Weekly Rochester Events #403: What Assassin, Unravel, and Sherbet Have In Common
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Let me start with what I did then talk about some random stuff then talk about what's coming up. Mostly it's ranting about shit, though.
Sound good? (If not, avert your eyes, heathen.)
So last Wednesday I got out to The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Jim Healy introduced it and made it sound pretty good — after all, it was a huge blockbuster when it came out, and the complaints were largely that it was too dark for kids, spurring the creation of the PG-13 rating. However, after watching it, my recollection of its suckitude was spot on. The plot and characters are so thin that it's practically offensive. Scenarios happen with no basis in reality — I mean it's plausible that a thousand-year-old trap with a giant rolling boulder would still function, but I can't buy that nearly instantly fatal poison will wait for a fight scene to finish, or that a rickety mining cart can handle a 60-mile-per-hour jump across 40 feet of missing track. Not to mention that apparently Indians (the ones from India, that is) come in three flavors: wise old men, children, and women pining for their children. And who was the director who instructed the extras?: were those guys supposed to be angry or cheering? The only thing "good" about it was that it was action-packed.
Friday I got up and paid my IRS fine — I thought it was because I didn't need to fill out a 1040 and they made a mistake, but it was because they couldn't accept my check that I accidentally dated April 10, 2005 — they can't cash it if it's more than a year old — so my second check was 16 days late resulting in a $100 fine and another $7 or so in interest. What a great way to start the day.
That evening I made it to Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) to see Danny Price. The guy's really good ... he's a bit of a folk singer and a bit of a rocker, and either side is mixed with a lot of wit and humor. He can go from rich, emotive folk to pounding energetic rock in songs back-to-back.
Later I got dressed up as a bad lion tamer (hyphenate as you wish) with torn clothes and a whip for the circus-themed Under the Big Top, another Spectacle of Saints and Sinners Burlesque Troupe show at TiLT Nightclub and Ultralounge (444 Central Ave.) We had a really good time there ... the burlesque was better than last time although it still aims to please a theatrically-minded crowd more than the masses. An excellent addition to the show was musical interludes by The Lobster Quadrille ... I can't think of another band that would fit so well — their satirical gospel-rock motif was a perfect-fit for the night.
On Saturday I at least finished up installing Apple OS X 10.3 "Panther" on my old G3 PowerBook. It is indeed faster — worth it alone for the upgraded version of Mail which is tolerably fast, unlike its absurdly crippled predecessor.
Anyway, that night I headed to The Little (240 East Ave.) for the The Manhattan Short Film Festival but when I got there, the line was out the door and it was already 7 p.m. I mulled for a moment waiting in line — arriving at the show late, all that stuff — and eventually gave up and left. What's the deal with the Little begging for money and members all the time? Every time I go on the weekends there's a line out the door ... maybe if they staggered their show times a little more people like me wouldn't walk away ... [I can go on: why show movies only for a week? What if I already made plans by Thursday when the new films are listed and can't see it that weekend? And why is the music unbelievably loud in the cafe when the sound on the films is barely audible? ...]
So I headed to A|V Art Sound Space (N. Union St. at Trinidad St., #8 in the Public Market, formerly the All-Purpose Room) to see the double show there. Mike Twohig's iMPROVISED !MPLOSIVE VICE was really good as usual — I love his distorted figures with their blended abstract and concrete imagery. Dennis "Deny" Smyth's Your General Journey was also very good — definitely rooted in graffiti art and skateboarding culture.
On Sunday things went very very swell with Ali meeting my parents in Schenectady. Everyone had a great time and got along better than I could have expected.
Monday I headed out to The Little (240 East Ave.) once again ... this time for the Emerging Filmmakers Series. It was an adult-themed show, and oddly the styles seemed more limited than in other shows — where one might see a humorous animation followed by a dramatic piece followed by an experimental film. I thought Lucidity by Anthony DeJohn was really good in its surreal (nearly abstract) portrayal of a murder. Fickle by Joseph Fusco was a humorous piece about the various kinds of relationships we humans have and how they play out. Focus by Tisa Zito was an interesting documentary about a schoolteacher with some peculiar personality traits — if I knew her in person I would have written her off as someone I wouldn't want to know, but got to appreciate her through the documentary. But the final film, Clonal Eclipse of the Heart by Mark Justison, Rachel K. Sreebny, and Brendan van Meter was the crown jewel of absurdity. Even Karen vanMeenen commented that, as a student film, this is the kind of ambitious project that advisors advise against. It's the story of a guy who can't get a date (in traditional live-action) and his prayers are heard by aliens (who are 3D animated) who make a clone of him for a science fair project and send the clone to Earth to help him get a date. It goes on from there, but you'll have to see it somehow.
Okay, so maybe I'm mistaken about the range of films shown.
On Tuesday Ali and I went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to see the show there. We both liked Roger Houston who is getting a bit of a following around town. While I was in the shower the next day, it dawned on me that his style should be called "synth-hop" — a hybrid of synth-pop and hip-hop since his singing drifts between spoken word and lightly melodic singing, all over synthesized music carefully crafted from the widely varied instrumentation at his disposal. On the other hand, neither of us really liked Trees Are Down. I will say this, though: they do surprisingly loud and fat heavy-rock from just a guitarist and a drummer.
On another random note, on Wednesday, I happily cancelled my Sprint cellular service. When I was on the road, it didn't work at all west of Missouri except for the largest cities, so I ended up talking a lot on my "daytime" minutes and ended up with a $150 phone bill. It all seems rather pricey for service so bad that I'd actually rather take a chance using pay phones.
I was trying to figure out what to write for something meaty in an essay, but all that kept coming up was something about green energy and getting my house in order. What I mean is that if I were to do all the work to prepare for the limited power from a solar panel or wind generator that it wouldn't really be worth it to go to solar or wind after all since my total power consumption would become remarkably low.
What I'm getting at is that if I were to take my current house, say, and go around replacing all the lighting with high-efficiency LED's and unplug all the appliances I don't use (i.e. 2 watts to the microwave when it's displaying the clock, 5 watts for the clock radio in the guest bedroom, 10 watts to the VCR when it's off) and insulate better and put in an on-demand hot water system, that by the end, I'd cut my power bill by at least half. Once I'd done all that, the ecological impact of the remaining power consumed would be so minimal that it probably wouldn't be all that ecologically beneficial to disconnect from the power grid.
That said, I'm still a ways off from fixing all those existing problems, but at least if I make plans to go solar, I'll never actually have to lay out the money to get the solar panels in the last place — you know what I mean?
So anyway, as promised, check out all this stuff coming up!
On Friday afternoon, my friends who worked all summer without me and prior to that for several years with me have finally finished their first installment of their project. Kenichiro Sato of Big Picture Rochester (formerly ROMA, the Rochester Outdoor Museum of Art) will be unveiling the gigantic photomosaic which will decorate the side of The State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport MetroCenter (55 St. Paul St., formerly the Rochester Chamber of Commerce) for some time. With "Phase 1" completed, a lot of those problems like getting the pictures printed and mounted should be in the bag, leaving the issue of raising adequate money to create an outdoor museum of photography.
On Saturday I'm rather excited to go see Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) The film is a shot-for-shot reenactment of Raiders of the Lost Ark done by three 12-year-old friends starting in 1982. The filmmakers will be at the screening to introduce the film and answer questions about it. It just seems like a good fun time.
Well I'll leave the teasers at that — there's a lot of things going on this week, so pay attention.
Oh yeah: one last rant. On Tuesday Ali and I were hunting for some late night food and ended up going to Acme Bar & Pizza (495 Monroe Ave.) for pizza slices. Well, let me just say they now make the worst pizza ever. I mean, as the hierarchy goes, it's like Mr. Shoes Pizza (1921 South Ave.) and other local places on top, then a tier like Pizza Hut and the like, then a tier like Dominoes and Papa John's, then to things like frozen stuff, and on down to even those nasty "Pizzerias" chips, and finally to this shit. It was like Acme took year-old Communion wafers and slapped on some ketchup with oregano (and not good oregano: the kind you buy in pound-sized containers at the dollar store) along with mozzarella that is so close to being moldy that it just gets clumpy when melted. I couldn't believe it — I mean, Acme was one of the staples of at-least-pretty-good pizza, and now I'm thinking Papa Johns would be a better choice post-midnight. Heck, if they dumped a bunch of pizza-flavored Combos on a plate it would have been more palatable.
[Just so you know.]
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About the title ... 403 years ago in 1603 was a big year for new words in English — at least according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (1992, Houghton Mifflin; 1994, INSO Corporation.) First, the word assassin appeared in English that year — it derives from the Islamic word meaning, literally, "hashish users," or people who kill to receive a reward of a life of paradise. Also in 1603 was the first notation of the word "unravel" in attempt to clarify the word ravel which came from both the Dutch verb "ravelen" meaning "to tangle, fray out, unweave," and the Dutch noun "ravel," "a loose thread" — hence the ambiguity. Last but not least, the word sherbet first appeared in English in 1603. From the dictionary notes: "The word came into English from Ottoman Turkish sherbet or Persian sharbat, both going back to Arabic [word meaning] 'drink.' The Turkish and Persian words referred to a beverage of sweetened, diluted fruit juice that was popular in the Middle East and imitated in Europe."
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