Weekly Rochester Events #315: The Answer: Whiskey and German House Have This in Common
Thursday, January 20, 2005First off, let me blame apologize for the lifeless quality of last week's essay. There are two reasons to blame: alcohol and polls.
If you recall, after my New Year's binge, I gave up drinking until February. On the one hand, drinking provides me with such amusing self-deprecating stories, but on the other (as Dave Attell of Comedy Central's Insomniac show says) "I don't need to drink to have a good time, I need to drink to stop the voices in my head." See, when I sit down to write, it's a pain to have to filter through all the chatter to come up with something amusing to say. It's a tremendous shortcut to have a drink and then the words just flow. Clever readers will correctly deduce that it typically takes me less than an hour to create a first draft (and not so clever ones will have done so by this point in the sentence.)
However, without the magical effects of alcohol, I stammer my way through, stopping at each sentence to decide whether to use the word "deduce" or "infer." Worse, though, is that the fuzzy outline of what I'd like to write about isn't usually one of the louder voices. Thus, I don't even know where to begin because I don't know where I want to go.
The second reason is polls. I used to have weekly polls on this site but after March 21, 2002, another free poll service quit so I gave up and stopped. I thought that it would be a good thing to write my own someday, but I didn't have any of the skills.
Well, after Thursday Thinkers at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) on the 6th, I found some books on the topic. The most useful of them was Professional PHP4 Programming. I intended to write everything in CGI along with a MySQL database, but I found that PHP was way easier as it was designed to integrate with HTML and with MySQL, simplifying a lot of my work. Thus, in a couple weeks, I figured it out and put it up. I even imported all the old polls into the poll archive.
Last week, I unfortunately was trying to get it all done and left the essay until last when I didn't have enough time to finish. I got to the last 10% of work on the poll database (which takes 90% of the time, as the programming adage goes) and I didn't quite get it working enough. In the future I'll be able to add new polls, but I think I'm going to just hijack old ones as needed since there's about 130 I already have. Hopefully by the time you read this, I'll have added features to make the voting process a bit smoother and to make the poll archive a bit cleaner (it currently shows all the polls in reverse-chronological order on one page, and I'd like to add ways to filter to sort the polls other ways.)
So anyway (which, naturally, clues all of you in that I'm about to switch to chronological blog mode) I started out on Thursday and Friday last week with a Charles Bukowski double-header at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) Thursday they showed Barfly which is was written by Bukowski about his alter-ego Henry Chinaski, played by Mickey Rourke. Although I didn't know much about Bukowski's mannerisms, Rourke's performance mirrored what I thought I knew, and I guess general public sentiment about Bukowski. The movie itself was okay ... I think I liked the similarly themed Trees Lounge (Steve Buscemi's semi-autobiographical account of his time as a chronic alcoholic) better. On Friday, I went back and saw Bukowski: Born into This which is a biographical documentary. This tended to dispel the myths I had about Bukowski — including ones perpetuated in Barfly. What I found was that while Bukowski was pretty much drunk all the time, he was just another guy trying to figure out what to make of life. He had some ideas that I have stumbled upon myself (like living completely honestly, especially when it comes to stuff that's personal or would seem to be embarrassing) except that he strongly lived by that code. Unlike Rourke's portrayal, Bukowski seemed much more straightforward. He didn't appear to be as drunk as he was, he didn't brag, and he didn't thrive on attention. Rather, he seemed like a straight-from-the-heart asshole.
Also on Friday I went to The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) to see the new exhibit. Interactive installation Wormhole by Emile Devereaux would have been better if it were working completely (and not so obvious, what with trails of blue gaffer's tape covering wires all over the white floor.) I'll have to get back and see it again. The other new exhibition was Snow Black by Haluk Akakce which I didn't even get a chance to look at. It's unfortunately tucked behind a closed door titled "Conference Room" (to keep the room dark so the video projection has adequate contrast) but hopefully they'll make it more inviting. The remaining works were interesting video projects but mostly quite old. I watched Tango by Zbig Rybczynski which depicts some 36 characters repeating various behaviors and interacting in a single room. When I read the description, Rybczynski notes that every cell is hand-drawn with some 16,000 mattes used — I wondered why he hadn't just used a computer, but realized that the film is more than 20 years old as it was made in 1981. While I appreciate the content of the film, I thought it was a bit inappropriate to pair it with more contemporary works in such a setting. Oh well.
On Monday — Martin Luther King Day — despite the snow and leaving a bit late, I managed to get to see At the River I Stand which is a documentary about the 1968 strike of [all black] sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee and the events leading to a visit by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his assassination in that city. I was pleased that there were about 45 people there, despite the bad weather. The movie impressed me with the notion that oppressors can be blind to their oppressive actions, but those being oppressed — especially when they are vocal about it — can better see their predicament. Relatedly, I borrowed Rabbit-Proof Fence from the library. I thought it interesting that by observing how the native people of Australia have been treated in the past, I got a better perspective on how we treat our own natives here in America. The movie, by the way is quite good; in the 1930's, "half-breeds" were taken from their aboriginal mothers (because their fathers were white) to be assimilated into white Australian society, and the film documents the real-life journey of three sisters who try to find their way thousands of miles to home.
Anyway, later on Monday I went to A|V Art Sound Space (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St., formerly The All-Purpose Room) to see the show there. The Blood and Bone Orchestra opened with a great example of their experimental, organic, jazz-influenced music. Next was the Tunis/Nuuja Duo who were in all their experimental/noise glory: Joe did semi-rhythmic drum work while Nuuj did his usual effects-feedback work as well as lighting firecrackers in front of the microphone. Closing things out was From Between who did really interesting experimental squeaks and studders on various saxophones and with drums and other ordinarily percussive instruments.
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On this day ... January 20
Link of the Week:
Here are some links to organizations that are aiding the relief effort for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsumai on December 26. Please give to their general funds so they can distribute money in a way that makes the most sense.
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. They are supporting the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appeal for basic materials for survival and personnel.
Unicef focuses on child protection and immunizations, as well as helping countries in crisis with emergency assistance.
Oxfam International is a confederation of 12 organizations working together to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice. They are providing emergency aid equipment to help in disaster relief.
American Red Cross Disaster Relief page is an Amazon.com donation page and it's among the easiest ways to donate from if you're an Amazon.com customer.
is the updated I did on December 30 with the chain letter these links.
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Rochester Music Coalition
Rochester Goes Out (D&C)
Rochester Punk Rock
WGMC Jazz Calendar
Delusions of Adequacy
Mystery and Misery
Kids Out and About
Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy MapsOnUs. Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com
About the title ... Both Whiskey, at 315 Alexander St., and German House, at 315 Gregory St. share 315 as their numerical address.
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including Monroe County and occasionally the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
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While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, January 20, 2005 (Thu, Jan 20, 2005, 1/20/2005, or 1/20/05) Friday, January 21, 2005 (Fri, Jan 21, 2005, 1/21/2005, or 1/21/05) Saturday, January 22, 2005 (Sat, Jan 22, 2005, 1/22/2005, or 1/22/05) Sunday, January 23, 2005 (Sun, Jan 23, 2005, 1/23/2005, or 1/23/05) Monday, January 24, 2005 (Mon, Jan 24, 2005, 1/24/2005, or 1/24/05)
Tuesday, January 25, 2005 (Tue, Jan 25, 2005, 1/25/2005, or 1/25/05) and Wednesday, January 26, 2005 (Wed, Jan 26, 2005, 1/26/2005, or 1/26/05).
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