2009-07-31 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

A Chase Scene, A One-Time Exhibit And A Passage
Commmentary by Susan Hartenstein

Caption: "Self-Portrait in Wood" by Robin Pogrebitskiy. Caption: "Self-Portrait in Wood" by Robin Pogrebitskiy. Rogue cops, skateboarders, an early American patriot and a soldier's-eye view of home. These are just a few of the inhabitants of the short films to be screened at the RAA Film Festival on Saturday, August 1 in sTudio 7, RoCA at Fort Tilden. Start time is 7 p.m. Admission is free. Popcorn and other refreshments will be available. I spoke to two of the several moviemakers to be on hand.

"A Skater's Life" and "Tearing This City Apart" are the two entries from George Daratany. "Experiments in guerilla filmmaking," he calls them. "No permits, a skeleton crew, no budget. But we still manage to create some art." "A Skater's Life" profiles a day in the life of an unknown long board skateboarder and his quest to find the great places to perform his passion. Daratany says that these are "great spots that probably have not been seen before."

"Tearing This City Apart" is a music video for the band Photo Atlas. It as a high energy chase scene involving a rogue cop and a long board skater. Daratany, who acted as director, producer and cameraman for both films, describes it as "a simple concept executed with incredible results." Lenny Burkhardt and Justin Bowman were also producers of the video. Daratany and Burkhardt acted in both movies, which were shot in Florida, where Daratany went to film school. A Rockaway native, he is now a free-lance filmmaker in New York City. He says, "It will be exciting to see how my hometown views my work."

Vincent Biscione, who graduated from NYU Film School, is presently in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil doing research for a feature film. I spoke to his brother Tommy, who describes his brother as very patriotic - something, he says, that is evidenced in his movies to be presented on Saturday. "Nathan Hale" is about the American Revolutionary War patriot who went behind enemy lines to spy, was caught, beaten to give up military secrets, refused and then was hanged, uttering the now famous, "My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country." "Left Behind Again" and "Down the Drain" are music videos featuring performances by singer Michael Benedetto, who also wrote the songs. The former is a love song. The latter is about hard times. But Biscione had the vision of making the song's video into a tribute to post-Katrina New Orleans, which is where he filmed. Told from the point of view of an Iraq War veteran, "American Soldier" goes into his mind, seeing life here in sharp contrast to that "back there."

Opening August 16 is a very special one-time exhibition of the wood sculpture of Robin Pogrebitskiy and the powerful political cartoons of his father, William Pogrebitskiy, created in the years between the World Wars. Rabidly anti-fascist and strongly opposing tyranny, the elder Pogrebitskiy's drawings had to remain in his apartment in Moscow. Luckily, his son had been able to make copies of them. More than an exhibition of artwork, this is a saga of the journeys taken by a family between Russia and the United States, crossing an ocean more than once in search of freedom.

RAA has lost a member of the family. Winnie (Sarah Winifred) Zuchowski was the mother of Marina Callaghan, RAA's Education Program Director. She handed down to her children, grandchildren and now, greatgrandchild a legacy of strength, determination and so much more. The Callaghans were original members of the organization. So many of us in RAA have known and loved Marina's parents, Winnie and Kazak, devotedly together for 62 years. Our love and thoughts are with you all. Marina has eloquently written, "I was a very blessed woman to have the Mother that I had. She was someone fair, kind, curious, enthusiastic, who loved so many things with all of her heart. She never told a lie, always kept a promise, and always will live forever in my heart."

RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; email: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org
Fort Tilden Highlights
FILM FESTIVAL: Sat., Aug. 1, 7 p.m. start, sTudio 7, RoCA at Fort Tilden. Screenings
of several short films See column for more info.
ROBIN AND WILLIAM POGREBITSKIY EXHIBIT: Wood sculpture and political drawings.
Opens Sun., Aug. 16, sTudio 7.
park by night.
PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.; Thursday mornings, 10
a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class, supplies included.
THURS. NIGHT OPEN MIC: Performing artists of all disciplines invited. Sign-up at 7:45
p.m. for 8 p.m. start time.
NEXT EXHIBITIONS COMMITTEE MEETING: Sat., Aug. 8 at 1 p.m. in sTudio 7.
NEW ARTSPLASH SUBMISSION DEADLINE: August 17, 2009. Visit RAA website for
full prospectus and entry form.
NEXT RAA WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Mon., Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. in sTudio 7.
NEW ARTSPLASH DEADLINE: Mon., Aug. 17. Visit: www.rockawayartistsalliance or
call 718-474-0861 for prospectus and entry form.

kidsmART corner

Look here for information about after school programming in early September, or visit the RAA website at http://www.rockawayartist salliance.org/camp kidsmART parents:

Please return order forms for camp photos and DVDs by August 3. We're having a terrific summer so far!

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