Weekly Rochester Events #283: From Middle English Etimologie
Thursday, June 10, 2004Dang I've been busy these past few weeks. I guess it's no big surprise: I had the garage sale last weekend and this one coming up is Synaesthesia. The sale went pretty well. I didn't get as much volume as I would have expected so I didn't make as much money as I'd hoped. Last year's "everything is a dollar" went really well, but this year's "pay whatever it's worth to you" wasn't so great. People wanted me to set a price, per proper capitalist procedures. A couple people got quite upset when I'd refuse. One woman asked, "so you're just having fun torturing people?"
Cripes ... experiment with alternate concepts of commerce at a piddling little garage sale, and people freak out.
On Sunday I switched modes to "take whatever you want; donations accepted." If people asked me for a price I'd give one to them, and if they'd balk, I'd cut it in half until they were happy. I was using a casual, non-confrontational tone similar to Ron Livingston's character, Peter in Office Space. I'd echo the sentiment of the sign I put up and say, "Take whatever you want. If you want to give me some money, that's cool too." Most people would just ask "how much," though so I'd tell them $10 and see what they did.
As for Synaesthesia, I'm pretty far behind, I guess. I need to get over there to do some handyman-related stuff to get the show set up in the next couple days, and I've also got to put up some pictures. I finally got my photo website set up with the new images and I also expanded the "About" page. To make things even more challenging, I'm also taking down the The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) pictures on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, next week will be a bit more subdued when I can get back to more ordinary things that I've been putting off.
I had little time to think about anything so I don't really have any philosophical insights this week. I also started getting to know this woman living in Connecticut who I met through Match.com. I'm going to see if I can't scare this one off ... er ... see if I can scare this one off. No wait, that's not right ... I'm going to see if I can avoid scaring her off. I don't think I belong in relationships, either.
Anyway, on Thursday I got to The All-Purpose Room (#8 in the Public Market, off N. Union St.) for a couple bands. I don't remember what they had named it, but Otto and Ian's band did what I had noted as "an egomaniacal masturbatory jam session." They're both very good and innovative musicians, but guys, remember Mr. McMahon's advice: "keep your feet on the ground and keep reachin' for the stars"—don't forget that grounded-feet part. The Black Lung Brass Ensemble was very cool ... although the claim was a 10-piece brass band, I think there were actually 8 people, and only 5 brass. Nonetheless they reminded me a lot of Jerseyband. They played an interesting blend of bluegrass and show-tune. Something like that, anyway.
On Friday, I got to the Dryden at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Ishtar which was actually a pretty good movie. I'd fault it most for editing problems and some terribly bad continuity problems. However, it played out really strange in a funny/not-funny kind of way. It's basically like Tom Clancy meets Dumb and Dumber—it was a classic road movie structure where a couple low-grade lounge singers get caught up in a CIA plot to prevent the overthrow of the Moroccan president/dictator.
Author and Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum was there to answer questions, and I asked if he thought the extremely negative media response to Ishtar when it was released was due to its bipolar nature: both as a silly buddy-movie comedy and as a serious political satire, but he thought otherwise. His thoughts were that it was unpopular in part because Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty were kind of goofing around, and because there was so much attention paid to the budgetary overruns because it was shot in the Middle East. Regardless, I think that's a factor, and I've seen that kind of thing since: basically if a movie does not fit into a predefined genre, it is declared "unmarketable" and will generally do poorly. Consider something like Adaptation. which is a somewhat humorous movie about a quirky writer, an introspective look at the writing process, a character study, an exploration of literary devices literally transcribed to film, and a satire of the Hollywood moviemaking process. I'm sure there were marketing meetings where someone piped up and said, "So ... it's a comedy, right?" In the end, the movie was poorly explained to people who then ended up feeling exploited and tended to dislike the movie, influencing public perception through reviews based on incorrect expectations.
Anyway, I wanted to mention that what I felt would be an ideal fit finally happened: Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 are being shown as a double-feature at The Cinema Theatre (957 South Clinton Ave.) I had hoped they'd contact Tarantino and see if they could show it/them without the intervening closing- and opening-credits. Maybe I can spare the $3, but I'm not sure about the 4 hours.
Coming up, I'm not mind-blowingly thrilled about anything. I guess if you're into the mellower side of things, The Rochester International Jazz Festival shows are a good deal at The Jazz Stage (Gibbs St.) ... in part because they're free, and in part because it'll be good music. If you haven't seen her, Mary Monroe with her harp makes for a good show at Starry Nites (696 University Ave., formerly Moonbeans) Dissimilarly, The BuddhaHood in Pittsford would be fun to see as they are inspiring enough to get even me to move a bit.
As far as everything else, there's the two plays opening this week, both of which look pretty good. I'd lean toward the Shipping Dock Theatre (31 Prince St., new location at Visual Studies Workshop) show of Love In The Title as it's a bit edgier, but Five Course Love at Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) may be right up the alley of fans of traditional comedic musicals.
In all, I think these two plays are serendipitous in their arrival, and some would say some form of a sign from the universe hinting towards one particular ... umm ... "Connecticutian" I guess. The question is, what sign is it?—because I swear—if it's mockery again, I'm gonna have to ask the universe to step outside.
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