Tuesday, March 27, 2012


On Thursday, March 22, The Local Development Corporation of East New York held the 9th Annual Total Woman Business Conference.  This year, the focus was on the topic of social media.

One of the keynote speakers was Maria Morales-Prieto, President and CEO of The Hispanic Network.  A no-nonsense presenter who also showed a lot of humor and compassion, Ms. Morales-Prieto included these points in her talk:
  • Use half of your budget for public relations and marketing
  • Go to at least two networking functions a week (She runs a networking group on Long Island)
  • Logos should be both simple and original
  • Establish one Facebook account for your personal life and connections, and a separate one for your business venture and business connections.
Ms. Morales-Prieto's bulleted list of her own personal philosophy of life included these points:
  • Pity bullies
  • See your face in everyone's face
  • Vengeance isn't sweet; it's sour
  • Have compassion: when you see someone asking for money, it's because life has beaten the heck out of them
  • Let setbacks propel you to move forward
  • Criticism is born of jealousy
  • Be considerate
  • You can fill your jar with water, sand, pebbles and rocks.  Rocks represent the big important tasks that move you forward.  Begin by filling your jar with the rocks first!  In other words: prioritize!
  • You are the author of your life. Make it a comedy, not a tragedy!

About Eleanor Traubman 
Eleanor is a seasoned literacy tutor, community-builder, and arts and culture writer. An alumna of the Bank Street College of Education, Eleanor has spent the last 25 years working with young people and families in private and public schools, nonprofit education organizations, and museum settings including P.S. 29, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.  As Editor-In-Chief of the arts blog Creative Times, Eleanor has interviewed world-loved children's book author/illustrators, as well as original cast and crew members of Sesame Street

Eleanor fosters young people's literacy development by providing creative, project-based opportunities for them to read and write for a real-world audience about topics and for purposes which hold personal meaning for them.  

For More information:

Saturday, March 24, 2012


On Sunday, April 14th, Carnegie Hall will host JIM HENSON'S MUSICAL WORLD.  The performance is a family concert and performed by The New York Pops.
To purchase tickets to this special event, click HERE
Here is an overview of the evening as it appears on the Carnegie Website:
The magic of the Muppets comes alive as The New York Pops pays a musical tribute to Jim Henson's great legacy through song and puppetry.

In collaboration with The Jim Henson Legacy

With special thanks to Disney, The Jim Henson Company, and Sesame Workshop.

The New York Pops
Steven Reineke, Music Director and Conductor
John Tartaglia, Host
Essential Voices USA
Judith Clurman, Music Director and Conductor
Craig Shemin, Writer
Daniel Seth, Associate Director

Special Guest Appearances by:
Pam Arciero
Alison Bartlett
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph
Kevin Clash
Stephanie D'Abruzzo
Rachel Dratch
Dave Goelz
Eric Jacobson
Rollie Krewson
Lara MacLean
Dr. Loretta Long
Sonia Manzano
Bob McGrath
Alan Muraoka
Roscoe Orman
Karen Prell
David Rudman
Nitya Vidyasagar
Matt Vogel
Paul Williams
The New York Pops: Jim Henson's Musical World

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Sandhya Nankani of Literary Safari,
A Panelist from "Teaching Students to Become History Detectives"

There's an annual gathering of 10,000 educators right here in New York City, and yet I had never heard of it prior to several weeks back. A sister alumna of mine at Bank Street College of Education tipped me off to A Celebration of Teaching and Learning. Why hadn't I heard about this before?

The Celebration, sponsored by THIRTEEN AND WLIW21 - describes itself as "[...] a premier professional development conference that brings together the world’s best thinkers, practitioners, and more than 10,000 educators to share their passion for teaching and learning. [...] Our seventh anniversary will bring experts and content from the areas of the Arts, English Language Arts, Global Awareness, Health & Wellness, Instructional Technology, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Social Studies, Special Education and Whole School Issues."

At The Celebration, I attended the panel entitled "Teaching Students to Become History Detectives," featuring speakers Sandhya Nankani and Elyse Luray  kicked off the panel by describing in fascinating detail her experiences as one of the five hosts of the PBS' American History series History Detectives. Once a top appraiser at Christie's auction house, Elyse has spent her years on the show using objects ranging from canons to horse saddles as the jumping off point to make amazing discoveries about U.S. history. At one point, Elyse found a piece of Amelia Earhart's airplane. At another juncture, she helped find the S.S. Portland, a sunken ship in Alaska which was the first ship that found gold there!

Elyse conveyed the importance of primary sources as well as public institutions like libraries and historical societies as the keys to solving historical puzzles, and to "linking family, city, and commmunity folklore to a bigger story." Some specific skills which Elyse utilizes on the show, and which teachers can pass on to students, include appraisal, forensic science, geology, geneloglody, patent and property searches, and textile analysis. "What can a type of cotton or wool tell you about an object," asked Elyse. "What does beeswax tell you about a certain kind of bees that were in our country at a certain time?"

Elyse was excited to announce that History Detectives is launching a focus on the history of music. In the show's investigation of The Star Spangled Banner, Elyse had the honor of hearing a private playing of different versions of the song by President Obama's band.

Following Elyse, editorial producer Sandhya Nankani described the interactive online game based on History Detectives which she and her colleague Sari Wilson created for students. She preceded her description of the game by sharing that American students are less proficient in their nation's history than in any other subject.

The purpose of the game it to help middle school students understand themselves better through objects around them through investigating object-based mysteries as well as engaging in open investigations where they record their own research findings. The game is designed to teach the skills it takes to be a history detective, namely the ability to see, act, and think like one. Students beef up their capacity to make observations and inferences, to find and evaluate historical evidence, and to draw conclusions based on that evidence.

Through playing History Detectives Lab, students can gain a sense of what it's like to be active researchers out in the real world. "The game gives them a sense of agency, but with limited choices," explained Sandhya.

Some of the feedback from students who have field tested the game is that they enjoyed using technology, and that the game made history relevant and real. In terms of learning about history, they learn not only about what events happened, but why events happened.

Good for teachers to know: The History Detectives Lab game matches with state standards and also supports Common Core and 21st Century Key Skills. Also: most of the mysteries take one to two class periods for students to solve.

Friday, March 09, 2012


Special commemorative bookmark
distributed at closing day of
Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit
Last Sunday, Jim Henson's Fantastic World celebrated its last day at its last stop at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York.

Starting in 2007, this national touring exhibit had come through twelve other venues before making its final appearance in Queens.   From Little Rock to Mesa to Baton Rouge, from Atlanta to Doylestown, to Peoria, this astounding collection of artifacts from Henson's entire body of work brought education and inspiration alike to one million people across the country.

The closing ceremonies for the exhibit at MOMI consisted of various speakers, a film compilation of Jim's work as well as work inspired by him, plus some sweet suprises.

Carl Goodman, MOMI's Executive Director, assured the audience "You have not seen the last of Henson here."  Additional mentions were made throughout the program that the Henson-MOMI relationship would continue on.  (Good news for folks who wanted to get to the exhibit and didn't make it!)

Bonnie Erickson, Executive Director of The Jim Henson Legacy, shared a moving quotation about Jim from deceased Muppet writer Jerry Juhl.  As well, she thanked Jim Henson Legacy staff Nathaniel Wharton and Rhoda Cosme for their behind-the-scenes work.

Craig Shemin, President of The Jim Henson Legacy, mentioned that the MOMI exhibit, which featured more than 100 programs (film screening, lectures, demonstrations, etc.) had been visited by more than 20,000 people.

To acknowledge their incredible patience, hard work, and cooperative spirit in running the projectors for the many films shown throughout the exhibit's run, Craig called employees of MOMI down to the front to hand over some Muppet mementos.

Cheryl Henson, President of The Jim Henson Foundation, acknowledged the hard work and dedication of her siblings, Heather, Lisa, and Brian, in forwarding the work of their father.  She also mentioned the success of the international productions of Sesame Street.

Karen Falk, Henson archivist, introduced the film compilation, explaining that it was composed of Henson and Henson-inspired material from the last 20 years.  The audience got some good laughs out of watching snippets of everything from Muppets Tonight to Hot Dog TV. (My personal favorite was a clip of Sid Knishes and his Mosh Pit-atoes.)

If you'd like to learn more about the programs and events of the MOMI Jim Henson exhibit, you are welcome to read these additional posts:


Cyril Aouizerate, owner of Maimonide of Brooklyn, shows off his Brooklyn Bridge necklace

If you need a fun place to hang out with friends or to host an event without breaking your New Year's resolution to stay healthy, look no further than Maimonide of Brooklyn.

For months, I walked by a storefront on Atlantic avenue whose windows were covered with the image of a cartoon character. I always assumed it was going to be a graphic design office or a comicbook store.

About a month ago, I entered a gorgeous loft-like space filled with wooden communal tables.  Turned out that Maimonide is a restaurant.  And looking around, I was already visualizing this as an amazing space to host an event.

I brought a few friends by to experience Maimonide and this week had an opportunity to connect with it and the folks who work hard behind the scenes to make it all happen.

Tuesday, a bunch of us writers gathered around the big tables for a press preview luncheon.  It was so much fun to experience this place with other writers, including folks from The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine's Grub Street, and Daily Candy. The food was delicious and the staff incredibly welcoming and friendly.

Before leaving the lunch, I got to sit down with Maimonide owner and French restaurateur and hotelier Cyril Aouizerate and get to know him a bit better.  A father of four children, Cyril flies back and forth between here and his home in France, spending a week out of every month in NY.  He is a former professor of philosophy, and named Maimonide after a famous Jewish philosopher.

Wednesday night was the Grand Opening bash for Maimonide, and it was PACKED with all kinds of folks from all different scenes.  What an awesome surprise to hear on the day of the event that the Grandaddy of Hip Hop Afrika Bambaataa would be doing a DJ set!  Louis C.K. was there, along with tons of other folks.

Had great conversations with Patrick Kwan of SuperVegan. and with Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus.

What I most love about this place is that it embodies Brooklyn's creative, communal, and collaborative spirit.  Hope to see Maimonide live a long life here!

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Pammy Salmon is teaching a course on Writing for Children's Television through The Writer's Voice at the 63rd Street YMCA in Manhattan.

The 8-week class starts Wednesday, May 2.

Registration begins on April 9 for members of the YMCA.
Registration for non-members begings April 16.

Here's the official course description:


Children’s television writing requires special skill to seamlessly implement educational curriculum while telling an engaging, developmentally-appropriate story. In this class, students will learn how to write a "spec" a script based on an existing show to gain an understanding of the genre as well as have a writing sample necessary for the industry. Maximum enrollment is 10 students. Pre-registration requirement(s): All levels of writers welcome.

Pammy Salmon
Wednesday 6:45 - 8:45 PM
Fees: $195 Member $330 Non-Member

Here's a bit of information about Pammy Salmon:

After majoring in Film Production at Boston University, Pammy prepared for life in Tinsel Town. She made it as far west as New York City, where she got a job at an animation company. There, she not only learned the animation process but got her break writing scripts for Disney’s Stanley. Since then, she’s written for super fun curriculum-based shows Disney’s JoJo’s Circus, Pinky Dinky Doo, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Super Why!, Martha Speaks, and development projects for several animation companies.

Pammy’s put her sketch comedy skills to work, penning short interstitials and bumpers for the
PBS Kids Programming Block, promos for The Electric Company and Martha Speaks, and segments for Sesame Street English’s DVD series.

If you would like to reach Pammy for any additional information about her course, you may reach her at  pammysps@gmail.com


Monday, March 05, 2012


It's Women's History Month! 

Over at the blog Newvine Growing's Blogversation 2012, I posted a series of questions about being female and making the world a better place for females.

I invite you to weigh in with your own thoughts.

What's great about being female?

It's March, Women's History Month, and I'm incredibly proud to be part of a long line of people - other females - who have taken charge of seeing that things go well on so many levels of life - in the home, in workplaces outside the home, in neighborhoods and other kids of communities, in the world at large.

I'm pleased to be part of a group of people who have figured out to make relationships a primary focus in life, and who see to it that relationships around them go well so that everything else in life goes well.

As a group, we've done and continue to do a kick-a** job of leading work for social change, including work around eliminating key forms of oppression, including racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.  We've voiced our opinions and spoken our minds even when we've received both subtle and blatant messages to be quiet, be nice, and preserve the status quo.

We also make fantastic artists, manual laborers, athletes, comics, politicians, and community-builders.  

When I think about al the women who have come before me and the women who are living now, I beam with huge amounts of pride.

What's hard about being female?

It's been tricky growing up in a time period in our culture where there's this huge pretense that sexism does not exist any longer in the Western world. There is an accepted notion that all the sexism exists over there in the non-Western world. 

The effects of that pretense are huge. First, it justifies the oppression of peoples in these countries and the wars we wage and prop up abroad. Second, it sends a message to Western women that our fight to end sexism is over.  Our "liberation" is presented to us as endless choices, mostly consumer choices.  We're "free" because we can "choose" what we look like, different ways of augmenting our appearance, what career we can have.  

The other result of this pretense that sexism is over is that it has left us women and girls feeling like any struggles we have are purely personal and individual.  It's like any place we have a rough time - be it in our personal and intimate relationships, in our efforts to build community, in our ability to trust our own thinking, in our quest to stay on top of our health and well-being, to raise children, to balance the demands of work in the home with work outside of a home, to make a decent living - is due to some personal shortcoming, some failure to "figure it out."  Women's magazines and self-help books offer endless tips and tricks to make things more manageable, somehow implying that if we just take this course of action or that one, we should be able to work out the ways our lives are hard.

With sexism and its effects on women hidden, trivialized, and denied, it's difficult to place any of our struggles into some larger context; in turn, it's been hard to team up with other women (and men!) to challenge sexism and also where women have internalized its messages.

What would make the world a better place for women and girls to live in?

  • Ending racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia would hugely improve things in the lives of girls and women. These systematic forms of mistreatment wreck the fabric of our lives and keep us separate from each other.
  • Any adult who plays a role in the life of a young female (including girls, teens, young adults) needs to treat what they say and do as important and significant.  This means listening without interrupting or giving advice.
  • Adults can also back young females to take risks in areas where they’ve been excluded or discouraged from participating - e.g. in math, science, and athletics.  As a preschool teacher, I've  make it a point to spend time with girls who are building things with blocks and other materials at choice time, and ask them questions about what they are doing.
  • I'd love to see another identity besides (or at least in addition to) the one of "princess" that young girls can latch onto and explore. 
  • When females have conflicts with each other, the people around them need to step in and lend a hand.  One of the big reasons women and girls lash out at one another is because we've internalized the ways we've been belittled or invalidated. Without tools to heal from that mistreatment, we take it out on each other.  (What's crazy to me is that popular culture, especially reality shows, capitalizes on the struggles between females and makes it into a spectator sport.)
  • I want all guys to know that they can be awesome allies in ending sexism in all its forms, and that their lives, also, are better without it.
  • So much of the work that women do, especially domestic work, is unpaid or underpaid.  That needs to be changed!


Muppet Alphabet.  Source: Society6

Friday, March 02, 2012


The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) is proud to present THE BOX THAT ROCKS: 30 Years of Video Music Box and the Rise of Hip Hop Music & Culture

Guest Curated by Dexter Wimberly

On View: March 10 – May 28, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 10, 2012 6pm - 9pm

Location: MoCADA | 80 Hanson Place | Brooklyn, New York 11217

MoCADA announces THE BOX THAT ROCKS: 30 Years of Video Music Box and the Rise of Hip Hop Music & Culture, an exhibition of contemporary art that celebrates the global influence of Video Music Box, and the show’s historic contribution to urban music and culture.

In 1983, Ralph McDaniels launched Video Music Box, a groundbreaking television program that ushered in the popularity and innovation of music videos. As the show’s creator and host, and the producer and/or director of over 400 music videos, Ralph McDaniels is a pioneer whose influence is still felt throughout the music industry.

It is safe to say that hundreds of Hip Hop, R&B and Dancehall artists owe their street credibility, record sales, and a great deal of their commercial success to Video Music Box. At its inception, Video Music Box broadcasted videos from all genres of music. However, it was one of the first television programs ever to feature Hip Hop videos primarily. In the early 1980’s, networks such as MTV did not play the music videos of black recording artists. Video Music Box ushered in a new era of cultural identity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ralph McDaniels also recognized the show’s power to speak directly to inner city youth in a way that no one else was doing at the time. Each day, McDaniels used the show as a platform to spread messages of unity, non-violence, anti-drug abuse, anti-crime, political activism and self-respect. “I have continued to produce Video Music Box independently for over 30 years as a testament to the art form. Video Music Box is the place where classic visuals have been documented and new music continues to flourish on a television program produced by someone who controls their own content and vision,” states Video Music Box creator, Ralph McDaniels. “The show represents hope for those in the African-American and Latino community who want to express themselves freely without the chains of corporate America. The fact is that Video Music Box has always been an important outlet for those creating Hip Hop or any other genre of music. I believe that people from any race or background can learn from the show’s message of positivity and contribute to the culture.”

MoCADA’s Founder and Executive Director, Laurie Cumbo remarks, “Ralph McDaniels is a Brooklyn icon and he has played a foundational role in the development of Hip Hop culture. We are honored to celebrate his contributions through THE BOX THAT ROCKS exhibition here at MoCADA.”

THE BOX THAT ROCKS is guest curated by Dexter Wimberly, and is on view from March 10 through May 28, 2012 in the museum’s main gallery at the James E. Davis 80 Arts Building in Brooklyn, New York.

The show features photography, painting, mixed-media, video installation, and interactive digital art.

 The opening reception will take place at MoCADA on Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 6-9pm.

The reception is free and open to the public.

Featured artists include: Amy Andrieux * Malik Y. Cumbo * LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs * Delphine Fawundu * Bobbito Garcia * Tahir Hemphill * Jonathan Mannion * Tim Okamura * M. Tony Peralta * Fab 5 Freddy * Ali Santana * Jamel Shabazz * Daniel Amazu Wasser "