Weekly Rochester Events #309: The Fontaine of Aesop Dries Up
Thursday, December 9, 2004Ok, 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:
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?
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On this day ... December 9
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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.
Copyright © 2004 Jason Olshefsky. All rights reserved.