2000-10-21 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

By Susan Hartenstein

From The Artists Studio
Rockaway Artists Alliance

The Matsimela Dance and Drama Ensemble giving a stunning outdoor performance of South African dance and talking drums at last Sunday’s RAA Millennium Festival, which continues through October. (Photo courtesy of Chris Jorge)
The Matsimela Dance and Drama Ensemble giving a stunning outdoor performance of South African dance and talking drums at last Sunday’s RAA Millennium Festival, which continues through October. (Photo courtesy of Chris Jorge)

She is being driven mad by the endless sounds of a calliope. Medium Rayah cannot lay head upon pillow for a minute’s rest or spend a peaceful waking moment without the crazed notes of a fiendishly ceaseless carnival instrument pounding in her ears.

Out of the goodness of her psychic heart, the Madam once again volunteered to foresee the events of Halloween for the RAA. Well, for all of you who think fortunetelling is a cushy job, think again. Once plugged into the cosmos, it’s not so easy to unplug. "Why," Rayah asks herself, "will the maniacal music not stop?" "From whence does it arise?" "What horror accompanies these notes which bounce up and down in my head like a caffeine-ridden ping pong ball?" Last week I told you that the Madam was envisioning a flashing neon sign that read, "La Maison des Lunes." A linguist in her spare time, Rayah instantly knew that the phrase means, "House of the Moon." But what part was it going to play in the forthcoming RAA Halloween fright night? Just yesterday, Mad. Rayah saw more. Though not quite sure if it’s a fuzzy memory of a bad date she had at Playland 30 years ago or a present day vision of things to come, the peri-menopausally confused Madam has been seeing, in her crystal ball, images of a funhouse gone awry. Maniacal carnival characters zoom in and out of focus, accessorized by blood and gore. Washing all in a ghostly pale light is a ghoulish full moon. But what exactly is to transpire on the night of Halloween, October 31 at building 1 (the administration building) in Fort Tilden from 5–8 p.m.? What mayhem awaits those attending this wildly popular annual RAA event? Medium R does not know as yet. Perhaps she will see more in time for next week’s column. For now, all she can do is to keep staring at those crystal balls and munching on Extra Strength Tylenol for those pounding headaches. The hot flashes are another matter all together, we won’t even discuss.

Don’t tell Medium Rayah I’m saying this, but the gentle folks at RAA want me to remind you that their annual Halloween night extravaganza is not only free, it’s always totally safe and under the protection of the Park Police. It is a fun night of ghoulish delight for the entire family. By the way, dress warmly – it may be cool. Friends or members of RAA who wish to participate, preparations are beginning in building 1 on October 23. Contact Marina (The Macabre) Callaghan.

Another terrific weekend is upon us in RAA’s Millennium Festival activities. Saturday at 10 a.m., a bird and nature walk of Fort Tilden and the beach convenes at building 1. Meet RAA’s Denis Macrae at The Beach Club at 9:30 a.m. if you wish to participate in and avail yourself of carpooling. Macrae and the Park Service’s Nancy Corona conduct the tour, which includes a comparison of the art of various field guides. Bring binoculars and bird books. At 8 p.m. a Networking Costume Party is being thrown, sponsored by The Beach Club and Connelly’s. Come as a famous work of art or artist. Signs directing you to the proper building will be posted in the fort.

Sunday, October 22 give yourself the very special gift of attending the lecture and demonstration on the art of Louis Tiffany and the extraordinary landscape window he created for the First Presbyterian Church in Far Rockaway. This site of the lecture is a mini-cathedral and is part of the Russell Sage Memorial. RAA’s Patrick Clark, himself a renowned stained glass artist, will begin his talk at 1:30 p.m. in the church. (Meet Denis Macrae at The Beach Club at 12:30 if you wish to carpool.) This window is considered one of Tiffany’s greatest works of art and Clark has a passionate and scholarly understanding of it. At 2:15 Clark will give a demonstration of the fabrication of stained glass in the Tiffany technique. The demonstration will take place at Clark’s new workshop – the site if the forthcoming Russell Sage Center for Stained Glass and Preservation. As planned, this institute will provide a five-year stained glass professional job-training program for those in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Another aspect of the institute is to offer classes in stained glass for adults in the community and classes for the schoolchildren of Queens.

We recently discovered that some people came to Fort Tilden October 7 for a film screening which appeared in a Gateway brochure, but which had been eliminated a while ago from our publicity. We regret any inconvenience that may have been caused.

Thank you to all who made last weekend’s well-attended festivities so successful. All the sculptors whose pieces appear on our sculpture walk came, bringing friends and admirers. The National Parks Service provided a trolley and the wonderfully patient Skip to drive it. Maps for a self-guided tour are available in buildings 1, T-7 and sTudio-6. A walk through the sculptures provides a great view of the autumn Tilden foliage. Audrey Pheffer supported this event and introduced it. Barbara Eisenstadt’s kind words were very appreciated. Much thanks to Major Bob Weigand for "redesigning" Stonehenge for us. 101 Deli donated the delicious food. Sunday, Karen McCallion and Ruth Graves made a lot of kids happy with their "Stories by the Sea." Madelaine Chocolates and McDonald’s made them even happier. In a gorgeous, bright multi-cultural afternoon, the Matsimela Dance and Drama Ensemble gave a stunning outdoor performance of South African dance and talking drums; Elena Marian and Carolina Willsen presented beautiful Irish step dances and Denis Macrae demonstrated Balinese tales and mythology through dance.

Congratulations to Patrick Antonelle, Patrick Clark, Joan Perkins and Rita Sweeney for being honored by Saint Rose of Lima Church. It was a great evening.

See you this weekend at the Fort.

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