Miss A Columnist

Randi Roberts is a food blogger, living just outside of New York City. She has BA in Art History from Brown University and a Master’s in Art Business from Sotheby’s in London and a consuming interest in aesthetics, in art, fashion, or food.

She has lived and studied in Cannes, London and Bologna (not coincidentally, a food capital of Italy). Her experiences both here and abroad have helped to cultivate her sense of adventure and an open-minded approach to life. Those experiences have deepened her understanding of aesthetics and visual presentation. Such appreciation is reflected in her food photography as well as her writing, be it be fiction or nonfiction.

She has worked in retail exposing her to the fields of fashion, art and beauty products. Her customer experience has given her insight into people, their buying habits and the world in which we live. Her ability as a story-teller helps her to relate to others, a useful tool for connecting with readers or viewers.

Recap: Cherub Improv’s Winter Gala At Tribeca Cinemas

Cherub Improv 3rd Gala

(Photo Credit: Randi Roberts)

It was cold outside on Tuesday, December 11, night, but laughter filled the Tribeca Cinemas with warmth as Cherub Improv celebrated its Third Annual Winter Gala. The night, which raised some $40,000, featured live and silent auctions of items ranging from jewelry to a dining experience at Telepan, and an open bar and passed canapés.

More than 100 guests howled as cherubs (volunteer actors) along with the organization’s founders, Jonathan Goldberg, Joy Purver, and Steve Van Ooteghem, demonstrated the magic of improv. Improv exercises including jokes about 185 gym teachers and a love song dedicated to a screw, tested the creativity of the cherubs, who lit up the room with their energy and spirit.

Cherub Improv 3rd Gala

Steve Van Ooteghem, Joy Purver, Kari Dela Cruz, and Jonathan Goldberg (Photo Credit: Randi Roberts)

It is that gift of laughter that Cherub Improv spreads through its performances, workshops and events throughout New York City. The organization was founded in 2007 by the three friends, who had years earlier happened into a class and become enthusiasts of improv. Goldberg says his father gave him the idea for creating Cherub Improv, as a form of “time management” as a way to combine his volunteer work with improv. He noted that no one had brought improv comedy to hospitals, so “there was a wide open field, and I felt like it was the perfect combination.” Now with some 175 volunteer actors, the group has presented more than 650 free shows and workshops in roughly 50 hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters and children’s centers. “We look to bring the art form to people and communities who need us, “ he said, “and wherever there is a need we like to answer the call.”

Cherub Improv 3rd Gala

Shelly Savoca, Marc Adam Smith, and Alexis Levenson (Photo Credit: Randi Roberts)

Shelly Savoca, a cherub who leads workshops with Big Brothers Big Sisters, says that laughter can be “truly healing.” “You think you have problems, but getting people to laugh, you realize your problems are nothing,” she says. Kari Dela Cruz, a high school senior, has been a cherub at Ronald McDonald House for a year. She read from her college essay, in which she wrote that being a cherub has not only given her strength but also empowers the children she works with.

Cherub Improv 3rd Gala

Ben Wellington, Joy Purver, Steve Van Ooteghem, Jonathan Goldberg, Betty Gumanow, Rosanne Zweig, Edna Nelkin and Zelda Fassler (Photo Credit: Randi Roberts)

Four women, Edna Nelkin, Betty Gumanow, Rosanne Zweig and Zelda Fassler, who participate in monthly improv workshops at the Kittay House home for seniors, told the crowd how their lives had been touched by Cherub Improv. They said that Goldberg and the other cherubs made them “feel reborn,” bringing “life back to them” by “giving them permission to be crazy.” As Ms. Nelkin put it, “it is healthy for us.”

Testimonials like these and the warmth and generosity of the guests really aligned with the theme of the event, “Angels Among Us.”

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