Weekly Rochester Events #253: À l'est de Lehigh
Thursday, November 13, 2003This past week has been a pretty interesting one. Let me see if I can sneak in the big surprise ...
Wednesday was the start of The High Falls Film Festival in which I tried to attend as much as I could. The first thing I saw was In America which was absolutely incredible ... the mostly true story of the real-life Sheridan family's arrival to America and the trials they go through. Afterward I got to talk with co-writer Naomi Sheridan for a while at the opening party at Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) Unfortunately I had to take off early to see the first of the short film shows which I thought was okay.
Thursday, I got out to Strathallan (550 East Ave.) to chat with the filmmakers in the morning. Later that day I headed over to George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Candice Bergen's photography which was okay ... pretty good for journalistic portraiture, and I was amused by Ms. Bergen's self-deprecating style of describing each picture. Oh, and I've got to remember to not bother to eat at the Eastman House Tea Room: I had a just-barely-okay sandwich for something as fancy sounding as turkey and brie on French bread.
Later that night I saw a trio of duo-movies. The first was Syostry (Sisters) which was about a pair of young daughters of a gangster who go on the run after escaping capture at the safe house. It was pretty good, but had some trappings of Hollywood films of a few years ago. Next was This is Not a Love Song which was the story of a couple stupid thieves who end up killing a farmer's daughter and go on the run in the woods. They end up bickering like an old couple, and spending time in close physical proximity for warmth, but there's no evidence of any true caring between them. Finally, I saw Nogo which was about a couple who run a gas station together and become progressively more neurotic and suspicious of their fellow man.
Then I was dumped out into the real world ... tired, late at night, and after three somewhat related movies. I thought it was funny that I came upon the intersection of Linden and Mount Vernon concurrently with two other cars—at 1:26 a.m. I probably saw two other cars on the whole trip home.
Friday morning I again got out to Strathallan (550 East Ave.) to chat with the filmmakers in the morning. I got back to The Little (240 East Ave.) in the evening and found that My Architect: A Son's Journey was sold out. I was so relieved ... after the past couple days, I could use a break. I got back to see Mark of Caïn. I had been talking with Alix Lambert (the creator of the film) and Sarah George (who made Catching Out which I didn't get to see yet) on and off and Sarah suggested I see Mark of Caïn because I wouldn't be able to see it any other time on the big screen. I'm glad I did—although it's about Russian prison tattooing, it gives the prisoners and guards to talk candidly about the conditions in the prisons. Finally that night I saw the second of the short films programs ... I only liked a couple of the films: The House, where the drawings of mentally ill women in a group home are animated to their stories, and My Josephine, about some of the hardships of a couple immigrants running a laundry in the United States and washing American flags on the side.
When I left the theater, it was late, and the streets by the Little are pretty deserted. I couldn't believe it when I found a $20 bill on the ground with nobody there to claim it. I picked it up and immediately felt this terrible feeling ... like the money was cursed and some awful thing would happen to me. I stopped by Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) but didn't want to hang around so I went home ... I still felt a bit depressed on Saturday morning. Stupid money.
Saturday I got over to George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) and saw The Same River Twice. I thought it would make me more depressed, but it kind of didn't. It's footage from 1978 on the last river rafting trip of a group of friends, then footage from the last couple years—20 years later. It did amplify the idea that you've got to grow up because whether you do or not, you're going to get old and die someday. On the other hand, it was a bit more hopeful and organic than that.
After O'Bagelo's (165 State Street) I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) and saw a great panel discussion about The Cinematographer's Art. Next it was the RIT short film program. It was difficult to select a winning film because they varied from animation to abstract to documentary to live action and in duration from a couple minutes to half an hour. I ended up picking Perpetual Motion which was an animation theorizing about hovering cats by strapping toast and jam on their back so they could never land, mostly because of the chorus "meow" sound of the cat hover-train pulling out of the station. They all were really good, though.
Later I went to the great awards ceremony at the Dryden. Oh, and I got to see the lunar eclipse. I stayed for the closing film, The Company. Man ... what a marginally poor movie. I got done watching a bunch of great visionary movies only to be thrown this piece of Hollywood engineering. I think I was set off immediately by the unnecessary locker-room scene—included only to show women's breasts. I mean, this particulary scene didn't advance the non-plot at all.
The party at Max of Eastman Place (387 Main St. E.) was better than the opening party because the music was quieter, the food and drink were easier to get to, and there was plenty of space. I got to say goodbye to a few people and say hi to Kerry Washington. The little fanboy inside me was appeased when Kerry recognized me from the coffee chat last year where I was the only attendee due to a scheduling mishap. Afterward I stayed up late at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) seeing The Downbeat 5 who do really great country-influenced power rock.
Sunday I got up to see The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia which was an interesting discussion of the relationship of the photographer, the subjects, and the viewers. This was the end of the festival for me.
On Monday, I had to go into work. I decided to take a few months vacation and not go back. Well, by "I," I mean "they," by "vacation," I mean "severance," and by "not go back" I mean "lay me off." Finally I'll have the time to really work on the website. Really, though, I think it's a good thing overall because I've been meaning to pursue some self-employment opportunities. At least until the money runs out. (Oh, and I've got to get Jan back his spare answering machine.)
But here's the kicker: I've been working since I got out of college, never taking more than a few days between jobs. I got my first job on October 11, 1993—one day shy of ten years and one month ago. Or, you can consider that I got hired on 10/11/1993 and laid off on 11/10/2003.
All from that fucking $20.
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