The Sax Player

A pair of pinstriped pants is hanging from the lamp. A breakfast bowl of oatmeal, half eaten, sits at the desk. A mini-trampoline, turned on its side, issues a challenge to a pair of five-pound free weights. A keyboard, clarinet, flute and a couple of saxophones are aching to band together to sing their stuff. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Carol is the founder of Astoria Big Band. Carol Sudhalter, the founder of Astoria Big Band and the quartet that bears her name, walks into this improv stage, which is her living room and the room she does most of&…

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The Soloist

Why? Even for Yomar Ramirez, who is an introspective woman, it’s not always easy to come up with a simple, satisfying answer. Sometimes it’s better to shrug and go on, which is what she does. Yomar, a blithe blonde, is sitting in her living room, clutching a 30-ounce beer stein of raspberry tea. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Yomar is from Bogota, Colombia. Actually, it’s only a section of her living room. Hers is a one-bedroom apartment. She erected a wall down the center to partition her twin bed, giving her daughter the bona-fide space. The area …

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The Man Who’s Redrawing His Life

The painting, a brooding tattoo of black and white shapes flowing together like a raging river, is wrapped in a cage of thin clear plastic. Anthony Cardillo releases it and holds it in front of his body like a warrior’s shield. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Anthony’s art gets him through life. Wave of Emotion expresses what Anthony felt like when he was painting it. Happy. Sad. Scared. Depressed. Angry. The painfully personal painting possesses a precarious off-kilter balance that slyly shifts with each viewing. “It glows,” Anthony says, “in the dark.” It’s a good thing Anthony …

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The Creek Chronicler

It’s going to be a good day. Mitch Waxman knows this because he just saw a black cat with yellow eyes. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Mitch on the waterfront. He’s not particularly superstitious, but every time he’s crossed paths with a fiery-eyed feline who’s the color of midnight, he has persuaded the Newtown Creek to talk to him. “When I say that it speaks to me, I mean it says things to me because I am informed of its history,” he says. And Mitch, the volunteer historian of the nonprofit Newtown Creek Alliance, is an …

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