Weekly Rochester Events #335: It's All a Joke
Thursday, June 9, 2005
Ok, so this has been an absurdly busy week. At least now, with the completion of the The Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association garage sale, I can spend more time on The Bike With 2 Brains. I still hope to get it to the ARTWalk (University Ave. from Atlantic to Merriman) Muse-a-Thon this Saturday (which, by the way, means probably missing O'Bagelo's (165 State Street) again. Since last Thursday, I put in about 50 hours of work on the bike to get to the point that I was able to drop it off at Austin-Spencer Collision (2433 Brighton-Henrietta Townline Rd.) on Wednesday to be finish-painted. When they called to say it would be done before the weekend, part of me was disappointed that I couldn't just throw up my hands and briefly take a break from it all. By the way, does anybody have a couple matching chairs to sacrifice as seats? — the total space is 48" wide, the seat area is 17" deep, and the back is 20" tall, so something a bit smaller than that. I've got this cool art deco chair I want to use (a fiberglass, upholstered bucket seat with a curved hairstyle-like "flip" for an armrest) but I only have one.
Thursday I headed to Downstairs Cabaret (172 West Main St.) to see The Water Coolers. You see, I signed up for the The Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester (277 N. Goodman St.) "A&CCESS" card a few months back and the "special deals" promised in the application flyer have been lukewarm at best. This time, however, they were offering 50% off one particular show at DCT (it appears they're continuing to schedule more too) so I got to see the show for $10.50 instead of $21.
The musical was a blast. It's a group of 5 people in an office addressing topical issues like political correctness, calling the help desk, escaping to a chat room, and the guy who walks around not doing any real work. I recognized a lot of the songs as parodies of popular tunes which is often a crutch (that is, easier than writing new songs with hooks that people can get into right away) but in this case, it's somewhat "mood setting" — correlating to the artificial "professional demeanor" necessary to work in an office. Their closing song seemed familiar and it took me a few days before I realized it's similar to "É," the catchy Brazilian tune I heard at the "Bossa Nova in the Mother Tongue" show a few months back. Unfortunately, it's impossible to find on the Internet — just try searching for "É" on Google.
It also reminded me of how weird it was to work in an office ... and not working in an office now — or, for that matter, for an "employer." I find that I'm in a position where people no longer give me "default respect" like when I used to be an upstanding, properly employed citizen. I got to thinking about how this just relates prejudice and respect.
Usually when people talk about "respect" it has the meaning as in "respect your elders," but what I'm talking about is to accept that someone else is a separate human being equal to yourself. That is, not about saying "sir," but about thinking, "this is my peer."
The other day I saw this guy berate a woman because she was late to open an office by 20 minutes (I was waiting too.) His view was that he was superior — after all, his time was more important, and what could she possibly been doing — and that she was not only unequal, but not even a human being: just a character in his mind who's lazy.
Anyway, when I got home from Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) very very late on Friday, I biked out and planted signs for the garage sale. In the sale, we ended up getting 55 households to sign up which represents about 6% of all the households in the neighborhood. Saturday morning I set up some tables in the misty rain and sold things people donated, making a few bucks for the association coffers.
At one point this guy stopped by and he had that "homeless" look and demeanor. He wanted money, but I've been in the habit of not giving money away to people who ask on the street. For a while I had decided it was because I disapproved of the "homeless lifestyle" and didn't want to support it — keeping someone afloat just enough that they wouldn't be motivated to better themselves — and I'd tell them that.
However, I decided that's not it exactly, but I still won't give out money, I just don't have an explanation. For this particular guy, I asked him if he wanted to take a few things. It was late in the day and there wasn't anything of significant dollar value. He picked up a couple things and asked for some bags to replace/augment the ones he already had. In the end, maybe I'm just trying to break people like that out of the scripted world of asking for money. Or I'm just cheap.
He came back later and asked for another thing: a pair of those folding earmuffs which he proudly put on, despite the heat. He also asked for money again and I told him no, so he asked if he could have the nearly-whole slice of pizza I didn't finish at lunch and I gave it to him. I found the voracity at which he devoured it unnerving — realizing that he probably was very hungry — but I hoped my discussion with him let him feel like he was treated like a human being for a little bit ... I think he needed the pizza more, though.
On Monday I went to the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) for Surprise Cinema. I got out the door late, but used the strong favorable winds (the weather changed later, making "weak unfavorable winds" on the way home) and the sail-like qualities of the tall bike to make it in record time. I missed a little of Jim Healy's introduction, but the movie was Danger: Diabolik. I believe it was ridiculed on Mystery Science Theater 3000" and justifyably so: the plot is as thin as any of the worst caper movies today. In it, an "uncatchable" super-thief named Diabolik goes around stealing stuff.
So why was it at the Dryden? Well, as Jim explained, mention director Mario Bava to any honest-to-goodness self-described movie expert and they'll tell you all about how he somehow stayed under budget, and how he mastered creating a stylish atmosphere that didn't look cheap, but really was. And Danger: Diabolik is no exception. With a modest $400,000 budget (in 1968) Bava manages to fill the frame with rich color and expensive-looking visuals. Not that you'd know it today — it was only through the new 35mm print (instead of the muted, muddy versions available) with the restored soundtrack of then-modern-era jazz (as opposed to the schlocky Casiotone music slapped on for the TV versions) that the filmmaking can be appreciated.
Late that night, I got back and actually tried working on The Bike With 2 Brains ... I had to undo an error I had made of welding on the back shelf and the battery case, causing it to warp and ruining the frame alignment. So, 2 hours later I had pretty much undone the 4 hours of work to make it. Bummer. Worse, though, was that I was feeling a bit like I caught the flu or had food poisoning or something — there was no way I'd let myself be sick, but the ensuing hyperactivity to avoid it getting worse, I got almost no sleep. Tuesday I spent most of the day cleaning parts and applying primer ... at one point I thought I could get done by 4 but it ended up being more like 6:30, so it wasn't until Wednesday that I brought it all over to be painted at Austin-Spencer Collision (2433 Brighton-Henrietta Townline Rd.) I remember talking with some of the people there from years past, and the guy I talked with always had a pessimistic demeanor — or at least he was unwilling to show optimism to avoid giving the impression that they could get something done when they couldn't. Nonetheless, they called to let me know it'd be done before the weekend.
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Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy MapsOnUs. Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com
About the title ... According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (1992, Houghton Mifflin; 1994, INSO Corporation) the word "joke" was first included in the English language (i.e. not as slang) 335 years ago in 1670.
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, June 9, 2005 (Thu, Jun 9, 2005, 6/9/2005, or 6/9/05) Friday, June 10, 2005 (Fri, Jun 10, 2005, 6/10/2005, or 6/10/05) Saturday, June 11, 2005 (Sat, Jun 11, 2005, 6/11/2005, or 6/11/05) Sunday, June 12, 2005 (Sun, Jun 12, 2005, 6/12/2005, or 6/12/05) Monday, June 13, 2005 (Mon, Jun 13, 2005, 6/13/2005, or 6/13/05) Tuesday, June 14,
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