Weekly Rochester Events #405: Mind the Fizzle
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Ok, so last Friday Ali and I went to The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Haskell Wexler's Who Needs Sleep?. In it, Wexler documents the sweatshop-long days of the movie industry. He really didn't go so far as to elicit pity — after all, it's not like these are the only jobs these people can get — more to identify a pervasive problem that actually is a hazard to one's health and safety. He goes on to document the lack of support from the local union (whose representatives recommend getting a policy in the hands of the international union), the international union (whose leader recommends getting a policy started in the local union), and OSHA (whose representatives declare that they are not in the business of managing time and hours, even if their mission is "to assure the safety and health of America's workers".) Seemingly paradoxically, every single person Wexler interviewed agreed that effectively forcing someone to stay awake to the point that they endanger themselves and others is a bad idea, yet none in power would take action.
Wexler essentially documents the point, but in my mind, everyone is actually cowardly and is not reflecting their own opinion but rather just towing the line and assuming someone else will act on the right thing. It's like what I was talking about last week on how society fails when people don't express their true opinions.
On Monday we went to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see La science des rêves (The Science of Sleep). Well, we thought we'd try out the whole "dinner-and-a-movie" special the Little has been promoting. We arrived with plenty of time before the showtime; as it turns out you have to buy a coupon which you cannot use on the same day it is purchased. What the fuck is that? So we thought we'd just get dinner there. As it turns out, they removed all the delicious panini sandwiches from their menu and replaced them with cheap wraps — purportedly for The ImageOut Film Festival [but come on, what's up with that? Supporters of GLBT don't deserve the best?] We finally gave up and went instead to Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) for a nice, pleasant, normal meal ... I guess it cost a little more all-told but at least we had a nice time.
So anyway, the movie was spectacular (and thankfully there was no problem with the film presentation — the picture and sound were both fine.) I doubt I'll do any more justice to it than what has been said by the Filthy Critic's review. Nonetheless, the movie follows a man who blurs the line between reality and fantasy; waking-life and dream-life. He gets blind-sided by love and is unable to deal with it — on the one hand, full of wonder and hope and that funny inflating feeling you get when you're with someone you adore, and on the other, documenting his self-sabotage for all the same reasons. For those who've felt that way, it's a remarkably accurate homage to magical times together ... I'm curious to read negative reviews to see if there's anyone who is not bitter about love who also did not like it.
I had a conversation with my friend Sondra over the weekend. A friend of hers is going through some tough times and is lashing out against her. I'll skip the details of the issues — for the sake of argument, assume the antagonistic attitude is really irrational. During the conversation and suggesting things to try, I stumbled on a notion of how we plan.
See, for the most part we can go through life and pretty much know what's going to happen next. We make plans on Monday what we're going to do on the weekend and those initial plans pretty much happen as expected. Even when something changes on Wednesday, it's pretty easy to change direction.
However, when your life gets confusing — when you're in uncharted territory, so-to-speak — then you can't look that far ahead. Most of us cling to that ability, though. We don't realize that our ability to predict is completely compromised and we get disoriented. We tend to look way too far ahead — making decisions on what to have for dinner as if it will actually affect the person we become three years from now. When our sense of planning fails, we think that some inconsequential events are the root of some future butterfly-effect, and we think some extremely pivotal things are completely unimportant.
Did you ever unexpectedly fail a class in college? Get dumped by someone? Have someone die that's close to you? Do you have some time in your life that you look back on and think, "I have no idea what I was thinking"? Did people give you sound advice, starting with, "well, I had a similar thing happen and ..."? Did it feel crushingly horrible to hear the words — as if the utterance itself was a declaration of your inability to avoid that very same course of action — that your life had become fatalistic and completely dependent on your most minute decisions? Did you lash out at your advisor, or their advice?
Well, those are the moments I'm talking about.
See, it's then that the psychologically-reinforced illusion of control and the medium-term predictability of your life falls apart — i.e., when your mother dies, you can't go out to happy hour on Friday "just like always."
To be honest, I'm still working on figuring it all out, but I'll keep you advised.
This Tuesday was the first performance in the opening week for Tuesdays With Morrie at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) which means that on the prior Saturday, they sell a bunch of "pay-what-you-can" tickets for the opening week. Well, I stopped by there on Saturday around noon and found no line out front — no people at all, in fact. Assuming they were out of tickets, I went to the counter anyway and the guy said, "I think we have a few left." I told him I was looking for two for Tuesday's performance. He said that was fortunate because that's the only day they have — then he added, "actually, you're getting the last two." Wow.
Tuesdays With Morrie was a terrific play — very moving and insightful. Mitch, a college graduate loses touch with his college mentor, Morrie until he gets reacquainted some 16-years down the road when Morrie is dying. It's not some weepy deathbed crap, though. It really digs at some of the tough issues every one of us wrestles with. At its core, though, I think the message is to let your voice be part of humanity's conversation — forgive yourself, accept yourself, and love yourself so you can believe in your self.
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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 fizzle first appeared in English in 1601: "In Philemon Holland's 1601 translation of Pliny's Natural History, we are surprised by the use of the word fizzle in the statement that if asses eat a certain plant, 'they will fall a fizling and farting.' Fizzle was first used in English to mean, in the decorous parlance of the Oxford English Dictionary, 'to break wind without noise.'
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.
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