Sitting at the corner cafe with espresso, cigars, cannoli and good friends is the natural habitat for old Italian men everywhere. A select group of enlightened retirees with cameos from Tom and Ray of Car Talk fame, spend an abundance of spare time at the cafes of Harvard Square in Cambridge - our fair city - MA. Enjoying the perpetual weekend, these men do lots of crossword puzzles, tell jokes, share stories, and laugh hysterically together. By kickstarting this web series, you too will be able to avoid work and share our humor and relaxation via the Internet.
Specifically, Italian Yoga is yoga without the exercise. Instead of stretching and sweating, we sit at the cafe with friends, sip espresso, and enjoy a moment together. In our tradition of Mediterranean mindfulness, we find peace in what Italians call "dolce far niente." Rather than grabbing a vat of Starbucks coffee and running off, we linger at the cafe and enjoy ourselves without a single thought of w-w-work.
Everyone in our group is a born storyteller with a unique perspective on life. Because we all have so much fun together, we want to invite the world to share our cafe camaraderie. With the help of the Kickstarter community, we plan to document our inactivity at various cafes in Cambridge, MA for several (7-10) days of shooting.
From that footage, we will produce a short documentary-style video, three long-form uncut pieces, and several more short videos that we will post on YouTube over the next year. Contributors will receive sneak-peak access to our videos and all manner of shameless commerce (listed on the right). Our goal is to use this pilot to launch a web series that includes cafe moments with celebrity guests, short comic sketches, and enlightening wisdom for everyday living.
Tom (aka Tommy, Frank, Stoopie, or Strunzo #1) is a sage master of avoiding work, acting like a bum, but "earning" an income anyway. As the senior member of the group, he has probably logged more hours at the cafe' than the rest of us. A testament to his mastery of Italian Yoga is his ability to sip a single shot of espresso for four hours.
Peter (aka Goomba or Strunzo #2) is Tom's soul mate. They have been inseparable since meeting at Caffe' Paradiso seven years ago. At first the rest of us thought Peter was crazy, now that we are certain of it, we've also grown used to his cigars and fond of his endless stories about growing up in the North End and generally living his life one moment to the next.
Ray (aka Frank, Putz, or Strunzo #3) may be Tom's brother, but there are hardly two more different people. Ray loves projects, puttering, crossword puzzles, and any other activity. He is a master of recruiting others for various projects and might know close to a thousand jokes. When Tom doesn't remember a story about the family or their radio show, Ray is always able to recount the details.
Drew (aka Putz or Strunzo #4) is Ray's son and the youngest member of the group. As the only bachelor among us, he is often the recipient of relationship advice and occasional attempts at match-making with any young women unfortunate enough to get in conversation distance of Peter. Drew still has a great deal to learn about life, love, and espresso, but the rest of us are glad to teach him.
Armando is the godfather of Italian Yoga. Born in Italy and the proprietor of a pizza shop in Cambridge, Armando is a natural yogi with the purest wisdom of Mediterranean mindfulness. He once gave this nuanced advice to Drew: "Andrea, you must speak to every beautiful woman." Drew has not been the same since.
Richie and Pepe are Ray's closest friends. To varying degrees, they are each handy men who often go to Home Depot with Ray. Their wives are only beginning to get jealous. Tony is the most popular name in the group, so it is important to specify: Tony the Italian Buddhist from East Cambridge, Tony the MIT alum from Egypt, or Tony from the laborer from the old country.
Bob, Daren and Kurt are our filmmakers. Together, they have 42 years of professional experience in television, short films, and web videos. Also Dirk is our resident German, who has done much of the actual work thus far, but mostly he does his best to keep Peter out of trouble.
Benito (aka Benny) is the people's dog but Peter happens to feed and care for him. Named after the infamous Italian dictator, Benito is a 260 pound mastiff that can often be seen lounging brontosaurus-like in Peter's convertible or beside our cafe table.
Of course, all manner of local derelicts, ne're-do-wells, and denizens of Harvard Square will make cameo appearances as well.
Risks and challenges
Filming will be completed by next summer and editing and release of video prizes will be ready by Fall of 2013. Only the following can get in the way:
1) Age - We are old, and it is important to do this project before decrepitude, dementia, or death gets in the way.
2) Inclement Weather - Because winter lasts forever in Boston, we will have to wait for June 2013 to begin filming... or fund a trip to Miami to shoot some hot Italian Yoga.
3) Special Guests - We plan to invite celebrities, politicians (not sleazy ones), and generally relaxed people to join us for some caffeinated conversation. If we can convince other funny people to join us on film, we won't have to make all the jokes ourselves.
4) Filming and Editing - We are auto mechanics, radio hosts, entrepreneurs, and deadbeats. We don't know much about making movies, but we've hired a few people who do. We will make sure to record our daily "meditations" and share them with you no matter what.