Thursday, April 29, 2010


Dear Friends:

Registration is open for The Fifth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest now over at

Why pre-register now?
  • You can select which blogs-of-a-feather group you want to be in.
  • A special name tag will be waiting for you at Blogfest.
  • Avoid the registration rush that takes place at the door.
Fifth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 7:00 PM

227 Fourth Avenue at President Street in Park Slope

Admission: $10, $5 for Students and Seniors

"Where better to take the pulse of this rapidly growing community of writers, thinkers and observers than the Brooklyn Blogfest?"
~ Sewell Chan, The New York Times

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My friend, Shell Tain, has been working with folks for years around their relationship with money. This woman is really smart about this stuff!

Artists, take advantage of her upcoming teleclass
Can Artists Be Friends With Money?

Shell sez:

As creatives, you just want to be creative! You are passionate about your art, and you want to spend all of your time doing that. You do not want to spend time thinking about how to pay the rent, how to market yourself, and how to create more income. If you want to survive, thrive, and even prosper as an artist, you need to get clear about your relationship with money.

Teleclass: Can Artists Be Friends With Money?

Date: Tuesday, May 4th

Time: 10:15am to 11:15am Pacific (1:15pm 2:15pm Eastern)

Fee: FREE, your only cost for this call is your regular long distance call charge

Money coach, Shell Tain will be with us to point out the money related road blocks that keep us stuck in the mindset of being starving artists. Shell has a no- number-crunching approach to money that helps us see it in new ways. You'll leave this call with some new perspectives and ideas about you, money and about your relationship with it.Rebecca Coleman a freelance theatre publicist in Vancouver, BC, Canada, will co-host the call, stirring up questions and ideas. She is passionate about helping artists to become better business people, and writes about the subject frequently on her blog, The Art of the Business. Together, these two will lead you towards untangling some of the money thinking that keeps road blocking you on your way to being both a creative and a prosperous artist.

Ka-ching! Shell Tain, cpcc, pcc
$ensible Coaching
phone: 503.258.1630

Monday, April 26, 2010


Last week, I had some time in between appointments in Manhattan. It was such a gorgeous, sunny day and it seemed like a perfect time to pay a visit to the roof top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since the roof had not yet opened (it will this Tuesday), I decided to wander around the museum. Venturing into Highlights from the Modern Design Collective 1900-2006, Caribean Teatime - a set of four panels by David Hockney - caught my eye. Loved the bright colors. Made me think of being at a huge loft by the beach and having this baby as a room divider.

Once outside again, I sat on the steps of the Met and listened to a live jazz ensemble and watched people and pigeons bask in the sun.

Just felt delighted to be alive in this great city of ours.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



The Heart of Brooklyn is chock-full of resources for the die-hard Brooklynite or for the person who wants to get the most out of their visit to our great Borough.

The handiest thing about this website is their color-coded Calendar of Events which you can view by Week, Month, or Agenda.

If, like me, you love the tangible version of everything, I suggest that you pick up their pull-out paper calendar. You can often find it where you find the local newspaper dispensers. That's how I discovered Fleece Fest at the Prospect Park Zoo, and BPL's lecture by famous children's book historian Leonard Marcus about Margaret Wise Brown (of Goodnight Moon fame) on her 100th birthday.

Also, this Saturday at 1:00, BPL is hosting a musical version of Harry the Dirty Dog, one of my favorite children's books.

HOB is a cultural partnership that links together the following extraordinary institutions:

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Children's Museum
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Prospect Park
  • Prospect Park Zoo


Fifth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 7:00 PM
The Brooklyn Lyceum
227 Fourth Avenue at President Street in Park Slope
Admission: $10, $5 for Students and Seniors

"Where better to take the pulse of this rapidly growing community of writers, thinkers and observers than the Brooklyn Blogfest?" ~ Sewell Chan, The New York Times

How many bloggers does it take to fill the Brooklyn Lyceum? Come find out on June 8 at 7:30 p.m. when the borough’s most opinionated and dedicated bloggers (and special guests) step away from their keyboards to sound off about how and why Brooklyn remains such a rich source of material and inspiration.

But forget about filling the room. The real question the Brooklyn Blogfest will answer is: How many bloggers does it take to wrap their arms around New York’s most happening borough? So, whether you are a blogger, wannablogger, reader, or media maven, you’ll want to come see for yourself as this year’s most tenaciously keen tribe of bloggers gather to celebrate all the reasons Brooklyn is such a potent source of runaway creativity.

Since 2005, the Brooklyn Blogfest has established itself as the nexus of creativity, talent, and insight. And this year will be no different as a panel of blogging's best dissect the unique brand of entrepreneurial creativity flourishing here. Also on tap: a video tribute to Brooklyn's most visionary photo bloggers, special networking sessions for like-minded bloggers (the Blogs of a Feather), the return of the ever-popular Shout-out, when blogger-are invited to share their blogs with the world and the after-party with Absolut Vodka cocktails, food and music.

"The borough of Brooklyn has always been front and center in the world of blogging," says Louise Crawford, founder of the Brooklyn Blogfest and “Whether you live by a blog, blog to live, or live to blog, you’ll want to come out on June 8

The Brooklyn Blogfest 2010 program featuures:


  • BLOGS-OF-A-FEATHER, special interest, small-group sessions led by notable bloggers

  • The SHOUT OUT, your chance to share your blog with the world


  • Special guests and Surprises

  • An awesome After-Party

  • Great opportunities for networking

    Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 7PM at the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope
    Doors open at 6:30 PM
    Admission: $10 ($5 for students and seniors)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Thrice this past week, I either witnessed or was part of a conversation based on a book, newspaper, or magazine carried on the subway.

In the first incident, I was reading a New York Times article about the eminent closing of Saint Vincent's Hospital. A woman to my right saw the headline from over my shoulder and began to chat with me about this turn of events. (Turns out she used to work for the hospital.)

The second time, a young woman saw me reading the article "125 Women Who Changed Our World" 125th Anniversary Collector's Issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine. (See: A Report Back from Shine On, Good Housekeeping's 125th Anniversary Celebration). She asked me about the article and the magazine and we began a nice conversation. I wish we could have kept talking, but I had to get out at my stop.

Today, on my way to an orientation at BCAT, a man on the subway struck up a chat with the gentleman next to him about the book that he was reading at that moment.

Folks, the moral of these three stories is that there is power in the physicality of the newspaper, book and magazine. With these objects in hand, our neighbors can recognize what we are reading/interested in/thinking about (and vice versa) and this is how meaningful dialogue is born.

If someone is reading a book on the iPad or another electronic device, how the heck are we supposed to start up conversation (besides one about the iPad)? I'm not saying that everyone wants to chat about what they are reading, but the potential for connection is lost if there is no possibility for recognition of what our neighbor is looking at.

I imagine that in The Days of Yore, before the advent of the Internet, people gathered in barber shops, beauty parlors, cafes, and other social places, with magazines or newspapers or books in hand, and used those babies as fodder for banter about current events.

Now that so many noses are buried in electronic contraptions, less of that public banter is possible.

When I taught family literacy workshops in Manhattan's public schools, I showed parents how most of the pleasure of reading with children is derived from shared social experience. You look at the book together, turn the pages together, talk about whatever the book makes you think about.

I think that adults derive a similar pleasure from the shared social meaning and experience of the written word.

Does anyone remember reading the Sunday comic strips with their dad? A lot of rituals like that have everything to do with the physical act of looking at the paper together. How can families share the joy of anything that is print-based if everyone is off in a corner on his or her computer?

It's true that electronic forms of our favorite reading matter make it possible for us to travel with those texts with great ease and convenience. At the same time, e-devices also transform reading into a purely individual act, devoid of potential for interesting interactions with fellow/sister humans.

Where is the love in that?

Friday, April 16, 2010


This just in from Flavorpill:

HBO’s new MASTERCLASS series presents nine world-class artists sharing their arts and life experience with young people representing the best of a new generation of talent in America.

Each edition highlights the importance of mentorship, allowing these teenagers--selected from thousands via the YoungArts program—to work with legends in the fields where they aspire to become legends themselves.

Created by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, MASTERCLASS premieres Sunday, April 18th at 5:30PM with Placido Domingo. Subsequent episodes feature Liv Ullmann, Frank Gehry, Edward Albee, Jacques d'Amboise, Olafur Elliason, Bill T. Jones, Michael Tilson Thomas and Julian Schnabel.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood,women supporting women.

As women embrace the fullness of who they are as individuals, they may find themselves supporting other women, helping others to reach the level of inner comfort and outer freedom that they themselves have found. Among those who are less sure of themselves and their place in the world, it may be more common to criticize other women than to seek their help. But there are things that a woman can only learn from another woman, as there are things about being a man that can only be learned from other men. We all recognize that we have much to learn from each other regardless of gender, but sometimes we could use a supportive role model that gives us a more precise example of what and who we can become.

There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women. It is only natural that the pendulum swings out of balance for a while so that we may have the experience of what we do not want. It is up to women to bring the pendulum back into balance and bring back the sacred sisterhood we yearn for at our core.

If we envision a world where women support each other and help each other find their place in an ever-changing world, then we can become the change we want to see. Jealousy, envy, criticism, and judgment are refuges for the insecure. As we help others to become self-assured, we create a world in which all people help each other, regardless of gender. Only women can make the change in how women are seen and understood, not just by other women but by the world at large. The way we speak about each other to other women and to the men in our lives informs everyone to treat us with the respect that all women, and all people, deserve.


On Monday of this week, Melissa Lopata of Momasphere and I had the honor of attending Shine On, Good Housekeeping's celebration of 125 Years of Women Making Their Mark. The evening was a fundraiser for the National Women's History Museum, a project in the making that needs all of our support.

The evening, which took place at City Center, featured videos dedicated to different categories of women in history, including Pioneers, Goddesses, and Hell Raisers. I loved how the folks in the audience, mostly women, cheered for all the different women featured in these pieces.

The show also featured a long litany of mostly blond celebrity presenters like Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson, and Hillary Duff. The women who moved me the most were actress Marlee Matlin, who signed a performance piece about Helen Keller, and Sara Jones of Bridge & Tunnel fame. Sara took on the characters of an elderly Jewish grandma, a young woman from the Dominican Republic, and a human rights worker from India, all who expressed their delight in being there on that particular night. She had the audience roaring with laughter and I could tell she hit a note with the young women in the audience. (There were a bunch of teens and young adults there with groups like GEMS - the Girls Educational & Monitoring Services.)

First Lady Michelle Obama, who is featured on the cover of the May 2010 125th Anniversary Issue of Good Housekeeping, also made a pre-recorded appearance.

Thoughts About the Show and About Sexism

It was inspiring to have women of many ages in the same room cheering on women heroes and pioneers from the last 125 years. Sometimes I feel like there a huge divide between women from the 60s and 70s who worked so hard to raise awareness about sexism and racism, and young women now. There is an enormous amount of pretense that sexism is pretty much over, especially in the western world, now that a small percentage of women can hold prestigious corporate jobs and have endless choices of what to buy and how to look.

I think it is massively confusing to young women today who experience sexism on a daily basis but live in a society that pretends that sexism is over.

The young women celebrities who were chosen to appear at this event - e.g. Hillary Duff and Jessica Simpson - are emblematic of the type of sexism that is run at young women and how it affects them. The focus is mainly on their physical appearance rather than on their substance or what they stand for. They are basically used to sell consumer products and magazines. That's where their "power" lies. There is incredible pressure on these women, and on all young women, to be pleasing to people by looking right, being the right weight, wearing the right outfit.

Ironically, even though Shine On was about powerful women making change in the world, the only news coverage I could find about the event was in blogs and in the tv show Access Hollywood where the focus was on what the young women celebrities were wearing and how they looked in their outfits. Huh?

There are so many young women out there in the world working in their own way for change. No, they aren't celebrities, but they would have been better choices to show the power of women.

Still, I am glad that Shine On happened and am excited to see how the National Women's History Museum evolves over time.

By the way, do check out this month's 125th Anniversary Issue of Good Housekeeping. I recommend the list of 125 Women Who Changed Our World.


This photograph of Oprah Winfrey lives on the back cover of the May 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. It's the 10th Anniversary special of this mag. My hats are off to Ms. Winfrey and her staff. The magazine industry is a tough one to survive and thrive in and they have pulled it off.

This photo captures the dignity and elegance of Ms. Winfrey, a pioneer on so many fronts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


If, like me, you have reaped joy and knowledge from the books you're checked out and read through the public library system, then consider giving a few duckets to the cause. Remember: what goes around comes around. Create good Karma!

Here is Brooklyn Public Library's request for assistance:

In a year where we are facing a potential budget cut that could devastate our ability to provide Brooklynites with the books, DVDs and other materials they need, we need your help more than ever.

From March 1 through May 31, please donate to your local library or any branch you choose in the amount that is best for you. Every donation, from one dollar to a thousand dollars, counts. And each donation helps us reach our goal of $500,000.

How to Donate:
  • By picking up a donation envelope at your library
  • Online
  • By phone at 718.230.2738

We know how important your library is to you and your community, and by Supporting Our Shelves, you give back where it matters most.

If you have any questions please call 718.230.2738 or email

Because all the reasons you use your library are all the reasons to give.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Back in the 80s, my brother and I were big fans of Pee-Wee Herman. So much so that we memorized and rehearsed lines from the movie Pee-Wee's Big Adventures and also mimicked one of PW's signature moves: we pushed our noses up like pigs then wrapped scotch tape 'round and 'round our heads to hold our noses in that piggy-snout position. Then we ran downstairs and showed our mom, who probably wondered where she had gone wrong in her parenting.

Recently, I rented Pee-Wee's Big Adventures, and was reminded of all the reasons I liked that dude in the first place. He messed with gender roles. His voice and facial expressions went from angelic to demonic in a matter of seconds. He was hip and nerdy at the same time. He appealed to lots of different age groups.

Since I've been hearing through the grapevine that Pee-Wee has made a comeback, I did a little research to get the facts.

Starting in January of this year, "The Pee-Wee Herman Show," starring Paul Reubens, began a limited engagement at Club Nokia @ LA Live. The show is billed as "a theatrical producted for grown-ups and appropriate for ages 16 to 106."

The press release also stated:

This new version of “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” has been adapted from the original production by Reubens, Bill Steinkellner and John Paragon. Joining this production is Miss Yvonne, Mailman Mike, Cowboy Curtis and Jambi the Genie, as well as Pee-wee’s talking chair, Chairry, Pterri the pterodactyl, Conky the robot, Magic Screen, Randy, and lot’s more. Many of the show’s original artists, both on stage and behind the scenes are involved in this re-imagined production. David Korins, the show’s scenic designer, will work with Gary Panter, one of the most influential artists of his generation and designer of both the original stage production and CBS’s Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The show’s original musical composer, Jay Cotton, is busily writing new material.
To check out the official Pee-Wee Herman website, CLICK HERE.

Long live Pee-Wee!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I am beyond excited to be going to Shine On, this coming Monday's special event at City Center.

MUG - Manhattan User's Guide - sweetened the deal by passing along a 50% discount on tickets.

Join the celebration! Visit City Center to purchase tickets now and get 50% off with these codes:

Box Office and phone: MUG2
Web: 6055

Shine On! Celebrating 125 Years of Women Making Their Mark
Hosted by Brooke Shields with special musical performance by Aretha Franklin

Please join Good Housekeeping magazine for an unforgettable tribute to the most influential women of the past 125 years. The star-studded gala will benefit the National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C., and feature Meryl Streep, Kristen Bell, Laura Benanti, Fran Drescher, Kelli O'Hara, Candice Bergen, Marlee Matlin and many more. Plus, don't miss the special musical performance by ARETHA FRANKLIN.

April 12, 2010
City Center
New York, NY


The East Village Community Coalition presents PEDAL POWER 2010 - Third Annual Kids' Art Bike Parade!

When: Saturday, May 8

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Where: Tompkins Square Park

Celebrate sustainable streets and green transportation by decorating your bicycle and joining us for the Parade! This year we are planning a bigger, better Bike Parade.

For more information, please email
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Hip Hop Hooray! I am pleased to announce that my interview with Bonnie Erickson, designer of some of the original Muppets, is featured on the Jim Henson Legacy website. Given my life-long love of the Muppets and huge admiration of Henson and his crew, this is like being picked up by the mothership.

Here's some basic info about The JH Legacy, taken straight from their website:

Established in 1993, The Jim Henson Legacy was created by family and friends in response to the extraordinary interest in the life and work of Jim Henson. The organization is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Jim Henson’s contributions to the worlds of puppetry, television, motion pictures, special effects and media technology.

By making Jim’s creative body of work available to the public through presentations and exhibits, the Legacy will share the power of his art, his imagination and his positive view of life with generations to come.

Founder: Jane Henson

President: Bonnie Erickson

Vice President: Craig Shemin

Treasurer: Dick Wedemeyer

Associate Treasurer: Thea Hambright

Secretary: Fran Brill

Executive Director: Arthur Novell

Directors: Lauren Attinello, Karen Falk, Al Gottesman, Heather Henson, Jane Henson, Rollie Krewson, Arthur Novell.


RUDDICK--Dorothy Cole, an artist, died Tuesday, March 23 in New York City at the age of 84. She was married to Bruce Ruddick, a psychiatrist and poet who died in 1992. She lived in New York City and spent summers with her family in Amagansett, New York. Mrs. Ruddick attended Radcliffe College and Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she studied with Josef Albers. Upon graduation, she moved to New York where in the early 1950s she drew for Flair, the Fleur Cowles magazine, and Mademoiselle. She also designed textiles for the design firm Knoll, where her colleagues included Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia, George Nakashima, and Eero Saarinen. Her work is in the collections of a number of museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She had one-person exhibitions at numerous New York galleries including the Fishbach Gallery and the Richard York Gallery. Her last project, designed with her daughter Margie Ruddick and WRT for the Durst Organization, is a living sculpture in the Urban Garden Room at Bank of America Tower's 60-foot high street-level atrium space at One Bryant Park, New York. Mrs. Ruddick is survived by her daughters Abby Cole Ruddick of Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia; Lisa Ruddick of Chicago; and Margie Ruddick of Philadelphia; and by three grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on April 13th at 6pm at the Fifteenth Street Friends Meetinghouse, 15 Rutherford Place, New York City.

Published in New York Times on April 3, 201o


This excerpt is from the March 5 entry in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living.
We're fed a great deal of romance surrounding the lonely lot of the artist. Over a recent weekend, teaching in San Francisco, I asked for a show of hands from all the people who believed an artist's life would be lonely. In a room filled with two hundred people, nearly two hundred hands went up. Believing this, we can try to live it out - a prospect that makes for a great deal of pain.

The truth is that creativity occurs in clusters. Consider Paris in the twenties and the cluster that built up around Gertrude Stein's hospitality. Consider the Bloomsbury Group convening for Thursday night cocktails and inadvertently launching a movement. It can be argued that successful art is built on successful friendships. It can certainly be said that friends are what enable artists to go the distance.