Weekly Rochester Events #539 Starting Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

by Jason Olshefsky at 11:34 am (add a comment)

In case you hadn't noticed, I did away with Google ads on my blog pages and the Amazon advertising on the archive. I really only make money from the ads on the Fat Burning Soup Diet Results page that I made back in 1996. It apparently attracts people who like to click on ads, occasionally buying stuff, so pretty much all the ads will live there. That, and a few friends [well, as best I can tell, just Jan] click through the Amazon link to buy stuff.

I'm not trying to be a cult follower by mentioning this again, but this stems directly from Chris Guillebeau's book, The Art of Nonconformity: 279 Days to Overnight Success. He mentions that novice Internet users believe that you have approved all links on your page — and the majority of the readership is novice Internet users. This is a kind of perfect storm disaster: it sends your readers off your site, and with good odds that it will be an unpleasant experience which they attribute to you giving bad advice. I have been cautious to place ads, but I had confidence that Google would provide good ads.  However, their ads have been at best mediocre and at worst irrelevant.

I'll continue to link to Amazon when I mention book titles because I think that — despite the commercial purpose of the site (and their occasionally very questionable business practices) — Amazon is a good resource for reviews and information about a media title. Not to mention, I get a cut if anyone buys a copy … although so far, I don't think anyone has actually purchased a linked book or movie.

So hopefully JayceLand will be a better experience — especially for those who are not reading the comments in the style sheets. [Hint: nobody wins on that quip for there is nothing interesting in the style sheets, and the vast majority of users have no idea what I'm talking about anyway.]

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Taking the Bus
by Jason Olshefsky at 5:38 pm (1 comment)

I've been working on migrating my travels to alternatives to the car — as you'll recall, I took my Civic off the road (so now I've got our Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon and Ali's Saturn, neither of which I want to rely on for day-to-day tasks). Tonight was The Rochester Speculative Literature Association (R-SPEC) meeting at Barnes & Noble (3349 Monroe Ave.) so I thought I'd try taking the bus. I've used the buses on rare occasions in the past, but this was the first trip that required a transfer and that I didn't really have a backup plan (aside from calling Ali, even though she loaned her car out to our friend Christina for the day).

The meeting was at 7 p.m. so I wanted to get there a bit early. According to The Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA)'s trip planner on the website, I should take the #24 bus at 5:56 p.m. downtown to Court and Clinton, then take the #7 bus to Pittsford Plaza at 6:40 p.m. — total trip time: 43 minutes. I did my own analysis of the schedules and decided instead to take the #19 bus at 5:38 p.m. to 12 Corners then take the #7 bus to Pittsford Plaza at 6:09 p.m. — total trip time: 31 minutes. I arrived early enough to get some dinner at Benucci's (3349 Monroe Ave., in the Pittsford Plaza) … nothing particularly exceptional, but still perfectly fine.

So after the meeting, the RGRTA trip planner suggested I leave on the #7 bus at 8:54 p.m. (or a similar trip starting at 9:38 p.m.) and take it to — get this — Irondequoit Plaza (2133 Hudson Ave.) to get the #5 bus back to my house at 11:51 p.m. — total trip time: 2 hours, 57 minutes. I analyzed it myself and determined I could take the #7 bus at 8:54 p.m. (or an identical trip starting at 10:02 p.m.) to Clinton and Main then hurry to meet the #5 bus going south at St. Paul and Main and get home by 9:37 p.m. — total trip time: 43 minutes.

As it turned out, the meeting ran a bit long and I stayed to try and find that book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbuilt which they did not have. I took the 10:02 bus which arrived pretty much on time. I made it to the #5 which didn't leave for a few minutes anyway and made it home fine.

All told, it worked out okay. I bought a "Freedom Pass" which gets you rides for a day for $3 (as far as I could tell, I would have had to pay $4 for the 4 bus trips … there's probably a secret to transfers or something, though). The bus stop nomenclature is confusing — for instance, the stop nearest my house for the #19 bus is "Crittenden and East" which identifies an intersection. There are 2 stops within 20 yards of that intersection and I wasn't sure which one was right. The trick is that the first street is the main street and the second is the cross street, so it would be much clearer to say "Crittenden at East" but once you get used to it, it makes sense. You also have to know which direction your bus is going — for instance, there are 4 stops at the Elmwood and Mt. Hope corner.

It's also annoying that the stops have advertising on them rather than information: the bus stop signs only specify how much the trip will cost. If only one route uses a particular stop, the sign will identify the route number, but if the stop serves multiple routes, it will just say that it serves multiple routes and not specify which ones. There are no maps or clues as to where to go or when.

But it's that routing system that is the worst. What good is it if you can do it yourself and get better results — and with relative ease at that? The biggest obstacle is to get the bus route information from the site as it is no longer available as tidy PDF's of the route tables, but as dynamically generated pages where you can specify your stops. It would make much more sense to, say, get all the bus route tables for stops within a few blocks of your starting and ending points and figure it out from there.

It's too bad that RGRTA has a government sponsored monopoly because with a little competition, it wouldn't be hard to come up with a better system. One thing that I've been toying with is the idea of a "superway" — a system that's like a subway, but instead puts buses on the network of highways to cover the large distances quickly. So, for instance, there would be stops along each exit on 490, 590, and 390 with buses running frequently along those routes. I could walk 15 minutes to 390 and East Henrietta Rd. then take a bus to the Monroe Avenue exit off 590 in 3 minutes (maybe more like 6 minutes counting a stop at Winton), finishing up by walking the remaining 19 minutes to Pittsford Plaza. All told, it would take about about 40 minutes but I could do it pretty much any time I wanted to; the walking time on my trip out there added 10 minutes for a total of 41 minutes on the way out and 53 minutes on the way back and also limited to the whims of the bus schedule. Throw in a few extra routes to cover the parts of the city farther than a mile from a highway exit, and you're in business.

Anyway, the bus is now an alternative for me to use. But once I get a bike ready, I can cover the 5 miles to Pittsford Plaza via the canal path in about 20 minutes or so. And do it any time.

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Taking the Reciprocal of the News
by Jason Olshefsky at 12:55 pm (add a comment)

I was reading The Democrat and Chronicle the other day and, once again, was irritated by the kind of stories they cover. But then it hit me: the "news" is not about "what's going on" but "what are the exceptions to what's going on."

The story that made me think this was on page 2 of the first section — a rather prominent place for a news story. It was about a girl in Rhode Island who was run over by a school bus. It's thankfully rare that students are not killed (particularly in such an ironic way) but the article made a point of noting that the girl was not paying attention — she was apparently listening to headphones and looking at her cell phone.

Now as a pedestrian, a cyclist, and a driver, I know that motor vehicles are very dangerous. [Ok, maybe because I'm curious, I'm observant, and I rely on factual data to form my opinions … lots of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers don't seem to pay much attention … anyway …] So I wondered why this story was considered so important. It seemed to have to do with the girl being distracted — perhaps amplifying a commentary that youth are oblivious to the world around them today.

But then I realized that I should be looking at the "reciprocal" of the story — to look at what the norm was that this case was an exception. The norm is that children cross the street safely almost all the time, school buses rarely get in accidents with pedestrians, and if there is an accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, it is almost always the fault of the driver of the vehicle. (And by that, I'm referring to the fact that the driver, as the controller of a potentially deadly device, must guard against harming anyone at all times.)

So I took a look at the rest of the paper and found the same to be true. I couldn't find the articles from Saturday, but some of today's headlines are as follows: "Greece officer faces additional charges [of coercing sex from a woman]", "Teen testifies about alleged sexual attack by [former county legislator William C.] Bastuk", and "[Latasha] Shaw's 911 tape [of a call prior to being killed by a mob] played at trial".

None of these things are normal. They are all exceptional. As such, the news does nothing to inform the public about what is happening — they are claiming to do just that, but instead report only on exceptions. In doing so, most people I know believe that the world is this terrible and dangerous place when the opposite is really true.

My idea on all this is to start a paper called something like "The Rochester Mundane" that would report things like "100.0% of Rochester residents not murdered" (rounding from 99.98%) or that "police officers do not generally coerce sex," "legislators do not attack people," and "for most calls to 911, help arrives in time."

The first problem is that I don't have the time. The second is that it would be wildly unpopular. I mean, who wants to know about what's really going on?

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JayceLand Pick Tonight at Hedonist Artisan Chocolates (674 South Ave.) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is a chocolate tasting named the South Wedge Recession Procession Event. [source: Hedonist Chocolates website]

JayceLand Pick Updated: Director Anthony Bannon will speak at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) tonight on Pictorialism and the TruthBeauty Exhibition. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

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

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Gay Divorcee starting at 8 p.m. A thin plot about divorce provides the structure for lots of dancing. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Brand New SinMySpace link, and Bone YardMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

V-E Day

Lilac Festival begins today.

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 4 p.m. is WBER (2596 Baird Rd.)'s Lilac Festival Concert with The DemosMySpace link followed by Tinted ImageMySpace link at 5:30 p.m., and finally MC LarsMySpace link at 7 p.m. [source: WBER calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Updated: Not A Cornfield opens tonight at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with artist Lauren Bon followed by a joined opening of the P.L.A.N.T. Reading Room at The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with paintings and sculptures by Malin Abrahamsson and Ricky Sears. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Over at The Mez CaféMySpace link (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) starting around 8 p.m. is Cafe Antarsia EnsembleMySpace link. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) will be hosting Son of the SunGarageBand linkMySpace link, and Hotel ReverieMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee website] [all ages]

Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) will resent a program of Arabesque Winds tonight at 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Jeff Lambert will be in the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) tonight at 8 p.m. to present Treasures from the American Avant-Garde. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Over at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (955 Genesee St.) starting around 9 p.m. is The Tins. [source: Boulder Coffee website]

Today from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a Garden Tour for Members starting at the steps of the Dryden Theatre. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Top Pick Stop in today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Printing and Book Arts Center at The Genesee Center for the Arts (713 Monroe Ave.) to Make a Handmade Mother's Day Card. [source: Genesee Center for the Arts calendar]

Today the 2009 Lilac Festival Parade starts at 10:30 p.m. at The Lilac Festival along South Avenue to Highland Avenue. [source: Lilac Festival website] [all ages]

Anderson Alley Artists (250 Goodman St. N.) will be having another open house this and every second Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Today at 1 p.m. is a Young Writers Showcase at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) [source: Geva Theatre website]

JayceLand Pick Among the bands performing today at The Lilac Festival, be sure to check out the really tight cello-and-drums rock band Break of RealityGarageBand link at 5:30 p.m. [source: Lilac Festival website] [all ages]

John KellerMySpace link will be at The Mez CaféMySpace link (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

Top Pick Terrific all-around acoustic soloist Jon Moses, Mock SyringaMySpace link, Nick GordonMySpace link, and Joseph MulhollenMySpace link will be at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) 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 Stellet licht (Silent Light) starting at 8 p.m. The Eastman House calendar summarizes it as follows: "this visually ravishing drama allows audiences a rare glimpse into the very private lives of a community of Mennonites outside Chihuahua, Mexico. Cast with non-professional Mennonite actors speaking a German derivative dialect, the story revolves around the crisis of a married farmer who tries to maintain the stability of his family while openly having an affair with another woman. A transcendent, poetic experience, Silent Light is the third feature from Mexican director Reygadas, and his first masterpiece." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Over at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) starting around 9 p.m. is The SpacelordsMySpace link. [source: Abilene website]

Tonight at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (955 Genesee St.) is academically interesting band The IndrasMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [18+]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. is fun, great 1960's-styled rock from The Hi-RisersMySpace link, The Haystack Shadows, and Très BienMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) is very good punk-rock band The QUiTTERSGarageBand linkMySpace link, and The BeaumontsMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: GaragePop e-mail] [21+]

Fly the flag today.Mother's Day

Every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the Greatest Community Garage Sale and Super Flea series at The Rochester Public Market (280 Union St. N.) [source: City Hall press release]

Today from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Artisan Works (565 Blossom Rd.) is a Special Open Event Mother's Day. [source: Artisan Works website]

Tonight at 4 p.m. at The Lilac Festival is TroykaMySpace link followed by The Beale Street Blues Band at 5:30 p.m. and professional funk from Prime Time FunkMySpace link at 7 p.m. [source: Lilac Festival website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Letter from an Unknown Woman starting at 7 p.m. a pianist receives a letter from a dying woman he doesn't remember. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

The Landmark Society of Western New York is hosting a Your Old House Workshop at The Stone-Tolan House (2370 East Ave.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. where Steve Jordan will explain window repair in older homes. Note that the admission price is fairly steep. [source: Landmark Society calendar]

Top Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is great fun hip-hop/rock/techno/etc. duo Mad HappyMySpace link, disorienting anti-band GaybotMySpace link, and DufusGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

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 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Classified Shredding Services (425 Paul Rd.), The New York State Consumer Protection Board is sponsoring Free Shredding Services. [source: Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association e-mail]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Huozhe (To Live) starting at 8 p.m. A 30 year journey starting in the 1940's follows a family through tumultuous times. (Members admitted free.) [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Updated: The Rochester High Falls International Film Festival (RHFIFF) starts tomorrow, but they're doing a "virtual screening" tonight on WXXI TV (280 State St.) with Mara Ahmed's The Muslims I Know at 8 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is great motley folk band Baby Shiver's BoutiqueMySpace link, Very Truly YoursMySpace link, and Pearwood JamesMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

JayceLand Pick Big Bad Voodoo DaddyMySpace link plays tonight at 7 p.m. at The Lilac Festival. [source: JamBase calendar for Rochester] [all ages]

The Eastern Boundary Quartet will be at The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Barbarella starting at 8 p.m. I guess the Eastman House calendar sums it up better than I can right now: "Jane Fonda, in her sex-kitten phase, stars as an intergalactic pleasure seeker in this campy, colorful, always entertaining sci-fi adaptation of the famous '60s comic book character. In search of a missing scientist, Barbarella is attacked by dolls with metal teeth, pecked at by birds, and racked to a machine that causes death by erotic sensation. Will she survive to provide further sexcapades throughout the universe? Don't miss this cult classic to find out!" [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Mobius TripMySpace link, and AqueousMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

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

Tonight at The Comedy Club (2235 Empire Blvd., Webster) is a Comedy Open Mic with Michael GatelyMySpace link. [source: Comedy Club website]

There's an Open Mic for Acoustic Music at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) tonight around 8. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Tonight at 8 p.m. at Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is an Open Mic with The Grand Canyon Rescue EpisodeMySpace link. [source: Abeline website]

The Comedy UndergroundMySpace link will be at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) tonight at 8 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine] [all ages]

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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, May 7, 2009 (Thu, May 7, 2009, 5/7/2009, or 5/7/09) Friday, May 8, 2009 (Fri, May 8, 2009, 5/8/2009, or 5/8/09) Saturday, May 9, 2009 (Sat, May 9, 2009, 5/9/2009, or 5/9/09) Sunday, May 10, 2009 (Sun, May 10, 2009, 5/10/2009, or 5/10/09) Monday, May 11, 2009 (Mon, May 11, 2009, 5/11/2009, or 5/11/09) Tuesday, May 12, 2009 (Tue, May 12, 2009, 5/12/2009, or 5/12/09) and Wednesday, May 13, 2009 (Wed, May 13, 2009, 5/13/2009, or 5/13/09).

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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