Weekly Rochester Events #359: One Georgeous Lake
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I started finally getting out to more than just seeing rock-and-roll bands ... in fact, to the complete exclusion of seeing rock-and-roll bands. On Friday I went to the Hibernatus Interruptus Festival of New Plays at Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) They did a reading of Hickorydickory by Marisa Wegrzyn. It's set in a world where people have actual mechanical "mortal clocks" inside them that tick down the minutes until they die (Marisa admitted knowing about DeathClock.com but said it wasn't the catalyst for the script.) For most, this clock is tucked behind their heart, but for some, it's inside their head and they are fully aware of the time they have left with the constant reminder of, well, a ticking clock. It's set in and around a clock shop and the family who runs it consisting of Jimmy, Kate, and their daughter Dale. It turns out that Dale's biological mother is Cari Lee who bore Dale when she was 17 — and was one of the unfortunate souls whose mortal clock she could hear. At that time, Cari Lee went through an unusual procedure to have it removed, and it was subsequently broken, leaving her stuck at 17 forever.
I generally liked it — it was somewhat long (3 acts and almost 3 hours) but rewarding. It makes for an interesting exercise to see a 17-year-old talk with her own 17-year-old mother — especially if the mother irritates her daughter with childish mannerisms. The play asks some pretty deep questions about maturity, death, and life, and at the same time having a lighthearted wit about it. It was also intersting to see it as a staged reading with an informal survey of audience response afterward — although the script is generally complete, it may need some fine tuning to ensure the vision of the playwright is accurately conveyed. Either that, or it's being groomed to be more palatable for commercial theater — depending on how cynical you are.
On Saturday I went to The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) to see the new exhibition titled The Cluttered House by Jenn Libby. The artists statement said it had to do with the fleeting memories we have of the past, placed into specimen jars. In a way it got its point across, but I thought the images and shapes in the jars were far to sterile to elicit memories. Although it seems we have a lot of common ground in our lives, it's not some arbitrary fencepost we remember, it's the very specific one with the weird knotty twist in the middle that we were leaning on in the high summer goldenrod exploring our first kiss, leading us to fetishize holes and wood ... er ... or so some friend of mine said.
Although one could argue that the specimen jar motif amplifies those differences, I thought the point was far too subtle. However, another part of the exhibit met with more success: that of a slideshow utilizing family slides with a voice reading entries from an old diary. This presentation seemed more familiar to me, for I recall the trauma of sitting through numerous, lengthy, boring childhood slideshows (no offense Mom & Dad). A deadpan reading of an old diary amplifies the artificiality of the things we record. I mean, slideshows rarely capture anything about what was going on for real ... just the faces and shapes of people frozen in time. And diaries — ones similar to this one — often document the mundane actions of an individual, leaving the reader to glean only tiny bits of personality and growth (even though such diaries are often kept secret when they're written.)
Sunday night I went to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Return to Oz. Writer/director Walter Murch was on hand (staying from last night's screening of The Conversation on which he was responsible largely for sound.) It follows Dorothy back to the world of Oz — largely following L. Frank Baum's novels Ozma of Oz and The Land of Oz and drawing visual inspiration for from the illustrations by John R. Neill in those books. As I watched I had vague recollections of the film — presumably from advertisements or possibly a Saturday-afternoon screening on television. I was a bit annoyed to find the film very much stereotypical 1980's Disney — particularly disturbing were the fade-out/fade-in around black silence, an obvious cue to insert a commercial break. However, the story, visuals, and (as Michael Neault noted in his introduction of the film) the sound design were very strong. Overall, its a decent movie, and probably one that's great for children or just less critical movie snobs like myself.
Tuesday night was the only live music I saw: Maria Gillard with bass guitarist (and fellow Burning Man afficianado) Rob Storms play at The Flipside Bar and Grill (2001 E. Main St.) I hadn't ever been there before — it's a charming local pub, decorated with record sleeves from the decades when records were prolific — it's got a cozy 1970's rec-room vibe. I'm always happy to see Maria play and sing since she's so friendly and welcoming — not to mention tremendously skilled (but not to the point of being too serious.)
In her song "When I Had No TV," (about not having a television, duh) she sings about how she was more calm then ... that sat with me and I decided to quit going to sleep with the TV on to see if I can be any less high-strung. Getting rid of the satellite dish helped a lot, but left me with the most distilled nastiness in the form of off-air commercials.
Speaking of no TV, Wednesday night I went to see It Happened One Night at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) In general, I liked it, but as screwball comedies go — and despite the awards received — I still like Bringing Up Baby more. Nonetheless, It Happened One Night was a rather amusing and touching movie. I can see why it's such an achievement in that early era of filmmaking, but I still like the later film with lines like the naive Susan quipping of the titular tiger, "'He's three years old, gentle as a kitten, and likes dogs.' I wonder whether Mark means that he eats dogs or is fond of them?"
Afterward I headed over to Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) for the one night when I go there to "see the freaks." And by "freaks" I'm of course referring to "amateur drinkers" and by "amateur drinkers" I'm of course referring to the people who drift back into town to meet their townie friends but don't have any idea how to handle cheap shots and $1.50 PBR's.
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Internet Movie Database
On this day ... November 24
Link of the Week:
Timothy McSweeney Lists - Not everything is funny on the Internet, and only a little bit of what people thinks is funny actually is to anyone. One of the lists I thought was particularly funny was Pickup Lines: The First Drafts by Mark Vanderhoff as well as the remarkably concise Things This One Girl Sitting Near Me in a Movie Theater Said Out Loud When One of the Characters Was Shown Pulling Into a Gas Station by Conley Wouters, the probably accurate Things Not Overheard at a Conceptual-Art Gallery Opening by Jason Persse, and the amusing and probably accurate Errors in Communication Between My Hairdresser and Me, in the Form of What I Said and What He Heard by Jez Burrows. There's also other things you can go explore on your own.
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About the title ... Lake George was discovered 359 years ago in 1646 by Father Isaac Joques.
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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Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
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