The Serial Restaurateur

It all began because Brian Martinez didn’t like his mother’s cooking. He refuses, however, to say she’s a bad cook. She is, after all, his mother. Even if he doesn’t love her cooking, he does love her so he puts the blame on his own stomach. Her lack of culinary skills, he adds, wasn’t really her fault because she was working a lot and didn’t have much time to spend in the kitchen of their Bronx apartment. But Brian, an only child, did. “I started making my own meals when I was 9,” he says. “…

Continue Reading →

The Harpist

Although it’s tall and long, you don’t notice the harp right away. That’s because it’s standing in a corner between the window and the couch. Tracey Horst, its player, put it there so it would be out of the way of others’ hands but not out of her mind. Tracey, who is from Madison, New Jersey, has had the 50-pound Salvi harp that towers over her since …

Continue Reading →

The Drag Queen

“I’m not used to posing as a boy,” says Travis Barr. Burly and black-haired, he’s standing along the waterfront at Astoria Park looking uncomfortable in his sweats and sneakers while staring into the camera’s naked eye. What should he do with his hands? How should he stand? Where should he look? Anita Buffem, the brassy buxom blonde he plays in a variety of venues, would know how to pose. So Travis turns things over to her. Larger than life in mile-high stilettoes, leopard-print bathing suit and rhinestone cat-ear tiara, she grabs the rail at the water’s …

Continue Reading →

The Actor Who Makes Life His Stage

“Would you mind if I make breakfast?” Alec Shaw, who is walking around the kitchen in his bare feet, cracks a couple of free-range brown eggs into the skillet. As they are cooking in coconut oil, he slices four sweet potatoes into circles and plops them, along with a handful of spinach and arugula, into a pan, where he sautés them in olive oil. When the eggs are almost done, he adds mushrooms and avocado then piles everything into a mountain on a black dinner plate. There aren’t many places to sit in his barely furnished third-floor walkup. …

Continue Reading →