JCCSF Matters Newsletter

JCCSF Matters

April 2015
BrokeAss Gourmet Blogger Goes to Camp
BrokeAss Gourmet Blogger Gabi Moskowitz

  Blogging may have gotten a bad rap lately but it remains one of the most powerful ways to hone your writing skills and share your vision with the world. It’s especially great for teens, who tend to be more tech-savvy than adults and are able to concentrate on the creative rather than the technical side of blogging. Lucky for them, there’s a JCCSF blogging camp this summer taught by Gabi Moskowitz of BrokeAssGourmet.com, whose life and work serve to correct many misapprehensions about blogging.
 
Gabi started blogging in 2009. “Many of my friends had lost their jobs,” she says. “They were struggling to support themselves. I decided to create a place with easy-to-cook, inexpensive recipes. That’s when BrokeAss Gourmet was born.”
 
Gabi had no idea that six years later, her blog would have become so well known that it would lead to cookbook deals, speaking and teaching opportunities, and even a network TV show, Young & Hungry, based on her life.
 
But the blog is where it all started, and it’s her great recipes and irreverent voice that keep people coming back. The blog is a godsend for “folks who want to live the high life on the cheap.” Gabi’s writing style is casual and showcases her sense of humor. About a sweet treat made with matzah, she writes, “I guess matzah kind of stops being the bread of affliction after you drizzle it with gooey caramel, melted chocolate and flaky salt and serve it for dessert, but that is a risk I am willing to take.”
 
Gabi loves working with teens and preteens. “I think teens yearn to express themselves, and a blog is a place for creative expression.” When asked what makes for a great blog, Gabi points to Tavi Gevinson’s Rookiemag.com, and says, “Tavi started the blog when she was 12 years old, and she’s stayed true to who she is and to her message.” At the same time, “it’s ok to make mistakes, and it’s ok if the blog shifts over time. Blogs are living creatures in that way.”
 
Browse summer camps for preteens and teens. Read the full Q & A with Gabi Moskowitz. 

Access Your Inner Poet

Poetry and Prose

Teens aren’t the only ones who get to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) at the JCCSF. Adult writers – both experienced and aspiring – get inspiration and support in Roberta Pressman’s Poetry & Prose Workshop, Errol Davis’s Creative Writing class and Barbara Leff’s The Writer’s Room.
 
Those who are shy about their efforts will be glad to know that all three instructors believe first and foremost in encouragement.
 
Errol Davis quotes Qigong master Chunyi Lin: “There is only good, better and best.” Roberta Pressman (according to one longtime student) “always focuses on the positive side of things, no matter what.” And Barbara Leff, who presides over a drop-in space for writers, says she tries to create a safe place for people to explore their creativity in any way they choose.
 
Some of the Writer’s Room participants want to be critiqued, says Barbara, and some do not. She’s happy to oblige either way. Barbara aims to ease people past their blocks – whether the block is beginning to write or getting back to a longstanding project. She starts each session with a series of prompts – in a recent session it was a series of song titles, from Tea for Two to Something in the Way She Moves. After freewriting, students move on to their own projects. “The energy of a room where everyone’s focused on writing is a powerful thing,” notes Barbara, who has published books of poetry, including And God Said, in which Barbara “fills in some of the chinks of the Creation stories from the Book of Genesis.”
 
Roberta Pressman also gives evocative prompts during her classes (in a recent class the list included hummingbird, azure, and a perfect exit). Roberta has been teaching writing at the JCCSF since the mid-1980s, with a short break while the new building was under construction. She studied and taught bibliotherapy – getting at emotion through the reading and writing of poetry – but says her current classes are more traditional writing workshops. Her students are fiercely loyal. “It’s a wonderful combination of push and freedom,” says one student. “We’re encouraged to try different styles, yet there’s no insistence on doing anything we don’t want to do.”
 
On May 15, students in Roberta’s class share their work in an Annual Poetry & Prose Reading. Read more about Roberta Pressman and her Poetry & Prose Workshop.
 
Read more about Barbara Leff and The Writer's Room or Errol Davis and his Creative Writing class.
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Showcase 2015

We’re getting closer and closer to the party of the year – Showcase 2015 – which promises a night of glitter-dusted, platinum-plated diversion, not to mention benefitting the JCCSF, ensuring that our programs and services remain accessible to all.
 
The evening’s theme is Steppin’ Out; the night will feature a 14-piece live band showcasing Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, dancing and a few surprises, including a variety of pop-up performers.
 
“We’re all excited about Showcase 2015,” says Director of Development Lloyd Sacks. “And are deeply grateful for the support we’re receiving from individual members of our community and businesses who understand how important the JCCSF is to San Franciscans. It’s amazing what we can accomplish together, and we get to celebrate it all at an excellent party.”
 
It’s not too late to buy tickets.
 
JCCSF Showcase 2015 • Thursday, 5/14