley Performing Arts Center. 18111 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91330-8448

May 26, 2pm

Alex Theatre, Glendale. 216 North Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203

Gems of the Medici

Bowers Museum. 2002 N. Main Street. Santa Ana, CA, 92706. 714.567.3600


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Cultural Events: May 17, 18, & 19th

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail includes: a tall glass of Mozart, a swirl of Tosca, and a Bollywood Pacific Asian Fusion on a museum dance floor!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy: The Marriage of Figaro

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Fri, May 17: 7:30 PM

Sun. May 19: 2:00pm

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Set design by Jean Nouvel; Costumes by Azzedine Alaïa; Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, music director

111 S. Grand Ave. LA, CA USA 90012. (323) 850-2000

LA Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca

Conducted by Plácido Domingo

Opening Night

May 18: 7:30 P.M.

135 North Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001

Fusion Friday

May 17: 7:30-10:30

Pacific Asia Museum

Art, DJ music, & drinks in the courtyard; gourmet food trucks, Indonesian shadow puppet performance; DJ Arshia’s Bollywood dance mix, Free for members, $15 general public. 46 North Los Robles Avenue. Pasadena, CA 91101-2071(626) 449-5269

For tickets, visit

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