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Weekly Rochester Events #592 Starting Thursday, May 13, 2010


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Thursday, May 6th, 2010

L'enfer De Henri-George Clouzot (Clouzot's Inferno) and Gone With the Pope at the Dryden
by Jason Olshefsky at 5:15 pm (add a comment)

Although I didn't bother with a pass this year, I did head out to two films I wanted to see at The 360|365 Film Festival (formerly the Rochester High Falls International Film Festival): L'enfer De Henri-George Clouzot (Clouzot's Inferno) and Gone With the Pope, screening in sequence at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.)

The former is a quasi-documentary about the respected French director Henri-George Clouzot and how he failed to complete L'enfer in 1964.  It's also sort-of a completion of that film.  The gist is that it was to be a film about jealousy and obsession. Serge Reggiani plays an older man married to the much younger Romy Schneider. They buy a small hotel together, yet whenever the train rumbles across the trellis bridge high above, Reggiani's character grows insane with jealousy. The physical world distorts and all he sees is his the parts of his wife's actions that suggest infidelity. It may be all in his head; it may be true; it may be both.

Clouzot began some experimentation with visual effects for the distortions. When the studio saw his work, the gave him literally a blank check, so he continued experimenting — creating some astonishing effects in the process. He was late to start actual shooting, and despite his insomnia, was unable to keep the three film crews shooting efficiently. He pushed them and his actors beyond their limits. Some walked off — Reggiani eventually did. Even worse: there was a physical deadline because the lake adjacent to the location was to feed a soon-to-be operational hydroelectric dam and essentially disappear.

So he became obsessed. He tried pushing things further. He shot scenes that were already complete. He essentially drove the production full-speed into the impending deadline. But once he had his heart attack on set, that was pretty much the end. Although he survived, he never finished the picture.

The documentary explains all this, and is fully worthwhile to see even if only for the sampling of brilliant effects shots (or, if you prefer, images of the adorable Romy Schneider and her gorgeous co-star Dany Carrel mostly wearing bikinis). Clouzot's goal was to create a film like none other — an entirely new kind of film-making. And I think he succeed perfectly. He made a film about obsession, and it was never to be completed. And by presenting it in titillating bits and pieces through the documentary filter, the obsessive feeling is perfectly achieved. I desperately want to see the finished product, but I know that any real version of the film would absolutely fail to be perfect enough — the very definition of obsession. If Clouzot wasn't consciously aware of it, his artist's heart certainly was: I believe some part of him certainly knew that not completing the film was the only way to properly obey the art.

After a brief intermission, I was back to see Duke Mitchell's Gone With the Pope. In some ways it was similar to L'enfer De Henri-George Clouzot (Clouzot's Inferno) in that it was a labor of love, created only when the conditions were right. It's different in that it's a raunchy exploitation film from the 1970's and shot on a very limited budget. Apparently Mitchell was a lounge performer in Las Vegas, and used his connections with casino operators to get permission to shoot his film on weekends. Using amateur actors, a fresh-out-of-film-school talented cinematographer, and the passionate performance of Mitchell himself, he set out to make a film about mob hits and, apparently, a loving criticism of the Catholic church — nearly a prayer to God in fact.

So once he got the film shot, he edited a rough cut but eventually stopped working on it. His son Jeffrey Mitchell (who also wrote and performed several songs for the film) became caretaker when his father died in 1981. Bob Murawski of Grindhouse Releasing liked Duke Mitchell's earlier film Massacre Mafia Style and tracked down Jeffrey Mitchell. Mitchell mentioned to Murawski that he had a bunch of material from his father's incomplete film and offered it to see what Murawski could do with it.

So Murawski, being an established editor in Hollywood (editing Spider-Man, for instance) decided to tinker with editing Mitchell's unfinished film in his spare time. The result is Gone With the Pope. I think it got finished perfectly in exactly the right way. Mitchell started it as a labor of love in the 1970's — finding the best people he could to do the task. You could say that he never found a suitable editor — at least one who would work for cheap and do a good job — until years after his own death when Murawski picked it up and did exactly that.

Murawski and executive-producer Chris Innis were on hand to answer questions and provide a lot of the background story I told about the film. One last bit of trivia: Murawski surmised that Mitchell would do exactly one take for every shot, sometimes writing the dialog in marker on a legal pad for his actors to read. As such, almost every shot was included in the resulting film.

In all it's a wonderful cinematic experience, so long as you can stomach the frequent bad acting, several scenes of over-the-top exploitation of women, and quite a lot of astoundingly politically incorrect language directed at blacks.

795 total views, 2 views today

Friday, May 7th, 2010

My Neighbor Passed Away
by Jason Olshefsky at 4:00 pm (add a comment)

I got word from her daughter that my neighbor and friend Virginia O'Connor passed away today. I spoke with her last week — she was in Hospice Care at her daughter's house. She was quite certain that would be our last chat, and I understood although I deliberately stayed naïvely upbeat for some reason. According to the paper, she was 92 (and I also learned that my former RIT chemistry professor, Earl Krakower passed two days later). It also said she was a school teacher — I don't know if we ever talked about that; then again, I suspect she didn't even know I had a blog. Although her health was failing, she did manage to go out for a walk almost every day, at least until the last week or so. She died with her family at her side in peace. I'll miss her nonetheless.

623 total views, 1 views today

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The 360|365 Film Festival
by Jason Olshefsky at 5:28 pm (1 comment)

I thought I'd take a minute and review The 360|365 Film Festival (formerly the Rochester High Falls International Film Festival). I already wrote about some of the films I'd enjoyed; I also had a chance to meet some filmmakers — albeit at a non-sanctioned event, which made it more personal and greatly enjoyable. I wanted to address the festival itself.

My short summary: no element of this year's festival is any better than it was in past years.

In 2001, a film festival started called the High Falls Film Festival. Its charter was to highlight women in filmmaking, and host it in Rochester as (nitpicking aside) the home of both motion picture film and of the women's rights movement. I don't recall which year, but the "women in filmmaking" was thrown by the wayside. [I almost forgot to add this:] Adding insult-to-injury, the festival further slaps women in the face by overlapping Mother's Day, forcing to people to choose whether to spend time with Mom or go watch movies. And (although the official full name is the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival) the attachment to Rochester has been removed (although thankfully the arguably worse "Rochester High Falls International Film Festival" moniker was dropped). Not to belabor the point, but "360|365" is merely a bad pun on "all year round", it's not memorable, and it doesn't lend itself to Internet connectivity (partly because it starts with a digit, and partly because it contains the vertical bar / "pipe" character). I would guess that with its accompanying logo, it would be an acceptable "B"-graded student project in graphic design.

Once again this year, the schedule was set up so films would overlap by minutes — a simple fix would have allowed patrons to view a film at one theater and have time to travel to another for the next picture. I realize that some prints are not available on certain days, but I'm talking about adjustments of 15 or 20 minutes. Many people rejoiced that there were multiple screenings (and I did take advantage of a second screening at one point). But this means there are fewer films in the festival. And by my gut instinct, I feel that there are more films this year that will either screen at the Dryden, the Little, or attain mainstream theatrical release than in any other year. As such, this film festival has become like thousands of others: acting as previews of coming attractions more than as a venue for that which would otherwise go unseen.

[Added]And then, of course there's Fifth Year Productions (130 E. Main St.) — as major sponsors, they produced the introductory video for each screening. Rather than (as in years past) an inspiring highlight reel of the festival's crop of movies, it was a commercial for Fifth Year Productions. I can only hope that the Fuscillo's become sponsors for an improvement in quality — this one was unentertaining, uninteresting, and just terrible all-around. Following the commercial was one of a series of short films with eggs portraying famous movie scenes. The humor came from the fact that it was eggs portraying famous movie scenes. They were groan-inducing (well, except for a few audience members who, apparently, live humorless lives.) The tie-in was that the egg was supposed to recall Rochester as the "birthplace of film". Perhaps the "birthplace of mixed metaphors", or more properly, "Rochester is where film lays an egg".

I had a discussion with another film-goer and regular attendee who complained that there are fewer "big stars" to draw crowds. While I think it's fun to contemplate hob-knobing with celebrities, it's an empty exercise. I think because of that past, hold-out events from past years have become intolerable: I used to enjoy the "Coffee With …" discussions, but they have become so over-attended that it's nearly impossible to make a connection with anyone there — I didn't even bother going this year. I liked the idea of celebrating Rochester as a big city / small city; when filmmakers come here, they might meet someone in industry to promote their career, but they should be prepared to make real human contact as well. I think this important facet is being drained from the festival.

The only thing solid is the films themselves and the people who make them — an element that has nothing to do with the festival itself. As much as I liked the films I saw, I think I liked even more meeting the new faces that came with them.

795 total views, 2 views today


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    Tonight in the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.), Geoff Winningham will present a Wish You Were Here lecture at 6 p.m. [source: Eastman House e-mail] [all ages]

    Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) will be hosting Jess KleinMySpace link, and The Burning BootsMySpace link starting around 7 p.m. [source: Abilene website]

    Tonight at The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) is Big D. And The Kids TableMySpace link starting around 7 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]

    The Bertrand Russell Society meets tonight at 7 p.m. in Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

    Tapas One Seventy Seven (177 Saint Paul St.) will be hosting a Singles Wine Social from NeuLuv starting at 7 p.m. [source: RocWiki calendar]

    Tonight at The Lovin' CupMySpace link (Jefferson Rd. and John St. at 300 Park Point Dr., Suite 110) is Michael Thompson, and Greg Townson starting around 8 p.m. [source: Bop Shop calendar]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Time Machine starting at 8 p.m. A man takes his time machine [neither "steam" nor "punk"] from the year 1899 to the year 802,701. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]


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    Lilac Festival begins today.

    JayceLand Pick This evening starting at 5 p.m.,. A.K.A. Paul BurkeMySpace link and Jim Wants To Get Out Of The Car And Walk Home RecordsMySpace link present Physic 1.5 — an art show and performance at 585 Boutique (12 Henrietta St.) [source: Facebook]

    Today at 6 p.m. for Happy Hour at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is Boots 'n' ShortsMySpace link followed at 9:30 p.m. by The Silver ThreadsMySpace link. [source: Abilene website]

    The Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., formerly on Gregory St.) will be screening War Dance today at 7 p.m. [source: Baobab website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Spartacus starting at 8 p.m. A brief summary of the long film is in the Eastman House calendar: "set in the 1st Century, B.C., this sweeping epic about the leader of a roman slave rebellion stars Kirk Douglas in the title role." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at German House (315 Gregory St.) is MulletudeMySpace link, and a great stage show and excellent surf-based rock from The IsotopesMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

    The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) will be hosting Əkoostik hookahMySpace link (a.k.a. Ekoostik Hookah), the instrumental jam-rock genius of Pia MaterMySpace link, and Friday in AmericaMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]

    Tonight at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) is S.L.T., and Terese TaylorGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Monty's Krown MySpace page] [21+]


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    Fly the flag today.Peace Officers Memorial Day (half-staff)

    Today at 10:30 a.m. is The Lilac Festival Parade from South Ave. and Science Parkway to Highland Ave. and Goodman St. [source: Freetime] [all ages]

    Over at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) starting around 7 p.m. is The WormeatersMySpace link. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at 7 p.m. at The Lilac Festival is a performance by 10,000 ManiacsMySpace link. [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) will be hosting The Britton BrothersMySpace link 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 Politist, adjectiv (Police, Adjective) starting at 8 p.m. A "small-town police detective is assigned to surveillance duty of an alleged teen drug dealer", but when he questions his superior, he is presented with a "devastatingly funny lecture on language and the interpretation of the law." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at 9 p.m., Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) will be hosting The Dirty Bourbon Blues BandMySpace link and screening The Howlin' Wolf Story upstairs. [source: Abilene website]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Dub Land UndergroundMySpace link (315 Alexander St., formerly Whiskey) is wicked fun, saxophone-driven, percussive groove-rock band The BuddhaHoodMySpace link, and Mosaic FoundationMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

    Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is Fuck The FactsMySpace link, NeurolepsyMySpace link, Fledgling DeathMySpace link, and Cowards starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Project MagnificentMySpace link, The Tin Can SetMySpace link, and The Glass HeroMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Monty's Krown MySpace page] [21+]


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    JayceLand Pick Today at 1:30 p.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a Members' Talk: House Restoration, 20 Years Later with Kathy Connor. [source: Eastman House e-mail] [all ages]

    Today at 2 p.m. at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is an Asian Heritage Lecture and Demonstration by Parvatha Chidambaram of The Bharata School of Indian Dance and Music. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is Very Truly YoursMySpace link, and Ca$hbackMySpace link starting around 5 p.m. [source: Abilene e-mail]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Things to Come starting at 7 p.m. Just how accurate were futurists from the 1930's? [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Larkin GrimmMySpace link, and Loveful HeightsMySpace link will be at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    JayceLand Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Teressa WilcoxMySpace link, Dave Donnelly, and great all-around acoustic soloist Jon Moses starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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    JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is very cool power-punk-rock with a power-pop edge from VisqueenMySpace link. [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 Tonight at 7 p.m. at WXXI (280 State St.) is a WXXI Community Cinema series screening of A Village Called Versailles. The film will screen on-air on May 25 at 10 p.m. [source: WXXI website]

    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]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing On the Waterfront starting at 8 p.m. From the Eastman House calendar: "Marlon Brando won his first Oscar® playing a longshoreman faced with the impossible decision of choosing between human dignity and personal safety in the terrifyingly corrupt world of mob-controlled New York City harbor unions." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Rio BravoMySpace link, The Celebration of ManMySpace link, and The Velvet Edge will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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    Fly the flag today.Armed Forces Day

    Tonight at 7 p.m. at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is a discussion on The Art of Literary Translation by Chad W. Post. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Crush starting at 8 p.m. in which a woman who, after surviving a car wreck, assumes the identity of the literary critic she left behind for dead. Preceded by director Alison Maclean's "shocking short film" Kitchen Sink. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is The Inner PlanetsMySpace link, The IndrasMySpace link, and The Dangerous MaybesMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    JayceLand Pick Fringe CityMySpace link, and talented stoner rock-influenced rock band Argus EyeMySpace link will be at The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [18+]

    It's Whirrly Wednesdays: Hooping, Drumming, and Grooving at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) at 6 p.m. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    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, May 13, 2010 (Thu, May 13, 2010, 5/13/2010, or 5/13/10) Friday, May 14, 2010 (Fri, May 14, 2010, 5/14/2010, or 5/14/10) Saturday, May 15, 2010 (Sat, May 15, 2010, 5/15/2010, or 5/15/10) Sunday, May 16, 2010 (Sun, May 16, 2010, 5/16/2010, or 5/16/10) Monday, May 17, 2010 (Mon, May 17, 2010, 5/17/2010, or 5/17/10) Tuesday, May 18, 2010 (Tue, May 18, 2010, 5/18/2010, or 5/18/10) and Wednesday, May 19, 2010 (Wed, May 19, 2010, 5/19/2010, or 5/19/10).


    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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