Weekly Rochester Events #331: John Milton Lost
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Unfortuantely I don't really have much commentary on anything in particular. I suspect writer's block and have been trying some crazy stuff. I loaded my humidifier with bouillon but only had some awesome soup-related dreams. Heck, I even pulled out a random idea from the file to see if that would spark anything but to no avail. Hopefully there's some spark of a related thought throughout this week, but I'm in no state to decipher it and spell it all out.
This weekend was entirely spent watching the short films at The Rochester International Film Festival at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.), so let me go ahead and give spoilers for most of them (consider yourselves warned.)
Starting things off on Thursday, I liked three of the narratives. The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle by Michael Vaingauz and Erynn Midwall was hilarious. The gist is that Arthur Conan Doyle kills of his Sherlock Holmes character, infuriating his publisher and fans. In response, his daughters are kidnapped, so he tries to solve the mystery à la Holmes. The only trouble is, he's incompetent — for instance, he destroys the ransom note without even reading it by applying alcohol as part of an experiment then igniting it with a candle. Next was Juliet by Kristina Jessica Doyle. It was a horror suspense film with a young girl house-sitting and she hears noises through the house. It's spooky, funny, and has a surprise twist ending. I don't seem to mind twist endings in short films ... maybe it's like the shaggy dog joke versus a basic pun: the former longer version is annoying while the shorter version is more tolerable, even if the twist isn't as strong. The Sky is Falling by Adam J. Kreps was also hilarious. A bellboy at a hotel is charged with stopping the black-Friday-depressed guests from leaping from the roof by his boss. Oh, and he's also courting the woman working as receptionist. Anyway, the comedy comes from the clever ways he saves the guests ... particularly one of them hell-bent on suicide.
At Friday's show, I still didn't get the hang of The Meaning of Life by Don Hertzfeldt (also at Internet Movie Database). I'm starting to think the reviewer on IMDb who found it "so beautiful [they] cried" was a shill ... I tried to cry, but found it entirely cry-free. I had also seen Dave Puls' Parallel Worlds before: on Monday at The Little (240 East Ave.) but I was pleased that it was even more powerful the second time around. I was a little surprised, since it's not a subtle piece at all, blatantly condemning the American actions at Abu Ghriab, yet there was some part I must have missed on the first telling. Sailing for Madagascar by Tom Oesch was quite powerful although fitting a typical genre of short film: the heavy-handed moral tale. In short, a girl befriends a Japanese boy, but his grandfather is killed by patriots/bigots after Pearl Harbor and he's taken away. Lamia by Katerina Slantcheva was a good thriller. Basically an artist is realizing his own insanity and repression through painting a model — the non-linear editing of the story integrated well with the disconcerting tone. Hunting Camp by John C. Lyons was a tale of jealousy that slowly revealed itself. There were a few twists, and I think a few too many toward the end, but the core story was the strong point. I thought Rainbow's End by Chris Mancini and Bill McCullough was a great short film: a good demonstration of filmmaking ability and funny and entertaining to boot! Oh, and it's got a leprechaun!
With a lot of hard biking, I managed to just make it to the 4:00 show on Saturday.
The Murder of William Lyman by Michael Keene was an interesting retelling of the true story of Rochester's first murder victim — I'd hoped for it to be reenacted, but it was done as sketches with voiceover readings of the actual court-recorded testimony. This kind of thing always reminds me of how not far we've come: the whole courtroom testimony was brimming with Christian false virtuousness. Tokyo Equinox by Yuri Makino was a beautiful and touching modern video of sisters reuniting with their long-lost father. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be enamored of in-camera video techniques, but the occasional use of the slow-shutter speed feature really worked. If You Step on a Crack by Jennifer Atkins was a bit bittersweet but at least hopeful in the end ... a woman will get the results of a breast cancer biopsy and finally figures out how to relax about it.
After dinner at California Rollin' at Village Gate Square (274 N. Goodman St.) I made it back for the 8:00 final show. Sophie Matisse, a New York Painter by Christine Lombard was an interesting documentary about the titular artist who does reproductions of famous paintings without the people. Someone commented to me that they didn't like it, and I had to agree that it got a bit too repetetive. Golf by Casper Frank and Talia Raine took the efficient and effective approach of introducing the audience to a guy whose life is plagued by people yelling at him then, just as quickly, gets to the end where it's revealed that his release is through golf. This Moment by Leena Pendharkar was a somewhat heavy-handed view of people's prejudices, opinions, and rituals. Then again, this is the kind of thing people face quite often. Death as a Tango by Valerie C. Plimpton was pretty cool but left on a bit of a down note ... a girl with a degenerative disease tries committing suicide and ultimately succeeds ... I think ... either that, or she doesn't ... not a very lasting impression. The cinematography on the dance sequences was great, as were the sequences themselves. Oedipus by Jason Wishnow was a pretty cute animation of vegetables playing out the classic story. I was disappointed the titular potato didn't remove its eyes, but just stabbed itself. Anyway, the really spectacular piece for the whole festival was Fields of Mudan by Stevo. The story follows one child sex slave who has hope in her fantasies, but it all crumbles to hopelessness. I could have cried so easily over this one.
That was basically it until Tuesday when I went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) Starting things off was Roger Houston who played down-tempo medium-fi synth-pop — a description that took a few iterations to make. The other Houston that night, Houston Bernard did the gayest, over-sexxed, white-boy hip hop I've ever seen ... as if I've seen a lot of gay, over-sexxed, white-boy hip hop at all. Finishing things off (and less gay) was Gaybot who put on this wild show of chaotic music with movies projected behind them and all ... I can't begin to explain ... they even had some guy from the audience (a "volunteer") tied up with packing tape.
| Read Guestbook
| Sign Guestbook
| Contact Jayce
Internet Movie Database
On this day ... May 12
Link of the Week:
Ripoff Report is like Snopes for Internet scams. Well, not quite. It's all written by average people, and they're the kind of people who fall for Internet scams, so the writing isn't very concise. It's a good place to start if you see a "too good to be true" deal.
DreamHost Web Hosting
I use DreamHost to run JayceLand.com. Click the ad to buy hosting and I'll get money to run my site. Hooray!
Store at CafePress
Buy some JayceLand junk at sky high prices!
Rochester Music Coalition
Rochester Goes Out (D&C)
Rochester Punk Rock
Jazz 90.1 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 ... John Milton died 331 years ago in 1674 and is best known for writing the poem Paradise Lost.
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 12, 2005 (Thu, May 12, 2005, 5/12/2005, or 5/12/05) Friday, May 13, 2005 (Fri, May 13, 2005, 5/13/2005, or 5/13/05) Saturday, May 14, 2005 (Sat, May 14, 2005, 5/14/2005, or 5/14/05) Sunday, May 15, 2005 (Sun, May 15, 2005, 5/15/2005, or 5/15/05) Monday, May 16, 2005 (Mon, May 16, 2005, 5/16/2005, or 5/16/05) Tuesday,
May 17, 2005 (Tue, May 17, 2005, 5/17/2005, or 5/17/05) and Wednesday, May 18, 2005 (Wed, May 18, 2005, 5/18/2005, or 5/18/05).
Send a message to the JayceLand webmaster
Copyright © 2005 Jason Olshefsky. All rights reserved.