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Weekly Rochester Events #571 Starting Thursday, December 17, 2009

Friday, December 11th, 2009

For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism with Gerald Peary at the Dryden
by Jason Olshefsky at 8:00 pm (add a comment)

Ali and I headed to the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) for the discussion with Gerald Peary. It turned out he was screening a documentary he directed: For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. The documentary was okay — it touched on the major "eras" of public film criticism, primarily in America. Motion picture making itself is barely 100 years old, and critical analysis necessarily followed. As documentaries of a history go, it was an imperfect, but generally pretty good essay on the topic.

As we stayed through the question-and-answer afterward, I kept revisiting a negative opinion: that the whole evening was packed with ignorance. It wasn't until later that I pinned it down: critics that made an impact were good writers who happened to critique motion pictures, but critics seem to co-opt the respect of being a good critic while ignoring the necessity of being a good writer first. This resonated with me strongest in the last segment that covered the Internet age. It seems that paid critics disliked the presence of Internet critics because they felt that the fact they were paid automatically made them superior. Rather, I think that the best critics — Internet or otherwise — are able to examine a film from a unique perspective that gives insight into that film.

Peary also insisted that a critic's role is to analyze a film within the context of film-as-art, not to identify whether you, as a reader, should see it. I think this is misguided. First, I agree that there is a majority of people who just want a movie review that tells them "good" or "bad" — they literally want to be told they will like a film (and further, I think their opinion is heavily swayed by what critics tell them). However, there is another group of people who read film criticism beforehand for its context in film-as-art so they can determine whether they want to see it. In some cases, it is to explain, "how can I enjoy this film?", or "why is this film important?" I've written in the past about how I use film criticism and synopses, noting that a review should bracket my experience and help me understand what to expect. For instance, I don't think a film like Vals Im Bashir (Waltz With Bashir) could be considered a movie that "people would like", but I'm glad I saw it and I think it was a great film. It was because I knew something of the film that I decided to see it — partly trailers, and partly through critical review. But I used those tools specifically to determine whether I should see it.

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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The Bogs Visionary Orchestra and Eric the Taylor at Boulder then Cuddle Magic at the Bug Jar
by Jason Olshefsky at 8:00 pm (add a comment)

I braved the snow and headed to Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) to catch Paul BurkeMySpace link's show there. Paul himself stopped by for a while, but he was performing with his other band, other/other/other at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) that same night (in a sadly under-advertised show). Starting out was The Bogs Visionary OrchestraMySpace link who played a rich tapestry of their modern Americana. Next was Eric the Taylor who I also liked: one guy playing ethereal, meditative, synthesized soundscapes. I'm really glad I stopped by.

Paul encouraged me to go to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) as well so I went there and caught the tail-end of other/other/other. Next was Cuddle MagicMySpace link who I hadn't seen before. They are a large band with a variety of instruments. They play what I've come to call "motley folk" like Baby Shiver's BoutiqueMySpace link but with their own nearly orchestral arrangement. I was getting tired, and alas, couldn't stay for the rest of the night. I'll look forward to seeing them sometime soon, though.

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JayceLand Pick Today from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hedonist Artisan Chocolates (674 South Ave.) is hosting a Chocolate Tasting. [source: Hedonist Chocolates website]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Volver starting at 8 p.m. a "wonderfully unpredictable film that details the relationships between multiple generations of strong and eccentric women, some of whom are living, some dead, and others between life and death." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is Nod, AC vs. DC, and Crushing Something starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

JayceLand Pick Tonight starting around 9 p.m. at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is the Abilene Holiday Bash featuring The Fred Costello BandMySpace link. Canned goods are being collected for The Catholic Family Center (CFC) (87 N. Clinton Ave.) [source: Abilene website]


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JayceLand Pick Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) will be hosting Loveful HeightsMySpace link for happy hour from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. followed by The Steam Donkeys at 9 p.m. [source: Abilene website]

Tonight at 7 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is a concert from The Eastman Community Music School (ECMS) titled Kaleidoscope Orchestra. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

Today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. is a performance by Village Idiots Present (VIP): Holiday Edition. [source: RocWiki calendar]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Tetro starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 7 p.m. A man searches for his brother in Argentina who does not welcome the visit nor memories of their father. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Geva Comedy ImprovMySpace link performs their Holiday Special tonight and tomorrow at 10:30 p.m. at Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) [source: Geva Theatre website]

Tonight at Equal=GroundsMySpace link (750 South Ave., formerly Hunt's Hardware) is the 3rd Friday Songwriters Open Mic with Jim Bowers starting around 9 p.m. [source: Equal=Grounds MySpace page]


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JayceLand Pick Curator Ed Stratmann will present a lecture titled Rochester on Film today at 1 p.m. in the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Meet Me in St. Louis starting at 8 p.m.: a musical in which a young woman falls in love prior to a big family move. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) at 9 p.m. is the Abilene Christmas Party — Part 2 featuring the nice, well-executed jazzy swing of Bobby Henrie and The GonersMySpace link. Again, canned goods are being collected for The Catholic Family Center (CFC) (87 N. Clinton Ave.) [source: Abilene website]

JayceLand Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting DownburnMySpace link, and Mo-ChesterMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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An actor playing Belva Ann Lockwood will be hosting Victorian Tea in The Kate Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) to discuss her campaigns to run for president in 1884 and 1888. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Babes in Toyland starting early at 2 p.m. in which Laurel and Hardy star. Preceded by a short film Brats. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is WarbladeGarageBand linkMySpace link, Order of the DeadMySpace link, and SarcousMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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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]


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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 Tusedays at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. is A.K.A. Paul Burke Presents featuring Paul BurkeMySpace link and other people, perhaps performing. [source: band e-mail]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing An American in Paris starting at 8 p.m. From the Eastman House calendar: an "American expatriate painter in post WWII Paris [struggles] to find success in both art and love, his life changes when he meets and falls in love with Lise." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]


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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. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Great 1960's-styled rock from The Hi-RisersMySpace link, great country/acoustic rock from The Lovesick HeartstabbersMySpace link, and 40 Rod Lightning will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Today at 12:00 p.m. is a meeting of The Brown Bag Book Discussion Group in the Literature Division's Study Room at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

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]

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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, December 17, 2009 (Thu, Dec 17, 2009, 12/17/2009, or 12/17/09) Friday, December 18, 2009 (Fri, Dec 18, 2009, 12/18/2009, or 12/18/09) Saturday, December 19, 2009 (Sat, Dec 19, 2009, 12/19/2009, or 12/19/09) Sunday, December 20, 2009 (Sun, Dec 20, 2009, 12/20/2009, or 12/20/09) Monday, December 21, 2009 (Mon, Dec 21, 2009, 12/21/2009, or 12/21/09) Tuesday, December 22, 2009 (Tue, Dec 22, 2009, 12/22/2009, or 12/22/09) and Wednesday, December 23, 2009 (Wed, Dec 23, 2009, 12/23/2009, or 12/23/09).


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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