Saturday, December 03, 2016


This is one $20 bill I'm not gonna spend. Why? It was given to me by J.D., an elderly friend who I met when we both participated in a health support group at the YMCA. When I told him it was my birthday, he reached through the window of his dial-a-ride van, handed me the bill, and said "Here! Have a malted on me!" I didn't know what to say; it was so unexpected. I said "Thank you," and then I walked into the Y and burst into tears.

I'm going to hold onto this bill to remind me of the beauty and necessity of unexpected acts of generosity and kindness.

May we all have J.D.s in our lives and may we all be J.D.s to others. 

Monday, November 21, 2016


T-REX from ZCDC on Vimeo.


Photo Credit:

During this past summer, I was totally fired up about the U.S. women's Olympics gymnastics team.Loved the Final Five, as they named themselves, and in particular Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.

As much as I loved and celebrated these ladies, I was also aware that there were a lot of female Olympic athletes - including medal winners - whose accomplishments were barely, if at all, publicized in mainstream media news.  And I wanted to know more about them.

That's when I came across boxer Claressa Shields, who not only won a gold medal in this year's Olympic boxing, but also won a gold medal in women's boxing in the 2012 Olympics at the age of 17!  This makes her the only U.S. boxer of either gender to win back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics!

So why did Claressa not get the attention she deserved after winning the gold at the 2012 Olympics? I think it was due to a combination of racism, classism, and sexism.  

As a whole, our society gives more attention to female athletes who fall within what we consider to be "properly or acceptably feminine."  In other words, we are stretched by the idea that a female can be a fantastic boxer and should be fully celebrated for being a boxing champ.

Some important stuff to know about Claressa:  She is from Flint, Michigan.  She had an incredibly rough childhood, which she is open about. She has only lost a single boxing match.  She recently went pro.

If you want to learn more about Claressa, check out the documentary T-Rex.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Dear Friends of Creative Times,

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the end of summer!

I am currently looking for part-time work.

If, after taking a look at the info below, you have an idea of a person, opportunity, or organization that you think I should connect with, please send an email to I value your creative input!

I would love a job which allows me to use some combination of these talents:
  • Community engagement/outreach and team-building
  • Writing/researching/promoting the arts and culture scene in NY
  • Connecting people of different generations
  • Facilitating hands-on, interactive learning experiences

Specific settings that appeal to me are ones which center around these themes:
  • Arts- and culture (especially the performing arts!) - think BRIC Arts Media
  • Literature/books (especially children's books!) - think Brooklyn Public Library 
  • Local community work - think Borough Hall / The Office of Eric L. Adams
  • The natural environment (e.g. parks and gardens) - think Brooklyn Bridge Park
Here's a little bit about my background: I'm a seasoned community-builder, educator, and Brooklyn-based arts and culture writer/promoter with a Master's Degree from Bank Street College of Education.

Currently, I run a private literacy tutoring practice in Brooklyn. I help elementary school children become more confident, joyful readers and writers.

Here are some sample work projects:

  • Educated parents, caregivers, tourists, and children about the plants and flowers of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
  • Promote the rich arts landscape of NY as Editor-In-Chief of the 11-year-old blog Creative Times. Interview beloved literary and performing artists, including original cast and crew of Sesame Street and Prince's costume designer.
  • Recruited local artists, business owners, and community leaders to participate in GO, a historic borough-wide open studio weekend organized by the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Conceptualized and Co-produced The Brooklyn Blogfest, an annual event for 300 bloggers, journalists, and community leaders.
  • Through Bloom Again Brooklyn, create floral arrangements with flowers salvaged from local stores; arrangements are delivered to homebound seniors and nursing home residents.

Thank you so much for your support! Please feel free to send an email with questions or ideas.

How to Contact Me

Eleanor Traubman

Monday, August 08, 2016


In honor of Len Traubman, on his birthday, I am documenting some of my best memories of him from the first ten years of my life, plus some interesting facts about him.

I Remember When My Dad.......

* Let me and my brother, when we were about 5 and 3, sing "bathroom language" words while he played on the guitar. I don't think I had ever laughed that hard. (And may I say what a smart parenting strategy that was?!)

* Hung out with me at a San Francisco public school playground to help me learn how to ride a two-wheeler bike.

* Took me, as a surprise, to get my ears pierced on my 7th birthday.

* Squeezed one eye shut, puffed out his cheeks, and talked like a pirate, sending my brother and me into rolling fits of laughter.

* Drove our whole family waaaaaaay out into the boondocks to visit the "redhead babies" of one of his patients. The "redhead babies" turned out to be a whole batch of redhead baby dachsunds and we got to pick one out to take home with us. We named her Suena, which means dream or vision in Spanish.

* Left $20 by bed so I would wake up and find it the morning of my 5th grade graduation trip to Six Flags Marine World.

* Showed me how to pass a baton and timed my laps to help me prepare for a elementary school track meet.

* Took me to see Yul Brynner in the live theater production of The King and I.

* Took me, starting from age 2, to Tadich Grill, the oldest restaurant in San Francisco.

* Took me to the deli of a large downtown grocery store to pick out a whole cow brain to study and bring to my 5th grade oral presentation about the brain.

* Taught me and my brother how to make fried matzoh.

Some Interesting Facts About My Dad

* He knows how to make beautiful jewelry out of different metals.

* From his many years as a children's dentist, he has an enormous collection of fun ties which feature bright colors and characters.

* He once dressed as Waldo (as in Where's Waldo?) for his office's Halloween party, and designed his own costume.

* A pro at geneology, my dad wrote a book about his side of the family. He also knows a ton about my mom's side of the family, and stood up at his mother-in-law's funeral service to share interesting stories about her family's history.

* He assembled a ham radio when he was around the age of 10 and can still do a rapid verbal fireout of the morse code (which cracks up his 8-year-old grandson).* He likes melted chocolate chip sandwiches.

* He can play Grandma's Feather Bed, Froggy Went A-Courtin'and many other country and folk songs, on the guitar.

Thanks, Dad, for modeling kindness, curiosity, vision, patience, humor, and appreciation of the arts.


Saturday, July 09, 2016


On Thursday, July 21 at 6 p.m., Eleanor Traubman Tutoring will be leading Bookmark Making for Families at The Old Stone House in Park Slope.

What could be more fun than designing a bookmark for your summer reading?

For ages 5 and up.

Please RSVP to ETraubman(at)gmail(dot)com

For more information about Eleanor Traubman Tutoring: 

Art Blog:
Email: ETraubman(at)gmail(dot)com
Phone: 929-224-4849

Thursday, June 02, 2016



(This article is an edited re-print of a prior post)

Over the past bunch of years, I have had the honor of interviewing a group of long-time cast, crew

and writers from the cultural juggernaut that is Sesame Street. It started with an in-person Q&A with Elmo Muppeteer and Sesame Co-Producer Kevin Clash. 

Kevin suggested I also talk to cameraman Frank Biondo, who has been with Sesame from the get-go, as well as Fran Brill.  You may know Fran as Zoe and, starting from way back when, Prairie Dawn.

While on the set with Frank, I also got to meet Big Bird Muppeteer Carroll Spinney, as well as a young person who started writing letters to Carroll at age five. 

What a  treat to meet Bonnie Erickson, who used to work for Sesame and who also created Ms. Piggy, Statler, Waldorf, and other iconic Muppets, to find out her life story.

I went back on set to watch and interview Snuffy and Telly's Muppeteer Martin Robinson.  While observing Martin in action (from inside of Mr. Hooper's store, no less!), I met Kevin Clash's right hand hand, storyboard designer, and SuperGrover float creator Louis Henry Mitchell.

Most recently, I got to do some Q&Awith Annie Evans, Sesame writer and also wife of Martin Robinson.  (They got married on the set!)  And then went to Elmo's birthday party to help him celebrate 3.5 years!

I feel so grateful to have met all these amazing people and look forward to more Sesame adventures.

If you have a Sesame cast or crew member you would like me to interview, drop at line at

Here are the posts about all the folks mentioned above:

Saturday, April 30, 2016


One desk for analog, one desk for digital.
Back in 2012, when I read Austin Kleon's Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, I was struck by his idea of creating one space for "analog" production and one space for "digital" production.  He designated one desk for "nothing but markers, pens, pencils, paper, index cards, and newspaper," allowing nothing electronic there.  He reserved a second deskfor everything digital - his laptop, monitor, scanner, and drawing tablet.

I loved this idea of separating the two modes of production, but couldn't wrap my mind around how to do it.  I had everything mashed up on one desk, and always felt cramped by my computer when I was doing something that did not involve it.

Fast forward four years to about a month ago.  I was doing a major decluttering of our apartment, and finally decided to tackle the home office. After getting rid of a lot of books, papers, and supplies, I took a look at my side of the room. (I share it with my husband.)  I ditched a bunch of clunky, random pieces of furniture and replaced them with an inexpensive 4-foot utility table which I ordered online.

I then moved my computer and printer to the utility table, leaving the desk with the larger surface free to do creative work by hand.  I filled the perimiters of the desk with visuals that inspire me - e.g. artist postcards from the Twitter Art Exhibit, pens and pencils, fresh flowers, and my go-to book for inspiration, Start from Where You Are.

I'm not sure why it took four years to figure out to do this, but I am so happy that I did.  I'm looking forward to using the two spaces, especially the "analog" one!

Here are some resources to gather inspiration for creating your space to create. When I look at these books/magazines, I know I'm often looking at spaces of people with a lot of financial resources who do their creative work full time.  I keep that in mind, and focus on using the resources that I have.

* Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces for Extraordinary Women, published by Stampington and Company's Somerset Studio, Created by Jo Packham. This is a magazine that you can pick up at Barnes and Nobles. In the May/June/July 2016 issue, you will find a profile of Stacia Lang, who used to design costumes for Prince.

* Maker Spaces: Creative Interiors from the Homes and Stideos of Inspiring Makers and Designers, by Emily Quinton; photography by Kelen Cathcart.

* A Room of Her Own: Women's Personal Spaces. By Chris Casson Madden; photography by Jennifer Levy.

* Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon.  Check out pages 58-61, where he describes and shows how he created his analog and digital desks.

* A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf.

Saturday, April 02, 2016


One of the daily "Art to Self" pics I get in my inbox each morning.
I know that experts would not recommdend looking at your electronic device first thing after waking up, but I spend a good 45 minutes with my iPhone and earplugs to get my morning started on a note of inspiration.

Here's what's in my inbox that I read or listen to:

A short meditation set to music read by Tama Kieves from her book A Year Without Fear: 365 Days of Magnificence.

A short daily motivation video and message delivered by the featuring the great writer and speaker Les Brown.

Art To Self, "daily cartoons to remind you of your awesomeness."

A meditation introduced by Oprah Winfrey and led by Deepak Chopra.

How do you like to start your day on a positive note?


I'm a big fan of tiny books.  But they often get knocked over by or lost amongst the large books on my bookshelf.  Recently, while I was organizing my home office, I decided to put all my tiny books together in a clear plastic shoebox-sized container. When I need some quick inspiration or bedtime reading, I just grab one from the box.  Instant happiness!

Monday, March 21, 2016


What fun would life be without whimsical, unexpected surprises?  My husband came home the other night, asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands.  I did, and when I opened my eyes, I observed with delight a package of various sizes of post-its covered with the designs of the late, great pop artist Keith Haring.  As someone who loves both paper stationary items as well as Haring's work, this was the perfect small surprise.  Plus, as someone who writes my daily schedule down on post-its, it was something I could put to use right away.

A bunch of years ago, I saw a terrific performance choreographed by a young teacher from a dance studio.  Unless choreographers are famous, they are given very little, if any public recognition for their work.  I called the studio and asked if I could send a bouquet of flowers to her there.  They gave their okay, so I sent the flowers as well as an email expressing my appreciation of her choreography. 

If you know that you are going to see the recipient in person, you can pick up a bouquet of flowers or a plant and give it to him or her directly.  I just brought two little brightly-colored potted flowers to the guard at the front desk of a local public school.  I knew that something colorful and living would go a long way with her, since her desk is covered with clipboards and computer monitors.

Another thing I like to do is stock up on an inexpensive item and give it away as a gift, even if it is not that person's birthday.  I recently gave a mini wall calendar to a branch librarian who has always gone out of her way to be friendly and welcoming to me when I come in.

One of the most cherished surprises, especially in the age of the internet, is the greeting card with a hand-written note.  I often add fun touches to the cards I send, e.g. stickers and a fun stamp design that I've picked out at the post office.  To make card-sending an easy task, I recommend setting up a drawer just for that activity.  Fill it with stamps, stickers, return address labels, stationery and cards.  In the spirit of being budget-minded, look for the .99 cent cards (there are lots of cute ones!) at Trader Joe's and local drug stores.  Also: go for boxed cards so that you don't have to always buy them one at a time.

Tiny inspirational books can make a nice surprise gift.  I love La Vie en Rose: The Little Book of Joy and Happiness Is: 500 things to be happy about.

A phone call out of the blue saying "Hello, how are you?" can be a lovely surprise.  A phone call can be filled with far more nuance than an email, and it can be comforting to hear a real human voice.

Finally, for a bigger surprise for a bigger occasion, a basket or box filled with the recipient's favorite things can bring delight to both of you.  One holiday season, I filled a basket with my great aunt's favorite food treats and brought it over to her apartment.

What are some lovely surprises that you have both given and received?  Please do share; I'd love to hear from you!