Weekly Rochester Events #304: Years of Peter Faneuil
Thursday, November 4, 2004As election day approached, I kept thinking about the time in 1980 when we all went to Albany to see Ronald Reagan campaign from a train ... back when New York meant something to Republicans. Now?: not so much.
Oh, my bad. I was thinking of the Real People Express in 1983. Anyway, I haven't been watching the news or anything. Heck, I didn't even bother to go vote on Tuesday — it was going to be a landslide ... Kerry won, right?
Ha, just kidding. We watched the whole thing at an election party (and yeah, I voted ... I even earned enough tokens from mostly guessing at trivia questions (one of the best things about Jan's parties) to get a copy of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction.) I'm not particularly happy about the election results, though, and I've been up-and-down afterward.
On the one hand, I share a feeling of disbelief with many of my friends — that the majorty of the country believes that Bush (or do I dare be so political to say CheneyRoveAshcroftBush) is the best man for the job after his record the past four years. I don't get it — maybe they really embrace the "fear-and-hate" lifestyle ... oh well.
On the other hand, I'm going to make the best of the next four years as I possibly can. I'm going to cure myself of this nagging faux-Catholic guilt (i.e. just as guilt-ridden without the Catholicism) and really celebrate my self in both body and spirit. I'm going to go way beyond tolerance and revere diversity.
I'm also going to refuse to join the Christian army (and the holy war it's declaring on all non-Christians and anybody who believes in enjoying their body and life that they've been given — by God or otherwise.) Hell, I'm going to actively fight against them. I can do anything with my self — mind, body, and life — and anybody else who wants to join in — anything. Self-righteous assholes who try to impose their beliefs on me can go fuck themselves — and I hope they actually like it.
Who's with me?
Speaking of New World Order Day's resolutions, I should also mention that I want to also start using words correctly more often. Two weeks ago I screwed up and used the word "anachronism" incorrectly ... nobody e-mailed me on it and I left its embarrassing misuse in place. Basically, it's among a small group of words that I either have the wrong definition in my head or I just don't quite grasp — I may know the definition, but usage is not very clear to me. Anyway, here's the list:
Ok, so I did get out to some interesting things last week. First up on Thursday was the meeting for the Rochester Burners — people who have gone or are interested in The Burning Man Project (The Man, Black Rock City 2004, NV) — at Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) which went okay. From there I went to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to see TatYana and The Wills Wilde. I generally like both bands, but their Thrusday performance wasn't the best I've seen. TatYana, despite still pulling off some great experimental jazz seemed to be out of place in a venue like the Bug Jar ... maybe they need more intimacy — I guess I like them better in places without a stage so there seems to be more interaction. Wills Wilde had some technical problems which tainted their otherwise good performance.
On Friday I made it out to The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) for the opening of the MFA thesis project art show. Bonk Johnston's work titled Torn: Eastern State Penitentiary was about America's oldest penitentary, Eastern State Penitentary (2124 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, PA.) She wrote an introduction about how moved she was by the experience — the whole point of the prison was to deliberately treat prisoners inhumanely. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same when viewing her photographs. She seemed to be trying to capture the desolation, isolation, and solitude of prison life, but since she took pictures of cells and areas that were crumbling and hadn't been used in years, it just seemed like "some old prison." As a photographer, I would have hunted for evidence that humanity was once there — scratches on the wall, for instance, or the inevitable ad hoc and pragmatic alterations such as holes chiseled through stone to add electric lighting — things like that.
I was pleased with Heather Wetzel's Without the Elephants which dealt with the ephemera left after the death of her grandmother — both the tangible and the emotional. (The elephants — which are not present at all — refer to the collection of elephant figurines her grandmother owned.) There were three exhibits. The first was made of waxed book pages curled as pedals of a flower then cut to resemble a bouquet, or the holder for one (and these 25 words do about a quarter percent justice to what a simple picture would provide.) I liked how this suggested a memorial of one's history by combining flowers and books. Next was my favorite: backlit glass-plate images with words etched into a layer of frosted glass behind them ... I don't have an analysis of what I liked so much, but the combination of liking and analysis-free ambiguity struck me positively. Last was waxed books with copper spikes driven through their pages to hold them open ... stuck at a particular page — again, an effective reminder of how death immediately freezes the actions that life would otherwise bring.
On Saturday, I wasn't up for costumey Halloween parties (nor on Sunday, which netted me a nice stomach ache from eating too much candy.) I went to see a true horror movie: S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine. I haven't done additional research, so I only know a little bit about the Khmer Rouge takeover (and subsequent control) of Cambodia in the 1970's. During that time, millions of people were declared to be enemies of the state where they were sent to prison, tortured, and usually killed. The movie brings several prisoners and several guards to the now vacant S21 prison — the harshest of them. I was moved that the prisoners — who had lost most or all of their family to executions — could scarcely contain their emotions when confronting the life they escaped 25 years prior. I was greatly disturbed that the former guards were unable to admit any wrongdoing — they were steadfast in their belief that they were following orders and that their actions were proper. I can imagine they must have been terrified as they pored over the records of former prisoners that any crack in their hardened facades of righteousness would immediately result in a complete emotional breakdown as they realized the horrors of their actions. I cannot grasp that these kinds of things can actually happen even though this happened within my lifetime, yet I'm troubled to see the seeds of such behavior sprouting in my own country.
Let's just say it really scared the shit out of me better than anybody in a rubber mask could.
Monday was a complete reversal of mood ... I got out to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to see the show there. First up was 5 Watt Bulb who are a great example of what "punk-rock" means. Next was The Emersons who brought out their own variety of high-power punk-rock. The oddball of the group was the country-ish rockabilly band Jackass who describe themselves as "hard core honky tonk." How they ended up touring with the The Groovie Ghoulies I'll never understand ... anyway, the Ghoulies finished things up and really kept the energy high with their ghoulish-themed punk-rock (although much more punk-ish than the other bands.) They had a great crowd for a Monday night: there was this one guy who hopped on the stage and succeeded at crowd surfing for a little bit — there were that many people there.
The big thing coming up is the The High Falls Film Festival which kicks off on Wednesday the 10th at The Inn On Broadway (26 Broadway St., across East from Scio.) There's already a couple things to try and get to see that day ... and I still haven't decided. At 7 p.m. at The Little (240 East Ave.) Still Doing It: Intimate Lives of Women Over 65 about, well, women over 65 with active sex lives, and with a discussion with director Deirdre Fishel afterward. At 7:15 p.m. is another interesting looking film at the Little, Böse Zellen (Free Radicals) by Barbara Albert about an intertwined group of people and the way something that affects one of them affects them all. Also, there's the first of the Shorts Programs at 9:45 p.m. at the Little which includes DysEnchanted by Terri Miller about storybook heroines who are disappointed by what happened after "happily ever after."
What to do ... what to do.
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On this day ... November 4
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Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy MapsOnUs. Some movie synopses courtesy UpcomingMovies.com
About the title ... Peter Faneuil was born 304 years ago in 1700 and built Faneuil Hall (1 Faneuil Hall Market Pl., Boston, MA) in 1742.
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, November 4, 2004 thru Wednesday, November 10, 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.