Wednesday, September 28, 2011


What: Artist Talk w/ Don Oehl hosted by Lesley Ware "The Creative Cookie"

When: This Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 3-5p

Where: Clic Gallery & Bookstore 255 Centre Street, Manhattan 10013


Why: Fall is a fun time to celebrate creativity!

(Don to speak promptly at 4p)

URL to Lesly's blog:

URL to Don's Site:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Did I get your attention with that cookie bit? It's true!

I've been to two special events at MOMI's Henson Exhibit and it is seriously awesome, not to be missed.

This weekend at MOMI is going to be extra special, as it would have been Jim Henson's 75th birthday. There will be all kinds of special things happening, so check out the info below as well as the MOMI website.


Special programs and surprises, including free limited-edition cookie for first 1,000 visitors

On September 24, 2011, the world-renowned puppeteer, filmmaker, and television pioneer, Jim Henson would have turned 75. On this day, Museum of the Moving Image, which is currently presenting the exhibition Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, will celebrate Henson’s work and legacy with a program of “Muppet Music Moments” featuring special guests, a limited edition commemorative cookie for the first 1,000 visitors, and other gifts and surprises.

Visitors to the Museum on Saturday, September 24 will be able to participate in the following experiences:

At 1:00 p.m. in the Main Theater, attend the special program “Muppet Music Moments,” with introductions by Craig Shemin, President of The Jim Henson Legacy, and Bonnie Erickson, Executive Director of The Jim Henson Legacy and designer of Miss Piggy, along with guest speaker Larry Grossman, music consultant for The Muppet Show. This 77-minute compilation features performances by Harry Belafonte, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, and other Muppet Show guest stars, in a wide range of musical genres—classic music numbers interpreted as only the Muppets can.

Tickets are free with Museum admission and will be distributed first-come, first-served. Museum members may reserve advance tickets. (This compilation program will also be presented on Sunday, September 25, at 1:00 p.m. with Larry Grossman in person).
Receive a custom-designed commemorative cookie featuring Kermit the Frog’s signature foot prints (as long as supplies last). These artisanal cookies were produced especially for the Museum by Bonne Fete Baking, Inc. and You Cake, Inc., two Queens-based small businesses that operate at the Entrepreneur Space, a partnership of the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Mi kitchen es su kitchen.

Watch a special episode of The Muppet Show in which the cast celebrates Kermit the Frog’s birthday. The 22-minute program will screen continuously in the Museum’s Fox Amphitheater in the Education Center and is included with Museum admission.

Write a personal message and sign your name in a commemorative journal that will be given to The Jim Henson Legacy for their archives.

On this weekend and at the Museum through January 16, 2012, visitors are able to explore Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, the Smithsonian traveling exhibition that has been drawing record crowds across the country. The exhibition features more than 120 artifacts, including puppets of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rowlf, Mahna Mahna, and others; drawings and storyboards; photographs; props; and rare video material. Guided tours of the exhibition are offered each Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Access to the exhibition is included with regular Museum admission.

Jim Henson’s experimental 1965 film, Time Piece, nominated for an Academy Award, will be on continuous view in the Museum’s Video Screening Amphitheater through November 16, 2011.

Produced and compiled by Craig Shemin, "Muppet Music Moments" is presented by the Museum in partnership with The Jim Henson Legacy, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Irena Kovarova. MUPPET, MUPPETS and the Muppets Characters are registered trademarks of The Muppets Studio, LLC.

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World is organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), in cooperation with the Henson Family; The Jim Henson Company; The Muppets Studio, LLC; and Sesame Workshop. The exhibition is made possible by the BIO channel. Support for Jim Henson's Fantastic World at Museum of the Moving Image is provided by The Jane Henson Foundation, Five Napkin Burger, and Cheryl Henson. Additional support is provided by Schmutter, Strull, Fleisch Inc. and The Astor Room.

The Jim Henson Legacy is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Jim Henson’s contributions to the worlds of puppetry, television and motion pictures, special effects and media technology. More information at

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history. More information at

Press Contact: Tomoko Kawamoto / / 718 777 6830


Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, 10:30 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Closed on Monday except for holiday openings).

Film Screenings: Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays, and as scheduled.

Museum Admission: $12.00 for adults; $9.00 for persons over 65 and for students with ID; $6.00 for children ages 3-18. Children under 3 and Museum members are admitted free. Admission to the galleries is free on Fridays, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets for special screenings and events may be purchased in advance by phone at 718 777 6800 or online.

Location: 36-01 35 Avenue (at 37 Street) in Astoria.

Subway: M (weekdays only) or R to Steinway Street. Q (weekdays only) or N to 36 Avenue.

Program Information: Telephone: 718 777 6888; Website:

Monday, September 19, 2011


....which you can find at the MOMA store in SoHo.


This just in from Rob York:

We’re looking for 1000 good people to join the Scenarios USA REAL DEAL Selection Committee. As you know, Scenarios USA hosts an annual writing contest as part of a standards-based curriculum for youth in grades 6-12. Currently, thousands of young people are writing about this year's topic: "What's the REAL DEAL about Gender, Power and Relationships?"

Two stories will be chosen to be made into films with the winning writers, working in partnership with Hollywood directors. The films will be made in the writers' hometowns, with professional film crews and the winners' teachers, family and peers helping out in front of and behind the camera.

We need volunteer readers across the country to join the REAL DEAL Selection Committee and help choose the winning submissions. This is your chance to participate in the process and to hear directly from young people about their world and how they see it.

Please note if you or one of your students is writing for the contest, you cannot participate in the Selection Committee.

Who: All adults and youth over age 12, can be a member of the Selection Committee.

When: Sign up right now. We stop recruiting on December 31st. You will receive an email by the first week of February with a link to your scripts and a rating form.

How: Please CLICK HERE to sign up.

What: The email will link you to a rating form with a maximum of 10 submissions to read and rate. Each script is approximately 7-10 pages long. It usually takes 90 minutes – 2 hours to read them. You will have ten days to complete the rating form.

"My experience as a Selection Committee member for your writing competition has changed my outlook toward my family, students and people in general. It was a pleasure getting teens' perspectives on their own life encounters."

-- Ashley Torok, Teacher

Rob York

Director, Media Production and Distribution
p. 718.230.5125 f. 718.230.4381
80 Hanson Place Ste 305 Brooklyn NY 11217
Scenarios USA :: What’s the REAL DEAL?


What's cuter than a pup crossing days off a calendar? This sign is perched outside of Papel New York in Cobble Hill.

The most eye-catching signs are the ones done with chalk and a skilled set of hands.

Lots of stores in our neighborhood use the medium now, and it looks homemade and professional at the same time.

Out in front of The Housing Works Book Cafe in SoHo, there is a sandwich board out front that displays chalk drawings of narwhals - the unicorn-y whales - accompanied by speech bubbles to advertise what's going on inside.

Intriguing? Inviting? You bet.


I just spotted this new magazine, The Social Media Monthly, at Barnes & Nobles. If you subscribe before September 25, you get a 65% discount.

Once you get your mits on a copy, I'd like to hear from you if you think it's any good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


My friend Lisa and I were standing in line at the NY Surf Film Festival last night, waiting to see First Love, a documentary about three teenage best friends in Australia who are competitive surfers. I was cranky that things were running late, and welcomed the opportunity to chat with the young women standing in line behind us. One of them, Mia Legg (left in photo), turned out to be President of the NYU Surf Club. I was pretty excited about the fact that a woman was leading that club and started talking to Mia about the need to have more women athletes represented in popular culture and all forms of media.

When I found out Mia is a journalism major, I said "You should start a zine about women athletes."

"What's a zine?" asked Mia.

I felt seriously old at that point.

But I explained how a lot of young women (and other folks) started zines in the 90s as a way to write and draw about stuff they were passionate about without worrying about catering to commercial interests.

Anyway, Mia takes folks out surfing at Rockaway Beach and also leads beach clean ups.

Wait, there's more.

* Mia is a skate and surf journalist who writes and makes videos for a bunch of sites
* She has her own awesome surf website - Sensucht...Is a Wave
* Mia works at Billabong
* In 2008, Mia was selected as 1 of 12 Teens of Achievement
* She is part of the Longboard Girls Crew
* She's Prez of the NY Surf Club:!/NYUSurfClub

Keep your eye on this woman!

Here's is a video Mia made about surfing in NYC:

Surfing NYC from Mia Legg on Vimeo

Friday, September 16, 2011


For the past bunch of months, I had been hearing from my brother, Adam, about this film , Manufacturing Stoke, that his friend, Pierce Kavanaugh, was making. The film was about the evironmental impact of how surf gear gets manufactured. I knew also that Adam and his teenage son (my nephew) Niko were in the film.

So I asked Adam if Pierce thought the film would be in the upcoming New York Surf Film Festival.

A few weeks later, it was confirmed that, yes, Stoke would be in the line-up at the festival. This was great news!

Of course, my first wish is that Adam and Niko could fly out to NY from San Diego with Pierce for the NY premier. But Niko had just started school, so it didn't make sense.

So the next best thing happened - I got to meet the fantastic Mr. Kavanaugh and his awesome wife Petra, plus the crew of lovely folks who had worked on and appeared in the film. We hung out at the Film Festival launch party in SoHo. Pierce asked me "Do you call your brother Trout?" (That is my brother's name amongst his friends.) I said "No, I just call him Lil' Bro." Pierce laughed.

The following night, my husband Mike and I ventured out to see Manufacturing Stoke.

Right after we got our seats, I texted my brother:

"Can we yell out 'Hey, there's Adam! There's Niko!' when we see you guys on the screen?"

My brother texted back: "Ummmmmmmmmm, no."

But we did some yelling anyway.

It was kind of emotional to see my brother and Niko larger than life on the movie screen. I mean, the camerawork was fantastic and the crew captured these guys' love for the sport and for the ocean. Plus, I KNOW these guys! I held Niko in my arms just days after he was born. I played with Adam practically every day of my life as a young child. So I sort of did have to choke back the tears.

I'm incredibly proud of everyone who worked on this film and so pleased that my brother and his son got to have this experience together.

Way to go, hombres!

Top Photo: Pierce Kavanaugh, Eleanor Traubman, Mike Sorgatz, Jeremy Workman

Bottom Photo: Niko Traubman


Dear Friends, Artists, Entrepreneurs, Teachers, Students, Collaborators, and Readers -

Hip Hip Hooray!

This week marks the 6th Birthday of Creative Times: A Blog for Artists and Entrepreneurs.

I have loved every moment of getting to bring you face-to-face interviews with artists (like living design legend Eva Zeisel in the photo above - she had just celebrated her 100th birthday!); the inside scoop on arts and culture events, premiers, performances and venues around New York; and images and resources to keep you, as creative folks, connected and in-the-know.

Thank you for being with me throughout this journey and for being a source of energy for this project!

If you've enjoyed reading Creative Times, or if CT has inspired you in any way, please consider becoming a Community Patron.

Want to Help Power Creative Times?
Here Are Some Ways to Become a
Community Patron

1. Creative Times Supporter: Contribute $1 to $19 and receive:
* A personal email letter of gratitude
* A link to you/your business on the blog and a mention on Facebook

2. Creative Times Friend: Contribute $20 to $49 and receive:
* A hand-written letter of thanks delivered pony express!
* A link to you/your business on the blog and a mention on Facebook

3. Creative Times BFF: Contribute $50-$99 and receive:
* All the benefits of a Friend
* A copy of one of my favorite bedside table books Monica Sheehan's Be Happy: A little book to help you live a happy life

4. Creative Times Hero/ine: Contribute $100 - $299 and receive:
* All of the benefits of a BFF
* A copy of Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

5. Creative Times Superhero/ine:
Contribute $300 - $999 and receive:
* All the benefits of a CT Hero/ine
*A copy of The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman

6. Creative Times Angel: Contribute $1000 - $4999 and receive:
* All the benefits of a CT Superhero/ine
* Your pick of any two Mike Sorgatz Prints
* Flowers delivered to your doorstep

7. Creative Times Super Hero/ine Angel Benefactor: Contribute $5000 and receive:
* All the benefits of a CT Angel
* Flowers delivered to your doorstep every other month for one year

*** You can also contribute to the campaign through the Donate button in the right hand margin of the blog.***

If you have any questions about the Community Patron campaign, please send an email to

Some Fun Facts About Creative Times:

* Creative Times was born in 2003 as an email newsletter designed to keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues, and clients. Monthly topics included: Generosity, The Magic of Forts, Creative Heroes, Using Your Hands, Getting to Know Your Neighborhood, Jim Henson, Meaningful Ways to Celebrate the Holidays, Why I Love the Library, and Urban Retreats.

* In September of 2005, Creative Times made the leap from email newsletter to the blogosphere, while keeping the email newsletter component.

* Creative Times has featured interviews with phenomenal creative heroes and heroines such as

Maira Kalman - Phenomenal Designer/Illustrator/Writer
Kevin Clash - Elmo Muppeteer and Co-Producer of Sesame Street
Eva Zeisel - Living Design Legend
Bonnie Erickson - Muppets Creator

* Creative Times diligently brings you, the reader, the inside scoop about arts and culture venues, shows, premiers, and organizations in New York and beyond. Examples include

Premier of the VH1 Rock Doc Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America
Sesame Street: A Celebration! Film Festival at The Brooklyn Academy of Music
Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations of a Crazy World at The Jewish Museum
David Dorfman's The Prophets of Funk at Jacob's Pillow
Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image

Pierce Cavanaugh's Manufacturing Stoke at the New York Surf Film Festival

* Behind the scenes, Creative Times helps connect artists connect with each other and with the resources they need to flourish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


After receiving an invite from DJ Hardy at 5W Public Relations, I swung by yesterday's promotional event for a super-swanky Krups Espressaria Automatic at The Empire Hotel across the street from Lincoln Center. On my way over, I was joined for lunch at the David Rubenstein Atrium by a couple visiting from New Zealand. Their 32 hour trip to the states made my occasional east to west coast trip look like a drive to the grocery store!

Also on my way over to The Empire, I saw a gorgeous display in the windows of West Elm promoting that night's launch of Grace Bonney's Design Sponge. (Grace runs a blog with a mammoth following by the same name.)

One of the West Elm employees, a great guy named David Strickler, was kind enough to get me on the guest list.(Impressively, David also speaks American Sign Language, which he lets people know on his nametag.)

In between the Empire Hotel event and the Design Sponge Launch, I stopped in an old haunt, the 63rd Street Y, to use their pool. (I used to teach pre-school there 15 years ago!)

The Design Sponge book launch was a blast. First, my friend Jeffrey and I took a series of 3 photos in their makeshift photo booth. (Ya gotta love the pipe and dog cutouts!) Then, I walked around to look at all the merchandise and displays, talked to the super-friendly staff who had been pulled in from lots of West Elm stores, and enjoyed the upbeat music played by DJ Billy Beyond (see above photo).

There was so much creative energy in this neck of the woods, due in part to Fashion Week. This is definitely one week that typifies the season for launches and premiers. I think I got invitations to about 5 different events happening tomorrow night, the 15th. But of course, I will go to my number one priority, which is the documentary Manufacturing Stoke that my brother and nephew are in.


A note from Caitlin at Brooklyn Creative:

I wanted to introduce to you {BROOKLYN CREATIVE} a new series of artist workshops conducted right on the waterfront of historical Dumbo art district. In this present internet- age, knowledge is plentiful yet motivation and inspiration is harder to come by. Our workshops provide a practical know-how, with focused critiques harvesting the honest energy of a community workspace. We celebrate the idea that working together can make bigger things happen, and will push you to follow through with your goals. Everyone deserves the right to learn while having fun in the process, learn it fast, do it right get it done.

You can use this code BCX01CM to receive 10% off any workshop on our website or sign up with a friend and you BOTH GET 25%OFF! We also offer several free tutorials throughout the month.

BkC currently offers short term and long term phototgraphy based workshops to provide you with a backbone to confidently control your camera to produce interesting images in a New York time frame. Our staff of experienced educators, artists, and creative professionals set the stage for no-nonsense instruction for you to learn a new skill or progress in your practice and exhibit a final portfolio in our gallery. Set in a 8-week, 4-week, and 1 day format we offer the option for you to learn realistic street-smart skills intensively, or grow and discuss with a motivated group to present a final work.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Henson & Bert. Photograph by Ted Neuhoff. ©2007 The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.

SPECIAL EVENT at The Museum of the Moving Image

Jim Henson: Friends and Family

Part of Henson Screenings & Special Programs

Sunday, September 18, 4:00 p.m.

Buy Tickets

A roundtable conversation with Cheryl Henson, Bonnie Erickson, Craig Shemin, Fran Brill, Arthur Novell, and Karen Falk, featuring rare archival clips and a 35mm screening of Jim Henson’s avant-garde film Time Piece

Close colleagues and daughter of Jim Henson will participate in a wide-ranging and intimate conversation about working on projects including The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, The Muppet Movie, and more—all accompanied by their favorite clips. The panel will include Cheryl Henson, daughter of Jim Henson and President of the Jim Henson Foundation; Bonnie Erickson, Executive Director of The Jim Henson Legacy and designer of Miss Piggy and other iconic Muppet characters; Craig Shemin, President of The Jim Henson Legacy and longtime writer for The Muppets; Fran Brill, the first female Muppet performer hired by Jim Henson for Sesame Street; Arthur Novell, former Executive Director of The Jim Henson Legacy and longtime publicist for The Jim Henson Company; and Karen Falk, archivist and curator of the exhibition Jim Henson’s Fantastic World. The discussion will be followed by a special showing of Time Piece, Jim Henson’s 1965 experimental short (9 mins.), presented in an archival 35mm print.

Tickets: $15 public / $10 Museum members / Free for members at the Silver Screen level and above. Call 718 777 6800 or order online.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


MANUFACTURING STOKE from misfit pictures on Vimeo.

WHAT: New York Premier of Manufacturing Stoke

WHEN: Thursday, September 15 @ 8:45 pm

WHERE: Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, NY
By Subway - Take the N, R, 4, 5, 6 or L trains to 14th Street Union Square



Directed by Pierce Michael Kavanagh
With Legends & Unknowns
Duration: 80 minutes

Manufacturing Stoke is an introspective look into the surfing culture’s struggle to be beneficial unto itself, a tapestry of both influential and eclectic members of the surfing community that are constantly striving for positive change amid one of surfing’s greatest paradox: no other sport is as intrinsically linked to nature, surfers are indeed directly connected to the earth’s pulse and yet a majority of the materials used are environmentally toxic.
No other sport is so intrinsically linked to nature. Some call it a spiritual experience, most call it indescribable. And yet, in becoming the multi-billion dollar industry it is today, a great paradox has risen. Surfers are indeed directly connected to the earth’s pulse and yet a majority of the materials used are environmentally toxic.

The story begins in the 1960’s, the golden era of surfing, a time of innocence and discovery. Surf culture erupted onto the collective consciousness and became the epitome of cool. Fast forward to December 5th, 2005 and the closing of Clark Foam for environmental reasons, the largest surf blanks manufacturer in the world. Not only was the event a wake-up call for many to shift from petroleum-base products to more ecofriendly materials, it also re-framed the foundation of a stagnant culture. Enter surfing’s renaissance, an era where the new generation is completely changing what it means to be a surfer. And amid timid efforts from the industry’s biggies, a plethora of grassroots up-and-comers is redefining what a surfer is supposed to ride. From wooden surfboards, handplanes and alaias to recycled blanks and organic clothing, wave riding is taking on a new soul.

Taking California as its focal point, the birth place of the surf industry, the film travels from San Diego to San Francisco, via San Clemente, to capture the diversity of the Californian coast, while interviewing an amazing variety of people in their respective environments. Let it be a shaping room, an office, a beach, a blank factory, an art gallery, or a wood shop, you will be transported to a world rarely-ever-seen. Framed through the eyes of the youth, the documentary features for the very first time three up-and-coming surfers:

Lucas Dirkse, 16, Niko Traubman 13, and Tiare Thompson, 9. From riding the unconventional and bodysurfing, to bringing back the stoke, they are now dictating what the industry will become. Also featured are icons of the industry, including John Baker Dahl and Carl Ekstrom. From the invention of surf wax to those who created the modern board, these individuals have shaped the surfing world for the last 50 years and they now share their invaluable insights on the evolution of the industry.

Inspired by the great innovators of surfing's golden era, a myriad of inspired individuals are taking a stand and changing the rules. From Danny Hess in San Francisco who is proving that a board made out of wood can be just as performing as a traditional foam board, to Local Clothes in the Central Coast who are completely redefining how the clothing industry operates. Manufacturing Stoke is an introspective look into the surfing culture’s struggle to be beneficial unto itself, a tapestry of both influential and eclectic members of the surfing community that are constantly striving for positive change.

Friday, September 09, 2011


I had the pleasure of hanging out with visual and performing artist Day Minh Le.

The piece shown aboved was made with yarn and t pins.

Here's how Day describes his work:

Much of my work is derived from using universally accepted logics (i.e. fibonacci numbers and binary codes) and removing their logic by implementing a personal one. Through constant tweaks to these established understandings, my work takes form through knitted installations. These works are to be inviting for the viewer to climb through the extensions and find themselves surrounded by the piece itself.

My painting is, so far, a slow exploration. My interest at this moment is on the practice of painting large, larger than me anyways, pieces that I become invested in. Painting large is intimate by execution not on scale, which becomes largely time intensive.


I recently asked designer/illustrator/writer Maira Kalman what she's been up to and here's what she shared with me:

So nice to hear from you.
Much is happening.

I have illustrated Michael pollan's
FOOD RULES and it will be published in october.

He is sensational, as everyone knows.

After that, in january, a book by Daniel Handler that I illustrated called
WHY WE BROKE UP is being published.

He is also sensational, as everyone knows.

And then in february a children's book about Lincoln that I wrote and illustrated is being published.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


FREESTYLE / Skateboarding Art - New York, 2011

An Exhibit at The Hudson Guild

Opening Reception: Thursday, 15 September 2011, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Runs from September 15 - November 19

Viewing Hours: Tuesdays - Fridays 10 am - 7pm; Saturdays and Sundays 1- 4

Organized by artist Rick Kreiger, this exhibit will explore the many diverse strands of skateboard culture featuring decorative ideas and ancillary art related to this popular, daredevil lifestyle. The show will include artwork produced specifically for skateboard decks, paintings, sculpture, photography and sticker art related to skateboarding. The intention of the show is to present the various ways the sport is depicted in these art forms, and the role art plays in this highly selfexpressive lifestyle.

Location : Hudson Guild Gallery / 441 W. 26th Street / NY 10001

Contact : Jim Furlong, Director of Arts / 212.760.9837 /

Sunday, September 04, 2011


Want to have some fun and get out of your daily mental routine?

Go read a magazine or newspaper you've never looked at before - even better, one you've never considered reading before.

This week, I picked up a copy of the magazine Transworld Skateboarding. My nephews skateboard, my brother used to skateboard, lots of young people around me do this sport, and I am totally fascinated by the incredible athleticism, grace, and physics involved in skateboarding and the whole culture in which it is embedded.

I wanted to understand it more from an insider's perspective, so I purchased the 13th Annual Awards issue from a news stand at a subway stop.

One way I keep my mind fresh and open to new ideas is by reading a lot of different kinds of printed publications - newspapers and magazines. I read some articles fully, and skim other parts of magazines and newspapers for ideas, people, and trends that are interesting to me.

Some mags I subscribe to, others I buy off the news stand or find on people's front stoops. (I'm not stealing; people in my neighborhood put stuff up for grabs when they are done with it.)

When I travel to different neighborhoods in New York, I often pick up free neighborhood-based newspapers so I know what's going on all over the place, not just in Carroll Gardens.

Sometimes I find stuff I want to do more research on and then blog about.

Sometimes I learn about people - authors, film makers, etc. who I end up emailing and writing about on this blog.

Sometimes I discover cultural events and venues that I go and visit.

In other words: by reading different kinds of publications, my world and my mind always get bigger.

In the past month, I have read these rags and probably some I can't remember. Red means I have a subscription to this publication.

  • Ebony

  • Oprah

  • Fast Company

  • NY Times (I read this at least 3 times a week)

  • Transworld Skateboarding

  • Chopsticks NY

  • Paper

  • Glamour

  • Dwell

  • Travel & Leisure

  • Psychology Today

  • Town & Country

Saturday, September 03, 2011


That's right, y'all. The schedule for the 2011 New York Surf Film Festival has just been released by its Founder and Director Morgan Rae Berk.

The festival will take place from Thursday, September 15 through Saturay, September 17th at Cinema Village in New York City. Tickets go on sale starting September 6.

Here's the films I'm gonna see for sure:

* MANUFACTURING STOKE: My brother and nephew are in this documentary, so of course I am not gonna miss it!!!!! If you are some kind of angel and would like to pay their way to fly from San Diego to New York so they they can be here for the NY premier of Stoke, let me know!!!!

Directed by Pierce Michael Kavanagh
With Legends & Unknowns
Duration: 80 minutes

Synopsis: Manufacturing Stoke is an introspective look into the surfing culture’s struggle to be beneficial unto itself, a tapestry of both influential and eclectic members of the surfing community that are constantly striving for positive change amid one of surfing’s greatest paradox: no other sport is as intrinsically linked to nature, surfers are indeed directly connected to the earth’s pulse and yet a majority of the materials used are environmentally toxic.


Directed by Peter Goetz
With Sofia Mulanovich
Duration : 55 minutes

Synopsis : Sofia is a one-hour documentary film that uncovers the spirit of surfer Sofia Mulanovich, the first female World Champion athlete from Peru. Sofia tells the story of how an unlikely heroine has inspired a new energy within her developing nation. It demonstrates how Sofia embodies Peru’s new wave towards progress, proving the statement, Si, se puede! (Yes, you can!). Sofia’s World Champion victory has ripped apart cultural barriers, by mobilizing an entire generation of young people to believe that anything is possible.


Directed by Claire Gorman
With Nikki Van Dijk, Jess Laing, India Payne. Co Starring Steph Gilmore, Alana Blanchard, Coco Ho, Georgia Fish, and Cahill Bell-Warren.
Duration : 58 minutes

Synopsis : First Love is about love, friendship and following your dreams.This feature length film follows the lives of three passionate young girls from Phillip Island and documents their trip to Hawaii – the first step on their journey to making a career out of surfing. Starring Jess Laing, Nikki van Dijk, India Payne, Steph Gilmore, Alana Blanchard, Coco Ho, Georgia Fish & Cahill Bell-Warren.

Friday, September 02, 2011


I am out of my mind with excitement to hear that Disney's Newsies! The Musical is coming to the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. This production has an all star team behind it: Alan Menken is doing the music; Jack Feldman is doing the lyrics; Christopher Gattelli is responsible for choreography; direction provided by Jeff Calhoun.

I first saw Newsies on DVD. It's not your typical Disney movie, which is why it may have originally flopped commercially when it came out in 1992. (Photo above by Disney. See Christian Bale (!) in center as the lead.) It's about young people fighting for justice by organizing a labor strike against the media big wigs.

To find out more about the show and purchasing tickets for it, click HERE.

If you want to get information about Newsies Fan Day, click HERE.

Here's the NY Times official announcement of the event, written by Dave Itzkoff:

Stop the presses! Or should that be, restart the presses? Either way, “Newsies,” the misunderstood but much-loved Disney movie musical about the New York City newsboys who organize a labor strike in 1899, is getting a second edition. On Monday, the theater said that a stage version of “Newsies” would be the opening production at the 2011-12 season of the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., and would feature music by Alan Menken (the film’s original composer) and Jack Feldman (its original lyricist) as well as a new book by Harvey Fierstein.

“The truth is, things have a life of their own,” a mildly stunned Mr. Menken said in a recent telephone interview.

Mr. Menken, who also composed music for Disney blockbusters like “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” is hardly unaware of the reception that greeted “Newsies” when it was released as a film in 1992. The movie, which starred an 18-year-old Christian Bale as a singing, dancing, paper-pushing urchin named Jack (Cowboy) Kelly and was directed by Kenny Ortega (the future director of the “High School Musical” franchise), was torn apart by critics and spiked by audiences, grossing less than $3 million on a budget of $15 million.

Not that Mr. Menken felt burned at the time. “I won three Academy Awards within the course of three years and one Razzie,” he said. “The Razzie was for ‘Newsies.’ ”

But in the years that followed, “Newsies” sold surprisingly well on home video, and Mr. Menken continued to see it turn up in the lives of his children.
“I’d come to a mall, and there would be one of those areas where people perform,” he said. “They’d be doing ‘Seize the Day,’ I’d go, ‘Look at that!’ And then I’d find out, ‘They’re doing “Newsies” at my school.’ I said: ‘They are? How are they doing that?’ ”

More recently, Mr. Menken said he was contacted by his agent, who told him that Disney was preparing a version for the stage.

Recalling the conversation with his agent, Mr. Menken said, “He told me: ‘You don’t have to get involved. They’ll take your songs, and someone else will come and write new ones. I just want to let you know.’ I said, ‘Oh, no. No, no, no. It’s my baby, no.’ ‘Alan, there’s not going to be any money.’ ‘I don’t care. I don’t care, this is my baby.’ ”

The Paper Mill Playhouse production, which will run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 16 and has not yet announced its cast, has “latched onto exciting elements of what we had in the movie” and is “minimizing the things that were not so great about the movie,” Mr. Menken said.

The principal newsboys, Jack, David and Les, will remain the main characters, and a new female character — who will serve as a love interest for Jack — has been created for the stage show.

“Newsies” die-hards will also be pleased to hear that the newsboy Crutchy — so named for the crutch he walks on — is staying in the story. (“Crutchy’s a bigger character than he ever was,” Mr. Menken said. “Crutchy’s very pivotal. Very pivotal.”)

On the advice of his younger daughter, Mr. Menken said he had been trying to work a female newsgirl character into the lineup as well.

“My daughter went to a girl’s camp where they did ‘Newsies,’ and they invented a character of Swifty for her to play,” Mr. Menken said. “She said, ‘Dad, if you ever do “Newsies” on stage, you’ve got to let Swifty be in the show.’ I’m still working on that one with Harvey.”

Though his daughters, now 22 and 25, are not officially on the payroll, Mr. Menken said their input had been crucial to the development of the “Newsies” musical, even when it was not asked for.

“They are more protective about ‘Newsies’ than all the other projects I’ve done, combined,” Mr. Menken said. “It is ridiculous. It’s really ridiculous. When I told them about a certain song that got cut, they got viscerally angry at me. ‘Oh no you don’t. Oh no. No, Dad, no.’ It’s like they own it and I don’t.”

Mr. Menken said he had frequently encountered similar reactions from fans in their teens and 20s.

“It’s like ‘Newsies’ is actually owned by this generation of kids,” he said. “Of course, I’ll be the one to collect the royalties, thank you very much.”


Photo by Kate Enman

Before heading into watch David Dorfman's The Prophets of Funk at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, I sat on the back porch steps outside the theater to listen to dance scholar Maura Keefe provide a context for the piece we were about to see. Here's what I learned:

* Growing up, Dorfman was an athlete. He played baseball and football and his highly-athletic choreography is informed by that.

* Dorfman grew up in the 1960s. His life and his work reflect his commitment to social change and his belief in democratic engagement

* Much of his choreography has elements of contact improvisation. His dances reflect his belief that anyone can lift anyone as long as the mechanics are right.

* His choreography is about the politics of identity; he presents and challenges ideas about gender, race, and sexuality

*His work is inspired by the music of the 1960s and 70s, particularly "its call for freedom"

* Prophets of Funk is set to the utopian music and collaborative essence of the music of Sly and the Family Stone. The Family Stone was one of the first racially and gender integrated bands in American music history

*To choreograph the piece, Dorfman watched old footage of the band

* Dorfman is interested in the personal as it relates to the social and historical

The first thing that happened when we sat down at our seats to watch David Dorfman's The Prophets of Funk is that a young woman invited audience members to come down to the stage to learn a dance - a funky dance. We had our eyes on a couple of elderly gentleman who were really getting down on the dance floor!

At the end of the show, Dorfman invited all of us to come and dance on stage - so we did! This final gesture was definitely democratic engagement at its finest!


It has been years now, I don't know how many, that I've seen photographs of dancers performing on an outdoor stage that overlooks trees and hills, and thought to myself "Wow, it would be great to be there." There is Jacob's Pillow. Set in the Berkshires, it's the country's oldest ongoing dance festival.

I guess the Gods of Dance wanted me there too: After paying 50 cents for a local Berkshires newspaper in the cafe of Mass MoCA, I flipped to the arts section ans spotted a listing for a dance performance that would be happening that night at Jacob's Pillow. It was a show I had wanted to see here at NYC's Lincoln Center - David Dorfman's The Prophets of Funk, but had missed for some reason.

I called the number listed on the event, and a friendly woman answered the phone. She spent a generous amount of time giving me the run-down of that evening's events at the festival.

When we arrived at Jacob's Pillow, it was dusk and magic was in the air. People were milling around the many cabin structures around the site, enjoying the ambiance and each other's company. We checked in with the welcome tent, where we were handed a gorgeous press packet. Toni Bolger, the Marketing & Communication Assistant at Jacob's Pillow Dance, warmly greeted us, and gave us a tour of the grounds while describing the festival's long and interesting history as well as its current offerings.

I've never experienced quite this level of hospitality and generosity at a cultural event or institution and I thank Ms. Bolger and her team for creating such a memorable experience for Mike (my husband) and myself. After interacting with Ms. Bolger and other Jacob's Pillow staff, I have a better picture of why this festival is such a huge success!

Here are some interesting facts I learned about Jacob's Pillow:

* 2012 will mark Jacob's Pillow's 80th year

* It is a National Historic Landmark

* At The White House, President Obama recently presented JP with the National Medal of the Arts

* It was once part of the Underground Railroad

* The land was originally settled in 1790 by the Carter family as a mountaintop farm

* In 1931, modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn bought the farm as a retreat. Ted and his wife, Ruth St. Denis, were America's leading dance couple. Together, they formed the Denishawn Company, which "popularized a revolutionary dance form rooted in theatrical and multicultural traditions rather than that of European ballet." They paved the way for other dance pioneers such as Martha Graham.

* In 1933, Ted Shawn recruited 8 men - some of them physical education students, to start a new dance company. Ted wanted to make dancing a viable career for men. The company gave dance-focused tea lectures and demonstrations on Ted's property and around the world. In 1940, the group disbanded when some of the members went off to war.

* In 1942, the Ted Shawn Theater presented world premiers and US debuts of artists from the world over to the Berkshire community in Western Mass. From there, various folks ran the festival and from 1998 onward, Ella Baff has been running the show.

To keep abreast of what's going on at Jacob's Pillow, sign up for their E-Club HERE.