2001-10-27 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein

They’re here, they’re there, and they’re everywhere. Moths of monstrous magnitude. Terrifyingly towering tarantulas. Ants in unanticipated numbers. In a word – BUGS! These are the horrific images crawling around in Medium Rayah’s crystal balls. Medium Rayah, is RAA’s resident fortuneteller, soothsayer and licensed electrologist.

Medium Rayah, who each year predicts with penetrating precision, the horrendous happenings which will befall Fort Tilden in late October. (What a coincidence that they always seem to happen around Halloween.) Yes, that Medium Rayah is once again warning this community in order that it may prepare before it is too late. Buy up the flyswatters, my friends. Hoard the Raid. Stockpile the citronella. They’re coming! THEY’RE "BUGGIN’ OUT!"

Not only have these grotesque visions been bugging Rayah’s glass balls. They’ve begun coming to her at night when she attempts to sleep. Yes, bedbugs are even bugging her bed.

Here is the whole grubby story as Rayah sees it so far. Giant creepy-crawlies will descend upon Fort Tilden on the evening of October 31, from 5-8 p.m., in and around Building 1. Hairy-legged, up your calf, in-your-ear monsters of major proportions will creep, swoop and drop. Gargantuan yellow jackets with stingers the size of lances. Oversized roaches (let’s face it – the regular-sized ones are disgusting enough.) and caterpillars the size of bulldozers.

Be on the alert. Madam Rayah warns that, in an attempt to worm their way into our community, some of the wily wigglies will be disguised. Beetles may dress as Liverpudlian rock stars. Wasps will try to pass as WASPS. Even as we speak, earwigs are being fitted for toupees and woolly bears are shaving off their beards. Most frightening of all, in an attempt to circumvent our most reliable early warning system, Madam Rayah, the entomological evildoers will be sending in huge gypsy moths dressed as our own gypsy queen Rayah. This, in order to create confusion and chaos. Oh, what a tangled web they weave…Of course, luckily, no one could ever successfully imitate our impeccably haute-coutured Rayah, but they will try. Be on the lookout, therefore, for any signs of color coordination. That will definitely not be Rayah, whose sense of color is unique and not limited by any pedantic rules of regularity.

As has occurred every year with the various and sundry invaders, ghouls, goblins and monsters that overrun Fort Tilden each October, this year’s perpetrators will be enlisting the assistance of those masters of light, sound and interactive terror – Marina, Geoff, Jan, Fritz and their misguided cohorts. As if this gruesome tale weren’t enough, the Mad Madam’s thespian buddy, (that’s thespian, not that there’s anything wrong with that) Medium Deus Ex Machina, tells her of a second horror-filled happening at the fort, in the Post Theater. "The Legend of the Haunted Café" will be repeated again and again, with frightening regularity, every 20 minutes from 4-7:30 p.m. Oh, what more can befall us?

But thanks to the genius of our dear Madam, the forces of good have hatched a plan. On sale in the parking lot, Maria will be selling her hot dogs. Irresistible, especially to creatures of the insectivorous persuasion, Maria’s Dogs will attract the buggy hoards, as a flea to a canine, where they will be encircled and ensnared.

So be warned and be prepared. But do it now. Time is ticking away. Once again, Madam, you have succeeded in alerting a grateful public. Well done, Medium Rayah!

A new fountain graces Rockaway Artists Alliance garden in Fort Tilden. Designed and built by Elke Fontello and her sister, a solar powered pump sprays water in the air.

Russian artist Isabella Slobidov demonstrates the fine art of stone carving at the Art Splash 2001 show in building Studio 7 at Fort Tilden.

Photos by D. Macrae

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