Weekly Rochester Events #383: var Blaise : Pascal;

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ok, so Wednesday I got out to see (arguably) the first Canadian feature film at The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.): Nobody Waved Good-Bye about a juvenile delinquent teenager. I liked it a lot because the protagonist's crimes are really quite petty in the grand scheme of things — unlike all other films of this ilk where the crimes escalate to something even an adult couldn't handle. In this case, the viewer's adult perspective reveals that the trouble this kid gets into could easily be undone and he could lead a relatively normal life, but the character has no idea such a turnaround is possible.

On Thursday I headed out to the Dryden once again: this time for the first showing of The Rochester International Film Festival. In past years — and in short film shows in general — I find that in one show there's a spectrum of like-to-dislike that's pretty even. This particular show, I was stunned that I really liked everything, making it tough to pick my favorite 3 films for the festival survey. Some of them really resonated with me and stuck around longer ... Cuando la luna esta llena (When the Moon is Full) by Marc Lesser was a rather amusing and clever film about a couple Equadorian guys [I didn't fact check and originally said Puerto Rican] working at a deli — all of it comes back to the older worker who just wants to play his guitar ... and who is telling the whole story in song. Happy Birthday Yemima by Yishai Orian was a funny and quirky film about a woman who grows up as her own grandmother ... the Israeli humor transferred pretty well. Sirah by Cristine Spindler was a touching and subtle film about a young Muslim girl trying to fit into American schools while still retaining her own culture. The Counter by Lauren Wagner was a very good and powerful film about a lunch counter in the south where some black customers get abused for sitting at the whites-only counter — the owner is being interviewed long after and she angrily denies being called a "hero" for having the "first integrated lunch counter." Finally, Pawns of the King by Ming Lai was another touching and subtle film about some older Japanese men battling their past — reconciling their conflicting roles in World War II.

Friday I decided to try out that whole No Pants DayMySpace link thing I noted. The idea is that everyone is way too serious so on the first Friday in May, you should wear no pants. Well, I started out in the morning, figuring I'd get acclimated to the whole situation throughout the day so it wouldn't be so jarring to head out at night. I dressed in a dress shirt, tie, black socks, and shoes, but just boxers — I wanted to be clearly deliberate. I added a sport coat so I'd have some darn pockets.

During the day I did such pedestrian things as installing a clothesline and digitizing records and cassettes. I decided to get into the latter because although iTunes is cheap enough song-by-song, I already have a bunch of records and tapes that I'd like to have easier access to, and now that I ripped all the CD's I own, it would be really nice to have it all in one place. For some things, there's no way to get it, like 1980's Chipmunk Punk. It featured Chipmunk covers of not-very-punk songs like Blondie's "Call Me," The Cars' "Let's Go," and Billy Joel's "You May Be Right," and it is indeed as disturbing as it sounds like it would be. The heavy reverb on Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is absolutely surreal. Now I have it readily accessible for some reason.

Anyway, my first pants-less stop was at Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) and I got quite a few puzzling reactions from the happy hour crowd. I realized pretty quickly that I became "that guy:" you know ... "that guy" who showed up with no pants that one day ... "that guy" who rides the tall bike all over ... "that guy" who's breaking rules just for the hell of it.

From there I met up with a woman I met recently for a first date. (Ha ... just kidding.) We've been seeing each other for a few weeks now, but that would have been a hilarious first date. We headed to Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) to see F'loom. They stuck closer to poetry than to their amazing musical a cappella vocalizations. All of it was excellent: both fascinating and obviously complex.

As a side note, I got in a discussion on an e-mail list I'm on. Someone was taking pride in hiding their out-of-work behavior — they're a primary school teacher who had a student ask about an activity they participate in, to which they successfully evaded showing any knowledge in it. I responded and chastised them for perpetrating the myth that "professionals" must hide their outside behaviors. I was met with only one response: the cunning, "you first, Robespierre."

Unfortunately, I can't take that stance because I'm not in a "sensitive" profession — essentially either being involved with politics or working with children. However, I have become "that guy," and I'm not expending effort hide it. I guess that's close to what I want — that people not expend effort to hide their outside behaviors. Intertwined in all this is that they're ashamed.

Now shame is an important thing to feel. It's when you know you've done something wrong — like if you derive pleasure from causing a child pain, you should be ashamed. However, if you want to dress up in a pink tutu with kitty ears at a party, there's no reason to feel shame — even if you work at a children's hospital. To feel shame about something you shouldn't taints "shame" itself. Shame is reserved for when you're hurting yourself or others — something to get help about. Imposing shame on others simply for actions we wouldn't do weakens it by making it open to argument; keeping it succinct makes it strong.

But anyway, I'm not on the firing line of social change. The original post made me think of the civil rights movement and that film, The Counter from the film festival. Imagine if you will, a pale black man saying to his friend, "when I got to the restaurant, they tried to seat me in the white section, but I said, 'no sir, I'm actually black' and they seated me proper." I think we're much better off because there were people who said "no" to that society.

And it's equally true today: rather than taking pride in successfully hiding irrelevantly "unprofessional" outside activities, take pride in defending your right to do as you please and then to also be successful in your profession. In the civil rights movement, taking a stand meant taking a risk and having faith that there are people who will stand with you. In this movement for personal freedom, there is also a risk — that of your social standing, job, and career — but have faith that there are people who will stand with you.

Anyhow, Saturday night I went to Dryden to catch the last showing of The Rochester International Film Festival this year. The festival's treatment of the first film left me embarrassed for the festival and all of Rochester. It was a 35 mm print of Liberté conditionnelle (Suspended Sentence) by Constant Mentzas which was in French but had no subtitles. There were some grumbles from the audience and I was straining to pick up a few snippets of dialog at a time with my very limited French and Latin knowledge. However, about halfway through, they just shut off the projector. Festival director Josephine M. Perini came out and said they cut it off because somebody complained — they had DVD prints with subtitles but the film version had none. My first reaction was to be furious — I presumed that some fucking redneck hick went up and was like, "Here in 'merica we talk English" and they just caved. I felt awful for the filmmaker who went through all the trouble of submission and getting accepted, only to have his film unceremoniously yanked at the last minute. And then what of the people who built the festival all these years? — this one being the 48th, making it the longest running short film festival in the world — and how its reputation could be sullied so easily by such a poor decision.

Fortunately I got back to enjoying the films with Surly Squirrel by Peter Lepeniotis which was a rather amusing, Pixar-grade animation of animals planning a pizza-slice heist in the midst of a parallel bank heist. Smart Card by James Oxford was a dark and clever extrapolation of today's cashless society taken to a cold, sterile extreme (which I didn't think was far from what we have today.) Vika by Tsivia Barkai was a powerful film about a young girl with a drunken mother who has to grow up way too soon to take care of her baby brother. Penny Dreadful by Bryan Norton started out as a cliché supernatural thriller but ended up being surprisingly scary. [By the way, cliché is now pronounced "clitch" as it has become "clitch" to say "clee-shay".] In it, a young woman moves into a new house with her husband that she inherited from a relative (the house, not the husband) but they need to sell it to pay the taxes. While they fix it up, she is haunted by experiences of a gruesome murder.

At this point, the festival deviated from the printed schedule — they presented awards and introduced the filmmakers, then went back and finished up with SYN by Ben Chavda. I suspect it was so they could escape early for the after-party: among the brief notes in my program, I wrote of SYN, "[a] stinking piece of shit — predictable and sluggish." It was about clones in the future (SYN's) who are at war with "zealots" or parent-raised humans. The whole thing is a second-rate stylistic rip-off of The Matrix with "zealots" housing in a church trying to rid the world of "SYN." Do you get it? A church trying to rid the world of SYN — or is it sin? God it was painful to watch ... at least there's some resume-building to be had from it as the special effects and action sequences were pretty good — it's just the crummy plot, clumsy script, barely passable acting, and lousy sound that mar it.

On Monday I headed to Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) for a performance by The Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble. I very much enjoyed Black Angels (Images 1) for electric string quartet (Thirteen images from the dark land) by George Crumb. I found it very visually evocative with some innovative uses of traditional instruments alongside nontraditional instruments such as bow-strokes on water-filled glasses. Tod Machover was on hand to witness the performance of his Another Life which I found to be a somewhat trippy piece although inconsistently captivating ... sometimes I was right with it, and at others my mind wandered. I was also fascinated by How to Pray by David Lang which I found closer to the harmonic-drone sound I've heard from non-classically-trained bands — instrumentation included a drum kit and electric guitar alongside cello and piano.

I headed to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) with some friends on Tuesday for the two bands there. First up was The GhostwriterMySpace link who's this one-man band with a kick-pad and electric guitar. He does quite good angry-sounding rock with a bit of a rockabilly edge. Next was The Lobster QuadrilleMySpace link who did a great show with their satirical gospel-rock. I worry sometimes that I'm going to be the only one who likes the shows I recommend, but this time I got some very favorable feedback.

  • Art School Confidential (at The Little) - A guy works really hard to get to art school and then finds it's not what it seemed.
  • I Am a Sex Addict (at The Little) - A guy can't get enough sex with prostitutes and eventually realizes he's addicted. (And here I thought this opened last weekend ... hmm.)

JayceLand Pick This evening at 7:30 p.m. at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is a neat-sounding lecture titled Art Authentication where Hany Farid will discuss how investigators determine artistic authenticity. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) is Dakota Dave Hull starting around 8 p.m. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Very good cello-and-drums rock band Break of RealityGarageBand link will be at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Rochester Music Coalition calendar] [all ages]

Twice Before Noon will be at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: WBER calendar] [21+]

Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is Blasé DeBrisMySpace link, and okay instrumental surf-rock from The MofosMySpace link starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Drinking Liberally meets at 8 p.m. tonight at Monty's Korner (355 East Ave.) [source: RocWiki calendar]

Lilac Festival begins today.

Today from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at The University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) (250 E. River Rd.) is a lecture titled Whole Foods and Grass-Based Farming by Elizabeth McInerney of Rochester Farm Connection. [source: University of Rochester Events Calendar]

Today at 4 p.m. at the Highland Stage at The Lilac Festival is Mike ZaleMySpace link then at 5:30 is Teressa WilcoxMySpace link, and finally Ben LeeMySpace link at 7 p.m. [source: Freetime]

JayceLand Pick Tonight after the 7 p.m. show of I Am a Sex Addict at The Little (240 East Ave.) is a question-and-answer with filmmaker Caveh Zahedi. [source: Little Theatre calendar]

The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) will be hosting good acoustic soloist Gregory PaulGarageBand linkMySpace link playing with violinist Lauren Chauvin starting around 7 p.m. [source: Rochester Contemporary e-mail] [all ages]

The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) will be hosting the Penfield High School Monday/Wednesday Jazz Ensemble, starting around 7:30 p.m. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) will be hosting The Brad Batz Group starting around 8 p.m. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Simon starting at 8 p.m. A macho drug dealer and a timid dental student are drawn to one another despite their significant differences. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at A|V Art Sound Space (N. Union St. at Trinidad St., #8 in the Public Market, formerly the All-Purpose Room) is MockbaMySpace link, The AudienceMySpace link, and The Creation of NothingMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: A|V Space website]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at German House (315 Gregory St.) is great percussive groove-rock from The BuddhaHoodMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

JayceLand Pick O'Bagelo's, 165 State Street, noon.

Today from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. is Members' Day at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) featuring special tours and such. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Today at The Montage Live (50 Chestnut St., formerly the Montage Grille) is The ErgsMySpace link, Caustic ChristMySpace link, I ObjectMySpace link, great, wild, classic-style punk from DestruxMySpace link, The Hombrinus Dudes, My Revenge, and A. N. S.MySpace link starting around 12 p.m. [source: Freetime]

This afternoon at 2 p.m. is an Informational Meeting about the request-for-proposals (click for RFP document) on public art at Corn Hill Landing (290 Exchange Blvd.) [source: City Hall press release]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) starting around 2 p.m. is T-Broussard and the Zydeco Steppers. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

Nuts and Bolts Improv Troupe (see their site at ImprovAmerica too) will be at Downstairs Cabaret (172 West Main St.) for two shows tonight at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. [source: Nuts and Bolts e-mail]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Gunman's Walk starting at 8 p.m. Star Tab Hunter will introduce the film — a "psychological Western" — and discuss his varied career. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) will be hosting Brian RathGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: Rochester Music Coalition calendar] [all ages]

Richmond's (21 Richmond St.) will be hosting Big DiceGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: JamBase calendar for Rochester] [21+]

JayceLand Pick Somewhat interesting jam-groove-rock band Drums and TubaMySpace link, and attention-deficit jazzy power-rock from GaylordMySpace link will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [21+]

Tonight's another Betty's Sing-a-Long at Betty Meyer's Bullwinkle Café (622 Lake Ave., a.k.a. "Bullwinkle's") starting around 10.

Fly the flag today.Mother's Day

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Animal Crackers starting at 7 p.m. The Marx Brothers once again fluff up a simple plot with their comic antics. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. is The HeadlightsMySpace link, and good high-energy punk-rock with a distinct ska influence from The GrievantsMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Fly the flag today.Peace Officers Memorial Day (half-staff)

This afternoon at 5:30 p.m. at the Highland Stage of The Lilac Festival is a performance by Jimmie Highsmith, Jr. followed by Jody WatleyMySpace link at 7 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) is another Holistic Nite titled Spiritual Laws of Eckankar: Silence, Non-Interference, Love about the Eckanar religion. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Kevin Norton, Dave Ballou, and Nick Didkovsky will be at The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

Top Pick A|V Art Sound Space (N. Union St. at Trinidad St., #8 in the Public Market, formerly the All-Purpose Room) will be hosting Calabi YauMySpace link, The Bastard TrioMySpace link, and thoughful spoken word poetry over avant garde ambient music from Urknee and Bjürton starting around 9 p.m. [source: A|V Space website]

Bored? Why not check out 1980's DJ night at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 11 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

This morning at 7:30 a.m. in the cafeteria overlooking the arboretum in Bausch and Lomb (140 Stone St.) is the Artists Breakfast Group meeting ... anyone interested in art or creativity is invited.

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Coup de torchon starting at 8 p.m. The description in the Eastman calendar made it sound pretty good, with phrases like, "Bumbling police chief Lucien ... suddenly embarks on a vengeful killing spree, murdering anyone who has mistreated him" and "[director/writer Bertrand] Tavernier leaves little room for redemption as Lucien finds himself in a moral quagmire of his own making." [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Easy Action, good, gimmicky heavy metal from BlüdwülfMySpace link, and Toxic Holocaust starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Tonight at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) is great blues-charged rock-and-roll/groove-rock band Buford and the Smoking Section starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) is hosting an Acoustic Open Mic from 8 to 10. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

This evening from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is a meeting of The Freedom Writers Group who write letters in support of writers and journalists around the world. [source: Writers and Books calendar]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Mon oncle Antoine starting at 8 p.m. In another of those early Canadian cinematic features, an undertaker gets drunk, leaving his orphaned nephew to collect a body on Christmas. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is The Country Teasers, occasionally semi-melodic fast-paced noise from Pengo, and impressive, organic experimental jazz from The Blood and Bone OrchestraMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Poor People United meets tonight and every Wednesday at 7 at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) [source: the proverbial grapevine]

There's an Open Mic for Acoustic Music at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) tonight around 8. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

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About the title ... The Pascal programming language (in which variables are created using "var name : type") was named after Blaise Pascal who was born 383 years ago in 1623.

This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do. Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including 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. Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events. 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.) It's also not to be confused with Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator. While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, May 11, 2006 (Thu, May 11, 2006, 5/11/2006, or 5/11/06) Friday, May 12, 2006 (Fri, May 12, 2006, 5/12/2006, or 5/12/06) Saturday, May 13, 2006 (Sat, May 13, 2006, 5/13/2006, or 5/13/06) Sunday, May 14, 2006 (Sun, May 14, 2006, 5/14/2006, or 5/14/06) Monday, May 15, 2006 (Mon, May 15, 2006, 5/15/2006, or 5/15/06) Tuesday, May 16, 2006 (Tue, May 16, 2006, 5/16/2006, or 5/16/06) and Wednesday, May 17, 2006 (Wed, May 17, 2006, 5/17/2006, or 5/17/06).

JayceLand Pick indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.

Top Pick indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.

GarageBand link links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

MySpace link links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.

Fly the flag today. is a day when you should fly the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars calendar.

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