Weekly Rochester Events #406: See How the Flames Appear to Orbit Giordano
Thursday, October 19, 2006
This past weekend Ali and I took a trip to see her mother, brother and sister-in-law, and their new baby. We left on Thursday for Baltimore and got in around 4:30 or so. We got to meet the baby which is really tiny. That night we stayed in but on Friday afternoon we hit some stops around Baltimore.
First we got some good deals on things. The The National Aquarium in Baltimore (501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD) is regularly $22 for adults but on Fridays after 5, they drop the rate to $8 ... fortunately we were able to get tickets in advance so we headed to The Capitol City Brewing Company (301 Light St., Baltimore, MD) for some appetizers. Well, it happened to be happy hour until 7 so both the beers and the appetizers were half-price. Afterward we headed back to the aquarium which was amazing. It took us about two and a half hours to go through it all (and that at a brisk pace.) We were amused by the school fish and adored the giant old turtle in the sharks-and-rays tank.
After a frustrating tour of the same loop around downtown, we finally made it to the "Federal Hill" area. We stopped first at The Thirsty Dog Pub (20 E. Cross St., Baltimore, MD) which Ali knew from when she'd visited her brother in the past. Their gimmick is to serve two half-pint-ish mugs for one price rather than regular pint glasses. The beer was quite good but we accidentally ordered a pair too many in the confusion. After that we walked around a little looking for some food. We stopped at a wine store and asked and was directed to Sobo Café (6 W. Cross St., Baltimore, MD).
On the wall behind the bar/waiting area was a chalkboard with their menu. All of the dishes included mouthwatering descriptions of their ingredients and preparation techniques. Except for one. That was what I was getting, no matter what. It simply read, "Chicken pot pie". I mean, with all that other stuff, how good must the potpie be?
We started off asking about wines at the bar while waiting and (presumably) the owner offered up an impromptu tasting that included the (presumably) two (presumably) regulars next to us. We ended up taking his recommendation which I don't remember and having dinner. The potpie was amazing — a perfect crust over a creamy mix of potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, and chicken picked from the bone. We headed home after that, getting in late.
Saturday we left Baltimore around noon and went to find my friends in Virginia — Mike and Tina, of early "LunchNStuff" O'Bagelo's (165 State St.) fame. We arrived around 1:30 and had a nice time catching up before hitting the road to go home. Our first stop was Cold Stone Creamery (1013 Edwards Ferry Rd NE, Leesburg, VA) for some ice cream — locally, it's Cold Stone Creamery (3349 Monroe Ave., Pittsford) if you'd like to try. Basically they scoop out ice cream onto a cold slab then add whatever toppings and ingredients you want mixed in. It was great. We got back on the road and continued our journey up Route 15 until we stopped for dinner around 8 in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania near Susquehanna University (514 University Ave., Selinsgrove, PA). From the south, you get off at Market Street whereas from the north you just continue into town past all the strip malls and stuff — the (apparently) "old town" near the university had a bunch of shops. We stopped at the cafe but I was looking for more of a salad than their panini sandwiches — my food-for-the-day consisted of eggs, cheese, ham, bacon, and ice cream so I was dying for some vegetables. We stopped at a bar and their kitchen didn't open until 10 and only serves chicken wings. However, the patrons there insisted we go to the brew pub down the street.
So we went to Selin's Grove Brewing Co. (121 North Market St., Selinsgrove, PA) and had a delicious meal — Ali had the chili which was perfect along with a terrific ham sandwich with soft cheeses, and I had the veggie wrap which was great, and we finished up with coffee. With dinner I had some great blackberry wine and she had some great mead.
We got back on the road around 9:30 or so and after an hour or so, we realized that the both of us were quite exhausted — despite the strong coffee. We stopped along the way where some truck had stopped and took a nap. I had switched to the driver's seat and (although this never happened in the last two years and 12,000-odd miles I've spent crossing the country sleeping in my car) I woke with a start after 15 minutes or so thinking I fell asleep driving. We persevered and made it to a rest are near Corning around 11:30. We slept for an hour but it didn't really help. Less than 2 hours from home, I was determined to make it — it seemed stupid to stop in Geneseo and get a hotel room when my bed was just a little further. The next rest stop had vending so I bought a Diet Pepsi and had that and stayed awake enough to make it home. We got in around 2 and crashed right away.
On Sunday Ali went to take care of her cats and I got a chance to get back to the Rochester scene. That night I went to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see the films of J. X. Williams as presented by Noel Lawrence, curator for The J. X. Williams Archive (7 Avenue Trembely, Zürich, Switzerland). He was enamored of Williams' work when he first got a chance to see Psych-burn, the first film he showed. It's a short film that is a surreal adaptation of an acid trip gone bad. Next was Satan Claus, made in Williams' typical style of found footage; it was a witty take on the loveless consumerism of Christmas. The final short was a prologue to The Virgin Sacrifice — an abbreviated version of the 3-hour film, and a trippy take on Satanic ritualism. The main feature was Peep Show which was a remarkable, dark, imaginative 1965 pseudo-documentary in the style of Michael Moore — at least in the sense of using ham-fisted imagery to get his point across. The program concluded with The Showdown which combined footage from Dirty Harry and Bullitt, pitting the two leads against one another in a bloody showdown with a clever twist at the end. In all the program was enjoyable and I hope more of Williams' work can be uncovered and restored.
That's about it for this week ... I don't have any philosophy to share right now. Well, I could, but I've been in a pretty miserable mood and, well, that's not any fun to hear about. [all ages]
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About the title ... In 1600 (406 years ago) Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church for his theories of an infinite universe based on Copernicus' theories.
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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