Weekly Rochester Events #364: Destroyer of Icons
Thursday, December 29, 2005Last Thursday I went out to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) I thought it was interesting to hear that John Williams scored the film before it was shot, so the pacing of the editing followed the music — I think this is the trait that makes me feel that the film has such a perfectly balanced, organic pace. I still like the movie after all these years (reading a bit about it, I'm pretty sure I got to see it in the theater when I was 8) and its overall positive tone.
However, every time I see it, I get a feeling of deja vu about the "Steven Spielberg ending" as the mother ship floats gently into the sky. I just find it irritatingly sappy — I always hope it ends on the little kid Barry saying, "Bye bye!" Oh, and the campy product placement: as the equipment is secretly moved to Devils Tower National Park (Devils Tower National Monument Rd, Hulett, WY) it's placed in commercial trucks like Piggly Wiggly and Baskin Robins. Yeesh. How blatant can you get?
Afterward I stopped at Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) and got to see Sally Bee who seemed to me like a perfectly fine but pretty typical punk-rock band. I ended up talking with a friend of mine for a while and didn't stay for the other bands.
On Friday I had a semi-formal holiday party to go to, and since I was already dressed up, I figured I'd try running in the George Bailey 5K. It wasn't too much of a stretch to customize my suit-and-tie outfit to look somewhat like George Bailey's in It's a Wonderful Life. I signed in at Mex (295 Alexander St.) and got assigned number 5. I hung out and met a few of the other runners and actually knew a few of them from going out on the town.
We left around 8:30, hooting and hollering (George Bailey style, "Merry Christmas"-ing everything in sight) and went to Java's (16 Gibbs St.) for some egg nog and to sing a few Christmas carols. From there it was back to Mex (295 Alexander St.) with what I guess is a "traditional" run through The Old Toad (277 Alexander St.) albeit never with 67 people. (Not until this year anyway.) Finally, we finished up at Mex again for a round of Auld Lang Syne.
In the end, it's obviously nowhere close to 5 kilometers — barely over a mile, actually, if you count the detour through the Old Toad. It's also a blast — everyone running around with all this cheer and stuff; and all the puzzled looks from bystanders and patrons in the businesses. I imagine it's not too different from the reactions George would have received during his run through Bedford Falls.
I ducked out early for the holiday party where I drank too much and don't exactly remember every moment from beginning to end. Saturday — Christmas Eve — I headed to Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) for the "Hobo Christmas" where some of the staff and friends were kind enough to make some of those "pigs in a blanket" (Vienna sausages wrapped in Pilsbury Crescent Rolls) a tasty 9-layer dip, a couple bread bowls, and other assorted hors d'oeuvres. I always like the whole Chrismas Eve at Lux since it's full of the kind of people who decide to go out on Christmas Eve.
Since I saw my family earlier in the month, there wasn't a need for an additional frustrating, consumerist Christmas trip, so I stayed in and did a classic "A Christmas Story-style Christmas Dinner" which involved calling The New Number One Chinese Restaurant (1925 South Ave.) picking up chicken lo mein, walking home, and eating it. Later that night I went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) for the big Christmas show. Starting out, The Blastoffs rocked the house with some old and new stuff. Headlining was The Isotopes who started out with their short movie, How the Isotopes Saved Christmas and (despite some technical glitches early on) it was a ribald, campy, and funny flick. They did their regular awesome set of surf-rock punctuated with witty comedic interludes. Meghan (whom I've known for years and know that she has formal training in dance) is now one of the Isotopes go-go dancers and I got to stand on the side right in front of her. I figured it was like going to a hobo performance with go-go storytellers and getting to stand right in front of Garrison Keillor. You know what I mean?
Speaking of Christmas, though, a friend of mine sent me the book Affluenza and I've been reading that. It treats the issue of mass consumerism and over consumption as a "disease" and talks about its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. I keep reading faster and faster because the first part is about the symptoms and its statistics are a bit overwhelming, even if I can dismiss a few as statistical errors. In the end, though, I decided to start doing something. In lieu of proper New Year's resolutions, I guess I'll resolve to reduce the amount of junk mail I get — I'll go dig up those forms and lists you need to sign up on to get out of it. I'll probably post a step-by-step process to do it.
That and I'm trying to be more honest — to be "even worse" in a way, saying exactly what I'm thinking and what I'm feeling (less about my opinion of others and more about me.) I guess that's another "resolution."
On Monday I made it to the Emerging Filmmakers Program at The Little (240 East Ave.) I had heard that this particular program was one of the best ever — and marking the 25th edition and it didn't disappoint. First up was The Art of Ambivalence by Philip Armand which is a humorous documentary about artist Mike Conner who makes political and soclial art. The trouble is that Conner refuses to explain his thought process for developing the art on camera. Much of it is voiceover by filmmaker Armand expressing his frustration at the whole process and trying to find people to explain his subject's behavior. Next was These Unsettling Days of Wonder by John Alberts. It was a very good, rather abstract piece dealing with how the unexpected death of a young woman at the beginning of a marriage. Spring by Laura Belsey was a really touching, short piece (5 minutes versus 15 minutes and more for the rest) about a woman plagued by her past who thought she saw life in discarded Christmas trees and futilely tried to bring them back to life. Finally was Alone by Gregory Orr which was sadly marred by bad projection equipment, making it look like a bad film-to-video transfer, but it's quality transcended that problem. It's about a German immigrant who is a stuffy perfectionist working in the evictions department of an apartment management company. He falls for the fantasy of love — a beautiful woman who reminds him of his mother — but dates another woman for a while, in the end losing both by chasing the fantasy.
Tuesday night I ran into a friend of mine who I haven't seen in a long time. He was talking about how he's trying to make himself into the best person he can be. His technique is to be consistently noble. Although my motives are similar, my methods are different: for instance, I think the course is through total honesty rather than nobility — if you're honest with others and demand honesty from them, you'll start to see their lies and start to see your own as well.
Another thing that we agreed on was that everyone needs to love themselves. I added that it's important that self-love comes from truth and not from shallowness — the advice to affirm yourself in the mirror is flawed because you'll end up with a shallow sense of self-love which isn't true.
I think I hit on something true recently. I'd been very very depressed — getting hit with that whole sciatica thing that kept me down for a few weeks really exacerbated the depression situation. In the middle of all that in November I started digging deeper. I made the analogy that depression is like bungee-jumping into a deep hole: you fall down into the darkness but at some point you start pulling back out and things get better. I kept "grabbing hold of the walls" so-to-speak and digging deeper. At the time, I wanted to see if I could actually kill myself.
I finally hit some form of bottom: it was just mucky blackness and I was stuck in it. It's the worst depression I've ever experienced.
Then heard a voice in my head that said, "I love you."
I was surprised by that and I actually asked myself, "who said that?"
The voice replied, "I'm you. I love you."
It wasn't someone else, but just the feeling of a great hug and warm eyes and a loving smile. It was small and yellow and I had to look down to see it, but it was very close to my inner self. I talked with my "self-love" and begged that it not leave me and it said that it never will. Tears ran down my face and I was afraid to go to sleep — that I would forget it like a dream.
Well, I didn't forget and while it's sometimes more tangible and sometimes less, but it's always there.
Oh ... did I mention that I was going to try and be more honest about how I feel?
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About the title ... According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (1992, Houghton Mifflin; 1994, INSO Corporation) the word iconoclast first appeared in English 364 years ago in 1641 in a reference to Greek iconoclasts.
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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