Doubt at the Little

Ali and I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see Doubt. It's a fascinating film which, although obviously different from the play (which neither of us saw), is extremely strong. I suppose it could only help that the film was written and directed by the original playwright, John Patrick Shanley. The story primarily follows Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the minister of St. Nicholas in the Bronx in 1964, and Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), the principal of the affiliated school. Flynn takes an interest in one of the students: Donald Muller — a black boy in an otherwise all-white school. Sister Aloysius fully believes Flynn molested Donald and intends to ensure he [Flynn — duh] is punished.

The audience is left to their own beliefs to ascertain whether Flynn molested Donald. I found this fascinating, as I maintained his innocence throughout the film but realized afterward that I could experience the film again completely differently by believing he was guilty.

Sister Aloysius is someone who would act to destroy based on their beliefs. I think it's a particular kind of logic that permits this: believing that one's belief alone is more true than having no factual basis — perhaps a manifestation of the nature of faith (although in the case of religious faith, it's more about filling a gap in that which is knowable). The trouble is, there is an element of circular justification: if she succeeds in destroying Flynn's reputation, she feels justified, but by putting her own reputation on the line in making such an accusation, she has no choice but to fight to destroy Flynn's reputation no matter whether he was guilty or not.

Sister James, meanwhile, acts as a foil to Sister Aloysius by believing in the kindness of others. Sister Aloysius' long-time experience as disciplinarian provides her only with evidence of sin and wrongdoing. So is it Sister James' naiveté or Sister Aloysius' limited perspective that is at fault?

For myself, I find that when factual evidence is not available, belief in kindness is the more fruitful path. As is the case with Sister Aloysius, believing more in evil makes you a destructive force in the world whereas believing more in good opens up the possibility of being constructive.

But equally important is that it makes you happier to believe that people are generally kind.

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FileMaker Failed to Save the Wrong Version of this Entry About Jesse Sprinkle and Burning Daylight [hooray!]

OK, this one's specifically dedicated to John Lam. Whenever we talk about JayceLand, he frequently comments that I don't blog "properly" — often posting an entry for — say today — on next Wednesday. So this one's for you, John: it's 2:59 a.m. and after the event about which I'm about to blog. …

So I went to Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) earlier. I arrived in time to catch just a song-and-a-half of Jesse SprinkleMySpace link. I liked what I heard, but don't feel confident opining further due to insufficient experience. Next was Burning DaylightGarageBand link who are really swell. Jesse plays drums in this band — and I met lead-singer/guitarist Nick and bassist Tim afterward. I generally stand by my database-stored comment from December 21, 2006 at the Bug Jar: "unremarkable bar-rock except when they get more punk-rock". [No offense, guys: let me qualify …]

I had a great time. I considered heading to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) for the metal and metal-like show featuring (among others) SulacoMySpace link (featuring some friends of mine) but instead, I opted to get a pint or two (or three) at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) instead and enjoy some, well, bar-rock. Burning DaylightGarageBand link does a fine job with a mix of [mostly] originals and [some] covers in a bar-rock/punk-rock style. I mean, what more can I say? Have you been at a bar where some band was playing and had a drink or two, and noted, "hey, these guys are pretty good."? It's that kind of personal experience that really doesn't carry over well to radio-play or other popular, substantive fame. It's just … well … nice. With notably-sexceptional exceptions like "Black Soul, Black Heart", it's not the kind of thing you're going to get nagging in your head. But that one song can keep you coming back.

Heck, maybe it's whatever it was that Ali and her friend were so impressed that the band played for them. Or maybe it's just that Tim's this kind of faux-Canadian [in the "gosh, aren't those Canadian folks polite and kind" kind of way] Buffalo … umm … resident. Or that I owe Nick, Tim, and Jesse a drink [and $1.33 more each] for giving me their CD (Jesse 2x for supplying his personal-favorite own CD in addition).

In conclusion, thanks: you guys gave me a great time (even despite that poor dude who got carried away by ambulance for whatever reason … at least it wasn't body-bag). So when you're at your regularly-paying day-jobs, know that I thought your time was worth its while. Sure, your songs aren't on 'BER regularly [or are they?: I'm so irritated by the Guisto-inspired BOCES-training-esque 'play what the people want' kind of crap that I barely listen anymore].

But whatever: play live and there's someone there who'll love it.

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The Afternoon Before Christmas

Since Christmas is on a Thursday, like in 2003, I'm sure you're all expecting some kind of JayceLand twist on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, but I'm taking the holiday off.  So my computer is dark — not even a blink from the optical mouse.  [Be glad I'm not going to write any more!]

Anyway, have a great day on Christmas if you're doing anything, and if not, just enjoy the relative quiet and absence of nutjobs racing here and there on the roads like on a typical weekday.

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Doing the Mistletoe Mingle

Ali, Christina, and I decided to do the Mistletoe Mingle pub crawl. As it turned out, it wasn't associated with Michael Warren Thomas at all — it was part of The Business Association of the South Wedge Area (BASWA) under the Savor Our Flavor moniker. We started at Little Venice Pizza (742 South Ave., formerly Skippy's) so Christina could get some food in her stomach before drinking; Ali and I had already eaten. From there we started at the north end at The South Wedge Colony Bar and Grill (503 South Ave., formerly Dashen Restaurant) I still have very lukewarm feelings about the place — it just seems so much like a poor imitation of an East Avenue bar; and as such, it wouldn't get better by being a better imitation. We got our first playing card there for the poker contest.

Next we went to Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) and picked up another card and had a decent glass of wine that was on-special for the crawl. At Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) we figured out the card-marking scheme and devised a way to cheat — the goal was to have the best 5-card poker hand at the last of seven bars. The Beale Street Cafe (689 South Ave.) offered welcome relief as they set up their back restaurant room for the pub crawl and we got a chance to sit down and warm up for a bit. But it was short-lived as we headed for The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.) a half-hour later. Although The Keg (315 Gregory St., behind German House where Rohrbach's used to be) set me up with a half-shot "shot" drink special, at least the band was amusing and there were holiday cookies and stuff.

Caverly's Pub (741 South Ave., formerly Genesee Co-op Credit Union) was our last stop and we paced our drinks well by skipping a few along the way. It turned out our cheating scheme was for naught — Ali had an honest full house which was better than we could have cheated together. Alas, someone else pulled out 5 aces that went unchecked, card-marking-wise. The way I figure it, the odds of getting 5 or more aces from 7 decks is about 399,672:1 against so, although possible, I kind of doubt it was done honestly. Regardless, we had quite a good time.

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Ali's Birthday Dinner at Scotch 'N Sirloin

For Ali's birthday dinner (albeit the day prior), we went to Scotch 'N Sirloin (3450 Winton Pl., #25 in Winton Plaza). Although I'd seen it many times [it's been around for 36 years, far longer than I've lived in Rochester], I never gave it a passing thought to, well, try it.

It turned out, it's really quite good — on par with other local stalwarts like Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar (1290 University Ave.) As evident by their name, steak is what it's about, and they do a heck of a job of it. My top sirloin was extremely satisfying — and thankfully modest-sized. Ali's filet mignon was also very good, and she added the crab legs which were already cut open (to her dismay).

Overall it's rather expensive and worth it.

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Bird Show, Sun Circle, and Autumn in Halifax at the Bug Jar

I headed out to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) a second time [and a late update to the JayceLand page, in case you wondered if you missed it the first time]. First up was Bird Show which consisted of one guy playing synth-sourced, digitally-altered, experimental, anti-melodic, anti-tempo music. It was a lot like interesting ambient — only not mellow. Next was Sun CircleMySpace link who did a trippy meditative set — in one song, for instance, they harmonized reed instruments with a rolling synth tone and burned incense; it was actually a lot better than you might expect.

Finishing up was Autumn In HalifaxMySpace link — joined by "leaves" Joe Tunis and R. Scott OliverMySpace link. Although I loved Dave's solo work when he first started playing as Halifax, I've come to really enjoy the new line-up, especially now that it's more mature. The lush poetry of Dave's lyrics works just as well now as it did before, only now it's set against a more traditional three-piece band.

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Lobster Quadrille, Township, and Auld Lang Syne at the Bug Jar

I guess it's been a while since I wrote any reports of performances, much less one where I see a band. I still get out — although less often than I used to — and tonight was one of those cases. I went to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) and got there a bit early so I had a chance to catch up with the folks in The Lobster QuadrilleMySpace link. As it turns out, they were up first — there was some confusion about who was when, as it was Auld Lang SyneMySpace link's show (so they got top billing) and TownshipMySpace link came in from Boston.

Anyhow, The Lobster QuadrilleMySpace link did a great set. I found myself particularly mesmerized by Love is Cold. I've mentioned it hundreds of times [okay, for each of the last 29 of their shows I posted], but they do a great rendition of satirical gospel with all of 6 [or is it 7?] people on stage performing. Lead singer Solomon commented afterward that he felt the set was a bit melancholic feeling; although I think that "melancholic" suits them quite well.

Next up was TownshipMySpace link who I really enjoyed as well. They do a crisp, fresh version of classic rock. I even bought their CD which I've been enjoying as well. Finishing up was Auld Lang SyneMySpace link who I've now finally had the chance to hear. The night was getting a bit long for me, but I stayed enough to find they played a great heavy-hitting proto-rock that I'll likely seek out in future shows.

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