July 29th, 2015
OK, it’s the hottest night of the year. Ninety degrees as I write this. The Western New York Flash who have been playing exceptional well despite their mediocre record, are playing the Portland Thorns tonight. Portland averages 13,000 fans a game. I suspect there will be a lot fewer in the stands tonight but we’ll get to see another batch of World Cup players.
Germany’s amazing Nadine Angerer will be in goal for Portland. Alex Morgan, Rachel Van Hollebeke (née Buehler) and Tobin Heath from the US national team will be playing favor up front for Portland along with Canada’s and maybe the world’s best player, Christine Sinclair. And Columbia’s Lady Andade will be playing forward for the Flash. On Saturday we got close-ups of Carley Lloyd and Megan Klingenberg.
We like to get to the stadium early to see the warm-ups. We stand right behind the U.S. net and watch the players take shots on goal. If only they could shoot as well during regulation time.
July 28th, 2015
In 1968 I was preparing for my senior prom. That year Soviet troops were marching on Prague in reaction to Alexander Dubcek’s reform campaign called the “Prague Spring.” He had restored cultural freedom to the city known for its artists, musicians and writers. The Soviets felt differently and invaded.
The following year the Italian artist, Luciano Guarnieri, created a portfolio of color lithographs called “Shadow on Prague’” an edition of 200. They are on display now in the Lockhart Gallery, down the hall from the Finger Lakes show at the MAG. These images are as powerful as they are beautiful.
July 27th, 2015
“Sweet & Sour,” the title of Stephanie McMahon’s oil on panel painting (above, click photo for full painting) pretty well summarizes my reaction to this year’s Finger Lakes show. I really like this painting. It is playful and surprising, fun and spatially engaging. What more could you ask for? I really liked Lanna Pejovic’s “The Listener II.” We had seen a show of her work recently at the former Bausch & Lomb headquarters. This one picks up where those left off, drawing you in to and under the arches as the ground comes roaring forward. Quite a sensation! The hand of the artist is clearly present in these two paintings. And that’s what I like.
This year’s judge is not so interested in the rough and tumble. There is a distant polish to a lot of the work here, a few hyper realism pieces way over polished. It is a really nice looking show, mostly of a piece with an abundance of abstracts. Of course it’s hard to take a show in on opening night and when I go back I’m sure I’ll find something with some guts. If I want decorative I’ll go to the MAG’s store.
Upstairs in the ballroom we spotted our neighbor, Domnika, as we walked in. She told us the band is great. We already knew that. They were playing Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” and they sounded just like the record. She told us she came up here first and had not even seen the show yet. It was almost eleven.
The band is called “Shine.” The three vocalists were fantastic. In the short time we were there they did Michael Jackson’s “ABC,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and then got us out on the dance floor with Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious.” Somebody has to book this band for a party and invite us.
July 26th, 2015
Most of the Irondequoit Art Trail, a yearly tour of artist’s home studios, is in West Irondequoit but we only had limited amount of time so we did the east side. We were on bikes and our route took us downhill toward the lake. First stop was The Artist’s Cave in the Quonset hut across from the amusement park. The building has an unusual energy and was the perfect spot for John Leonard paintings, my favorite of which are some curious takes on the crucifixion. The second and third stops were both on Lake Bluff Road, a funky but exotic neighborhood tucked in behind Vic’s Place and overlooking Lake Ontario. We had a delightful time chatting with Sally Steinwachs while we marveled at her paintings.
We intended to continue across town to Deb VanWert’s, Craig Wilson’s and TeeJay’s but we had to help my sister pack up her apartment. On the way back Peggi suggested putting our place on the map next year.
July 25th, 2015
There was some loose talk about getting together for dinner and then the designated day was upon us. We settled on Mexican, a bean casserole recipe that we got from Robin Goldblatt’s mom. Robin was our bass player while she was still in high school. We had dinner at her house one time, smoked a joint with her mom (Robin didn’t smoke) and first had this delicious Mexican dish.
So, at noon, the day of the show, I found a Rufino Tamayo graphic and put together this invite. Some people don’t know that the photos in these blog posts all exist in a bigger, un-cropped version, something you can only see if you click on the photos. Jeff and Mary Kaye, Matthew and Louise all got an invite but does anyone check email anymore? Would Peggi and I be eating this dish for a week?
I made a big green salad with the Romaine, spinach, beet greens, cilantro and basil from our garden. And with the first beets of the season Peggi made a beet/goat cheese, roasted pecan side dish and the doorbell rang. Matthew made an otherworldly guacamole dish. Jeff brought two bottles of Spanish wine. We bought a quart bottle of Pineapple pop, “Pinå. “I made a Cumbia playlist. We lit our Mexican candles, the ones that smell like melting plastic. The conversation was fast and furious and somewhere around midnight we all headed down the street to the pool for skinny dipping and a diving board contest. We were loud and nobody complained. The water temperature was 83, warmer than the air. It was magic!
July 24th, 2015
When my father was still working he would bring home loaner digital cameras from Kodak’s Camera Club. The first one was half a megapixel resolution. 500K photos. Once the one mega pixel models came out I bought one, through his camera club connection of course. They were expensive at the time.A few years later I graduated to a 3 megapixel model, another Kodak camera, and it was that camera that I used to take the picture above. The enlargement is shown in its full resolution, 1152 pixels wide.
I photographed fifty or so manhole covers all within a few blocks of our house near East High. My father documents birds and wildflowers, I document signs and dumpsters and manhole covers, things like that. It runs in the family.
I created a slideshow back in’99 and put it on the Refrigerator website. This was in the early html days when you vertical center an object in a table. These days you go through hoops to align things with divs and the page is much more adaptable to various screen sizes. I dusted it off and moved the slideshow to PopWars where it looks brand new. Go to Manhole Mandalas.
July 21st, 2015
The High Line in New York is a sensation, a former railroad line converted to a simple but scenic walkway. The local trail that runs between Lakeshore Boulevard and Lake Ontario, where the old train tracks were, is also a sensation. It is mostly level, the views of the lake are gorgeous, the people watching is prime and it is no where near as crowded as the High Line.
We often do it by bike and start up near the Parkside Diner. From there you can roll through the park woods, across the marsh on the new wooden bridge and on to trail along the lake. There are people picnicking on both sides of the trail, Reggaeton on the sound systems, sun worshippers in lounge chairs oriented just so, bathers in water, most in only up to their knees but some out on the sand bars, windsurfers way out and lines of motor boats anchored just off shore. Today we rode the whole thing, took every bit of it in and continued on to the river where I took this shot while we had lunch. It is a rather inexpensive vacation.
July 20th, 2015
As hot as it was we suited up and walked in the woods. We spooked this little fawn but once it jumped up and ran in circles it got really curious about us and came pretty close. There was no sign of the mother. We were standing as still as possible. After a while I threw it one of the Beechnuts I had picked up and I spooked it again but it came back to check us out once more and then just bent its knees and sat down in the ferns.
When Bill Jones died a few years back, Fred Lipp bought his wife a tree to plant in their yard. Maureen Church, a longtime student, remembered that gesture and asked if we wanted to go in on a cherry tree for Fred’s family. We dug the hole today and planted the tree. His daughter, Janet, promised to send us a picture when it blossoms in the Spring.
July 18th, 2015
You know you’re in a happenin’ spot when both Bleu Cease and Jonathan Binstock, the directors of RoCo and MAG, are in the house. Well, not exactly in the house but outside of the packed 1975 Gallery where a show of work by the international mural artists, in town for this year’s “Wall Therapy” project, was in opening mode. The work had some serious prices attached to it and some of it was extremely meticulous. This gallery has zeroed in on the tattoo set. Illustration, surrealistic nods to the absurd, bugs, photo realism are all touchstones. I was drawn more to the “Subterranean Surrogates” in the old Inner loop, the underground infrastructure going into this new terrain in front of the gallery.
We wandered over to the Village Gate for the Festival of Lights. The Village Gate location was running a little later than the 10 o’clock start time and and I got a kick out of that. I used to like that hour or so where you waited for a band to come in a rock n’ roll club that was running perpetually late as the excitement built. The place was wall-to-wall bodies, the sound system mysteriously went silent but we stuck around long enough to see some LED lit dancers slithering around the cobblestone. Last night’s thunderstorm and its accompanying light show blew away the Festival of Lights by a long shot.
July 17th, 2015
We didn’t really discuss what we’d do on our anniversary. It just worked out that we spent a good part of it weeding a new patch of pachysandra that we recently put in. Eventually it will take over and snuff out the weeds but it needs a little space to get going.
We stopped in at the Little Theater Café last night, first time we had been there since our gig ran out for the summer. Maria Gillard was there with her band. They do swing/jazz, mostly great songs from the the golden years but Maria’s originals fit in beautifully. Some music works better than others in here and these guys bring the place alive. Pete Monacelli plays drums with what look like paint brushes. He has just the right touch and a perfect color sense for the tunes.
July 16th, 2015
I suppose any member of our street pool association could take it upon themselves to make a purchase for the pool and then go to the treasurer and get reimbursed for it. I was a little nervous about it. We were at Home Depot returning a nozzle for our garden hose. The thing had come apart on us and I couldn’t get it back together. They are pretty good about returning stuff over there. We spotted these plastic flower pots in the outdoor garden center. They came in four or five colors but the turquoise ones looked especially good to us, sort of retro Florida-like. The flower pots at our pool were the typical garden store, Romanesque things. Ornate and grey with a short stem and a wide base. They were made out of plaster or something that slowly chips and crumbles. There were only two of the turquoise plastic pots left. We were on our bikes. Would the others approve?
Well, we made it home with the things on my handlebars and the treasurer didn’t balk at the reimbursement but it took her and her husband about three weeks before they announced they liked the new flower pots because they went well with pool color adding they weren’t something that they would pick out. I took this shot while standing in the pool, midway between the shallow and deep ends.
July 15th, 2015
Aren’t we lucky that some things still rust?
Our neighbor, the one with sun in his backyard and a big old fence to keep the deer out, informed us that there was another woodchuck in the garden. At the moment we’re so overloaded with spinach and beet greens and lettuce and cilantro and basil that we should probably let him have at it. But last night I cut up an apple and baited a Hav-A-Heart trap and this morning our neighbor emailed us that we had caught a Blue Jay. He freed the bird.
If you haven’t been to Peggi’s site in awhile you really ought to stop by now while she is featuring a Don Hershey designed home on San Rafael Drive. It’s for sale for the first time since it was built for the original owners in 1960. Hershey designed about 300 homes in the Rochester area (we live in one), most of them mid-century modern, and this one is a beauty.
July 14th, 2015
Miss the smell of the cigars that our former neighbor used to smoke in their backyard on a humid summer night. And I miss seeing his wife through the back porch windows, working away on her writing.
My father misses the Bobolinks that travelled all the way from Argentina to find a girlfriend in the former meadows off Westfall Road in the town of Brighton. He gave talk on Sunday to 30 or so people at the restored Buckland House which sits on the former Edmunds property there, surrounded by “improvements” that the Town has made in recent years. Ball fields, parking lots, a lodge and a war memorial. And of course everything is handicapped accessible, something the birds could care less about.
Bobolinks like meadows and my father used to walk these fields and sketch the Bobolinks. He projected pages from his sketchbooks of drawings he made “en plein air” of the Bobolinks in these very fields. Development comes with a steep cost. And something as simple as a meadow is like heaven to birds and birdwatchers.
Hyperlink to Bobolinks
July 11th, 2015
Our painting teacher used to say how lucky he was to have “learned from the best.” By that he meant the artists he liked. He studied their work and claimed the artists “spoke to him.” “We had a dialog.”
As great as Matisse is, I happen to think he is the best, he learned from Cezanne. In fact, everyone who is anyone learned from Cezanne or should have. I knew that Matisse owned a Cezanne but I didn’t know which one until I came across a reference to it the other night in a book. It is the one above, “Three Bathers,” and it was painted in 1879-82. Matisse bought it in 1899. Cezanne was still alive and would live another seven years. Matisse lived with the painting for thirty-seven years and gave it to the Paris Museum of Fine Arts at the end of that time. He included a note that read as follows:
“In the thirty-seven years I have owned this canvas, I have come to know it quite well, I hope, although not entirely.; it has sustained me morally in the critical moments of my venture as an artist; I have drawn from it my faith and my perseverance.”
July 11th, 2015
Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand
Jack is in his coat, and Jan is in her vest, and me
I’m in a rock’n’roll band Hah!
Ridin’ in a Cadillac, Jim
Y’know, those were different times!
Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
And the ladies, they rolled their eyes
Sweet Jan! Whoa! Sweet Jan, oh-oh-a! Sweet Jan!
July 9th, 2015
Summer vacation is just a bike ride away if your bike route includes the path that starts behind Parkside Diner and continues through the the woods, Tamarac Swamp, in front of the Highlands and then along Lakeshore Boulevard toward Charlotte. Of course you’ll want to bring your suit. Or you could just take in the visions of Arcadia, a mythic place of beauty and repose where humankind lives in harmony with nature.
July 8th, 2015
We walk at different times every day. At least I think we do. We see an opening, we suit up and take off. Maybe we are a lot more predictable than I think we are because we are always running into these two women. You can only see one in the photo because the older one stays in the car while her daughter (we’re guessing) walks the poodle. They drive to this location, park awkwardly and the one woman gets out with the dog. We talk about the weather. It is always a nice day or “nicer than yesterday” and then we wave hello to the woman in the car. She smiles and that is it.
Since I have this photo up I’d like to call your attention to the area off to the left, behind the car, right where the road disappears around the bend. That is where the “Budweiser Man” tossed his empty cans for five years or so. Something happened to the guy because there have not been any cans here for months. You can see from these old links that I’ve been picking up after this guy since 2008.
July 7th, 2015
With good reason, Rodin believed he had the hands of god and he rendered them in marble. I am convinced. They are on display now at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.
It was a revelation to see so many Rodin sculptures in one place. Walking around them, experiencing one after the other in space and realizing how well Rodin played with and accentuated the physical properties of the human form was a sensation. You feel the structure, the balance, the weight, the strength, the beauty, and it is not an illusion. It is three dimensional.
Rodin was commissioned to create a work for the 1889 Paris Exhibition. Rodin chose to reinterpret Dante’s “Inferno” in a bronze door. “The Thinker” was part of that assemblage and was originally entitled “The Poet” after Dante. When this project was canceled due a lack of funds Rodin created models and finished large pieces from the figures. Many of them, including “The Scream” above, are in this show.
The Museum here has a great collection, Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Giacometti, Golub and Penck but it is all so two dimensional.
July 6th, 2015
My sister joined us for the World Cup final and came over an hour or so early so we could talk before the big game. We had the pre-game show on and most of the commentators were predicting a U.S. would win. I felt like that we’re going to win as well but I was really worried about the game being a blow-out. We had seen so many tight, exciting games recently, I just knew we were overdue for one of these high scoring games. And I knew there would be a huge crowd tuning in, the most to ever watch a soccer game in the U.S., so I wanted it to be be a good game. I found myself hoping Japan would close the gap in this one but the U.S. was unstoppable. I wish Lloyd had played that good when she was with the Flash.
They are pretty relentless with the French in Montreal. They’re only a half hour from New York State, you’d think you’d be able to make a subway transaction in English. I took the language in High School but I never got the hang of all those silent syllables. Spanish makes a lot more sense, more sense than English, with the hard considents and the consistent pronunciations of vowels.
The Spanish restaurant, above, was right across the street from our hotel in Montreal. We stopped in the first night, after the game, and had gambas al ajillo. We sat at the bar chatted with the owner. He was originally from Ligo in Galicia and I think he was also the chef because he kept running back to the kitchen. When we finished our tapas he recommended a drink we had never heard of, “Sol Y Sombre.” Just like the cheap and expensive seats at a bullfight in the sun and the shade. It’s made with Brandy and Anise. We ate here the following night as well.
At the celebration of Fred’s life some painters in our class were asking each other if they had done anything since Fred died. Most had not. That’s not right, of course, with all that he taught us. It may just be a matter of time.
July 5th, 2015
I’m happy to have our boring lives back now that jazz fest and the world cup are behind us. Even the Grateful Dead finally wrapped things up this weekend. I’m ready to watch a slow summer simmer.
Elvind Opsvik wrote to tell me my notes on his band’s performance were “spot on.” I’m really enjoying the 45 that we bought at their gig. We were were invited to a post jazz fest party and everyone was talking about the Woods Brothers, a group whose sound file we nixed on the final night. Felt like we saw a different event than most.
Between chasing the national team to Montreal and the WC final we saw the WNY Flash play the best game we’ve seen, tying the first place Seattle Reign FC, 1-1. I hope some of this World Cup fever rubs off on the local team. Lloyd, Morgan and Wambach all played for the Flash and Leroux will be back here soon. Somehow Rochester let Kansas City kick their ass as a soccer town.
Hope you haven’t used up your ten free NYT’s clicks this month because there’s a pretty great article on Robert Frank in the Magazine section.