About Sami Roberts

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Stand-Up Tara Cannistraci On Outdoor Comedy, and Why Indoor Shows Make Her Feel Like Bronx Barbie

(Photo courtesy of Tara Cannistraci)

From the cold, slightly damp ground in Prospect Park, mild laughter dissolved into the Friday evening air in late September. Comedians stepped up onto the “stage” (a small hill) and competed for attention. If it wasn’t the music from the Zumba class 50 feet away that was stealing it, it was the child’s birthday party marked by large mylar balloons. Usually the most disruptive thing in a comedy club is the drunk heckler, but a heckler probably wouldn’t be heard here by anyone other than the family next to him with the baby on a picnic blanket.. The show was hosted by Tara Cannistraci, a comedian from the Bronx. “I have a show tonight because laughing is essential,” she tells people. “I’m basically a nurse.” More →

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How a City Councilman Became a Union Boss to Fight For Freelancers Hit By Coronavirus

(Photos courtesy of Rafael Espinal)

When Rafael Espinal abruptly resigned his post as City Council member in January, there were many questions among his Brooklyn constituents about the charismatic politician’s unexpected decision to take a job as head of the Freelancers Union. The change of career came at a peculiar time, as the coronavirus made its way to the US in a more severe way than anyone expected. But now Espinal finds himself on the frontlines of the fight, buried in Zoom calls, phone calls, Skype calls, and virtual town halls, doing what he can to support freelancers who are losing work as the coronavirus shutdown continues. More →