Rochester: We Win Some & Lose Some

A message in the playing field at Fairport High School. From the Democrat & Chronicle.

It seems like lately time has been swirling around and through the city I call home. So much has happened to remind us of our humanity and even our mortality.

Perhaps most jarring is the well-known fact that beloved actor and father of three Philip Seymour Hoffman has passed away presumably from a drug overdose. Some of you may not know this, but Hoffman was originally from a beautiful suburb of Rochester, NY called Fairport. It’s a community I visit often. In fact, it’s the community to which Josh and I are hoping to move when we start our family. Even though I never met or came close to meeting Hoffman, it seems that the physical proximity of places he would have known and loved makes his passing seem more haunting. Also, a mere matter of days ago I briefly mentioned him in my blog post about Hollywood directors and their muses, pointing to his relationship with director P.T. Anderson.

I never think about Hoffman . . . and I was talking about him just this week. It feels so strange. Too convenient or something like that.

Relevant magazine posted a wonderful article praising some of his finest roles. I’m happy to link to it here to honor the memory of great actor, but I would also like to direct readers’ thoughts and prayers to the children and ex-partner he has left behind and to the tragic drug addiction and mental illness that contributed to his death.

He will be missed by those closest to him who loved him, by aspiring actors who admired him, by film fans whom he touched, and by Rochester natives whom he made proud. His death is a loss in every sense of the word.

More Losses

Rochester has had some other rough breaks recently in terms of our celebrity denizens making the news. It’s not like anybody knows or particularly cares that Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis went to college at my alma mater here in the Roc, but I can’t help thinking about it when he says things like his recent public comments about gay people being “more pervert.” As someone who speaks a second language, I’m sympathetic of the fact that he might not have been able to express himself well in English. I hope it was just a slip-up. Let’s face it. A homophobic statement like this during an interview doesn’t help anybody.

Then there was the more recent Bachelor scandal involving what many are calling the show’s first nationally-televised “slut-shaming.” Juan Pablo apparently made some promiscuous sexual decisions with contestant Clare and then proceeded to blame her and make her feel guilty about what he now sees to be a “wrong” action. There’s a whole other post there somewhere, but the beginning and end of the story is that JP is basically the most childish Bachelor to ever walk the earth. Go Roberts!

And such is life. No city always gets into the news for exclusively good reasons.

Just this week I learned that a mother here lost two of her sons to gun violence a mere 19 days apart.

A psychiatrist down the road from one of my husband’s coworkers was found to have a body buried in his yard.

Have you heard of the serial murders of the Alphabet Killer? Guys, that dude was from Rochester.

Wins

Of course, good things happen because of people with ties to Rochester, too.

Rochesterian Renee Fleming brought down the house with her rendition of the national anthem at the Superbowl this past Sunday. I have good friends who go to Eastman School of Music downtown who sing and play in the practice rooms where she would have studied. Perhaps I’m biased, but this matchless contributor to the beautiful Lord of the Rings soundtrack (y’all know how I feel about Lord of the Rings) delivered what I believe to be the best performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” I have ever personally witnessed. What a difference classical training can make! Not that pop covers of the song aren’t great, too. That was just incredibly powerful.

Then there are successful Olympian athletes Ryan Lochte and Jenn Suhr, Travie McCoy and Matt McGinley of Gym Class Heroes, and the incomparable Kristen Wiig.

These are people who have put us on the map for good reasons–just like Phil did. (I know being from the same area where he went to high school doesn’t mean I get to call him Phil. It just felt right.)

Moving On

Weeks like this remind me of the circle of life not just as it pertains to me, but as it pertains to one’s city or one’s sense of place.

Right now, Rochester is the city in New York state most affected by the economic recession. The devastating bankruptcy of Kodak alone is enough to imply that financially our town is not doing well.

By some standards, we are dying.

But then I talk to my friends and I browse my Facebook feed and I see people opening restaurants, teaching photography classes, publishing articles, dancing on stages, building sculptures, meeting to discuss social issues, volunteering in homeless shelters, and sledding down hills–

And I realize that we are also very much alive.

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Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Brewing Business

Today I had the great opportunity to chat with a filmmaker friend named Michael about helping with a promo video for his indiegogo campaign for a documentary he is planning. I’m super excited to broaden my video freelancing experience and am super grateful to Michael for letting me work with him.

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These are the fancy digs where we had our meeting. If you recognize this as the locally famous Boulder Coffee Co. on Park Ave, let that knowledge just serve you as a little preview of the documentary awesomeness that is to follow.

Awkward:

  • Google Maps currently only knows about one Boulder Coffee Co. in Rochester . . . and it’s not the one I needed to get to . . .
  • How much mockery you get for the (totally legit) excuse for missing early morning appointments, “My cats kept me up all night.”
  • Also, my cats keeping me up all night.
  • How much one of my kitties reeks.
  • How many of my uber-talented friends are now living in New York . . . like the city. Actually, that’s just plain awesome.
  • On a serious note: I got a rejection letter from my dream job at Roberts Wesleyan. Wonder what God’s plans are from here? Well, I guess this means more time for freelancing.

Awesome:

  • Getting to finally check out Boulder.
  • My “meeting” with Michael. It was great chatting about projects and planning . . . and South Park and stuff . . .
  • Jamaican Me Crazy coffee.
  • Signing up with FutureTweets. I will master this social media thing!
  • Kitty kisses.
  • Kefir. Drinkable yogurt, dudes! Bring on the probiotics.
  • Got another interview coming up.

 

 

 

 

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  • Josh got a sales job with a company that he loves! God is so good, and that’s the awesomest thing ever!

Spider-Man 2 Filming in Rochester

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An image taken today by the local newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle

I’m ashamed that I haven’t posted about this sooner, but my humble hometown of Rochester, NY has been graced by the presence of film crews from Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While I received an audition to be an extra (eeeep!!!) I ultimately wasn’t able to participate since the filming happened right in the middle of finals week. Insert heavy sigh. An opportunity that will likely never reoccur in my life just happens to land during the one week when I can’t jump up to answer it.

My boss at my internship was actually offered a crew position, believe it or not. Even more amazingly, he made the excruciating decision to turn the offer down. His pastor at the church where he is employed as head of videography needed him for the day, and he “chose God over man.” Now that is dedication.

Since today is the last day of filming, I’m kind of saying goodbye to this exciting era for Rochester as well as to the chapter of my life where I neglect my adult responsibilities to chase impractical projects with the slightest hint of a possibility of fame on the other side . . . ’cause yeah . . . I tend to do that. With graduation a mere two days away, it’s time for me to pair my dreams and my somewhat fantastical passions with a means of helping to support my family.

I may need to say “no” to some of my own interests, but hopefully doing that will mean that I never have to say “no” to wonderful opportunities for my family.

Thanks for the life lesson, Spider-Man! I hope Rochester looks great onscreen and is everything you are hoping for.