Vinnie recently hosted and performed at an all-star studded event called the Blue Gala for Louie’s Legacy.
Louie’s Legacy is a non-profit, grassroots all-breed animal rescue which saves, rehabilitates and rehomes animals from high-kill shelters across the United States. Louie’s Legacy operates in Cincinnati, OH and Staten Island, NY.For more information on who they are and how you can save an innocent life today, visit… www.louieslegacy.org
The event was a gala to honor volunteers, acknowledge fosters and adopters, and more importantly, to celebrate and commend the work of those who don’t give up in the fight against animal cruelty. Also, it educated the public about the goal and mission statement of this wonderful organization.
In the past year, Louie’s helped to save 1,067 animals across the country!
“This truly was a great way to remember the simple things we are thankful for at this time of the year, but more importantly, to defend the defenseless. I am so glad my talents were able to make an impact in these innocent lives,” said Vinnie in an interview with us here at VM.com.
The event was a huge success and included stars such as, Big Ang (Mobwives, Miami Monkey VH1), Carla Facciolo (Mobwives, VH1), Priscilla Mennella (Bad Girls Club, Oxygen), Lori Michaels (Recording Artist as seen on Real Housewives of NJ, WWHL, Bravo), and Reina (Dance Music, Billboard Charted, Recording Artist).
To see a brief video on the extensive work these volunteers do, see the attached video below. All of these people aren’t paid, and they work countless amounts of hours to save the lives of these beautiful creatures. This video is courtesy of OMJProductions. Follow them on twitter @OMJBuzz.
Special thanks to Emily Gear for inviting Vinnie to host, along with Jenn Gellmann and Millie Acosta, great friends of Vinnie and entertainment coordinators for the evenings festivities. Follow @LouiesLegacy on twitter.
What an amazing community to be part of. Not only am I a proud Staten Islander, but I’m also an active Staten Islander. I honestly feel that we were so strong and vibrant, after being one of, if not the worst affected by such a horrific and catastrophic event.
I have wanted to write an entry about Sandy, but was waiting for an appropriate time to do so. Many people have been asking me what my thoughts and comments were. I also didn’t want to write an entry on the site without writing about Sandy first. And so I begin…
First off, Happy 2013 and I hope each and every one of you had a blessed holiday season and sent 2012 away with a huge kick in the ass, as we all would agree, needed to go after the ending of the year was rough.
Next, I want to say that it was truly a blessing, honor, and privilege to be looked upon by many of my fellow community members to take an active part in giving back to the community and leading in on the efforts and fight to restore, and rebuild parts of Staten Island. I think the first thing to realize is that, if we all did something minimal, we did a lot. Everyone doing just what they can adds up to a major effort to pitch in and really defines what the word community is all about. I was blessed with a lot of exposure and local fame, so for me it was an easy platform to solicit and elicit assistance from people.
Staten Island's Midland Beach hours before Sandy hit
The real stars and heroes were the ones who rose up and knew it was the right thing to do. I am a fan of the police, EMT’s, fire fighters, and sanitation workers, but am especially a fan of the kids, parents, churches, and other local community people who just came from all over to say, “we are helping because it is the right thing to do.” Those are the people I joined forces with.
I was able to take part in so many efforts like driving around Midland Beach in Staten Island and just handing out thousands of dollars worth of supplies and materials for clean up with colleagues from local schools like Port Richmond High
Prestige Events Stars Shine in Staten Island Concert Flyer
School. After clean up was done, it was about funds. From there, I can remember email after email, phone call after phone call, and whatnot to just go and appear, host, sing, for the cause. My response always was yes. As draining as it was to always be on the move, I knew it still wasn’t half as draining as what these people experienced and my take on it was simple… “If my voice (God given talent) is the one thing that will help and make a difference, then I will speak/sing until I cannot anymore.” With that I loaded up the later part of the year going out on benefits, personal fundraisers, local organization events, and even organizing along with Prestige Events, an amazing all star line up of talent for a major relief concert. Over twenty thousand dollars in one night being raised for the community proves that Staten Island has a heart.
I also teamed up with Big Ang and her sister Janine and their family and the Big Ang’s Angels organization with Lil Jen and
Janine Detore (L) Vinnie (C) Priscilla Mennella (R) at the Big Ang's Angels Hurricane Sandy Gala
Linda to do a multitude of good will. It was humbling to watch people who have recently found fame, success, and monetary blessing, but they have shared it immensely with their fellow man in need. This to me is clearly why we are put on this earth; to step up and lend a hand when times of tribulation come knocking at our doors. I was and still am so proud to call these people my friends.
Vinnie handing out toys to children after the St. George Theatre Christmas Show
As for the St. George Theatre (my home), this years Christmas Show (2012) was a major outlet to do what the spirit of Christmas is all about, spreading peace and good will toward mankind. We gave a private performance to victims of the storm and presented children of all ages with gifts and necessities that they’d need in order to have some kind of holiday. From food drives to toy drives, I worked on adrenaline all through the months of November and December. Smiles on children’s faces and hearing people say thank you was the only payment I needed. When you do work from the heart, the ultimate reward is to know, you feel like you did something right.
One of the final efforts I took part in was the most humbling experience of all, and
Medugno with the ICONIC Boyz in Rockaway Beach
that was to go into Rockaway Beach (Neponsit Queens) with Joe Causi, WCBSFM, Lucas Prata, Angelo Venuto, Dani Dante and the ICONIC Boyz, and perform for actual people whose homes were in complete disarray. The humbling part was that this was on December 23rd 2012, hours before Christmas Eve fell upon the world. We filled the streets with people, good energy, and most importantly a happy holiday.
Although I wasn’t directly affected by this tragic event, my hometown was and I couldn’t sit back and watch people raise efforts without continuing the chain. I witnessed gas droughts, power outages, floods, destroyed homes, deaths, and hundreds of other cases that are so painful to recount. What came out of it was a greater; more unified and blessed Staten Island community. Together as a borough we stood tall and restored as best we could. As efforts continue we look to 2013 with peace, love, and hope.
Instead of focusing on my entire year, as I usually do with my first entry on my website each year, I decided to write about this. 2012 has blessed me with continued success in all that I do, but has blessed me more with safety, shelter, a home, family, friends, and loved ones who were safe. All the things we take for granted on a daily basis suddenly had such an important meaning in my life. I am sure many of you reading this feel the exact same way as I do. I am thankful for all I have witnessed and pitched in doing, because my community has made me an even better person.
With that I close by saying, lets all look to help others often not because we expect things in return, but because it is simply the right thing to do. From a major tragedy to a minor cause with someone raising funds, there is no job too big or too small to lend a helping hand. As we embark on this New Year, lets go through it together with the same unity and spirit that our community shared for the post Sandy efforts. Thank you to everyone who reached out for my services, or who gave me the opportunity to better myself. It makes me feel great to know you put so much into needing me to be part of your events, but it makes me feel even better to know I had the means to do the right thing.
(all photos courtesy of Vincent Medugno on Instagram and Twitter)
I am honored to say that the weather was in our corner and we decided on the spur of the moment to change the plans of our video shoot. Last year we received such great reviews from you about the Mr. Christmas album as a whole, but you all seemed to love Driving Home For Christmas. It really is a song that was near and dear to my heart. Discovered by my mother and requested by her, I recorded it, and over a year, it whirl-winded into something special.
A few weeks ago here in New York City… Staten Island especially, which I am proud to be a community member of, we experienced a snowstorm, and what was needed after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy would be something poignant. Of course I am involved in numerous relief efforts, but this is a song that I dedicate to all of the survivors and people affected by this horrible disaster.
The songs lyrics as written originally by Chris Rea, expresses true poignancy about being home for Christmas, and I feel this was the song to tribute them. Many of these people have lost everything, but still feel extremely grateful and thankful for life, and the every day joys of unity and community spirit. This is true energy that has built me up and in the best fashion of using my talents I am giving back!
In shooting this video, my mind and heart was with all of those who needed to be taken to a place of tranquility, peace, love and happiness. This is what the holidays represent, and to me, this is what the song and the video capture. We went with something on the spur of the moment, and real emotion came through.
On this Thanksgiving Eve, as a token of my sincerest gratitude, love, heartfelt thanks, and support with high honor for all of my friends and followers, enjoy this song and video. The album will be available again for FREE download this entire holiday season, and I hope you enjoy it all as much I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you.
Be blessed, and be thankful! Happy Holidays.
Shout outs go to Mike Cash Guglielmino for his amazing recording and producing of Vincent’s version, Steve Graziano for his skill behind the camera, Mille Acosta and Jenn Gellman for their consulting (OMJ Productions) and to Chris Rea for his original recording and lyrics which inspired this project.
Life should always be about bettering yourself, or making things better in general. What a crazy past few months I have been having. It shows in how little I’ve blogged or paid attention to my own website. However with that said, I have some things to tell you.. all good of course!
January through May is always hectic, but incredible for me at the same time because, I get to teach my favorite craft to an amazingly talented group of kids… My Port Richmond High School Theatre and Performing Arts kids! This year we performed and reenacted the musical and time period that is the iconic sixties with none other than HAIR The American Tribal Love Rock Musical.
With assistance from my friends Nancy Delaney, Eugene Palleschi, Pattie Borelli, and Francine Cafarella, we were able to come together and give the school community (which is low budget) a very riveting show. I always love a challenging time as a director, but this year found it to be more enjoyable. These kids really poured their heart and soul, as well as sheer talent into each and every performance they gave. We got to perform at the school, in a nursing home, for intermediate schools, and even a community park performance. They even had an incredible cover page story and full page spread highlighting them in their local Staten Island Advance! I am so proud of them all, and have already begun thinking about next years show. In the meantime, here’s a little taste of what great kids can accomplish with determination…
(credits to Jenn Gelmann of OMJ BUZZ for capturing footage and creating this clip)
Another great joy I get to share in through the community is my love for faith and spirituality. I do not wear it on my sleeve, but will always offer an anecdote when solicited upon. With that said, I offered a lot of guidance and received it tenfold this year when I got to instruct for my local parish The Sacrament of Confirmation. Over 135 candidates received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and 42 of them were mine! I truly believe that the main reason why I am so blessed in my life is because of the energy that being part of my faith brings to me. Part of the Confirmation class was a special person in my life and a great friend who really captured part of herself in recognizing what she needed in her life and that is Priscilla Mennella (Magnetic Video, Bad Girls Club, My Best Friend). She came to me and asked if she could catch up on her faith, and I was honored to open that door for her. I even got to sponsor her. So you can imagine the joy and wonder that came over me for such a milestone in her life.
I love being part of my church community and working as hard as I do. It’s all voluntary and the work truly pays off when I see the children (especially the Communion kids) interact for the first time with their spirituality. No one human or living thing is any bigger than faith, and in life, even in the church, you come across road blocks that try to stop or hold you back from doing good, the best thing to do is always smile rise above it and continue doing God’s work. Mr. Negative (my nickname for the evil one downstairs) loves to lurk around in places of faith because that’s where most of his counteraction gets done. I just smile and pray for al of those who need to be guided back to their faith. I lead by an example, I teach by an example and I live life by that very example. You should never talk out of two sides of your face. It isn’t fooling anyone but you in this life.
June came around quickly and with a vengeance hahaha… I say this because it is a hectic month with all of the scheduled bookings and appearances that I usually have set up around that time. Everyday of the month included something. Sometimes I was even in three places at once. Rest and relaxation are keys to living a stress free life, but sometimes that all goes out the window when you are high profile and in demand. I am blessed that the calls and emails come in, but now that June has come to an end, I am a little grateful to be breathing and have survived a month of insanity! In the month though I got to perform, host, DJ, and solicit for all schools, charities, club grand openings, radio appearances with Joe and CBS as well as assist Big Ang with the new premier that is upcoming for her show on VH-1 this coming July 8th.
However, out of all of these accolades, there was none greater than the one YOU (my friends, family and supporters) gave me… GREATEST AROUND STATEN ISLAND. It was because of your nominations that I appeared on the ballots, and your votes, which made me, take home the title in not one, but all four categories I was up for! I am truly overwhelmed by the love you all have as a community and a “fan base” for me and my work. As a token of my appreciation, I will be setting up a download link of my singles for all to have as a gift. So from the greatest, I say to the greatest, no man in life is a failure without friends, and to each of you, I thank you for making me a success.
These next six months of the year are going to be fast paced and intense, I just began yesterday a one year program for my masters degree in special education (on top of all I do), I am currently working on some new music projects, and a possible new video is in the works, as well as other things that are yet to be announced. With that I say, reach for the best, and let life do the rest. We all have a purpose; I am all about betterment, and hoping that this next portion of the year continues to bless you the way it has blessed me! This is only the beginning of a continued year with great things to come… Ciao for now!
YOU ARE WELL AWARE OF THE GREATEST AROUND STATEN ISLAND SURVEY TAKING PLACE… THE NOMINATIONS YOU HAVE GRACIOUSLY SELECTED ME FOR HAVE COME TO FRUITION. I ALONG WITH SOME FRIENDS AND EVEN FAMILY HAVE APPEARED ON THE BALLOTS FOR VARIOUS CATEGORIES. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO READ MY ENDORSEMENTS BELOW AS WELL AS CHECK OUT THE CATEGORIES AND PLACE YOUR VOTES. THE COMPETITION IS VERY CLOSE AND RUNNING LONGER DUE TO THE INFLUX OF VOTES IN EACH CATEGORY! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF THE CONTINUED LOVE AND SUPPORT.
YOU CAN ONLY VOTE EACH CATEGORY ONCE A DAY PER I.P. ADDRESS, BUT VOTING IS UNLIMITED UNLIMITED UNTIL
MAY 20TH 2012… SO GET CLICKIN’!!!
The following are my endorsements for people and places who are my friends and supporters in the community and I am asking you to help them as well in the voting process. All choices are up to you ultimately, but these people are dedicated to their categories as I am in mine. That’s why they get my endorsement!
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
Category #2 – Mike Shane (photographer)
Category #7 – Screaming Broccoli (band)
Category #8 – Miss. Theresa’s Dance Land (dancing school)
Category # 9 – The Higher Concept (rappers)
Category #11 – St. George Theatre (local theatre/entertainment venue)
Category #12 – Vinnie Medugno (local entertainer)
Category #14 - St. George Theatre (local theatre/entertainment venue)
Category #15 – Dog And Pony Show Website (best local website – they’re also the hosts of this site VincentMedugno.com)
Category #16 – WSIA (local radio station where I started as a local radio personality and disc jockey)
Category #2 – Monsignor Nicholas J. Soares – St. Michael’s Parish (My pastor and a great religious leader, who really DOES GOD’S WORK in this community and is all about faith, not the monetary values of the church!!! VOTE!!!)
Category #4 – Emilio Sparks (blogger… YES I am in this category too, but I’m moving over for Emilio… Why? HE’S MY BROTHER , he just don’t use our last name ’cause too many people compare him to me!!!! LOL VOTEEE!!!!)
Category #7 – Debbi Rose (she is a council person who really does for the community… I know her personally)
Category #10 – Mike Shane (photographer – he also does some of my headshots!)
Category #11 – Vinnie Medugno
Category #12 – Kathy O’Leary Garborino (best realtor – another PERSONAL friend of mine, and a true class act VOTE!!!)
Category #13 – Timothy M. Gannon (Port Richmond High School Principal, my high school, and a great friend of mine, he allows me to direct shows in his school and make a difference in the lives of students who want to pursue the arts… VOTE!!!)
WE HERE AT VM.COM WANNA SEND A PERSONAL THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FOR NOMINATING VINCENT FOR SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD TO HIM! IT TRULY MEANS A LOT TO HIM TO BE CONSIDERED FOR SOMETHING THAT HE WORKS SO HARD FOR… HIS COMMUNITY! YOU TRULY HAVE DEFINED HIM AS MR. STATEN ISLAND, AND IF HE WINS THIS AWARD, THERE WILL BE SOMETHING SPECIAL IN THE WORKS FOR ALL TO CELEBRATE!
OK! I can finally open up and share the big secret and news to you all about my long time and special friend France Joli… There’s new music! The long awaited come back of this legendary artist is finally here and about to take place in a big way!
Last year, after a tiring weekend of gigs and performances, France and I went to get a bite to eat at a diner, and began speaking about path’s in life and what’s to come for people like ourselves and the next phase of things. We always have great conversation, which adds to a great friendship.
It is no secret that I as a Staten Islander am friendly and supportive in working with or spreading the word about fellow Islanders and their recent successes in TV and/or media (I.E: Priscilla BGC, but more recently, All of my friends on Mobwives, especially Angela Raiola a.k.a “Big Ang“).
I am not one to ever really lower myself or let certain things affect me, but last night, I exhibited normal human like qualities versus the professional public figure that I am, and ya’ know what? That’s Life… sometimes it happens. Not everyone reading this right now knows what I am talking about, but I am going to go forward and tell you the story, and than open up the forum for you to comment on, because to me… this was a real life example of a lesson we can teach our youth of today in HOW NOT TO TREAT OR SPEAK TO OTHERS!!!
Last night I was invited to the Drunken Monkey in Staten Island which is Ang’s bar that she owns, and she has a weekly viewing party with various stars from the show including Jenn Graziano the producer of Mobwives. We get to all sit around and watch the show and live tweet about the events on the show. I thouroughly enjoyed this and it was cool to sit and watch the show with Jennifer Graziano (the show’s creator). It was extra great to get the perspective of the executive producer as the show was on… how many people can say they get to do this?
With that said, I took a photo with Ang and threw it up onto my facebook, and it was positively recieved by over 75 people in less than 5 minutes! Likes, comments and shout outs were threading quickly under the photo, until ONE person comments and changes the whole postive experience into a negative. ALL IT TAKES IS ONE PERSON TO RUIN ANYTHING RIGHT!? A comment came posted under the photo which read “Big Ang has many gay friends, even in Staten Island..” (and I just wrote it legibly in correct grammar cause half of it wa spelt wrong. So I proceeded to boil and steam up, and contemplated ignoring it and removing it and being a better person, but the rage inside me was so great, and all I thought of for some reason, was the little girl Amanda Cummings who succommbed to internet preditors. Therefore I unleashed and said a multitude of things but basically pressed the issue and asked the individual what he insinuated in his comment, and assured him that I was not gay and didn’t take lightly to him calling me that or even insulting gays as a whole. He fired back another comment about how he heard it was word on the street that I was and that it’s ok to be gay and that there are new laws for “their kind.” So what he did was bash this select group of indivudals and assumed that I was part of them. Well needless to say the first three letters of assume are ASS and that’s exactly what he made of himself; plus said something about me as if he knows me, when I hardly know who he is.
The exchange went back and forth for almost an hour and others were jumping in and firing good shots at him, but I basically saw that it was out of hand and I was hosting an open forum for people to stoop to the “shitty” level of one negative absent minded person. Now I am an advocate for people and equality as a whole and for people to unite rather than discriminate or act in appropriate ways toward others, however, this has been a sore spot of mine for years. I never really open up about it and speak, but I am going to today because I feel that I have been blessed with a platform to be able to help others in the situation who aren’t as strong as I am.
Being a young man in performing arts, having a multitude of talent’s and good looks, I was always teased in school and called gay, faggot, homo… etc. (as was Elvis Presley) Now for most people reading this, you’d say, “but so what, who cares, you know you’re not, talk is cheap, brush it off and move on, they’re just jealous and ignorant….” yeah, all well and good, but when you hear it and have these feelings pent up of rage, saddness, aggravation, and all the tell tale signs of being a victim of verbal bullying, it takes a toll. So from a young age when you hear select people say something on a constant versus the majority of people enjoying what you do, it gets to you. I thank God I always had a great support system in mom, dad, and my brother to come home and vent about it to, because words are hurtful!
It of course had died down and was almost seldom said in high school, and in college I almost NEVER heard anyone say any thing. Last night stirred up a lot of aggravation and rage from the past, and made me say, with the recent events of this young girl not speaking up, lashing out, or fighting back, I am going to do so; and I did… I let him have it every which way including up, down , front and sideways, and I felt great after doing so. Than “my followers” jumped in and he ultimately apologized, which was half ass and not real, and removed himself from the thread as well as me than blocking him from my sites and social media services.
You may say, “wow all this for a stupid remark?” To you it’s a stupid remark, to me, it’s a whole history of stuff I went through on account of these words. No disrespect to anyone who is gay, I am happy they embrace who they are and love life! I have students who have come out to me, friends who are openly gay, and even close musician friends… I am one to not discriminate what and who they are. By no means am I discrediting them as individuals, but for someone who is not that way, it is not a nice thing to have said about yourself.
What people don’t know about me full fletched is that I am a man of high respect to the opposite sex, women are not objects to me, they are people as well. Most men today wanna hit it, and quit it. That’s not me, never was and never will be! I am a religious education teacher, and also have a deep rooted faith. So being well kept, well dressed, morally and socially correct must make me a “homo” cause I don’t have women hanging off of my arms, and my pants hanging off my ass? The problem is today, people (and this was a grown man who said it yesterday) have no respect for others and should just back up and filter their brains before taking it upon themselves to interject an opinion where it is not needed or solicited upon. This just goes to show ignorance affects everyone. No one is exempt from it. We as people in the public are open more to it as moving targets for envious people to fire at, as this guy did (yes I said guy, he was at least over 50 and I am 25, keep that in mind).
So what compelled me to write this blog today and speak out? Well I recieved a facebook inbox which very simply said, “you are an inspiration for a lot of youngsters and your success goes to show that morality is an important part of it! Much more success… and hopefully less ignorance from jealous and envious people!!!” So I am using my morality to show and tell people to lash out, speak back and fight for yourself to not be victimized to any form of bullying.
This couldn’t have happened at a better time when I am working with various people across the area to raise awareness in self defense and speaking out against bullying. So I ask you, was I wrong for doing what I did, or should I have ignored him? Do you think he was ignorant, stupid or both? I say ALL OF THE ABOVE… your turn, lemme hear ya #teamvinnie!
By the way, writing this blog has made the negative situation I experienced, very positive and it feels great to speak with you all about this and share such an important topic.