I headed out to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to see Chae Hawk, and The Secret Secret Dino Club. Okay, actually I went specifically because Secret Secret Dino Club is headed by a guy named Jayce, born just before I left high school and not far from where I grew up (according to the MySpace page). [That, and I'm writing this far later than I had intended so some people might miss it entirely.]
Anyway, the show was kicked off with a DJ along with a video projection. The Secret Secret Dino Club was up first and did some fun and clever hip-hop. Chae Hawk brought some stuff that was a little … oh, I don't know … less whimsical? — but similar nonetheless. The crowd was much younger than I was (except for some parental-looking folks) and this style of music is kind of new to me. It's an exercise in overstimulation — between the prerecorded music for the performers, the live performance, the video projection, and a DJ adding in a couple turntables, it can get to be a bit overwhelming. But somehow it all stays coherent, and with a thoroughly rough edge — kind of like an extension of the gritty garage sound of the 1960's and the punk sound of the 1970's, this is the gritty sound of the generation with access to cheap digital replication and editing.
As for Jayce, I stopped after the show and said hi. He said he's usually met by black women who share his name, and I'm the first guy. My own nickname was cemented by the presence of the cartoon show Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors during high school (and for you geeky trivia nuts [you know who you are], none other than J. Michael Straczynski wrote 13 episodes, according to IMDb). I told Jayce this and he said he was also named after a cartoon — presumably the same one. How weird is that? And who'd have thought that 20 years after naming a kid that that he'd end up 3 hours away from home and run into someone who got the same name from the same place. But he's going to have to keep looking because I'm not his father.
Ali and I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see The Wrestler. Unfortunately, I had collected show-times from several weeks prior and didn't realize the Little changed them every week — we were a bit early as it was, and we'd have to wait about an hour. Instead, we opted to see Slumdog Millionaire.
The movie was quite good. In case you've been on a media vacation for the last 6 months, it's about a young man named Jamal who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, India. He has attained the position of serving tea at (if I remember correctly) a call center for-hire and gets his way onto the show Kaun Banega Crorepati?, the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
The host of the show openly mocks his past — being a tea-server and growing up in the slums — and he is surprised that Jamal begins answering questions right. Every question, in fact. He's so surprised that he has Jamal taken to the police and interrogated. And here is where most of the film takes place: through flashback to events in his life to explain how he learned the answers.
In a way, it calls to the triviality of knowing trivia — that knowing the answers to arbitrary fact-based questions is not correlated with one's class, job, or past. Also, if someone has a wide breadth of experiences in their life, they will necessarily fare pretty well on such a contest, while those who typically excel have deliberately dedicated effort to the act of learning facts.
As the movie goes, the first act is full of the horrors of the slums, the second shows the ingenuity of Jamal, his brother, and another girl as they struggle to survive: all having lost their parents. The third act is sweet confection for the audience as it turns into a John Hughes film (his good ones in the 1980's, at least), complete with a musical montage (and with the added bonus of a Bollywood dance number over the credits).
Overall, I thought it was a good movie: enough substance to make it thought-provoking, all the while with an eye to entertainment.
In our second attempt, Ali and I succeeded in catching The Wrestler at The Little (240 East Ave.) The basic story is that of a wrestler named Randy "The Ram" Robinson 20 years after his prime, and showing it.
Anyone who has a single calling that requires the physical attributes of youth faces a crisis when those attributes fade, be it an athlete or a roofer. The film's documentary style lingers on the desperate and sobering moments in Randy's life and I'm having trouble articulating my reaction to that. I guess at the core is pity and hopelessness: that I could see no way to help the character out of his present downward spiral, and I had no idea what would work for him.
Obviously, if he had planned ahead 20 years ago, perhaps saving some money or building other skills, he wouldn't be in this position. But once the train of your life gets momentum on tracks that don't lead anywhere good, what do you do? I guess making money where you can, hanging out with a stripper at the end of her career, and waiting to die might just be the only thing to do.
Overall we both enjoyed the film quite a bit. It's a parable to the dangers of nostalgia — of lingering on the past just a little too long. As such, I kind of left with a melancholic heart … with the tainted promise of past joy.
Anyway, as time-travel stories go, this one was rather unusual in that the ramifications of going back in time are seemingly completely resolved, if at great expense. The protagonist, Hector, starts out the film in an (apparently) satisfactory relationship with his wife at (apparently) a house they just moved into. Hector is perusing the landscape with his binoculars when his wife leaves to run a few errands. In a nearby clearing, he spies a woman undressing so (naturally?) he goes to investigate. Once he finds the girl, he's attacked by a man with a fully bandaged head. He escapes to the shelter of a facility of some kind, and finds the sole weekend occupant who inexplicably ushers him into a chamber that sends him back an hour-or-so into the past.
He again meets the technician — who's naturally surprised to meet him for the first time — and the technician explains that he must not do anything until he gets back to the point where he left from earlier … er … later. Hector, however, has other plans: he wants to stop himself from getting attacked. In the process, though, he ends up with quite a head injury and realizes he's the guy who attacked himself.
Well, things go from bad to worse, to worse again. Just one Hector was clumsy enough, but having three of them exist in the same hour just leads to disaster. He thankfully figures out how to get all the events to play out without need for further trips back in time.
So what's the point? I'm not sure. Maybe a tale about not being malicious. Maybe it's just a clever story. And maybe it's as simple as this: if you've got a wife and see a sexy young woman undressing, just stay away.
The real point of this trip, though, is that we bought advance tickets to see The House in Hydesville at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) and they never close due to weather, at least according to the person I talked to at the box office earlier today. Indeed, it was performed (although lacking the after-play discussion as the lecturer was stuck in Livingston County.)
As for the play itself, well, it was kind of disappointing. I guess I was expecting it to be more spooky. The scenes that were supposed to be spooky were indeed spooky, but it was more a tale of a family struggling to stay together. Blah, blah, blah — I've seen that many times before, and with more richly drawn characters to boot. I will say the set was fantastic (although not as impressive from the balcony), and the acting was generally good (but not exceptional).
It seemed to be written from a skeptic's perspective. So rather than playing with the heat generated by the mysterious circumstances and lack of verifiable factual information, it quenches all the fun. It was extra disappointing because a great amount of tension developed during the first half that was wasted in the second. In all it was a shrug-inducing experience. "Eh."
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Pool starting at early at 7 p.m. and again tomorrow at 7 p.m. Here's the Eastman House calendar description: "The director of American Movie has returned with a genuinely heartwarming, humanistic, and remarkably unsentimental work of neorealist fiction. In Goa, India, 18-year-old Venkatesh just barely earns a living cleaning out hotel rooms and selling plastic bags. When he meets the upper-class family who own the glimmering swimming pool he longs to dive into, Venkatesh sees the possibility to escape from his tough existence."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Sud sanaeha(Blissfully Yours) starting at 8 p.m. From the Eastman House calendar once again: "In modern Bangkok, two women are planning to help an illegal Burmese immigrant search for a job; instead, they find themselves entangled in a sexual odyssey in the middle of the jungle."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
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
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, January 29, 2009 (Thu, Jan 29, 2009, 1/29/2009, or 1/29/09) Friday, January 30, 2009 (Fri, Jan 30, 2009, 1/30/2009, or 1/30/09) Saturday, January 31, 2009 (Sat, Jan 31, 2009, 1/31/2009, or 1/31/09) Sunday, February 1, 2009 (Sun, Feb 1, 2009, 2/1/2009, or 2/1/09) Monday, February 2, 2009 (Mon, Feb 2, 2009, 2/2/2009, or 2/2/09) Tuesday, February 3, 2009 (Tue, Feb 3, 2009, 2/3/2009, or 2/3/09) and Wednesday, February 4, 2009 (Wed, Feb 4, 2009, 2/4/2009, or 2/4/09).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.