Weekly Rochester Events #415: Where The Troops Assemble

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So last Wednesday was Ali's birthday so we had a nice time with one another staying at home. Plus, this past Monday was our 8-month mensaversary so we had another nice evening together then.

On Thursday I got out to The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) to see the lecture by Dr. Richard Henshaw on The World's Earliest Recorded Thoughts: Origins of Sumerian Writing in Southern Iraq. I was pleased that it was more thorough and detailed than I expected. He talked about the city of Uruk in modern-day Iraq in southern Mesopotamia. Basically, some 5,000 years ago the people there were the first to have a style of grammatical writing and the first to have a city administration that recognized urban and suburban regions. It was pretty remarkable that someone managed to decipher the peculiar symbols on the clay tablets found in dumps or on a temple — they presumed it was an early form of Sumerian. Anyway, the tablets contained mostly unremarkable lists of things like city officials, fields of law, and bills of lading — save for their old age and historical significance — and several lexical lists ... an early dictionary if you will. Henshaw also took us through the deciphering of actual symbols and the presumed meaning thereof.

On Friday I started formalizing a problem I've been working on. In 2007, the art theme for Burning Man is "The Green Man" in reference to man's origins in nature that we largely ignore in our modern societies. In conjunction with that, there are a lot of people excited about "Greening the Man" — working to help make the event more ecologically sound. As it stands now, there is tremendous waste of natural resources to make projects, get out to the middle of the desert, generate power inexpensively, and frequently burning perfectly good materials. My thought about it is, how can we help people make their own camps more "green"?

Energy is something of an afterthought for most camps. There's a lot of planning put into logistics of getting stuff out there, making it strong enough to survive the environment, and making it able to be assembled and disassembled in reasonable time. The conversation about energy goes something like, "do we have any way to power the lights and sound system?" / "uhh ... yeah ... I've got a 2,000 watt generator that should work fine." You bring a bunch of gas and don't give it another thought.

The trouble is that energy is pretty hard to understand in terms that we're used to dealing with: gallons of gas, kilowatt-hours of electricity, BTU's of heat, etc. As it turns out, all those units measure the same quantity: power (the ability to do work) multiplied by the amount of time that power is used. In a roundabout way I stumbled on using the Calorie — with a big "C"; kilocalorie, that is ... the one we use for food. You can then take something like a gallon of gas and represent it as 31,400 calories. In other words, if people ran on gasoline, they could run for about 2 weeks on a gallon. You can do other amusing tricks with the calculator at Google — for instance, figure out that if the riders in the Tour de France ran on gasoline, they'd get 607 miles-per-gallon.

I'll probably post more about it later, but in the mean time I was pretty excited to at least have some hope of helping the average person make sense of energy.

That night I went to The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see the Michael Haneke film 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls (71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance). I thought it was pretty fascinating although not as directly disturbing as other Haneke films. I got the impression that the city itself — this silent narrator — was showing us things it's seen as if to say, "I saw something interesting the other week ..." The film documents the true story of a man who goes into a bank and shoots three people and then himself. It's unclear what his motives were in reality, but Haneke pieces together snippets of the lives of unrelated people that culminate in their attending the bank on that day. The film weaves these 71 fragments but provides no continuum to directly connect them. These seemingly unrelated pieces of information are contrasted with a couple clips of (apparently real at the time the film was set) news media outlets that speak in simple, absolute terms as if they have figured out the mechanism of the whole world. One last thing about the film: I found the idea that the city was telling the story to be a lot like Bu san (Good Bye Dragon Inn) in which the movie theater itself observes its patrons.

On Saturday Ali was pretty sick so I brought her some stuff to help her get better. I got back to the city in time to go to the Dryden to see The Heartbreak Kid. I thought it was a really good movie. Michael Neault noted that it was so hard to find, it took George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) several years to track down a print of it despite that the film was nominated for several Academy awards. Anyway, the movie follows a couple — Lenny and and Lila — who get married in whirlwind-fashion and really get to know one another on their honeymoon trip to Miami Beach [setting the film squarely in 1972 when it was made.] Lenny immediately starts to notice things that annoy him about his new spouse and discovers Kelly, a young co-ed staying at the same hotel, and man-child Lenny jumps at the opportunity headfirst. Lenny's "you'll be better off" discussion he eventually has with Lila is one of the beautiful train-wrecks of human weakness that is brilliantly, unflinchingly laid out. Lenny just doesn't stop talking to Lila — the screen begs for us to pity both of them. Ultimately Lenny's pathetically optimistic outlook on everything completely derails his life ... definitely check out this gem on video sometime.

Later I went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) and got a chance to check out the new 3-piece lineup for The QUiTTERSGarageBand linkMySpace link who still crank out great punk-rock although their sound is understandably changed. I couldn't even squeeze in to see The Hi-Risers but the music was loud enough that I got the gist that they're still the same great, fun 1960's-styled rock-and-roll I remember.

Let me just note that after hearing about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) — where you challenge yourself to bang out a 50,000 word novel during the month of November — I decided that I'd start taking on challenges each month to do something I'd always said I might try. Well, this month I decided I'd finally go on stage and do some stand-up comedy. I wrote a short 4-minute absurdist tall-tale a few weeks ago and videotaped myself a few times at home, trying some minor variations. Well, on Sunday night, Ali and I went to Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) for the Open Mic Comedy hosted by Matt RohrMySpace link. I was surprised to experience a bit of fear about the whole thing. In the last 5 years or so I've done new things but none that I went into truly not knowing what was going to happen. It was like job interviews from years ago when I wasn't very confident and I was there to be possibly selected rather than later interviews where I'd just interview the employer to decide if I wanted to work there.

It was weird putting my name on the sign-up sheet and finding out I was 3rd. Jeepers ... me ... the third guy up. Matt warmed people up after the second guy. I hit my stride pretty quickly, tapping some of the experience I got from the Geva Comedy ImprovMySpace link class I took a year ago. I messed up my joke a little bit but Ali said I did well. I heard a couple laughs come from people in the audience who weren't really paying attention ... that was quite a relief. Afterward, one of the other comics said he liked my bit.

I don't know if I'll go back and try again, but it was kind of fun. There were definitely some intangibles I learned from the whole thing. I mean, I think everyone talks themselves out of stuff like that because they know what will happen: you'll probably be a little funny, somebody will laugh, and you go on with your life — why even do it? The only tangible thing you get out of it is being able to speak of it affirmatively in the past tense: I did it. That, I guess, and you never have to really wonder if you can really do it. It's a peculiar burden to unload ... maybe like if you find out you have some problem with your teeth and you get them fixed and realize that you were actually in pain so long that you only now notice the absence of the pain.

I guess the only trick now is to think of new things to try ...


The New Horizons Orchestra will be at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) starting around 6 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) will be hosting Ben StephanusMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Burning DaylightGarageBand link, The MerciesMySpace link, good bar-rock band with a country twang Blue JimmyGarageBand linkMySpace link, and The CorrectionsMySpace link will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

The Flat Iron Café (561 State St.) will be hosting Deborah Branch, and Harold Pannell starting around 8 p.m. [source: Flat Iron Cafe webstie]

Tonight at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) is The Chelsea Duo starting around 8 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Rocking-rockabilly band Krypton 88MySpace link will be at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

Pure Kona Poetry Open Mic Night is at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) tonight starting at 7:30. [source: Daily Perks calendar]

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

Tonight at 8 p.m. at Bodhi's Cafe & Lounge (274 Goodman St. N., in Village Gate) is an Open Mic. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick This evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Nathaniel Square (South Ave. and Alexander St.), wicked fun percussive groove-rock band The BuddhaHoodMySpace link will be having a "community gathering" for The Buddhahood Solstice Stew. "Stew" as in food, that is. The kind you eat. [source: band e-mail]

Top Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. at Mex (295 Alexander St.) is the starting point for the George Bailey 5K to benefit St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) and Camp DayDreams (205 Grosvenor Rd.). It's nowhere near 5 kilometers and instead of racing, the idea is to dress up like characters from It's a Wonderful Life., run through the streets singing and cavorting like the overjoyed George Bailey at the end of the movie, and ending up at Metro Salon (25 Gibbs St., formerly Center Stage Cafe) [source: Eggwork e-mail] [all ages]

Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) will be hosting Third Estate, The CapitalsMySpace link, Almost TomorrowMySpace link, and The Rev starting around 8 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [all ages]

Over at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 8 p.m. is Paul Hodges, and Captain Jack. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) is Josh Bucci starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee website] [all ages]

Over at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) starting around 8 p.m. is The Eastman String Fellowship Orchestra. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Muppet Christmas Carol starting at 8 p.m. and again tomorrow at 5 p.m. I think the title pretty much explains it all. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Mike NicolaiMySpace link will be at Java's (16 Gibbs St.) starting around 9 p.m. However, Mike's own website says he'll be playing at Stain Bar (766 Grand St., Brooklyn) today (although their website says someone else is playing on the 22nd) and at Java's tomorrow so hedge your bets. [source: Java's calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Spy Bar (139 State St.) is excellent punk-rock band The QUiTTERSGarageBand linkMySpace link, and awesome punk-rock from The BlastoffsMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: Spy Bar website] [21+]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) is RedLine Zydeco starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

JayceLand Pick Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting good Irish-slanted punk band Tom Foolery and the ShannanighansMySpace link (not Shenanigans) starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Freetime] [21+]

Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) will be hosting Aaron Stadler starting around 8 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) will be hosting The Dishdogs starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing It's a Wonderful Life starting at 8 p.m. You know, one of those movies that you should have seen, and if not you should because it's really good, and if you have, then you'll want to again because it's really good. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at Java's (16 Gibbs St.) is Mary Lobb, and Charline Johnson starting around 9 p.m. [source: Java's 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 the "Secret Show" featuring a disorienting blend of spoken word, electronic effects, and repetition from GaybotMySpace link, Ju-JajubaMySpace link, good punk-rock band Blue Spark and FlameMySpace link, and deceptively simple, melodic synth-and-vocals from Roger HoustonMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: A|V Space website]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. is surf-rock band and stage-show-act The IsotopesMySpace link, chaotic, attention-deficit-disorder rock/jazz/funk from GaylordMySpace link, and high-power rock from Low Ton. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [21+]

Top Pick Over at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. is frenzied classic-style punk from The TosspotsMySpace link. This is the show to see if you want to get covered in beer in the midst of a chaotic mosh-pit and crack open a crazy piñata stuffed with gifts (assuming they bring one this time). [source: Freetime] [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.

Christmas Eve

If you're looking for something different to do today, there's another Going for Baroque performance at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) today at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. featuring Michael Unger on the Italian Baroque organ. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

Fly the flag today.Christmas Day

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]

Kwanza Begins

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.

This evening at 7 p.m. at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is a 12 & Under show featuring young authors 12-years-old and younger. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

Updated: Note that the Open Mic with Art Delgudico and friends at Café Underground Railroad (480 W. Main St.) has been canceled for this evening. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting The Apostles Of The Hidden SonGarageBand linkMySpace link, and GhostharmMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Tonight at 7 p.m. at The Flat Iron Café (561 State St.) is the Hot as Fire Spoken Word / Open Mic. [source: Flat Iron Cafe webstie]

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

This evening around 9 p.m. at Café Underground Railroad (480 W. Main St.) is an Open Mic with Art Delgudico and friends. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Flat Iron Café (561 State St.) starting around 7 p.m. is Juliet LloydMySpace link, and Neil Dreger. [source: Flat Iron Cafe webstie]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Stranger Wore a Gun starting at an early time of 7 p.m. and then Gun Fury at 9 p.m. Both are westerns. Both are in 3-D. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Over at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) starting around 8 p.m. is Teressa WilcoxMySpace link, and Claude RainesMySpace link. [source: Water Street calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is good and gimmicky heavy metal from BlüdwülfMySpace link for their CD Release Show starting around 10:30 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]

Tonight at Milestones (170 East Ave.) is another The Comedy Block PartyMySpace link starting almost promptly at 8 p.m.

Tonight at Café Underground Railroad (480 W. Main St.) is a Spoken Word/Poetry night starting around 9 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

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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 rendezvous was first recorded in the English language 415 years ago in 1591 to mean "a place where troops are to assemble."

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. I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity. 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, December 21, 2006 (Thu, Dec 21, 2006, 12/21/2006, or 12/21/06) Friday, December 22, 2006 (Fri, Dec 22, 2006, 12/22/2006, or 12/22/06) Saturday, December 23, 2006 (Sat, Dec 23, 2006, 12/23/2006, or 12/23/06) Sunday, December 24, 2006 (Sun, Dec 24, 2006, 12/24/2006, or 12/24/06) Monday, December 25, 2006 (Mon, Dec 25, 2006, 12/25/2006, or 12/25/06) Tuesday, December 26, 2006 (Tue, Dec 26, 2006, 12/26/2006, or 12/26/06) and Wednesday, December 27, 2006 (Wed, Dec 27, 2006, 12/27/2006, or 12/27/06).

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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