Weekly Rochester Events #697 Starting Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Watching Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and Bully at the Little
by Jason Olshefsky at 7:10 pm (1 comment)

I headed out to The Little (240 East Ave.) to check out a couple movies. On Mondays, they have been running a $5/movie promotion, and since the George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is closed, there is no film at the Dryden. Too often I let the Little's schedule slip through my fingers and I miss out on things I wanted to see.

I was tempted to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi as I heard good things about it (and I missed it at the Dryden last month.) But, since I was running a little late, I opted instead to see Jeff, Who Lives at Home and then Bully.

I remembered that Dayna Papaleo gave "Jeff" a lukewarm-positive review in the City Paper so I gave it a shot with relatively low expectations. I found it a bit rough around the edges. As I told a friend later, it tends to really shove hard on suspension of disbelief which did not quite break me out of the movie: my advice is to stick with it and let it flow because there's a multi-layered story going on that's worth examining. I'll also warn that I found Ed Helms acting to be a bit too broad … at least at first: I often suspect that shooting schedules for movies tend to be set up by location, but also loosely in script-order, so his earlier scenes in the film seem like a caricature portrait, but he does improve as the film goes on.

At the surface, the film is about an easily-dismissed stoner, Jeff (Jason Segel) who believes that the underlying nature of the universe is revealed through subtle messages that he believes he is tuning himself to see. Meanwhile, his brother Pat (Ed Helms) leads a much more conventional life, suppressing any belief in a purposeful world by focusing on the minutia of day-to-day life. Jeff lives in their mother Sharon's (Susan Sarandon) basement — who is struggling to find meaning in her own life as a widow, unsatisfied with her sons. Oh, and it's designed as a comedy with a lot of really quite funny moments.

But take away the mechanicals of the plot ("a stoner goes on a wacky adventure struggling to complete a simple task") and what's left is a painting of the way family is inexorably connected; how they are similar in deep, subtle ways that transcend their outwardly tremendous differences. Without giving away too much, I found it unexpectedly tender when Jeff is sitting the basement watching TV listlessly eating an uncooked PopTart.

With just a short break, I stuck around to see Bully. In case you didn't know, it's a documentary about bullying in primary schools in the United States … sort-of. Its candid portrayal of day-to-day school life resonated with me, and made me wonder if I'm repressing some memories of being bullied — I vividly remember moments that echoed Alex's dialog with his mother and with school administrators. I suspect that some part will resonate with everyone.

By my interpretation, in American society, it is considered normal for kids to establish their individuality by saying cruel things to one another. Most form a callous that protects and strengthens from each cruel remark. But some do not, and the cruelty strikes their heart each time. And because it hurts so very much, it's not something they wish to inflict on others, so they never become adept at cruelty. And then their unwillingness to be cruel becomes itself another difference that is attacked, and the pain just builds and builds.

The movie paints the picture of this seemingly unavoidable torture and then finds hope in things that parents and children are doing to turn the tide. But in my gut, I knew the speeches, the discussions, and the rallies would handily be derided by any half-clever fourth-grader — and much to the amusement of jeir peers, continuing to feed the cycle.

In one scene, Alex is talking with his assistant principal, he doesn't believe her actions will help. He cites a previous case where he was bullied by getting stuffed into the seat cushions of the bus and her actions failed to stop the bullying. She has the audacity to bully him to reinforce her belief in the petty authority she holds: she begs the question by asking if that specific circumstance ever happened again, knowing that she'll be able to steamroll poor Alex who doesn't have the skills to call her on her bullshit.

That, and the principal of the same school's reprehensible reaction to Alex's poor parents led me to think of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. A common criticism of the film is that Ferris is an anti-hero because he fails to respect the authority of Principal Ed Rooney who is played to be a petty dictator — and an incompetent one at that. But watching Bully, I can't help but believe Rooney's portrayal may be less of an exaggeration than it seems. As an adult, thinking of the advice given by my own guidance counselors, teachers, principals, and any other "school authority" seems, at best, to be the good-and-bad mix of advice you can get from anybody over the age of 21, and downright buffoonish at worst.

But when I said the film is about bullying "sort of", I meant that there's an undercurrent of hope from people doing things they never thought possible. And in a way, the bullying and attempts to stop bullying seem trite compared to the profound personal changes in the lives of people confronting adversity.

I was talking with a friend the other week and we were commenting on how the lilacs seem more fragrant this year, probably because of the stresses of the weather. She commented that stress makes things beautiful. I thought it wasn't quite right — I've seen people who are stressed and they're not pretty — so I said it's adapting to stress that is beautiful.

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    JayceLand Pick This afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in The Kate Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) is a Public Meeting to discuss the results of the Downtown Two Way Conversion Study which "is to determine the feasibility of converting the existing one-way couplet of North/South Clinton Avenue and St. Paul Street/South Avenue to two-way traffic through Downtown Rochester." If there is one piece of infrastructure in the city that works well, it's the dual one-way streets, so I'm astonished (and, ironically not surprised) that there's talks to do away with this. [source: City Hall press release] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Candace Gaudiani will present a Wish You Were Here lecture at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) tonight at 6 p.m. titled Between Destinations: A Photographer's Journey. From the calendar, "physical and psychological journeys often intersect in art and storytelling. Gaudiani will share how she turns vistas of train travel into personal artistic statements." [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

    This evening at 7 p.m. at The Asbury First United Methodist Church (1050 East Ave.) is another meeting of The Rochester Genealogical Society. Tonight's program is their Annual Business Meeting followed by a discussion of How to Display your Family Tree and Documents. [source: Rochester Genealogical Society website] [all ages]

    Starting at 7 p.m. tonight are Twilight Tours of Mount Hope at Mt. Hope Cemetery (791 Mt. Hope Ave., the North Gate). [source: City Hall press release]

    JayceLand Pick Dr. Stephen L. Dyson will present an Archaeology Lecture tonight at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) titled Digging with Mussolini starting at 7:30 p.m. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Electra Glide in Blue starting at 8 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "Arizona motorcycle cop 'Big' John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) wants off the road and into homicide, but the corrupt post-'60s landscape means his steadfast moral code may be his undoing. Conrad Hall's cinematography and the film's final shot will stay with you in this criminally underseen masterpiece." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is Two Cow GarageMySpace link, The Only SonsMySpace link, The Andrew J. Reimers Country-Punk Extravaganza, and Declan Ryan starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Tonight at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is Miss Tess and The Bon Ton ParadeMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Abilene e-mail]

    Today from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Anne Church (1600 Mt. Hope Ave.) is their annual Plant Sale and BBQ. [source: Craigslist Rochester events]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave.) is the Opening Reception for David Moog's Sequences, on display through June 10. [source: Image City Photography Gallery e-mail]

    JayceLand Pick Quasi-Mojo is playing Happy Hour at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) starting at 6 p.m. followed by the nicely harmonious rock band WalriMySpace link around 10 p.m. [source: Abilene e-mail]

    JayceLand Pick This evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) is the Opening Reception of Reversing the Catastrophe of Fixed Meaning: The Bookworks of Scott McCarney. [source: Visual Studies Workshop calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (739 Park Ave., formerly Spin Caffe) will be hosting The Go RoundMySpace link, and Jeff Slutsky starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee website]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. at The Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) (142 Atlantic Ave.) is a performance of the monologue I Write To Discover. [source: MuCCC website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Margaret starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 2 p.m. From the Eastman House calendar, "as life continues around her, a spoiled Upper West Side teenager (Anna Paquin) drowns in grief and guilt after she's involved in a terrible bus accident." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dub Land UndergroundMySpace link (315 Alexander St., formerly Whiskey) will be hosting wicked fun, saxophone-driven, percussive groove-rock band The BuddhaHoodMySpace link starting around 10 p.m. [source: JamBase calendar for Rochester]

    Fly the flag today.Armed Forces Day

    Today at 2 p.m. at The Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) (142 Atlantic Ave.) is a workshop reading of Mystery of the Golden Buddha — "a children's play for adults". [source: MuCCC website]

    Tonight at 7 p.m. at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) is another Animation Night. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website]

    JayceLand Pick The New York Short Film Concert plays at The Little (240 East Ave.) today at 7 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m. It features a program from Asbury Shorts New York consisting of Our Time is Up by Rob Pearlstein, La Línea by Evan Buxbaum, and The Quality of Mercy by Stephen Marro. [source: New York Filmmakers Quarterly]

    JayceLand Pick This evening at 8 p.m. at The Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) (142 Atlantic Ave.), Polite Company Improv Sketch and Comedy will perform a show titled Stop the Presses! [source: MuCCC website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Elena starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 5 p.m. — "a gripping, modern twist on the classic noir thriller." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Over at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) starting around 9:30 p.m. is nice, well-executed jazzy swing from Bobby Henrie and The GonersMySpace link. [source: Abilene e-mail]

    Today starting at 8 a.m. is The Medved Lilac 10K and 5K Family Fun Run at The Lilac Festival. [source: Freetime]

    This morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., join members of The Genesee Valley Audubon Society (GVAS) for a Bird Watcher Tour of Mount Hope at Mt. Hope Cemetery (791 Mt. Hope Ave., the North Gate). [source: City Hall press release]

    JayceLand Pick Today from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. is a Gandhi Institute House and Land Work Party at The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non Violence (929 S. Plymouth Ave., formerly 510 Wilson Commons). [source: Gandhi Institute website]

    Starting at Mt. Hope Cemetery (791 Mt. Hope Ave., the North Gate) at 2 p.m. is a Public Tour of North Section of Mount Hope Cemetery. [source: City Hall press release]

    Today from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Rochester Permaculture Center (163 Helen Rd.) is a Beginning Biochar Workshop with Kathleen Draper of Finger Lakes Biochar. (Register in advance.) [source: Rochester Permaculture e-mail]

    JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is Rocky VotolatoMySpace link, Kevin Long, and nice, solid acoustic rock from Archimedes. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    The Ketamines, Harmonica Lewinsky, and Buckets will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    This morning starting around 8 a.m. in the cafeteria overlooking the arboretum in Bausch and Lomb (140 Stone St.) is The Artists' Breakfast Group meeting ... anyone interested in art or creativity is invited.

    Today starting at 1 p.m. at Brighton Memorial Library (2300 Elmwood Ave.) is a screening of Almost Home. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Monkey Business starting at 8 p.m. — the Marx Brothers' first film not based on a play. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is brilliant satirical gospel from The Lobster QuadrilleMySpace link, The GhostwriterMySpace link, and Holy Smith starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Spiklenci slasti (Conspirators of Pleasure) starting at 8 p.m. in which "six men and women [...] indulge their most secret desires. To call their proclivities bizarre is an understatement: one dresses as a giant rooster to menace an effigy of his neighbor, while a sneaky postal worker finds strange uses for the small balls of bread she rolls while on her appointed rounds." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Fun ska from Mrs. Skannotto, and talented stoner rock-influenced rock band Argus EyeMySpace link will be at The Club at Water Street (204 N. Water St.) starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]

    The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting Algernon CadwalladerMySpace link, The Abandoned Buildings Club, Black Throat WindMySpace link, and Speaker for the DeadMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Today at 12:00 p.m. is a meeting of The Brown Bag Book Discussion Group in the Literature Division's Study Room at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

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    This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do. Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including 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. Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events. I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity. Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.) It's also not to be confused with Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator. While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, May 17, 2012 (Thu, May 17, 2012, 5/17/2012, or 5/17/12) Friday, May 18, 2012 (Fri, May 18, 2012, 5/18/2012, or 5/18/12) Saturday, May 19, 2012 (Sat, May 19, 2012, 5/19/2012, or 5/19/12) Sunday, May 20, 2012 (Sun, May 20, 2012, 5/20/2012, or 5/20/12) Monday, May 21, 2012 (Mon, May 21, 2012, 5/21/2012, or 5/21/12) Tuesday, May 22, 2012 (Tue, May 22, 2012, 5/22/2012, or 5/22/12) and Wednesday, May 23, 2012 (Wed, May 23, 2012, 5/23/2012, or 5/23/12).

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    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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