Sep 09

Kate Cusack, Costume Designer and Artist

Kate Cusack, photographer in her studio. © Tony Gale

Kate Cusack, photographer in her studio. © Tony Gale

Kate Cusack

There are many beautiful qualities and interesting things I could say about Kate Cusack. One of the aspects of her personality that I find most admirable is her honesty. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, what you see is what you get with Kate. She is who she is and does not waste time pretending to be otherwise. She is more true to herself than anyone I have ever known and I admire her greatly for that. She is driven and focused and believes in herself and her creativity to an impressive degree. As well she should! She has been carving out an impressive career in the Arts from a young age and there’s no sign of her slowing down.

Kate studied fine Art in undergrad and completed her graduate degree in theater, specifically, costume design. Currently she is focusing on her ever-expanding Art jewelry collection, made entirely out of zippers. She has always had a knack for turning humble materials into beautiful works of Art and her zipper jewelry is an amazing example of her talent.

Nominated and described by Margaux Lange

Sep 09

Amy Sisti-Baum, fromagier, foodie, and excellent cook.

Amy Baum, photographed at her community garden plot. © Tony Gale

Amy Baum, photographed at her community garden plot. © Tony Gale

Amy Sisti-Baum

For years Amy was known amongst friends as Cheese Amy. That meant that she worked at Murray’s Cheese Shop and occasionally moonlighted as a guest fromagier at restaurants and conventions. It also meant that she had great taste in cheese and could be counted on to complete any dinner or picnic with the perfect cheeses for the occasion. Recently, Amy has expanded her culinary expertise to include breads and she now works for the Tom Cat Bakery, a wholesaler of delicious baked goods. Amy is also an incredible cook and loves to feed the people she cares about. Lucky for me!

Nominated and described by Tali Shmulovich

Aug 09

Darren Korb, Musician

Darren Korb, © Tony Gale

Darren Korb, © Tony Gale

Darren Korb
I knew Darren Korb when he was a wee lad.  We did summer musicals together back in California.  He went to an all boys Jesuit school and he was a counselor at Space Camp! Now he’s in New York, playing in a band and growing impressive facial hair. I just found out he and his brother have written a musical called Marry Me! about two best buddies who get married for financial reasons…the ultimate bro-mance-sical.

Nominated and described by Natalie Ferraro

Apr 09

Taiwo (Tai) Odunsi, Ambassador of Creativity

Tai Odunsi, swinging in Prospect Park. © Tony Gale

Tai Odunsi, swinging in Prospect Park. © Tony Gale

Taiwo (Tai) Odunsi, Ambassador of Creativity

Tai is a painter, author, graphic designer, thinker, leader, friend, mountain biker, cook, lover, philosopher, and visionary. His abundance of creative energy is matched by a boundless enthusiasm for life and for his fellow humans. Not content simply to be creative himself, Tai has made creativity a mission, spreading its gospel far and wide — and sharing its wonders with those lucky enough to know him.

Tai has written two books: The first, Collabetition, is a treatise on the creative process, examining the component elements of creativity and guiding readers to expand their creative powers. His recently completed The Land of Intuit and the Quest for the Book of Destiny is a sweeping novel set in a parallel world. When three children appear in that world, they must save it from the brink of chaos. The hero of the novel, Jack Artizan, has more than a little Tai in him — a resourceful kid from Brooklyn who learns to follow his heart.

Nominated and described by Mike Mermin

Apr 09

Allison Maritza Lasky, founding member of F.O.K.U.S.

Allison Maritza Lasky, in Brooklyn. © Tony Gale

Allison Maritza Lasky, in Brooklyn. © Tony Gale

Allison Maritza Lasky

Allison reminds me of that slogan from the army – “we do more before 6 am than most people do all day”!  and she MEANS it!

Her day job, working as a preschool administrative assistant, is really just her “Clark Kent” cover to support her life and passion in supporting art.  In 2003, when she was a sophomore in college, (while most of us were recovering from a frat party)  Allison became a founding member of F.O.K.U.S. – a student group designed to bring a passion for art, music and outreach work to campus at the University of Michigan.  Their very first event, a movie screening, brought in over 100 people.

Today, F.O.K.U.S – which stands for “fighting obstacles knowing ultimate success” still exists on campus at U of M, but Allison and one of her co-founders moved back home to NYC after graduation and started it up as a 501c3 non-profit here.  They have a website, a quarterly magazine and host monthly events.

Their slogan is “Art is life.  Art is…”  The idea is that every individual will fill in the rest of their sentence with their own passion.  For Allison, it is “Art is life.  Art is activism.”

Nominated and described by Lisa Samick

Mar 09

Robert Honeywell, co-artistic director, and founder of the Brick

Robert Honeywell, in front of the Brick © Tony Gale

Robert Honeywell, in front of the Brick © Tony Gale

Robert Honeywell

Robert is co-artistic director and founder of the Brick Theatre, a playwright, a librettist, and an actor.  He is also a corporate lawyer who speaks a few languages and has traveled to many interesting places.  He has a great face, quirky charisma and stage presence. He recently  bought a cabin upstate.  I find him interesting because he manages to balance a heavy-duty career with his creative endeavors, and not in that waiter/day player way so common in NYC.

Nominated and described by Mikki Baloy

Feb 09

Audrey Crabtree, Bouffon and Clown.

Audrey Crabtree, bouffon and clown. At her subway station in Brooklyn. © Tony Gale

Audrey Crabtree:  Bouffon and clown.  Performer in the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and a co-founder/director of the NY Clown Theater Festival. You can learn more about her at her bio is in About, with a link to another character, Deenie Nast.  Read up on bouffon,  which pokes at the vulnerability of the audience and takes unbelievable skill and courage, and then meet Audrey, an attractive, intelligent woman who makes herself completely unattractive on purpose.

Nominated and described by Mikki Baloy.