2007-10-19 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

A Rare Treasure
Rockaway Artists Alliance by Susan Hartenstein

Phone: 718-474-0861;
Fax: 718-474-4373;
e-mail: rockart116@aol.com;

"No Rooms Lobby" was not intended as a documentary. So realistic is it, however, in its depiction of its characters that it received the 2005 Best Docudrama Award at the Bare Bones Film Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was nominated Best Documentary at the 2005 Queens International Film Festival. It was filmed completely in Rockaway, featuring Rockaway residents. In the words of Robert Sarnoff, the filmmaker, it is about "a modern day Ulysses living on the fringe. All the lonely people." It boasts an original soundtrack.

Another year of RAA's kidsmART after-school program has begun! The doors are open and we are already knee-deep in painting, photography, jewelry design, clay making, chess, dancing, arts and crafts workshops and more! While the weather stays nice, we're also taking nature walks, participating in organized sports and games outdoors and just playing in the sun.

We've received a rousing "Welcome Back" from the kids and parents who know us so well, and we've been delighted by the anticipation and enjoyment the program is already bringing to new families. New to us? We invite all parents and kids (ages 6- 13) to come up to Fort Tilden any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. to check out kidsmART. It's the only program on the peninsula that truly suits every kid's needs- and it's free!

Madam Rayah was supposed to have the full Halloween picture this week for those of you in the state of Bated Breath. Unfortunately, there was a malfunction in both of her crystal balls. However, as of now she can tell you - keep an eye out for a prison ship arriving at sTudio 7 in the Fort of Tilden on Friday, October 26, anchoring there the 27, 28 and 29, leaving and then returning on the 31, the night of Halloween. How will you be able to identify this ship and its passengers in order to protect yourselves? Next week Rayah will reveal all.


I cannot imagine Rockaway without Barbara Eisenstadt. A woman of grace, intelligence and courage, she brought those qualities to everything she did, whether it involved family, friends or community. Even if you did not know her personally, as a resident of Rockaway your life was touched by her. Barbara made this peninsula a better place to live. She had a passion for this community and its people, and the intelligence and determination to turn that passion into action. Soft-spoken yet forceful, she was a tireless advocate for bringing the benefits of art and culture here. She worked hard to raise funds and develop programs to accomplish that. Her passion never translated into stridency, but into an eloquence derived from unflinching dedication to cause. She was always guided by the highest standards. And she was always generous and gracious to those with whom she worked.

As President of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council for almost 20 years, Barbara Eisenstadt initiated many new programs for that organization that will continue to serve the adults and children of Rockaway. They include the summer Sunset Picnic Concert Series and the Music Memory program that exposes local children to music they would not have otherwise encountered. Her energy and presence were felt each year at the Fall Festival of Arts and Crafts. Despite her illness last spring, she worked alongside Stuart Mirsky in overseeing and organizing every aspect of the first Rockaway Literary Arts Festival, an event that was of enormous importance to Barbara.

One cannot write of Barbara Eisenstadt without writing about her husband, Marvin. They were true partners, each supporting the other. They worked together for many causes that reached beyond the arts and beyond Rockaway.

Barbara Eisenstadt was a woman of great dignity and strength of character, who lived life fully. She worked, even under the most challenging of circumstances, so that others would have that same opportunity. Her legacy will continue long into the future. She will be missed - by those who knew her and by countless others, all of whose lives are forever changed for the better because Barbara was in the world.


"ROBERT SARNOFF RETROSPECTIVE." Exhibition Dates: October 13-November 4 in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA. Schedule of Special Events: Oct. 20: Signing of U.S. Postal Service Rockaway cachet stamp/matted print; Signing of "Cartoons, Comics, Ideas & Techniques" by Robert Sarnoff. Screening: Award- Winning Film, "No Rooms Lobby," 3 p.m. (See below.) Oct. 27 Screening: "The Irish Ropes," MSG Television Movie 3 p.m.; Nov. 3 Test Screening: "Dispatch", rough cut of latest Robert Sarnoff movie, 3 p.m. Free admission to gallery and all events. Gallery hours: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment.

THURSDAY OPEN MIKE MUSIC NIGHTS: Every Thursday at 7 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA

FRIDAY NIGHT IMPROV: Every Friday Night in sTudio 7 the improv group "No Shame Theater" performs and invites audience members to join in.

CALL FOR HALLOWEEN VOLUNTEERS: Calling all who want to be involved in building the set for and playing parts in, this year's RAA' Halloween production to take place on the evenings of October 26, 27, 28 and 31. Please contact the RAA office.

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