2008-06-20 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

For any RMAC event we are almost always praying for nice weather since we are always outside. However, we never could have dreamed of 98 degree weather for our Literary and Film Festival on June 7 and 8 at Ft. Tilden. Hot was not the word for it. No amount of liquids could keep us cool enough especially those of us who were outside the entire day. Inside the RAA building, while there was air-conditioning, it still was not that cool.

Before going any further, I must commend Stuart Mirsky who almost single-handedly coordinated the entire weekend of events. Two years ago Barbara Eisenstadt asked Stuart to come on board with this event and to work with her, which he did. Additionally, Beverly Baxter was also involved and this year she and Stuart were to co-chair the event. Unfortunately, Beverly was not able to participate much this year, so it came down to Stuart handling the major parts of the event by himself, with those on the Planning and Events Committee doing what they could to help and everyone cooperated.

At this time I would like to thank them for being so generous with their time. Myra Berger and Bernice Meyers coordinated the children's Student Writing Competition and Award Ceremony as well as their panel discussion. The children on the panel were bright, intelligent and articulate and are certainly the wave of the future. Jeanette Bernstein, Rose Marie Curley, Martha Voutas Donegan, Maxine Schack, Shirley Golub, who brought donuts early in the morning, and Joan Hart who stopped what she was doing to take a couple of the writers to Flatbush Avenue to catch the train since they did not have a ride. Stuart even employed his wife Brenda to please go to Dunkin Donuts and bring back some coffee. None of us could possibly say no to Stuart. Additional thank you's to Geoff Rawling and the staff of the RAA and to John Gilleece, Peggy Page, Susan Jasper and their staff at the RTC for the generosity and the use of their facilities.

The Film Festival on Saturday and Sunday nights was interesting. There were several pictures that particularly interested me. "The Kid Stays In The Picture," by Brett Morgen, is the story of Bob Evans who was part of the Evan-Picone clothing company before he became a film star and then a film executive. Having been in the film industry for many years, there were several people in the film that I know personally so, of course, that made it particularly interesting. Another film I enjoyed was Bob Sarnoff's "Dispatch" which is a documentary about the Belle-Rock Cab Company right here in Rockaway Park. While the interviewer is talking to the dispatcher and goes along on many of the pick-ups in the neighborhood, it was really funny to all of a sudden see John Gilleece of the Rockaway Theatre Company appear as the bank robber and Susan Hartenstein of RAA portraying a nutty cat lady. All I can say is that if you get a chance to see "Dispatch" don't miss it. Another favorite film was "The Limbo Room" by Debra Eisenstadt. "The Limbo Room" is the story of a rape scene during a play and the actual event that transpires with some of the cast members in "real life." As I introduced Debra prior to the screening, I have to admit that hew new son stole the evening. J. Beau Morgen at five months of age is a real looker. A cute and adorable baby, with a head of black hair, who almost overshadowed the evening.

The Literary Festival went all day Sunday from 10:30 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening. There were panel discussions on everything from health and living to suspense writing to the Holocaust and many of the authors on the panels were available to speak to our guests and sign books both before and after the panels. The panel on "All Journalism is Local" was of particular interest as Wave Editor Howie Schwach and Noreen Schramm the Publisher/Editor of the Rockaway Point News discussed how they go about deciding what stories to print, how they acquire their news, and the number of people who work with them to get their papers out each week. Bob Sarnoff, editorial cartoonist for The Wave, discussed how he comes up with his ideas every week.

Not to be left out was the Rockaway Seafood Company from Beach 129 Street. They had everything from crab cakes to calamari to chicken salads, and all things in-between, along with wine, beer and soda. They had a large tent set up with tables and chairs for everyone to enjoy their food. In case you haven't been to Rockaway Seafood, don't miss it, it is a great food addition to Rockaway. Just so you know, you can always buy fresh fish there or order sushi made to order, and it's great.

As you may have been reading in this column over the past year, as well as in The Wave, and a story in the Daily News on Friday, June 13, there are ongoing discussions with Gateway as to whether or not, and/or, where we will be able to hold our concerts this summer.

Gateway feels that everything, including our concerts, should be at Jacob Riis Park rather than on the grass at Ft. Tilden, but picnic concerts are traditionally held on grass which is why they're called "picnic" concerts. Central Park, Forest Park, Prospect Park and any number of other parks have concerts all summer long and they're all on grass. Those mentioned are all city parks and ours is a federal park, need I say more. Discussions are on-going with both the park and our elected officials, and by the time you read this hopefully the problem will be solved. However, the concert scheduled for June 29 will, in all probability, have to be cancelled because we would not be able to book an artist on such notice. Please keep watching this paper for more information. Writing to our congressmen or senators would not hurt.

Membership applications for 2008 have been mailed and we look forward to hearing from our old friends. If you have never become a member of the RMAC but enjoy our concerts, festival, museum trips, etc. please join us as your membership fee helps us make it all possible.

You can write to us at RMAC, PO Box 0171, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693, and an application for membership will be sent to you.

About our museum trips, we will be planning a new one for the fall of the year and will keep you posted. If you joined us on the last one to Essex, Connecticut, you know how much fun it can be and with your RMAC membership you receive a slight reduction in the price.

See you around the neighborhood.

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