Meet Our Staff

Some of our staff (and Council of Chelsea Block Associations president Bill Borock), at the Malibu Diner, for April 23, 2019’s launch party.

Our writers and reporters are so great, every one of them deserves to be the first one mentioned. So in the interest of fairness, alphabetical order is the order of the day. Here’s the full list of names, followed by bios featuring the folks who make this project possible: Kristen Ancillotti, Charles Battersby, Sam Bleiberg, Max Burbank, Gerald Busby, Chiffon Dior, Sean Egan, Daniel Kwak, Winnie McCroy, Frank Meade, Christian Miles, Rev. Jen Miller, Mark Nimar, Puma Perl, Rania Richardson, Berte Schachter, Trav S.D. (aka Travis Stewart), Scott Stiffler, Eileen Stukane, John Foster Thomas, Cathy Towle, and Elizabeth Zimmer. Now scroll down, and get to know them!

Photo by Patrick Ancillotti

KRISTEN ANCILLOTTI  (news, arts, features) | Kristen is a multimedia reporter and student at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to Brooklyn, she studied psychology and anthropology and worked as a school psychologist in Texas. From there, she moved to Colorado, where she worked in a library and was surrounded by a plethora of wonderful books all day—but the mountains were too beautiful, and she had to leave for the big city. In NYC, Kristen has covered local news in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and health and science topics, with a special interest in the microbiome and nutrition. When she is not taking pictures of her cats, Kristen’s favorite thing to do is learn about the local artists contributing to the culture of the city. Instagram: statonkris. Twitter: @statonkris.

Photo courtesy of Battersby

CHARLES BATTERSBY (arts, features, LGBTQ+ matters) | Charles (Charli) Battersby is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, model, game designer, and journalist. Battersby is known, as a playwright, for The Astonishing Adventures of All-American Girl & The Scarlet Skunk, and That Cute Radioactive Couple. Battersby is the screenwriter and co-creator of the animated web series The Storyteller: Fallout. Charles has written about video games, theater, and LGBT topics for sites including Chelsea Now, Geek.com, Venturebeat, NYC Community Media, Complex, and Joystiq. Charles founded PressXY, an organization that addresses transgender issues in video games, and moderates a series of panels on Transgender themes in comic books. Twitter: charlesbatterb. Instagram: fascinatingstranger.

 

Photo by José Font Bullrich

SAM BLEIBERG (transportation, politics, news) | Bleiberg focuses on transportation and local political news in Chelsea. He moved to Manhattan from California, and enjoys researching the neighborhood’s history of activism and civic engagement. Bleiberg is an avid bike commuter and sustainability advocate, currently focused on transportation and urban design. He is interested in anything New York City can do to drastically curb emissions—whether on a household, neighborhood, or citywide scale. He first entered journalism as a sports editor of his high school paper in Santa Monica. He subsequently wrote for a local paper, the Santa Monica Observer, covering sports and local news. Bleiberg has also worked for the past five years for startups, providing technology for business and government. He studied Spanish and French in college, and hopes to learn additional languages in the future. He enjoys playing basketball, following Los Angeles sports teams, and biking back and forth across NYC’s various bridges.

 

MAX BURBANK (editorial cartooning, political satire) | Burbank is a freelance writer living in Salem, Massachusetts. His work has been published by Cracked.com, NationalLampoon.com, i-mockery.com, and the literary magazine websites (because he is both hoity and toity, but neither enough to get in the print versions) Monkeybicycle.net and Frictionmagazine.com. Once upon a time, before the Internet, he sold science fiction stories to the legendary Algis Budrys for Tomorrow: The Magazine of Speculative Fiction. Until recently, he was the political satirist for Chelsea Now, where he won a PRESTIGIOUS first place award for editorial cartooning from the New York Press Association, because gosh darn it, he draws real good, too. A huge, steaming pile of Max’s comedy writing can be found archived at maxburbank.wordpress.com. Max is available for freelance work, both writing and illustration, because he likes to eat on occasion.

 

Photo by Laura Boyd

CHIFFON DIOR (drag, fashion, pop culture) | As her meticulously crafted Twitter bio states, Chiffon is a self-described mediocre drag queen and a multi-time drag pageant participation trophy winner. She’s best known as the founder and editor-in-chief of the website WERRRK.com which has covered drag, popular culture, and fashion for nearly five years. This past winter, her labor of love had its greatest success ever, as WERRRK.com was selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in their LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive for being “an important part of this collection and the historical record.” As a writer, Chiffon has interviewed some of the biggest stars in the drag world, and has been selected by her Big Apple peers as a four-time Glam Awards nominee for Best Nightlife Writer. In her spare time, she generally has a feeling of dread that she forgot to do something, because she doesn’t have any spare time. Twitter: @chiffondior @werrrkdotcom. Instagram: @chiffondior @werrrkdotcom Facebook: @werrrk YouTube: @werrrk.

 

SEAN EGAN (arts, news) | Egan is a New York City-based writer, editor and musician. From 2013 to 2017, he worked as an Editorial Assistant and Contributor at Chelsea Now, with a particular focus on arts coverage. During his tenure, he also covered Chelsea’s local politics and authored the weekly 10th Precinct Police Blotter. Elsewhere, his writing on music and culture can be found at Vice. He currently works as an editor/analyst at industry research firm IBISWorld, and has co-hosted and co-produced its podcast since 2017. As a musician, Egan’s projects range from scoring local theater to playing in bands covered by publications including The New Yorker and Impose. He currently plays bass in the power-pop outfit, Luv Dot Gov, which supported their 2018 debut with a residency during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and a UK tour.

 

Photo by Ivan Cordoba

GERALD BUSBY (music, memoir) | A native of Texas and graduate of Yale, Busby is best known for his film score for Robert Altman’s 3 Women and his dance suite for Paul Taylor’s Runes. As a protégée of Virgil Thomson, Busby moved into the Chelsea Hotel, where, since 1977, he’s written more than 500 music compositions in all genres. Trinity Church Wall Street honored Busby’s 80th birthday, Dec. 16, 2015, with a concert of his chamber music, held in St. Paul’s Chapel. In 2016, the Dublin Arts Council commissioned Pneuma, a solo flute piece that premiered at the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Rights in Ireland. New York’s Queer Urban Orchestra, conducted by Julie Desbordes, premiered Busby’s 3 Bagatelles for Orchestra at the first concert of their 2018-2019 season. Busby’s memoir, Getting Saved, currently in progress, began with biographical sketches Scott Stiffler asked him to write during their days with Chelsea Now newspaper.

 

Self-portrait

DANIEL KWAK (photos, photo essays) | Kwak is a portrait, food, and editorial photographer. His work has appeared in glossy magazines, as well as community papers, where the ink still comes off on your fingers. With over 200 assignments in 2018, Kwak’s photography has covered everything from fine dining restaurants to pizza parlors. Anywhere there is a story to cover, Kwak will give it a high-end, Madison Avenue treatment, delivered with a grassroots spirit. As part of the team marking the one-year anniversary of the 2016 Chelsea bombing, his work contributed to Chelsea Now’s 2017 first place Special Sections award, in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Websites: dkcre8ive.com and foodcre8ive.com.

 

Photo by Jeannine DeFoe

WINNIE McCROY (news, features, arts) | McCroy is an award-winning reporter who lives in Brooklyn with her wife and their giant Rottweiler, Dixie Carter. Over the past 20 years, she has written thousands of articles on a wide range of topics, including local news and politics, human-interest stories, investigative journalism, and arts and entertainment reviews. She is an unrepentant foodie who has reviewed restaurants for Time Out New York and other publications, and currently serves as President of the Hollenback Community Garden in Clinton Hill. To read more of her work, visit winniemccroy.com.

 

FRANK MEADE (memoir, small business profiles) | Bio and photo coming soon. As in, very soon. Wait for it, wait for it…

 

Self-portrait

CHRISTIAN MILES (photos, photo essays) | Miles is a Hell’s Kitchen-based photographer whose solid grasp of photojournalism, social documentary, photo essays, along with his assertive approach to storytelling, have recently earned him the distinguished honor of being awarded second place for Best Photo Story, by the New York Press Association. Motivated by a concern for equality and human rights, Miles’ photo essays often shine a light on vulnerable populations who are frequently overlooked or underrepresented. He also enjoys capturing the many social, political, and cultural events that make New York the most diverse and dynamic city in the world. His images have appeared in AlterNet, The Washington Post, The Epoch Times, London Financial Times, W42ST Magazine, Downtown Express, Gay City News, and Chelsea Now.

 

Photo by Jason Thompson

REVEREND JEN MILLER (arts, lifestyle columnist) | Rev. Jen is a performer, painter, playwright, columnist, underground movie star, screenwriter and director, open mic host, ASS Magazine founder, ordained Reverend, author and Renaissance Elf. She has been a columnist for www.artnet.com, a sex columnist for http://www.nerve.com and a columnist for The Villager. Her books include June (Art Star Scene Press, 2015), BDSM 101 (Skyhorse, 2013), Elf Girl (Simon & Schuster, 2011) Live Nude Elf: the Sexperiments of Reverend Jen (Soft Skull Press, 2009) and Reverend Jen’s Really Cool Neighborhood (Printed Matter, 2003). Her handcrafted art books can be found in collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the MoMA Library, the Warhol Museum and more. In 1994, she received a B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, and has since shown her work in numerous group shows and solo exhibitions. Her cable access show, The Adventures of Electra Elf, directed by Nick Zedd, featuring Jen and her beloved Chihuahua, Reverend Jen Junior as caped crusaders, is currently available in a 22-episode box set from MVD. For over 20 years, Rev. has hosted the Anti-Slam, an open mic, which is perhaps the last enclave of bohemianism in New York. From 2000 to 2016, Reverend Jen ran the Lower East Side Troll Museum, which she created and lived in. Known for her eccentric style, Jen has been featured in Paper Magazine, New York Times Sunday Styles, New York Magazine, and on the cover of Time Out New York, always sporting her signature elf ears.

 

Photo by Merri Cyr

MARK NIMAR (news, arts) | Nimar is a freelance writer who frequently covers the arts, politics, restaurants, and local news of New York City. A Hell’s Kitchen resident, he has written articles for the West Side Spirit, Chelsea Now, Straus News, and NewNowNext.com. He is also the author of the play Good Daddy, which recently received a staged reading at the Village Playwrights in Chelsea.

 

 

Photo by Robert Butcher

PUMA PERL (poetry, arts, features) | Perl is a widely published poet and writer, as well as a performer and producer. She is the author of two chapbooks, Ruby True and Belinda and Her Friends, and two full-length poetry collections, knuckle tattoos and Retrograde (great weather for MEDIA). A fifth, Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque), is due for release in Spring 2019. She is the creator, curator, and producer of Puma Perl’s Pandemonium, which launched at the Bowery Electric in 2012 and brings spoken word together with rock and roll. As Puma Perl and Friends, she performs regularly with a group of excellent musicians. She’s received two honorable mentions and one first place award from the New York Press Association, in recognition of her journalism, and was the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. She lives and works on the Lower East. A comprehensive list of video links and updates on events can be found on her blog. Her author’s page can be found on Amazon. Previous works can also be purchased at erbacce press. Instagram: puma_perl. Twitter: @puma916. Facebook: facebook.com/pumaperlandfriends.

 

Photo by Nora Jupiter

RANIA RICHARDSON (news, features, arts) | An award-winning reporter, Richardson specializes in boots-on-the-ground coverage of events. She is known for her ability to uncover unique angles, spot trends, and connect the dots to develop news stories. Notable features include the green roof on the Javits Convention Center, resources at YouTube Space NY, and a former Pfizer drug manufacturing plant in Brooklyn that is now a food start-up incubator. Her interviews include newsmakers and cultural icons such as Alfonso Cuarón, Daniel Johnston, and Judi Dench. IndieWire and NYC Community Media are among the many print and digital news outlets that have featured her articles and photos. A longtime independent film lover, she contributes reviews to Rotten Tomatoes as a Tomatometer-approved critic, and is a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. As a communications specialist, Richardson works across multiple platforms through video scripts, executive speeches, web content curation, and social media strategy. She began her career in international production management at TIME Magazine. Twitter: @RaniaRichardson.

 

Photo courtesy of Donathan Salkaln

DONATHAN SALKALN (political stories, cartooning) | After college, Donathan moved to NYC. The ensuing 40 years have given him what he calls, “Chelsea Grit.” He says, “Before the art galleries, Chelsea was the wild west.” His dog attacked a man crowbarring into a neighbor’s apartment, while she, inside with her baby, screamed. His VW got stripped, part-by-part, and then vanished. He motivated prostitutes to move out of his co-op. After a softball game at Elliott House fields, he and friends bloodied a “Wilding” gang marauding on West 23rd Street. Yet, although thugs, the Westies, and prostitutes have long since gone, he feels they’ve been replaced by real estate gold rushers turning the West Side upside down—draining its working class, affordable stores, and restaurants. He petitioned hard against the West Side Stadium and joined the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, fighting for progressive candidates and important local and national causes. Chelsea Now and Chelsea News have published his stories. He joins Chelsea Community News because, “Scott Stiffler, CCN’s editor and his readers share ‘Chelsea Grit,’ many for far longer than myself.”

 

Photo by Alan Barnett Photography

BERTE SCHACHTER (features, arts) | Schachter knows something about making people better informed. Retired from a career in managing business libraries in advertising, publishing, and marketing, she spent many years making sure that managers, editors, consultants, and creative staffs got up to speed (emphasis on “speed”), on the go-to topic of the day, including any trends, the viability of 60 second commercials, pretzels, and funeral home chains. Creating training programs, implementing user access to institutional data, and building collections are some of her skills and experiences. She has moved six libraries, and refuses to do it again. Schachter received her library master’s degree at Simmons in Boston and a BA from Brooklyn College. She has been a speaker and a writer, and has also taught two graduate courses. She loves to make people smarter, and still regrets not majoring in art, as an undergraduate. Ask her about Reading Partners (readingpartners.org).

 

Photo by the Mad Marchioness

TRAV S.D. aka D. Travis Stewart (news, features, arts) | Trav S.D. has been writing about arts and culture in NYC for 20 years, for such publications as the NY Times, American Theatre, The Village Voice, Time Out NY, Reason, The NY Sun, and the NYC Community Media family of papers. In addition to creating the popular blog Travalanche, he is also the author of two critically acclaimed books: No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous (Faber & Faber, 2005) and Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube (Bear Manor Media, 2013). He was an Affiliated Writing Fellow at American Theatre in 2001. When he’s not doing all that, he also writes and performs.

 

Photo by Danny Burke

SCOTT STIFFLER (founder, editor, contributing writer) | As the longtime editor of the weekly newsprint and digital publication, Chelsea Now (2008-2018), Stiffler assembled a stellar roster of award-winning freelancer writers, most of whom are valued contributors to this website. Stiffler has written for print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Blade, the Washington Blade, amNewYork, The Advocate, Show Business Weekly, Cybersocket, CitySearch.com, Gay City News, and Chelsea Now. His First Place wins in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest include Best Obituaries, Headline Writing, Coverage of the Arts, and Best Front Page. Contact him via email, at Scott@chelseacommunitynews.com. Twitter: @ScottCon77.

 

Photo by Maggie Berkvist

EILEEN STUKANE (news, features, arts) | As a reporter, Stukane is proud of having been on the Chelsea Now team that won the New York Press Association’s 2017 First Place Special Sections award for coverage of the September 2016 bombing in Chelsea. Eileen is also the author of Running on Two Different Tracks, an ebook memoir of a family redefined, published by Shebooks). She is the author of five other books: The Dream Worlds of Pregnancy, and with Niels Lauersen M.D., Ph.D., four widely read books on women’s health. Her articles relating to women have recently appeared on NextTribe.com, the most recent one, a profile of Mara Urshel, President of Kleinfeld Bridal (located on W. 20th St., known worldwide from TV’s Say Yes to The Dress). Stukane’s work has also been published in Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, McCall’s, Family Circle, Redbook, and numerous other national publications.

 

JOHN FOSTER THOMAS (photos, photo essays) | Thomas is a marketing, operations, and business strategy expert who’s worked with Fortune 500 companies and the State Department. He is Research Fellow at Rabin Martin, Omnicom Public Relations Group, and author of two White Papers for the Office of the President on trade reform. At Rabin Martin, a strategy consulting firm, Thomas derives market intelligence for the CEO and created the firm’s marketing/work process IT, driving $11M in annual revenue. As Product Manager at Verizon Communications, he gave first responders 99.99% accurate name and location information for 27 million people in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York with Enhanced 911. At Demopoulos Associates, an InfoSec firm, Thomas helps clients safeguard proprietary business information. He’s held every position in Marketing. His written work has been published in The Lancet, Health Affairs, Huffington Post and elsewhere. A board member ex officio of Trav S.D.’s Mountebanks, John’s photographs have been published in the Harwich Oracle, the Cape Cod Chronicle, Chelsea Now and the Villager.

 

CATHY TOWLE (spirituality) | Bio and photo coming soon. As in, very soon. Wait for it, wait for it…

 

Photo by Arielle Gordon

MIKA TURBERVILLE (arts, photos, photo essays) | Mika Turberville is a nonbinary film photographer whose pronouns are they/them. They are also an all-around coffee nerd with over a decade of slinging beans under their belt. You can find them on Instagram as @mikasnaps.

 

 

 

Photo by Robin Holland

ELIZABETH ZIMMER (dance, theater) | Zimmer has written about dance, theater, and books for The Village Voice, Ballet Review, Dance Studio Life, and other publications. She teaches writing at Hollins University and other places, and edits manuscripts of all kinds. She served as dance editor of The Village Voice from 1992 until 2006, and reviewed ballet for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1997 through 2005. Holding a B.A. in Literature from Bennington College and an M.A. in English from SUNY Stony Brook, Zimmer has studied many forms of dance, especially contact improvisation, with its founders. She edited Body Against Body: The Dance and other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (Station Hill Press, 1989) and Envisioning Dance for Film and Video (Routledge, 2002). Her one-woman show, North Wing, played at two Off-Off-Broadway theaters, and she has appeared in the work of Tina Croll, Aaron Landsman, Christopher Williams, and Kriota Willberg.

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