Friday, October 30, 2009

Flashback Friday – Gladys Knight and the Pips "I Heard Through The Grapevine"

A little before my time but my parents and their friends were big fans.

I'm not sure how young Gladys was in the early '70s (pretty young) but she was bringing it. Like I said yesterday, good thing she came up in the '70s. She would have a hard time getting a record contract now.

"If I Were Your Woman" and "I've Got To Use My Imagination" are also fantastic songs.

What the hell happened to American R&B? Can we please bring back live instruments, a little bass, some drums, something other than machines?

Sorry but most of this current sampled stuff sounds soulless. I wish artists like Jill Scott were topping the charts. When they sing you feel something, like there's actually some emotion in their voices. I miss Lauryn Hill. L Boogie, where are you?

Yeah I know I sound like an old lady but my sister is ten years younger than me, from a completely different generation and she complains about the same thing.

I love Marvin's version of this song as well. Another great artist. I miss Marvin too.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great thing about living in Rome? I don't have to deal with African- American jacked up hair issues.

Good morning bloggisti, I'm warning you now, this is a rant.

My good friend sent me the following link from

I can't believe Ms. Samuels wrote a rebuttal. Her first article created a firestorm. To this day, I'm not sure why Newsweek published it.

I commented on Jezebel the first time Ms. Samuels decided to put a 4 year-old on blast and call a little girl's hair a "hot mess". Never mind that her hair is actually healthy and combed. Who the fuck is this woman? Zahara is not her child, or even her friend's child.

Anyway I know the Jolie-Pitts do take care of little Z's hair, as I worked with someone who is friends with them. LaToya at Jezebel really breaks down this article well. The fact is Z. is NOT African-American but African. Why is Samuels putting all our baggage on this child? Aren't there more important things to write about with a platform like Newsweek?

You have to read the articles Ms. Samuels wrote. They're insane. Reading them made me so happy I don't have to deal with ignorant people like her anymore. Clearly Ms. Samuels has some self esteem/self hatred issues. Cool she can hate the hair that grows out of her head but body snarking on a 4 year-old in the name of "cultural awareness" is not cool.

In the first piece Samuels said something about how, yes Zahara has famous parents but at the end of the day she will be judged as JUST an African-American girl. There's so much wrong with that sentence. Samuels is projecting.

She also talks about how Zahara, who travels all over the world, is missing out on that special "doing hair with mommy" bonding experience. Oh really, like dreading getting your hair washed because you know your mom has to put a hot comb through it and the smell of burning hair is not pleasant?

Of course there are hair issues in the Caribbean and Africa but in the States it's on a whole other level. And now thanks to our omnipresent media, black women in other countries are trying to emulate Western stars like Beyonce, even if they look nothing like her. Skin bleaching creams sales are skyrocketing.

When I went natural I didn't get flack from white people, it was from other black people. Many (not all) African-American women would say things like, "You're so brave." Uhmm for what? Wearing my hair the way it grows?

Then I moved to L.A. Black men compeltely ignrored me and/or felt comfortable telling me "You have nice features, why don't you straighten you hair or get a weave?"

My white female friends find the whole thing bizarre. Relaxing is not the same as coloring, so while they can try to empathize, they don't truly understand what a loaded issue hair texture is in the African-American community.

The issue, like most jacked things in our community, stems from slavery. The lighter your skin, the straighter your hair, the better you were treated.  Minus a 10 year "black is beautiful" movement in the 60/70s when 'fros were in, the vast majority of African-American women (over 75%) are still spending serious money on taking out or hiding the kinks in their hair.

I'm not sure if how one wears their hair is political but I do know that the billions we pump into this industry do not enrich the pockets of our people. The impoverished Indian women who give their hair so we can pay $1000 for a weave don't benefit. The majority of Korean markets in black neighborhoods who sell the hair and products don't participate in those communities. The biggest names in black hair care are owned by companies like Revlon and Unilever. The same companies who sell skin lightening creams in Asian and African countries.

Almost every single black actress/celebrity has a weave. When you read black hair magazines and they do that one feature on natural hair, 9 times out of 10 the model is biracial. So even in the "natural world" there's a scale. Loose curls, so cute! Tight kinks, no. High fashion, which has never been known for being PC is why ahead of Hollywood. That alone says something.

Black women's hair has been in the news a lot lately because we have a African-American First Lady and all the press about Chris Rock's documentary.

Discussion is great but I'm sad it's 2009 and we are still talking about "good hair".

Being in Rome, there aren't many black Americans here. There are more black Americans in Florence. The majority of my black women female friends here are from the Caribbean, England, or Africa. They wear their hair in a variety of styles. Two friends relax, the others wear their hair naturally.

I mentioned to an Italian friend how I used to have the Halle Berry pixie cut and while the style was slamming it was a pain to upkeep. Every 5 weeks I paid $125 (mind you this was over 10 years ago, so I'm sure it would be more expensive now) to have my hair trimmed and relaxed. She couldn't understand the whole relaxing thing. She asked why would you want to look like everyone else?

Because in America assimilation is the name of the game. It seems like we are going backwards. Gladys Knight and Aretha would never have careers now. Beyonce's sister Solange, who just did "the big chop" to much ridicule, used to spend 50k a year on her weaves and had her first relaxer at 4.

And this is what Samuels wants for Zahara. To feel her natural hair is ugly?

Are there days when I get a bored with my hair? Yes. But I'm relieved to no longer live in a culture that looks at my hair and thinks either I'm a hard core militant, it's unkept, or I cry in my pillow every night because I don't have "good hair."

My hair is what it is. I find it beyond ironic that in America the closer you are to an "European esthetic" the better. My very dark brown, natural self lives in Europe and I'm treated completely different here. I noticed it when I was in London as well. Before the summer I cut my hair really short, all the Italians in the salon were "bellissima, you can really see your smile, etc. etc." When I went that short in L.A.? Disapproval.

Good hair is healthy hair. Like Marcus Garvey said, "Get rid of the kinks in your mind, not on your head."


Team Zahara

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adult Education in Rome

Why did I just hear about this place recently? I was telling an Italian friend I wanted to take an Italian class as I work in English all day, know a bunch of American, Canadian and British expats and all my Italian friends speak perfect English. Therefore I live in Italy but rarely speak Italian. This is a problem. I don't want to be one of those expats who lives here for years and can't communicate.

First, the Italian friends said my statue of limitations is up. They're going to speak Italian to me for now on. Okay. I'm ready. Kind of.

Second, expat friends, who are all stronger speakers than me (several are married/dating Italians or they have been in the country longer than me) will split our conversations, half English/half- Italian. Certain things like the trials and tribulations of Kate Plus 8 and American health care reform legislation are easier to discuss in English.

Third, I started classes at Upter. This school has every class under sun. There's even a Shakespeare class that goes to England at the end of the course. My friend said since classes are all about the professor, why pay double or triple for a private language school? I think Upter receives some funding from the State and the EU.

I'm the only American in my class. I sat next to a British man and was told by the professor to stop speaking English. Busted! Two classmates are from Germany. Not sure where the other three are from. One woman from Romania was speaking Italian so fast, no one in the class other than the professor understood her. She also spoke forever. I completely zoned out as she went on and on and started thinking about how fine Tom Selleck was in Magnum P.I. and why did mustaches go out of style?

I wondered if I was in the wrong level as I couldn't not complete this adjective/pronouns worksheet she gave us. Then again no else, including a student who's lived here for 10 years, could finish it either.

At the end of the class I was saying how I wish I could speak faster. My professor said just because someone speaks quickly doesn't mean they speak correctly. There's some exam at the end of the course. Sigh. I pray it's easier than the darn Italian driver's license test.

Now I have homework to do. A presentation a page long for next week's class. Great. What the heck am I going to talk about?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I need to update my wardrobe after I emptied my closet. I have no winter clothes.

Along with my cooking and Italian goals, I want to add more sophisticated pieces to my wardrobe.

A friend had a "sale" at her house over the weekend. It was a good excuse to go through my closet. I showed no mercy. Anything that was unflattering or I haven't worn in two seasons went to the sale.

I found a Issac Mizrahi wool skirt I bought years ago at Bergdorf Goodman that still had the tag on it. I guess I never wore it in L.A. because it was too "conservative". Now it's too short.

What didn't sell will be donated. Thanks to the purge, I basically have no clothes.

I've decided I need to start dressing for the body I have. No more baggy outfits which make me look heavier than I am.

I'm getting older. No more disposable clothes. Other than a summer cotton top here or there, bye-bye, H&M, Zara, Top Shop etc. I have a build similar to Joan's on Mad Men but shorter. I need clothes that are better constructed. On me cheap clothes don't look cute, only cheap. Plus I no longer live in super casual L.A., I got to step it up.

Trust, I know the difference between clothes that are well made and worth the price and clothes where you are paying for a label. I have a very tight budget, I'm not interested in the latter.

I'm going to slowly build back my wardrobe by focusing on classics and accessories. Of course I need to earn some money first. sigh.

It feels good to once again live in a city where we have fall, people dress up even when they don't have a job interview (I must write a separate post about the men and their suits) and people know the world is not their living room so you can't wear flips flops every where.

I can't believe how I used to dress in L.A. I think I gave up and just didn't give a you know what.

First on my list, a gun metal grey or black wool dress. Three-quarter sleeves would be great.

I love this dress from Bottega Veneta. At 900 euros, I won't be buying it anytime soon but the lines of the dress are very flattering.

Desiree Rogers, the White House Social Secretary, is an example of classic but not boring style. She does not play. I love her sense of color and it's clear she knows what looks good on her body. She is fifty and fab.

photo:Vogue Magazine

I definitely need to find a very good tailor. Because I'm so curvy, I might have start buying dresses and shirts a size up (especially since European sizes are cut so slim) and have the waist/sleeves taken in.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flashback Friday - Hey Ya/Peanuts Smashup

Today was the last day of the International Rome Film Festival. I am wiped out. Great experience but I really don't want to see the words "International Rome Film Festival" for a while. ha

This song came to mind when I left the office. It's Friday, the job went well and the darn cold snap ended. Autumn is back.

Hey ya!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Loved this movie. I read the script after a friend told me it was one of her favorites of the year. She is very hard on material so when she likes something, I read it.

My hours at at the Festival are a little crazy so I haven't been able to see too many films. I feel a little out of sorts because I can't work on my scripts. Looking forward to getting back to writing next week.

I did make it to a press screening of UP IN THE AIR. It makes me sad that these kind of films are becoming rarer and rarer. Remember films like BROADCAST NEWS? Those days are over. The studios are now owned by big multinational corporations who think making movies and light bulbs are the same thing. They are not!

Anyway, the entire cast was fantastic. The movie is bittersweet but there were some laugh out loud moments. The audience clapped at the end. I thought there was one third act sequence that was a little on the nose (and not in the script) but still, this was one of the best movies I've seen this year.

Below is one of the trailers.

I saw JULIE & JULIA, enjoyed it as well. Like many others, I really loved the Julia part. Meryl Streep, as always, was fantastic. She and Stanley Tucci had so much chemistry. I admit it, I choked up when he said how much he loved her.

To me the movie was inspiring because it celebrated having passion. Julia Child was not supposed to have that kind of life. She found her way, later in life and she had a great spirit. I've spent way too many years around people who were the opposite, negative, angry and bitter. I'm getting older, I don't have time or space in my life for that kind of energy anymore. Basta.

Before the movie I found myself in line next to a "talker" who told me her husband just left her after 30 plus years of marriage, her child was in a coma (she's recovered now) and she just lost her job. What does one say to hearing news like that from a stranger? I told her I hoped the movie would lift her spirits and that 2010 would be a better year. She sat next to me and she did enjoy the movie, laughing and crying.

So when I get down on this bat shit crazy industry I work in, I must remember how it feels when I sit in a theater, the lights go down and the opening credits start. That's the reason I work in film.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My own Top Chef challenge

I've been catching up with re-runs of the American cooking show (on Season 3 now) on SKY Uno.

It's very motivating. One of my big goals (along with getting my Italian up to speed) is to be more of an instinctive cook. I use recipes a lot. Sometimes I will change them.

My mom is a very good cook. If she was trying something new she would use a recipe but otherwise most of the food she made was from her head. Baking is another story. There were some recipes from "back home" that were not written down but for certain cakes, cookies, etc. she had a few favorites.

I learned to cook from watching my mom, 7th grade Home-Ec and the Brownies. For a long time I was "too busy" to cook. A few years ago I stopped doing takeout and started cooking more. When I moved into my L.A. apartment I didn't own a microwave so no more Lean Cuisines. They took so long to cook in a regular oven, I thought might as well cook something from scratch. I don't own one here and have no plans to buy one.

My kitchen is tiny so I can't have a well stocked pantry. However, I always have pasta, canned tomatoes, garlic, white beans and tuna, so if push comes to shove I can make something for dinner. I live within walking distance of three excellent farmer markets open 6 days a week and the supermarkets near me have excellent produce as well. At last count there are five butchers within a few blocks, and a cheese co-op near by. I really have no excuse not to experiment more.

In L.A. I would decide what I wanted to make, wrote a list then went to the supermarket. Here I go to the market and see what's in season.

My "challenge" is to go to one of the butchers or fish mongers, see what looks good, buy it, make something with it. I have gone to the butcher's for polpette/meatballs but that's it. I find the fish places intimidating because I'm not sure what to look for and I fumble speaking Italian when I don't know what I'm doing, which makes the experience more frustrating.

Thanks to Megan, at least now I know some of the fish names in Italian. I'm ready for this challenge (kind of).

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Balloon Boy hoax

When is this reality TV craze going to end? I was working in an office so I missed the play by play that riveted millions not only in the States but made international news.

From the very beginning some were questioning the story. It turns out there is no way the balloon would have been able to hold the weight of six year old Falcon.

This "balloon boy" hoax should be a wake up call but it won't be. I hope this dumb ass dad gets the book thrown at him. If you want to be famous, whatever, but to tell a six year old to tell a big lie like that? No words.

I'm sure somewhere Jon Gosselin is relieved. Richard Heene has taken over the "most disliked" realty TV dad title away from him.

Why are parents taping their babies and putting it on YouTube? So if you get enough hits you get to sit down with Matt Lauer and talk about what a special snowflake your child is? Does the child have any say in this?

Anyway, the Sheriff is going to press charges.

Here is the story in the NY Times.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flashback Friday – Bend It Like Beckham

With the qualifying matches for next year's World Cup taking place, I was reminded of this movie. I love this film.

Soccer in America is a cute suburban sport. In the rest of the world it's a big deal and not a "cute sport". So when I told my dad I wanted to play on my high school's new Girls team (the Boys team was state champs for years and they finally started a Girls team), he was incredulous. Girls playing soccer!?

However soccer is not the reason this movie hit home. It was the parents. Oh my God I saw so much of my mom in in this movie. I was on the floor with laughter.

I bumped into a friend who's parents were Jamaican when I went to see the movie at the Grove (in L.A.). Like me she grew up in America. She had tears in her eyes as she walked out of the theater. She said she felt like someone had taped her phone calls with her mom.

Now that I'm older I can crack up about some of my mom bluntness (plus it prepared me for living in Italy) but when I was younger her words sliced through me. I felt a lot of pressure to live up to certain expectations while at the same trying to fit into American culture. Being black in non-diverse suburban town was not fun but to have parents who were never teenagers in America didn't help at all.

I talk to my mom at least once a week. Every week she asks the same questions, "Do you need money? Are you dating? Do you get enough sleep?"

She worries about me even though I tell her not to. She can't help it, she's my mom.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Capoeira class...file under: What was I thinking?

A person I met at dinner party over the summer, invited me to try their Capoeira class. I thought, "why not?"

Well despite working out 5-6 days a week, the class kicked my butt. The next day it hurt to walk down steps. I understood why my legs were sore but my entire body?

A few classes in, no more pain but the steps are getting more and more difficult. I really don't think I'll be doing a backflip any time soon. I'm no spring chicken.

Our Professor is from Brazil, so my friend translates from Portuguese into Italian. Thank god I do know enough Italian to follow.

One of my friends back in L.A. who's a dancer, told me to really be careful with the transitions. I haven't take dance classes since I moved from NYC to L.A. over 12 years ago.

It's fun to try something new but there are moments in class when I say to myself, "What was I thinking?"

Those thoughts also come to mind when I watch Capoeira videos:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Via Cola di Rienzo, one of the most dangerous places in Rome for an Expat.

I went to Castroni in Prati to buy one thing, BRITA water filters. That’s it.

Next thing I know my arms are filled with stuff I didn’t even buy back in the States. I got a grip and put everything back except for a box of black cherry Jello (yum!) and the Castroni brand of granola with cranberries (it’s very good).

Castroni stocks over 2000 imported foods. They have a great Asian foods section. Prices are probably cheap in shops near Piazza Vittorio but Prati is walking distance for me. There are a few locations. The Prati store is the biggest.

I’ve been hearing about Franchi, the deli next door, for at least a year. I stopped by and bought some imported English cheddar cheese. I was jonesing for a grilled cheese sandwich and was so happy to have a little cheddar back in my life. Clearly, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Franchi also has an amazing selection of cheeses from all over Italy. I found tonino there, a cheese I had in Piedmonte.

FYI for tourists, they do shrink wrap things so you can take them on the plane.

I love the presentation. I’ve never had my cheese and prosciutto tied up with pretty ribbon before. I now know to avoid that area when I'm hungry.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Flashback Friday – Jennifer Lopez - "If You Had My Love"

I cannot believe this song dropped TEN years ago.

I remember my colleagues saying she was going to be huge. From her first scene in "Selena" you could tell she had "it". I still think her best performance was in OUT OF SIGHT.

The "Bennifer" backlash hurt both her and Ben Affleck. And now she's at that tough age for Hollywood film actresses. I'm curious to see how her career progresses.

The camera LOVES her. Even in a blah film like MAID IN MANHATTAN you have to look at her. That's star quality and unfortunately in Hollywood it's in short supply.

Have a great weekend!

Here's the first VIDEO from J. Lo.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My bad, I thought Italy was a Republic

The high ruled that the Alfano law which gave Berlusconi immunity from prosecution was unconstitutional. The law was passed last year right before he took office again.

As in the States, there are laws to protected the President/Prime Minister, however, it clearly states in the Italian constitution that no one is above the law.

Berlusconi's lawyers did not agree with the constitution. As expected, Berlusconi and his party has said this is the work of the left. The judges are in the left's pocket. They have governed before without laws and will do so again.

Someone needs to school our Prime Minister. You cannot govern without laws. That's a dictatorship. If one has a problem with the constitution you can try to change. It's difficult. It should be. That piece of paper is the bedrock of a Republic.

That this man controls so much of the media, is cause for alarm. That he thinks it's okay to sue a newspaper for asking questions that any journalist would ask of an ELECTED leader, is outrageous.

To blame this on the Communists (yes they went there) is laughable. The Communist party in Italy used to be the strongest outside of Russia which is why the CIA was all up in Italy's business back in the day, but now? Are you kidding me? Try harder PDL.

I'm hoping with the Internet, that he will not get away with dismissing the laws that you and I have to follow just because he doesn't feel like it.

His lawyers defense that Berlusconi is "first above equals"? I have no words.

Anyway, between the economy, his sex scandals, the divorce, gaffes, etc. his approval rating is slipping fast, especially among practicing Catholics.

From the Globe and Mail:

The 15 judges of Italy's constitutional court ruled 9 to 6 that the immunity law, which shields the Prime Minister and the three other top state officials from prosecution, while they are in office, breaches constitution articles making all citizens equal before the law.

Mr. Berlusconi's small army of lawyers used extraordinary arguments to try to keep the immunity law intact. One of them told the court that "He is no longer 'First among equals,' but ought to be considered 'First above equals.' "

While some political analysts thought that the ruling will, at best, turn the billionaire media and sports mogul in to a lame-duck leader and, at worst, end his career, others thought his amazing survival instincts, strangely enduring popularity and Italy's deeply flawed legal system will allow him to escape once again.

"If one thing is true of the last 15 years, it's that the justice system has never derailed Berlusconi," said Alexander Stille, the Columbia University professor who wrote The Sack of Rome, a book about Mr. Berlusconi's power grab.

"There is always a face-saving compromise or way out, like the statutes of limitations. The idea that Berlusconi will be convicted in one of these cases, and issued a serious sentence, I find hard to believe."

Mr. Stille has said Mr. Berlusconi, who controls Italy's top three commercial TV channels and, through his role as Prime Minister, the Italian state broadcaster RAI, has more power than any leader in Western Europe. He considers Mr. Berlusconi's power on par with that of Russia's Vladimir Putin or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

In this BBC clip Berlusconi's referred to himself in the third person. I find it humorous when athletes, entertainers or friends do it. In this case, not so much.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What the what?! New flavors from San Carlo chips.

I was walking along near the Pantheon minding my own business. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this packaging in a cafe.

What the heck is this? Why, why, why San Carlo must you tempt me so?

Just when I've finally broken my San Carlo Rustic chips obsession, here comes these amazing flavors.

I wonder if these chips are for their foreign market? Do they have one? The packaging is in English and Italian and the flavors Cheddar & Onion, Tomato Ketchup, etc. are not traditionally Italian.

So far I've tried the Cheddar & Onion and it is fantastic!! I never heard of tomato flavored chips until I went to Toronto where that flavor is very popular. There's also a chicken flavor (Roasted Chicken) but I walked past that one as it kind of freaked me out. I have to try the Sea Salt.

At the bottom of the bag it says sapori di Scozia (flavors of Scotland). Hmm very interesting. So far the bags are small (50 grams) but if they bust out with the 180 grams bag I will be in trouble. Once in a while in the States I ate Doritos. I never bought bags of potato chips at the supermarket. Not sure why I love them so much here.

Well, after the comments from Madame Doctor (see yesterday's post) I know I have to keep this love in check. ha

Monday, October 05, 2009

"By American standards you're fine, but by European standards you need to lose some weight."


The title is a direct quote from my new French doctor. She's fantastic but man is she blunt. She reminds of some people I Caribbean family.

Toward the end of my check up, she asked me to step on the scale.

The metric number didn't register with me since I'm still metrically challenged. I do know I have lost weight since I've moved to Italy. So when when she told I needed to lose some weight I was surprised. I told her I'm the thinnest I've been in years and that's when she made the above comment.

Now I do have a sweet tooth, a San Carlos chips tooth and prosciutto tooth etc. but I love what she said next, "Don't diet though. Dieting is so stressful. Just watch the sweets and keep working out. You'll be fine."

I also think dieting is stressful and doesn't work. In L.A. I was either doing the Zone, South Beach or cutting out bread/pasta etc. and working out at the gym 5-6 days a week.

I move to Rome, where I eat whatever the hell I feel like, and boom, I drop weight without trying to .

Dieting is short term solution. Changing eating habits makes more sense. The amount of processed foods I eat here is miniscule compared to the States. Other than chips I really don't eat processed stuff. I buy fresh bread, fruits, veggies and the snacking has gone way down too.

My doctor is right. Overall European women are smaller, which is why the clothes are cut smaller (much to my chagrin).

My Italian friends are so slim. I don't have a single female friend who's bigger than an American sized 4 or 6. I feel like a giant next to them. And these girls eat.

I know that Italian children are getting heavier. Studies blame the fast food culture that is taking over the traditional Mediterranean diet.

A few years ago I was doing the South Beach diet and the first week was horrible. My assistant wanted to buy me a bagel because I was beyond cranky. I did lose weight that year but the minute I started eating carbs again the weight came back and then some.

Later for that craziness. Life's too short not to eat carbs.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Flashback Friday – Johnny Kemp - "Just Got Paid"

The first time I heard this song on NYC radio station WBLS, I knew it was going to be a monster hit. It came out in the 1988. If you were at a club and the DJ spun this, you were on your feet immediately.

N'Sync did an okay cover a few years ago. Teddy Riley wrote the original for Keith Sweat who suggested his friend Johnny. I do miss that New Jack sound from the late 80s, early 90s.

So it's Friday and I didn't just get paid but love the long version VIDEO. Gotta love those high top fade haircuts and folks doing the Roger Rabbit.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Places to Eat and Drink in Rome..DRINK

I don’t do pub-crawls, Sloppy Sams or The Drunken Ship, as I’m a grown woman, not a 19 year-old exchange student looking to get wasted. That said, I do love to get my “cocktails on” with my friends. Here are some of my favorite places:

Freni & Frizioni – near Pz. Trillussa, Trastevere,
Youngish crowd, mostly under 30. One of the best mojitos in the city. Great in summer/spring. It gets packed so not the kind of place where you get to chat up the bartenders.
Via del Politeama

Friends Café
Part of a small chain
Good Wifi , young crowd
Piazza Trillussa

Bar della Pace - near Pz. Navona,
Nice place to sit outside.
Via della Pace 3-7

Etabli – near Pz . Navona
Good winter/cold weather place. Nice décor with a fireplace
Vicolo delle vacche 9/9a

'Gusto Wine Bar, great aperitivi – off Via del Corso south of Piazza del Popolo
Drinks during aperitivi are 9 euros and up.
There is another ‘Gusto cocktail place located in Piazza Augusto Imperatore which also has excellent cocktails but the aperitvi are not self-serve.
Via delle Frezze

Tre Scalini - Monti area
Very chill spot in a great neighborhood. I think it’s owned by some actors. Good selections of wines.
Via Panisperna 251

Hotel de Russie – Near Piazza del Popolo.
Very expensive, ala the Four Seasons or L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills. The terrace garden is lovely and the bar is fantastic. I’ve only been there once, for drinks with a film exec. Thank God she paid.
Via del Babuino, 9

Salotto 42 – near the Pantheon
Funky little bar co-owned by a Swedish ex-model. Library is filled with books on art, fashion and design. Crowd spills out into a pretty piazza
Piazza de Pietra 42

Caffe Farnese – Historic center
More expensive than places on the Campo. You’re paying for the view. Older crowd. Mostly well dressed locals mixed with some tourists. I had an Aperol Spritz there that was crazy strong.
Piazza Farnese

Places on/by Campo dei Fiori:
Aristocampo, Obika or Vineria.
Vineria was one of the first bars/caffes to open in Campo. Since the owners of Teste Matte sold their place (to a chain type place) many in that crowd have moved on to Vineria.

I live close to Campo, but it's not the place I go to for aperitivi or for lunch/dinner.

On weekend nights the Campo is full of mostly high school and college aged young people. There's a heavy police presence because in the past the crowds were quite rowdy.

Salotto Locarno added 3/14/11
Very L.A. reminds me of Chateau Marmont. Not sure when it became such a scene. I stayed at the hotel during my first trip to Rome and the bar was lovely but quiet.
Drinks are expensive. The mostly Italian crowd is very chic/hip. Not sure how the crowds are earlier in the week but Thursday - Saturday, it's packed. Reservations recommended or go early in the evening.

Salotto Lorcano
Hotel Locarno
Via della Penna, 22
+(39) 06-361=0841