Interviews

Published on December 7th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Joe Fama On SopranosCon, “The Sopranos,” Living On Long Island & April 2020’s “Mob Movie Con”

Last month, fans of The Sopranos had the opportunity to meet many of their favorite actors and Sopranos-related personalities at the SopranosCon in New Jersey. SopranosCon would be nothing without a homegrown Long Island, New York resident named Joe Fama. As the owner of Famous Signs, Fama is someone who honestly “made good.” He saw a vision, he carried it out, and he remained the same humble guy that everyone knows and loves.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Joe Fama, also a founder of Mob Movie Con, about his past, present and future. More on Fama is online at www.twitter.com/famoussignsinc.

You have made a mark with Famous Signs but have also kept a foot in the entertainment world. How do you like to describe yourself, professionally speaking?

Joe Fama: I always strive to be true to myself. I am dedicated, honest and diligent when it comes to relationships, both professionally and personally.

You recently put on SopranosCon. How long was that in the works for?

Joe Fama: The idea for SopranosCon has been years in the making. My wife Gina and I have been diehard fans since the show first aired. We watch the series in its entirety at least twice a year and speak in lines from the show on a daily basis. It embodies so many aspects of life that we can relate to as Italian-Americans; family, honor, personal struggle, comedic relief, food, etc.

For years we have discussed our dream of utilizing our skills in event planning to throw an unforgettable fan experience dedicated to our favorite show of all time, to pay tribute to the actors that made The Sopranos legendary. The fact that the stars aligned for us to meet our two partners at the perfect time, on the precipice of the show’s 20th anniversary, and to have succeeded in pulling this off is still mind-boggling. We made our vision come to life for all to enjoy and we are forever humbled and grateful to everyone that helped make our dream come true.

Any highlights related to putting on that event?

Joe Fama: So many highlights… First was just seeing everyone come in and interact with our creations. It was amazing to hear people talking about the show and James, and connecting to something they love. Watching people take pictures in Melfi’s office and wander through the Pine Barrens maze, it was unreal. Alabama 3 performing in the United States for the first time in 10 years — and seeing all the actors enjoy each other and their fans after all these years! My dream was to make people laugh and cry at this event just like the show did for us fans. After Dominic [Chianese] came out to sing at the VIP party, I looked around and saw many tears other than my own. At that moment I was at peace.

Might there be a second SopranosCon?

Joe Fama: Always a possibility. We would love to take it abroad.

SopranosCon aside, what are you currently working on?

Joe Fama: We are currently working on Mob Movie Con coming to Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City on April 18th and 19th. Like at SopranosCon, my wife and I will be handling the creative aspect. I’m extremely excited to keep this momentum going.

What is it that keeps you based on Long Island? In other words, as someone who has been all over and has worked with a lot of interesting folks, why is it that you still call Long Island your home?

Joe Fama: Long island has been my home. Born and raised in Massapequa. I’ve stayed here to be close to my family and friends. Although the traffic and the amount of people has got me going crazy we will probably stick around a few more years.

When not busy with work, where does your free time usually go?

Joe Fama: To my family — any free time I have I want to spend it with them. I have 3 beautiful kids and a wonderful wife that I love being around. They are my motivation. If I get away for “me time” I love the wilderness. Upstate New York, fresh air, nature, water — that kind of stuff grounds me.

What has been your favorite album of 2019?

Joe Fama: Tool’s Fear Inoculum is my favorite album for 2019. I’ve been waiting a long time for that album and I was not disappointed.

Finally, Joe, any last words for the kids?

Joe Fama: Never, ever give up on your dreams no matter how hard they may seem to achieve. The best feeling in life is doing what you love. Always chase happiness before money.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly PureGrainAudio.com). He has also co-authored two published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.


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