The gist is that Ehrenreich is an essayist who, in 1998 and 1999, left her comfortable upper middle-class lifestyle to try and make it as an unskilled worker in America. She did three experiments in different parts of the country; each time she attempted to find work under the best circumstances. What she found was that she was not able to hack it. The short of it is that minimum wage is not a living wage for a single person, so she was doomed to failure by attempting to both find shelter and food on those wages, succeeding only when she worked two jobs 7 days a week.
I was not particularly surprised by any anecdotal facts presented. Perhaps it was people like Ehrenreich who opened this world to me so I can say that now, or perhaps it was my own observations. Nonetheless, I wasn't "shocked" to hear that cleaning people don't know how safe the cleaning products were, or that some people innovate by living in their car at a hotel parking lot to save on housing costs, or that single mothers can'tt afford the luxury of competent child care. Through the narrative, I found myself empathizing with … er, no: pitying them.
Because I wasn't shocked, I did have a hard time understanding the perspective of Barbara (Ehrenreich's narrator character). It seemed she was constantly appalled that people didn't have luxuries that she did, or that some people had to do jobs that she found distasteful. I wondered, looking around at my fellow attendees whose demographics were dominated by 50 to 70-year-olds, if there really was others who believed like Barbara? But, as it was revealed later, only a few people among the several hundred in attendance had ever even hired cleaning staff. Apparently Barbara was not as similar to this theater's audience as expected.
Afterward, I was disappointed to realize that nothing has particularly changed in 10 years and I wondered, as always, how can I help fix this? As I mentioned in the discussion that followed, I think it's an absolute myth that people will seek the cheapest prices on everything. As it stands, I look for local goods made and sold by independently-owned small businesses using quality, responsible parts or ingredients. And, if I had a way of knowing, I'd add "with workers who all earn at least a living wage." I have weaned myself from the allure of dollar-store garbage, and now look for quality and reliability: and I'm willing to pay many times more than the cheapest version of whatever I seek. But maybe I'm as myopic as Ehrenreich — that I'm the only one out there.
And finally, despite my best efforts, I found I gravitated toward Barbara's point-of-view more than I thought. When I left, I stopped by Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) and I couldn't help but look at my friends in a different light. With such a diverse crowd, I know some earn enough, but others might just be scraping by on whatever work they can get. Eventually I realized what I think Ehrenreich missed: money isn't the most important thing for everyone else. Although they have their share of frustration and challenge without enough, they don't wallow in the misery Barbara expected in the play's other characters.
[P.S. Yes, this was posted on Friday after the main page was updated. If you noticed, I can't speak to whether that makes you not crazy.]
The Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave.) is hosting an Artists' Reception tonight from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for Peter's Picks 2008-2009: a Retrospective featuring selections curated by Peter Marr. The exhibit will be on display through March 20.
Image City Photography Gallery e-mail]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Strangers On A Train starting at 8 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "fast-talking, seductive Robert Walker makes killing sound as easy as criss-cross in this classic Hitchcock thriller. Walker proposes that he 'swap murders' with random freight companion Farley Granger, a tennis star whose estranged wife is an inconvenient impediment to his remarriage and political aspirations. When Walker unilaterally sets the plan in motion, Granger learns that the path to happiness and normalcy can (or must) overlap with that of sadism and guilt."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing El Cid starting at 7 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "nearly half of the entire Spanish army (about 5,000 soldiers) was employed for the colossal battle scenes in Anthony Mann's apotheosis of spectacle."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Un héros très discret(A Self-Made Hero) starting at 8 p.m. The Eastman House calendar says it's about a man who "decides to forsake his marriage and provincial lifestyle to join the resistance in Paris during the final days of World War II, inciting a cinematic conversation between reality and fantasy that deepens throughout veteran screenwriter Jacques Audiard's exceptional early directorial effort."
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
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, January 27, 2011 (Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 1/27/2011, or 1/27/11) Friday, January 28, 2011 (Fri, Jan 28, 2011, 1/28/2011, or 1/28/11) Saturday, January 29, 2011 (Sat, Jan 29, 2011, 1/29/2011, or 1/29/11) Sunday, January 30, 2011 (Sun, Jan 30, 2011, 1/30/2011, or 1/30/11) Monday, January 31, 2011 (Mon, Jan 31, 2011, 1/31/2011, or 1/31/11) Tuesday, February 1, 2011 (Tue, Feb 1, 2011, 2/1/2011, or 2/1/11) and Wednesday, February 2, 2011 (Wed, Feb 2, 2011, 2/2/2011, or 2/2/11).
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.