Weekly Rochester Events #475 Starting Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Night and the City at the Dryden
by Jason Olshefsky at 8:00 pm (add a comment)

Ali and I went to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Night and The City. It was one of the most gritty, brutally cruel noir films I've ever seen. The protagonist is a jerk — just barely charismatic enough for the audience to tolerate watching him. None of the characters are any good at all. The gist is that a Greco-Roman wrestler of old is coerced by a con man to start shows with traditional wrestling — in direct competition with performance-based wrestling run solely by a thug who happens to be the son of the traditional wrestler. Things go from barely tolerable to horrifically bad. It's quite a show of the worst sides of humanity.

745 total views, 1 views today

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

July '64 at the Little
by Jason Olshefsky at 6:30 pm (2 comments)

I headed to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see July '64 for a second time. It's an interesting view of what happened (in detail) on three nights in July, 1964. The flash point — shortsightedly referred to as the "cause of the riots" — was when police attempted to arrest an intoxicated man. Friends of the man had it set in their minds that they'd take care of him and keep him out of trouble; police had it set in their minds that he was to be arrested.

Taking one step back, this is an indication that the police were not trusted — they were not welcome in the neighborhood as protectors and more likely considered thuggish oppressors. Take another step back and you'll find that the blacks were forced to live in the 3rd Ward and 7th Ward of the city (if I remember correctly): if they applied for housing in other areas, they were either rejected or their application ignored, so college students and day laborers alike were crammed into crowded housing. Take another step back and you'll see that blacks were similarly dismissed for positions in the cornerstone companies like Kodak and Bausch and Lomb — unless they were willing to work as janitors.

So now you have a situation where you have to put up higher and higher walls to keep the "dangerous element" in the 3rd and 7th Wards contained in their prison. At some point they revolt, though, and July 1964 was a taste of that.

Filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher were on hand to answer questions. They said they wanted to compare the situation to today and see if things have changed so they had The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) (1 South Washington St.) perform a study. The results were, well, frightening: the social and economic conditions in the two Wards compared to the City of Rochester in 1964 are almost exactly replicated when comparing the City of Rochester to the County of Monroe today. As "zero tolerance" efforts escalate, as relatively well-off people move to the suburbs and take industry with them, and as suburbanites soak in the belief that the city is a dangerous urban wasteland, conditions are ripe for another revolution.

1,425 total views, 1 views today

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Breakfast at Blue Horizon and Driving the Wrong Way on 390
by Jason Olshefsky at 11:30 am (1 comment)

Ali and I had a late breakfast at The Blue Horizon Restaurant (1174 Brooks Ave.) As diners go, this is one of the best: of late my number one qualification is that my coffee stays full — and not only did it not get empty, it barely hit the halfway mark. The food is good diner-grade food and the prices are low diner-grade prices.

We left around 1 or so and on the way home I thought, "I should just take Brooks Avenue" but I got on 390 anyway. As I was getting on the ramp, I saw that traffic was at a standstill. We got in line anyway, figuring it would clear up. However, a steady stream of emergency vehicles kept coming. Some cars behind us rushed ahead to get to the second lane, but we were in no hurry and didn't mind being one of the last ones through. State Police closed 390 at Brooks behind us and were directing all traffic off the highway. A State Police officer started having cars entering at the exit turn around and drive the wrong way up 390 then turn off on the exit. We followed suit. It's the only time I've ever driven the wrong way on the highway. It was wild — it made me feel all sophisticated like I was driving on The M1 or something.

We decided to see what happened so we got back on at Mt. Hope but traffic ground to a halt around Scottsville Rd. Police were directing all traffic off the highway at that point as well, but we could see a multiple-car pileup — rubbernecking, we saw at least 6 cars involved. The hill formed by the new tunnel under the runway for the Scottsville Road access road had caused drifting snow to form a whiteout and had coated the road with snow. As it turned out, there were way more than 6 cars involved: 36 in all. As you've probably heard on the news, one young girl got killed and there were about 20 people taken to the hospitals with various degrees of injuries. The accident was apparently caused by a driver who stopped in the middle of the white-out.

People say the "cause" was the driver who stopped, but that was just the final straw. A whiteout totally sucks and there's no ideal solution. Initial wisdom says that if you can't see, stop, but it's also a highway, so you don't stop. Second best is to proceed slowly. In my opinion, that means very slowly compared to highway speeds (i.e. 20-30 miles-per-hour) but judging by the damage to cars, it appears that people scarcely took their foot off the accelerator and instead plowed into whatever was in front of them at full-bore. Then again, it was clear skies and dry roads right up to the bend, so only the properly attentive drivers even had a chance.

I also think it's interesting that nobody faults the airport. If it were a private residence and they had put up a privacy wall, they'd have hell to pay. But because the airport presumably wanted to extend a runway to accommodate larger planes, it's all good — dead girl and all. I'm not so much advocating suing the airport, but I'd like to see a fair assessment. Rather than let it slide with a passive-voiced "the conditions were dangerous," I think it's important to realize that prior to this construction project, this was not an issue. And as such, to determine if there is something that can be done to change the structure of the tunnel to prevent these kind of conditions from forming again.

3,633 total views, 2 views today

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Happy Birthday, Wanda June at the Dryden
by Jason Olshefsky at 8:00 pm (add a comment)

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) showed Happy Birthday, Wanda June and Ali and I got to see it, despite the terrible road conditions getting there. It was a film based on a play by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. with a very theatrical feel, giving it a bizarre edge. It was funny and poignant, making the point that war is really quite pointless and that there really isn't any value in the "heroism" of fighting and killing. Oh, and how incredibly silly and dangerous the idea of "heaven" is.

The plot of the film follows a woman and her son. Her husband has been out-of-contact for 8 years on some kind of heroic journey — wars, killing animals and the like. She gets a college degree and begins to piece her own life together by courting two men: a pacifist doctor and a hero-worshiping vacuum cleaner salesman. Her husband makes a surprise return and tries to retain his brazen, hero's status.

The point, in a way, is to ask, "what the fuck is so heroic about killing?" It really resonated with me. I had been asking more-or-less the same question for a while. For instance, it's common knowledge that you thank soldiers for defending the country. But given our eternal conflict in Iraq, it's become … unsatisfying … for me to do so. When you fundamentally disagree with the idea of war in the first place, and then add on that further fighting is only inciting existing enemies and creating more then how can you thank someone for making America less safe? It gets to the point of patronizing — like thanking the neighborhood cat-murdering idiot for keeping your house safe from cat infestation.

In fact, it's more about fear. I feel compelled to thank a soldier for the sake of not getting in trouble, yet my opinion of the situation is so bad that I want to tell them, "stop fucking volunteering!!!!" [With extra exclamation points, even.] Please.

And what scares me more is people who believe in an afterlife — especially those who think it's the promised land of 57 varieties of virgins. And before you think I'm bashing Islam alone, ask a Christian how much they're looking forward to meeting Jesus and how lucky people are whose miserable earthly existence is cut short. It's really quite scary. I really would like it if people believed like I did: that we get one shot at life and that we should make the best of it and help everyone else to make the best of theirs too.

But that makes me some kind of Godless monster, right? I mean, true evil in the world comes from the Others — the people who don't read the Bible and don't go to church and don't hate gays and don't believe women are just baby incubators.

Sorry … I digress …

The response from war hawks is always the same: "your pacifist beliefs are all well and good, but what happens when someone sticks a gun in your face?" Well then the rules change, don't they? If you believe in the value of life — especially that you only get one go around — then you'd better believe I'm going to try and avoid kisses from bullets rushing to show me the love.

The trick is this: "peace first". Or, if you must, "war last".

In other words, if you come upon people who say, "we hate America," figure out why first. At present, the only reaction is to blow the fuck out of them. You see, we can talk and understand and resolve for a long time — even have an ebb and flow about the whole thing — but you can't un-blow the fuck out of someone. So save that for last.

Then the response from the hawks and jingoists is, "what about 9/11?" Oh yeah — what about that? We need to get "them", right? And who are "they"? Why Osama bin Laden of course. Haven't heard that name in a while, have you? Of course not: if you watch 9/11 Press for Truth or read The Complete 911 Timeline or the related book, The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: A Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11—and America's Response, you'll find that the Bushies carefully herded bin Laden to safety in Pakistan.

You've been had, America.  Wake up!

929 total views, 2 views today

Valentine's Day

JayceLand Pick Today at 5:15 p.m. in Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) is another Thursday Thinkers lecture titled Creativity in Later Years (referring to Duke Ellington's lifetime creativity) by Dr. Jeffrey Lyness. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

Today at 6:30 p.m., The Little (240 East Ave.) will be screening July '64. It's about the three-day riot in the streets of Rochester, NY starting July 24, 1964. [source: Little Theatre calendar]

At George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) tonight at 6:30 p.m. is a Rochester Teen Slam for spoken-word responses to the exhibition Not Forgotten: Portraits of Life and Death in Rochester. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) will be hosting a meeting of The Bertrand Russell Society tonight at 7 p.m. Howard A. Blair will give a discussion on How Bertrand Russell Knew the Deal on Causation. "The notion of cause and effect seems obvious, but Bertrand Russell in a 1912 essay said that, scientifically speaking, it is a relic of a bygone age." [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

The Artisan Jazz Trio will be at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Laura starting at 8 p.m. According to the Eastman calendar, it's "one of the most hauntingly romantic of all films noir. Tough and crude cop McPherson ... investigates the murder of beautiful advertising executive Laura Hunt ... and falls in love with her portrait." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) is the rockin' rockabilly of Krypton 88MySpace link 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]

JayceLand Pick This evening at 6 p.m. at The Rochester Regional Community Design Center (RRCDC) (1115 E. Main St., in the Hungerford Complex) is the gallery opening for the We Shape Our City featuring the results of the Downtown Charrette. [source: Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association e-mail]

If you're up for meeting new people, MEETinROCHESTERMySpace link is hosting a get-together for Fish Fry Friday at Jeremiah's Tavern (1104 Monroe Ave.) at 6 p.m. Be sure to sign up at the website. [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar]

Tonight at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) is The SunstreakMySpace link, The HoodiesMySpace link, and The Spiral StaircaseGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 7 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [13+]

Tonight at 7 p.m. at The Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., formerly on Gregory St.) is a screening of Afrique, je te plumerai (Africa, I'm Going to Fleece You). Discussion of the film will be facilitated by John K. Marah. [source: Baobab website]

The House of Hamez (389 Gregory St., formerly Daily Perks) will be hosting Azure SkyMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: House of Hamez website] [all ages]

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

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Gates starting at 8 p.m. Documentarian Antonio Ferrera will be on hand to discuss his film covering the 15 years it took for Christo and Jeanne-Claude to complete The Gates installation in New York City's Central Park. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting RingwormMySpace link, The Red DeathMySpace link, The Sirens, The Sailors, and Borrowed TimeMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Freetime] [21+]

This evening from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is an Exhibition Party for Larry Towell: The World From My Front Porch and Black in America: Eli Reed. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Over at The House of Hamez (389 Gregory St., formerly Daily Perks) starting around 8 p.m. is Songwriters in the Round featuring Paul Swiatek, charismatic and varied soloist Scott Regan, witty and accomplished acoustic soloist Brian Coughlin, Taylor Buckley, and Perry CleavelandMySpace link. [source: House of Hamez website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Vox HumanaGarageBand linkMySpace link, Victory Light Black HoneyMySpace link, and HungnessMySpace link (formerly Kill Myself on Monday) will be at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

The Belated Valentine's Day show featuring Paradigm Shift will be at The Flat Iron CaféMySpace link (561 State St.) starting around 9 p.m. followed late by The After Hours Jam Session with The Quinn Lawrence TrioMySpace link starting around midnight. [source: Flat Iron Cafe webstie]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 9 p.m. at Equal=GroundsMySpace link (750 South Ave., formerly Hunt's Hardware) is another Erotic Night featuring music, poetry, and art. [source: Craigslist Rochester events] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight starting around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is the annual Valentine's Day Massacre show featuring dozens of local bands drowning their sorrows. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [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 afternoon at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a couple events. First at 1:15 p.m. is Behind the Scenes of The Dutch Connection with Amy Kinsey. Then at 3 p.m. is a Musicale with pianist Helen Wright. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Pierrot le fou (Pierrot Goes Wild) starting at 7 p.m. From the Eastman Calendar, "'The story of the last romantic couple' said director Godard of his brilliant portrait of two lovers on the run". [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Fly the flag today.President's Day

Over at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) starting around 7 p.m. is The Eastman Chamber Music Society. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick This evening at 7 p.m. in the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a discussion titled Where Do We Go From Here? with local leaders discussing the subjects of Not Forgotten: Portraits of Life and Death in Rochester. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. is Sole and the Skyrider BandMySpace link, Telephone Jim JesusMySpace link, and excellent satirical gospel band The Lobster Quadrille. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

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]

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 from 12:12 p.m. to 12:52 p.m. in the Gleason Auditorium of The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) is another Tuesday Topics lecture with City engineer Jim McIntosh discussing How Safe is Our Infrastructure? [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) will be hosting Ossia New Music starting around 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

Top Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Dillinger è morto (Dillinger is Dead) starting at 8 p.m. From the Eastman calendar, "a bored industrial designer discovers an old revolver in his home, wrapped in a 1934 newspaper announcing the death of a famous American gangster. He paints the gun with red-and-white polka dots, seduces his maid, and contemplates suicide as well as his wife's murder." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is The Apes, Company, and a perfectly just-off-from-perfect 1980's-styled rock band Tiger Cried BeefMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Tonight at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is The Eastman Wind Ensemble 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 Down by Law starting at 8 p.m. in which a trio of convicts breaks out of prison. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Over at Java's (16 Gibbs St.) starting around 9 p.m. is Krum. [source: Java's calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is A-Ko, AudibelMySpace link, Chae HawkMySpace link, and Tone PonyMySpace link starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

JayceLand Pick This evening starting at 10:01 p.m. through 10:51 p.m. is a Total Lunar Eclipse. The partial eclipse will be visible from 8:45 p.m. to 12:09 a.m. [source: NASA Eclipse Home Page]

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 14, 2008 (Thu, Feb 14, 2008, 2/14/2008, or 2/14/08) Friday, February 15, 2008 (Fri, Feb 15, 2008, 2/15/2008, or 2/15/08) Saturday, February 16, 2008 (Sat, Feb 16, 2008, 2/16/2008, or 2/16/08) Sunday, February 17, 2008 (Sun, Feb 17, 2008, 2/17/2008, or 2/17/08) Monday, February 18, 2008 (Mon, Feb 18, 2008, 2/18/2008, or 2/18/08) Tuesday, February 19, 2008 (Tue, Feb 19, 2008, 2/19/2008, or 2/19/08) and Wednesday, February 20, 2008 (Wed, Feb 20, 2008, 2/20/2008, or 2/20/08).

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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