2000-11-04 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio...

From The Artists Studio...

By Susan Hartenstein

The mystery was solved. Her nightmare became reality. Indeed, the reality of what Medium Rayah witnessed this Halloween night in La Maison des Lunes was ghastlier even than the prematurely balled vision she saw in her crystal globes. Ghoulish guides led huge, unsuspecting crowds through a horror-filled funhouse. A ghost train engineered by a hideous driver thrust itself into the innocents. Why did our sleep-deprived seer see herself in the scene? In a mad mockery of her respected profession and cosmic arts, Rayah’s exquisite visage and breathtaking corpus were burglarized into no more than an ugly, cackling mechanical imposter encased in a cheap, tawdry carnival booth. Oh, the indignity! And Rayah – kidnapped and forced to behold this abomination. And the other gruesomeness she was made to gaze upon. Oh, the cruelty! Maniacal clowns. A "rotten" candy machine. A freak show populated by the gore-dripping likes of Siamese twins and madman artists in the Vincent van Ghost room. Most blood-curdling of all – the latest incarnation of Dr. Demento (who’s made more comebacks than Liza Minnelli) as, not an organ grinder, but a meat grinder. Good taste prevents me from revealing the horrific source of that meat. Allow me simply to say -- You do the math.

Who perpetrated this ghastly event, as if you couldn’t guess? Yes. Once again, that mad group of fiendish Halloween funmeisters -- Marina Callaghan, Geoff Rawling, Jan and Fritz and their troupe of demented assistants. They were even able to present this event in conjunction with the unsuspecting Gateway National Recreation Area, RTC and RMAC and received the generous sponsorship of the innocent Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. Will these shenanigans never end? How do they come up with these ever more imaginative and inventively realized ideas for terror each and every year? When will their insatiable appetites for blood, giggles and delighted screams from young and old finally be sated? We’ll have to wait til next year to find out.

RAA’s October Queens Millennium Festival is drawing to a close. You still, however, can catch some of it. The extensive art exhibitions in sTudio-6 and T-7 will be up through November 11. Gallery hours are Saturday 12-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Do yourself a favor, please. For absolutely no charge whatsoever and close to home, you can see artwork that you ordinarily would have to "schlep" into the city for or travel to other parts of Queens or Brooklyn to enjoy. Not only will you see the work of local artists, but that of other Queens artists. Where else, in one location, will you find watercolor scenes of your "hometown" by M. Elliott Killian; an exquisite pencil drawing of African American leaders of our time by James McKay; insightful sculptures and mobiles by Zena Gurbo entitled "a womb of my own"; an interactive exhibit of antique chimes by Aaron Zeidman; beautiful jewelry with the feel of sculpture by Renee Lee; an ecological exhibit which explores the interrelationships of art and science; powerful black and white photographs by Joseph Rothenberg and John Grillo. The list could go on and on. Don’t forget, also, that pieces on the sculpture walk will remain in place past October. Maps for the self-guided walk are available in Fort Tilden’s administration building.

Last weekend was another successful one in RAA’s Millennium Festival. Despite the windy conditions, many attended the Live Tinker Magazine on Saturday. True to its advertising, the event continued RAA’s efforts to present the broadest spectrum of artists to the festival – both "home-grown" and imported. Several fine poets read their work, including H.R. Stoneback, and a particularly moving piece read by RAA’s own Dee Dickason. A slide show included work by Esther Grillo and Martha Killian. Entertaining theatrical interludes were presented by the Tinker Players. The sounds of jazz, bluegrass and more rang "through the house", thanks to the groups Wet Paint, Grass and Rooftop Life. All this with the backdrop of our huge art exhibit. Congratulations to the multi-talented duo of Zena Gurbo and Aaron Zeidman, producers of the event. In another part of town, Denis Macrae led a tour of local artists’ studios. Thanks to all for making the weekend so wonderful.

Reminder to sTudio-6 artists – remove your work Sunday, November 12 from 2-5 p.m.

Reminder to sTudio-6 artist "wannabe’s" – bring work for RAA’s next member exhibit on this same day and time. "Seasonal Sensations" will run from November 18 to January 14.

The Rockaway Theatre Company and I would like to thank all the splendid audiences we had for "Once Upon a Mattress." It is only in performance that a stage play truly comes to life. The energy and encouragement that flowed to us from the people in the seats could have lit NYC for a year. Thank you so much for helping to make this such a highly successful show. We’ll see you again in the spring.

As for RAA fans, we’ll see you this month at the Fort.

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