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Spin cycle

Pale. And, to be honest, kind of pasty. That's how John Schoen looked as the midnight hour approached on Saturday, May 21. But most of us would probably look a lot worse in his place.

As previewed in the May 18 issue of City, Schoen celebrated his birthday by spinning records from his massive collection for 24 hours straight at the A\V Space.

"I'm actually going 'til 12:20," he said, beer in hand, at about five before the hour, "because I really started at 12:20 last night."

On a small couch and chairs in front of the DJ table, a small group of supporters --- including Schoen's wife and fellow musicians --- gathered to watch and listen.

"Let's finish off with some South American psych," said Schoen as he let the needle drop on Argentinean psychedelic outfit Color Humano's "Costas Rustica." As the song was winding down, Schoen kept his eye on the clock.

"All right, 12:20," he declared to a round of applause before immediately heading for the door.

Standing outside in the low, after-hours hum of the Public Market, Schoen insisted that he felt great. He'd avoided coffee, drinking water instead and eating moderately. And, yes, he found time to go to the restroom.

"Didn't you close your eyes even for a second?" someone asked.


Schoen played 226 songs. Anyone who knows him knew that his choices were bound to be obscure. Interestingly, though, he didn't give much forethought to what he played. He stuffed two crates with records he grabbed randomly by the handful. He also didn't play "sets" of different styles. At one point, for example, he zigzagged from Don Cherry to Ladies W.C. to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5 to Pookey Blow to Blue Cheer.

Schoen approached song-to-song choices intuitively, the way a musician would improvise live.

"The way I looked at it," he explained, "it was a performance."

The playlist from John Schoen's 24-hour Vinyl Vortex session is posted at

--- Saby Reyes-Kulkarni

All in the family

What a difference a few days and an ideological divide make.

On a recent Saturday Democrats were duking it out on the floor of the cavernous War Memorial under soulless hockey-arena lighting. The whole scene was calculated to impress. There was the electric buzz of a gathering where important decisions were being made.

Fast-forward five days to the Republicans' countywide convention at Logan's Party House. The bar was open and the scene was cozy. It was a convention in name only; delegates were really there for a "coronation" as one of them put it. In fact, only one designating vote took place all evening: Patrick O'Flynn was unanimously nominated candidate for sheriff, a post he now holds. The atmosphere had all the informal collegiality of a happy hour.

It's a testament to state and county party chair Steve Minarik's savvy that the Republican convention can come off appearing like a family reunion at a time when the party is relentlessly crushing the Dems.

The only break in the self-congratulatory mood came in the form of an extended rant by mayoral candidate John Parinello, who assailed everything and everyone Democratic in the city of Rochester he could think of, which, it turns out, is quite a bit. Brandishing newspaper clippings, he assaulted everything from the fast ferry to a bike path as evidence of waste and corruption on the Democrats' watch.

"The Democrats have done nothing in the last 30 years but screw this city up," he told party faithful. He called Mayor Bill Johnson "arrogant" and "unapproachable." Bob Duffy was "stone dumb," and a failure as top cop. Wade Norwood's announced decision not to seek the Independence Party endorsement on grounds of principle was "a flat-out lie."

It's unclear how long his tirade would've continued (Parinello appeared to have a sizable stack of clippings that he didn't get to) if Minarik hadn't eventually tugged on his sleeve to get him away from the microphone.

Still, Parinello's attack-dog style suits past Minarik campaign strategies, and the GOP boss said repeatedly that the city is his party's next frontier in 2005.

Republicans also plan to run a full slate of candidates for city council (though they haven't recruited enough yet) and for all 29 seats of the Monroe County legislature.

Mass merger

It's official: Madison's merging into Wilson. The Rochester City School Board voted for a proposal to combine the two city high schools at its last meeting, May 19.

The merger has faced scrutiny, mainly because Wilson Magnet High School has become one of the district's leading lights, beating Brighton and Pittsford schools in a recent Newsweek story on the country's top 100 schools. It also has a waiting list of nearly 1,300 students. Madison, on the other hand, is rarely listed by students as a first choice.

"By making this move, there will actually be more families and more students who will get their first choice," said Superintendent Manuel Rivera. "Less than 10 percent of the students at Madison are there as a result of it being their first choice."

The plan calls for closing academically challenged Madison and combining it with Wilson Magnet High School. Students bound for the newly formed school can attend grades 7-9 in the former Madison building. Grades 10-12 will attend Wilson Magnet. As many as 600 of Madison's 1,060 students will be given the chance to stay in the Wilson program or transfer to another high school. The district has yet to account for the other 460.

Supporters of the merger were nowhere to be heard at the meeting. Instead, opponents like Glenny Williams, education committee chairman of United Church Ministries, said that student demand to attend Wilson will not help southwest-area students. In fact, he cautioned, it will send many of them out of the southwest to schools with vacancies.

Kodak adds, subtracts

Kodak is giving Super 8 film aficionados reason to mourn and celebrate in the same week. The photo-image company is discontinuing its small-gauge Kodachrome 40 film stock while making "the super-saturated, fine grain" Kodak Ektachrome 64T Color Reversal Film 7280 available in August.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of 8mm film stock, a cheap alternative to 16mm and 35mm film. Kodak acknowledges the vitality of the format, whose accessibility and vibrancy is well-adored.

Super 8 film "provides an easy, inexpensive way for students and enthusiasts to work at film resolutions and color depths as yet unmatched by the latest digital technologies," says Bob Mayson, vice president and general manager for image capture products in Kodak's imaging division.

Amateur filmmaker Brittany Gravely has already experienced the effect of Kodachrome 40s discontinuation. On a small-gauge enthusiasts' listserv last week, she announced: "I just placed an order for the 7270 Kodachrome 40 film directly from Kodak and she told me I was ordering the last 14 rolls..."

Kodak's decision was made primarily as a result of "marketplace dynamics."