Weekly Rochester Events #474 Starting Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Electronic voting machines in Monroe County
by Jason Olshefsky at 1:39 pm (4 comments)

I headed up to Medley Centre (N. Goodman St. and Medley Centre Pkwy., formerly Irondequoit Mall) to check out the new voting machines. The first unfortunate thing was that two of the three companies who were to demonstrate their machines were de-certified by The Monroe County Board of Elections (39 Main St. W., #106) yesterday (according to the buzz around the demonstration area, at least — certainly not because of an official announcement by the Board of Elections). The one that remained was made by Sequoia Voting Systems (221 Hopkins Ave., Jamestown).

The person giving the presentation tried to impress upon people the ease of use of the machine. Basically you cast your ballot on a paper ballot (filling in bubbles to indicate your choice). You then feed your ballot into a scanning machine which confirms that it read your choices correctly by displaying back your selections and allowing you to cast your ballot or to reject it — allowing you to fix any errors or to destroy the ballot and start over. Once your vote is cast using the machine, the ballot is digitally scanned then placed in a locked ballot box.

A second, related system allows a person unable to fill in circles on the ballot to use a computerized system to assist them in creating a paper ballot. Various accessible user-input devices are supposedly available to guide a voter to select candidates using visual and audio feedback.

The questions of the group that I was with had to do with assurance that their vote was counted properly. The representative pooh-poohed talk of "security" as a non-issue. I asked where I could see the schematics, engineering drawings, and source code and the representative said that they don't have them available at the time but that I could contact the Board of Elections.

I was glad to see a physical paper ballot system in place but I was concerned about the use of the machine as the source of the primary election totals. If it's true that the Board of Elections intends to use the counts attained by the machine as their first official count, then it would not be difficult to skew the results to favor one candidate or another by modifying the computer code. A manual recount, while thankfully possible under this system, would likely not uncover a problem in cases where two or more candidates were very close in vote totals.

I was very disappointed that the representatives on hand were strongly discouraging people from examining the voting machine on their own. I was told not to touch it, and that I should not be behind the machine. This implies to me that Sequoia has something to hide from the American people.

Sequoia provided information sheets that described the company's "lineage" back to Jacob Myers' United States Voting Machine Company founded in Jamestown in 1896. For anyone who has been with a company that changes names (to Automatic Voting Machine Corporation in 1925) or that has been purchased (by Sequoia Voting Systems in 1984), the concept of "retaining the values of the company" is worth about as much as the bytes to store it.

But let's get to the meat of it: what political parties does Sequoia make donations to? Who do they lobby in the Federal government? How much money do they spend on lobbying? These are the questions that define the values of a company, not its "lineage". And regardless, the mechanical, electrical, and programmatic design of the system should be open-source from the beginning. The idea that an "elite few" people in Sequoia are among those responsible enough to keep the secret data is a recipe for abuse.

And this is about our election system: the very foundation upon which we have a representative government. Once that system is overturned, we will be living in a dictatorship no better than any puppet democracy anywhere else in the world.

5,450 total views, 1 views today

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Juno at the Little
by Jason Olshefsky at 9:20 pm (add a comment)

Ali and I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see Juno. We got there a bit early and ended up having some good (but a bit pricey) panini sandwiches at the cafe.

Anyway, the movie was really cute. It's about a smart, quick-witted girl who unexpectedly gets pregnant. She decides to put the kid up for adoption and finds the seemingly perfect couple — at least on the surface and through her myopic teenage eyes. It was really just a nice, light story that takes what would ordinarily be a heavy topic, and puts a bit of flair on it to make it quite palatable.

One of the complaints I had heard was that the title character Juno was too smart — too worldly for her age. Indeed she was awfully smart, but come on: have you heard teenagers talk? (And I freely include my own teenage inanity.) I don't think people would tolerate 2 hours of that. That said, they didn't do a bad job of giving Juno and her friends the pop-culture, repetitive patterns of teenage speech without making it irritating.

786 total views, 2 views today

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Dead Man at the Dryden
by Jason Olshefsky at 7:00 pm (2 comments)

I went to the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Dead Man. I convinced Ali to not see it with me because I was worried it wasn't her kind of movie — and with other options like food at her parents' house or the video shoot for The Lobster Quadrille also going on, I didn't want her to feel like she wasted her time. Now after the fact, I think she probably would have liked it. One of the things I really enjoy about the Dryden is how the introductions bracket the film — to give one a way to see it and understand it rather than to find no way to understand it and simply dismiss it (especially in a case like this).

Anyway, Dead Man is an excellent movie: a meditative cinematic poem about death on all sorts of different levels. All the actors in the film were stunningly convincing. The direction and cinematography offered a deliberate, steady pace with plenty of room to simply observe.

It's about a guy named William Blake who goes west for a job in the town of Machine. When he arrives, there is no job for him — and he had spent all his savings to get there. He meets a woman, but his bad luck isn't done because her fiancee returns and in a blur of passion, shoots her and Blake who in turn shoots him. Injured, Blake heads for the hills and is aided by a Native American named Nobody — who happens to be a fan of poet William Blake in a moment that transcends the "fourth wall" like none other. The fiancee happens to be the son of the brutal, sole industrialist in Machine and puts a bounty on Blake's head. Meanwhile, Nobody declares Blake to be a dead man and spends his time preparing Blake for his journey to the other side.

But that's not what the movie is about at all.

What I got out of it was that it was about the reality of death. Not the part that it's inevitable, that it's permanent, or that it's man's greatest fear, but simply that it was, is, and will be. The Europeans slaughtered the Native Americans, for instance; and no matter how good or bad we feel about that now, it happened and we cannot change it. There's a certain beauty to the notion of impermanent existence — that no matter what we do in life, we end up part of the same earthly goo from which we came.

4,985 total views, no views today

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Really Quite Ill, Actually
by Jason Olshefsky at 10:11 am (add a comment)

I noticed the other day that one of my tonsils had become swollen and got some blotches on it. I didn't think much of it other than to keep an eye on it. It got worse over the weekend so first thing Monday I went to the doctor's office. Of course, I had to wait until the afternoon when they could fit me in and then sit around for 45 minutes for a 5-minute examination.

I thought I might have strep throat — the only problem being that I only had a mild sore throat and I hear that with strep it's the worst sore throat you've ever had. Well, I ended up getting diagnosed with a generic "tonsillitis" and prescribed heavy-duty antibiotics. As it turns out, the infection is really very bad. There's finally some improvement after a third of the antibiotic dose, but it's not pretty.

In any case, I really haven't been out much this week for that reason.

746 total views, 2 views today

JayceLand Pick Today at 4:30 p.m. at Lyell Branch Library (956 Lyell Ave.) is the unveiling of a dollhouse from China restored by Pamela Meyers. Here's the meat of the press release: "Approximately 90 years ago, the Pulaski Branch of the Rochester Public Library received a gift of a dollhouse from China. It was displayed there until the branch closed in 1990. The house fascinated many children and adults throughout the years." [source: City Hall press release]

JayceLand Pick Today at 5:15 p.m. in Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) is a Thursday Thinkers lecture titled Our View of Iran by Shahin Monshipour. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick This evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Curtis Auditorium at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is an Artists Panel Discussion with Will Yurman, Juliana Muniz, and Heather Layton on the exhibition Not Forgotten: Portraits of Life and Death in Rochester. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Night and The City starting at 8 p.m. Another excellent example of film noir. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) will be hosting blues-charged rock-and-roll from Buford and the Smoking Section starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

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

This evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Gallery at The Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester (277 N. Goodman St.) is the opening reception for Jazz: The Spirit of the Moment by James Allen. The works will be on display through February 28. [source: Arts and Cultural Council website]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 6 p.m. at The Golden Dynasty Restaurant (1900 S. Clinton Ave., in Loehmann's Plaza, not the one on East Ave.) is a Chinese New Year Lion Dance. [source: Craigslist Rochester events]

JayceLand Pick The Little (240 East Ave.) will be screening Strange Fruit tonight at 6:30 p.m. then again at 3 p.m. tomorrow and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. As they describe it, "in 1937, after seeing a photo depicting the lynching of a black man in the south, Bronx-born high school teacher Abel Meeropol wrote a poem entitled 'Strange Fruit' that begins with the words: 'Southern trees bear a strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.'" [source: Little Theatre calendar]

Tonight at 5 p.m. at The Storefront Anti-War Crisis Center (658 Monroe Ave.) is a presentation of A Year in Portraits: Rochester's Homicide Victims by Jeremy Oversier. [source: City Newspaper]

JayceLand Pick Over at The House of Hamez (389 Gregory St., formerly Daily Perks) starting around 8 p.m. is Critical TheoryGarageBand link. [source: House of Hamez website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The LoveMySpace link will be at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

St. Mary's Church (15 Saint Marys Pl.) will be hosting The Eastman Chorale starting around 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Man Who Fell to Earth starting at 8 p.m. in which David Bowie plays an alien looking for a way to save his dying home planet. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) is Crush the JuntaMySpace link, anti-traditional 3-piece rock from Nod, and Ian Downey is FamousMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Carbon Records calendar] [21+]

Today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Genesee Center for the Arts (713 Monroe Ave.) is a class titled Valentines and Vandercooks where you "design and print a Valentine's Day card using letterpress techniques on one of our 2 Vandercook printing presses." [source: Genesee Center for the Arts calendar]

Today at 10:15 a.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is another Members' Upstairs/Downstairs Tour. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

If you'd like to meet some new people, MEETinROCHESTERMySpace link is holding a Chinese New Year Dim Sum at The Cantonese House (3159 S. Winton Rd.) for lunch today at 11 a.m. Sign up at the MeetIn site. [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar]

This evening at 6 p.m. at Potential Life StudiosMySpace link (34 Elton St.) is the opening reception for When the Rest of the World Remains Silent... by Jeremy Dziedzic and Colleen Guthrie. [source: City Newspaper]

Top Pick Today at 6:30 p.m., tomorrow at 12 p.m. and again on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at The Little (240 East Ave.) is a screening of July '64. It's about the three-day riot in the streets of Rochester, NY starting July 24, 1964. Note that tonight's screening will be followed by a discussion led by filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher. [source: Little Theatre calendar]

This evening at The Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., formerly on Gregory St.) at 7 p.m. is Community Dialogue 3: Black Folks are Failing; Hip Hop, Parenting, Inspiring Ourselves and Our Youth with Sean McLeod. [source: Baobab website]

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

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Bigger Than Life starting at 8 p.m. Novelist and essayist Jonathan Lethem will be on hand to discuss this film about a man whose sanity dissipates after a cortisone treatment. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at 8:30 p.m. at The Little (240 East Ave.) (and again tomorrow at 3 p.m. and Monday at 9 p.m.) is a screening of Ray: the story of Ray Charles. [source: Little Theatre calendar]

Tonight at Bodhi's Cafe & LoungeMySpace link (274 Goodman St. N., in Village Gate) is excellent pure instrumental funk from The Filthy FunkMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: Bodhi's Cafe MySpace page]

Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is TroykaMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [21+]

Over at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. is The Skull MaracasGarageBand linkMySpace link. [source: Monty's Krown MySpace page] [21+]

Betty's Sing-a-Long is regularly scheduled at Betty Meyer's Bullwinkle Café (622 Lake Ave., a.k.a. "Bullwinkle's") starting around 10 but since September, 2007 people have reported they were closed.

This morning at 11 a.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a Valentine's Day Brunch in the Potter Peristyle followed by a 12 p.m. screening of Charade in the Dryden Theatre. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Today starting around 11:30 a.m. at Ontario Beach Park (Beach Ave. at Lake Ave.) is The 24th Annual Lakeside Winter Celebration. [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar]

Today at 3 p.m. is a Musicale at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) featuring pianist Beata E. Golec. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

This evening at 5 p.m. at The Flat Iron CaféMySpace link (561 State St.) is The Annual Valentine's Day Gift Baskets Raffle Party and Wine Tasting Event with jazz by Mike CottoneMySpace link. [source: Flat Iron Cafe webstie]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing La Chinoise starting at 7 p.m. The Eastman House calendar notes, "this stylish and energetic critique of a Maoist cell of Sorbonne students in Paris helped inspire student revolt at Columbia University". [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) will be hosting Sam Buck RosenMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Good bar-rock/thrash band The Hounds of HellMySpace link, and Buffalo's wild rockers Handsome JackGarageBand linkMySpace link will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 6:30 p.m. at The Little (240 East Ave.) is a screening of Oatka Trail which features a dance inspired by a Seneca Indian trail near Rochester. After the film is a discussion with Fay Ray, Geri Kennedy, and Garth Fagan. [source: Little Theatre calendar]

Tonight at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is Eastman Chamber Jazz starting around 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

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]

Fly the flag today.Abraham Lincoln's Birthday (1809)

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.

JayceLand Pick Today at 12:12 p.m. in Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) is a discussion by Joni Monroe titled Changes Downtown: Plans and Designs. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

The Eastman Percussion Ensemble will be at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Happy Birthday, Wanda June starting at 8 p.m. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. adapted his own play into film. It's about a man who abandoned his family only to become reunited and find his ex-wife to be much more interesting than he remembered. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. is Cruelty FreeGarageBand link, and Serenity FallsMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

JayceLand Pick The Dub Land UndergroundMySpace link (315 Alexander St., formerly Whiskey) will be hosting Johnny Rabb's BioDieselMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: JamBase calendar for Rochester]

This morning at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) at 9 a.m. is a Members' Curator Coffee Talk with Landscape Curator Amy Kinsey. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Updated: This evening at 6 p.m. at The Downtown United Presbyterian Church (121 N. Fitzhugh St N.) is a presentation of the Downtown Charrette Report. [source: Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association e-mail] [all ages]

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

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Stranger Than Paradise starting at 8 p.m. — a deadpan comedy about a group of friends dealing with the 1980's. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Shooting SpiresMySpace link, great instrumental-cacophonous-rock from Science vs. WitchcraftMySpace link, and PegacideMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Really good reggae-dub band Giant Panda Guerilla Dub SquadMySpace link will be at The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) starting around 10 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [13+]

Poor People United meets tonight and every Wednesday at 7 at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Every Wednesday starting at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) at 7 p.m. is the Rochester Cruisers Ride for bicyclists. [source: RocBike website]

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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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, February 7, 2008 (Thu, Feb 7, 2008, 2/7/2008, or 2/7/08) Friday, February 8, 2008 (Fri, Feb 8, 2008, 2/8/2008, or 2/8/08) Saturday, February 9, 2008 (Sat, Feb 9, 2008, 2/9/2008, or 2/9/08) Sunday, February 10, 2008 (Sun, Feb 10, 2008, 2/10/2008, or 2/10/08) Monday, February 11, 2008 (Mon, Feb 11, 2008, 2/11/2008, or 2/11/08) Tuesday, February 12, 2008 (Tue, Feb 12, 2008, 2/12/2008, or 2/12/08) and Wednesday, February 13, 2008 (Wed, Feb 13, 2008, 2/13/2008, or 2/13/08).

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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