• D’Ambrosi on location • Macy’s after hours • Brooklyn Hospital turns 160

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If you’ve been in DUMBO and Coney Island lately, you may have seen writer-director Dario D’Ambrosi and his Italian film crew shooting his movie “Pathological Passion of the Christ.”

D’Ambrosi says he is widely recognized since he played the role of the sadistic Roman soldier who beats the stuffing out of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s controversial “The Passion of the Christ.”

“Everybody hates me now, around the world,” Dario told GO Brooklyn via telephone through his thick Italian accent. “I had a really big problem when the movie came out in Italy. People yell at me on the street. It was incredibly strange.” But the actor channeled that bewilderment into a creative outlet, writing the play “The Pathological Passion of the Christ,” which was staged in December at La MaMa in Manhattan, and then adapted for this film. (His movie features most of the actors from the play’s cast.)

D’Ambrosi, who’s performed at La Mama for the past 25 years, said that last Friday he shot one “very important scene when Jesus meets Peter and Judah” for “Pathological Passion” on the beach in Coney Island — the next day, at nearly the exact same spot, a small site-seeing plane crashed on the beach.

“It’s amazing that we shoot the scene there, and the day after, the plane came down,” said D’Ambrosi. “It was really scary.” The director does not appear to be a superstitious man, however, and hopes to get his film in the Venice Film Festival.

And he’s a good sport. Despite the negative response to his role in “Passion,” it hasn’t diminished D’Ambrosi’s affection for Gibson, he said.

“I’m excited to call Mel and show him my movie,” said D’Ambrosi. “Now we are very good friends.” On Tuesday, D’Ambrosi returned to Rome to begin post-production.

Shopper’s club
On Monday, May 23, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ Ovation Awards ticket holders were invited to shop at Macy’s in Downtown Brooklyn at 6 pm, while the store was closed to the public. As if shopping without lines wasn’t pleasure enough, each guest was presented with a Macy’s gift card as they entered the soiree.

The unique party took place throughout the department store, with performances on several floors and catering provided by Naturally Delicious. The 50th anniversary benefit paid tribute to Macy’s Chairman and CEO Ron Klein, whose company has supported Brooklyn Center for several years, said Cheri Walsh, Brooklyn Center’s managing director. The event also honored Peggy Alston, director of Restoration Youth Arts Academy at the Center for Arts & Culture in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Borough President Maty Markowitz stopped by to distribute his proclamations and sing (a la Marilyn Monroe) “Happy Birthday dear president” to Christoph Kimmich, president of Brooklyn College, which is also celebrating a special anniversary — its 75th.

Walsh said the fete met Brooklyn Center’s goal of raising $90,000, which will support the Center’s education programs as well as its 2005-2006 season, presented at Brooklyn College’s Whitman Theater at the corner of Campus Road and Hillel Place in Flatbush. The upcoming season promises performances by Savion Glover, DanceBrazil, Bob Newhart, the Atlanta Ballet and much more. For more information, call (718) 951-4500.

Def-initely missing
Mos Def was nowhere to be found at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gala 2005, of which he was honorary chair. Unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, the star of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was missed, but Monday’s party at the Brooklyn Marriott, which honored Paul Gangsei, partner at Manatt, Phelps & Philips, LLP, and Wally Parker, president of Keyspan Energy Delivery, went on without him and raised over $300,000, according to Brooklyn Children’s Museum spokeswoman Samantha Terry.

“This year’s gala was a tremendous success with over 400 guests in attendance,” said Brooklyn Children’s Museum President Carol Enseki. “Our leadership and generous supporters, such as our honorees Paul Gangsei and Keyspan, play a pivotal role in ensuring that the museum continues to thrive, especially now, with construction of our expanded facility underway.”

In addition to the exhibits, workshops, cultural and natural history collections and after-school programs already taking place at the museum, located at 145 Brooklyn Ave. at St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights, look forward to the return of their free concert series held on their rooftop each summer.

For more information on supporting the museum, call (718) 735-4400.

Rx for fun
Celebrate 160 years of Brooklyn Hospital Center healing at the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation’s 2005 Founders Ball at the Brooklyn Marriott in Downtown Brooklyn on June 3. The festivities will kick off with cocktails at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner and dancing. The proceeds from the black-tie shindig, co-chaired by Lizanne Fontaine, Dino Veronese and Buddhadev Manvar, will benefit the hospital’s geriatric unit. Individual tickets are $500. To purchase them, or for more information, visit the Web site at foundersball or call (718) 250-8888.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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