Weekly Rochester Events #281: Pre-Princeton President
Thursday, May 27, 2004
I was thinking of cancelling the whole thing where we go to a different place on the last Saturday of the month since there's so few people showing up, and I thought I was running out of places. I found some new ones, though. (I will, however, cancel the variation next month and just go to
(165 State Street)
because a bunch of old friends are coming to town for one reason or another. Actually, I think it is just one reason.) Anyway, this weekend we'll be taking Jan's suggestion and going to
(651 South Ave., right by the corner of Hickory)
I had a chance to try it out a couple weeks ago and it's a really great little place. It's tucked in the little space by
(653 South Ave.)
near the corner of Hickory Street. Oh, and they've got Moxie. (We'll have to wait and see if they've got moxie, though.)
I guess like all writers or people who call themselves writers, someday the novel bug hits. Or in my case, short stories and other forms of crap. I've been kicking around this idea about people never being pure evil or pure good. I guess it's been done a million times before, and I'm not sure that my idea is any better. Anyway, here's the short version:
Sam was five years away from early retirement but he wasn't really looking forward to "RVing" across the country listening to AM talk radio for the rest of his days. He still had one dream left: a restaurant. Food was his forte and his vice. When he was young, the first dime spent from every paycheck was at Poppa Carlo's—if you could find it on the Mediterranean coast, you could find it at Poppa Carlo's, only better. Ever since
then he knew he would someday have a place just like that ... only better.
But food was no place to start. For him, real estate was ... Sam wasn't the best—his heart wasn't in it—but he was good enough. He socked enough cash away in the proverbial cookie jar and finally had enough to start a place of his own. Unfortunately, all the years away from the back kitchen took its toll and he really didn't know where to start. His buddy Paul did, though.
So Sam took care of the money end and Paul took care of the day-to-day business and PC's Place took off (Sam's little homage to his old pal.) Sam knew he had the best spot if the neighborhood would pick up, but he didn't know his carved shingle would be the one to open the floodgates. Things went better than he could have imagined. He got out of real estate as quick as he could to run the place full time.
The only trouble brewing was Sam's health. Fifty-eight years of the best, richest foods took a toll on his heart. His friends knew he was in trouble but he wouldn't hear of it. So three years into his dream—the day before Thanksgiving—he got to go see Poppa Carlo again ... at least that's what they say.
But back on the terrestrial plane, Paul's headaches were just beginning. Not only did he lose his best friend, but Sam had willed the restaurant to his family back home. Paul and he had talked about a more formal partnership but they thought they'd have plenty of time. Paul even produced a draft agreement from one late night but it wouldn't hold up in court, and worse, this cemented Sam's family's already low opinion of Paul and they
certainly wouldn't reconsider now.
Paul was stuck ... it was his blood, sweat, toil, and tears as much as it was Sam's that made PC's what it was. Just not the cash. Heck, if it weren't for him, Sam would still be miserable, pushing houses on suburbanites with their two kids and the remaining 0.5 on the way. Paul had to have it.
Then a bit of luck hit. Well, not luck, so much as an "opportunity of necessity."
The building owner had rented PC's Place's place for a song—heck, the building had been nearly vacant for as long as he had owned it and he had figured some money was better than none. But now the place was hot, and he could easily get ten times the amount. By law he couldn't raise the rent on PC's, but after an eviction, he could certainly set new rent.
That's what he needed Paul for. All he had to do was fail to pay rent for six months or so, they'd draw up a new lease, and Paul could open a restaurant—his restaurant—just like before.
If there was one thing Sam's family had right about Paul, it was his malleable view of right-and-wrong. Over the course of the next six months, he ran the place lean and walked out the door with whatever was left—including the unpaid rent money. He figured it was his own personal parachute ... heck, after the fact, it would all go back into the restaurant—just like Sam had it—but if things went wrong, he could
open up elsewhere.
Unfortunately for him, Paul's opportunity shut tight as the doors of PC's Place. The building owner had his own plan that excluded one particular restaurant, a fact conveniently excluded when explained to Paul.
So Paul tried and failed a few times. He could run a kitchen, but he didn't have Sam's vision—or his dream—and his gambles at businesses never paid out. He was no Sam and Paul, just Paul.
I guess it's pretty choppy and I don't know if I'll work on it further. I wanted it to show something about good and bad and right and wrong and people's perceptions. Something kindred to my belief that, on the one hand, there's no such thing as a monster or a saint when it comes to people, and on the other, that it is only actions that can be judged morally, not people. Maybe it's just too obvious or it's not the way to teach it. I don't
know. I wanted to run all the way through to see what it would look like and now I did and I don't like it. Oh well ... no sense deleting perfectly good filler, though.
Let's see ... what went on. Let me consult my journal (in case you were wondering what all that Palm Pilot note taking was for.)
Thursday was really cool. I went to
(389 Gregory St.)
Pure Kona Poetry
was there to open the show with an excellent set of powered acoustic. One of the most incredible moments was right before the chorus of their song "How Far Back Do You Want Me to Go?" Lightning struck just outside, crackling through the amplifiers a split second before its thunderclap shook the whole building. This prompted the lead singer, Ed—giddy with excitement—to proclaim, "Yes! Mother fu...," cutting
himself off mid-curseword as he realized there were young kids in the audience.
Next I was off to
The Bug Jar
(219 Monroe Ave.)
to catch a good three-piece instrumental experimental jazz band
and the more awesome-than-last-time
That One Guy.
This time I brought my camera and got the picture you see here. I could just repeat what I said last week, but why bother repeating myself because that would be redundant, and I'd just be saying the same thing over and over again. (Something like that, anyway.)
On Friday I made it out to
(50 Chestnut St.)
which is a better-than-average jammy groove-rock band ... in other words: it really didn't do anything for me.
opened and I wasn't very excited about them either because they're a modern groove-rock three piece, and they didn't challenge the audience enough for my taste. They basically did everything expected of them—there were no interesting twists and turns in their music, just note-for-note what you thought they'd play. I'll qualify this and add that I don't really care for that kind of stuff, but both bands are quite good otherwise and if
you like that kind of music, they'd be good to see.
On Sunday, it was the big day for
The All-Purpose Room
(#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St.)
and me with my light show (cited as incorrectly "Jason Olshevsky" in
and also with Paul Burke who had initially offered his help and did make some suggestions along the way, but I ended up essentially doing it all myself ... really ... you can ask him if you want.) Well, I guess it's no big deal for Heather, but it was new for me. It was about as full a "full house" as you can get there with about 35 people. I also got to do sound and I was infinitely glad that I had suggested setting up two CD players to
start at the same time with one playing through the PA and the other muted (remember that it's "3 Voices" sung by one person so two get recorded beforehand.) Two minutes in, a horrible screeching noise started coming out of the speakers ... I later assumed it must have been a loose connection (although even that doesn't make much sense) but at least all I had to do was to swap players and the rest of the show went fine. Also,
people liked the lights and felt that between one person harmonizing with themselves, the light show I made, and the light show from the storm outside, it was easy to stay focused and interested through the continuous 58 minute piece. I am sooo glad to be done with it, though.
In, well, news, I guess ...
The Democrat and Chronicle
published a brief article that said that Sunday, May 17 was the last night of operation for
(363 East Ave.)
and I'm really quite surprised because I thought things were going great.
(875 Monroe Ave.)
is related to the Korner so I think they're going through some trouble too and there's apparently a couple benefit shows next month to keep it open. I'm not too sure why ... if it goes under, somebody else will buy it and run it exactly the same as it was since there's nothing else that could work there (i.e. a neighborhood pub where the atmosphere is dictated by the regulars.) The Korner is another story and will probably get turned into
another shitty yuppie club. I don't really care too much about it ... it's just too bad that it really was the Korner,
(295 Alexander St.)
(East Avenue near Alexander)
that got that whole East End started. Only
The Old Toad
(277 Alexander St.)
(240 East Ave.)
have been there through it all ... Lloyd's is now
(289 Alexander St.)
The Hong Kong is now
Alexander Street Pub
(291 Alexander St.) The Crow Bar is now
The Blue Room
(293 Alexander St.)
and Asmara Restaurant (the Ethiopian place) is now
(295 Alexander St.).
On Monday I saw the Emerging Filmmakers show at
(240 East Ave.)
in that very same area. The show was great but it's too bad they keep the sound so very low because you could barely hear it. I decided to skip going out on Tuesday just because I was so darn tired.
And maybe in similar thematic fashion to my fiction, I'll just end abruptly.
But before I do that, I wanted to mention to check out the premiere of
The Bug Jar
(219 Monroe Ave.)
on Tuesday. Johnny Mac assured me between editing sessions, "dude, you'll definitely be in it," but I won't mind even if I'm not ... it is, after all, all about the music.
M O V I E S
Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom(Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring)(at
- Director Ki-duk Kim sums it up by saying "I intended to portray the joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure of our lives through four seasons and through the life of a monk who lives in a temple on Jusan Pond surrounded only by nature."
La Battaglia di Algeri(Battle of Algiers)(at
- The story of the French attempting to control the revolution in Algiers. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it ... or is that just a forgotten musing of George Santayana?
Tiki Bob's Cantina
(60 Browns Race, in the Centers at High Falls)
is modern rock and covers from
starting around 7 p.m. (I would guess ... it's listed with the comment "High Falls Streetfest" which I hadn't heard about before.)
Excellent experimental jazz band
will be playing tonight at
Alexandria Mediterranean Cuisine
(120 East Ave., formerly Aria)
starting at 10.
the proverbial grapevine]
Tonight is a
Tuesday Nature Nights Guided Bike Ride
along Rochester's trail system starting at 6:15 p.m. (helmets required, weather cancellations will be made on site at the start time ... I guess unless it's obvious.) Tonight's ride is along the
Erie Canal Path
to the east starting at
The Genesee Waterways Center
(149 Elmwood Ave., in Genesee Valley Park.)
City Hall press release]
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.
Daily Perks calendar]
Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database Map links courtesy MapsOnUs Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com
John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of the college that became Princeton, was born 281 years ago in 1723.
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
links to a band's page on IUMA.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
is an event that is "non-entertainment" for the masses such as practice sessions, open jams, etc.