Weekly Rochester Events #254: About Nine Months of Al's Element
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Nothing really exciting happened last week ... but I did have a discussion that's becoming a recurring theme: I met someone from out of town who had moved here from the west coast who said that people up here are "mean." In general, I think they're off the mark—people up here aren't mean, per se, but there is definitely something to this.
I think that east-coast people (if I may make such a bold generalization) are constantly critical—especially as you get closer to New York City. The further west you go (and especially toward the northwest) people tend to be less critical. Oh, and by critical, I'm referring to the response to new ideas. I mean, consider what happens when you tell someone a new idea—maybe a new business, or the idea of a short story. Around here the first thing you'll hear is a critique of the flaws possible problems you'll need to anticipate. Out west, you'll get support first.
This hyper-critical behavior is particulary disastrous when it comes to art. By art, I'm referring to unplanned creative works ... following your heart, I guess, is a pretty good description. During this process, there's a lot of crap that's made in the middle, and this crap-building process is pretty much strangled by criticism. Basically, creating art is fragile until the creator is ready for it to be seen by the public. I mean, consider the outline I wrote for this paragraph:
lots of crap in the middle
creative expression is not a planned process
strangled by unwarranted criticism
Although this is a microscopic viewpoint, the idea is that if I told someone up here about the paragraph before it was done, they might be critical of details like wording and the order the ideas are presented. So why can't I just tell someone I'm planning on writing such a paragraph without them assuming I'm inviting them to criticize it? I think that's a manifestation unique to the east coast.
More personally, I could talk about my own photography. I've been taking pictures for years, but it wasn't until recently that I examined the body of work I'd created and found trends and themes within the pictures. I'm currently working on getting some enlarged to put up in public for review. I remember showing specific pictures to people in the past ... sometimes at the Camera Rochester meetings, or to friends, but I always found that people couldn't see what I was trying to do because they had no basis for comparison. However, they were perfectly willing to tell me they didn't like the individual images and what they didn't like. It was somewhat tough to work through in isolation. Somewhere inside, though, I guess I felt I had to continue to take pictures anyway.
I grew up in Upstate New York, so I'm biased and don't really like the "universal acceptance" approach the west coast brings. I guess there are a couple of alternatives I can think of off-hand to live in the world of constant criticism: either work in secret, or plan your creative process ahead of time so you could defend what you're doing. I guess for the long term, I think it's easier to train people to temper their criticism rather than train them to be more critical. In the short term, I guess I don't mind being a bit tougher skinned in exchange for an audience hungry to criticize.
Verb Café at Writers and Books
(740 University Ave.)
on hand to discuss
in which Virginia Woolf writes
as two women read it, the three share the eureka moment of taking control of their own lives even though they each exist in different decades.
The Dryden Theater
George Eastman House
(900 East Ave.)
films from 1945 to 1970 in three programs. The first program,
Manners, Menstruation, and the American Way,
begins at 2 in the afternoon and features:
The All-Purpose Room
(#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St.)
starting around 8 is
John RichardsNew Music for the Viola
Rumor has it that heavy rock/metal band
will be at
(875 Monroe Ave.)
starting around 10:30 p.m.
(50 Chestnut St.)
Bailey, Mason, Lickers,
excellent rock-and-roll with
and metal and punk-rock with
starting around 9:30 p.m. The Montage doesn't have any information about
showing up so don't count on that ...
Tonight from 8 to 10 is an
Open-Mic Comedy Night
(389 Gregory St.)
While once it was a workshop type of environment, it's now more-or-less a regular open mic ... by default it's still a place to try out new stuff.
Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database Map links courtesy MapsOnUs Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com
The longest-lived isotope of einsteinium, Es-254, has a half-life of 276 days.
is an event that has been confirmed either with the venue, the performers, or both.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MP3.com which offers music and entertainment downloads in MP3 format.
is an event that is "non-entertainment" for the masses such as practice sessions, open jams, etc.