“You transform all those who are touched by you”

~ Rumi

Ric – by David Evanier

I met Ric when I was looking for a screenwriter who could faithfully adapt my book about Jimmy Roselli into a great screenplay. My friend Mike Fiorito told me about him, and from the first moment I met him knew I had a miracle: he was the perfect fit, perhaps the only possible choice, to write it. And he did, completing it about a month before he died. We met once a week on Saturdays at the Quathra coffee shop on Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn to talk about Roselli, about the screenplay. Ric had his reams of handwritten notes, notes spilling over the table. And because Ric was erudite and knowledgeable about just about everything that had ever been written or screened, I took notes or taped everything he said, about Nicholas Ray, Rossellini, Fellini, de Sica, Monicelli,Woody Allen, Chester Himes, Ralph Ellison, Robert Mitchum, Peter Lorre, Solzhenitzyn, Carveggio, Ignazio Silone.
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Ric Menello – by Neil Jesuele

When I met Ric a little over a year ago, it didn’t take me long to realize that his passion for cinema, along with his knowledge of directors’ and screenwriters’ nuances, rivaled my own. Our first face-to-face meeting was at the Heartland Brewery in Union Square, which would become the location of all of our meetings thereafter.

The casual ambiance provided a comfortable arena for our discussions which, on many occasions, lasted several hours; I came away from each of these conversations with a deeper love for the cinema entertainment that Ric and myself enjoyed so deeply.

I was introduced to Ric by author David Evanier, who felt Ric would be a great fit to pen the feature film that I was producing. For this, I am forever in David’s debt, for he not only introduced me to a true master of his craft, which Ric most certainly was, but to a kindhearted genius that I am proud to say was my friend.

My Friend Ric

By Angela Welch

Ric (Angela)
My friend Ric wrote screenplays, a lot of screenplays. He did other things too – he directed some videos awhile ago that were famous in their own right, about Brooklyn and about parties and pie fights and girls dancing in a place called Hollywood. But mostly he wrote screenplays. If you asked him when he was alive, nothing fancy like “what would you want as your epitaph;” just asked what he would want to be remembered for, I’m pretty sure he’d say something like “tell ‘em I wrote some movies.”
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Sick No More Road

A poem by Michael Fiorito

I don’t want to walk down Cortelyou Rd and not see you, Ric.

So I will make my own Cortelyou Rd.  A street where there are no lights, no Stop sings, only Go signs.  Some things will be the same, some different. You will forever hold court at the Connecticut muffin.  As before, I’ll come to you after a day of working from home, pushing Travis in his carriage.  We’ll shoot the breeze for a while.  Theo is forever ten years old on this Cortelyou Rd.  He laughs at your jokes.  Later he says, “dad, you have crazy friends”.  His hair is light brown, his eyes are bright, like little stars.

If you don’t mind, we’ll not got to Sycamore, because I’m sick of more and would rather have less.
Look Ric, Vox is celebrating a reopening that will last for all time.  People are dancing.  Flezadoza is playing “History”, Bill Bern, Billy Ringo, Andy, Tom Peters, Chris Garay and Decoster are in the wings.  Your cup of seltzer is spilling over; it will never be empty.  

This Vox is decorated with brilliantly colored chairs and couches.  There is a blue model of Saturn hanging from the ceiling.  It dimly lights the stage.

Debi, serving beer behind the bar, smiles; another big night!  Astro sits in Angela’s lap, curled up in a ball.   Big Sean is near the entrance, not so much keeping the bad guys out, but keeping the good guys in.

Tom Martinez captures it all on film.

There is no gin joint like this one.

Like you once said, quoting Ben Franklin, “if we can’t hang together, we’ll all hang separately”.
On this Cortelyou Rd we’re always together, Ric.

And that is perfectly fine with me.

The Menello Papers – Patrick Galloway

As anyone who ever exchanged email with Ric Menello can attest, he was a copious correspondent, letting his mind pour forth with seemingly endless facts concerning whatever topic was at hand. I was an e-pal for many years, and used to save off exchanges that I found particularly valuable (needless to say, I learned quite a bit from Ric about films and film-making).

I therefore present a sampling of the voluminous “Menello Papers” I’ve amassed over the years highlighting Ric’s vast range of knowledge. Please bear in mind these are excerpts from email conversations between two obsessive film nerds; some might be a bit too “inside” to hold your interest. But if you shared Ric’s passion for film, you’ll likely want to read each one. Enjoy!

— Patrick Galloway
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