Weekly Rochester Events #279: One True Casanova

Thursday, May 13, 2004

I thought I'd start out on a recurring topic of bitching about stuff by saying that I thought my attempt at humor for the The Rochester International Film Festival was stupid. Regardless, while I watched the films, I kept a tally of how accurate my one-word summaries were—in the end, I figured just shy of 50%. Many of the times, I could reinterpret my original intention with the word I chose and it fit fairly well with the film.

I got a chance to meet some of the filmmakers after the Friday show and showed them the list. Doing so presented myself as a complete fool—they each returned the list to me declaring it useless because I hadn't even seen the films yet and responded in kind with a collective cold shoulder. Miles Duffy (who made Mojave Green) was polite enough to engage me in conversation for a few minutes, but he might have just been worried I'd get drunk and kill a nine-year-old driving home. (For those who didn't already get the joke, you'll never have figured out that the punch line there recalls a plot point in Mojave Green.)

Now, I'm not looking for pity in any of this, and I hope I didn't accidentally elicit any. Lately I've been really living large on this whole "between things" lifestyle. It feels like I'm at a point of personal growth, or I'm going through what they call an existential crisis, or I might just be going mad. Whatever the case, I'm finding that I don't have the gumption to use my old tricks to keep other people happy. For instance, I was talking with Meghan (from Bee EaterGarageBand link) the other day and described this very mood. I gave the example that I'd sometimes think of a pop-culture reference to say but then pass it up ... perhaps something from the Simpsons. She said, "You mean like Mojo the helper monkey?" and added a monkey-like "eh," while pantomiming a lazy wave of disinterest.

Exactly: like one Mojo moment after another.

All this made for a pretty unique experience at the film festival. I've generally only having mild feelings of inspiration and disinspiration, so I felt pretty numb about the whole movie-watching experience. I felt like any impressions I had were attenuated from what I would have felt for the same films at another time.

Enough introspection ... someone's likely to think this is a blog.

  • Black Gulch (15 min., Michael Strode, Los Angeles, CA) was a clever action-comedy about some bank robbers heading into a deserted town culminating in a fight to the death.
  • Lights And Darks (6 min., Eric Kallevig, Los Angeles, CA) I said was "unlikely" and I still stand by that. However, it's good film making—kind of a personification of the foolishness of racism.
  • Free Spectra (5 min., Seokhan Ryu, Daly City, CA) I expected to be just a narcissistic demonstration of the filmmaker's self-assessed artistic ability, but it was really a very good abstract homage to the city of San Francisco.
  • Spaceman Dan's 243rd Flight (30 min., John Mossman, Brookfield, IL) was way too disturbing to have as the last film on Friday, but it was captivating and innovative.
  • Matsutake (23 min., Todd Dayton, New York, NY) was a clever, tongue-in-cheek (at times) documentary about the titular mushroom.
  • The Black Cowboys (14 min., Aaron Brookner, New York, NY) was a straightforward documentary about black cowboys—something I hadn't considered nor heard of before.
  • Westless American (6 min., Erik Nelson, Nijmegen, Netherlands) provided a pretty creative solution to what would otherwise have been a boring slide show of America's western parks.
  • An Assignment (23 min., John A. Rangel, Chicago, IL) shows the kinds of decisions we press kids into and how they may or may not be ready for the challenge.
  • Jill (21 min., Xavier Janghoon Lee, Santa Monica, CA) was a touching three-act piece on the more personal impacts of abortion ... that is, without being particularly self-righteous on either side of the issue.
  • Prayers From Kawthoolei (30 min., Joe Hill White, Los Angeles, CA) was a captivating, personal, and hair-raising documentary on the Burmese civil war.
  • Zamboni Man (14 min., Seth Henrikson, and John Cafaro, Chicago, IL) was a lot more touching than I thought it would be, although I think it may be better thought of as a video for the Jeff Tweedy original song (which I can't seem to find a name for so I'll just call it "Zamboni Man.")
  • Lint Trapped (6 min., Caleb Johnson, Philadelphia, PA) was a really funny take on what happens to socks that disappear in the dryer. Either that, or why you shouldn't drink while doing the wash.
  • Day Of Independence (27 min., Chris Tashima, Los Angeles, CA) managed to bring up the American history sore-spot of the internment camps for the Japanese without begging for pity nor passing any judgments.

You know, I think one of the lessons I'm getting from this "between things" thing (yeah yeah, here I go again...) is that I want to cut down on complaints again. I thought I got over it last decade but I relapsed a bit in the past couple months and have actually turned this site into a blog for bitching about stuff. (It is not actually a blog, though.)

In the past I've been picking away at eliminating hypocrisy in myself. I think my new quest is to avoid setting up contrived things to bitch about to boost my writing ego (which has culminated in a recent fiasco that I'm currently trying to patch up.) I'll leave all that "knocking down straw men" stuff to the professionals like Rush Limbaugh. Instead, I shall start using self-referential irony all the time.

No no ... really. I keep wanting to make a difference at things (like my long-term goal of making Rochester a place where artists want to "come to" instead of "be from") but I haven't been having much luck. Lately I've been doing a pretty good job at failing, such as the sloppy singleton summaries for the film festival. What I think is going on is that I'm getting a grip on what it is to do good work and how to make changes in the world.

Of course, it could just be that I'm going mad—the only reason that I don't think that's the case is that I haven't entirely ruled it out yet.

But, just to do a little idle complaining and perhaps eliciting a desirable response, I wanted to say how much of a pain in the butt it is to try and come up with things to do during the week when some websites either don't update their calendars, or don't put the extra 60 seconds of effort in to do it right. I give bands a lot of leeway because they're likely on tour (especially if I'm looking for their calendar) and, let's face it: this ain't New Zealand and there isn't an access point under every Romney. However, for places whose business rests largely on people coming to events so those events can be paid for (not to mention the website therefrom and the valuable Internet connection too) I'm irritated to find such a dearth of information. Some of the recent thorns in my side are:

  • The Lilac Festival, whose site is almost up-to-date except that they don't know yet which bands are playing on the Lamberton Conservatory Stage. Every year there's some gap.
  • Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) has a calendar that's just a mess ... two highlights: the event taking place on May 57, and the Fall Film Series on Thursday, May 22 (a Saturday.)
  • The All-Purpose Room (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St.) is notoriously bad at describing their events and only recently updated from February's calendar.
  • Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) has a calendar that is only as accurate as the dollar value of the tickets ... at least a reasonable business move, but heck, unless you're doing something very wrong, it should be nearly free to keep everything up-to-date.
  • Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery has a calendar that only needs to be updated every couple months as new exhibits open and close, but they still manage to hide things, like the Camara Latina show which is way towards the bottom, out of chronological order.

I guess in classic style, I should mention some of the other exciting things I got to do last week. First off, I won Yancey's Fancy horseradish cheddar cheese on the WXXI Auction. Although I had to pay money, it's great to say the words "I won cheese." (It's like music, isn't it? ... I guess unless you're vegan or cheese-intolerant.) I also won a sheet pizza from Mr. Shoes Pizza (1921 South Ave.) which is a phrase taking a close second place.

Between raindrops and film festivals, I also managed to get out to some bands. I had a great time at Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) for Eddie Nebula and the PlagueGarageBand link but felt bad for The Isotopes since their otherwise tight ship sprung a technical leak and they were left without their amusing interludes between songs. The Blastoffs show at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) was as stellar as usual ... you should probably check them out at Richmond's (21 Richmond St.) on Saturday if you've can tear yourself away from all the other things that day. (Unfortunately they were never actually signed up to play so either nix that or plan to see The Retreads and The Franks instead. -J) Monday's show at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) was okay ... Mad Happy couldn't make it which was quite a letdown, but at least Donnie Mancurio put on a great show merging digital beatbox with some drumming influenced by the Far East.

Coming up is, obviously, the The Lilac Festival which I generally use as a pivotal moment when the desire to consume fried dough overcomes my memory of how bad it made me feel last year. Also, the The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) show on Monday looks great (and by the way there is absolutely no excuse not to see any of these because they're in early evening and free) and that Patti Prom thing on Saturday seems pretty neat, but the word "prom" still puts a knot in my stomach worse than the fried dough will.


JayceLand Pick Improvisational theater troupe Some Assembly Required will be at Johnny's Irish Pub (1382 Culver Rd., still smoke-free) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Johnny's Irish Pub calendar]

Tonight at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) is heavy-metal/groove-rock band The Torsos from Space, and parody band Worm Quartet starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Over at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) starting around 7 p.m. is the fairly odd The Bertrand Russell Society [source: Writers and Books calendar]

JayceLand Pick Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) will be presenting the second film in Camara Latina II: The Spring Film Series curated by Pia Cseri-Briones and starting at 7 p.m. [source: Rochester Contemporary calendar]

Rockabilly/rock-and-roll band The Hirisers will be at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

Tonight at The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) is Rebelfolk, Named By StrangersGarageBand link, and The Move starting around 9 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar]

In the Curtis Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) at 6:30 p.m. is a lecture titled Canyon Light: The Nature of Letchworth State Park by nature photographer Ray Minnick. [source: Eastman House calendar]

Tonight at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.), Alan Singer will be on hand at 7:30 p.m. to discuss Paul Resika and Oceans of Color. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar]

Over at Element (123 Liberty Pole Way, formerly Star Bar, Tilt, and Velocity) starting around 10 p.m. is excellent instrumental funk from The Filthy Funk, and 3 Apples High [source: Freetime]

Pure Kona Poetry Open Mic Night is at Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) tonight starting at 7:30. [source: Daily Perks calendar]

Keyboardist and singer Roz from Bullwinkles Café (622 Lake Ave.) will be at Starry Nites (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 8 or so. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Lilac Festival begins today.

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) is jazz performer Leni SternGarageBand linkIUMA link starting around 6:30 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. [source: Montage calendar]

Graham Colton and acoustic soloist (although she might have her old band this time) Mary Simon will be at The Lilac Festival on the Eastman Savings and Loan Stage (Highland Ave. near South Ave.) starting around 5 p.m. on behalf of WBER. [source: WBER calendar]

JayceLand Pick Tonight and tomorrow at Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) is Geva Comedy Improv starting at 10:30 for just $5. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Pottery artwork by Meredith Host titled Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice will be on display at Genesee Pottery at The Genesee Center for the Arts (713 Monroe Ave.) with a reception tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show runs until June 1. [source: Genesee Center for the Arts calendar]

Fat Moe's (4419 Dewey Ave.) will be hosting tight, great modern-rock band The Meddling KidsIUMA link, and Enter Eden starting around 10 p.m. [source: Rochester Music Coalition calendar]

Fly the flag today.Peace Officers Memorial Day (half-staff)

JayceLand Pick O'Bagelo's, 165 State Street, noon.

JayceLand Pick A couple selections from the music at The Lilac Festival include very good, tight, predictable bluegrass band The String Theory Bluegrass Band at 2 p.m. and wicked fun percussive groove-rock band The BuddhaHood at 6:30 p.m. both at Lilac Stage (Highland Ave. near South Ave.) and excellent, bold acoustic soloist JoAnn Vaccaro at 2:30 p.m. at the Lamberton Conservatory Stage (Reservoir Rd.) [source: Lilac Festival website]

The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) will be hosting punk-rock band with great stage presence, The Flour City KnuckleheadsGarageBand link, The Blue Bloods, Public Aggravation, Skate Korpse, Dismissal, and rock influenced experimental from Primordial Undermind starting around 8 p.m. [source: Freetime]

JayceLand Pick Tonight is the last night of Lawrence Brose's De Profundis and CAGE: A Filmic Circus on Metaphors on Vision and Chris Burnett's Messages to Extinct Places in the Present Tense at the gallery at Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) [source: Visual Studies Workshop mailing]

Tonight at Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) is For The Mathematics, and punchy drums-and-guitar punk-rock band Blue Spark and Flame starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Monty's Krown calendar]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at American Legion Hall Post 474 (90 Saint Johns Park) is The Patti Prom (a formal prom-like event to benefit Patti Magazine ... which is apparently an art/music magazine) with Tamiroff, Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores, very good fast, disharmonious, de-tuned rock from Uncomfortable People, and airy-vocalist-with-poetic-lyrics, Kelli Hicks starting around 9 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting OceansideGarageBand link, very tight modern rock band Veluxe, and really good innovative 6-piece (I think) Larval starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) will be hosting The Diva Show with local multifaceted musicians The Peachy Neachys starting around 9 p.m. [source: Montage calendar]

Today at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.), a new exhibit opens: New Narratives: Contemporary Approaches to New Media and they're having their Annual Estate and Garden Sale today from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. [source: Eastman House calendar]

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Abundance Cooperative Market (62 Marshall St.) is their Garden Swap where you can bring extra plants, seeds, or supplies and grab others, then later in the afternoon is Jim Heberle to explain all about worms. [source: Abundance Co-op calendar]

JayceLand Pick Updated: Tonight at Richmond's (21 Richmond St.) is the show of brotherly love with excellent tight rock/punk-rock from The Retreads, and good fast rock from The Franks (not the The Blastoffs) starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Alexander Street Pub (291 Alexander St.) will be hosting modern rock and cover songs from Uncle PlumGarageBand link starting around 10 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 7 p.m. is power rock from Low Ton, Sara Strusz, Bee EaterGarageBand link, metal/punk-rock band Fallguy, Blues For The Red Sun, good basic rock band Jim Lapetra, and drums-and-guitar rockers Blue Spark and Flame to benefit the Bug Jar bouncer, Dougie Stroth. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

JayceLand Pick The All-Purpose Room (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St.) will be hosting a Rochester Indymedia of Challenging Boundaries: A Video Sampler... with subjects that include AIDS in Africa, The April 25th, 2004 March for Women's Lives, and the November 2003 FTAA protests in Miami starting around 3 p.m. [source: All-Purpose Room calendar]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Harro East Theatre and Ballroom (155 North Chestnut St.) is comic Lewis Black (as seen on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) as part of his Rules of Engagement Tour starting around 8 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Acoustic soloist Silandara Bartlett will be at the The Lilac Festival Lamberton Conservatory Stage (Reservoir Rd.) at 4 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Blue, self-described as a "comedy-drama of hot passions and sweet jazz", closes tonight at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) [source: Geva Theatre website]

Dan Liberto (of the The Comedy Company) hosts Open Mic Comedy Night at Duels Café (17 E. Main St.) starting around 7:30 (theoretically.) [source: Duel's Café]

JayceLand Pick Kevin Norton's Living Language EnsembleGarageBand link featuring Tomas Ulrich, Louie Belogenus, and John Lindberg will be at The Bop Shop (274 N. Goodman St., in Village Gate Square) tonight at 8. [source: Bop Shop calendar]

Over at Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) starting around 9 p.m. is Dave Rivello's 12-Piece Jazz Ensemble [source: Montage e-mail]

Excellent experimental jazz band TatYana will be playing tonight at Alexandria Mediterranean Cuisine (120 East Ave., formerly Aria) starting at 10. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick Fast-paced chaotic rock from Hilkka, not-quite-standard 3-piece rock from Nod, and noise and feedback with wildly overdriven spoken word from Foot and Mouth Disease will be at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:45 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Tonight at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) is really good blues-charged rock-and-roll/groove-rock from Buford and the Smoking Section starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

Tonight is the Final Genesee Reading of the Season at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. [source: Writers and Books calendar]

Apparently Comix Café (3450 Winton Pl.) is sponsoring a Foodlink benefit titled Canned Laughter with Ralph Tetta, Joe Fico and Mike Glosek starting at 8 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Big Eyed Phish will be at Brü Brewery and Restaurant (300 State St., formerly Empire Brewing) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Not ready for mainstream Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) is hosting an Acoustic Open Mic from 8 to 10. For this one, there's no microphones and it's pretty open ended. [source: Daily Perks calendar]

Fly the flag today.Armed Forces Day

Starting at 9 p.m. tonight at The All-Purpose Room (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St.) is La Monte Young Composition 1960 #7. [source: All-Purpose Room calendar]

JayceLand Pick This evening's Big Drum: Songwriters in the Round at Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) will presumably have four artists starting at 6 p.m. [source: Freetime]

I guess Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) got on board with the Foodlink benefit titled Canned Laughter in lieu of its regular open mic comedy starting at 8 p.m. [source: Freetime]

Poor People United meets tonight and every Wednesday at 7 at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) [source: the proverbial grapevine]

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Giovanni Jacopo Casanova de Seingalt was born 279 years ago in 1725 and was most well known for his behaviors to which "Casanova" gets its definition.

JayceLand Pick indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.

IUMA link links to a band's page on IUMA.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

GarageBand link links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

Not ready for mainstream. is an event that is "non-entertainment" for the masses such as practice sessions, open jams, etc.

Fly the flag today. is a day when you should fly the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars calendar.

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