Assistant News Director and new ACMi Holiday Queen, Lauren Alicandro

It’s St. Patrick’s Day.

For most of us, it’s a day of joy and festivity, spent with family and friends. Parades abound and traditional Irish food is served up in kitchens all over America.

Here at ACMi, however, there’s a palpable tension in the air. Tension as thick as your grandmother’s corned beef hash.

What could possibly mar such a festive holiday, you ask? In a cruel irony, on a day filled with age old traditions, the long time reign of the self-proclaimed ACMi King of the Holidays has come to an ignominious end.

And as if to add salt to the holiday wound, it was an ill-timed vacation that precipitated production coordinator Jonathan Barbato’s fall from the throne.

Here’s how it went down.

First, a little back ground. Ask any ACMi member and they’ll confirm that Mr. Barbato runs a tight ship when it comes to holiday decorations and dress. Don’t’ let the friendly demeanor and quick, boyish smile fool you. Just below the surface runs a rampant and relentless holiday decoration obsession. It’s his domain and no one else’s. He who challenges his reign will rue the day. And until today, no one had dared defy him.

But today, St. Patrick’s Day 2014, that all changed in a blink of a leprechaun’s eye.

Self-proclaimed, embattled ACMi King of the Holidays, Jonathan Barbato, and his faithful, dour minion, Cheryl Brusgillus
Self-proclaimed, embattled ACMi King of the Holidays, Jonathan Barbato, and his faithful, dour minion, Cheryl Brusgillis

There’s now a tear—possibly an irreparable one—in the holiday fabric of the universe. Never one to miss out on an opportunity, assistant news director Lauren Alicandro, in a brilliant holiday Jiu Jitsu maneuver, seized on the fact that Barbato spent last week sunning himself in the Caribbean, sipping martini’s all day, and lulling himself into a forgetful stupor. She made him pay a hefty price for his laissez faire attitude toward this greenest of holidays.

Upon his return to Boston, there’s little doubt the frigid temperatures shocked Barbato back to reality. But alas, it was too late.

When he arrived at 85 Park Ave. on Monday, his otherwise healthy, tan visage quickly turned a sickly green, as he was greeted by a smiling, bubbly Alicandro who was unabashedly decked out in green. Not just any green. Leave the t-shirts and socks and cheesy green hats to the less sophisticated. Lauren was sporting a classy green coat complemented by an equally classy green accented scarf. In a subtle but at the same time bold statement, she was unassumingly editing at a work station right next to a pole wrapped in green garland! Gutsy. Right in Barbato’s back yard. And in a masterful piece de résistance, Alicandro had unpretentiously placed on the table next to her—where all could see—a camera kit accented with green tape and stickers. Coincidence? I think not. But you be the judge.

Regardless, it seems clear that the outwardly friendly and charismatic Lauren is as ruthless and obsessive when it comes to getting decked out for the holidays. ACMi members take note. There’s new holiday royalty at 85 Park Ave. Her name is Lauren Alicandro.

The crestfallen Barbato realized he’d been outsmarted.

Never one to shrink from a challenge, however, Barbato has vowed to reclaim his title as ACMi’s King of the Holidays with an eye toward that well known Canadian holiday, Victoria Day on May 19. Not to be outdone and with a green gleam in her, Alicandro derisively replied, “You can have Victoria Day, I’ll see you on Memorial Day!”

Get the white pants, sandals, and pastels ready. Rumor has it Barbato has already signed up for a dozen sessions at nearby tanning salon.

Game on, King and Queen!


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March 17, 2014