Weekly Rochester Events #309: The Fontaine of Aesop Dries Up

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Ok, first a little pragmatic business: I'll be going back home to Schenectady this weekend so I won't be at O'Bagelo's. My uncle's annual Christmas Party happens on Saturday and it gives me a chance to catch up with the entire family all at once.

So anyway, I was thinking about relationships. It seems there's a lot of talk these days ... stuff like Quirkyalone : A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics by Sasha Cagen and the more recent addition He's Just Not That Into You : The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. (And yes, the latter of which comes from the episode of Sex and the City with those infamous six words ... Liz Tuccillo was executive story editor.) So I figured, "why not" ... everyone should know my opinion as well. I should probably spread it out among 100 pages or so and sell it, but I like to think that I'm both concise and lazy.

Anyway, I was talking with a friend of mine about this recently. Well, we always talk about relationships. Always. But recently, I said that I had the feeling that I was trapped somewhere and I couldn't see the other side — when you've got a false assumption somewhere and nothing seems to fit until you step outside the problem and realize what's really wrong. Happens to everyone, right?

So I was thinking that I don't like the options I have in relationships. I don't like the idea of monogamy as it exists today. Well, more like I don't like the polar options "monogamous" or "not monogamous." It just seems wrong to ask the question ... as though the very definition has been turned upside-down. In my opinion, "if you only [date/kiss/fuck] one person then you are monogamous" whereas it seems that people think that "if you are monogamous then you only [date/kiss/fuck] one person." To me, it's not that you "decide" to be monogamous, it's based on your behavior.

Then, there's the whole notion of commitment which seems to me is more like a contract than a way to relate to people. The theory is that love and relationships are packed with so many unknowns that it feels good to make promises that eliminate some of those unknowns. However, like monogamy, commitment is demonstrated by actions over time, not by a declaration. If you declare commitment then fail to live up to that declaration, then, what? You give bragging rights to someone else to ridicule you?

So without promises of commitment nor monogamy, what's left? Anarchy?

Well, yeah, technically. [See "anarchy" is just the absence of political authority which, given the nature of humanity to provide order, leads more to a condition of "self rule" than it does toward chaos as is the colloquial definition. But I digress.] Consider the possibility of just having relationships with people — in whatever form they may take. With most people, your relationship will be fairly distant, with a small group, it will be considerably closer, and with maybe one or two, it will be fully trusting. Sometimes you'll be physically attracted to certain people, and other times to others.

In other words, what's the point of organizing everyone you know into carefully defined groups wherein only certain behaviors are acceptable? Why not make out with your friends? Why not play "hot or not" with your lover? Why not trust an acquaintance?

I guess what I'm looking for is two things (which will seem eerily familiar to one person, should they happen to read this page): nothing is taboo to talk about, and everything is honest. When I say that, it really stirs me — probably like the way some people are stirred by the thought of being married before their god, or finding someone to fulfill the hope that there is someone who will accept them for who they are. Heck, those two traits make me respect people more than anything else.

So anyway, in practice I've still got a ways to go. I'm still haunted by the specter of traditional relationships and what they mean, but I see possibility in finding something else. Then again, I'm assuming I'll find other people who think similarly ... Hello? Where did everyone go?

So anyway, everyone's favorite list of things I did starts out on Thursday with a trip up to Murph's Irondequoit Pub (705 Titus Ave., formerly Irondequoit Town Lounge, next to the House of Guitars) for JoAnn Vaccaro's Open Mic. The night brought out talent by the ton ... Aside from JoAnn herself, there was the excellent keyboardist and singer Dave Adams, part of the group responsible for The Tornados' Telstar (which Dave played). There was his daughter, the excellent all-around singer/songwriter/guitarist Dee Adams. Charles Jaffe was there — an excellent honky-tonk style keyboardist and former member of Colorblind James Experience. Among the people new to me included Joe Simeone for whom I greatly appreciated his natural bel canto singing voice (think Randy Newman more than Sting.) Finally, there was — as Joe put it — "the ringer:" Tinker, an ancient guy who kept up with everyone else on his electric banjo.

Murph's is an okay place too. It's not exciting enough to get me to want to go out there just to hang out, but as a neighborhood bar, it's fine. The French onion soup was acceptable ... the mozzarella over the top was pretty generic, but other than that fine.

On Friday I stopped by The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) for a bit and checked out the artwork. I liked Bill Stewart's art more than I liked his son Greg Stewart's ... part of the "Maker/Mentor" series. It's interesting and sometimes obvious the influence they have on one another ... I wasn't overly moved by the art, but it was pretty interesting. I also liked Barbara Fox's works in the corner room (the "Lab Space" as they call it) which was a meditation on nests. While I was there I also checked out the upstairs studio spaces and talked with some of the people there.

From there I biked way up to Bullwinkles Café (622 Lake Ave.) to see some of the bands there. I could have left later: I was lucky to find the place open at all — usually around 9 and I was there at 8. First up was Otto Hauser who did some of his delicate ambient guitar work. Next was Otono Brujo who did some excellent Spanish-influenced guitar playing that was nearly lyrical in its structure. Nick Castro was okay ... he did folk-rock style guitar and singing ... likewise, I didn't much care for Josephine Foster who, admirably, has a great skill for steady pacing in her songs, a solid guitarist, and a good singer, but, annoyingly, sang with oodles of tremolo which just seemed unnatural and forced to my ear.

More important, though, is that Bullwinkles Café (622 Lake Ave.) is awesome. I got to talk a bit with Betty Meyer, owner and de facto curator. She likes to brag about her finds ... the fireplace is made from bricks from the old Rochester landmark Rattlesnake Pete's, and she's got a working nickelodeon (for lack of a better description, a mechanical air-powered player piano in a box) to name two. It's decorated in the style of "a 1920's whorehouse" as she says ... and you might as well put on a hat or some piece of costume because there's plenty to share.

Saturday I got to compare high-speed films at Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) I saw The Scarlets, Whatever Mary, and The Franks and took pictures ... I'm looking to replace the now discontinued Kodak Supra 800. Plus, my supply is aging and showing some fogging around the edges. So, I brought out a roll of Agfa Vista 800, Konica Centuria 800, and a roll of the Supra 800. I liked the Agfa and hated the Konica. Agfa offered good color balance in the red-heavy incandescent light while the Konica out red-biased the Kodak. Oh, and I was using an 80A filter to compensate for the warm light. Anyway, after digitizing the pictures and feeding them through some Photoshop color correction (manually) here's the results:

Bass player from the Scarlets at Monty's Krown, December 2, 2004
So this is the bass player from the Scarlets on Agfa Vista 800. Although the original image was pretty red, it wasn't very hard to compensate for the bias. Even the red stripes in their shirts had a little bit of highlight detail. Admittedly, they had the lights brightest of the three bands which probably helped.
Bass player from the Franks at Monty's Krown, December 2, 2004
So this is the bass player from the Franks on Kodak Supra 800. The light was darker on the Franks, and the Kodak film showed stronger red bias than the Agfa. Fortunetly, it's monstrous dynamic range offered plenty of highlight detail to play with. If the film weren't fogging, I could certainly get a better image.
Bass player from Whatever Mary at Monty's Krown, December 2, 2004
So this is the bass player from Whatever Mary on Konica Centuria 800. At least if I remember right she plays bass ... I couldn't tell from any of the photos and I honestly don't remember. Anyhow, three things went wrong: first, they had the lights darkest of all the bands; second, the film didn't rewind properly; and third, I opened the camera and exposed some of the film ... this image didn't seem to be affected by the accidental exposure (and it was far from the problems I saw in other images on the negative.) Nonetheless, the film was so strongly biased toward the red that I was hitting the limits of the original PictureCD scans trying to pull out highlight detail. Fortunately, there was more shadow detail in the green and blue than I expected which helped.

There: wasn't that fun? A philosophical rambling, bloggerly list of things I did, and a review of high-speed films ... all in one! What more could you ask for?

  • La Dolce vita (at The Little) - Federico Fellini made this (apparently) hard-to-digest movie in 1960 about a guy who goes and lives the party life and finds that it's not all that hot.
  • Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (at The Little) - How can this be any different from many other films of the same theme? I mean, follow Metallica around from 2001 to 2003 and show us behind the scenes? Hello: VH1's Behind the Music anyone?
  • Feux rouges (Red Lights, at The Little) - Read about it yourself ... it seems like I'd find it dry and intolerably boring. One can hope that the people who write about it are just lousy writers.
  • Vera Drake (at The Little) - Ah yes, to provide women with abortions in 1950's England ... such a sweet time for intolerance.
  • Blade: Trinity - Cut Jesus! Cut him good!
  • Oceans Twelve - Golly! With a title this clever, the writing must be phenomenal!

Today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is a Fiction Sale at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) in the Gleason Auditorium. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

The Bertrand Russell Society will be back at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss Russell's book Marriage and Morals. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) will be hosting a metal night with Silent Drive, The Cartel, Farewell Injuria, Verona, and Norel starting around 7 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [all ages]

Tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. is the 4th Annual Silent Auction & Holiday Benefit at The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) (And note that there's a $10 donation.) [source: Visual Studies Workshop calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting fast rhythmic rock band Kalpana, The Pink Cammies, and Vera starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar] [18+]

Tonight at Murph's Irondequoit Pub (705 Titus Ave., formerly Irondequoit Town Lounge, next to the House of Guitars) is an Open Mic hosted by the talented acoustic soloist JoAnn Vacarro starting around 8 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

This afternoon at 1 p.m., NTID Drama Club will perform How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Webb Auditorium at RIT (One Lomb Memorial Dr., campus map image) [source: RIT Events Calendar site] [all ages]

Tonight at The Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) is Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra starting around 7:30 p.m. [source: Montage calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) will be hosting synth/effects heavy, ambient/rock-ish band namelessnumberheadman, and The Black SpoonsGarageBand link starting around 8 p.m. [source: WBER calendar]

Updated: Over at The Clarissa Room (293 Clarissa St., formerly Shep's Paradise) at 7:30 p.m. is mellow jazz guitarist Paul Blackburn with Jerry Frank. [source: band e-mail]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Big Parade starting at 8 p.m. This is a freshly restored version (from the original nitrate negatives) covering an American soldier in World War I. Live piano accompaniment by Philip C. Carli. [source: Eastman House calendar]

Updated: Nuts and Bolts Improv Troupe (see their site at ImprovAmerica too) will again be at Downstairs Cabaret (172 West Main St.) at 8 p.m. tonight and at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tomorrow. [source: Nuts and Bolts website]

Over at Johnny's Irish Pub (1382 Culver Rd., still smoke-free) starting around 9:30 p.m. is Ciara Lynn. [source: Johnny's Irish Pub calendar]

JayceLand Pick Top Pick Cool-as-hell spoken-word poetry over a four piece band with Dream Engine will be at Paradigm Café (3118 E. Henrietta Rd., formerly Blue Sunday) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Paradigm Cafe calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at The Ritskeller (One Lomb Memorial Dr., on RIT campus) is acoustic-rock/groove-rock band Gregory Paul and the AutumdiversGarageBand link starting around 10 p.m. [source: RIT CAB calendar] [all ages]

Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) will be hosting Jazz Potato starting around 9 p.m. [source: Starry Nites calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting The Thundergods for their CD Release Show and awsome punk-rock band The QUiTTERSGarageBand link starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Whole Lotta Shakin' calendar]

Tonight at Murph's Irondequoit Pub (705 Titus Ave., formerly Irondequoit Town Lounge, next to the House of Guitars) is really talented acoustic guitarist and singer Kinloch Nelson starting around 9 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

JayceLand Pick Updated: Apparently, some of the members of percussive groove-rock group The BuddhaHood with vaguely Eastern-styled drummer/beatbox DJ Donnie Mancurio will be at Spy Bar and Grill (139 State St.) tonight around 10 p.m. [source: band e-mail]

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

The Edgerton Model Train Exhibit will have free holiday tours at The Edgerton Community Center (41 Backus St.) from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. [source: City Hall press release] [all ages]

Artist Bill Stewart will be on hand at The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) at 3 p.m. to discuss his art. [source: Rochester Contemporary e-mail]

Updated: Tonight at Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) is an Art Opening for works by Ed Repard, Jay Lincoln, and Damase Kirk starting at 6 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing De fem benspænd (The Five Obstructions) starting at 8 p.m. Like weird movies? The core story is that of Jørgen Leth's Det perfekte menneske (The Perfect Human). The catch is he must remake it five times with constraints imposed by filmmaker Lars von Trier. [source: Eastman House calendar]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:45 p.m. is Cub Country, "somewhere between ambient and power-pop" band Hinkley, and rock/electronic/viola band The Wills Wilde. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

The Montage Grille (50 Chestnut St.) will be hosting Thornwood Jazz starting around 9:30 p.m. [source: Montage calendar] [all ages]

Michael McNeill, Elliott Kirby, Mike Montalbano, and Jonathan Serrano will be at Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Rochester Music Coalition calendar] [all ages]

Vaudeville and burlesque show Holiday Spice will be at Record Archive (1880 East Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. for a benefit performance for Gilda's Club (255 Alexander St.) [source: Freetime]

This evening at Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 is complex 1960's style rock-and-roll band The Ferndocks with The Futon Klan. [21+]

Today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the another of the Holiday Sundays at The Rochester Public Market (280 Union St. N.) [source: City Hall press release] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Metaal en melancholie (Metal and Melancholy) starting at 5 p.m. When an economic depression hits Peru, everyone with a car becomes a taxi driver. [source: Eastman House calendar]

There will be another Musicale performance at 3 p.m. in the living room at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) featuring pianist Kevin Nitsch with vocalist Ruth Fleischmann. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 7:30 p.m. is Two Voices/Two Pages at Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) where Geva actors perform readings of brief plays limited to two actors and two pages. [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Lan feng zheng (The Blue Kite) starting at 8 p.m. Remember the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the early 1990's? [source: Eastman House calendar]

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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Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy MapsOnUs. Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com

About the title ... Jean de la Fontaine died 309 years ago in 1695 and was a French writer who collected Aesop's Fables.

This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including Monroe County and occasionally the Western New York region) from Thursday, December 9, 2004 thru Wednesday, December 15, 2004. It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do. The musical styles listed can include punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat." Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.

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

Top Pick indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.

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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