Thursday, January 28, 2010


Hi Friends, and Happy 2010!

As I was also recently affected by a big round of layoffs at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, I'm writing to let you know about my search for part-time work. If, after taking a look at my Four Basic Criteria for a New Job, you have an idea of someone you would like to introduce me to, feel free to call or email me with your brainstorm. I value your creative ideas!


1. Up to 25 hrs/wk
2. Involves lending my skills to a team of people who work together directly (face-to-face) with other people
3. The work has an element of physicality or a hands-on element (moderate physical labor is fine, as is an outdoor setting)
4. Process-oriented (e.g. is not intensely deadline-driven)

BONUS: I am helping/teaching/inspiring small groups of people
BONUS: I get to be around the arts (communication, visual or performing), - includes dance, tv/radio, dance, theatre)
BONUS: I get to be around books, nature, or teens/pre-teens
BIG BONUS: I get to be around Sesame Street or the Muppets

PS: Doesn’t have to be a fancy title or position, just something satisfying.


* Managed PlayNet, a grant-funded project at The Brooklyn Museum designed to increase educators’, parents’, and caretakers’ understanding of play and capacity to facilitate play with children. Model how to follow childrens' lead in play.

* Interviewed Sesame Street cast and crew members for my blog, Creative Times

* Interviewed long-time Housing Works volunteers for the HW website

* Co-Produced The Brooklyn Blogfest, an annual gathering for 300 bloggers, artists, local community activists & politicians who write, speak, organize, and make art about their neighborhoods and the world beyond

* Organized The Brooklyn Blogade, a monthly gathering of Brooklyn Bloggers who care deeply about their neighborhoods and about creating good environments for people to work, play, and live in.

* Lead Creative Connections, a support group for women artists and entrepreneurs who want to stay on the edge of personal and professional growth.

* Coach individual artists and entrepreneurs to grow their communities of clients and collaborators through both in-person and web-based relationship-building


Thanks so much for your support! Please feel free to email with questions or ideas.

Eleanor Traubman

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I know that New York is known for its nightlife, but honestly, I've never been part of it - at least on week nights. This week, however, I've discovered how great it is to go out on a "school night." There is an intimacy about night that I love, a space carved outwhere people put aside the worries of the work day and focus on hanging out together or going to cultural events.

Tuesday, I went to Comedy Night at Housing Works Book cafe. On the plus side, some of the comedians me falling out of my seat. On the minus side, some of the material was downright racist.

Wednesday (tonight) I went to the premier of the VH1 documentary Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America. I'll be reporting back on that in the next day or two. Fun standing inches away from The Sugar Hill Gang! It was followed by a panel of people who were part of Soul Train in some way. The event took place at The Paley Media Center, which is a hidden gem of Manhattan.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I'll be heading out to a party for volunteers of Housing Works. I can't wait to meet everybody!

Lesson learned this week: don't wait 'till the weekend to do something fun. Week night outings are energizing and keep the week going strong. Makes me feel like I'm living every day to the fullest.


July NewsletterMike Sorgatz Exhibit Information

Date: Friday, February 5, 2010
Time: 8pm - 12am
Location: Breukelen Coffee House, 764A Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Event Description:
Spread Love, It's the Brooklyn Way!

The Breukelen Coffee House proudly presents it's first official art opening, complete with Brooklyn artists of all mediums and walks of life.

A Brooklyn-based DJ, will be spinning fly tunes, and a Brooklyn-based bartender will be slanging drinks for those who wish to partake in libations!

In addition to the party and press -- there will be an Independent documentary film crew there -- taking footage for their docu on the 6 month progression of the Breukelen Coffee House starting this month and forward.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The Year of The Tiger Stamp is out! If you want to learn more about the man who created the stamp, feel free to view my interview with artist Kam Mak.

Here is information about the stamp, taken directly from the USPS website. (By the way, have you ever ordered stamps online? Saves that trip to the post office!)

This is a Souvenir Sheet for the 44–cent Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger commemorative stamp release.

On January 14, 2010, in Los Angeles, California, at the El Pueblo Historical Monument, the Postal Service™ issued a 44–cent, Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger commemorative stamp in a souvenir sheet of 12 stamps, designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. The $5.28 Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger souvenir sheet may not be split, and the stamps may not be sold individually.

The U.S. Postal Service® introduced its Celebrating Lunar New Year series in 2008. This is the third stamp in that series, which will continue through 2019 with stamps for the Year of the Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.

Art Director Ethel Kessler and artist Kam Mak, who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn, worked on the new series and decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year Holiday is celebrated. To commemorate the Year of the Tiger, which begins February 14, 2010, they chose narcissus flowers, considered auspicious at any time of the year and, thus, especially appropriate at this time of renewed hope for the future. The illustration was originally created using oil paints on a fiberboard panel. Kessler’s design also incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using Clarence Lee’s intricate paper–cut design of a tiger and the Chinese character — drawn in grass–style calligraphy by Lau Bun — for “Tiger.”

Monday, January 25, 2010


I interviewed living design legend Eva Zeisel just after she turned 100 and I turned 37. (We share the same birthday.) Since then, I have exchanged some emails with her grandson son and head of Eva Zeisel Originals, Adam Zeisel. I also was contacted by Pat Moore, who runs The Eva Zeisel Forum.

Some recent activity let me know that Eva is still alive and kicking:

Eva Reference #1

In the February issue of Oprah Magazine, Eva Ziesel showed up as #58 on a list entitled "100 Things That Are (Actually) Getting Better".
58. Eva Zeisel
With, among other things, her classic dinner service still flying off the shelves at Crate & Barrel, her new line of Royal Stafford dinnerware, the teakettle she created for Chantal, and the lounge chair of our dreams, the Hungarian artist, at 103, is being lauded like a midcareer phenom.
Eva Reference #2

I just received a kind note from a geriatrician who had read a letter which Eva had sent this month to The New Yorker. First, Eva's letter:

A letter in response to Louis Menand’s article (December 21, 2009)

January 18, 2010

According to Louis Menand’s review of Michael Scammell’s new biography of Arthur Koestler, I converted Koestler to Communism in Berlin in 1931 (A Critic at Large, December 21st & 28th). This is silly. I was never a Communist, and never encouraged Koestler (or anyone else) to become one, or to “lurch to the left.” I worked in Russia, and in many other countries, but I was apolitical. My arrest in Russia, in 1936, for “conspiring to kill Stalin,” was a trumped-up charge, as were many arrests during the Stalin purges.

Eva Striker Zeisel
New York City

Here is Dr. Murray Bratt's letter to me in response to Eva's letter and my blog post about her:

Dear Ms Traubman,

Thank you so much for your blog of 1-13-2007, interviewing Eva Zeisel, which I accessed this evening, after reading her feisty letter published in this week’s New Yorker, in response to Menand’s review of the new biography of Arthur Koestler.

Had I not found your blog, and the other info available on line about Ms Zeisel, I would have believed the letter was a put-on. Who could possibly still be passionate about events that happened to them in 1931 in Berlin?

Evidently, Ms. Zeisel can be!

I am a geriatrician. Not all of my patients of 104 are as alert as she appears to be.

If you ever interview her again, please let me know how to access the interview. She seems like a lady one couldn't read too much about.

Best wishes,

Murray Batt

Sunday, January 24, 2010


It definitely pays to skim Voice Choices, the spotlighted events listing in The Village Voice. That's where I found out about this Wednesday's screening of the premier of a great-sounding documentary called Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America.

Growing up, I watched this show along with Dance Fever and Solid Gold.
So this is gonna be a fun trip back in time.

Here's info in case you want to go. What better way to get through the Wednesday hump?

Also: The Paley Center of Media (formerly the Museum of Radio and Television) is an amazing, if under-utilized resource right here in New York. I have been there for different exhibits about Jim Henson and the Muppets, and have watched great programs in their screening booths all about Jim's work as a pioneer in film and tv as well as in the art of Muppeteering.

Premiere Screening: VH1 Rock Docs

Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
6:30 pm ET
New York

In Person

Questlove, Drummer for the Roots; Music Producer
Tyrone Proctor, Dancer/Choreographer
Danyel Smith, Music Journalist
Others to be announced.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Soul Train was one of the most influential and innovative music series of all time, providing a unique window into the latest trends in music, dance, and fashion. The charismatic host of the Soul Train party, Don Cornelius, became a television icon, bringing contemporary African-American culture into the national living room. This documentary, executive produced by Academy Award nominated director Lauren Lazin, spotlights performances and great moments from the show, as well as memories from cast and crew. Among the musicians featured include Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Sly Stone, Snoop Dogg, David Bowie, and Chaka Khan, all with “a groove that will make you move real smooth.”

Participants subject to change.

  • This Event

    Members: $10
    General Public: $15

    Buy Tickets

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


People and Their Letters & The Tyranny of Email

Symphony Space says:

Novelist and essayist Mallon talks with Freeman, critic and American editor of Granta, about the great, lost art of letter writing and the current frenzy of electronic messaging. Jane Curtin and Isaiah Sheffer will read a unique assortment of historical letters. A discussion with the audience and a book signing will follow. While you enjoy the event, have a glass of wine and a light evening meal in the intimate cabaret atmosphere of the Leonard Nimoy Thalia.

Price: $20
Buy Tickets
When: Wednesday Jan 20 (7:30pm)

Where: Symphony Space

2537 Broadway


Directions: Subway: 1,2,3, B, C trains to 96th Street (two stops from Times Square on 2,3 trains). Bus: M104 up- or downtown to 94th Street; M96 crosstown to Broadway

Friday, January 15, 2010


For years, I've been the biggest fan ever of The Housing Works Book Cafe in SoHo. I tell everyone I know about it, especially dedicated readers and writers. It is truly a haven, a cross between an old library, a literary salon, and a fun cafe where you can order anything from quiche to an Italian soda.

The Book Cafe, along with the Housing Works thrift shops sprinkled throughout the city (and now in Brooklyn), is totally reliant upon volunteer labor.

I've had it in my mind for a while that it would be a good thing to volunteer for HW. So shortly after The New Year, I went to an orientation for potential volunteers. After it was over, I asked the coordinator if he needed help with the blog. He asked if I would assist with a specific project - interviewing folks who have been volunteering with HW for a decade or more.

Tonight, I had the honor of going to the Chelsea HW thrift store to interview the teen or more year folks.. What a kind, loyal, and creative bunch. You cannot be a diva and volunteer for that long. It's not glamorous work - a lot of it involves physical labor - and volunteers see a lot of paid staff come and go like any other retail setting. So in a way it's the volunteers who provide the institutional memory of Housing Works.

Stay tuned to see these volunteer profiles in the Housing Works website.

Can't wait for the upcoming HW party for volunteers on January 28th!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Picture the Dream
Neighborhood, Exhibitions
Jan 15—18

BRC 25th Anniversary Celebration: The Civil Rights Songbook of Curtis Mayfield

Fri, Jan 15 & Sat, Jan 16 at 9pm

Soundtrack for a Revolution
Neighborhood, Repertory
Mon, Jan 18 at 1pm
BAM Rose Cinemas

24th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mon, Jan 18 at 10:30am
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I am on day seven of a thirty-day fitness challenge. The challenge is to exercise for 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days. I'll tell you why I am doing this: I always write goals for every area of my life before Jan.1 rolls around. The problem is, my energy gets diffused with multiple goals.
I kept reading about the idea of doing a 30-day challenge around a particular new habit or goal, and realized: Yes, this is what I need to do around exercise to stay focused and inspired. SO I started a new blog called Brooklyn Fitness Challenge.

Here is my BFC post from Day 7 of the challenge:


Tuesday, January 5, 2009

By the time I got to Stretch Class, the room was packed. So I backed out and created an alternative plan. First: free weights. Then: 30 minutes on the treadmill.

While on the treadmill, I got to watch Tavis Smiley interview acting star Morgan Freeman. Tavis asked Morgan what it was like to act for so many years and not "hit it" until he was 50. Morgan said it was fine, because he knew he was "all that" for all the years he was acting (since age 8) prior to turning 50. Yay for Morgan. Why do you have to wait for mass public approval before knowing in your mind that you are great?!!!

Also today: I met with the Fitness Director of the Y to discuss ideas for a monthly get together for Y members who want to support each other around their fitness goals. Can't wait for it to start!

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Painter and Brooklyn blogger Michael Sorgatz deservedly made the Park Slope 100, "an annual list of 100 people, places and things that make Park Slope Park Slope. 100 Stories, 100 ways of looking at the world."

Here's what Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn had so say about Mr. Sorgatz:

Michael Sorgatz because your site "Art in Brooklyn" promotes the work of local artists, and that’s a positive and generous thing to do (especially in these times). You are also a talented artist in your own right and a really great guy.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Here's the scoop on this great exhibit, which I personally visited today, taken straight from BPL's website.


1, 2, 3, plenty to see! At Central Library, enjoy a rare, up-close look at this legendary show's history of sunny days.

This exhibition is made possible in part by The Jim Henson Company and The Jim Henson Legacy.

"Sesame Workshop"®, "Sesame Street"®, and associated characters, trademarks, and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. ©2009 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

Sesame Street : A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street
curated by Sesame Workshop
November 14, 2009 –
February 21, 2010
Central Library, Grand Army Plaza

Grand Lobby
Original Sesame Street book art from Sesame Workshop's Publishing Archive, featuring a range of illustrators' works in a variety of styles from the 1970s to the present.

Foyer Cases
The story of Sesame Street, from its inception to its present and future, told through photographs, scripts, original sheet music, celluloid animation and show props. Also featuring a special collection of Sesame Street Muppets, built by The Jim Henson Company over the show's 40 years.

Youth Wing
A variety of Sesame Street stories, illustrated with photographs, show props and Sesame Street Muppet materials. Also, the international reach of Sesame Street is highlighted through photographs and books from around the world.