FRINGE Tuesday Night: “UR Diversity of Dance” and “Coffee with God”

Tuesday can be a wild card weekday. In business, it is generally known as the slowest day of sales; in art and performance, it can be the perfect night to capture an audience overwhelmed by weekend hysteria. The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival didn’t lose a beat last night. Both events had BIG turn outs, one of which sold out. FRINGE: even midweek isn’t safe anymore.

UR Diversity of Dance @ RAPA

The University of Rochester Diversity of Dance kicked off its one and only show last night at RAPA, featuring over eight diverse performances by UR groups and clubs. I saw a little bit of everything: music-less compositions, breakdancing, bellydancing, improv—even UR a cappella group After Hours came by and threw in a few heart pumping songs.

These ladies (pictured below) set the bar high for all who followed. Listed as Dance Performance Workshop (which I think is a class at UR), the ensemble merged and adapted styles, dancing to a sound score that was super interesting: a speech by motivational speaker Eric Thomas.


UR Stylez is freestyle breakdancing club, and last night they brought the proverbial house down. A blend of “freestyle, freezes, power moves, rocks, and footwork into one unique thing,” the UR Stylez guys (and gal) hit the ground and didn’t look to stop.

I caught up with UR Stylez b-boys Noah Woolfolk, Minsoo Kim, and TinChan Lao after the show. “We could’ve gone all night if they let us.” Be on the lookout for UR Stylez around the University of Rochester for some October performances. (more…)

Grandpa Jerry: A Remembrance

Amidst a week of midterms, class projects, Steinbeckian novels, and part-time (but really more hours than any college-student could ever function with) employment training, my grandfather, Jerry Hilstein, passed away.

It wasn’t a complete shock. We received message that hospice had taken over and that any day Grandpa Jerry would move on to another world. The next morning he was gone.

A crazy week ends and I’m finally able to process my grandfather’s death.

So I’ll try my best for an obituary or eulogy. Me and him were never very close, to be honest. I have a handful of memories, all good, but just a handful. This year I lived in California (where I’m originally from) for a six-month internship while awaiting to start University of Rochester.

I worked for my uncle, Jerry’s son, and Jerry lived in the area. My grandfather suffered a heart attack, and we knew things were spiraling down. The good news, for me at least, was that I was around and got to know him a little better, if even just a little.


The Hunt for Red Jobtober 2: Turning Down Work While Desperate

Job hunting is an unfortunate business. Combine the awkwardness of junior high-school dances with the continual let-down of door-to-door sales, and you start to get the picture.

“Hello, do you want to dance/hire me? No? Thank you for your time.” (Yells) I would never dance with you ANYWAYS!!

The last time I posted about job hunting, I spoke about my wife’s adventure of finding a job right after moving to Rochester. That was pretty cool. Since then, we’ve afforded to pay rent, utilities; I bought some new boxers the other day.

But I need a job too. My full-time school schedule allows for more than enough time for a part-time job. I’m sure I’ll regret this decision once finals come around. That’s okay.

My school offered me a healthy portion of money for work-study, but I couldn’t land a position with which to earn it! So far, my luck has been less than stellar. I’ve applied to Halloween stores, cafes, co-op markets, grocery stores—most recently, a music store.

Officially, I’ve been offered one job, and no, it wasn’t the Halloween store. I guess I didn’t fit their qualifications this year.

It was the local music store. Weird though, because I turned it down.

Kevie Don’t Play That

There’s just something about minimum wage that says, “If I could pay you less, I would.”  And I’m not down with that. You’ve got to value me, Sir Employer, just a little more.

The music retail situation was also unique in that the business structure was strikingly similar to what I interned at in California this year: retail, lessons, get more students, get more students, get more students. In the interview, I spoke to the owner about what I accomplished in California, and how I could grow his business. I looked around and saw a sad state of affairs, a local business in need of help, and I knew how to help it. He was looking for someone with an entrepreneurial drive to take his business to the next level, someone with ideas, spirit, and experience.


I was a damn valuable candidate, damn it. And I was on board, too, up until the point where he offered to pay me $7.25/hour to turn his business around. I told him that wouldn’t work for me, and then he offered $8.00/hour. I said I’d think about it, shook his hand, and left.

It’s so strange to turn down a job, especially when you really need it. But there’s no way I could’ve worked there. You need to be careful when job hunting. There’s a difference between undervalue and robbery.

I can work undervalued, no problem, if I have to, especially in new industries with little moral compromise. I recently read a book by a guy named Mike Michalowicz. He talks about, in business, never compromising your immutable laws, whatever those are to you. My job-hunt laws include never getting taken advantage-of and always working for people I respect and who respect me.

I mean, the music store guy had a ponytail and a gold necklace. I couldn’t do it.

So I’m left with a few open applications, an interview today. My school schedule (thanks to the last dibs I received as a new transfer student) is not very kind to employers.

But I’ve started copywriting on the side which is excellent. It’s not regular, but it’s a start. Maybe some more of that will come my way. Until then, wish me luck as I step back on to the dance floor.

“Excuse me…”

What are your immutable job-hunt laws? Any good job-hunt stories?

Dancing with Confidence, Tripping Over the Shoes of Fear

Upon walking out of a Wegmans the other night—a Rochester based grocer Megan and I have come to fall in love with—we observed ferocious, grey clouds pouring into town from every direction, pari passu, slowly and ominously withering the last of our daylight. Directly above us were some stars, a few clouds, a slight breeze, but nothing more. It was peaceful.

That’s how I feel now. I’m entering “Calm before the storm” mode. That’s what I’m choosing to call it, anyway. Right now, life is serotinally peaceful; I know it wont last long, and that’s okay. Classes will start and homework will pile. It’s what I signed up for.

Around me are weathered students, all of whom waiting for the storm to begin. As a Junior, I’ve seen some weather too; however, I still doubt myself. I don’t know why.

Like an iced-kicker, I psych myself out of the confidence I know I possess.

Philosophy Steve

The other day, over the telephone, my uncle said something that stuck with me. He said “Kevin, the unknown fools us.”

I stopped him in the middle of his next sentence: “Steve, that was deep, man.”

It’s true, isn’t it? The unknown fools us. It grabs ahold of our fears and lies to us; it calls us names and exploits our insecurities. Call it what you want—a lack of control, a lack of confidence, whatever the insecurity may be—the unknown seeps in and plants fear.

My confidence moved me to the other side of the North American continent in pursuit of the best education I could attain. So yes, I possess confidence. I’m no Ron Burgandy, but you know, I’m getting there. (It’s all in the mustache?)

Yet, truth be told, my doubts creep in. Butterflies show up from time to time. They fly around in my stomach, sometimes regressing into caterpillars, causing me to cowardly hide underneath fallen leaves.

Three Important Reminders

  1. Insecurities are not concrete, but a fluid which evaporates with wisdom and experience. Don’t define yourself by your temporal troubles.
  2. Fear is a great motivator and a terrible bed-mate. Keep her off the pillow and away from your dreams.
  3. “The unknown fools us,” but only if you let it. Lead the dance and kick off the shoes of fear.

Whether we want it to or not, most major decisions (changes) require a little uncertainty, a toe-to-toe dance with the unknown. What if, instead of running away, we tried to lead the dance?

I’ve never been a good dancer, but I guess I can give it a shot.

How about you?