Weekly Rochester Events #330: Two Benedicts Ago ...

Thursday, May 5, 2005

I didn't get out too much last week, in part because I spent quite a bit of time getting the The Bike With 2 Brains project rolling along. I actually got to the point where I could put the wheels on and see what the frame layout looks like. It's kinda funny making a CAD drawing and making parts and then putting it together to get back to what I had in mind in the first place. I added some geeky details and some more photos. I might just get this thing done afterall.

On Saturday, 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 opening for Marc-Charles McNulty's sound-and-image show Heimspeki. It was really good. He created digitally distorted photographs that are illuminated from behind and give the illusion of motion in (at least my own) peripheral vision. In addition, he included sculptured ice-like lamps between the artwork as well as a background ambient sound field. It all seems pretty well integrated.

Later that evening I headed to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Federico Fellini's La Strada. I hadn't seen it before and I really enjoyed it. The plot follows a free-spirited, childlike woman named Gelsomina who is sold by her mother to a mean, cold sideshow-strongman, Zampanò. The film follows these two characters along their path to hopelessness: not because they are destined to do so, nor because they are deceived, but simply because they choose to follow this course. There's a lot of films that follow a plot where the characters are helpless to do anything but following along a hopeless course — often the audience is provided more information than the characters have, and we know what would be best for them but know they don't know what we do. In La Strada, though, it's more complex. In each decision, we know as little as the characters about what the future holds — for each decision confronting the characters, none of the options reveal any advantage or disadvantage that would help the characters or the audience make an informed choice.

In my own life, I'm trying to keep track of what's going: I'm sure everyone's heard advice to break out of the status quo and you'll find things get better, yet almost nobody does because the status quo isn't all that bad. I got shoved out by being laid off in 2003, and while I could have gone back to the regular working world, I decided that was as good a time as any to try something new since I had enough resources to explore the unknown non-status-quo world for a while and go back if I needed. I took a business class, tried starting one business from it and gave up on it, then worked to start a second business and pretty much gave up on it too. Now I'm playing with the whole "artist" thing and working toward a rather subtle project in The Bike With 2 Brains. Who knew I'd be writing art grants and spending all my time working on a challenging, fun project? In the midst of all this, I'm also getting involved with a rather large project in the city ... I won't go much into it here since it's not ready for critique, but let's just say that it's right up the alley of making Rochester a place to "come to" instead of "be from" when it comes to creative expression. That money is sure to follow, right?

On Monday I was again at the Dryden Theater for the Surprise Cinema. Michael Neault introduced Luis Buñuel's Viridiana. Buñuel is known for his disdain of the Catholic church — as Mike put it, for its seemingly "bottomless hypocrisy." He was invited to return to Spain (Buñuel, not Neault) by then-dictator Francisco Franco — whom he also despised — to make Viridiana on the condition that it passed the country's censors. Well, Buñuel slyly got his subversive point across using innuendo and a scathing plotline. Among many steps to directly antagonize both Franco and the church, he included a scene where beggars pose exactly as in da Vinci's "The Last Supper" — and to put the derisive exclamation point at the end of the sentence, one of the beggars even says she's going to take a picture using a camera from her father, metaphorically paralleling the relationship between Buñuel and Franco. The film essentially dissects the church's view of ideal behavior versus how that ideal is flawed and how it's unrealistic to set such a standard for anyone anyway.

Tuesday I was off to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to see the bands there. First up was Donnie Mancurio who does a solo drum show like I haven't seen from anyone else. He's fast, precise, and he keeps things interesting using sounds from a synthesizer, making for an experience like a performer playing a homemade instrument — he reminded me a lot of That One Guy who had a custom-built "magic pipe" with sensors tied to a synthesizer.

Next was Mad HappyMySpace link for whom I was, as they say (and I might remember for next time) "mad happy" to see them. (Har har ... it's their joke, not mine: don't shoot the messenger.) Anyway, it took me a few songs to warm up to them: something I remember from when they were here in 2002. They stayed pretty much in the hip hop genre using simple beats behind rapped (mostly) and sung (sometimes) vocals. The thing I forgot about is their sense of community: unlike most bands, they really just want to sit around and chit-chat with the crowd — almost as if they were folk singers. Their goal is to get people to talk and to dance ... once you figure that out, you'll have a much better time.

Anyway, Bee EaterGarageBand linkMySpace
link followed them with one of their best shows I've seen: they managed to keep the energy level high through all the time they had. Closing the night was Voodoo OrganistMySpace link who is a one-man synth-gospel rockabilly band. He basically plays a keyboard set up to sound like a church organ along with a theremin and backed up with a pre-coded beat. His stage presence is slick and professional, and the music revolves mostly around being tempted by the devil — metaphorically — not literally nor particularly religiously.

In the end, I guess "voodoo organist" is as good as any way of describing him.

But to finish off talking about movies, I wanted to single out The Rochester International Film Festival this week which takes place in four showings: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. and on Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Two years ago, I wrote short reviews of the movies before I had seen them based on short-film stereotypes. Last year I reduced the concept further to a single word — an idea that dismally flopped. This year, I intend to redeem myself by spinning the official descriptions into haiku form. So, here's your guide to Movies on a Shoestring as a web page and as a printable PDF file.

Oh yeah, and remember that today is 05/05/05. Impress your friends!*

(* assuming your friends are moronic simpletons.)


Cinco de Mayo

This afternoon from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. is Singers of High Note at The First Universalist Church of Rochester (150 South Clinton Ave.) featuring vocalists from the studio of Cecile Saine with pianist Howard Spindler. [source: University of Rochester Events Calendar] [all ages]

Ciara Lynn will be at Johnny's Irish Pub (1382 Culver Rd., still smoke-free) starting around 7:30 p.m. [source: Johnny's Irish Pub calendar]

The Standard Jazz Quartet will be at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

This evening at 7 p.m. at Gleason Auditorium in The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) is a meeting to discuss the demolition of Rochester's Abandoned Subway. [source: RocWiki calendar]

Tonight at The Little (240 East Ave.) is the premiere of Off Road to Athens at 7 p.m. [source: RocWiki calendar]

Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. is GravityGarageBand link. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Top Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. is the first program of the The Rochester International Film Festival at The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) [source: Eastman House calendar]

Pure Kona Poetry Open Mic Night is at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) tonight starting at 7:30. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

No Pants Day

Steel Kingdom, The Dead SetMySpace link, and StereotideGarageBand linkMySpace link will be at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Jonathan Serrano with Paul Smoker, Michael McNeill, Elliott Kirby, and Tony Hiler will be at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Rochester Music Coalition calendar] [all ages]

Over at Brü Brewery and Restaurant (300 State St., formerly Empire Brewing) starting around 8 p.m. is excellent pure instrumental funk from The Filthy Funk. [source: Freetime]

JayceLand Pick The Skycoasters will be at The Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) starting around 9:30 p.m. for the grand-reopening. (And note that I'm only singling this out because the Montage is a cool place, not that I really have any opinion of the Skycoasters.) [source: Montage e-mail]

Over at The Ritskeller (One Lomb Memorial Dr., on RIT campus) starting around 10 p.m. is The ExitMySpace link. [source: RIT Events Calendar site]

Tonight at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) is The Jazz Dawgs starting around 9 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

Top Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. is the second program of the The Rochester International Film Festival at The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) [source: Eastman House calendar]

JayceLand Pick O'Bagelo's, 165 State Street, noon.

Abundance Cooperative Market (62 Marshall St.) will be hosting Mike Baker, Neelu Chawla, and Jon Greenbaum starting around 1 p.m. [source: Abundance Co-op calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick This afternoon at Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) is Mrs. Skannotto, The Levar Burtones, pretty good ska from Just for KixGarageBand link, and Random Establishment starting around 1 p.m. [source: band flyer] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at German House (315 Gregory St.) is The Rochester Custom Brew & Music Festival featuring music from great reggae band Mountain Mojo Authority (click here to skip their annoying flash intro), excellent pure instrumental funk band The Filthy Funk, very good jazzy instrumental 3-piece DojaMySpace link, jazzy funk instrumental Cerulean CityGarageBand linkMySpace
link, complex keyboard-enhanced groove-rock band OsheMySpace link, The Umbrella People, and The Beat Beggers starting around 7:30 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Tonight at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) is The Glengarry BhoysMySpace link starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [all ages]

Over at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) starting around 8 p.m. is Phil Marshall. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

Over at Richmond's (21 Richmond St.) starting around 8:30 p.m. is The Surge. [source: Rochester Music Coalition calendar]

Top Pick Tonight at 4 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. is the last programs of the The Rochester International Film Festival at The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) [source: Eastman House calendar]

JayceLand Pick The Lyres, surf-rock influenced punk-rock from The PriestsGarageBand linkMySpace link, and The Lost Marbles will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [21+]

Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) will be hosting Matt Millenchia starting around 9 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

Today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the Rochester Regional Invention Convention at Rochester Museum & Science Center (657 East Ave.). [source: Freetime]

Fly the flag today.Mother's Day

V-E Day

Today at 2 p.m. at Shipping Dock Theatre (31 Prince St., new location at Visual Studies Workshop) is the last performance of Elizabeth Rex. [source: Shipping Dock Theatre mailing]

Fiddler's Three will be at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) for the Spring Musicale at 3 p.m. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Today's Mother's Day Special at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is free gallery admission for moms. [source: University of Rochester Events Calendar]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Le journal d'une femme de chambre (Diary of a Chambermaid) starting at 8 p.m. In honor of Mother's Day, Luis Buñuel takes us along on a journey of a maid who discovers a world of fetishistic sexuality. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) is hosting their weekly Open Mike Poetry tonight at 7 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick A|V Art Sound Space (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St., formerly The All-Purpose Room) will be hosting Clouds Crossing, USAISAMONSTER, and Colonel Parmisan starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: artsound website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Link Wray, and surf-rock influenced punk-rock from The PriestsGarageBand linkMySpace link will be at Milestones (170 East Ave.) starting around 10 p.m. [source: Whole Lotta Shakin' calendar]

Apparently there will be Argentine tango dancing at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) tonight with Agustin Ramos from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. [source: Daily Perks calendar]

This afternoon from 12:12 p.m. to 12:52 p.m. is another Books Sandwiched-In in Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) featuring Bob Koch, Dean Emeritus of The University of Rochester (Elmwood Ave. at Intercampus Dr., details on River Campus Map) discussing Stephen Greenblatt's book, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

Updated: Tonight at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is a screening of Identity through Art: Six Rochester Asian American Artists along with three other documentaries: Kites and Other Tales, Discovering Angel Island: The Story Behind the Poems, and The Bhangra Wrap.

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is Houston Bernard, a disorienting blend of spoken word, electronic effects, and repetition from GaybotMySpace link, and Roger Houston starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Tonight on Radio8BallMySpace link is excellent guitar/violin duo T. Griffin Coraline who play emotionally "observant" songs on somewhat subtle but familiar topics starting around 9 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

Not ready for mainstream Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) is hosting an Acoustic Open Mic from 8 to 10. For this one, there's no microphones and it's pretty open ended. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at A|V Art Sound Space (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St., formerly The All-Purpose Room) starting around 9 p.m. is Carpentry and Reeg/Tunis. [source: artsound website] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) starting at 8 p.m. Just before the rise of Hitler in Germany comes the story of a nightclub singer and temptress — the film being singled out as an excellent example of costume designers' craft. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Poor People United meets tonight and every Wednesday at 7 at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Not ready for mainstream Tonight from 8 to 10 is an Open-Mic Comedy Night at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) While once it was a workshop type of environment, it's now more-or-less a regular open mic ... by default it's still a place to try out new stuff. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

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May 5, 2005
What should Rochester's nickname be?
Rock-chester 1 (14%)

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The Western New York City Between Syracuse and Buffalo on Lake Ontario 0

Anus of the Genesee 4 (57%)

Formerly the World's Imaging Center 0

Flour City 0

Flower City 0

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Little New York 0

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Smugtown 0

Rochchacha 1 (14%)

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Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy MapsOnUs. Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com

About the title ... Prospero Lambertini was born 330 years ago in 1675 and became Pope Benedict XIV of the Catholic Church.

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. The musical styles listed can include punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat." Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed. Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.) While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, May 5, 2005 (Thu, May 5, 2005, 5/5/2005, or 5/5/05) Friday, May 6, 2005 (Fri, May 6, 2005, 5/6/2005, or 5/6/05) Saturday, May 7, 2005 (Sat, May 7, 2005, 5/7/2005, or 5/7/05) Sunday, May 8, 2005 (Sun, May 8, 2005, 5/8/2005, or 5/8/05) Monday, May 9, 2005 (Mon, May 9, 2005, 5/9/2005, or 5/9/05) Tuesday, May 10, 2005 (Tue, May 10, 2005, 5/10/2005, or 5/10/05) and Wednesday, May 11, 2005 (Wed, May 11, 2005, 5/11/2005, or 5/11/05).

JayceLand Pick indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.

Top Pick indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.

IUMA link links to a band's page on IUMA.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

GarageBand link links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

MySpace link links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.

Not ready for mainstream. is an event that is "non-entertainment" for the masses such as practice sessions, open jams, etc.

Fly the flag today. is a day when you should fly the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars calendar.

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