Weekly Rochester Events #389: Where to Get Your Perks Every Day

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Last Wednesday I went to see Jésus de Montréal (Jesus of Montreal) at the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) It was a fascinating double-telling of the Passion of Christ: actors (that is, the actors in the movie were playing characters who were actors) put on a borderline-blasphemous production of the Passion at the local church. The movie itself, however, is set up to mirror the Passion as well, so as the production is going on, the characters are gradually acting out the end of Christ's life in their own life. It was really quite moving.

Friday evening I went to The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) to see Autumn In HalifaxMySpace link featuring Chris Reeg. I helped out a little setting up the sound, so Autumn in Halifax's Dave Merulla decided he'd use "Jason" as his sound-check word and pretty much as often as he could between songs. He and Chris sounded very good — he was very focused although still relaxed and downright silly between songs: he kept noting how he enjoyed being backed up by Gregory PaulGarageBand linkMySpace link's band, "The Clergy," referring to the Paul Dodd portrait titled U. S. Cardinals on display behind him.

Saturday night, I had another amusing near-misadventure. Ali and her friend were going to Vertex (169 N. Chestnut St.) and I figured I'd catch some bands instead so I had them drop me off at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) As it turned out, it wasn't so much of a show as it was a bachelor party — probably for someone I knew but I didn't figure it out, instead talking with Ted Williams a.k.a. Mortimer Shy about his writing and the strange dimension of multifacetedness that the world takes on when you talk about writing about what you are currently doing — thereby making characters of people who are sitting right there.

But the fun began when I left and walked to Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) I gave Ali a call and headed over. I had a few drinks and talked with some friends — having the rather bizarre experience of walking for 20 minutes nonstop then entering a bar and stopping to talk with a friend of mine as though it was no different from sitting on a barstool and walking to the end of the bar to say hi. By the time I left it was already after 2 and I was wondering where my ride was.

No wait, the fun really began when, in the middle of calling to leave another message, I realized that Ali had left her phone in her car in my driveway, so I had no way to contact them to let them know where I was. I decided to start walking toward home — worst-case would be that I would have had to walk all the way. Figuring they might go back to the Krown to get me, I called there and let them know where I was in case my friends showed up. [I had the Krown's number in my phone because five years ago I thought it would be funny to fuck with the bartenders by prank calling the bar while I was sitting there.] As it turned out, they walked in the door right after I got off the phone, so it was but a few minutes later that the Lone Ranger and Tonto showed up on Silver in the form of a Chevy Prism and got me back home.

Monday afternoon I headed to The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) to see the street performance / interactive art of The Black Factory from Maine. I arrived just as their first performance was ending, so I just had the opportunity to see the artifacts of the performance and the reaction to it.

I talked with this guy Ru from the troupe (three of them are traveling together, setting up shows in advance like this one and doing others as they see fit.) Anyway, he and I were talking about the deep, socially-integrated racism he witnessed when he lived near Russia in Azerbaijan (if I remember correctly.) Noting the turnout, he lamented that he may not be reaching the right people — probably 2 people I'd identify as "black" and 20 more whom I wouldn't, all of whom I suspect are reasonably open-minded and involved with art and activism already. I said I made a tall bike and while I don't think of it as high art (noting the unintentional pun at the time as well) I realize that almost everyone I see reacts in a positive way. So although I'm not making a huge difference reaching everyone in town — the "right" people or the "wrong" people — I'm at least doing a little bit in the right direction. While I was showing him, another person came over and started asking questions about the bike. I'm accustomed to answering common questions, but I really wanted to stay on topic: the value of performance, the purpose of art and activism, and how to affect positive change in racism. The guy was polite but unfortunately tenacious and I lost my conversation with Ru. Darn.

I got back to the central group to find a black woman (whose name is Leigh-Anne: I met her later) criticizing the performance. The Black Factory sells artifacts of imbedded racism in America to fund other projects — it's technically the artwork of the Black Factory CEO, William Pope.L. However, as Leigh-Anne pointed out, what value is it for a bunch of white people to sit around and eat watermelon (which I was glad to eat after biking, completely missing its racist significance) and purchase "mammy" merchandise? She was upset that there was no discussion of "white privilege" — the freedom that white people enjoy to not be watched, harassed, or otherwise prejudicially distrusted. The performers tried to defend their stance by noting that although their skin is white, their ethnic backgrounds are varied. Unfortunately, they missed the point of the debate: it wasn't about race in a technical sense, it was about perception of others based on your skin color.

Desperately grasping for some kind of a solution, Leigh-Anne exhausted thought-path after though-path until she got flustered and had to get out of the fray. Her lesbian friend picked up and said that she sometimes takes advantage of looking like a white male. Relating back to a point about using the word nigger, she said that like the word "dyke" or "queer," it requires the speaker to have some kind of intimate understanding of the group being discussed — that is, being a lesbian and knowing what it's like to get called a dyke in a derogatory way gives you the understanding to be able to use the term affectionately. I was trying to get into the dialog at this point because I saw that the two concepts were related: if this woman sometimes gets mistaken for a white male, how does she prove to a new group of peers that she's allowed to say "dyke?"

Unfortunately it was right at that moment that a reporter for The Democrat and Chronicle stepped in and said they have a photographer and wanted to conduct an interview — the article has already been written and includes a photograph of Leigh-Anne in the heat of the exchange I mentioned. I found it infuriating that a "reporter" would not only fail to "report" — to observe and notate the event — but that they would actually interfere with the value of the event. I mean, that's the whole point: for the Black Factory to do performances and then to interact with the audience to start a dialog. It's a challenging topic to talk about and many people will take any opportunity to change the subject. I suspected that the article would pacify the masses in a "well I'm glad somebody is doing something about that problem" way and let them feel good about being part of the solution by reading it.

I was about to leave when I realized that my bike put me at the level of the window in the van so I stopped and talked with Josh from the troupe. He asked me what I thought of the event and what they were doing. He was accepting items from the public that "were black," as they collect such items and resell them for charities and such. I decided to get down from my bike and I said I'd meet him in the van in a minute: I had a chance to think about his question a bit more. I told him that through the event, I recognized that racism is a big knotted mess of an issue and whenever you pull a string to untangle it, someone screams about it. I was trying to get to a point of talking about the disadvantages of being white. Some guy behind me said, "umm, excuse me: I'm waiting here to make a donation and I can't stay here forever." Obviously the dialog and learning going on paled in importance to the ego boost of making a material donation.

I had to get out of there. Rochester showed its true colors: we do not want to talk about racism. We'll do anything to avoid it. The only thing we'll do is to say how not racist we are by showing up at a performance art piece about it, and talk about how this is the home of Frederick Douglass and such. I was pretty disappointed on the way home.

Oh yeah, there was one other black person who showed up: he was there to read the meter on the Visual Studies Workshop — clearly someone who can't afford to take an afternoon off to lounge around talking about racism.

I went for a walk around the block by my house. A guy walking toward me hurriedly walked into a driveway and started gesturing to me. As I got closer, he was giving me the thumbs-down sign and saying, "I give you [sic] the thumbs down." I asked why and he said, "because I want to," so I said, "okay, knock yourself out," and walked on. Nothing became of the exchange, but I decided I'd definitely go back to the reception at The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) and if someone interrupted to change the subject from something serious to something simpler, I'd "give them the thumbs down."

So I went back as planned and met some nice people. I got to finish my conversation with Josh. I added that white privilege isn't all positive. For instance, as a white male, I'm assumed to be the goose who lays golden eggs: it's obvious that I've got thousands of dollars in my pockets, so if someone asks for money, it's just me being a jerk if I don't give them a paltry $20. In retrospect, it's not really valuable to go ahead and find common ground with people who don't have white privilege. The real deal is that white privilege is the way everyone should be treated. It's not that whites should concede points and also be searched at random by cops for driving too fast, it's that nobody should have to deal with that for dumb reasons like skin color.

I also got to talk with some local artists and take another look at the good art they've got up for their Hot Night...Cool Art auction this Friday. After the gallery closed, I got to meet Leigh-Anne [the spelling of her name, by the way, I'm taking from the D&C article, so hopefully they did something right] and a few other people and we talked a bit about the show and about regular life stuff.

As art goes, I don't have a way to explain what's going on when William Pope.L — who's black — creates a street-performance to bring up tough issues about race and then sends 3 white kids to perform it. It's radical, funny, daring, and, in a way, cruel. Analysis-wise, what's the art? Is the medium "performance" or is it the interactions between performances? If these people don't crack after 20 performances, are they going to be brilliant debaters of racism?

In the end, I figured that issues that are complicated and hard to articulate form "fragile" conversations in that another, simpler or more concrete topic is easier to talk about and can overshadow a "hard" topic even if it's important. It's really a trick not to go off on tangents and such because the ideas you're dealing with don't have concise words associated with them.


This morning at 11 a.m. in the Bausch and Lomb Parlor at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is Art at 11 with a discussion by Carl Chiarenza. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a Conservation Clinic for Eastman House members on how to care for old photographs. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Acoustic soloist CarbonicMySpace link and down-tempo, percussive rock band A WonderfulMySpace link are kicking off their tour at A|V Art Sound Space (N. Union St. at Trinidad St., #8 in the Public Market, formerly the All-Purpose Room) with Somolian BonaparteMySpace link starting around 7 p.m. for a potluck dinner. [source: A|V Space website]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Pure Kona Poetry Open Mic Night at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) is the fascinating spoken word and a cappella performers F'loom starting at 7:30 p.m. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

Over at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 8 p.m. is Jim Bowers. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Lost Weekend starting at 8 p.m. in which a "frustrated and unsuccessful writer [is] caught in a self-destructive spiral of alcoholism." Note that this is a special treat as it's a delicate nitrate print that was "preserved since the film's original release." [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Liquid DamageMySpace link, TrephinatedMySpace link, and HaborymMySpace link will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Over at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) starting around 10 p.m. is rockin' rockabilly band Krypton 88MySpace link. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

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

Today's Architecture for Lunch from The Landmark Society of Western New York (133 S. Fitzhugh St.) will be at Eastman Place (387 E. Main St., a.k.a. The Miller Center) with Cynthia Howk from 12:10 p.m. to 12:35 p.m. [source: Landmark Society calendar]

This evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Artisan Works (565 Blossom Rd.) is the opening reception for photography by Dan Olek and paintings by Peter Macon. The show runs through August. [source: City Newspaper]

Tonight at Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. is the opening for new artwork by Austin Taylor and Jay Lincoln. The show runs through August. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) is the Hot Night...Cool Art auction starting at 6:30 with the live auction taking place at 8 p.m. [source: Rochester Contemporary calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at the Gallery at The Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester (277 N. Goodman St.) is the opening reception for Sculpture and Drawings by Dejan Pejovic from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibit runs through July 20. [source: Arts and Cultural Council e-mail]

JayceLand Pick Today through next Thursday is The Little Foreign Film Festival at The Little (240 East Ave.) Each day brings a couple foreign films to the screen starting around 7 p.m. [source: Little Theatre calendar]

Tonight at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) is talented guitarist and singer Kinloch Nelson, Dick Ward, and Loren Barrigar starting around 8 p.m. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at A|V Art Sound Space (N. Union St. at Trinidad St., #8 in the Public Market, formerly the All-Purpose Room) starting around 8 p.m. is Inward Becomes an AnthemMySpace link, FigureMySpace link, and Chad Oliveiri. [source: A|V Space website]

The Rochester Rocky Horror Picture Show, "A Rather Tasteless Joke"MySpace link will be at RIT (One Lomb Memorial Dr., campus map) in Building 6, Room A205 tonight at 9 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick Al Biles, and his computerized accompanist GenJam will be at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

Over at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) starting around 9 p.m. is Kyle VeenemaMySpace link. [source: Boulder Coffee website] [all ages]

Updated: Tonight at Spy Bar (139 State St.) is The Cave Brides, clean, crisp rock-and-roll from Tiger Cried BeefMySpace link, and chaotic experimental from Foot and Mouth Disease starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Carbon Records calendar] [21+]

Tonight and tomorrow is another Geva Comedy ImprovMySpace link show at Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) starting at 10:30 each night. [source: Geva Comedy Improv e-mail]

Top Pick Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting great satirical gospel band The Lobster QuadrilleMySpace link, minimal, airy acoustic soloist Kelli Shay HicksMySpace link, Daryl Fleming, and Greg Carder's Miracle starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: band flyer] [21+]

Midsummer Day

Today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Genesee Country Village and Museum (1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford) is a War of 1812 Reenactment and it's also Dairy Weekend. [source: Arts and Cultural Council e-mail]

This afternoon at 3:30 p.m. is the The Rochester Twilight Criterium bicycle race in downtown Rochester. [source: RocWiki calendar]

Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) will be hosting Infatuating LenaMySpace link starting around 7 p.m. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 7:30 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m. is Nuts and Bolts Improv Troupe (see their site at ImprovAmerica too) at Downstairs Cabaret (172 West Main St.) [source: Nuts and Bolts e-mail]

The Even Numbers Jazz Quartet will be at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee website] [all ages]

JayceLand 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 a bunch of ambient-experimental with Roxanne Jean PoliseMySpace link, Will SoderbergMySpace link, Adam MokanMySpace link, and great ambient/droning expermental band Entente Cordiale starting around 8 p.m. [source: A|V Space website]

Tonight at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) is Southshore starting around 9 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

Over at Richmond's (21 Richmond St.) starting around 10:30 p.m. is good bar-rock band Blue JimmyGarageBand linkMySpace link. [source: Freetime] [21+]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:45 p.m. is BBQ, Demon's ClawsMySpace link, and 1960's-styel rock from St. Phillip's Escalator. [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.

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing High Anxiety starting at 7 p.m. Mel Brooks' really quite hilarious satire of the films of Alfred Hitchcock. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Over at The Little Theatre Café (240 East Ave.) starting around 8 p.m. is minimalist airy acoustic soloist Kelli Shay HicksMySpace link. [source: WBER calendar]

JayceLand Pick The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting full, powerful, and technically elaborate rock from Knife CrazyGarageBand linkMySpace link, Crush Kill DestroyMySpace link, and complex, hard-hitting, mid-tempo, slightly-off-balance rock band Kill Myself on MondayMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

This evening from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., The City of Rochester Department of Community Development will have a meeting on the Port of Rochester Master Plan Study by Sasaki Associates (64 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA) in the Auditorium at Charlotte High School (4115 Lake Ave.) [source: City Hall press release]

Tonight at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is another Wide Open Mic with Norm Davis starting at 7:30 p.m. [source: Craigslist Rochester events]

Lindsay Mac will be at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Daily Perks calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is Dave Rivello's 12-Piece Jazz Ensemble starting at 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

Top Pick Tonight at the Dryden Theatre of George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) at 8 p.m. is another Surprise Cinema! with the film title announced right before it's screened. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is the madhouse, free-for-all, on-stage mosh of The Laundryroom Squelchers, and Siberia starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

JayceLand Pick In theory, there is another Emerging Filmmakers Program tonight at The Little (240 East Ave.) at 9:15 p.m., but I haven't heard anything about it so your guess is as good as mine. As soon as I get the details I'll post the films.

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.

Tonight at City Hall (30 Church St.) is another Mayor's Night In with Mayor Robert J. Duffy from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. [source: City Hall press release]

Tonight from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. is the another of the Tuesday Nature Nights Guided Bike Ride this time in the Maplewood Neighborhood starting at The Maplewood Rose Garden (Driving Park and Lake Ave.) [source: City Hall press release]

This evening starting around 7 p.m. at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is another 25 and Under show featuring the works of young writers. [source: Arts and Cultural Council e-mail]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing LaLee's Kin: The Legacy Of Cotton starting at 8 p.m. It's a documentary about about a poor family in the deep south of the Mississippi Delta. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick DysrhythmiaMySpace link, Behold The ArctopusMySpace link, The Lazers, and chaotic jazzy sax with drums/guitar rhythm from Deadly Pillowfight AccidentMySpace link (although I heard a rumor they cancelled) will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

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

JayceLand Pick Tonight from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at The Liberty Pole (1 Liberty Pole Way) is the first of the Polapalooza street festivals. Tonight's show features Grupo Fantasma and The Ryan Montbleau Band. [source: City Hall press release]

Today at 7 p.m. in St. Boniface School (15 Whalin St.) is a South Clinton Avenue Design Charrette Review. [source: Friends of the Cinema Yahoo! Group]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Exotica starting at 8 p.m. The thing that caught my eye from the description was, "... in this complex and haunting exploration of loneliness at the end of the millennium ..." [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is Cex, somewhat ethereal, bouncy pop-rock from Love of EverythingMySpace link, and pretty good, mellow, down-tempo soloist Little Yellow BirdMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

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 ... Daily Perks coffee shop is located at 389 Gregory St.

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, June 22, 2006 (Thu, Jun 22, 2006, 6/22/2006, or 6/22/06) Friday, June 23, 2006 (Fri, Jun 23, 2006, 6/23/2006, or 6/23/06) Saturday, June 24, 2006 (Sat, Jun 24, 2006, 6/24/2006, or 6/24/06) Sunday, June 25, 2006 (Sun, Jun 25, 2006, 6/25/2006, or 6/25/06) Monday, June 26, 2006 (Mon, Jun 26, 2006, 6/26/2006, or 6/26/06) Tuesday, June 27, 2006 (Tue, Jun 27, 2006, 6/27/2006, or 6/27/06) and Wednesday, June 28, 2006 (Wed, Jun 28, 2006, 6/28/2006, or 6/28/06).

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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