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Weekly Rochester Events #694 Starting Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The Rochester Improvement Society and the Rochester Young Democrats at RoCo
by Jason Olshefsky at 5:00 pm (2 comments)

A while back I got involved with a small group called The Rochester Improvement Society. We basically meet once a month, really informally, and just shoot ideas around. Simple as that.

This month, the "instigators" of our group got together with the The Monroe County Young Democrats and decided to meet at The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) The idea was to "make art" for the upcoming 6x6x2012 show, to talk about art and the community, and to chat with councilmember Dr. Elaine Spaull, Ph. D..

Right off the bat, I was a bit puzzled to see "Sam's Choice" soda and cookies which come from Walmart or Sam's Club. I wondered if I was a the right event — our Improvement Society always meets at a locally-owned business, so I kept looking at the cookie boxes to see which local bakery they came from, only to find they didn't. Well, okay …

Then it came around to art in the community. It's obvious that nobody in the room knew what art was. Here we were ostensibly creating 6×6 works as a fundraiser for RoCo, and the goal was to bang something out in an hour with arts-and-crafts tools (e.g. non-toxic markers, glue, magazines for collages). I just did a little abstract piece which really was very lousy, but I felt guilty just throwing it out so I submitted it.

I just kind of listened.

Elaine Spaull spoke a bit on the topic at hand. She mentioned the bus garage and how it was controversial, but failed to see why: that it does not improve bus service, that it will be (as a friend pointed out) essentially a quonset hut that will be loud as hell and reek of diesel exhaust, and that it should be built as an intermodal station supporting train service. Instead she kind of shrugged it off and touted that it will have art in it.

She then talked about improving neighborhoods with art. She made a point of mentioning that the goal was to remove graffiti and to install art in its place. Now, graffiti comes in two forms: tagging and street-art, both on their own spectrum of quality. Tagging is a call for attention, filling a need to have a voice and a place in a community. Street-art is a desperate outlet for creativity: lacking a legal outlet for their voice, the street-artist turns to graffiti. Removing graffiti and installing art from somewhere else is just a big "fuck you" to the local community, reinforcing isolation.

I gathered that what she meant by "art" is "pretty things", specifically to differentiate from "practical things" like factories and office buildings. But factories and buildings can look good and be integrated into the urban landscape, fulfilling the need for "pretty things". Art  is more about communicating a message: the story arc of creating, presenting, observing, and interpreting. Especially interpreting: that's really important in art.

The young democrats hungrily consumed her words. If they disagreed at all, I couldn't sense it. All these bright young faces, excited to be part of making a better tomorrow, and all absolutely clueless. It was incredibly disheartening.

And then I understood what it was that bugged me about the outsourced refreshments: it was an incredibly shallow understanding of community. The family who runs Genesee Bakery (1677 Mount Hope Ave.) are my neighbors. By visiting them, I'm visiting my neighbors. And by spending my money there, I keep it in the community — and that's important because it's the transfer of money that is an economy, so sending it away stalls the economy.

So the money they saved with the cheaper snacks was really a burden they placed on  their community, their neighbors, their family, and ultimately themselves.

But they could only see the numbers on the receipt.

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    Poem in Your Pocket Day

    JayceLand Pick This evening at 5 p.m., Peter Ferry will present the Nostalgia Project at The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) [source: Rochester Contemporary calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick This evening at 6 p.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is a Members-Only presentation of Brought to Light: Hidden Things with Alison Nordström. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

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    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing To Be or Not to Be starting at 8 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "Carole Lombard's final role proved to be one of her finest: as the grand dame of a Polish acting troupe who becomes embroiled in a love triangle involving her ham husband (a riotous Jack Benny) and a handsome anti-Nazi aviator (Robert Stack), she displays all the wit and sexiness that defined her career. Decried as tasteless upon release for daring to find humor in war, subterfuge, and the Nazi threat, Lubitsch's blackly comic film is also one of his funniest and most complex." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is The Professional VictimsMySpace link, Little Spoon, and Kurt Andrew starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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    Arbor Day

    JayceLand Pick Today from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in The Kate Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.), ACT Rochester will present Our Race: Ethnicity Community Disparities. [source: Friends of the Public Library e-mail] [all ages]

    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]

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    Franny, The Queen of Provincetown will be performed tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., and repeating next weekend at The Bread and Water Theatre (243 Rosedale St., at the New Life Presbyterian Church). [source: Bread and Water Theatre website]

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    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 2 p.m. From the Eastman House calendar, "a doctor, a prosecutor, a commissioner, and a band of policemen escort a murder suspect through rural Anatolia in search of a corpse in the latest film from contemporary Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates, Distant). Traveling under cover of night, the men slowly unravel the mystery behind the murder even as their own secrets and mysteries come to the surface." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) is great, fun 1960's-styled rock band The Hi-RisersMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

    Tonight at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) is Thunderosa starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: JamBase calendar for Rochester] [21+]


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    JayceLand Pick Today from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Interfaith Chapel at the University of Rochester (Wilson Blvd.) is an Introduction to Nonviolence. [source: Ghandi Institute website]

    Today from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Brighton Memorial Library (2300 Elmwood Ave.) is Family Pet Care with Dr. Scott Miner. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) is Slow Art Day. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

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    Courage to Change meets today at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website]

    Rochester Red and Black present Another World is Possible: An Anarchist Day School in Room 108 of Goergen Hall at The University of Rochester (Elmwood Ave. at Intercampus Dr.) starting at 12 p.m. [source: RocWiki calendar]

    Today at The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non Violence (929 S. Plymouth Ave., formerly 510 Wilson Commons) is a Land Work Party. [source: Ghandi Institute website]

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    Carlton Wilcox Live will be at The Lovin' CupMySpace link (300 Park Point Dr., #110) starting around 6:30 p.m. [source: Lovin' Cup calendar]

    EpilogueMySpace link, nice, solid acoustic rock from Archimedes, and Space-Balls will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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    JayceLand Pick This evening at Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) is What's Next: Regional Writers with Circles by Andrew Passafiume, Dream Tim by Grisell Buides, And Now for an Important Message by Karl Obine, and Moon Over Gomorrah by Byron Wilmot. [source: Geva Theatre website]

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    JayceLand Pick At today's Books Sandwiched In in The Kate Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) from 12:12 p.m. to 12:52 p.m., Rev. Marlowe V.N. Washington will review My Song: A Memoir by Harry BelafonteMySpace link. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Today at 7 p.m. at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) is a screening of Salt of the Earth. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website]

    Tonight at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is The Eastman Collegium Musicum starting at 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

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    JayceLand Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting The Branch Davidians, Gin and Bonnets, really great sounding acoustic trio The Baby SharkMySpace link, and Trevor LeachMySpace link starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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    JayceLand Pick This afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is Afternoon Tea followed at 7 p.m. by Open Mike Comedy Night hosted by Anna Hall. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Elizabeth Turk will present Emptiness of Matter at today's lecture in the The Caroline Werner Gannett Project starting at 8 p.m. in Webb Auditorium at RIT (One Lomb Memorial Dr., campus map). [source: Caroline Werner Gannett Project website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Neco z Alenky (Alice) starting at 8 p.m., a "marvelously creepy 1988 adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 8:30 p.m. is A Wilhelm ScreamMySpace link, After the FallMySpace link, and Gunnar Stahl. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

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