Weekly Rochester Events #660 Starting Thursday, September 1, 2011

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

The Little Burning Man that Couldn't
by Jason Olshefsky at 4:09 pm (6 comments)

Thursday night I got to Amtrak (320 Central Ave.) about an hour early for my pilgrimage to Burning Man. Earlier in the day, I had to use a Zipcar to get my farm share from Mud Creek Farm (McMahon Rd., Victor), and to take Ali to pick up her car from getting brake repairs. Little did I know this was a mere warning shot of things to come.

I had packed into two Rubbermaid totes, a large suitcase, a smaller bag, and a backpack. I made a custom cart to carry the totes along with the additional luggage tied on: the totes contained my to-be-filled water bottles, and the cart was to make it easier to navigate around Burning Man, particularly to get to a place to get a ride when I left. I was quite impressed as I ordinarily required the bulk of a car to carry everything I needed.

Two totes, a suitcase, a smaller bag, and a backpack

Everything I need for Burning Man 2011

Anyway, I figured I could check the large suitcase and two totes, and carry the backpack and smaller bag onto the train. I was told I couldn't check totes (a.k.a. harbinger number two) so I did some quick thinking and swapped the contents of the smaller bag with the equivalent volume from one of the totes. I checked the smaller bag and the large suitcase instead. (In the future I'll make canvas boxes for the totes with zippers and hide them inside, giving the illusion of "real" luggage.)

While waiting for the train (which was an hour and a half late from Albany no less — that's three) I met a guy who was trying to get to Cleveland. He didn't have much (if any) money but he was going to try and sweet-talk his way onto the train. I was quite sure it wouldn't work, at least not on such a busy route — if it had been quieter, he would have been able to board without a ticket beforehand then at least made it to Buffalo before being kicked off. I looked into just paying for his ticket but it was too expensive so I just gave him a few bucks to see if he could make it to Buffalo or beyond. He went to the ticket counter then disappeared. Then when I was boarding, he reappeared and tried to be my "porter". Alas, he was indeed denied entry to the train.

I finally boarded the westbound Amtrak Lakeshore Limited at 12:30 a.m. By 9 a.m. we were partway through Ohio.

view from the Amtrak window just west of Bryan, Ohio

Just west of Bryan, Ohio from the Amtrak window

We arrived in Chicago a little late around 11:30 a.m. when I was confronted with this:

2:00P California Zephyr to Emeryville: CANCELED. * NO ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION, SEE AGENT *

The moment I knew Burning Man was not-to-be this year.

My jaw dropped and my heart sank as I read — as if a personal message to me about my whole trip — "Cancelled. No alternative transportation". That was when I really surrendered. Momentum allowed me to continue to the long line at the ticket counter as there was a possibility of leaving a day later — perhaps an engine had failed and needed to be moved. Alas the worst: the eastbound California Zephyr struck a piece of construction equipment and derailed, injuring 22 people. Service was not expected to resume for several days at the earliest.

I was to meet some friends for a ride on Sunday to arrive on Monday when Burning Man started, so although I might have been able to figure out how to wait 24 hours, several days was out of the question (service was still disrupted as I write this, so at the earliest, I'd have left Sunday, arrived in Reno on Wednesday, then have to beg for a ride). Not to mention I couldn't afford to stay at a Chicago hotel for that amount of time, and it would disrupt my whole experience significantly. Cost prevented me from getting a rental car as well, and flying was not an option because of the amount of stuff I had with me. The mandatory American experience of taking a bus across the country will have to wait [for another lifetime].

So I exchanged my existing tickets and bought one to return to Rochester at 9:30 p.m. I also ran into two burners in the station (which I deduced from their fire-enhanced hula-hoops and fur-covered bikes). I didn't get their names, but asked what they were going to do. They opted to take the train to Portland, San Fransisco, and east to Reno, arriving a day and a half later. I probably could have done that, but like I said, I was getting a lot of signs to quit. I gave them my Burning Man ticket, and hopefully they could get it to someone who could use it (it might even help them get a ride).

I got a little into Chicago but had to tote the cart of totes around so I didn't get far. I went to Beggar's Pizza (310 S. Clinton St., Chicago, IL) which was excellent. The Chicago style was so good that if it wasn't textbook-perfect, they should rewrite the textbook.

For the remainder of the evening I hung around the station. I met a woman who came from Indiana to go to her brother's childhood friend's funeral in Iowa but she had to turn back too. And on "commiseration corner" of the fountain we also met a guy who went to boot camp for the Navy only to be rejected on a medical discharge and had to absorb the bittersweet experience of watching his campmates graduate in full dress uniform.

And even on the way home, things got complicated: Amtrak stopped service at Albany because of Hurricane Irene. Thankfully this didn't affect me because I only needed to get as far east as Rochester. As things had gone, I fully expected them to suddenly stop service at Buffalo, though.


Thankfully I was only going to Rochester!

Obviously I'm really bummed. This was apparently the year of too-little, too-late. Earlier I had failed to get the Tadpole Trike finished on time. Then I hustled to get everything done to go by alternate means, but bigger and bigger roadblocks kept appearing. In both cases, I refer to a phenomenon I call "tractor-pull mode". In a modern tractor pull, a sled is used with weights over wheels that are slid forward causing the front to drag, so as Wikipedia puts it, "as the tractor travels the course, the weights are pushed forward of the sled's axles, pushing the front of the sled into the ground, synthetically creating a gain in weight until the tractor is no longer able to overcome the force of friction." Hence, the further I got, the more resistance I experienced.

At least I can look forward to the things I would have missed in Rochester. And I can look forward to FrostBurn and put some effort behind it. In any case, next year I will be much more committed. Or else I'll need to be committed.

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    Tonight at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (739 Park Ave., formerly Spin Caffe) is the opening reception for Essence with art by Tara Roelle from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. [source: City Newspaper] [all ages]

    Today from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The School of Medicine and Dentistry (415 Elmwood Ave.) are Free Physicals/Immunizations for Area Students. [source: University of Rochester Events Calendar]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Tex Avery and Bob Clampett Cartoons starting at 8 p.m. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting The Benjamin RaubinsonsMySpace link starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    This evening at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) is the Pure Kona Poety Reading and Open Mic starting at 8 p.m. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website]

    V-J Day

    Tonight is another First Fridays around art galleries downtown starting around 5 p.m. [source: First Friday website]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) is HundredthMySpace link, The Great CommissionMySpace link, and To Speak of WolvesMySpace link starting around 5 p.m. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website]

    Today at The Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave.) is the Opening Art Reception for Portfolio Show 2011. [source: City Newspaper]

    Village Gate Square (274 N. Goodman St.) will be hosting virtually trippy jazz from Margaret Explosion starting around 6 p.m. [source: Bop Shop calendar] [all ages]

    The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Shop Around the Corner starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 7 p.m. "James Stewart wants a cultured pen pal as a cheap alternative to an encyclopedia, and Margaret Sullavan wants a correspondent with an intellect higher than a broken cigarette lighter." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is The PheromonesMySpace link, Roz Raskin and The Rice CakesMySpace link, The Branch Davidians, and MeliaMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    JayceLand Pick Today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Cornell Cooperative Extension (249 Highland Ave.) is a Localvore Fair. [source: Rochester Farm Connection Yahoo! Group]

    Top Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Welt am draht (World on a Wire) starting at 8 p.m. and again tomorrow at 2 p.m. Having seen the trailer many times in past weeks at the Dryden, I am so sad to miss this film. It looks amazing — a tale of virtual reality from 1973 that was only recently rediscovered and restored. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Bending and Breaking will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    This evening starting around 7 p.m. is an Art Release Party with The Moho CollectiveMySpace link at The Lovin' CupMySpace link (300 Park Point Dr., #110). [source: Lovin' Cup calendar]

    JayceLand Pick Today at 7 p.m. at The Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) (142 Atlantic Ave.) is The Audience, "a performance art piece" by John W. Borek. [source: MuCCC website]

    Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is Cheebahawk, Burn Everything, The Old Ghosts, The Curl and DragMySpace link, and Beardage starting around 8 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Fly the flag today.Labor Day

    JayceLand Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting KindlewoodMySpace link, and Payton Maravitch starting around 8:30 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 Tonight at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) starting around 7 p.m. is Social Justice Cinema. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website]

    On Golden Pond opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) [source: Geva Theatre website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Penalty and One Week starting at 8 p.m. Dr. Philip C. Carli will provide live piano accompaniment for these two silent films. In the first, "Lon Chaney stars as a maniacal San Francisco crime boss who seeks revenge on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs", and in the second, "Buster Keaton stars as a man whose build-it-yourself house apparently seeks revenge on him." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at The Little Theatre Café (240 East Ave.) is Authors Aloud in the Cafe starting around 8 p.m. and featuring M. J. Iuppa, and Lori D. Nolasco. [source: Little Theatre e-mail]

    JayceLand Pick Updated: Today at 1 p.m. at The Rochester Permaculture Institute Center (163 Helen Rd.), Shawn Lessord of Renewable Rochester (780 Ridge Rd., Webster) will conduct a site visit and answer questions on renewable energy in Rochester. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

    JayceLand Pick Carol Roberts will host Afternoon Tea today from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) then stay from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to host Comedy Night. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Masque of the Red Death starting at 8 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "as the plague sweeps across medieval Europe, Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) hides in his castle, entertaining the wealthy, torturing peasants, and making preparations for a masked ball." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is A Relative TermMySpace link, Right Turn RacerMySpace link, and Jason Myles GossMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

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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, September 1, 2011 (Thu, Sep 1, 2011, 9/1/2011, or 9/1/11) Friday, September 2, 2011 (Fri, Sep 2, 2011, 9/2/2011, or 9/2/11) Saturday, September 3, 2011 (Sat, Sep 3, 2011, 9/3/2011, or 9/3/11) Sunday, September 4, 2011 (Sun, Sep 4, 2011, 9/4/2011, or 9/4/11) Monday, September 5, 2011 (Mon, Sep 5, 2011, 9/5/2011, or 9/5/11) Tuesday, September 6, 2011 (Tue, Sep 6, 2011, 9/6/2011, or 9/6/11) and Wednesday, September 7, 2011 (Wed, Sep 7, 2011, 9/7/2011, or 9/7/11).

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