Hogan's, Station 55, and the Bug Jar

Ali, Stacie, and I went to Hogan's Hideaway (197 Park Ave.) for dinner. I stuck with the sure bets of a good wine, French onion soup, and a grilled cheese and was not disappointed. Well, okay, except the sandwich which wasn't grilled as much as I'd like.

After that we headed to Station 55 (55 Railroad St.) for the ArtAwake event. We were surprised to find that they charged a cover at the door — not exactly an art-gallery-kosher move. I was then disappointed to find the works were not particularly impressive. Worse was that the lighting left nothing to the imagination and there were no nooks to explore. It didn't help all this any that there was no wine to be found either — which, among other things, can help loosen one's ingrained bindings with America's corporate-consumer culture. Alas, it was a big disappointment for me, and kind of kicked off the evening poorly.

So then we went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) a bit early to catch the bands there. Unfortunately — despite it being a rather popular headliner — GaylordMySpace link, in their last Rochester show before moving to Atlanta — the happy-hour vibe was still in full-force: blaring house music and all. I only really saw the first band, Razor Wire ShrineMySpace link who are an instrumental chaotic rock band with subtle influences from all over the place. I only caught a little of Fledgling DeathMySpace link, a thrash/heavy metal kind of band. By then the three of us were quite tired and decided to call it an early night.

In related news, The LandfillMySpace link (625 Weiland Rd.) has been shut down (related because sucky Station 55 has not — it's too milquetoast to displease the aristocracy). I recall reading it in a news clip from The City Newspaper but it doesn't appear to have made it to the online edition. I believe it was a casualty of Mayor Robert J. Duffy's plan to shut down house-parties, as I was pretty sure it was some guy's house. When I first heard of that law, I was concerned it would be abused beyond its original intent: to give police the leeway they "needed" to shut down house parties when they came upon them. Now, my vision of a house party that needs to be shut down is one that is completely out of control — where the residents have lost their ability to control the party themselves.

Once again — like the shutdown of A|V Art Sound Space (N. Union St. at Trinidad St., #8 in the Public Market, formerly the All-Purpose Room) — the creative fringe of this city has had its hands chopped off. And once again, I theorize that this will push one more of these inspirational creators to go find a tolerant city. And the Mayor and all his cronies will sit around and not care about those one or two fringe people, but to me, they inspire — and I assume so of other creative people. And unfortunately that is not a column in their spreadsheet and it doesn't compare well to tax dollars.

So, I'm left giving this advice: don't trust the police. They are not your friends. They are not there to help you. If you see them, go away from them.

I hope this is what the mayor has in mind.

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Bands at the Bug Jar

After the movie, Ali and I went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) and met up with our friend Stacie to see the bands playing that night.

I got in to see a few songs from Tiger Cried BeefMySpace link and they always impress me. They're like gourmet vanilla: at first, you're like, "oh, I've seen this before," but then you get into the subtleties and think, "oh, yeah, but this can be really good." I also noticed that good ideas sprout from my spot leaning against the right-side speaker [with earplugs, by the way, which happen to serve two purposes: not blowing out my eardrums, and drowning out the distracting chatter.] It's not with every band or every time, but I find that poetry makes me think of stuff — you know, new things to do or work on.

Anyway, next up was The White DevilsMySpace link. This is Frank De Blase's band and for anybody who knows me, I have a mix of feelings about the guy. It usually comes out looking like disdain, but it's really more complicated than that.

See he's one of the main music writers for The City Newspaper so there's a certain amount of empathetic envy (or envious empathy) since I kind of do the same thing sometimes — the dichotomy comes from the fact that he gets paid for it, but I can see myself getting annoyed that it's often a shit job. I mean, sure you get paid to write about bands, but you also have to write fluffy pieces about bands you don't really care about, and you get slammed for being a critic by — in his case — your fellow musicians.

Now I've also met him a few times. A couple years ago, I remember having a nice chat about writing about music at California Rollin' at Village Gate Square (274 N. Goodman St.). He seemed like a nice guy, but either forgot who I was or didn't want to talk to me the next time I saw him. And again, I'm mixed on his response. On the one hand you can't be friends with everyone you meet, and not everybody can do that "such a nice guy front" (and I know I can't do it consistently). On the other, I think if you have a pleasant conversation with someone and you see them again, I kind of expect that there would be an inkling of recognition. But then I also know that it's hard to remember everyone. And then I hear from his friends that he's really a nice guy. And then I hear from his detractors that he's not a nice guy.

Worst of all is that I bother expending all this effort trying to accurately express how I feel about him when I don't really want to be friends with him [no offense, Frank, if you're reading this]. His band does a bluesy rock that I'm not a fan of. If I read him right, he's into pin-up culture and busty women; biker bars and greaser-chic. I'm just not into that stuff — none of it. It's just that we both happen to write about what's going on in town.

I guess the thing is that he's writing for City. And I assume there are lots of readers and most of them agree with Frank's assessment and preferences [logically I know this is a flawed assumption but I can't seem to convince my heart]. But I wish that this quantity of N readers (where N is really fucking large) would actually like the kind of stuff that I connect with. But then I think, "why? who cares?" I get unlimited latitude in what I feel like writing about and what I feel like putting on the events list. I'm not out to win any popularity contest because I'm unwilling to make that devil's deal trading "self" for "popular". I just figure there's got to be a way …

But anyway, his band is good, even if it's not the kind of music I'm into.

Closing things out that night was The Sadies who always put on a great show. It's all about the music although they look good doing it. And I really like them even though they play the country-cousin of bluesy-rock: rockabilly. Well, rockabilly with generous helpings of surf-rock thrown in. I feel bad because I don't have a lot of things to say about bands I like — I guess I figure it doesn't do much to try and explain in words what you hear-that-becomes-feel. Just sound and motion and an emotional connection, I guess. Oh, and fun. Lots of fun.

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