Friday, January 30, 2009


Ordinarily, The Small Business Summit taking place next Tuesday Feb.3rd costs between $129 and $149.

If you volunteer for the event , YOU GO FOR FREE!
As a volunteer, you would work from approx. 7 am to 4:30 pm. Location: 55 Broad St. in the Wall Street Area.


Call Raymon Ray @ 917-685-3920

Ramon Ray
Technology Evangelist & Editor,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Dumbo Arts Center I Heart Art
Auction Party and Raffle
6:00- 8:00PM

The Silent Auction will be on view and open for bidding in the gallery and online from February 14 through February 21, 2009. Dumbo Arts Center's annual Benefit Auction is its most important fundraiser and helps sustain its year round programming, keeping it open to the public and free of charge.

Check back soon on their website to view and buy works.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


For the past 16 years, I've been a member of eight (!) gyms. I'd join one, barely go, and then join a new one, thinking "Okay, this is going to be the place I love to come to to get into shape! This is it!" And maybe, once in a while, I'd go a bunch of times in a row and be proud of myself. But guess what? It never lasted.

Two days ago, I was on the treadmill at the YMCA. I was bored out of my mind, and the surrounding scenery - grey walls and the backs of people's heads - was utterly uninspiring.

"Why do I do this?" I wondered. It wasn't the first time I had asked myself the question, but this time the question became a decision: "I'm going to quit the gym." And by "the gym," I meant any and all gyms.

Then another question arose in my mind: "What will I do and where will I go to get into shape?" And another thought came to me: "Just trust that if you close the door, a window will open. The right opportunities will present themselves."

The next night, I went to Brooklyn Arts Exchange to take a dance class. The teacher was nice and the music had a good beat. I was doing something that was interesting and that required me to pay attention, not just pound my feet on a conveyor belt like some mindless robot. (Sorry, treadmill fans! No disrespect meant!)

Then my cousin told me she was going to take a class at The Mark Morris Dance Center at Brooklyn Academy of Music. I went to their website and, lo and behold, they offer a whole bevy of fun-sounding dance classes!

This means that my dream of dancing again is coming true. I see a whole future of having fun and connecting to music and people while getting back into shape.

I know I could be stuck on the thought, "Geez, why didn't I figure this out sooner?" But, as they say in Spain, "Mas vale tarde que nunca!"
Photo credit: Andrew MacPherson for British Vogue, March 1993


Hey there busy New York moms, artists, and professionals!

I'd be delighted to help you:

* Cut down on clutter

* Create more space for you and your family

* Learn and implement simple time and paper management tools.

Call today to chat about your organizing needs!


F.O.K.U.S. will be re-launching INSIGHT, their quarterly magazine later this month. The group will commemorate the event with a launch party as part of its Off the Wall art series on February 7, 2009 at Deity Bar & Lounge in Brooklyn, NY starting at 8:00 p.m.

Attendees will be able to view works from Destroy & Rebuild whose work is also featured on this issue’s cover, a skateboard deck designed by Jeff St. Romain of Structure NOLA, photos from New Orleans a few years following Hurricane Katrina and more.

Copies of INSIGHT Volume 2 Issue 1 will be distributed at the event. This event is sponsored by Fresh Industries + Deity Bar & Lounge.

What: INSIGHT Launch PartyWhen: 8:00 p.m on February 7, 2009

Where: Deity Bar & Lounge – 368 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Press Contacts:Atiba EdwardsF.O.K.U.S.,

INSIGHT is a quarterly F.O.K.U.S. publication that offers a platform for artists and their talents. Through the inclusion of interviews, feature articles, photography and more, we present a tangible survey of art to the world.

F.O.K.U.S., a not-for-profit arts organization founded in 2003, creates diverse networks through the use of the arts. The organization has produced concerts, film screenings, workshops and more with artists including John Legend, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Jeff Chang, the Blue Scholars, Buff 1, Kool DJ Red Alert, Justin Bua, Michael Skolnik and many more. For more information, visit

Monday, January 26, 2009


After deciding to bag boring classes at the gym, I ventured over to Brooklyn Arts Exchange on 5th Avenue to try out Pene's Hard Core Dance Workout.
I was a little nervous about going, because I'm out of shape. It was a lot of fun and Pene is a great teacher!

Here's an update about the class from BAX Director, Mayra Warshaw: "I am delighted to announce that HARD CORE WORK OUT taught by Pene McCourty will CONTINUE. There is one more class of the current series (February 2) The class will then continue on Mondays February 9, 23, March 2 and 9 from 7 – 8 p.m. NO CLASS ON MONDAY FEBRUARY 16. The workshop is available for $40 (for 4 classes) or by the class as a drop in at $15."


Imagine a hot sweaty dance party does a major mash-up with a structured dance class. You learn new steps, get to do your own dance and de-stress.This class will get your adrenaline pumping, your soul groovin' and your core working.No push ups or sit ups. Just some bad-ass music so you can get your groove on.No prior dance experience necessary.Just bring your bad self!


As much as I like to go to the post office to view their array of stamps from a living breathing person, the local post office branches often don't have the stamps that I'm looking for. Because I love stamps, tiny works of art that they are, I am picky when it comes to picking them out for a big mailing. It's just not worth waiting in a LONG line, only to be dissappointed by the selection available.

For my Valentines Day mailing, I really wanted the Love: All Heart stamp and I knew the post office branches wouldn't be carrying it because it's from 2008. So I hopped online and ordered a whole bunch of them from the USPS website.

It took all of five minutes to order the stamps online! I'm gonna remember this in the future.


Spoke the Hub (STH) is now seeking the area's finest massage therapists, acupuncturists, Alexander teachers, nutritionists and other kinds of bodyworkers to join our fabulous team of independent teaching artists and health practitioners in our newly renovated facility in the heart of Park Slope.

Prime movers and shakers in Brooklyn and beyond since 1979, Spoke the Hub has offered creative arts and fitness classes to legions of infants through adult professionals in Park Slope for over three decades. With the completion of our recent massive renovation and expansion of our Union Street center, we are now able to broaden the spectrum of what we can offer to community residents, as well as redefine the interface and interconnection between art, spirit, community and health. Please join us!

The STH bodywork room rental includes ---
a separate entrance and intercom system,
use of a shared waiting room, bathroom and shower,
wifi access,
a washer/dryer onsite**,
discounted rent (25% off) on small adjacent meeting room and the two bigger studio spaces for group sessions, special workshops, master classes, and private movement sessions**
plus inclusion options on Spoke the Hub's website and in future Spoke the Hub mailings and promotional materials**
Short term rentals: $25/hour (4 hour minimum; non-refundable)
Long term rentals (6-12 months or more): $250 a day/month; 2 months security required.
**These amenities only available to long term rentals

Please send letters of interest , work and client references, and your resume to: Elise LongSpoke the Hub Re:Creation Center748 Union StreetBrooklyn, NY 11215

Also, please feel free to make arrangements to preview the space in person on Mondays or Tuesdays with Spoke the Hub's space manager, Rachel Odoroff at: will be available for rent beginning March 1st.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


* Put pen and passion to paper: I’ll help you document personal and business goals for 2009 and set you in motion to reach them.

* Create networking and marketing strategies to grow your on-line and off-line community of clients, customers, supporters, donors, and readers.

* Develop blog content and practices to expand your fanbase and get your message out to the world. It’s a new day!

Call to set up an appointment! 917-499-7395


What do you yearn for? What is brewing in you?

Structure your yearning as a question – e.g. “How can I create more space in my life for making and spending time with friends?”

A goal is a dream with a deadline – e.g. I will have a gallery showing of my paintings by June 1.

Put your goals in writing and/or in images.

Expect to get what you want.

Be specific in naming what you want – e.g. "I want to make friends with three new sets of couples that Mike and I can socialize with" (versus "I want to meet more people"). By being specific, it is easier to track your progress and to recognize when you’ve reached your goal.

How do you want to feel emotionally and physically when your goal comes to fruition?

What kind of choices do you need to make so that you can have what you want? What do you need to say no to? Yes to? Decide where you want to put your attention and energy and put it there.

To stay focused, name the year – e.g. The Year of Fun, The Year of Creativity, The Year of the Body, The Year of Making Friends.

What will help you sustain momentum in going after your dream, especially if/when you get discouraged, fearful, or distracted?

Ask for help from different people. Ask, ask, and ask some more.

Accept help that shows up. Allow others to share their energy with you.

Listen to your inner voice. Make time for silence.

Share your energy with others by helping them to achieve their dreams.

When you hit a spot where you stop going after what you want, ask yourself “What am I afraid to give up?” (Some possible answers: comfort, an old image of yourself, etc.)

Keep a Gratitude Journal. What you focus on expands.

Keep a Dream Binder. Document what you want in words and pictures.Design pages which assume that you’ve already reached your goals.Create pages which celebrate victories along the way. Fill it with all that inspires you.


I am a proponent of naming your year: give it a theme, a title, a slogan - whatever helps you stay focused and inspired.

For me, 2009 is The Year of Creative and Profitable Collaborations.

What are you going to name your year?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


At the end of MLK Day, Mike and I went to In Good Company (a space for women entrepreneurs) for Laura Allen's 15 Second Pitch workshop. We both wanted to learn how to speak more effectively about the work we do. Evidently, so did the other folks who showed up. The motley crew included a magician, a jewelry-maker, a trademark lawyer, and a baker of organic marshmallows.

Laura, with loads of entertaining anecdotes from her 7 years of experience as Queen of the 15 Second Pitch, explained the need for developing a pitch that is easy to pass along. "Smart networking," she shared, "is about having a story that other people want to pass along. A pitch needs to be specific and compelling."

Laura had us get started on answering the four questions that build a good pitch. They are: (1) Who are you? (2) What do you do? (3) Why are you the best?/What makes you different or interesting? and (4) What is your call to action?

Laura also explained that while many of us might be good at doing many things, it's not so great to go into a networking event and say "Hi, my name is X and I am a dog-walker, graphic-designer, basket-weaver, and Reiki master."

Guess what's going to happen? The person you are talking to is going to slowly back away as their eyes glaze over. The alternative? Become known primarily for one thing. Also: it's great to have a separate pitch for each kind of work you do.


Ricki McGlashan is an old family friend who lives in San Mateo, CA.

"Well, friends, I made it! We got Obama sworn in! The summary has to be that it was an experience of a lifetime--so packed with adventures and inspiration (and PEOPLE!) you wouldn't believe.

The short report is that there were three dominant elements to the whole cram-packed two days. First of all, starting from SFO, the excitement of the zillions of people embarked on a shared, positive, hopeful experience was overwhelming. It absolutely pervaded every minute of the time, even when we were stuck, stuck, stuck, in some long line. All positive and electric, no kidding.

Second was the momentousness of what we were witnessing. All the hoopla aside, we each deeply felt the import of this event, this new presidency and ALL its promise.

Third was the serendipitous nature of the experience. Never have I had to adapt to such rapidly and unpredictably changing circumstances. Our best laid plans . . . it was astonishing how opportunities and hurdles presented themselves in a flash. I was among those who got a ticket to the swearing in (18 hours before the event!) only to be stymied outside the entry point, forced to head out onto the Mall in search of SOME place to at least hear the proceedings. My college friend Miri and I made it in the nick of time to a Jumbotron.

There were many, many people who had this happen to them, and we all agreed we would do it all again it was so exciting and momentous to be there. I'm sure I've never been on the move, pushed by stress and happy anticipation as much. I bet if you checked my adrenaline level right now, it would read ZERO, all used up.

Now we just have dreams that our hopes and expectations will come through.


Adrian Kinloch, author/photographer of the blog Brit in Brooklyn, experienced the inauguration from Foley Square and had this to say about the experience:

"It was hard deciding on a spot to watch from in this huge city, but I settled on Foley Square as there’s amazing governmental architecture all around and it was pretty laid back. Well, until THAT speech!. Times Square would have meant corporate logos in the background of every shot!I was blown away by the intensity and range of emotion. Never seen anything like this."

Check out THIS LINK to see all his photos of this event.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I had a blast visiting with the crew at Blue Barn Pictures - Jim Baker, Steve Duke, and David Castillo. They work out of a sweet artist-oriented building in DUMBO and seem to have a brotherly connection to each other.

Last year, these guys took countless hours of volunteer time to document the stories of Brooklyn bloggers. Their film piece was then aired at Brooklyn Blogfest, an annual gathering of hundreds of Brooklyn Bloggers and their friends.

I think the piece is significant because it shows the collective story of Brooklyn's storytellers. We are people who care deeply about the daily goings-on the overall quality of life for people in our borough and beyond.

Here's the reel:

I'd love to have the Bluebarn trio be part of Blogfest 2009.

Keep up the good work, guys!


This chart is from Seth Godin's blog

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Also: where were you and who were you with?

Send me some words and/or photos (JPEG attachment, please) about that and I’ll post them on my blog along with your name, where you’re from, and a link to your website or blog.


I walked into a jam-packed Brooklyn Academy of Music for their 23rd Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The all-star program featured Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine.

Mike and I started this day by dancing in our small home office to’s video It’s A New Day. (Please watch this video! Also worth watching: will’s Yes, We Can and We Are the Ones.) I then subway’d up to Symphony Space on 96th and Broadway to watch the inauguration on their big screen. I could barely contain my excitement on that subway ride. I wanted to shout: “Hey, everyone! It’s a new day! Let’s get up and boogie!” (I’m saving that for this Friday when it’s Disco Night at Santos House here in NYC.)

It was a great crowd at Symphony Space. There were schoolchildren who had arrived by the busload along with lots of older folks from the neighborhood, many of whom had strong ties to the social movements of the 1960s. I loved that it was a rowdy group, with people laughing, shouting, and starting up different chants.

Afterwards, Sandhya, Ayisha (pictured above at Symphony Space) and I went into a packed Upper West Side restaurant and then back to her apartment to continue watching the festivities. On the subway ride home, I turned to the person next to me and said “What a day, right?” and we had a great conversation.

At night, Mike and I watched The Neighborhood Ball and Youth Ball on t.v. and I watched the It’s A New Day video a couple more times before heading to bed. (Yes, I am addicted!)

It’s the Year of the Ox, y’all, and as usual I’ll be heading over to PS 124 in Chinatown. Their huge, community-inclusive celebration includes traditional dances performed by the students as well as the official unveiling of the Lunar New Year stamp by the stamp’s artist. To find out about other festivities, look online.

Heartfelt thanks to hundreds of inspiring clients and fellow/sister entrepreneurs.


One of my favorite holidays and a time to spread the love to friends, family, colleagues, clients, and significant other. Spread the love, people! Think of someone who would be surprised and delighted to know that you care about them and let them know.


Monday, January 19, 2009


(Image and text taken from BAM website.)

23rd Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mon, Jan 19 at 10:30am

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Free! First come, first seated. (Note: One ticket per person. No groups.)

BAM, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York present New York City’s largest public celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year, BAM welcomes keynote speaker Minnijean Brown Trickey, part of the "Little Rock Nine." Rounding out the program will be inspirational performances by James Hall Worship & Praise as well as music by Brian Jackson, best-known for his historic collaborations with spoken word icon Gil Scott-Heron.

Following the event in the Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas will present a free screening of the acclaimed documentary Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later (2007, 70 min), which provides a candid look at the lives of contemporary Central High Students, the film will be introduced by Ms. Brown Trickey.

Also visit BAMcafé to view Picture the Dream, a youth art exhibition, and to hear free musical programming as part of BAMcafé Live.


I've been wanting to go to Santos House for forever and now there's a bunch of reasons to go:

(1) Disco Night (2) Free (3) Starts at 6 pm

DISCO PARTY Fundraiser
Friday January 23
21+ Doors 6PM
5th annual Appreciation Party!
As an expression of our sincere gratitude for your support in 2008,
DJ Herb Martin will be playing the MUSIC for your DANCING PLEASURE

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


From today's Daily Om:

There are times in life when we are committed to pursuing our passions. Every molecule in our body is focused on doing what we love. At other times, necessity and responsibility dictate that we put our dreams aside and do what needs to be done. It is during these moments that we may choose to forget what it is that we love to do.

There are many other reasons for why we may leave our passions behind. A hobby may lose its appeal once we’ve realize it will never turn into our dream job. Someone important to us may keep telling us that our passions are childish and unsuitable – until we finally believe them.

Forgetting about what you love to do can be a form of self-sabotage. If you can forget about your dreams, then you never have to risk failure. But just because we’ve decided to ignore our passions doesn’t mean they no longer exist. Nothing can fill the emptiness that remains in a space vacated by a passion that we have tossed aside. Besides, life is too short to stop doing what you love, and it is never too late to rediscover your favorite things.

If you gave up playing an instrument, painting, drawing, spending time in nature, or any other activity or interest that you once loved to do, now may be the time to take up that passion again. If you don’t remember what it is that you used to be passionate about, you may want to think about the activities or interests that you used to love or the dreams that you always wished you could pursue.

You don’t have to neglect your responsibilities to pursue your passions, and you don’t have to neglect your commitments to do what you love. When you make an effort to incorporate your interests into your life, the fire within you ignites. You feel excited, inspired, and fed by the flames that are sparked by living your life with passion for what you love.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This text taken from the website of the United States Postal service. Go HERE to see the Lunar New Year stamp on the site.

On January 8, 2009, in New York, New York, the Postal Service™ will issue a 42–cent, Celebrating Lunar New Year Year of the Ox commemorative stamp, designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland.The U.S. Postal Service® introduced its Celebrating Lunar New Year series in 2008. This is the second stamp in that series, which will continue through 2019 with stamps for the Year of the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.In 2008, a stamp depicting festive red lanterns was issued to mark the Year of the Rat.

Art Director Ethel Kessler and artist Kam Mak, who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn, decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year Holiday is celebrated.

To commemorate the Year of the Ox, which begins January 26, 2009, they chose a lion head of a type often worn at parades and other festivities. Kessler’s design also incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using Clarence Lee’s intricate paper–cut design of an ox and the Chinese character drawn in grass–style calligraphy by Lau Bun for “Ox.”

Sunday, January 11, 2009


MYTH: Being organized means having a home that resembles the pages of Real Simple magazine, with nary an object out of place!

TRUTH: Being organized means having a few systems and tools in place which free you up to spend more time with your friends and family and less time hunting for things you need or stressing about piles of stuff that have no rhyme or reason.

Here are ten organizing practices to get you going:

1. Set aside time to open your mail every day! Open mail over a trash/recycling can and throw out solicitations and other junk mail. Daily mail sorting prevents paper pile-up and the resulting feelings of overwhelm.

2. Use the RAFT acronym for handling papers.

R = Refer to someone else
A = Act on it if the action takes 5 minutes or less OR put it in an action pile
F = File it
T = Toss it!

3. Put old financial or archival documents which you don’t need to refer to often in a banker’s box and store on a high shelf. Create homes (binders, files, whatever works for you) for papers which come in on a regular basis – financial statements, bills, etc.

4. For de-cluttering, set aside a specific amount of time. It’s helpful to use a kitchen timer. Pick an area that you know you will be able to complete in that time frame – e.g., two shelves on the bookshelf, a dresser drawer, the top of your desk.

5. Look at one item at a time. Make a decision about each item before going on to the next. Do you want to keep it, toss it, repair it, or donate it? Make a pile for each category.

6. While going through books, clothing, jewelry, etc., ask yourself: Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I use it? Do I want it? Do I feel good when I wear it, use it, look at it? Keep or let go based on the answer.

7. When you come up against “I might need this someday,” trust that you can get what you need when the occasion arises.

8. With gifts and other objects of sentimental value, ask yourself: “Can I hold onto the memory without holding onto the object?” Choose the most precious memories and store or display them so that they are easily accessed – in albums or decorative storage boxes.

9. Have a designated place in your apartment for give-aways so that everyone can get into the habit of putting unused or unwanted stuff there. Choose a charity that you can easily walk or cab your stuff to, or one that makes pick-ups.

10. Put a vase of flowers anywhere in your apartment where clutter tends to accumulate. It’s less tempting to let clutter build up where there is beauty!

A professional organizer since 1999, Eleanor assists busy New York women de-clutter and make better use of desks, closets, filing cabinets, and more. She has been featured in Time Out New York, The Brooklyn Paper, Family Circle, The Sun Times Chronicle, and Fitness.

To contact Eleanor: 917-499-7395


Adam Zeisel, grandson of design icon Eva Zeisel, sent me an amazing set of bronze candlestick holders which Eva designed. After receiving the set in the mail, I went out to the local five and dime store and got a bunch of rose and fuschia colored candlesticks which look great with the bronze. I love having a tangible reminder of Eva's creative spirit in my home.

Adam offers this set on at a nice discount only because there are tiny imperfections (e.g. mine came with a little scratch that I could barely see.)

AND he is offering Creative Times readers a further discount: pay $30 if you purchase an individual candlestick and $25/per if you purchase the three-pieced set.

When ordering, please make a note in the comment's field that youwish to receive the 'Creative Times' discount and Adam will apply it to your final invoice.

Here is the website description of this item:

Made using the ancient method of sand casting, these three beauties get their smooth bronze finish by heating them over raw coals and then dipping them in an aging solution. The process is repeated until the desired color is reached. All work is 100% hand-crafted until the final finish. This updated version does not have a felt bottom.


To see Mike's paintings, go to
To see Mike's blog, go to
To see Mike's inspiration statement on Jennie Nash's blog, Meet Your Muse, go HERE.

"Inspiration is a direct result of working. I'm hardly ever inspired by just lounging around the apartment. I paint cityscapes, so as I'm walking around the city doing my daily errands I'm always scouting for interesting subjects. I've got a mental catalog of places that have a unique character and every few weeks I go on a picture safari to document these locations. While shooting pictures I stay open to whatever activity is happening and just keep clicking away.

The second type of inspiration comes in reviewing the photos. There's always some sort of happy surprise waiting, an odd perspective or some intriguing interaction on the street that managed to get captured in a background. This is really about recognizing a special moment - not passing over a photo that's a little blurred or oddly cropped. Since I use the photos as a rough sketch they can be technically imperfect - I actually prefer the imperfections because they've got more potential.

The third form of inspiration comes when the paint (finally) hits the canvas. I paint in a style that relies on improvisation, there's plenty of room for unexpected occurances which are also inspiring. I really enjoy exploiting the spontaneous acts that divert me from the planned route. An unexpected color combination or a drawing error can lead to something wonderful. I don't get too attached to my original concept of an artwork, everything is flexible and open to change. A painting never finishes exactly the way I expect, which makes everything much more interesting. Ultimately I'm inspired by the endless possibilities in every artwork."

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Meet Jennie Nash, author of The Only True Genius in the Family. Her newest novel is "a story about three generations of artists who are grappling with the source of creativity and the limits of love." The book comes out in February of this year. To pre-order Jennie's novel, CLICK HERE.

The questions I use to interview Jennie can be found in Twyla Tharp's book called The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. I pulled a dozen of the 39 questions Twyla asks and answers to form her own creative autobiography.

CT: Describe your first successful creative act.

JN: In 4th grade, we were invited to submit poems for a collection that our class was going to make into a book. I wrote poem after poem – about puppies? Flowers? I have no idea. But I remember very clearly seeing the words I wrote printed on purple mimeograph paper with my byline above them, sandwiched between cardboard covers. I thought it was a thrill.

CT: Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?

JN: I’m sure my teacher and my parents said, “Nice job,” but their praise wasn’t the point – and I think that’s what made it a successful act. The impulse to write those poems and the pride I felt when I saw them published was wholly about me.

CT: What is the best idea you ever had?

JN: That I should try writing fiction.

CT: What made it great in your mind?

JN: It felt like coming home.

CT: Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea?

JN: It came to me all at once, on a stage in front of a thousand people in Anchorage, Alaska. I was giving a keynote address to a room full of breast cancer survivors. The year before, they’d had a world famous surgeon, a woman who’s actually trying to cure cancer. I was paralyzed with the thought that, compared to her, I had nothing to say that mattered. I got up to the podium, and realized that what I had was this: I am a storyteller. And I realized that it mattered very much.

CT: What is your creative ambition?

JN: To write good books for an appreciative audience that continues to grow.

CT: What are the obstacles to this ambition?

JN: Complacency, fear, doubt and a collapsing book industry.

CT: What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition?

JN: In order to write good books, I think I have to pay attention (to the world, to my own intuition, to my stories) and give myself permission to create. As for connecting with an audience? I guess we all have to pray that booksellers stay in business, editors keep their jobs, and publishing houses keep the faith.

CT: How do you begin your day?

JN: I eat breakfast with my husband and our two teenage daughters, which is to say that we all sit down at the table together and we eat; we hardly ever talk. I read three newspapers – fast. I scan the news, and look for interesting stories, mostly in the Calendar, Arts or Living sections.

CT: Which artists do you admire most?

JN: It usually changes depending on my latest favorite book. Right now, I most admire Abigail Thomas, author of the memoir A Three Dog Life and Elizabeth Strout, author of the story collection Olive Kitteridge.

CT: Why are they your role models?

JN: They take the raw material of everyday life and make something dazzling out of it. Everyday life doesn’t always feel dazzling to me, but these authors remind me that, in fact, it is.

CT: What do you and your role models have in common?

JN: Hope.


In 2008, Planet B-Boy played for a week or so in New York City and I missed it. I was so happy to find it in our neighborhood movie rental place, Video-free Brooklyn. If you want to catch it on the tele, watch Planet B-Boy on MTV this Sunday the 11th at 11:00 am or 12 midnight.

In this Benson Lee documentary, the camera narrows in on breakdance crews from five different parts of the world as they prepare for the "The Battle of the Year" - an international break dance contest which takes place in Germany.

There are a bunch of things I love about this film. First, it lets us see how five crews operate as a group. Also, it focuses on some of the individual young men in these groups - namely, on their relationship to b-boying and to their families who are sometimes skeptical of the art form.

There is a theme of Asian fathers wondering if their sons' involvement in b-boying is going to bring honor or stability to the family or community. When young men are part of a team who wins "The Battle of the Year" ( a huge honor, considering that 10,000 spectators come from all ends of the earth to watch this competition), families and entire countries change their mind about the validity of b-boying.

At "The Battle of the Year," teams from different countries eye each other suspiciously at the beginning and end up having some great bonding moments which rely on non-verbal communication given the language barriers.

This film highlights what makes b-boying an important passion for young men. (And, I might add, what makes it a desirable alternative to the preparation for warfare that all young men receive through socialization or actual military training.): B-boying simulates battle, but there is no violence; instead, there is genuine opening for athleticism; self- and group-expression; creative collaboration; artistry; dance; a connection to music, and friendships based on mutual respect with other young men.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Hey there busy New York women!

I'd be delighted to help you

*Cut down on clutter

* Set up easy-to-use filing systems

* Learn and implement simple time and paper
management tools

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you're an artist and you want to get steadily better at your craft, you need to continually refine your approach to telling the truth. The novelist Willa Cather said that. Now I'm here to invite you to adopt that strategy in 2009, whether you're an artist or simply a person who wants to live your life artfully. The coming months will be one of the best times ever for you to penetrate to the heart of the truths you aspire to live by and become highly skilled at expressing them in every little thing you do.

DAILY AND WEEKLY CUTE PET PHOTO CONTESTS is having a photo contest with a daily prize of $25 and a weekly prize of $125, totaling $300-a-week for the cutest pet photos (voted by users). is a new online community for pet lovers and their pets. It doesn't cost a thing and all you have to do is join.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


For years, one of my dreams has been to get back to dancing. Just plain old dancing on a dance floor with lots of other people. I always had some "reason" I couldn't: I didn't know of anywhere to go; I didn't have a big enough group to go with; my body was stiff and out of shape.

Yesterday, I spied a postcard advertising Brooklyn Museum's First Saturday and this one was called "Celebrate the Magic of Dance!" The back of the card was filled with a lineup of films, speakers, and interactive dance-related events. I took the card home and said "Come on, Mike - let's go!"

So we got on our tennies and motored over to the museum. First, we stopped in the cafe. It was packed with people of all colors and ages. Then we went to watch a very energetic guy named Ifetayo lead a West Indian dance class for the public. He got lots of the audience involved - young ones, men, women. I stayed on the sidelines.

Then we went and looked at the special exhibition - The Black List Project. And then listened to a student guide give a Sign Language-interpreted talk about the project.

Finally, we mozied over to the Chicago House Dance Party deejayed by DJ Quentin Harris.

First, Mike and I did some subtle boogeying on the edges of where people were dancing. Over time, we moved closer and closer to the middle of the dancing until we were a few bodies away from the DJ.

It was so fun to be smashed up against other people, other people who were also dancing their hearts out. (See photo above taken by Mike on his cell phone.)

Even though we got home late at night, I turned on the t.v. and watched the movie Save the Last Dance. I shed some tears because the main characters played by Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Harris both get their dreams: "Sara" gets into Julliard to study dance and "Dereck" gets into Georgetown to be pre-med.

So Sara, Dereck and I all had our dreams come true last night!

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I sent this list out with my holiday card.

Birthday treat from my cousin Ann. First, we went to Franchia, a Korean tea house, and then to The Morgan Library to see the Babaar exhibit.

Interviewing and photographing creative heroes for my Blog, Creative Times.

Watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving three times in a row in anticipation of the big day.

Dreaming of being in a Missy Elliot music video.

Making friends with other artists and Entrepreneurs in Brooklyn.

Visiting museums for our Friday night dates.

Gathering friends and colleagues to come to Mike’s first solo art showing at a local café.

Celebrating Mike’s 40th birthday with a House party.

Discovering the tv show Iconoclasts in which two creative visionaries from different fields spend time getting to know one another and witnessing one another’s work.

Attending an international weekend-long gathering for Jewish women.

Keeping my Ipod nearby so I can watch Ching-A-Ling, Missy Elliott’s newest music video.

The Love for life reflected in my brother Adam’s incredible online photo updates of his family.

Meeting Big Bird on the set of Sesame Street, thanks to cameraman Frank Biando.

Birth of my niece, Natalie. (See photo above.)

Obama as our new President!

The continuation of the tradition of Puppet “music video” shows performed by various members of extended family when we all got together in California.

Quest to get to know neighborhood store owners.

Helping to Round up Brooklyn bloggers and friends for The Third Annual Brooklyn Blogfest.

Reading the Sunday New York Times in my favorite neighborhood diner.

Getting a Tour of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens at a monthly gathering of Brooklyn Bloggers. (Thanks, Flatbush Gardener!)

Uno, the first beagle ever to win the Westminster Dog Show.

Visiting my friend Cecilia in her art studio.

Going early in the morn to Prospect Park to Watch all the cutest pups of Brooklyn bound across the grass as their owners huddle together.

EXploring the shelves of The Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo.

The friendly and convenient resource that is the local branch of the YMCA.

Catching Sunday afternoon Zzzzzs in the livingroom as the sun pours in through the windows.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish you a 2009 full of love, growth, adventure, change, joy, and uncontainable laughter.


PSKeep in touch!
I’d love to hear about what you’ve been doing, thinking, and dreaming about. I welcome recent photos of you with friends, family, loved ones, and pets.

Drop me a line via email:

Thursday, January 01, 2009


1. As a Creative Times Reader, you get more than a 50% discount on the workshop: General admission is $40. Cost to CT readers: $15!

2. Laura Allen has helped thousands of people develop 15 second pitches, a tool which leads to all kinds of new opportunities.

3. Laura has a wicked sense of humor. She'll keep you laughing and thinking at the same time.

4. She cares deeply about getting people to connect with work they are passionate about.

5. It's a powerful way to launch 2009.


The 15SecondPitch Workshop for Artists and Entrepreneurs

Join Laura Allen, co-founder of to learn how you can have fun selling in a way that is authentic to you! (Co-Ed workshop)

Monday January 19th, 20096:30-8:00pm

In Good Company Workplaces16 W. 23rd Street (4th Floor) New York, NY

Would you like to talk about your artwork or business without feeling like a sleazy car salesman? It is actually possible to have fun selling using your natural PASSION for what you do!! Join Laura Allen, co-founder of for a fun, interactive, highly informative 90 minute workshop where she will teach you how to get more sales now using her unique 15SecondPitch System.

Even if you absolutely hate to sell, this workshop can still help you make more sales!

What you’ll learn
*What the 15SecondPitch is
*Why the 15SecondPitch works so well
*How to create your 15SecondPitch
*How to use your 15SecondPitch to get more sales now

To attend, you must RSVP to with your full name and email address. Payment in advance required. (We’ll send you payment option details.)

Make sure to mention Creative Times when you sign up to get the discount!

Capacity for the workshop is 20 people, so RSVP ASAP!Please bring a notebook and bring plenty of business cards too!