Weekly Rochester Events #370: Years of Harvard
Thursday, February 9, 2006
Last Wednesday I got out of the house to go see Mercano, el marciano (Mercano the Martian) at the Dryden. It's an animated film by Argentinean writer/director Juan Antin in which Mercano the martian lands in more-or-less modern-day Buenos Aires. For the most part, he's either ignored or assumed to be a child in a costume (by street thugs who rob him) until, that is, it's discovered that he's a computer whiz who creates a virtual world on the Internet. A socially isolated and oligopolistic corporation purchases and commercializes his idea, ruining the artificially natural beauty with a capitalistic caste system, ultimately keeping the world's populace pacified and poor. Overall, it seems heavy-handed in its condemnation of giant corporations, but really quite funny in the end. Nonetheless, the point is that the isolation between the wealthy and the poor leads to the former obliviously but viciously abusing the latter. I generally liked the modern computer-aided animation which felt unique despite being recognizably influenced by many other recent forms.
Thursday was the second improv class and it went pretty well. I think I'm getting the hang of it as it wasn't such a terrible mind-bending exercise like the first lesson. Our 20-person troupe managed to pull off some pretty funny stuff.
On Friday I made it out to see Cole Gockley at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) He played some music with a bass player and drummer and was also opening a show of prints of his paintings. He played modern acoustic rock with a strong groove-rock influence and a strong folk influence. His artwork often stemmed from human forms and was sometimes rather abstract. Having the music and the visuals presented at the same time seemed rather harmonious — echoing his own feeling that they stem from the same creative source.
From there I went to see the video by Peter Kingstone titled Liberty Leading the People projected on the abandoned building near the former Brickyard Pub and near Geva Theatre (250 South Ave., see also the City of Rochester property details) It's a short performance piece of a modernized — and rather twisted — reinterpretation of the original French painting of the same name. I rather liked it. It's all part of something called Revolution Now! which may or may not be revolutionary and/or organized — I'm still waiting to hear more from the grapevine. A small group of us headed into the subway tunnel starting at the Court Street entrance under Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) then walked across the river to the big room under Broad Street right by The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial (100 Exchange Blvd.) — in point of fact, I guess we could have entered near the War Memorial, but nobody thought of that. It was pretty interesting ... DJ's playing with just a few lights and a video projector with a slide-show of graffiti from other cities. It was definitely really spooky down there: everyone had flashlights so my eyes never adjusted to the darkness to the point that I could see much and I didn't know if anyone was lurking down there.
After that, and since I know DJ Queen Knobtweekaaaah and DJ Jhim who were spinning at TiLT Nightclub and Ultralounge (444 Central Ave.) I headed over there. Tilt installed a top-notch sound system ... it sounds great. The "Bubble Lounge" (one of the two main rooms) has a central water wall with bubbles running through it. The colors of the room cycle as well and the overall decor is modern and quite consistent. I didn't hang out too long ... I'm not a big fan of being on a dance floor so there wasn't too much to do but chat with people I knew.
Saturday night I stopped by The Montage Live (50 Chestnut St., formerly the Montage Grille) to see Lalo. I really liked the whole shimmering jazz-like vibraphone music, but I didn't think it really worked with a bass player and powerful drummer. I also had a bite to eat and wasn't very impressed: I'd like my linguini alfredo to have more flavor than just butter, cream, and flour. Oh well.
I had to take off in a hurry to make it to the Dryden to see Darwin's Nightmare. It was really tough to watch. Nile perch, introduced to Lake Victoria in Tanzania in the 1950's, wreaked havoc on the ecosystem and killed pretty much all the other fish. A nearby village was (presumably) once successfully living from the vibrancy of the lake, but is now desperately impoverished. Every fish is sold to the fishery becuase it's too expensive for the natives to eat. Scenes of children literally fighting over food was almost too much to bear — that and they would make a concoction by burning the plastic from the fishery which they'd huff to pass out so they could sleep through the night.
Sunday I went to a friend's house and watched that big football game on TV. I found it amusing that at the end, they say you can't publish any depictions of it, and a few other choice limitations that are expanded on the website. It's pretty obvious to me that it must be staged — like a theatrical performance. Since you can't copyright facts, I don't see any other legal defense to having the ability to sue someone because they said that so-and-so ran so many yards to score. If it's a scripted event, then they can claim copyright on all the actions therein. It makes you wonder about people who place bets on the outcome.
On Monday I went back to the Dryden for yet another helping this week: this time for the first Surprise Cinema this year. They showed The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck. It's a strongly character-driven western, and probably one of the most solidly edited and directed films I've ever seen. Peck plays gunslinger Jimmy Ringo who's grown weary of the curse that comes with his quick draw — every town has some young wannabe who gets killed trying to challenge Ringo. It's really an expertly built story that you just can't stop watching.
Finally, on Tuesday, I went to see a fourth film at Dryden. This time it was for the silly black-comedy romp The Wrong Box in which Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Peter Sellers are all at the top of their game in comedic acting. The rest of the cast is brilliant as well. The gist is that the central characters are the descendents of a large group that entered a life insurance tontine — where the last survivor gets to collect the entire sum. One of the two brothers is trying to kill the other, and the other keeps failing to die while their respective kin are well aware of the value of collecting the sums.
The movie is funny, but the very fact that it is funny is somewhere between funny and very scary.
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About the title ... Harvard University (48 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA) was founded 370 years ago in 1636.
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, February 9, 2006 (Thu, Feb 9, 2006, 2/9/2006, or 2/9/06) Friday, February 10, 2006 (Fri, Feb 10, 2006, 2/10/2006, or 2/10/06) Saturday, February 11, 2006 (Sat, Feb 11, 2006, 2/11/2006, or 2/11/06) Sunday, February 12, 2006 (Sun, Feb 12, 2006, 2/12/2006, or 2/12/06) Monday, February 13, 2006 (Mon, Feb 13, 2006, 2/13/2006, or 2/13/06)
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