2007-08-24 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Artsplash is Coming; Camp Finale; Last Chance for Moons and Magnolias.

RAA Contact Info:

Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartists alliance.org

Artsplash Opening Reception: September 9, 2007, 1-3 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery.

RAA's annual juried multi-media cultural event is a major showcase for a full spectrum of visual, literary and performing artists.

Exhibition dates: September 9-October 7, 2007.

The Summer Moons Free Concert/ Entertainment Series:

Start time: 7 p.m.

August 30: We're getting many bands and performers from the summer season back together for an all night jam. As of this writing, performing are: John Lepore Band, Judge and Jury, Kuff, and Walker.

Here is the good news: though August 30 is the final Summer Moon evening, RAA is extending Thursday night music into the fall. We'll be booking bands and having more open mike nights. Check this column for schedules.

About August 16 Summer Moons:

Kicking off the night was "Squid," with performers Guy Nevirs, Lou Diantoni, Mike MacNamara and Jerry Weimer. After performing their first set, Nevirs opened the stage to a waiting group of acoustic musicians. Rockaway locals Andrew Harwood; Tim Kuffner of "Kuff & The Buttheads"; Matty Lyons formerly of "The Monty Burns Blues Band"; members of "Indaculture" - Danny Mulvanerty, Matt Allen and Jenna Baker; and performances from John Gioia and Dennis Guiney from Brooklyn. John Henry Sheridan rounded out the evening.

Camp kidsmART closed its eighth season with a night to remember on Wednesday, August 15 on the Moon Stage and in the sTudio 6 and 7 galleries in Fort Tilden. It has been called the best camp final show yet. The festivities, aptly called "The Greatest Art Show on Earth" began at 7 p.m. and featured the visual artwork and performances of the 185 campers who attended camp kidsmART this summer. The awesome exhibit included a slide show retrospective of all of the campers participating in song and dance numbers; camp-wide special events, including Color Clash, Wacky Water Wednesday, and Pirates of the Peninsula; creating clay sculptures, acrylic paintings, arts and crafts and environmental art; playing organized sports; enjoying interactive exhibits and lectures presented to the campers by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The American Museum of Natural History, and more.

The performance aspect of the evening was titled, "Lost in NYC." It was a funny and entertaining spoof written by and starring the campers. The plot presented children going on a school trip and losing their teacher. In search of their teacher, the youngsters went on the train to different NYC neighborhoods, each with its own distinct "flavor." The songs and dances performed reflected these flavors. In Chinatown, for example, a dragon slid and danced through the streets. In Greenwich Village, the children cavorted with hippies to the tune of a satire of "Friends" song "Smelly Cat." In Harlem they performed hip hop.

The show's finale, "Footloose," which was directed by junior counselors Matt Smilardi and Katy Hall, was so high-powered and energized, the audience rose in unison to applaud in rhythm and join in the movement and song. Congratulations to the counselors who directed all the aspects of the show: Khadyjah Alleyne, dance; Ellen Fabbricatori, theater; Kalin Callaghan, set design and construction; and Arianna Rose, who performed all the background music. All the staff participated in the support system, from stage hands to clean-up. Kudos to the entire camp staff of counselors, junior counselors and teen assistants for the work they have done this summer.

Kudos and thanks to the administrators of camp kidsmART, Co-Directors Marina Callaghan and Christine Mullally and Assistant Director Tara Scannell, for giving this community an exemplary summer program that changes lives for the better. In their opening statements to the show, Christine Mullally spoke to the support of the camp's partners that included Rockaway Music and Arts Council, The Surfrider Foundation and Channel Thirteen; Tara Scannell addressed the "magic" of sTudio 6, in which the youngest campers shone; and Marina Callaghan talked about the extraordinary staff, parents and children. Marina told me that this show was the culmination of an entire summer's worth of efforts. She added that the children really adhered to the principles of kidsmART. In doing so, even through the personal trials and difficulties of life suffered by certain campers and staff, all came through the summer stronger. All came through, bonded as a family.

Bravo!

Final Weekend To See "Steel Magnolias":

Final performances at the Post Theater, Fort Tilden: August 24, 25 at 8 p.m. For tickets: 718-850- 2450.

This is your last chance to see the Rockaway Theatre Company production that has received so much praise for its extraordinary direction, acting and sets.

In recent weeks I have written much about the directors, actors, technical staff and design people connected with "Magnolias." There are just too many for me to name all of them, individually, in this column.

Please come see the high caliber of their art and craft.

Thanks, above all, to the wonderfully responsive, loyal audiences.

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