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"I just love to do it," says Buffalo actor Joe Giambra, who has assembled stories about the Italian-Americans who lived in Buffalo during the 1930s, '40s and '50s and turned them into staged readings. His first effort was the well-received "Bread and Onions," which Giambra says was "predicated on Buffalo's Sicilian community."

Now Giambra has rooted through John DiBiase's colorful book, "Growing Up Italian-American," taken three stories and compressed them into two. DiBiase grew up on Buffalo's East Side, and his book is based on his recollections of the characters and events of that time when a sense of community was important to immigrants and their children. "Growing Up Italian-American" revisits life as it was once lived along Myrtle, Seneca, Chicago and Swan streets.

"This is the story of the non-Sicilians who came to Buffalo," Giambra says. "This kind of performance is so much needed by those over 50, a way to look back and remember."

The reading will take place Monday evening upstairs in Fortunato's restaurant, 1083 Tonawanda St., with Giambra, Phil Knoerzer and Joe Dicesare handling the various roles. Dinner will begin at 6 followed by the reading at 7 p.m.

Music will be by Sam Scamacca (Joe Baudo, Richie Marlo, Ray Chamberlain, Bob Long) and will feature two 15-year-olds, Dominic Missana and Justin Bartkowski, on sax. Admission is $30 by reservation only. Call 886-6096.