Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A DAY DEDICATED TO THE SPIRIT OF JIM HENSON

On the morning of Saturday, May 16, I woke up to this Facebook post from Kid President:





Kid President
Politician · 359,680 Likes
 · May 16 at 7:10am · 
On this date in 1990 Jim Henson died. I was 9 years old. When my mom told me - I cried. I never met him, but I cried. Thankful for the impact he made and the impact we can all make. The world is brighter because he was here. Same goes for you.
- Brad (the guy who makes all this Kid President stuff)

Turned out, it had been 25 years since puppeteer, film and television pioneer, and Muppet inventor Jim Henson passed away.

I paused a moment after reading the post, and decided that I would make this day about fun, kindness, and open-ended exploration and appreciation of colors, shapes, people, nature, art - everything around me.  I would dedicate the day to Jim.

  
First, my husband Mike and I took the subway out to Long Island City to visit our friends in an open studio weekend - LIC Arts Open 5 -  run out of a huge industrial space.  On the walk from the subway to the buildings, I asked Mike "What is your favorite kind of store to shop in?"  He replied: "Stores that sell donuts!."  Lo and behold, we rounded a corner, and saw The Doughnut Plant. Mike let out a shout of delight.

We went inside the industrial space that housed the art, and saw our friend Jessica Doh's paintings on silk.  


During the subway ride back to Brooklyn, we made some sketches, including this one:


After we returned to Brooklyn, we biked down to the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Here's what I saw:

Young women dressed in fairy-tale gowns as they celebrated their Quinceaneras.

Bridesmaids wearing floaty, florescent orange dresses.

Cute dogs prancing down the path.

People of all ages running in and out of Jeppe Hein's fountain and mirror sculpture.



Later, I watched some videos that were taken of Jim Henson's funeral service, which was held in 1990 at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.  I've continued to watch clips of The Muppet Show, as well as interviews with his colleagues and family members.

I'm so grateful that Jim Henson lived and spread his magic among us.  The world is a better place because of him.

For more information about Jim's work and how it is being carried forward, please check out the website of The Jim Henson Legacy.

Friday, May 15, 2015

5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR GRADE SCHOOL CHILD READING AND WRITING THIS SUMMER

Many parents of grade school children, especially children who struggle with reading and writing, express concern that their young ones will fall behind or lose traction with their skills during the summer months.

Here are 5 strategies to keep your child connected with reading and writing in ways that are fun, pleasurable, and meaningful to them. 

Approach these activities, as well as your child's overall literacy development, with a tone of relaxed encouragement.  Doing so will set the stage for them to flourish!  

1.  Visit your local library.  A library can be an oasis of calm, order, and, cool in the midst of summer heat.  Many libraries have summer reading programs for children, so ask your librarian what they have planned.  

Let your child make choices about what they want to read, even if a book seems too easy or too difficult.  Allow them to pursue the topics, authors, and genres that catch their interest.  Don't worry if your child wants to read a book multiple times;  it means that they are enjoying it.  There's pleasure in repetition. We adults read books that we love more than once, as well!

2.  Pick chapter books together and read them out loud to your child/ren.  I have great memories of being on camping trips with my family, and sitting on big rocks in the sun while my mom read A Wizard of Earthsea to us.  On another trip, my dad read Stuart Little.  Being read to is such a treat, and keeps children connected to the pleasures of good literature.

You can also have a lot of fun by acting out books in a charade-like fashion,

3.  Create a Writer's Box.  Fill a box or a drawer with a variety of materials that children can dig into to engage in lots of different writing projects. This idea is particularly great if you live in small living quarters.  You can use a large Tupperware container, or whatever is handy.  Consider including any of these items in your box:  Different sizes of notepads; loose-leaf paper; construction paper; 3 by 5 cards; pens, pencils and markers; stapler; tape; glitter glue; glue stick; stickers; ruler; stamps; envelopes; return address labels; magazines for cutting out images and text.

What else could you add?  Get creative!

4.  Keep a Summer Scrapbook.  Tape or glue photos, mementos, and found objects from your summer adventures into a book that you buy or make.  A simple 3-ring binder will do! Label your photos and mementos; make simple journal entries about what you do each day.  Your child can do the writing herself or dictate the words to you.  (There's great power in them getting to see the relationship between the spoken and the written word.)

5.  Write Letters - Summer is an ideal time to sit down and write postcards, letters, and cards to relatives and far-away friends. Pull out that Writer's Box and let people know about what your family has been up to!


Summer Literacy Tutoring with Eleanor Traubman

Would you like one-on-one literacy tutoring for your child this summer?  I customize sessions to reflect your child's individual interests and draw out their strengths. 


About Eleanor 

Eleanor is a seasoned educator, community-builder, and arts and culture writer. An alumna of the Bank Street College of Education, Eleanor has spent the last 25 years working with young people and families in private and public schools, nonprofit education organizations, and museum settings including P.S. 29, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.  As Editor-In-Chief of the arts blog Creative Times, Eleanor has interviewed world-loved children's book author/illustrators, as well as original cast and crew members of Sesame Street. Eleanor fosters young people's literacy development by providing creative, project-based opportunities for them to read and write for a real-world audience about topics and for purposes which hold personal meaning for them.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

INSIDE THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF NINA CHAKRABARTI

It's fun and fascinating to go behind the scenes with artists.  Here's a peek inside the studio of Nina Chakrabarti, who illustrated, amongst other titles, The Wonderful World of Fashion and The Wonderful World of Shoes.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Q AND A WITH SARA JUNE GILMORE, FOUNDER OF SARA JUNE SALON

Sara June Gilmore in Her Salon
Q:  How did you get the idea to start your own salon?

A: I was working for a great salon called Soon Beauty Lab in Carroll Gardens for two years and had built a large following there. I fell in love with Brooklyn and wanted to keep my life here. But, I tend to get bored if I do the same thing for longer than a few years, so I started dreaming about what could keep me here in Brooklyn. Owning a salon was an obvious solution.

Q:  What's great about being a small business owner?

A: Owning a business is nothing like I thought it would be. It isn't better or worse; it is just constant. It is always on my mind. I like that it gives me purpose and drive. I like that other people are depending on me to provide a wonderful place to work, and I like that clients are enjoying a delightful space to get beautiful hair.


Q: What is challenging about being a small biz owner?

A: The challenges are many. One of my personal challenges is learning how to manage my time efficiently. I have been doing hair for 15 years and so have never had a desk job. It proves difficult to answer emails, order color and product and manage payroll without getting distracted. I’m learning, though!

Q:  What drew you to working with people's hair?

A: I honestly never knew that I would be doing hair for my work. As a kid, I loved watching my hair lady part my hair with clips and chop chunks of hair off my head. I thought it was dramatic and wonderful to look so different so fast. I enjoy reinvention and newness. Getting a new cut or color is one of the fastest way to feel different and fresh. I think I love that the most. I also love people so much. I learn a lot every day from my employees and my clients. It’s inspiring.

Q:  What do you love about living in Brooklyn?

A: I love the people everywhere. I like the energy that almost colliding into hundreds of people every day gives me. I like human interactions without actually interacting. It's a constant dance, and I love it.


Q: Is there anything about living here that is challenging?

A: One of the challenges of living in Brooklyn is how hard we all work. Work occasionally wears me down to a point of depression, and then I look out at the people around me and realize they are all working just as hard. It helps me energize again and get back to work:)

Q:  I know that you were raised as a Mormon, and that you no longer practice that religion.  How does that upbringing shape how you think about things and approach your everyday life?  
A: One of the things I love about being raised Mormon is the belief in continual growth and personal development. It shaped me in a way that makes me face my weaknesses and try to master them. I love that about the religion. I also love that I came from a family of 8 kids. I definitely learned how to work with many different personalities and to love them all.

Q:  What do you love to do when you are not in the salon?

A: Camping is one of my favorite summer activities. I can’t wait to get to the mountains upstate.

Q:  What are some of your favorite places to hang out?

A:  The park in Sunset Park and my roof are my two favorite spots. I also love The Sackett and The Gowanus Yacht Club.

Q:  Where do you see yourself and the salon a year from now?

A: The wonderful thing about Sara June is that our team is full of very talented and experienced stylists. We are growing incredibly fast, which is super exciting! I hope that in a year from now,  Sara June will be known as the place to go to get the best hair in Brooklyn - or in NYC for that matter!

For more information about Sara June Salon, visit their website:  http://sarajunebrooklyn.com/

This Q and A marks the first interview in what will be a series of interviews with owners of local barbershops and salons.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 04, 2015

THE MAGIC OF MINI BOOKS: A SUMMER CLASS FOR CHILDREN WHO LOVE TO DRAW, WRITE, AND TELL STORIES


Do you know a young person who loves to draw, write, read graphic novels, and tell stories? 

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be teaching The Magic of Mini Books, a summer class for grades 3-5, at The Smith Street Workshop.


Session One: July 13-17; 
Session Two: August 3-7

Sessions run Monday - Friday 9:30 - 11 am
To register:

About the Teacher: Eleanor Traubman is a seasoned educator, community-builder, and arts and culture writer. An alumna of the Bank Street College of Education, Eleanor has spent the last 25 years working with young people and families in private and public schools, nonprofit education organizations, and museum settings including P.S. 29, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.  As Editor-In-Chief of the arts blog Creative Times, Eleanor has interviewed world-loved children's book author/illustrators, as well as original cast and crew members of Sesame Street. Eleanor fosters young people's literacy development by providing creative, project-based opportunities for them to read and write for a real-world audience about topics and for purposes which hold personal meaning for them.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MY FIRST VISIT TO THE BROOKLYN BALLET - WHAT A TREAT!


Last year, while walking along Shermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn,  I came across a building I had never seen before.  In the window were large-scale photos of dancers in action.  I wondered what this was all about.  I solved the mystery several weeks ago, when, on a whim,  I picked up a copy of local newspaper The Brooklyn Eagle.  The article which caught my eye was "Brooklyn Ballet Presents 'Roots and New Ground'" and was accompanied by a photos of a classical ballet dancer dancing with a hip hop dancer.  LINK

The article opened: Brooklyn Ballet Founder and Artistic Director Lynn Parkerson explains: "Roots and New Ground" brings together artists working in a variety of traditional dance and music forms - ballet, African, Celtic, Middle Eastern, urban vernacular, modern and jazz.  We're finding connections, blurring boundaries and honoring great traditions.  Old is the new 'new!"

I decided to go to the performance.  What a treat! One of my favorite pieces was "Snap," a duet for a robot and his reacher set to Temu Bacot's funk music.

What I noticed straight off was the racial and age diversity of both the audience and the dancers. There were lots of children there, many of whom were sitting up front on thickly stacked orange mats. In the theater itself, there was little physical space between the the dancers and the audience; this set-up contributed to a more intimate performer-audience connection than the typical theater generally allows.  Being so close to the dancers really brought their facial and bodily expressions into sharp focus and allowed the personality of each performer to shine through.

At the end of the performance, Brooklyn Ballet Founder/Director Lynn Parkerson invited people to stay for a Q and A session with the choreographers of the different pieces presented in the show.  I asked the panel: "Do you allow dancers to have input into the choreography?"  Michael "Big Mike" Fields answered "Yes, it's a lot like basketball.  You can guide the players but then you gotta let them play."  Matthew Powell answered that he, too, allowed dancer input into choreography.  His reasoning behind that practice? "Dancers are like snowflakes; no two are alike."

I'm excited to learn more about and keep returning to The Brooklyn Ballet.  I am heartened to know about a community-based dance company that brings all kinds of people together in meaningful, collaborative ways that honors each person's contribution to the creative process.

Please do check out the Brooklyn Ballet's website to check out all their offerings, which include classes, workshops, and performances.

Monday, March 23, 2015

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW: SPRING ORGANIZING TIPS

It's SPRING!  Time to bring some new, fresh energy into your life - and that includes the spaces where you live and work.

It's important to create places and habits that help you to feel calm, focused, peaceful, motivated, inspired and energized. Spring is a great time to do just that!

Here are some tips:

1.  Breathe some new life into your home office! Weed your files. Get rid of papers and categories of files that are no longer relevant or do not serve you. Create file folders for new projects or things you would like to bring into your life. The names you give to files only have to make sense to YOU!

2. Take some time to set up your clothes closet so that it functions as a place where you enjoy getting dressed in the morning.  Look at one item of clothing at a time and ask yourself:  Do I love it? Does it fit right now?  Do I feel good in it? Do I wear it regularly?  Does it need cleaning or mending?  Sort out what you want to keep, toss/recycle, repair or donate.  Housing Works Thrift Shop is a wonderful place to donate clothing that is in good shape.   There's one in Park Slope and one in Brooklyn Heights.  

3.  Clear your desk!  Nothing feels better than sitting down to a clean slate. Treat your desk like a work space, not a storage space.  Only keep items there that you use daily  - keep other items nearby on shelves or in drawers.  If you don't love file cabinets, use a rolling file cart or an open filing crate for projects you are working on.  Invest in a few new accessories to brighten up your desk! I like the jewel-colored ones at Poppin.

4.  January is not the only time to set goals!  Spring is the perfect time to re-visit the goals you set in January, or even to set some new ones.  Take some quiet time to set intentions for the different areas of your life: home; family/friendships; health/self-care; work/education; spiritual; civic/community work; inspiration/creativity; and finances. Where do you want to put your attention ? How do you want to move your life forward? Write it all down and use it as a guidepost when you plan out your days.

5.  Bring nature indoors and let it serve as inspiration.  Put a vase of flowers or a potted plant  anywhere that clutter tends to accumulate. It’s less tempting to let clutter build up where there is beauty!  Open all windows and let the fresh air move through your space.  It's been a long winter and it's time to let in the new energy of Spring!


*** Is there a Spring organizing project you would like a hand with?

Contact The Brooklyn Organizer: 929-224-4849 & eleanor@thebrooklynorganizer.com
Where you can find us:  Facebook.com/thebrooklynorganizer

Since 1999, The Brooklyn Organizer has helped busy women simplify and streamline their lives. We offers hands-on support to women who want to feel calm, inspired, and truly at home in spaces where they live and work. We help you to: Set goals and priorities * Better manage your time and energy * Create easy-to-use file systems * Clear your desk * Streamline your closets  * Identify resources for desk and office accessories that you love. We work with women in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Brooklyn Heights. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

THE POWER OF AN IMAGE


From Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook

I am someone who likes to surround myself with images which serve as reminders of what's important to me and what I want to bring into my life.  I know that some people like to create vision boards.  Those are great!  I often like to put up greeting cards with inspirational messages and pictures.

Recently, I wanted to choose a new background image for my personal Facebook page.  I decided to choose an illustration which caught my attention in the Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook.  Le Pain is a chain of bakery restaurants which feature large, communal tables for patrons to sit around.

I chose this image because one of my goals this year is to keep creating opportunities to build community, friendship, and collaborative efforts with other individuals and groups.  I think it's so important to have pictures that remind us of what it is we want to bring into our lives.  

What's interesting is what happened after I posted this picture on my FB page.   I found myself repeatedly sitting around large, communal tables to share meals with people, to make art, to have meetings that were highly collaborative in their nature.

Here are some examples:
  • I sat at big, long tables with the neighbors to the apartments on either side of ours to make Valentine cards out of huge piles of fun arts and crafts supplies.
  • After joining a Universalist Unitarian church,  my husband and I were invited to a member's home where we sat around a big table to enjoy a home-cooked meal.
  • I happened upon a neighborhood storefront which serves as a church.  The service includes a shared meal, so the space features a bunch of long tables that people can gather around.  Recently, the church decided to offer itself up as a co-working space.  I went to a day to sample it out, and signed on for a month.  I'm so excited; I've always wanted to be in a co-working space!
  • I joined my church's membership committee.  Every month, we gather around a table in the church office to brainstorm ideas and solutions.
I think I'm going to keep the Quotidien image up on my FB page for a while.  Just so I can see what happens next.  Images are such powerful things!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

KAM MAK DOES IT AGAIN WITH THE YEAR OF THE RAM STAMP

Even if you missed out on this year's Lunar New Year festivities, you can still partake in the spirit of this amazing celebration by learning more about the Year of the Ram Forever Stamp.

I'm particularly excited about this stamp, because the artist behind it is my friend and neighbor Kam Mak.

You can find out more about Kam HERE.

You can learn the back story of how I met him and learn about all the great stuff he has accomplished by taking a look at this post:

Kam Mak, The Man Behind the Lunar New Year Stamp

During a recent phone chat with Kam, I learned that the city of San Francisco was flying him over there to be part of their Lunar New Year festivities.  Hooray!

Friday, February 13, 2015

A NEW, AFFORDABLE SPACE FOR CO-WORKING IN THE GOWANUS NEIGHBORHOOD


Mmmmmm..........freshly-baked cookies!
Sometimes, it's nice to have the quiet of home to get thinking and work done.  But it can get too quiet, y'know?  Sometimes, it can be fruitful to go to the public library and work on projects om a livelier atmosphere.  But there, you only get a half an hour at a time on their computers and it can get pretty raucous, especially after school lets out.

It seems like a happy medium (with a whole lot of other perks thrown in) is co-working.  Folks can work independently, but get to be around other self-starters, entrepreneurs, etc.  With co-working spaces, there can be nice touches like a shared kitchen and eating space, copy machines, and the like.

I was excited to find out that a nearby dinner church, St. Lydia's, served as a home to a co-working arrangement.  This offering popped onto my radar after I took a great workshop from the Founder and Pastor, Emily Scott.

I paid a post-workshop visit to Emily at St. Lydia's, and checked out the space for myself.  It's a friendly-looking storefront with tons of light, and is loft-like yet still cozy in feel.  There is a beautiful kitchen in the back of the room.

There are two great ways you can try out St. Lydia's co-working space.  One is that you can request a free, one-day trial.  Another is that you can participate in Get It Done Tuesday, an all-day event that brings people together around work, goal-setting, yoga, walking, and eating.

For all the deets about co-working at St. Lydia's, CLICK HERE!!!

* Coworking at St. Lydia's: 304 Bond Street, Brooklyn; Monday - Friday 8 am - 6 pm
* Email: Stlydias(at)stlydias(dot)org

Friday, February 06, 2015

IT'S FEBRUARY 6, 2015. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR GOALS AND DREAMS ARE?


Quick Quiz:

Are your goals and dreams

(a) firmly planted in the forefront of your mind and reflected in your daily priorities?

(b) floating around somewhere in the back of your mind?

(c) pushed aside completely in the rush and pressures of daily life?  

If you answered “b” or “c,” then this post is for you.

For a lot of folks, setting goals can feel like creating a straight jacket for themselves, or like a way of setting themselves up for disappointment or failure.

The truth is that goal-setting is important, and can be both fun and liberating.  The path to achieving your goals should be full of joy, magic, adventure, mystery, and self-discovery. Yes, there is also heartbreak, hardship, and disappointment along the way, but when your goals are compelling enough, and you have a good support system in place, the challenges on the path do not seem as daunting.

The key is to use rituals, habits, and tools that make the road to achieving your goals inspiring, joyful, and interesting for YOU!

Everything here is food for thought, so pick and choose which ideas work for you.  At the same time, be willing to step a bit outside of your comfort zone! 

Set up your headquarters so that your workspace inspires you.  
What does your work space – the place where you make phone calls, send emails, work on your blog or website, paint, draw, dream, think – look like? How does it feel to you to be in that space?  If you are a person who works best without clutter, clear off your desk.  Use it as a work space, not a storage space.  That’s what filing cabinets and bookshelves are for!  If you are a visual person, surround yourself with images that uplift you. I like to keep my Dream Binder on my desk, along with greeting cards with motivational messages.   Sometimes I light a candle while I am writing. (I just have to remember to blow it out when I am done!)

Keep a Dream Binder with your big picture goals.
I buy a 3-ring binder at an office supply store, one with a clear plastic pocket cover so I can create my own visual.  First, I create a theme for the year.  You can do this by filling in the blank.  2015: The Year That  _____________ or The Year of ____________.  Examples:  The Year that My Big Dream Comes True; The Year of Collaboration and Creativity; The Year of Great Health.  Choose a theme that is exciting and compelling to you.

Then I complete this sentence:  The biggest thing I want to be and feel this year is _____________.

I then move on to set and write down key goals for these areas of life: living space; fun; creativity; family/friendships; well-being; work; finances.  Maybe there are categories that you would like to add to the mix.

I look at this binder at least once a month to help me keep the big picture in mind; I use yearly goals as a guide-post for my monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
 
Set monthly goals
This year, I found a really great day planner called TheInnerGuide.  In addition to providing the conventional space to write in appointments and commitments, it also has pages where I can write down monthly priorities for each area of life.  I love this.  It makes me reflect where I truly want to put my attention and energy.  Each month, the planner asks “What results do you want to achieve this month? What specific actions do you need to take? How do you most aspire to be and feel this month? What thoughts do you need to embody to stay on track?” I take time before the start of each month to think and write about what’s really important in the next 30 days.

Set weekly goals
On Sunday night, I sit down and think about key areas of my life and write down what the priorities for each of those areas for the coming week.  

Set daily goals
At the end of each day, working off the weekly priority list, I make a list of goals for the following day and also create a rough schedule of what’s going to happen at what time.  Do I follow that schedule rigidly? No.  Within the world of  lists and goals, there is immense value in flexibility, serendipity, whimsy, and the following of hunches.  So if the to-list says “send follow-up emails” but I have an awesome idea for a blog post, I’ll save the emails for another time.

Drink daily doses of inspiration.
Pick a book - or two or three - that serves as a daily devotional for you. There are books with daily bits of inspiration that I look at at each evening when I am setting intentions.  One is Tama Kieves’ A Year Without Fear: 365 Days ofMagnificence.  There’s an inspirational message for each day of the year.  The other one is Julia Cameron’s TheArtist’s Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living.  When I need some fresh ideas around goal-setting and goal-getting, I take a peek in Diane M. Scholten’s Be Your Own Life Coach: Dream It! Plan It!Do It!

Set up a dream team / support crew.
Isolation ranks high up there as a dream-killer. No one can go it alone.  We need people to give us feedback; we need practical advise; we need friends to cheer us on.  This can look all different ways.  You can get a coach or a mentor.  You can join or form a Meetup or mastermind group.  You can recruit a board of directors.

Work, think, and dream in the company of others.
Part of not going it alone, especially if you are a freelancer, an artist, or otherwise self-employed person, is to get out of the house.  Be around other people. Work at a cafĂ© or find a co-working space.  If you are an artist, find a place where other artists work.   

Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Ever hear that what you focus on expands?  Keeping a gratitude journal is a way of acknowledging the good things that are happening in your life, even (and especially) if the going is tough.  I used to think that a gratitude notebook was a corny, trite idea.  Then I started doing it and I got hooked.  I take one minute at the end of the day to jot 10 things I appreciate from the day.  It’s a nice note to end on before I hit the hay.

Act on hunches.
Sometimes, you will get ideas or intuitive insights that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.  Listen and act upon them.

Pay it forward: help other people to go for their dreams.
It’s definitely great to pay attention to and get behind your own goals and dreams.  It’s also important to keep the flow of energy circular.  You can do this by backing other people to go for their goals.  Be a sounding board to someone who is trying to launch an idea.  Let someone know about an article or a book that would be useful to them in what they are trying to accomplish.  If you show up for a workshop or networking function, make sure you are listening to what other people are trying to accomplish.  Introduce people to each other. 

Thank people who help you along the way.
Whether it’s in person, or via email, text, phone, with flowers, a hand-written note, or a small box of chocolates, it is so very important to continually thank people for the large and small ways that they help you towards your goals.  If someone takes time to give you great business advice over coffee, be sure to not only thank them but also to keep them posted on how their advice or wisdom has served you well.  Everyone wants to know that they have made a difference in the lives of others.

Know that it is possible to get to where you want to be.
I know it sounds basic, but it’s so important to have faith in yourself, your goals and dreams, and in the idea that the universe has your back.

Image Credit: Lindsay Hopkins at Pen and Paint

Thursday, February 05, 2015

AMAZING CHOREO BY WILDABEAST ADAMS: PART 2

AMAZING CHOREO BY WILDABEAST ADAMS: PART 1

BILLY PORTER ON TWITTER AND AT THE ROSE THEATER

When I learned that Billy Porter was going to be performing at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, I was excited.

I first became a fan of Mr. Porter on Twitter, where he has 27k followers and serves up motivational and uplifting tweets such as these:



I had, admittedly, never seen Mr. Porter perform.  But I knew that he had won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots.  And that Kinky Boots had won for Best Musical and Best Score.  (Cool side note: Kinky Boots was Cyndi Lauper's debut as a Broadway songwriter, making her the first woman to win alone in that category. Yay, Cyndi!)

So when I saw that Billy would be performing at The Rose Theater, I knew I wanted to be there.

Mr. Porter kicked off the American Songbook Series in The Appel Room.  This space is stunning; it overlooks Columbus Circle.  Down in front are small tables where folks can enjoy refreshments during the show.  We sat towards the back, in the amphiteater-style seating.

Accompanied by a 13-piece orchestra, Billy launched the show with "But the World Goes Round,""Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Don't Rain on My Parade."

There was also the Sammy Davis Jr. hit "I've Gotta Be Me," which served as a signifier of one of the evening's main themes of self-acceptance.  This theme continued in a suite from the show Kinky Boots, which included "I'm Not My Father's Son."

The evening ended with tremendous energy and power: accompanied by the Broadway Inspirational Voices, Mr. Porter performed his own version of "Sunday," a song from Sunday in the Park with George.

Many of the songs from the evening's show can be found on Mr. Porter's new CD Billy's Back on Broadway.

Also worth noting: Mr. Porter will join the national tour of Kinky Boots Aug. 4-9 when the musical visits his hometown of Pittsburg, PA.

* Photo Credit: Tony Cenicola, NY Times

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

BANK STREET ALUMNA AVAILABLE FOR K - 8TH GRADE TUTORING

Would you like a patient, focused educator to help your child with reading and writing?

Look no further!

I am an alumna of Bank Street College of Education with 25 years of experience working with children in public and private school settings, as well as in cultural institutions such as The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.

A former Assistant Teacher at P.S. 29 and leader of family literacy workshops, I am a skilled writer with a 10-year-old arts blog and articles published on the web.

I support your K - 8th grade child to do the following:
  • Increase his/her confidence as a reader and a writer.
  • Develop an enjoyment of reading and writing.
  • Stay organized and on-task with homework assignments.
  • Establish patterns and routines to boost study savvy.
I work with families in the Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill neighborhoods.

If you would like to chat about your child's needs, please contact me.  I would be delighted to hear from you.

Eleanor Traubman
etraubman@gmail.com


Monday, January 26, 2015

SCHULMAN AND HAMMERSTEIN: A GREAT "DOUBLE-HEADER" AT LINCOLN CENTER

Susan L. Schulman
After vowing to get myself to Lincoln Center more often this year, I traveled up there a few weeks ago for a great double-header.

First, I went to the NYPL Library for the Performing Arts to listen to Susan L. Schulman tell stories that formed the basis of her book Backstage Pass to Broadway: True Tales from a Theatre Press Agent.

When that event ended, I ran down the street to hear Oscar Hammerstein's grandson, Andy, present the history of his grandfather's music.

Ms. Schulman, a long-time press agent, started out by telling about her life growing up in New York.  She took dance lessons, went ice skating, and frequented both the library and the 92nd Street Y.  A self-described "theatre kid," Ms. Schulman would wait outside the stage door at the end of productions - not to get autographs, but to let actors know how much she enjoyed their performances.

In 1978, Susan opened up Schulman Publicity in the Paramount building. Over the span of her career, Susan  has worked with theatre figures such as Lauren Bacall, Zero Mostel, Mary Martin, George C. Scott, and Yul Brynner. She explained that it's the job of a press agent to "create the right expectations for critics and audiences."

Ms. Schulman recalled with fondness her encounters with famed choreographer Bob Fosse. She described him as someone who valued critics' feedback, "knew everything about everything," and was "the master of every single theatrical discipline."

At the end of her talk, Susan took questions from the audience.  A few folks wanted to know the impact of social media on how she approached her job.  I asked her for her thoughts on how to develop young audiences for theater.  She mentioned the late playwright Wendy Wasserstein's work as a co-foundre of Open Doors Broadway Mentors Program. 

After Ms. Schulman signed a copy of her book for me,  I ran down the street to the David Rubenstein Atrium to see Something Wonderful: The Songs of Rodgers and HammersteinAndy Hammerstein talked and showed slides about the history of his grandfather Oscar's work.  His anecdotes were brought to life by three talented singers.

Andy described Oscar as a "lefty with a lower case 'l'" who, like many [Jewish] artists of his times, was brought under the magnifying glass of McCarthyism and made the subject of an enormous FBI file.

One of the highlights of the event was joining the rest of the audience to sing "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music.  Truthfully, there were so many wonderful songs, I wish the entire evening had been a sing-a-long!

For more information about events at the NYPL Library for the Performing Arts, click HERE.
Fore more information about events at The David Rubenstein Atrium, click HERE.