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Weekly Rochester Events #603 Starting Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Watching Best Worst Movie at the Dryden Followed by the Best Worst Movie, Troll 2
by Jason Olshefsky at 8:00 pm (1 comment)

I figured it would be fun, so I went to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Best Worst Movie. It's a documentary about the "best worst movie" Troll 2 which they screened after the documentary. With anchors of cultural infamy in general, I've gone from being oblivious to being vaguely amused of to being vaguely annoyed to being downright cynical. So when I heard Troll 2 had a sort of "cult following" I was somewhat open, but deep inside, my eyes were rolling — "great, just like [surviving zombie attacks, being snarky about MySpace, Snakes on a Plane, pirates, getting on MySpace, etc.] this will be amusing but ultimately transparent."

The documentary is pretty well structured. Michael Stephenson played the role of "Joshua" in Troll 2, and as an adult, decided to revisit the making of the film and what the actors are up to. As such, it follows Dr. George Hardy, DDS — an Alabama dentist who was the one-time star of Troll 2. It lays out the case that a group of amateur and fledgling actors worked on a film by Italian director Claudio Fragasso, each having trouble figuring out the totality of the movie from the script, and further challenged by Fragasso's attention-to-detail and their inability to speak Italian (thankfully Fragasso could speak a little English). And when every single one of them finally saw the resulting product (through exactly two venues: HBO or on VHS tape video), they were aghast at just how bad it was. But — there are a small group of people who adore the sheer terribleness of the film. And as such, Dr. Hardy is a minor celebrity. Emphasis on "minor", as he's a celebrity to fans of the film and some weirdly gregarious Alabama dentist to everyone else.

Fragasso's wife Rossella Drudi co-wrote the screenplay with him. In the documentary, she says she was annoyed with her friends becoming irritating vegetarians, so she decided to have the central point be that the goblins in the film are vegetarian, resorting to transforming people into plants before eating them. (I should mention that there is a connection solely in name to Troll, and nobody in the movie utters the word "troll", always referring to the monster creatures as "goblins" instead.) Fragasso insists the film paints a portrait of American families — more so than Americans can even see.

And what is this portrait? Well basically a family from Utah decides to go on vacation by swapping houses for a month with a family in the rural town of Nilbog whom they have never met. As best I recall, they bring no provisions or luggage, save for an overnight bag or two. When they arrive, they swap keys with their aloof hosts and head in to the house. They find a feast of bizarre pastries but before they can eat them, Joshua's dead grandfather appears to him and insists they must not eat or they will die, freezing time, and giving Joshua time to formulate a distraction. Annoyed with his solution, Joshua's dad Michael (Hardy) sends him to bed early, noting (among other things) that he's "tightening [his] belt one loop so that [he doesn't] feel hunger pains", establishing the surreal scripted line that acts as the make-or-break moment when you, the viewer, decide if you're curious enough to proceed.

I cannot fathom what Fragasso was driving at with the vacation, interactions, and actions of this so-called American family. I wish I knew what I, as an American, am so blind to that my fathoming is in vain.

The movie definitely piqued my interest.  It was made with the full commitment of Fragasso who insisted on his form of perfection. The actors did their best to deliver, but between lack of skill and not being able to access the material, they tended more toward failure — although in their obliviousness, they managed to transmit Fragasso's vision. In the end, I think it is the portrait Fragasso envisioned. And that is why it has a cult following: that is is the tenacious work of one man and his wife to successfully and purely make an artistic statement.

Although I think it's predicated on one more thing. That artistic statement?: it's batshit insane. The metaphors are both ham-fisted and inaccessibly subtle (goblins turn people into vegetables to eat them — American mass-consumerism? turning humans into commodities? hatred of vegetarians? all of the above? one of the above?) Whatever Fragasso and Drudi set out to do, they may have succeeded, but the product of their work will remain an enigma forever.

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    The Dady Brothers will perform today at 12:30 p.m. at Granite Mills Park (Platt St. and Browns Race) as part of the Hochstein at High Falls Concert Series. [source: RocWiki calendar] [all ages]

    The Party in the Park (Exchange Blvd. and Court St.) tonight starts at 5 p.m. and features The Court Yard HoundsMySpace link. The cost of entry is the confiscation of chairs, food, and drink (other than one purchased bottle of water or purchased food at the event) and "patrons are asked to leave their bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and pets at home," so only car drivers are welcome. [source: City Hall press release]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at 6 p.m. at The Strathallan (550 East Ave.) is a screening of Keeping It Real: The Adventures of Greg Walloch (a.k.a. F**k the Disabled: The Surprising Adventures of Greg Walloch)Greg Walloch is an openly gay, disabled comic. [source: Gay Alliance website] [18+]

    The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) will be hosting Texas In JulyMySpace link, and MerciaMySpace link starting around 6:30 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]

    Tonight through Saturday at The Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) (142 Atlantic Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. is a performance of bare: A Pop Opera [source: MuCCC website]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is Heather MaloneyMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: Abilene website]

    JayceLand Pick The Blind Boys Of AlabamaMySpace link will be at The Lovin' CupMySpace link (Jefferson Rd. and John St. at 300 Park Point Dr., Suite 110) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Lovin' Cup calendar]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Winterschläffer (Winter Sleepers) starting at 8 p.m. Here's the Eastman House calendar's description: "In scenic Berchtesgaden, two couples who share a villa find their lives intertwined with each other and with a local farmer whose daughter has been injured in a car accident. Released in the U.S. after director Tykwer's Run Lola Run, but made before, this ambitious melodrama is just as visually striking and dramatically compelling. It's also metaphysically mysterious and very erotic." Plus Eastman House members are admitted free. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) is Ego LikenessMySpace link, The Twilight GardenMySpace link, and Silent AuctionGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]


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    Apparently The Critical Mass Bike Ride is tonight starting at 6 p.m. at The Liberty Pole (1 Liberty Pole Way) and heading through the city from there. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

    Tonight at 6 p.m. at The Rochester Public Market (280 Union St. N.) is Bands on the Bricks featuring The Sound Remains The Same, and Heroes For GhostsMySpace link. [source: Up All Night website]

    This evening at 6 p.m. at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is Happy Hour with Strum and Drum followed at 9:30 p.m. by The Lawnmowers, with Rudy ValentinoMySpace link. [source: Abilene website]

    JayceLand Pick The Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., formerly on Gregory St.) will be screening August the First tonight at 7 p.m. [source: Baobab website]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. at The Printing and Book Arts Center at The Genesee Center for the Arts (713 Monroe Ave.), Jessica Peterson will present Cause and Effect, an exploration of slavery and racism. [source: Genesee Center for the Arts calendar]

    Village Idiots Present (VIP) will perform Conspiracy tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at The VIP Theatre (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate, Suite #D106) [source: Village Idiots Present website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Go Get Some Rosemary (a.k.a. Daddy Longlegs) starting at 8 p.m. Directors/writers Joshua Safdie, and Ben Safdie will be on hand to introduce their film and answer questions. It's about a divorced father of two boys who "practices some unorthodox, even dangerous parenting while trying to cope with an overtime work schedule during the two weeks of the year when he gets custody of the kids." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Top Pick Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Do Not Forsake Me Oh My DarlingMySpace link, and good punk-rock-groove band The Edge of JupiterGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: WBER calendar] [21+]


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    JayceLand Pick Today at 4 p.m. at Mood Makers Books (274 N. Goodman St., inside Village Gate Square) is the Public Launch Party for 2034: Writing Rochester's Future written by writers of The Rochester Speculative Literature Association (R-SPEC). [source: R-SPEC Google Group]

    Over at The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) starting around 8 p.m. is Lissa SchneckenburgerGarageBand linkMySpace link, and Matt and Shannon HeatonGarageBand linkMySpace link. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at 10 p.m. at The High Falls Gorge (Platt St at Browns Race, the Pont De Rennes Bridge) is the weekly Laser Show. [source: City Hall press release]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is good, crowd-pleasing reggae from Thunder BodyMySpace link, and SophistafunkMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Over at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) starting around 10:30 p.m. is Ca$hbackMySpace link. [source: Abilene website]


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    Today at 2 p.m. at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is a What's Up Lecture with Alan Cameros discussing Southwestern Pottery. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

    The Rochester Cycling Alliance meets tonight at 7 p.m. at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge). [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Chad Hanna starting at 7 p.m. followed by Margie. According to the Eastman House calendar, "this pair of charming period pieces from 20th Century Fox show off the considerable storytelling talents of veteran director Henry King, as well as the lustrous Technicolor process." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting The Very SmallMySpace link, Dreams from GinMySpace link, and Animal PantsMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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    Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 8 p.m. is ValkyrieMySpace link, EarthrideMySpace link, and Orodruin. [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's MVP Health Care Tuesday Nature Nights starts at 6 p.m. — a Guided Bike Ride on the Ontario Parkway Trail and through the Charlotte Neighborhood, starting at the Boat Launch Parking Lot at Ontario Beach Park (Beach Ave. at Lake Ave.) [source: City Hall press release]

    JayceLand Pick This evening at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church (2000 Highland Ave.) is a screening of Out in the Silence: "a small town in western Pennsylvania confronts a firestorm of controversy when a same-sex wedding announcement appears in the local newspaper." [source: Gay Alliance website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Time Bandits starting at 8 p.m. — a 1980's fan favorite. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]


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    The 2010 Wegmans Concerts by the Shore Series tonight starts at 7 p.m. at Ontario Beach Park (Beach Ave. at Lake Ave.) with The Greece Choral Society., and The Greece Jazz Band. [source: City Hall press release]

    JayceLand Pick This evening at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.), Eugenia Victoria Ellis, Ph. D will be on hand to discuss the book she co-edited, The Beautiful Necessity: The Regulating Lines of Claude Bragdon's Transcendental Architecture. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

    Today at 8 p.m. at The Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) (142 Atlantic Ave.) is a special preview of Boys in the Band. [source: MuCCC website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Philadelphia Story starting at 8 p.m. Here's the Eastman calendar's description: "a wealthy heiress (Katharine Hepburn) wants to remarry, but her plans are complicated by her scheming ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a newspaperman (James Stewart in the role that won him his Oscar®) snooping around the family's dirty laundry. The Philadelphia Story is among the finest examples of Hollywood studio filmmaking during its Golden Era." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The AvengersMySpace link, good punk-rock from The EmersonsGarageBand link, and The Pleasure KillsMySpace link will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Tonight at 6 p.m. at The Clarissa Room (293 Clarissa St., a.k.a. Clarissa's, formerly Shep's Paradise) is The Heat is R.A.P.I.E.R. Open Mic. [source: Equal=Grounds Facebook page] [all ages]

    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, July 29, 2010 (Thu, Jul 29, 2010, 7/29/2010, or 7/29/10) Friday, July 30, 2010 (Fri, Jul 30, 2010, 7/30/2010, or 7/30/10) Saturday, July 31, 2010 (Sat, Jul 31, 2010, 7/31/2010, or 7/31/10) Sunday, August 1, 2010 (Sun, Aug 1, 2010, 8/1/2010, or 8/1/10) Monday, August 2, 2010 (Mon, Aug 2, 2010, 8/2/2010, or 8/2/10) Tuesday, August 3, 2010 (Tue, Aug 3, 2010, 8/3/2010, or 8/3/10) and Wednesday, August 4, 2010 (Wed, Aug 4, 2010, 8/4/2010, or 8/4/10).


    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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