Are we supposed to be dumbfounded? Peggi and I were going to school in Indiana when Booby Knight was in his prime. It only figures that guy could do Trump some good. And how about this first family? I find them far more interesting than the Kardashians.
Still in tidy-up mode I found this photo. Taken somewhere in the late seventies, I may not come across again for another thirty years. Dale Mincey, stretched out across the couch, was the lead guitar player in New Math when I was in the band. Robert, with the shades in his hand, was the bass player. And I found a yellow Post-It note with my father’s Spotify password on it. Not that we could forget. The Mayflowers, the May Apples, the Trillium and every other wildflower he introduced us to, remind us of his passing. And we are tuning into the birds.
I came across this this quote and it has fired me up. “Failure is my best friend. “If I succeeded, it would be like dying. Maybe worse.” – Alberto Giacometti
Margaret Explosion plays the four Wednesdays in May at the Little Theatre.
Margaret Explosion – Feminismo
Peggi and I have been doing some serious housecleaning. Working our way to the bottom of piles that have been building up for years, sorting though my parents business affairs, dividing our iCloud documents between our two separate IDs, preparing for a new bookshelf that is being made to order and looking for two old journals that we can’t seem to put our hands on. They contain notes from our trips to Spain and we had the bright idea to consolidate all ten journals into one document. Well, the tenth one hasn’t been written yet.
We came across an old business card, one for our business. The original was done on an Atari ST. Bit map was big. Our next computer was a MacII. We were setting postscript and there was no going back. We’ve been fans of Apple for a long time and we’re still trying to convince ourselves that their best days aren’t over. That’s why they call us stockholders.
I love my watch. This iCloud thing, though, is problematic. The infrastructure is not here yet. I’ve been trying to upload my photo library for two weeks now. All I wanted to do was share the library on another mac, the way I used to with iPhoto but Apple removed that feature when they rewrote the program they now call Photos. How and why were they able to use such a generic name? The only way to share now, even locally, is to put everything in the cloud. And the photos are getting crunched on the way up. I’m sticking with Flickr as a BU and probably could have just shared through Flick but I’m getting with the program. Meanwhile, no Netflix streaming, no YouTube. I can barely get a map to paint up. I wish my neighborhood had Greenlight. I plan to work on that. TW cripples our upload speed.
We kind of thought the Spontaneous Duets event would be crowded so we said we would make a point to get there early. We didn’t and it wasn’t. The event was on our calendar so it showed up on my watch but the 4pm start time really caught us by surprise. The sound in the unlikely Eastman rehearsal space on the corner of East And Gibbs is really nice. Surrounded by glass, there is no need for sound re-enforcement and the grand piano sounds magnificent in here.
This year’s round robin started with a woman playing alto sax by herself. A six string electric bassist joined her after five minutes and five minutes later the sax player sat down when a vibraphonist joined the bassist. A piano player joined the vibraphonist and then a trumpet player took the vibraphonists’ spot.
The room got downright raucous when a tenor sax player reached for the sky with the trumpeter. A bass player, who we had just heard playing with Rich Thompson’s quartet, joined the sax player and the music settled down into pure beauty’s with long sustained notes. Then drums with bowed bass followed by trombone and drums. Finally a guitar with the trombone and then the guitarist solo. This is a really cool concept, part of International Jazz Day. Today.
We stopped over at the Little for the Prince event. Spevak was there to cover it and a WDKX dj was supposed to be spinning Prince tunes in the café but they didn’t show up. A women in line with Peggi said “I was just listening to the station in my car and they’re playing all Prince.” So Marian climbed up on the counter and pulled the rabbit ears out of the radio. We told Jeff we liked his recap of the local Music Hall of Fame event. He spilled quite a bit of ink on the Plasmatics and I told him Wendy was in my high school class. She lived over the right field line of the baseball field at the end of my street. Doug Klick was a lefty and he used to pull the ball into her yard where she was sunbathing. And then, of course we’d run in there to retrieve it.
On the question of whether the city of Toronto or the drive to the city along the Lake Ontario Parkway is more interesting, I guess I would come down on the drive side. I love everything about Route 18, the Public Works Parkway design with its beautiful stone bridges, the dreamy views of the lake, the fact that there is hardly any traffic, the orchards, vineyards and fruit stands, not one gas station between Rochester and Buffalo and the small summer vacation towns with the lighthouses from yesteryear, like Olcott, where we stopped for lunch. I was looking forward to the ride home.
We were behind a cluster of trucks on the QEW as we headed out of town and I was thinking about how John Baldessari talked about the back end of trucks looking like modern art paintings. We were listening to AM740, Toronto’s “Timeless Hits station.” They were playing songs from 40 years ago, recapping the hit of 1976. If someone wanted to know why punk came about, that year’s playlist would be the most concise answer you could provide.
Today’s destination was AGO, the newly designed Frank Geary-faced, Art Gallery of Ontario. We were excited to see the “Outsiders” show of photography from 1950 to 1980. The show was perfectly arranged by photographer, the best first so we could soak it in before we were saturated. Diane Arbus is great but Garry Winogrand rules! The photo above had me laughing out loud. He goes wide angle and includes enough information for a novel.
We had Manchego cheese, olives, fresh sour dough bread, Haddock Ceviche and Pimentos de Padrón at a Spanish restaurant called Bar Isabel and we walked a mile or so back to our hotel topping yesterday’s 7.2 mile total by on tenth of a mile. The restaurant would have been perfect if it was named “Isabela.”
The Lewiston bridge was waiting for customers when we crossed into Canada. The trip to Toronto was a breeze. I thought there was supposed to be long lines at the border and back-ups near the city but we were early for check-in at our hotel. We took the Parkway and Robert Moses along the shores of Lake Ontario, skipped the thruway entirely and were downtown in three plus hours.
We set an all-time Moves record on our app by walking from our downtown hotel to the Harbourfront Centre along the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The energy generated in the reconditioned Power Plant is all from the power of contemporary art. The current show is mostly video displayed floor to ceiling in empty, pitch black rooms. We were mesmerized by Leslie Hewitt’s “Untitled Structures.” Shot in Memphis, Chicago and New York the pieces touched on civil rights. Hewitt worked with a cinematographer, Bradford Young, and created 35mm film studies (barely moving still images), transferred them to HD video and used dual projector software to juxtapose two images at a time on perpendicular walls.
When I first met Mary she was sitting in a wheelchair outside my mom’s room and she asked us a perfectly coherent question. One of three “Mary’s” on the floor, she asked us if we had seen her husband. She said she was supposed to meet him here and she couldn’t find him. We were not able to help her. Mary sits at my mom’s table for meals and carries on a running commentary. Today she told us, “They do cheese rather well here.” One of the aides said, “I see Mary’s family is here,” referring to my mom. Mary said, “They are? I don’t see them.” We said, “There are two Marys here.” And she informed us that she was the real Mary.
We found two golf balls without even trying. They were both sitting there on the trail when we crossed the course. One was fluorescent green/yellow and the other was a Nike 1. We took turns tossing them toward the hole, a par three. We were just outside the green. Peggi decided to use her foot for the second shot so I followed suit. I scored a one under.
Before our friend, Julio, moved to Maine, he helped us rebuild the railing around our basement stairs. We don’t have a door to the basement, we just have an opening in the floor and it is right next to our front door so the railing is not only decorative, but it is functional. When the original owner of our house built the place he cut down a few red oak trees on our property and had them milled for the hardwood floors that he laid throughout the house. We wanted to use red oak too to build the railing so Peggi and I bought some rough cut lumber from a sawmill in Hilton and had my brother plane the wood in his shop.
To complete the job according to Julio’s plans we still needed to construct a matching handrail for the descent into our basement (where all the magic happens). We hired Steve Greive, the neighborhood tradesman/handyman. He did the tile in our kitchen and we had him help us with the ceiling in our basement. Steve found a lumberyard with an eleven foot long piece of of rough-cut red oak and Peggi and I walked over to his house this afternoon and helped him plane the wood in his garage.
The Society for Chamber Music was an early 4D Advertising client. This was back in the eighties and I remember the two women who ran the group smoking like chimneys. It was sort of a stuffy organization but we tried to have fun with the layouts for their brochures. And we went to a few of their sleepy performances.
Today chamber music really appeals to me. Not all of it, of course, but I would much rather listen to a small group setting than an orchestral one. I like being able to clearly hear the individual instruments and interplay. It even works in a jazz setting where the players are free to improvise. Chico Hamilton’s group, especially the one with the multi-instrumentalist, Eric Dolphy, and cello, paved the way for “chamber jazz.”
In the late nineties, when Margaret Explosion was playing a happy hour gig at the Bug Jar, one the original owners worked the bar. It was his only night there. He had a day job at Merrill Lynch and after a few years he convinced us to meet him downtown to talk about money. He became our guy but he worked his way up in the company and passed us off to his assistant. That guy now works for Wells Fargo and he invited his clients to lunch at the Monroe Golf Club. He talked about the markets while we sipped lemomade and ate our salads and then three members of the Chamber Music Society performed, a violinist, an oboe player and a guitarist. One of the board members is also a client.
They did two pieces back to back that were composed by Frenchmen but sounded Spanish. Our ears perked up. Maurice Ravel apparently grew up in the Basque region near the border. Juliana Athayde, the violinist, is the Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and she teaches violin at the Eastman. Someone asked if they ever had a bad performance and she offered the same advice she gives her students. “Don’t let your mistakes have babies. Just move on and stay in the moment.” They finished with a rousing arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s “Nightclub 1960.”
We had never been to the Italian American Club out on Buffalo Road so it was a real treat to be invited there to meet the 2016 Western New York Flash. This club is where all the original support for the Rochester Lancers came from and the reason we were able to see the great Pelé play here. Since we went to every home game last season we bought season tickets holders this year and thus were invited here to meet the team. Each table of fans, there were eight at our table, had a Flash player joining them for dinner. Sabrina D’Angelo’s name was printed on tent card at our table but it was crossed out and Liz Eddy’s name was written in. Sabrina is Canada’s national goalie and one of our favorites but midfielder, Liz Eddy, is one of the hardest working players on the team. Liz was the first call sub last year for the Flash and started last week’s season premier where the Flash beat the the two-time league champion, FC Kansas City. We watched that game on YouTube and Eddy was in top form.
We had a chance to chat with the new head coach, Paul Riley. He’s from Liverpool, and had coached Hope Solo’s team in Portland for the last few years. He was just hired here so he didn’t have much to do with the draft pick but he told us he was really pleased with the team he found here. He was just beaming about the way his team played in Kansas City.
We bought raffle tickets from Samantha Mewis. She is is currently on the cusp of being chosen for the eighteen player US Olympic rooster. She is five eleven and she was wearing tall heels. I sort of hope she doesn’t make the cut so we won’t lose her for a month or so. We watched a soccer game going on behind the building and the players, all men, were old, as in my age. Last time I played summer soccer was with some Italian pick up group that played at East High. Just a block from house I would crawl home and lay on the floor for an hour or so after the games.
I told Eddy we liked routing for her last year and were happy to see her starting. I told her the way she hustled reminded me of Heather O’Reily. She liked that a lot and told me she liked my hair. She asked if I played and I told her I did, for Indiana, a long time ago. She said, “You must have been really good.” I just let that go. The whole Flash team posed for a shot after dinner.
I’m try to think of some promotional gimmick or something I could do to get more people out for the Flash’s opening game on April 29th. As they say, this is such a great product.
My father put their Time magazine subscription in my mother’s name and their mail comes to our house now the he is gone. This week’s issue came with over two million different covers. Each subscriber had their name imprinted into a headline that reads, “Mary Dodd (subscriber name) You Owe $42,998.12,” her share of the national debt. We have been bringing her Women’s Day magazines up to her but I think she might find this one a little troubling. We found her down in PT this morning where Julie had her walking the length of the halls. Julie has a simple but effective technique. She talks fast and distracts her clients, getting them do things they could never do if they thought about it.
We cut through the woods this afternoon and came out near our polling place, the Point Pleasant Fire Station. In New York State you have to be registered with a party in order to vote in the primary. A women behind the table asked what my name was and I told her. She couldn’t find it and asked again. My last name is simple but not easy to enunciate. She still couldn’t find it so I spelled it out. She thought I said “E” instead of “D” and confessed that she forgot her hearing aides. Peggi had already voted for a full slate of delegates before I was done registering.
On the way back we stopped up at the park to check on the progress of the magnolias. They were blooming easy and then we had a cold snap so they are a little confused.
I continued a riff on my entries into last year’s 6×6 by doing pretty much the same thing with different colors. The rough cut boards I used, given to me by Pete and Shelley, are not quite six inches wide so I ripped a few pieces and sued them together. I planned to paint the two parts of each piece different colors but I could only paint one color at a time because I panted them while hold them. This was a nice sensation. I put them in a window to dry and grew to like the bare wood so they were “done” just like that. I never thought anyone would buy last year’s but they did. This may be pushing it.
We did the second shift on Record Store Day. Wouldn’t miss Saturday morning yoga class or Kneads & Wants. Last week’s “Hangover Biscuit” was the best yet, spinach, egg, cheese and caramelized onion. This week we went for the expresso creme filled croissants. And then we were ready for the great House of Guitars. We picked up a Coltrane ten inch and a Dylan ep with four songs from his new standards album. Headed over to the Record Archive and talked to Frank DeBlase about Margaret Explosion’s role in his new spoken word project. Way too nice a day to be in a record store so came home and took a walk. We found some ramps on top of the hill in Spring Valley and made an appetizer out of them.
I was looking for ramps because we found them yesterday in Edmunds Woods. My father took us there many times. It was one of his favorite haunts. The woods is surrounded by development and mostly deer free so there is plenty of undergrowth and wildflowers in the early Spring before the leaves fill in. We were visiting my mom earlier and she pointed out someone who she thought looked like my father. He didn’t but that got us thinking of him so we visited the woods.
The cut leafed toothwort was in full bloom and the trout lily were ready to pop. The squirrel corn was all still just green but the wild leeks or ramps were already in their prime. In the next few weeks this woods will be showcasing Spring Beauty, Red and White Trillium, May Apples, Blood Root, Blue Cohosh, Jack in the Pulpits, Black Snake Root and Flat-Topped White Aster. I wouldn’t miss it. Here’s my father’s map to the highlights.
I went out on a limb back in ’08 but I’ve pretty much stayed away from politics here. I will say we have watched almost all the debates. Some were a lot better than others. I fell asleep in the Clinton Bernie bash last night. We haven’t gone out to see any of the candidates in person. Cruz is here today but that wouldn’t be much fun. There’s a green house around the corner that has been flying a yellow snake flag for the last few years and his neighbor just put up up a small homemade sign that reads, “Billionaires Can’t Buy Bernie.” He put it right on the edge of his property line and faced it not out at the street but toward his neighbor. New York is in play for the first time in a long time and we are having fun with it so far.
We started spinach, lettuce and beets from seed about five weeks go. We bought a bag of sterilized potting soil on our neighbor’s recommendation and put that in some shallow plastic trays. Other years we’d just get some dirt out of the yard but our neighbor said this is much better for some reason. In fact he said we could sterilize our dirt by putting it in the oven. He grew up on a farm and he was a chemist at Kodak so he knows these things.
Each year he tells us how his grandmother would just scatter spinach seed on the snow in early March. Even when we think we are getting the jump on things, Jared is one step ahead of us. He has some spinach up that wintered over and he has started seeds in their glass porch.
They were headed out of town for a few weeks so they asked if we’d do the usual, take in their paper (so he can catch up when he gets home), feed the cat and water his plants. We brought our trays of sprouts down to their solerium and they loved it. Every seed sprouted and the lettuce was three inches high by the time they got back in town.
We turned over the garden and put the plants in the ground. If the groundhogs don’t get it we’ll be swimming in greens in the next month.
I know I have my dates all mixed up here but I’m guessing Greg Highlen did this art work around 1971. He was an art major living rent free in his painting studio instead of a dorm when I met him. He was a legendary figure around Bloomington Indiana. He rode a bike so he was always around. He worked at H Salt, a fish and chips place in the college town, and he’d bring bags of fried fish and chips by the trailer where a bunch of us were living.
I remember watching him make this piece one afternoon as we sat around the table. It took about ten minutes and I taped it to the wall when he was done. We tracked Greg down a year or so ago, living on the lower east side. He is still making art and promised to show it us next time we visit.
My mom and I have been good friends for a long time. She is living at the Friendly Home these days. Sounds like a Quaker place but it is not. The management there randomly teamed a resident and an employee with one of the 64 teams in the March Madness basketball tournament. My mom was coincidentally teamed with a good friend of my sister’s, someone who works at the the FH in the business department. And they were both attached to Villanova, the school my father graduated from. Their names were printed on these little college pennants in a display on a table in the coffee room.
We watched Villanova hang in there as they removed the losing teams after each game. Even Syracuse disappeared and Villanova went right to the top. My mom was presented a $25 gift certificate, redeemable at the gift shop in the FH. We took her down there to do some shopping. My mom has always had excellent taste. She picked out a coral sweater, one with rather sort sleeves and no buttons, and a light pink, silk scarf with little white polka dots. The FH credited her account with the remaining two dollars and we dropped the new garments off at the station where they sew name tags on the clothing so gets reunited with the right person after being laundered.
There was an article in this morning’s paper about Matthew Klein, a NYC police sketch artist. They referred to his his occupation as a throwback trade but went on to detail cases where his sketches were instrumental in solving the crime. There are only a hundred full time forensic artists left in the United States.
One of them is Suzanne Birdwell from the Texas State Police. She says, “Forensic art is not about creating something beautiful; it’s about documenting an intangible piece of evidence. When we start a project we have no idea what we’re drawing. And we never know it’s right. Imagine drawing something you have never seen before.” I like that.
My current camera, a Sony RX100, has all sorts of options, ones I really use. But I am glad I have them. The auto mode is so good I have been spoiled. I hardly leave it but I know I should. If only to control the background focus. Duane tells me he runs around town with his ISO set to 1600. There is an advantage there that I can only imagine. I remember when that speed was twice what was possible with fast, grainy Kodak black and white film.
I recently photographed the a batch of oil paintings on wood panels. The ground was most white but you would never know it looking at my photos. I came up with maybe a 5 on the grey scale where it should have been white. I knew I should have been setting the white point and shooting with manual mode but I knocked off the shots in auto mode. They paintings are currently hanging in a show but next time I will do it right and I have a pile of my father’s watercolors that I would like to photograph next.
I called Duane for instructions. He worked for Lowel, a lighting company, and I use four Lowel brand Tota lights. We started with my bulbs. A couple are high quality Quartzand the others are Home Depot tungsten lamps which can change color spectrum as they age. I got on Amazon and ordered 5 EIKO FCZ 120V/500W R7s Base Stage and Studio Lamp from Barndoor Lighting Outfitters.
Not only were my whites not white, they were wildly uneven. Most likely the lights were too close to the subject. He suggested I step two feet to the sides of the paintings and then step back at least six feet from the surface of the painting to set the four lights. Two lamps on each side, barn doors set open about 45 degrees. As for aiming Duane recommended that I cross light the paintings so the the lights on the left side of the painting should be lighting the right side of the painting.
To set the white balance Duane suggested I frame a shot in auto made so it is full white, the same same white as ground on the paintings, and take note of the readings (iso, Fstop and shutter speed). Then use the same settings in manual mode (where my camera allows me to capture and store that white balance).
Finally, still in Manual mode, I will try an ISO of 400, an F stop at 8 and then get the M.M. setting to zero out by selecting the appropriate shutter speed. I will report back.