Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mob Wives: All In The Families

It’s very hard to keep up with the two sets of families represented on VH1’s Mob Wives show. The first set of families are the housewives themselves: the Gravanos, the Grazianos, the Facciolos, and the D’avanzos, The second set of families are the Mafia families that their husbands and fathers allegedly belong(ed) to. There are five Mafia families that have been “working” in New York City since the 1930’s. They are the Lucchese, Gambino, Bonanno, Colombo and Genevese crime families. I can never remember which mobster is allegedly associated with which crime family. So, to help keep it all straight in my mind, and maybe yours, I am creating a “cheat sheet” I can refer to from time to time to refresh my memory.

Lee D’avanzo is a bank burglar or robber, depending on the source of your information. He is alleged to be the head of the “New Springville Boys,” a burglary crew that is allegedly a “farm team” for both the Bonanno and Colombo crime families. He is currently in prison and his release date is up in the air. Just ask Drita, she’ll drop a few F-Bombs about it.

Anthony Graziano is alleged to be the current consigliere of the Bonanno crime family. He allegedly operated a pension fund scam that netted over 11.7 million dollars from its elderly victims. He also allegedly ran the largest drug trafficking operation in Florida. In 2002 he was imprisoned on federal racketeering charges and murder charges. He is in prison with a release date said to be in January, 2012. I wonder what he is going to say about the show then, if it’s still on the air.

Hector Pagan is the ex-husband of Renee. In the past he was an alleged associate of the Bonanno crime family. Currently, he is allegedly an associate of the Colombo crime family. This is according to the documents of the arrests and indictments made on January 20, 2011, when approximately 120 members of the Mafia from crime families in NY and NJ (including Hector), were taken down by the FBI. I think we might see Renee getting very dramatic over this on episode three, if the previews are correct.

Bruno Facciolo, Carla’s uncle, was allegedly a soldier in the Lucchese crime family, while Louis Facciolo, Bruno’s brother, was allegedly an associate of the Gambino crime family. Both brothers are dead now and Carla doesn’t seem anxious to talk about them.

Joesph Ferragamo, Carla’s soon to be ex-husband, was recently released from prison for his involvement in a mulitmillion dollar stock fraud scam, and is alleged to have ties with the Colombo and Lucchese crime families. Carla seems to deny her husband has mob connections by the sly, evasive way she answers her questions, but the truth always comes out.

Sammy “The Bull” Gravano was the former underboss of the Gambino crime family. This is the one mobster who owns his connection.

Now, I want to say that it’s all clearer to me, but it looks even more confusing on paper. Four of the five New York mafia families are represented in this small group of women; the Lucchese, Gambino, Bonanno and Colombo crime families. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me, and isn’t it nice that they all seem to get along?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mob Wives: Jenn Graziano, JustJenn Productions

Jennifer Graziano, creator and executive producer of VH1’s new Mob Wives show, is no longer on speaking terms with her father Anthony Graziano, who is currently serving time in prison in North Carolina for racketeering crimes. The reason for the rift is her new business venture. Jennifer is also the sister of Renee, one of the four women featured on the show. Anthony Graziano is not happy with his daughters involvement in a show that talks about mob life.

Jenn Graziano is said to be a graduate of New York University with a Master’s degree in Business. It is nice to see that she is putting her education to good use these days. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case.

Prior to starting up her production company, Jenn has had her own brush with the law when she was 28. Documents, from the United State Court of Appeals indicate, her legal issues occurred around the year 2000, while Jenn was a graduate student. She was allegedly charged with being involved in a marijuana distribution ring, allegedly run by Renee’s husband and her brother in-law, Hector “Junior” Pagan. DEA Agent, Michael Cline, is reported to have documented various incriminating acts, in the arresting complaint, implicating Jenn. Some of these alleged criminal acts include details, gotten from overheard conversations, “discussing pickups, work schedules, and paydays of runners who delivered pot to customers around the city.” (

Jenn started her career at Sony Entertainment in 2001 and worked in their Artist & Repertoire department. She left Sony to manage an R&B/hiphop artist, Frankee. Jenn is said to have written her number one, hit single, F.U.R.B. (FU Right Back) for her (links below). Her last position was director in the consumer lifestyle marketing department of MWW Group while also heading up her own company, Bounce Marketing, which paired artists with brand names such as Sony and Dodge.

JustJenn Productions is a new company and Mob Wives is its first production. It appears that Jennifer pitched the idea to The Weinstein Co (TWC) and Ben Silverman’s Electus production companies, who are credited as producers of the show along with JustJenn. The producers may have then pitched the show to various cable stations and it was picked up by VH1 with a commitment for a 10 episode series. Taping began around Thanksgiving 2010. The first episode aired on April 17th, 2011 and was watched by over 2 million viewers. JustJenn is currently operating out of TWC offices in LA and New York.

F.U.R.B. Official Video:

F.U.R.B. Profanity version:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mob Wives: Wendy Williams Meets Mob Wives

Today Wendy Williams had VH1’s Mob Wives pay her a visit. Rumor has it that Mob Wives is her new favorite reality show. It’s my first time watching Wendy and, of course, they saved the best for last. At 9:45 they bring out the four wives and after intros, there is a rapid fire interview.

Wendy announces that she is “obsessed” with VH1’s new show. She says she loves it, as all the women exchange hugs and kisses for the first minute of their segment. All four women are introduced and Wendy says Carla looks like Stacy London…“she gets that a lot.”

The questions start with “what surprised you most about your new found celebrity?” The answers varied from how quickly the show took off to lots of positive responses, but not all positive. Renee chimes in that she is hearing things like she is an inspiration as a strong, single mom. My first reaction to that was saying outloud, “Seriously, an inspiration?”

Then Wendy goes over their alleged ties to the mob. Wendy doesn’t know if she needs to use the word “allegedly” all the time and I have that problem too. All four women answer in unison, “yes!” So I guess Wendy and I will have to keep sprinkling it in. Anyway, we run down the list of alleged mob connections. Karen says Sammy Gravano (we don’t need to use alleged for her because he wrote a tell all book. Renee says her father, Anthony Graziano, who the Feds claim is a “high ranking member” of a crime family. Carla says her husband Joe, who recently got out of jail for stock fraud, but her real connection is her “uncle,” without elaborating further. Drita answers that it’s her husband Lee, who works for the mob and is a bank “burglar.” Some discussion occurs as to the difference between bank “robber” and bank “burglar.” I learned that a burglar never uses weapons, a robber does. Once again my skepticism rears it’s ugly head.

Interestingly enough, Karen discusses how her father cooperated with authorities and left the witness protection program to live in Arizona, where she and other family members joined him eleven years ago. She admits that her father was running a drug ring back in 2000 in which she and her brother participated, but that her father took the fall for her and her brother. She is back in New York, not just for the show, but for her new book.

Wendy immediately goes to Renee and asks if she has issues with Sammy for snitching. Renee, unlike her passionate response on the show, kind of downplays her answer, saying she has issues not just with Sammy, but with all snitches.

Finally, Wendy asks about their kids. Renee says AJ is good, he takes it like a man. Carla says her husband came home recently and will appear on the show. The separation is going well and they are parenting the twins together. And Drita relates a story about how her being on the show has actually helped her daughter make new friends. Drita reveals, “Aleeya went to school — this little girl went up to her and said, ‘I can’t believe your mom is on that show. My dad’s in jail [too],’ Aleeya goes, ‘You’re dad’s in jail too?’ And the little girl goes, ‘Yeah.’ The other little girl goes, ‘My dad’s not around. Now I feel comfortable.’ And they became friends.”

What a touching note to end on, the children of convicts bonding!

Mob Wives: A Tang Gate Update

As our five readers know, I abhor the Tang look. The Tang look is when a spray tan goes wrong. Wrong in my opinion is orange. My enjoyment of the premiere episode of Mob Wives hit a major bump in the road. To my horror I witnessed the beautiful Drita getting all oranged up for Carla Facciolo's 35th (coughs 44th) birthday celebration. Though I've been a professional in the beauty industry. Spray tanning is not my lane of expertise. I decided the fair thing to do was to reach out to a successful spray tan expert for a mini interview. The owner of Smart Xposure located in Los Angeles, California was gracious enough to give me a bit of her time and answer a few questions for the Mob Wives Blogspot.

I've seen your work. Your clients seem beautifully sunkissed. Can you explain without giving away any of your expert secrets how to create a beautiful spray tan?

The key to a great spray tan is in the solution. I use all organic products that use less alcohol and more aloe base, along with different dha color tones to match the skin. Most salons would use one color for everyone. I chose to match the skin and mix several tones. The second part is the technician who sprays the actual tan. It is all in technique. I do a shimmer and shading technique that does not just spray on a tan. I highlight the customer according to their shape.

What is up with the Oompa Lumpa orange spray tan phenomenon? How does one achieve the Tang look?

The alcohol in the solution and product quality. Some solutions are made in China and they are not quality solutions.

First Orange Chicken, now I need to also thank China for orange spray tans. Thanks China! One last question, you can see one of my pet peeves is orange spray tans. Are they in or am I onto something that folks just don't look right orange?

Orange spray tans are out!!! It's all about looking natural and soft natural pigment.
If you notice many celebrities now are choosing a more natural even toned look rather than overly tanned look.

I did notice but I taught is was the Hollywood, Southern California basking in wealth and sun look. So basically they've visited a professional of your caliber. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my burning orange questions. Thank you!

For those of you in Southern California or planning to visit check Smart Xposure's website (click the name). The staff @ Smart Xposure really know their spray tans. If you are auditioning for the remake of Willa Wonka and The Chocolate Factory a visit to Staten Island may be in your near future. I am stamping case closed on The Tang Gate Files for now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mob Wives: Bruno Facciolo, Carla’s Uncle

Carla has been very tight-lipped about her ties to the mob, even though that’s what is supposed to have gotten her on the show. I have been searching for her father, the one who went to prison when she was very young, and have come up empty. However, in a recent interview with Joy Behar, Carla mentions that her uncle Bruno was her connection to the mob, not her father. That brings us one step closer to finding Carla’s daddy.

Bruno Facciolo has a very interesting story. Bruno was allegedly a made man or “soldier” of the Lucchese crime family. He is said to have been a member of Vario’s crew, whose story was told in the “Goodfellas” movie. Bruno is said to have willingly performed hits, collect loans, rig horseracing, and whack rats and witnesses. He also was said to have owned a nice little Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, called “Bruno’s,” where he was a chef.

Unfortunately for Bruno, two NYPD detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who were on the “family” payroll as associates, allegedly accused Bruno of being an informant. Bruno’s murder was ordered based on their word. In August, 1990, Bruno was executed by the detectives and by mobster Louis Diadone, who was eventually found guilty of the murder in 2004. Bruno was led to a garage where Diadone and the two associates stabbed and shot him to death and then stuffed a dead canary in his mouth. The dead canary is a classic mob message, sent as a warning to all mobsters, who think of becoming informants, to let them know anyone who “sings“ to law enforcement will suffer the same fatal ending. Bruno was found in Brooklyn, a few days later, stuffed in the trunk of his car. According to investigators, suspicion that Bruno was guilty of “ratting” was untrue, however in the mob, even the slightest impression of wrong doing can and will get you killed.
Louis "Louie Bagels" Diadone 

Which leads us to the “Daddy” connection. Bruno Facciolo is allegedly the brother of Louis "Louie" Facciolo, who is reported to have been an “associate” of the Gambino crime family. The fact that Louie Facciolo is the brother of Bruno, makes him a viable candidate to be Carla’s father. The allegation that he was an “associate” means, by definition, that he was not a made man or official member of the mob. So, when Carla tells Joy Behar that her father was not a member of the mob, she is technically correct. Therefore, Louis being the brother of Bruno and a mob “associate,” gives us two good reasons to suspect that he may be Carla‘s dear old dad. Hopefully, one day soon, we will be able to put this question to rest.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mob Wives: Recap Ep 102 “The Bitch Is Back”

Okay, we are off to a bad start. The recap from last week is 10 minutes long, no exaggeration. It was so long that I thought I was watching a rerun, not a new show. This tells me they do not have enough new footage, and it’s only the second week of the series. After watching the whole episode, which I will review in a minute, I found it to be uneventful and boring compared to last week’s show. I will be curious to see what other fans think, but I found it a big let down.

Renee goes to Carla’s for dinner and they chat about the party. Carla makes up a lame excuse for not telling Renee that Karen was coming. She claims she didn’t want Renee to come with a chip on her shoulder, she wanted her to get there, have fun and then be blindsided by Karen’s appearance. Renee is quick to forgive Carla, they have a long friendship of 20 years, but she is pissed at Drita for the way she acted. Renee is also pissed at Karen, but then admits she is confused by what Karen said about her father, Sammy. She seems to think Karen has a point when she says everyone liked Sammy as long as he was killing people, but when he cooperated with the Feds they hated him; which is worse? Carla interprets this as Renee really wants to be friends with Karen and only broke ties with her because her father told her to years ago. Boring!

Back at Renee’s house, AJ shows up with his father, Junior. Renee has to discuss AJ’s report card with Junior. She is very upset because AJ broke the rule of getting an 80 in every subject. “He got a 75 in English!,” Renee yells in her loud, raspy voice. AJ corrects her, “It was art, I’m not Van Gogh.” Renee seems caught off guard by AJ’s reasonable remark. However, there has to be a punishment regardless, because he broke the all 80’s rule. Two weekends of punishment and they will see what the next report card brings. If he gets all 80’s next time he will get a new car. A new car for 80‘s on a report card? Give me a break! Can it get more boring? You decide.

Karen is moving into her new apartment. She is talking to Rina, whose father was a member of Graziano’s crew. They laugh about the party and how Renee left. They discuss Karen’s new six figure book deal. Karen says it’s about life as the child of a mobster and how she felt bad for her father’s victims. She neglects to mention that while in Arizona she allegedly participated in his huge ecstasy trafficking ring, for which she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation, but maybe she forgot her legal troubles already. So far the episode is a snooze fest.

Carla’s husband Joe calls from prison. He has a request. He wants her to pick up one of those collage picture frames so he can put the kids pictures in it from when they were 3, 4, 5 , 6 and 7 years old in it. This way he can look at it all the time and stop doing stupid things…like stock fraud. The kids still don’t know he is in jail, they think he has been away working. Let’s hope they don’t get wind of it from their friends at school, whose mothers may be watching the show and gossiping about it. Ok, this was another totally lack luster segment. Now, I am kicking myself for complaining about the 10 minute recap because, so far, that was the best part.

Off to Drita’s house. She is talking to Gizma about her life. She tells her how her dad disowned her for marrying Lee, saying “don’t even come to my grave!” She is the only one in the family who didn’t marry an Albanian, and to top it off, not only didn’t she marry an Albanian, but she married a wise guy. She claims she still loves Lee. Excuse me while I take a minute to splash some cold water on my face so I can stay awake for the rest of this episode.

Back at Renee’s house AJ comes home and doesn’t make eye contact with his mother. According to Renee, this can only mean one thing, “trouble.” She confronts AJ telling him she knows it’s report card day. Report card day??? I find it hard to believe it’s report card day so soon. That would mean that at least six or more weeks have passed since the last report card and it only seems like a day or two. But, in any case, there is trouble. The all 80 rule has been broken again. AJ says they made a mistake on the report card. Renee grabs the report card and sees a 46 in gym! Or maybe it’s a 55. Either way she starts yelling at him to call his father and go upstairs because he has an attitude. I doubt AJ really failed gym, he works out at a gym with his dad. It’s been my experience that kids that are getting above 80 in major subjects do not fail gym. Besides being boring, they must think we have stupid written on our foreheads.

Lee calls Drita from prison, they talk about putting six pears in the next box. Drita hasn’t visited him in six months, and it’s a six hour drive to the prison. That’s three 6’s…the sign of the devil. Lee meets with the parole board this month to see if he can get out early. However, if they deny his request, he may have 4 or 5 years more to serve. Drita cannot believe her ears. She thought he was coming home in in a few months and now she feels sick. She decides she needs to go out for a drink with Carla and tell her what happened. They discuss the waiting game and how long is too long to wait? They even ask the bartender. No one asked me, but I think she waited too long already. She is wasting the best years of her life waiting for Lee, 10 out of the last 12 years he has been locked up. When he comes out who is to say he won’t leave her for someone else? How long is too long Drita? Do you really have to ask? This segment was irritating; stupidity always makes me irritated.

Renee takes AJ to go meet his father at the gym. Junior doesn’t show up and doesn’t answer his phone. He has stood AJ up. AJ is used to it and not upset. Renee gets all choked up as she leaves numerous messages on Junior’s phone. She pops in to see her therapist. She says she wants to kill Junior, but then she takes it back because the therapist would have to report it. The therapist asks her, “Where do you come in?” Renee breaks down in a watershed of tears. She says she doesn’t matter, she never mattered. She just wants AJ to be happy and in college and Junior to be far away. I wish they could have gotten Billy Crystal, from “Analyze This,” to play the part of the therapist. But they didn’t, so this segment was boring and annoying.

The concluding segment, as if they saved the best for last, is back at Drita’s house. She is so furious with Lee she decides she needs a night of drinking and dancing. She goes to the club with Karen and they are “jumpin’ jumpin’” I got the impression that Karen was secretly happy that Drita is having issues with Lee. She claims she can’t tell her to leave him because that would make her look like a “crazy ex-girlfriend.” The next day, Lee calls to ask about his box. He never got it. Drita tells him she is cleaning and needs to know when he is coming home. She must feel stupid for waiting so long. He tells her he doesn’t know. She yells that she is done waiting for him. As for his box, she tells him she ate it. They throw a few profanities back and forth at each other and then Drita takes her phone and slams it on the floor. Nice touch of drama at the very end, but not enough to sustain my interest or keep me awake.

The title of this episode is misleading. If it refers to Karen, she didn’t agitate anyone this week. What we saw was a lot of uninteresting communication with the three husbands: Hector, Joe, and Lee. I would rename this segment, “The Bastards Can Go To Hell.” I think Jenn should hire me as a consultant since I have so much constructive criticism to offer. However, since she calls her production company “JustJenn” I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mob Wives: Joy Behar Interviews Her "Paesans"

Joy Behar, an opinionated and outspoken Italian American woman, invited the four mob wives to be guests on her show Thursday, April 21st. They had a lively discussion and the thing that struck me most was the lack of any and all profanities used. Not one single F-Bomb. I barely recognized the women at all, if it were not for their grating voices.

Joy starts with Karen Gravano and gets right to the point of asking what her father’s claim to fame is in the mob. Karen nonchalantly answers that it’s either being an underboss for the Gambino crime family or his cooperation with Federal authorities by turning state’s evidence against John Gotti. Joy says, “Some people call that a ‘snitch’ how do you feel about that?” Karen justifies her father’s actions because John Gotti “betrayed” him and “double-crossed” him. Joy adds, that many people are not happy with Sammy Gravano so “are you afraid of getting whacked?” Karen answers she is not afraid, she refuses to live in fear. At first she says her family was angry with her father for cooperating, and didn’t go into witness protection with him. But later on, her father explained to her why he felt he had to “rat” after hearing the tapes the Feds had where Gotti was trying to throw him under the bus.

Joy moves on to Renee Graziano, the second “big name” in the group and archrival of Karen. Renee is careful to say that “According to the government” she is the daughter of “high-ranking mobster” Anthony Graziano. Which leads us to her sister, Jenn, who is creator of the show, and described as “brilliant” for putting these four women together. Renee admits to being the “sensitive” one who cries at the drop of a hat. Funny, but I don’t recall seeing that side of her. Now we get to the question of the day from Joy: “But, isn’t your father upset or perturbed, that you guys are on this show?” Implying, of course, that the women may divulge mob secrets such as “where all the bodies are buried.” Karen volunteers that her father wrote a tell-all-book so he has no secrets to hide. Renee is not talking, as far as she knows, her father hasn’t killed anyone, yet Joy seems to think, it’s part of Mafia initiation, based on all the mob movies she has seen.

On to Carla, whose father was in the mob, but she married a stockbroker. Interestingly, Carla immediately claims her father was not in the mob! So, Joy wants to know how is it she is affiliated with the mob. She says, “They say my uncle was involved.” And finally we get somewhere, if she is telling the truth, that her uncle is Bruno (Facciolo). Moving on to Carla’s husband, who was just released from prison for stock fraud, which Carla now considers a crime. She says they are in the process of getting divorced and are no longer together anyway. I get the impression Carla is not very comfortable discussing anything Mob related and I notice her husband‘s name is not even mentioned. Later in the interview Joy goes back to question her affiliation again and comes away with the same answer from Carla…the uncle Bruno connection.

Joy addresses Drita: “You are not even Italian…you are Albanian.” And, in the way of background information adds, that Lee D’avanzo has been in prison 10 out of the 12 years they have been married. Lee is still in prison with no release date as yet. Drita admits that life has been difficult and has no idea what she will do about her marriage, if and when, her husband is released.

After the commercial break Joy is asking about the fact that Karen was with Lee before he married Drita. “What happened there?” Karen seems to downplay her relationship of seven years and living with Lee by saying, “I used to date Lee for a while and then I moved to Arizona…then she started dating him…and they got married.” It is implied that there will be an episode where these two women finally have it out about Lee.

Jump to Jersey Shore…that show bores Joy, whereas she likes Mob Wives. Drita volunteers that the difference between the two shows is that “they” have responsibilities and have lived hard lives, while the kids on the Jersey Shore just party wild all the time. Joy, as an Italian American, is quite offended by Jersey Shore, but not Mob Wives. Her reasoning is this: she feels that people know the mob is a subculture of Italian Americans, and all Italians do not belong to the mob. But, Jersey Shore is a different matter, because they are portraying all Italians as “gafoons” (fools, idiots) like they are. Somewhat of a compliment to her four paesans, who she doesn’t find offensive at all.

Joy asks Renee about her ex-husband, Hector Pagan, who isn’t Italian…what’s up with that? Renee tells the story of how Hector was coming to pick her up and her father asks her what’s his name. Renee answers, when he gets here he will tell you. They go back and forth a couple of times until Hector arrives. Graziano asks him his name and he replies Hector Pagan Jr. Graziano answers, according to Renee, your name is Junior, forget all that other stuff, you’re Junior. And, for 23 years, he has been going by Junior.

Joy poses a poignant question: “What do you think is the biggest misconception about the mob and the mafia?” They answer that the biggest misconception is that people look at mobsters as bad men when actually they are good husbands and fathers…family men.

Yes indeed, they are “family men” in more ways than one!

Video Clip of show:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mob Wives: Japan Wants It's Mascot Back

I realize Japan is recovering from a deadly earthquake and then a tsunami. My prayers are with all those suffering, lost and helping with Japan's recovery. Now that my heartfelt moment is over let me get down to business.

I know it is not high on the Japan government's priority list. Yet, I need them to get on bringing their mascot home. I suppose in their crisis they didn't notice it was missing. I didn't either. However, early Monday morning I found it on VH-1's latest docu-soap Mob Wives.

Y'all think there is a reward?

UPDATE: We now love Renee Graziano of Mob Wives.  Our opinions have evolved.

Credit: VH-1

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mob Wives: Recap Ep 101 Made in Staten Island

I watched the first episode of VH1’s new show, which was an introduction of the four Mob Wives. I found it very choppy and fragmented. They switch from one woman to another and from one scene to another and I didn’t think it had “flow” which made it hard to follow. I did the best I could trying to make sense of it all without having to watch it again.

Renee Graziano seems very proud of the mob lifestyle and boasts of the mob’s “code of ethics of honor, respect and loyalty.” And she sums it up with, “Loyalty is everything.” She goes on to explain that when Sammy Gravano ratted out John Gotti, her father, Anthony Graziano, told her she had to cut all ties and communication with Karen, his daughter. Renee is very firm on this point regarding Karen. “Her father is a rat and she is his daughter.” My problem with Renee is that she is a hypocrite. She picks and chooses which of her father’s beliefs and wishes she needs to follow. She says she cut off ties with Karen because Daddy said so, but she will not respect his wishes not to do this VH1 show with her sister. In fact, by agreeing to the show, she is disrespecting both of her father’s wishes because she knows full well that communication with Karen would be required. So, that leaves me to question, what is her idea of loyalty and respect? Renee’s father and ex-husband, Hector “Junior” Pagan are both in prison, so there is little they can do about the show.

Karen Gravano returns to Staten Island for two reasons: one, to be on the show and two, to write an autobiography of her life. She has left her daughter in Arizona with family, just in case her participation in the show is not “safe.” I’m not sure what makes her think that if the “mob” feels she is being disloyal, that Arizona is safe. Karen knows her return to S.I. is not going to go over big with everyone because of what her father did. Karen’s father, Sammy, is also in prison. Karen likes to “act” tough and talk tough, but the whole hour seemed scripted, like she was acting the whole time, and not very well I might add. The first order of business is for Karen to meet with Drita. They have some unfinished business from the past to take care of. I found them surprisingly cordial to one another considering that Karen lived with Drita’s husband for 7 years prior to Drita marrying him. Drita seems to play down her husband’s past with Karen, while Karen seems to harbor some burning resentment just under the surface. When Karen sees a painting at Drita’s house, that she bought with Lee for their apartment, and had hanging in their bedroom, she makes a nasty remark into the camera. That tells me that Karen has not quite gotten past this issue.

Carla Facciolo has been friends with Renee since she was 16. When her husband Joe was arrested for stock fraud, her reaction was, “Uh, there goes another one!” She more or less expected it because she has lived her whole life watching family go to prison and visiting them there. She almost brags that when she visited relatives in jail it was like a big reunion. She has twin boys, Joseph and Carmen, who still do not know that their father, Joe Ferragamo, is in prison.

Drita D’avanzo is Albanian. She is married to Lee D’avanzo, who is also in prison. Lee calls Drita 5 times a week to place orders for all of his favorite things. During the show, Drita gets a call where he orders, among other things, a variety of cold cuts, sausages, ring dings, and vanilla coke. Drita boxes it up for him. I have never heard of an inmate being able to order take out and have it delivered to prison. Drita also likes to work out at the gym. She talks tough and brags about all the fights she has been in. She is muscular and overall, from her language and voice, manner of speech and attitude, she is not very feminine.

Drita and Carla seem to like Karen and don’t hold what her father did against her. So when Carla is planning her “35th” birthday party, she and Drita decide it would be a good idea to invite Karen and not mention it to Renee. When the big night arrives, they manage to make sure Renee, who is in “party mode,” has several shots of Patron (tequila). Renee is having quite a good time drinking and being the “center of attention,” as she refers to herself. When she is good and drunk, Karen makes her entrance to the party, which is well underway. Immediately, there is a confrontation between Renee and Karen. Renee is not happy and wants Karen to leave. Karen refuses. After all, she didn’t come all the way from Arizona to S.I. and sign a contract to be in the show, just to turn around and go back home. The party showdown ends with neither of the two women leaving.

Come to think of it, there is no way Renee didn’t know that Karen was going to be on the show, at the party and involved in all the drama. Wasn’t that the whole point? There has to be conflict to get ratings and keep viewers coming back. Renee’s sister, Jenn, is producing the show and everyone stands to make a lot of money only if the show is a hit and remains on the air. So is Renee really mad or glad to see Karen? Karen’s father has the most well known reputation for being the mob rat, and his crimes are a matter of record and documented in his tell all book, Underboss. Her presence is sure to draw viewers.

Oh, by the way, I could have sworn Carla said this was her 35th birthday. I thought I remembered her being older than that, so I checked online. Sources say that Carla did in fact have a birthday in January, but she was allegedly born in 1967 which would make her 44 years old. That is much more credible to me. Since only photos can be airbrushed, maybe she is better off sticking to her true age rather than trying to shave 9 years off of it?

The show seems to be trying to illicit some sympathy and compassion for these women, who have been left high and dry while the men in their lives are serving time for their alleged crimes. They are trying to put the pieces of their lives back together as they struggle as single mothers. Sniff, sniff. Please pass the Kleenex! Yet, from what I saw, none of the women appear to work, but they all have lovely homes and plenty of money. Renee had a fistful of cash as she ordered drinks at the bar the night of the party. Seems to me like they are still reaping plenty of the benefits of being connected to the mob.

Frankly, considering all the mobsters these women are connected to are in prison, dead, or in hiding, I would have renamed the episode, “While The Cat’s Away.” These women all look like they are enjoying “play” acting in the spotlight and having a damn good time spending money.

Mob Wives: An Orange World

Well I am on the fence about the Mob Wives' premiere. It did not live up to my expectations completely. I just don't know after the first episode if I can refer to myself as a fan of the series. However, I told myself that I would blog about the series from beginning to the end; I'll stick to my guns. While I ponder on what direction to go in with my Mob Wives' recap, I've decided to touch on the phenomenon of spray tanning. I don't f*cking get it.

Allow me to retract my last sentence. I've seen some spray tans that are absolutely amazing in various shades of beautiful tans (think brown family) and bronzes. I understand women wanting gorgeous sunkissed skin. Hell everyone can't be a Californian girl just as The Beach Boys shared in their smash hit. Yet, what the f*ck is up with an orange spray tan? I mean who wants to walk around looking like a commercial for orange Kool-Aid? All the women on Mob Wives are attractive for the most part physically. I cannot grasp how orange skin is going to elevate their sexy scores in Staten Island or anywhere else in the world. Well if they were auditioning for a part in The Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka and The Chocolate factory, I'd get it. Is it me or would Renee Graziano make one hell of a Wicked Witch of The East? I'll touch more on Renee in my upcoming recap later. She irks the bejeezus out of me.

VH-1 was kind enough to share the Mob Wives' spray tanning ceremony with us through video. I really have a love/hate viewership with that network. Oh well everyone can't be the Discovery or OWN networks. Oh and after you watch the clip please go visit a blog I stumbled upon a few minutes ago. The blogger Shae totally disagrees with me on the Mob Wives' attractiveness. Shae of Women's Dynasty has a blog titled 'Want to See the Ugliest Women Alive? Watch VH-1's Mob Wives! All I can blog out loud is wow, woow, wooooow. I am hoping Shae doesn't live in Staten Island. Otherwise we may very well have to start up a Blogger Protection Program specifically for her. On with the world would be mine if I were orange video.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mob Wives: Lingo Of The Mob

My name is Chiara. In Italian that means “light” or “clear.” In this blog I am going to shed some light on the language used by the mafia so it all becomes clearer to you. The Mob has a language all it’s own. It might be fun to get familiar with some of the standard, more popular vocabulary which may come out of the “mouths of the babes” on VH1’s new show Mob Wives. If, during the course of the show, other words come out in their conversation, you will find them translated in my blog review of the episode. Now let’s get down to business!

La Cosa Nostra - translates into “Our Thing” and refers to the Mafia in the US

There are/were five Italian American crime families in New York: Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese.

The Mafia is an organization and, like any other business, ranks its members:

The Boss or Don is the head of the Mafia family. He decides who gets killed and gets a portion of all money made by his workers.

The Underboss is the one that runs the family and oversees all the other workers. He is next in line for the position of Boss. There is only one of these per family.

The Consigliere is an advisor to the Boss and assists him in making important decisions. He also represents the Don in meetings within the family and with other crime families. There is usually only one of these in a family.

Caporegimes or captains are in charge of a crew of workers/soldiers. They answer to the underboss and collect money from the workers to give to the Boss, underboss, consigliere and keeps some for himself. There can be from 2 to 20 “capos” in a family.

Soldiers are the workers, in Italian “soldati“, who earn money to give to their captain. They do what ever is asked of them by the capo or underboss and there can be 10 to 300 of them in a family.

Associates are people who work with the Mafia family, but are not members.
Common words and expressions:

Babbo - a soldier who is consider to be useless and expendable.
Burn - to murder (clip, do a piece of work, hit, ice, pop, whack, put a contract on)
Comare (goomah, goomar, goomatta) - a mafia member’s mistress, every wise guy has one.
Come heavy - bring a loaded gun
Earner - refers to those who bring in money to the Mafia family
Facia Bruta - Ugly face, what you call someone you dislike
Flip - one who breaks the omerta code and cooperates with authorities
Guests of the state - doing time in prison
Juice - the interest paid to a loanshark
Lam - lay low or go into hiding
Large - one thousand dollars, a grand, G
Made guy - join the family as a member; mother must be Italian
Mezza morta - half dead
Mock execution - beat someone up to the point of scaring the shit out of them
Omerta - code of silence
Pinched - to be caught by the police
Puttana - whore
Rat - a snitch
Shakedown - blackmail or scare someone into handing over money
Shy - interest charged by loan sharks
Shylock business - loan shark business
Spring cleaning - getting rid of or hiding evidence
Strunz - a piece of shit
Taste - a percentage of the take
Tax - to take a percentage of someone’s earnings
Wise guy - a made guy, member of the mafia.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mob Wives: Lana Graziano Zancocchio

Renee and Jenn Graziano have an older sister, Lana, who does not seem interested in participating in the new VH1 Mob Wives series. Maybe it’s out of consideration for their father, and all she has been taught to believe, that she refuses to be on a televised show that exploits the crime family lifestyle. As he sits in prison (until January 2012), Anthony Graziano, consigliere of the Bonanno crime family, is very unhappy with his younger daughters for going through with this production against his wishes. It may be a case of “while the cat’s away, the mice will play.” But, Lana isn’t playing. She seems to be showing her father the respect and loyalty that he deserves. It’s always nice when at least one of your children turn out the way you hoped, don‘t you think?

Lana explains that she is a lot like her father as far as being aggressive and controlling. She has always looked up to him and looked for his approval. In interviews, she has described how her father gave her everything a princess could want and, in exchange, he expected to be able to dictate what she could and could not do. Eventually, she married John “Porky” Zancocchio, who was a promising soldier of her father’s crew. Marrying the boss’s daughter didn’t hurt John’s career with the mob. Together the couple raised three children in a “Soprano-like” mansion in New Jersey, with all the luxuries and amenities.

Unfortunately, there was trouble in Mafia paradise. Lana was argumentative and would often chastise her husband. They had many brutal fights, some escalating to violence. She is reported to have yelled to Zancocchio to take out the garbage, as he was being hauled off in handcuffs by law enforcement. John eventually left her for another woman who was a waitress at a topless bar.

Zancocchio built his reputation on a very successful bookmaking operation that reportedly made 280 million dollars of income in its best year. In fact, this is the very gambling operation in which Pete Rose was betting on baseball games. That huge scandal tarnished Rose’s name and career, and cost him entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Like a good son, Zancocchio opened a pizzeria called “Mama Rosa’s” for his mother. However, his illegal financial involvement with the restaurant led to charges of income tax evasion for both John and his mother. In 2002 new tax evasion charges on John and Lana led to him receiving a 71 month prison term and a $300,000 fine. He was let out in August, 2008. Lana received a 16 month sentence for her crimes, but her lawyer was able to change it to house arrest so that she could care for her three children. Lana reportedly said in an interview, that she believes John married her just to get in good with her father and the mob and that he never really loved her. But, maybe John could never measure up to Lana’s expectations because of her adoration of her father. It appears that Lana is always going to be “daddy’s little girl.”

All written content is exclusive property of The Mob Wives Blogspot and is protected by copyrights or other intellectual property rights. You are prohibited from using, copying, altering, modifying, or changing our work. Unauthorized use of this is strictly prohibited. Violators are punishable under federal law. In simple English, stop f*cking jacking our work.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mob Wives: Anthony “T.G.” Graziano

Graziano is the father of two of the Mafia princesses involved in the new VH1 series, Mob Wives. Jenn Graziano came up with the idea for the show, and Renee Graziano plays one of the four women in the series. Anthony is not speaking to either of his daughters over this, even though Jenn told him they weren’t going to reveal any “secrets.” I’m sure he found that very reassuring. The princesses also have an older sister, Lana, who is not participating in the production as far as I know.

Anthony Graziano is a big name in Mafia history. He started as a member of the Bonanno crime family as part of Anthony Spero’s crew of murderers and he did very well. By the late 1980s or early 1990s it is alleged that he had risen to a high-ranking captain making money from crimes such a loan sharking, drugs, and murder while he ran the Staten Island operation. Unfortunately, he was found guilty of tax evasion for which he had to pay a fine of $250,000 to the IRS and serve 5 years in prison. When he was released from prison he resumed his role in the family with additional leadership responsibilities in Queens and Brooklyn. In 2001, Spero received a life sentence and Graziano was made a consigliore (advisor) of the Bonanno family. 

In March 2002, Graziano had more legal problems. He faced racketeering charges in both New York and Florida. He received 11 years for the Florida charges and nine years for the New York charges. He currently sits in a North Carolina prison with an expected release date, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, of January 30, 2012.

According to sources, Graziano will allegedly resume his role of consigliere when he is out of jail. If that is the case, it is certainly understandable that he would not appreciate two of his daughters bringing attention to and exposing any aspect of the crime family lifestyle. You have to wonder how the Mob Wives series is going to make him look to everyone in the Bonanno family. It might diminish his authority or make him a laughing stock. If he can’t even control his two daughters, how effective a leader can he be in the mob?

I wonder if his daughters gave any thought to their father’s pride or to his high level position in the family? He needs to command respect from those under him, but even his own daughters do not respect his wishes. I have to wonder if this is it all about money and fame for the Graziano princesses? And, all this while, I was under the impression that the mob was all about “family,”“loyalty,” and “respect.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mob Wives: Who Is Carla's Daddy?

Carla is a mob princess, not exactly a mob wife, or so they say over at VH1. I am a good researcher and was all prepared to learn about Carla’s father today and report back. All I could find out, after two hours of searching, is that is he an “unidentified” member of the mob. I found some mobsters with the same last name, but I could not find any connection to Carla. This is the best kept secret of the Mob and the internet. You would think that the name of her father would have shown up in one of the many searches I conducted, but no. I didn’t know that the internet had a criminal protection program.

I started to get skeptical that Carla actually had any real mob ties. The only “proof” we have is her word for it. She grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn and her father went to prison when she was very young. That’s all that is in her biography. I am disappointed to say the least. You would think that a show that is promoting the “Mob” and mob ties would give you a direct link to Carla and her notorious father. Even if they choose not to reveal his identity, I would have expected the internet to have some mention of it.

Who is Carla’s father? We just can’t be sure unless we round up all the mob “Facciolos” and let Maury Pauvich do a paternity test. No one is talking otherwise. This is typical of the Mafia, the “Omerta” vow of silence.

What do we know about Carla? She married a man named Joey Ferragamo, thinking she was going to be able to disassociate herself from the mob. Joey was a stock broker until he was convicted of committing stock fraud by Federal prosecutor Chris Christie, who is the current governor of New Jersey. Her soon to be ex-husband is serving an 88 month sentence for his crimes. But, to hear Carla tell it in her VH1 clip, “Stock fraud to me isn’t bad, so I don’t think of it like, wow, that’s a bad crime.” I guess compared to murder, stock fraud is a pretty benign crime, but not so benign that he didn’t get some stiff jail time.

By the way, our dear Carla has a set of twins that are nine years old. She feels they are too young to know daddy is in prison so she is telling him he is away on business. I can understand her mother’s instinct to protect her children. But, I hardly think that is wise if the show is as popular as they expect it to be. The truth always comes out, and if I were her, I would tell them before it has a chance to air on April 17th. And, unlike the name of her father, whose identity is no where to be found, their father and his crimes are all over the internet.  

All written content is exclusive property of The Mob Wives Blogspot and is protected by copyrights or other intellectual property rights. You are prohibited from using, copying, altering, modifying, or changing our work. Unauthorized use of this is strictly prohibited. Violators are punishable under federal law. In simple English, stop f*cking jacking our work.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mob Wives: Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano

Karen Gravano is one of the “Mob Wives” in VH-1’s new series, but she is not real a mob “wife,” she is more of a mob princess. Her father, Sammy Gravano, is her connection to the mob. Sammy has a long and notorious past, not just because of his involvement in the Mafia, but also because he became an informant for the FBI. It was his testimony in 1991 that convicted John Gotti, the “Teflon Don” and Gambino crime family boss, which resulted in a life sentence for Gotti. Sammy has written a book detailing his extensive activities in the Mob, called Underboss.

Sammy admitted to being involved in 19 murders during his time in the mob. He was born in 1945 and his illustrious career began in 1968 with the Columbo family. Sammy went from committing a long laundry list of various crimes to allegedly committing his first murder, Joseph Colucci, in 1970. Sammy was on the fast track in the Columbo family, which caused some hard feelings in the ranks. In 1970 he was allowed to leave to join the Gambino family. His loyalty to the Gambino family was tested when, for several reasons, it was decided that his brother-in law had to be murdered. At first Sammy was against it, but saw it was no use trying to get the murder called off. No one knows what part Sammy had in this murder, if any.

The most scandalous murder that he was involved in was that of Gambino mob boss, Paul Castellano. In June, 1985 Gravano was approached by John Gotti and another associate, asking for his assistance in Castellano’s murder. After some discussion and planning, the day and location for the execution of the murder was decided. The murder would take place at Sparks Steak House, located in Manhattan on December 16, 1985. When Castellano arrived at the restaurant and got out of his car, six gunmen shot him to death. After his death, the heads of the family agreed to make John Gotti their new boss.

Many “capos” of the family were not happy with Gotti’s leadership. One day the FBI arrested Gravano, Gotti and another man. The FBI played various tapes for Gravano in which Gotti made some very damaging and incriminating statements about Gravano. In 1991 Gravano agreed to testify against Gotti for a lesser sentence of 5 years for acknowledging his participation in 19 murders and Gotti received a life sentence. Sammy got out of jail early and entered the witness protection program which he left a year later, in 1995, to go to Arizona. In 1998, Gravano returned to crime by joining a gang called the “Devil Dogs” that specialized in selling ecstasy to the tune of 25,000 pills a week for millions of dollars. In October 2000 the Arizona justice system convicted Gravano of drug trafficking and he was sentenced to 19 years in prison. His son received a nine year sentence for his involvement. It has been alleged that his own cohorts ratted him out. Gravano is currently serving time in prison.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Karen pleaded guilty to criminal involvement in her father’s drug ring and was sentenced to probation along with her mother. According to the New York Post, Karen is now writing a tell all book. She is currently a make-up artist. Rumor has it that Sammy is going to make a special phone call from prison, to his daughter Karen, during one of her appearances on the Mob Wives. It just makes me want to tear up.

All written content is exclusive property of The Mob Wives Blogspot and is protected by copyrights or other intellectual property rights. You are prohibited from using, copying, altering, modifying, or changing our work. Unauthorized use of this is strictly prohibited. Violators are punishable under federal law. In simple English, stop f*cking jacking our work.

Mob Wives: The Big Bang

Rock Mafia isn't a band I am familar with. However, kudos to them for scoring the theme song for Mob Wives. I personally dig some theme songs. The Soprano's theme song was definitely a good one. What was the name of that song? Yes, I remember now; 'Woke Up This Morning' (Chosen One mix) written and performed by Alabama 3. It makes perfect sense that I like the song a lot. I am a Brittish rock slut. I am still hoping for an Eurythmics' reunion.

Well back to the point of this post; theme songs. I don't miss the series 'The Sopranos'. However, every blue moon it's theme song plays in my head. Now, I have a new theme song to bop my head to Rock Mafia's 'The Big Bang'. For some reason I enjoy the song. It's not in my usual lane of musical tastes. However, it's a happy tune to me. And truth be told the guy in the video is a cutie pie. Miley Cyrus plays the lead female in the video and manages to wear some clothes. Miss Cyrus is even rocking some thigh high boots. You think Renee Graziano loaned her the boots? I am just wondering out loud over here. Spring and soon summer will be upon us. Which translates to moi scoring a pair of thigh high boots on a sale rack very soon. Patience is a shopping virtue.

Well enough about my boot dreams, I know you are dying to watch Rock Mafia's 'The Big Bang' to see the cutie pie I mentioned earlier. Oh and of course you want to hear the theme song to VH-1 new series  Mob Wives.                            VH1 TV Shows Music Videos Celebrity Photos News & Gossip .

What's your take on the Mob Wives' theme song; one thump up or a middle finger up? Hey, I like it but I am only one person. Remember, we are six days away from the Mob Wives premiere episode on Sunday, April 17th. Usually snitching is uncool, however snitch that to your friends!

All written content is exclusive property of The Mob Wives Blogspot and is protected by copyrights or other intellectual property rights. You are prohibited from using, copying, altering, modifying, or changing our work. Unauthorized use of this is strictly prohibited. Violators are punishable under federal law. In simple English, stop f*cking jacking our work.

Video: VH-1

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mob Wives' Super Teaser

I have to give it to VH-1. They definitely know how to get us excited about a new series. They've definitely succeeded with Mob Wives' Super Teaser. I'll let you see for yourself if you already haven't below.

Now was that a d@mn Drita moment or what? She straight put her hand around Renee's neck. Drita is so not playing just a pretty face on the show. I know know it's just a teaser but I likey like her already.

Yes, I know I am a blogging commercial. But you have to admit, you know you can't wait until the premiere episode of VH-1's Mob Wives on Sunday, April 17th @ 8 PM Pacific/Eastern & 7 PM Central. Who needs Robert DeNiro when these wives are so not playing?

All written content is exclusive property of The Mob Wives Blogspot and is protected by copyrights or other intellectual property rights. You are prohibited from using, copying, altering, modifying, or changing our work. Unauthorized use of this is strictly prohibited. Violators are punishable under federal law. In simple English, stop f*cking jacking our work.

Video: VH-1


We are folks who are highly interested in VH-1 upcoming new series Mob Wives. Our goal is to write recaps and other tidbits about the four main women starring in the show. We do not pretend to know any of the women personally or their families. Therefore this is so not personal for us. We are simply future viewers of the show as hopefully all those who visit this page. Our opinions and points of view will be based off of what we see each week, nothing more or less. Of course the exception will be if the actual Mob Wives' cast stop by to share information that was left on the production team's editing floor. We can hope. However, the reality is it won't likely happen. So we won't hold our breath. Chiara and I are looking for one more blogger to add to our team. Hopefully someone with that Staten Island edge. However, if you are from Bum F*ck, Egypt submit a Mob Wives related piece. We'll see if you're what we're looking for.

We have no problem with anyone stopping by disagreeing with our opinion. However, personal attacks are flat out lame. If the show is half as good & entertaining as we think it will be, we will be fans of the Mob Wives' series. It does not mean we will be cheerleading wannabee goonettes glorifying every move Renee Graziano, Drita D'avanzo, Karen Gravano and Carla Facciolo make. We won't be salivating at every word that comes from their lips. It's not that type of party or site over here ladies, gents and morons. We are going to watch the show every week if we pay our cable bills. We are going to share our opinions on the show and individuals as it pertains to the show or relevant news. We have not walked a mile in any of the women's shoes let alone a block. So neither one of us comes from a place of been there, done that. I can't speak for Chiara. However, I for one would like the thigh high boots Renee Graziano is rocking in the VH-1 Mob Wives' promo video. I don't plan on walking in them either.
Make sure if your time permits to tune into VH-1 premiere episode of Mob Wives Sunday, April 17th @ 8 PM Pacific/Eastern & 7 PM Central. We think it's going to be bangin'.

All written content is exclusive property of The Mob Wives Blogspot and is protected by copyrights or other intellectual property rights. You are prohibited from using, copying, altering, modifying, or changing our work. Unauthorized use of this is strictly prohibited. Violators are punishable under federal law. In simple English, stop f*cking jacking our work.

Photo credit: VH-1