Weekly Rochester Events #317: But How Old is Old Rochelle?
Thursday, February 3, 2005Golly ... another week, another wide open expanse of white phosphorous and a blinking cursor idling away, begging me to pave over it all with filthy letters. Fortunately, this week is the first I've had a lick of alcohol since New Year's. I actually kept the promise to myself and began February 1 with a shot of Jack Daniels first thing in the morning (well that, and I guess that I didn't drink any until then.) I think that's the second time I've ever had a drink before noon. To be honest, I feel fairly refreshed in the morning, and the booze didn't make things any better ... either nothing or worse. Maybe I should make that a daily routine to see if that helps. Any enablers in the house?
Regardless, all I've really got this week is a week full of dissonant activities. Last Thursday I started out at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) for Thursday Thinkers about "Fundamentalism in America and in the Middle East." I found a couple things interesting. First, Reverend Scott Taylor brought up the The Fundamentalism Project done at University of Chicago (5801 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL) He said they found 5 characteristics of fundamentalist thinking:
Later that night I was again in Christianland (at least a little ... in both cases) with In the Realms of the Unreal. Apparently, this guy Henry Darger was known to acquaintances as a janitor with a couple odd personality quirks. However, he spent most of the free time in his adult life (following a traumatic childhood where he was essentially ostracized from default society) working on artwork and a 15,000 page novel titled In the Realms of the Unreal. None of this was discovered until shortly before his death in 1973 when he finally moved out of his apartment to an assisted living home and people had to move his stuff.
He's essentially a self-taught artist who wrote a lot, particularly his novel about "the Vivian girls" who were seven girls who fought on the side of Christianity against the child slave owners. Darger's work on it included large murals depicting the battles where young girls (drawn in styles similar to period advertising from the 1950's ... and mostly naked ... and often with penises) fought bloody battles against the slave owners. Interestingly (and somewhat obviously) the story followed his own issues with his faith — for instance, when he lost a favorite photograph he used as a template, he prayed that God help him find it, and when that didn't happen, the side of Christianity suddenly started losing battles ... er ... in the story.
In talking with people about this, they often remark that Darger was a unique and special individual. While I realize the volume, consistency, and duration of his work was extreme, I feel there are many people around who are creating work that goes unrecognized. Every time you meet someone who's a bit off-kilter — someone who can't seem to grasp the world the way most people do — consider that they might be going home to work on some unique artwork the world has never seen, and which will probably be thrown away by their landlord when they die. Either that, or they get high and play video games all day. There's really no in-between.
On Friday I went to Josh's party — the lead singer and guitarist from the mostly humorous hard-rock band Serious. Among the highlights was that he introduced his Elton John cover band, "The Johns." They attempted a couple songs ("Rocket Man," and "Daniel") which were interesting in their re-realized punk-rock form, but I guess the band was supposed to implode and quit then-and-there. It didn't go quite as planned, and ended up not being as funny as it seemed or as it should have been. Kudos to Josh for trying and almost pulling it off, though. Plus, he got me one of those Serious "World Slavery Tour" T-shirts, so you should forget that it went not quite as planned.
Monday night I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) for the Emerging Filmmakers. Once again, there were some really great shorts that night. In the Still by Stephen Lindsay and Michael Bartolotta was a really spooky tale of a guy who hears someone in the house in the middle of the night and things are really messed up with the universe when he goes to check it out. More Than 2 Million by Lei Chang was a really good documentary on the lives of three people with brain and spinal injuries — among the more than 2 million afflicted in the United States ... as a short, it was interesting to get quickly to the personal questions you wished you could ask: how did you get like this, and what's life like? Back/Forward by Chuck Amadori again touches on the paranormal ... well, pretty much grabs hold tight, actually. It's about a homeless guy who has an unusual encounter with a girl who spends some time to get to know him a little bit. We Are The Littletons by Penny Lane is the visuals of a rented, furnished house and its contents overdubbed with the reading of the letters passed back and forth between the owner and tenant — the owner being a woman warning about their "evil" adopted daughter who's not allowed to return to the house and the somewhat evasive tenant ... the whole thing is footnoted as "a true story." Finally, Frog by Christopher Conforti is the animated tale of the worst day in any frog's life — and possibly containing the most disturbing animated visual: a cutaway view of a *ahem* human rectum as our hapless protagonist is *ahem* passed.
Tuesday I was out at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) again to see the "Tuesday Talks" featuring Dr. Ruth Scott discussing "A Look at the History of Race Relations in Rochester." She had some interesting personal insights on how to resolve such issues, like the time she went to eat at the Sibley's cafeteria only to refuse to accept that it was for men only — apparently politely and insistently to the point that the "men-only" status was eventually eradicated.
Anyway, she noted several things that cause efforts to bridge racial divides to fail. First, it is like a bridge over rough water, and to succeed, you need to concentrate on building the bridge, not on how bad the water is — that is, focus attention on successes like Flower City Habitat for Humanity rather than the failures of the past like the 1964 riots. Second, be much more patient: society has a short attention span for social projects. Fixing problems in racial relations that have been broken for hundreds of years is going to take longer than the typical 6-month project lifespan. Third, groups that consist of a single gender and a single race always fail to fix problems that affect everyone in a community. On that last note, I asked her what we can do to transition the Renaissance Square project from one being decided by politicians and business leaders to one where the whole community is involved. She said I should pose that question and ones like it to mayoral candidates: "what will you do to ensure the whole community is represented when it comes to projects that affect the whole community?"
That night I got to see a few songs from the young, raw, sloppy punk band Kaotik Diisorder (which means they're exactly right for the genre) at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) After that was Dropsonic who did some really good "wall-of-sound-style" power, Southern rock. Finally was Rockstars who I really didn't get a chance to remember on New Year's. They play chaotic rock, I guess, but they had a dude on stage doing tribal/erotic dancing wearing nothing but a monkey skull over his penis along with a girl in pseudo Native American garb whom he proceeded to tie up on stage.
I swear, you get to see nothing like this anywhere else.
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On this day ... February 3
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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
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Delusions of Adequacy
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Kids Out and About
Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy MapsOnUs. Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com
About the title ... New Rochelle, NY was settled 317 years ago in 1688.
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, February 3, 2005 (Thu, Feb 3, 2005, 2/3/2005, or 2/3/05) Friday, February 4, 2005 (Fri, Feb 4, 2005, 2/4/2005, or 2/4/05) Saturday, February 5, 2005 (Sat, Feb 5, 2005, 2/5/2005, or 2/5/05) Sunday, February 6, 2005 (Sun, Feb 6, 2005, 2/6/2005, or 2/6/05) Monday, February 7, 2005 (Mon, Feb 7, 2005, 2/7/2005, or 2/7/05) Tuesday, February 8,
2005 (Tue, Feb 8, 2005, 2/8/2005, or 2/8/05) and Wednesday, February 9, 2005 (Wed, Feb 9, 2005, 2/9/2005, or 2/9/05).
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