The Happiest Contributors
Karen Tortora-Lee: Managing Director, Editor-in-Chief and Founder
Karen Tortora-Lee has been in love with theatre since she was a young child growing up in Brooklyn. She began reviewing off-off Broadway shows for neighborbeeblog.com / neighborbeenyc.com in 2008 and became that site’s managing editor in early 2009 while continuing to act as their sole theatre columnist. In mid 2009 she began reviewing for TheFabMarquee.com.
Overflowing with ideas, constantly making new connections, and feeling the need to highlight, showcase and celebrate the amazing talent she continually came in contact with, she launched THE HAPPIEST MEDIUM with her husband in fall of 2009. As a theatre reviewer she has covered everything from the IT nominations to the Fringe Festival, the First Irish Festival to the New York Musical Festival, the Midtown International Festival to the Fight Festival, Clown Fest and everything in between. Most notably, she was honored when THM was asked to become a media partner for The Planet Connections Festivities and later FRIGID New York Festival 2011 and 2012.
On a more creative note, Karen has written several plays, completed a novel (and is working on a second), wrote, directed and performed her one woman show TRASHEDY, has worked as a script consultant for an independent film company, and appeared as an extra in Next Stop Wonderland (directed by Brad Anderson). She’s been published in Time Digital Magazine, and was a comedy staff writer for a pilot of the Lady Bunny Show. She currently resides on Board of Directors of Maieutic Theatre Works (MTWorks).
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Stephen Tortora-Lee: Website Architect and Contributor
Stephen Tortora-Lee likes to refer to himself as a Jack-of-All-Trades / Master of Science. (He has an M.S in Forest Ecology with a concentration in Geographical Information Systems and Social Ecology). He hails from the great state of Michigan but has been a New Yorker for (so far) the best years of his life. Since arriving here he’s participated in some interesting groups dealing with Spirituality, Philosophy, and Open Source Computing in order to perfect his solution to international strife. To pay the bills he’s worked as an assistant to an internationally known writer and celebrity of sorts, was a Survey Project Manager for a national consortium of construction magazines and did some municipal bonds analysis (but haven’t we all). Stephen lives very happily in Brooklyn Heights with his amazing wife Karen Tortora-Lee. His posts center on collective intelligence which can often present itself through music, art, books, or film. He strives to one day save the world – one small step at a time. He hopes he inspires you to join him.
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Michelle Augello-Page writes poetry, gothic fiction, and erotica. Her work has appeared in art exhibitions, online journals, print publications, and anthologies; at present, she is completing a poetry manuscript and a collection of gothic tales. For more about Michelle, check out her website/blog at michelleaugellopage.wordpress.com..
“It is such an honor to be a contributor to The Happiest Medium, and to share my writing by showcasing and shining the spotlight on the exciting and innovative artists, shows, and events within and around Manhattan. The Happiest Medium is an eclectic site that seeks to share the multi-faceted world of the NYC Arts and does so with depth, integrity, passion, and heart.”
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Geoffrey Paddy Johnson has been wanting ever since he was a small boy. Though he has no recollection of it, he originated in Ibadan, Nigeria, and moved in subsequent years to Dublin, Ireland, where he was shaped and molded. There was a degree in Philosophy and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin, and some years in art colleges at the Dun Laoire School and the National College of Art & Design. Since then there have been decades spent working in the realm of books – shops, libraries, museums, galleries – cataloging, selling, buying, marketing; repairing, designing, reviewing, introducing; reading, inhaling, but rarely condescending; and writing.
He is the author of works published and unpublished, both fiction and non-fiction, with contributions to journals in Ireland, Britain, and the U.S. No slouch in the art field, he has worked at everything from handler-installer to gallery director-curator (with some odd roles in between), and understands the creative process from the perspective of nervous self-presenting artist to nervous self-promoting art dealer. He has, I might allow, a lively proven interest in the arts in general. Currently he is working very hard in a garret in New York City, where he is writing a collection of short stories, working on a second novel, and dreaming about his free time. Former places of employ include The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Hodges Figgis Booksellers, Dublin; The Royal Kilmainham Bookshop at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Ursus Books and Prints Ltd., NYC; and John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Booksellers, NYC.
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Anne Bergstedt Jordanova is a Swedish actress, director, and writer.
She was a film student at CUNY Brooklyn College-majoring in Directing, with an emphasis on German cinema, and had quite a bohemian life which has taken her from Paris to New York, Milan, Stockholm, and Los Angeles. Born into a family of performers -her grandmother was actress Jean Carlin- “Anya” relocated to Los Angeles in 2005 to pursue a career in the arts. After quickly finding success as a model, she spent the next few years traveling, working, and publishing a blog on her travels and life as a model. Anya is also passionate about animal rights and is a constant public voice in campaigns with PETA, Whaleman Foundation, and local animal rescue organizations.
Anya currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and she can also be seen the the upcoming German film Zweiohrküken and Arthur. In addition, her first short film “August” is debuting at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. She is also the Co-President of Swede Things Films.
Her official website is: www.anyasamanthajordanova.com
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Katelyn Manfre wears many hats. A New Hampshire-native, she now lives, works, and acts here in New York City. She is a reader, a talker, a baker, a singer, a traveler, an ice cream enthusiast, and a theater lover since childhood.
Katelyn graduated from NYU with a BFA in Drama from the Tisch School of the Arts and a double major in Journalism. She studied with the Atlantic Acting School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Since graduating, Katelyn has served as the Marketing Director and proud founding member of Pipeline Theatre Company (pipelinetheatre.org). As an actress, she has performed with companies such as Pipeline, The Attic, Atlantic for Kids, Primary Stages, and The Gallery Players.
She began writing in high school, where she was co-editor of the school paper, and named “New Hampshire High School Journalist of the Year” in 2006 for her regular contributions to her small-town paper, the Monadnock Ledger. In New York, she has written for The Forward arts blog, “The Arty Semite”, and Time Out New York. Katelyn has found herself covering every theater festival in NYC; stuffing her face with the Fringe, Frigid, First Irish, and Fight Fest. She is thrilled to now be writing for THM!
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Diánna Martin is an actress, acting teacher, director, and writer who grew up in an entertainment household but spent most of her time writing, and was an English Lit Major in college…and then started doing a lot of different things.
After five years hosting, directing, and producing live television and radio in St. Louis, Diánna returned to her hometown, NYC, in 2000 to continue on that course and perhaps return to her love of acting…and eventually decided that her love of the arts made her want to pursue acting and directing theatre and film, as well as teaching – following in the footsteps of her parents, Tony Award-winning actress Ann Wedgeworth and acting teacher/director Ernie Martin.Since her return to NYC, she has acted, directed, and coached in and for theatre, film, and television, as well as been a staff theatre critic for TheFabMarquee.com. She now runs Martin Acting Studios, teaching acting classes and private coaching a cross-section of Strasberg and Meisner technique.
She is currently a core member of Oberon Theatre Ensemble and Maieutic Theatre Works (MTWorks), a teacher for Hunter College CE, as well as an Awards Judge for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and a staff writer for The Happiest Medium.
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An award-winning artist, Antonio Miniño is a native of the Dominican Republic where he studied theatre at the School of Dramatic Arts, co-hosted/produced and directed for the award-winning television show FashionTV, was a contributing writer for M.S. Magazine, an art director for various fashion campaigns, and a director/performer for various national productions. Favorite NYC acting credits include: The Stranger to Kindness (Robert Moss Theater; Winner Congeniality Award, Nominated Best Actor), The Empress of Sex (Audience Favorite National NewBorn Festival), Arpeggio (45th St Theatre), Intermission (HERE), Trojan Women (MHS), Elevation (Payan Theatre), OOPS! (Manhattan Theatre Source), 4 Variations of Mee (Manhattan Children’s Theatre), Ilka’s Dream (Payan Theatre). Favorite directing credits include The Family Shakespeare, The Shadow Project, Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Rafael Morla’s Joan. As a singer he was seen recently at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe accompanied by Andrew Sotomayor, and at The Town Hall of New York with Voices in Unity at Peter Mayer’s Stars and Promises concert; he also sings with Voices in Unity regularly at Symphony Space NY.He is a founding member and company actor for MTWorks and currently serves as their Marketing Director, he is a contributing writer for The Happiest Medium, and a member of Voices in Unity. His photography has been featured in the NY Times, the NY Post, Backstage, Show Business Weekly, among others. Currently he studies voice with Susan Baum and continues his performance studies at The Juilliard School.To learn more about Antonio visit his website www.AntonioMinino.com
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Ellis Nassour ~ Following university, Ellis worked with nightclub impresario Art D’Lugoff, at New York’s Village Gate, where Woody Allen, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, Harry Belafonte, and Nina Simone performed. On joining The New York Times, he worked side by side legendary journalists, including foreign correspondents, Sam Zolotow (Drama), and critics Vincent Canby (Film), Jack Gould (TV), and Walter Kerr and Clive Barnes (Theater). Following the Times, he became Director, Artist Relations for Universal Pictures/MCA Music where he participated in the development of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s landmark musical concept Jesus Christ Superstar, and the careers of The Who, Elton John (supervising his American debut), Neil Diamond, Bill Cosby, Loretta Lynn (originating her Coal Miner’s Daughter campaign), Brenda Lee, Rick Nelson, Conway Twitty, Mae West, and classical guitarist Andres Segovia.
Ellis authored Rock Opera: The Creation of Jesus Christ Superstar (1973; three printings; and Japanese and German translations); Patsy Cline: An Intimate Portrait (1981 – two printings), the first biography of the country/pop star. His interviews with Patsy Cline fan Louise Seger in that book are the basis for the hit revue Always, Patsy Cline. Furthering the legacy of Patsy Cline, he authored Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline (1993; four printings; Mass market edition, 2003; Updated Edition, 2008, in third printing). Ellis co-anchored The Voice, a Bravo TV special on Patsy Cline with k.d. lang; provided source material for Virginia Public Television’s Patsy Cline: The Lady Behind the Legend ; and guested on national and international TV and radio tributes to Patsy Cline. He’s a former associate editor of the New York Daily News (Friday section) and an associate editor of Oxford University Press’ American National Biography (1999). Ellis is an international entertainment writer and frequent contributor to Lifestyles magazine, Playbill, and various media. He’s featured in the book Mississippians.
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Lina Zeldovich is a Russian-born New York writer who grew up on the classics of Russian literature, started writing at age five and switched languages at twenty one. Since then she has authored four novels, which have not yet found a home, and written many short stories that did.
Lina is a recipient of three Writer’s Digest Fiction Awards, one of them for an excerpt from her most recently finished belly dance murder mystery Death by Scheherazade’s Veil. Her story The Call of the Red Desert won a 2010 Moondance Film Festival contest.
Her works appeared in Murder New York Style and four Deadly Ink anthologies as well as in e-zines such as Voices from the Garage, A Twist of Noir and Trills Kills n’ Chills. Her upcoming publications include short stories in Writer’s Digest Fiction Collection 2010, Murder to Mil-Spec anthology from Wolfmont, The Shaker of Margaritas from MozarkPress, and an e-zine Beat to a Pulp – all of which mean a busy season of reading her works at NYC open mikes.
She also writes plays and travel articles as well as theater, restaurant and book reviews. Her Russian poetry collection titled Little Harlot, was published in her hometown a few years ago. Lina aspires to see her novels on the shelves of every indie book store and on The New York Times bestsellers list (one day!) Her other passions are traveling off-the-beaten-path, all things poisonous, and, of course, belly dancing!
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Matthew Alfieri is a long-time student of film and an advocate of the arts. He attends New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts, where he studies Directing for Film and Video.
Jenna Mulvey is a student at Roger Williams University, where she is pursuing a BA in Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. This past spring, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Last year, she interned at the RWU Office of Public Affairs, and worked as a freelance writer and photographer for the North Jersey Media Group.