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We’ve got music 

We're proud of our musical talent; here are four reasons why.


The event

Despite its name, our airport is hardly international. However, The Rochester International Jazz Fest is. Now in its third year, RIJF brings in legendary and cutting-edge jazz talent (and their fans) from around the planet to Rochester for a whole week in June. Cats like Mose Allison, Billy Bang, Quong Vu, James Blood Ulmer, Tony Bennett, and George Benson have all played in the past two years. The RIJF shows no signs of getting smaller as each year the word spreads more and more throughout the jazz community. This is an awesome event linking a group of downtown venues --- within walking distance of each other --- during some of our rare summer days.


The band

It's probably not fair to refer to any one band as the best, but I'm not one of these non-committal wussies who thinks everyone's great, as if I were some intramural soccer coach who doesn't want any of the kids to cry. Rochester has a thriving music scene. Some bands are good, some bands are great, and some bands suck. And somebody's got be the best --- to be the king of this heap. It's The Priests.

I'm not sure if it's the primitive drums, the eerie organ, the maniacal guitar, or the desperate vocals that make this band beyond compelling. No, it's not doing anything odd or particularly out of bounds, but the band's energy is visceral, and its dark mood and menacing tone are palpable. They sound and look like they mean it. And they'll probably agree with those of you who think I'm full of bull for saying all this.

The Priests, whose third (and first national) release is on the world-renowned Get Hip Recordings, will be playing several showcases for the label at the 2005 SXSW in Austin, Texas, and have been pumped up by current garage rock savior Little Steven.


The venue

In this palace, no matter how natty your duds you still feel underdressed. Commissioned in 1922 by George Eastman, the Eastman Theatre (26 Gibbs Street) seems out-of-time and even otherworldly in its opulence and grandeur. And with recent state-of-the-art acoustical updates, even a reverberated sneeze sounds angelic --- so imagine how good the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra sounds. There is simply no finer classical experience to be found.


The music store

House of Guitars (645 Titus Avenue, 544-3500) isn't only focused on six-string beauty, but in fact on everything related to music. Fortuitously founded at the apex of Beatlemania by juvenile-delinquent-gone-straight Armand Schaubroeck and his two brothers, The HOG is one of the largest music stores on earth. But it's not the neatest --- and therein lies the thrill of the hunt. You can rummage through piles of LPs, weave in and out of classic guitars, or ascend mountainous walls of amps.

In This Guide...

    Annual Manual 2005

    Surprised by Rochester
    When I was getting ready to move to Rochester five years ago, my friends and family were confused. They wore worried faces when they asked me, "What's in Rochester?" and "That's not too far from the city, is it?" and "Do you like the cold weather?"

    A newbie’s checklist

    Beginner’s guide
    So you've arrived, and now you need the basics: phone, utilities, a way to get around town, and, maybe, a way to get out of town. Here is some info to help you get settled in.

    Who's representing

    Government
    Mayor Bill Johnson 30 Church Street, Rochester 14614

    Pounding the pavement

    Neighborhoods
    I've been thinking about changing my name to Where's Your Car? (though I would have preferred You're Stunning or Are Those Real?).

    It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

    Neighborhoods
    There is so much talk about how to revitalize Rochester's downtown and make the city a more attractive place to live. But many people have discovered the benefits of city life.

    Finding a beat you can dance to

    Live music
    I know it takes a little more than turning on the tube, but heading out for live music is so good for you. Plus the audience (you) is an integral part of each performance.

    Get yourself something to eat

    Welcome to the Rochester food scene. I write full reviews of different restaurants every other week in City, but here is a bit of a primer, by genre, to acquaint you with the area's amazing variety of dining options.

    Why we love market day

    The Rochester Public Market can be noisy, crowded, and fishy, but that is part of the vibrancy and spirit that make it a unique experience. Where else in Rochester is it almost too crowded to move for hours at a time?

    Tending to your health

    Major hospitals Highland Hospital

    Get learning

    Schools
    Each public school district in Monroe County has contact information (listed below) where you can get more detailed information about individual schools. To get an overall picture, for some general research, or to just get involved, here are some resources:

    A little culture never hurt anyone

    Arts
    For a city our size, we've got plenty of culture. There's enough for every taste and energy level, but not too much to overwhelm.

    What's the alternative?

    Although Rochester has a number of respectable art museums and galleries, rarely will these venues show anything outside the mainstream. For an art space to do something daring, quite often it has to rely on the vision and resources of an individual or a small group of people.

    The gold of the silver screens

    Movies
    I'm only about 5-foot-3-inches, but I totally towered over Isabella Rossellini. Now, you may be wondering what sorts of circles a humble hometown girl like myself would run in that would enable me to reach that conclusion.

    A little place outside the city

    Suburbs
    Monroe County has 19 towns and nine incorporated villages. Aided by short commutes, particularly between Rochester and its inner-ring of suburbs, many of these are bedroom communities.

    High class

    Colleges
    Colgate Rochester Divinity School Can boast of a dedication for diversity, teaching students in over 20 Christian denominations.

    We'd rather be out in the open

    Recreation
    The areas in and around Rochester are rich with green space --- diverse, convenient, and beautiful places to walk the dog, take out a canoe, find a zoo, or smell the lilacs. From the beautiful Seneca and Highland Parks, both designed by 19th-century landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted, to Durand-Eastman Park, where you can feel the immensity of that Great Lake --- here is just a partial list of some of our favorite parks in the Monroe County (256-4950, www.monroecounty.gov) and City of Rochester (400 Dewey Avenue, 428-6767 or 428-6755, www.cityofrochester.gov) systems.

    Block partying

    Festivals
    Go ahead, give us a reason to celebrate. I dare you.

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