Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.


Episode 34: Michelle Kantor Talks About Cinefemme


It’s no secret that women are under represented in the film industry. One study showed that for the top grossing films in 2017, women made up only 18% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers. Women made up only 11% of all directors and 88% of the films had no female directors.

Michell Kantor has set out to change that. In 2002, she helped to found Cinefemme, a non-profit charitable 501-c3 organization that provides fiscal sponsorship for women-helmed films and projects. She herself is an award-winning writer/director and producer and she has several projects in the works. We love the movies and we would love to see more women make movies. Michelle Kantor talks with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about Cinefemme.

Photo by Janet Barnett 

Episode 33: Aimee Lam and Susan Engelstein Talk About Literacy


Perhaps you’ve had this experience – visiting a foreign country where you can’t speak, read, or write the language. Well, recent arrivals to the United States experience that sense of isolation which can prevent them from engaging with their neighbors, getting a job, and helping their children succeed in school. Fortunately, there are people eager to help. Aimee Lam is executive director and Susan Engelstein program and events manager for the Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County in New Jersey. There are organizations like LVSC all over the country. Aimee and Susan talk with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about how LVSC volunteers are advancing the cause of literacy in their community.

Read Marina Kennedy’s story about LVSC.

Episode 32: Jean Lichty Talks About La Femme Theatre Productions


Jean Lichty is an actor on a mission – to have a theater company that can explore, highlight, and honor the female experience. She made that vision a reality in 2013 when she registered La Femme Theatre Productions. Three years ago this month, La Femme appointed its first board members and Jean was elected executive director. The company began producing plays in line with its mission and this fall will produce the first New York revival of Tennessee William’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. She tells Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about La Femme Theatre Productions, working with actor/director/playwright Austin Pendleton, and their new collaboration, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. 

Episode 31: Stephanie Thompson Harris Talks About Dancer’s Heart


In 2010, Stephanie Thompson Harris lost her daughter, Imani, to a rare disease. Children are not supposed to die before their parents do, and when that happens it upends the natural order. Stephanie was left with many challenges. First, working through overwhelming grief that followed her daughter’ s death. She also had to go back to work, trying to figure out her career path forward. And she wanted to find a way to keep the memory of her child alive, which she has done with the non-profit, A Dancer’s Heart.

Her journey was difficult, but along the way she learned life lessons that she wanted to share with other women who may also be facing challenges in their lives. We can all benefit from her wise words. Listen to her interview with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti.

For more information, go to the website for A Dancer’s Heart. 

Episode 30: Bari Lyman Talks About Meet to Marry


“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.” 

That quote is from Julia Child who was married to the American diplomat Paul Cushing Child for 48 years. Finding the right person to marry, let alone staying married to that person for a long time, has become, for many, a challenge. And despite all those dating sites and apps, oftentimes technology alone cannot help us find that special love that may lead to marriage.

After her own experience, finding the right man who could truly be a life partner, Bari Lyman set out to help others, through her book and her coaching program, Meet to Marry. She talks about her program, her book, and how she has attended more weddings than she can count, celebrating with couples she has helped. 

Episode 29: Jeff Jaffe Talks About Pop International Galleries


We’re hearing a lot about immigrants these days and Jeff Jaffe is certainly someone who came to the U.S. in search of a better life. Jeff grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era and was no stranger to the social injustice happening all around him. At that time, all male high school graduates were enlisted into the military to fight against the “communist threat.” 

At age 20, he left South Africa after his military service ended with only $100 in his pocket. Fast forward to 1997 when he opened Pop International Galleries on the Bowery in New York City. He remembers selling his first major painting, a Keith Haring, for $150,000. Today that painting would easily get $5 or $6 million. 

Jeff earned an MFA in sculpture from the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit He has a unique point of view as an artist and a gallery owner. To this day, he has never signed formal written agreements with the artists he represents – everything is done with a handshake. 

Jeff talks with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about his journey from South Africa to New York and Pop International Galleries.

Episode 28: Steve Pemberton Talks About Growing Up in Foster Care


Steve Pemberton’s book, A Chance in the World, is heartbreaking yet uplifting, tragic yet triumphant, discouraging yet inspiring. The subtitle tells it all: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home.

He was born Steve Klakowicz in New Bedford, Massachusetts. At age five, he was placed in a a foster home that can only be described as evil. Through the kindness of one woman, he discovered his love for reading and he would hole up in his foster family’s dark and damp basement to lose himself in other worlds and dream about what his life could be like. He managed to escape that foster hell and graduated from Boston College. But that bright future was haunted by his past and he set out to find his birth family. What he found on that journey answered many questions about his origins, but also caused him to examine what family really means.

On any given day, there are nearly 450,000 children in the U.S. in foster care. And each year, nearly 25,000 kids will age out of foster care and group homes. Steve hopes his book and a foundation that he has established can work towards making a difference. He talks with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about his book and growing up in foster care.

Episode 27: Dr. Carolina Castaños Talks About Surviving a Breakup


“Breakin’ up is hard to do.” So goes the old Neil Sedaka hit song. 

We’ve all been there. Being on the giving or receiving end of a relationship. And we know that experience can be painful and oftentimes difficult to get past. That rejection, that abandonment, may tap into our deep insecurities. We may question our self worth, our ability to love and be loved, and our future relationships may suffer. 

Dr. Carolina Castaños has 20 years of experience in marriage and family therapy. She says that sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for a person to start working on herself or himself. Click to listen to the interview with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti.

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