Archive for September, 2009

Coworking rocks!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Having left the life of an employee to become a full time independent contractor, I thought I had it all worked out when I decided to work from home. I was so smart – I made a lovely little desk on the cheap out of found materials, bought a comfy new chair and set up my space exactly to my liking. I thought I was good to go as far as productivity and effectiveness were concerned. Oh, how I love to be proven wrong!

While everything within my control was running like clockwork, it was the forces beyond my control that created enough random, disastrous situations to warrant a reexamination of my choice.

Like the day Time Warner Cable had to replace the main cable to our entire street. My nightmarish neighbor whose backyard borders mine had a 2 hour temper tantrum (laced with bilingual obscenities and heard by folks in Staten Island), threw the guys out her yard, called the cops and then tried to get the workers charged with assault – classy, no? This caused me to miss an international conference call via Skype that pays the bills.

Or a few weeks ago, when my sweet-as-pie landlady returned from her summer abroad and decided (over my protests) to rip up my entire backyard by hand to replace our patchwork lawn with “good grass”.  That was five work days lost to intrusion I will never get back.

FORTUNATELY, I consulted my BFF Google and found an amazing place right near my home that was affordable, convenient, eco-friendly and run by some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Brooklyn Creative League is a new co-working facility located (in their words) “between Park Slope and BoCoCa” or as I say, a stone’s throw from the Brooklyn Lyceum.

Brooklyn Creative League gives freelance professionals, small-shop companies, and nonprofits the tools they need to get their work done:  affordable, green, shared workspace and a community of professional colleagues. With all-inclusive monthly memberships starting at $225/month, our goal is to provide members with a space that pays for itself — with increased productivity, new business, and overall satisfaction.

They offer a beautiful converted warehouse space with tons of natural light, office machines & a giant conference room, free whole bean coffee, cheap soda & snacks on-site, a growing and impressive community of members, professional development and networking events and even more features and programs are currently in the works.

If you find yourself needing a workspace like I did, do yourself a favor and check them out!

Volunteers needed for Prelude Festival

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Calling all lovers of downtown theatre and performance!

Prelude 09: Ecologies, Economies, and Engagement is currently looking for a few good hands to volunteer for festival outreach and hospitality. Prelude 09 is an amazing opportunity to get involved with New York’s downtown theatre and performance scene, and is chock full of fantastic parties, symposia, and more. Prelude 09 runs September 30th-October 3rd at the Graduate Center, CUNY (365 Fifth Avenue b/w 34th & 35th St.)

Greeters/Ushers!
The festival is looking for 2-4 persons available Wednesday-Saturday (or a portion of those dates) for greeting people, directing them to the Segal and Elebash venues, and, in several cases, acting as the guide between the lobby and other on-site event spaces.

Hours: 2pm-4pm; 4pm-6pm; 6pm-8pm; Each day of the festival.

Hospitality/Runners!
The festival is looking for 2 persons available Wednesday-Saturday (or a portion of those dates) for space and hospitality services for Prelude 09 Artists, liasing between event Producers and participating artists, panelists, and Stage Managers.

Hours: 2pm-4pm; 4pm-6pm; 6pm-8pm; Each day of the festival.

Neighborhood Do-gooders!
The festival needs your help in our marketing efforts. We remain a totally FREE festival at a time when everyone is feeling the pinch – can you think of local haunts (coffee shops, performance spaces, educational institutions) who will display our postcards? Can you commit to taking a stack or two around the city with you in the coming weeks?

Hours: Own.

If you are willing and able to help, please send an email with your interest and availability to volunteer@preludenyc.org.

Biting the tax bullet

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Last weekend the financial crisis hit home in a different way when I found myself in the strange position of having to write a sizable check to the IRS for the first installment of my 2009 Estimated Tax. My first response was “barf” – it was a pain in the ass to calculate and represents a big chunk of cash I hate to part with. However, I got over it a bit when I realized that:

A. if there was ever a time that the US Treasury can use my paltry contribution to the nation’s coffers it is now; and

B. since this is the first year I am making a truly livable wage as an independent contractor, I want to avoid any IRS issues by paying on time (especially upon discovering that penalties can be applied for paying late).

In my research, I found this handy list of 101 Tax deductions for bloggers & freelancers that I wanted to pass along for those who are just starting out or in need of a refresher course. As always, internet advice does not replace individualized advice from a qualified professional and I recommend using an accountant who specializes in independent artists.

Prelude Festival 2009

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I am thrilled to announce that I am working in collaboration with this year’s Prelude Festival, presented by The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC), The Graduate Center, CUNY. Now in its 6th year, this annual festival previews work-in-progress by some of NYC’s most exciting artists and features symposium and artist talk-back sessions daily.

It is FREE and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis and only lasts four days: Sept 30 – Oct 3.

I am moderating a panel discussion on the subject of citizenship and serving as Associate Producer. I will post again with more details as the festival approaches, but for now I encourage you to follow the festival on Twitter: @preludenyc and become a fan on Facebook.