Mater Dolorosa

July 24th, 2016

Mother of Sorrows Rectory on Mount Read Boulevard in Rochester, New York

The last two Catholic funeral masses we’ve been to were said by priests with accents so thick it was nearly impossible to understand what they were saying. It is almost as if the church is going back to Latin, the way it was when I was serving mass as an altar boy. The church is desperate for priests as well as congregation.

With tall ceilings, cream colored walls, abstract stained-glass windows and no statues except for the crucifix on right hand side of the alter and the slim Blessed Virgin mounted to a wood panel on the left, Mother of Sorrows Church looked like a big, modern chapel, a “Spiritual Vessel” as the the type on the wall proclaimed. A Renaissance style painting of Mary looking skyward with the crucified Christ collapsed in her arms was the central alter piece. Two dimentional representations of the fourteen stations of the cross were hung on a navy blue panel that circled the sanctuary and it looked like the Yankee logo was mounted on the ceiling although I think it was a particularly decorative letter “M.”

After the mass I picked up a holy card in the foyer. It had a picture of Blessed Virgin with a small vessel on her heart with seven small swords piercing the vessel. Above the picture it read, “Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary” and it was followed with instructions to say one Hail Mary while meditating on each sorrow.

1. The Prophecy of Saint Simeon.
2. The escape and Flight into Egypt.
3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem.
4. The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Via Dolorosa.
5. The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary.
6. The Piercing of the Side of Jesus, and His Descent from the Cross.
7. The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea.

On the way out we drove by the back of the old church rectory with was right next to the abandoned Mother of Sorrows school and I took this shot.

Sunday Outing

July 22nd, 2016

Diane Arbus Two Teenage Girls at the Met Breuer

We practiced a lot when we were in Personal Effects. Margaret Explosion, on the other hand, never practices. Our old rehearsal space had a Diane Arbus poster on the wall with a large reproduction of “A young Brooklyn family going for a Sunday outing, NYC 1966.” I like to think she had an influence on the band.

The Met Breuer, the old Whitney, has mounted a show of her early work. Called, “In the Beginning,” it features a hundred photos from 1956 to 1962, work that’s not been seen for the most part. The museum notes she was influenced by the great August Sandler and they displayed one of his photos at the beginning of the show and then her “Sunday Outing” photo at the end of the show.

The ingenious way the curator hung the Diane Arbus show, with narrow grey columns displaying one of her relatively small photos on each side, draws you in to each photo but leaves you surrounded by people, people as strange as the ones she photographed.

Personal Effects - Nothing Lasts Forever
Personal Effects – Nothing Lasts Forever


July 21st, 2016

Tiffany Trump speaking at the Republican National Convention

Too busy watching tv to check in here. Remaking America every night. I fell asleep last night just before Ted Cruz brought the house down. My favorite speaker so far has been Tiffany.

Somewhere in the seventies the Dictators played a gig in the back room of WCMF. Their Manifest Destiny lp had just come out and they rocked the place like they were downtown in the War Memorial. Sleeping With The TV On was my favorite song on the record.

Fake Buddhists

July 19th, 2016

Old school funk band playing on the street in Midtown Manhattan

This old school funk band, playing on the street in midtown Manhattan, sounded great a block away. A perfect formula, pumping bass, drummer dragging the beat, scratchy guitar and soulful sax. I wish that sound, the era that Chic dominated, would come back.

We spent some time in midtown this visit, soaking in shows at the Modern, the Met and the new Met Breuer, and I couldn’t get over how good the fake Buddhists are. They look the part, shaved heads, orange robes, innocent smile, and people were giving them money. Don’t people read the news?

We walked through the park to get to the Metropolitan and stopped at the pond where a miniature sailboat race was taking place. We thought we would start with the Cornelia Parker piece on the Met’s rooftop but we had to work our way through the Roman sculpture garden, one of my favorite stops. We found Julian Schnabel in there holding hands with a young woman. He was wearing his pajamas. I got a photo of the two as they walked away. The rooftop installation, the facade of a house like the one in Psycho which Hitchcock based on a house in an Edward Hopper painting, struck me as a dumb art project but I got over that in a hurry. The house was really otherworldly against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers.

Peggi and I celebrated our fortieth anniversary over dinner at an Italian place. The waiters were Hispanic and they played early seventies pop. So bad some sounded good. Two of the worst got stuck in my head, Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park” and whoever does, “Take It To The Limit.” The playlist led to a discussion of how punk rock saved us from this shit. And then Alan Vega died that night.

Finding A Way Out

July 16th, 2016

1965 Philip Guston painting at Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Chelsea, New York

The Guston show at Hauser & Wirth is thrilling. Featuring paintings from 1957 to 1967 you can see him find a way out. This painting in particular, in an almost comic way, delivers a figure or form abstraction.

Abstract Sign Painter

July 16th, 2016

Road sign near Scott, New York

We stopped for coffee at the bottom of Skaneateles Lake. We were on our way to the big city to see the Philip Guston show at Hauser & Wirth in Chelsea, a big survey of the work he did between his abstract and figurative periods and it closes next week. I’m really excited about this show. It was such an exiting time. Pop was breaking out and the abstract expressionists were splitting into color field and gestural and Guston found his own way out of the whole mess.

This sign, across the street from the coffee shop looks like a flat version of of one of Guston’s paintings from this period where he pulled his forms into subjects. I will post one of the paintings when we get to the gallery.

Life Goes On

July 14th, 2016

FlowerLilly pads and flower on Durand Lake in Rochester, New York

The arboretum and park in general is beautiful in all seasons but it is especially nice now with the mid-summer, pea soup like water and flowering Lilly pads. And that is why it was so incongruous to see the local SWAT team try to seal the perimeter of Durand Eastman Park.

We had gathered at Parkside Bowl, a party of ten, in 90 degree weather, just as the commotion began. I was using the same black Galaxy 300 ball as the last time. Louise did not have a rock’n roll shirt on and her sister in-law and niece were here. Even without air-conditioning the eight lane joint felt as comfortable as an old shoe. Within minutes the police had blocked off the Sweet Fern entrance to the park. There was something called an “active shooter” alert on the beach near where Kings Highway meets the lake and rumors were flying.

Someone had stolen a yellow Hummer during a burglary in another part of the city. A yellow Hummer! Can you think of a more conspicuous car? And they drove it to the beach where the cops surrounded it. Shots rang out. The six suspects, four men and two women, got away. Helicopters hovered overhead. The suspects managed to steal another car, a red Mercedes with “GOLF-1″ license plates that was parked out front of the golf course with the keys in it.

We continued bowling. I fed the juke box and Jeff flattened the pins. At eight we headed down the street to Louise’s backyard. The road was still blocked off and cop cars swirled around the neighborhood. We played ping pong in the garage and listened to old blues records on Matthew’s turntable. I put new RAM in Jeff’s MacBook. We drank beer that Tim, the preacher, brought and we all left when Mary Kaye announced she had to work at six in the morning.

We came home and found an ominous robo-call message on our landline. “Active shooter alert, suspects at large, last seen in your area, stay inside. Don’t go near the windows.” Our house is all windows. It was 90 degrees out. We went down to the pool for a midnight dip. All the neighbors had their lights on. We saw Rick out walking his dog. Life goes on.

Starting Over

July 13th, 2016

1950 Ford at Wegmans in Rochester, New York

We parked our bikes next to the pick-up lane at Wegmans and this car pulled up next to us. The first thing that struck me was that it looks like it still has the primer coat on it, a really cool look. I couldn’t peg it to a particular year or even a make. A two door sedan, it looked a little sportier than any of those boxy, fifties, American cars. Dare I say it even looked a little foreign. So we complimented the owner and then asked what type of car it was. Turns out it is a 1950 Ford, the same year we were born.

Bright Spot

July 12th, 2016

Big mushroom across the street on Hoffman Road

Yesterday we watched three Pileated Woodpeckers working on the same Sassafras tree. They are the big birds around here, the ones that look like Woody Woodpecker if anyone remembers him. I used to love the post show drawing demonstrations by Woody’s creator, Walter Lantz. And I spotted this big mushroom from our bedroom window so we had to check it out up close.

One bright spot remains at my mom’s care center. Peggi can still get her to laugh when she rolls her “r’s while extending the word, “burrrrrrr”. The air conditioning is all over the map in the dining room, her room and the halls. And if we sit outside for a bit, the return is usually met with a call for a sweater, even in 90 degree weather. So when my mom says she’s cold Peggi does her thing and my mom laughs whole-heartedly.

Arsenic Is Organic

July 10th, 2016

WNY Flash sign on back of bus in Rochester, New York with Jaelene Hinkle and Abby Dahlkemper

The Flash won last night’s match at Frontier field in front of 4,000 or so fans. Kind of a sloppy game but they pulled it off and Lynn Williams scored on a sensational shot. They are in second place, one point behind the Portland Thorns who drew 17,000 to their match last night with Kansas City. The national players are off with the US team so it makes for some interesting lineups. The Flash moved Abby Erceg up into Sam Mewis’ center midfield spot and she scored two goals. This afternoon we met Matthew down on the bay at MacGregor’s where were watched Portugal beat the heavily favored France in the Euro Cup final. Ronaldo went out early with an injury and his team played better without him. Enough soccer for a few days.

We are between our first and second crops of cilantro so I bought some at Wegmans so we could make this Adobo marinade for a Cuban recipe. I grabbed a bag from the organic section and as I did a woman told me that they also had non-organic cilantro down further and it was cheaper. She told me she heard a program on the radio where someone said arsenic is organic and she followed that up with, “and Coca Cola is not.” I made a point to look at the other cilantro and I went home with the organic.

Instead of putting our tick gear on we took a long walk on the road. Came across a plastic Super Big Gulp cup from 7 Eleven and the cardboard box and wax paper wrapping for some meat product from McDonalds. Tomorrow we do the woods.

Ghost Bikes

July 7th, 2016

Cell tower and water tower in Irondequoit, New York

When we were young my mom would put us all in the car on days like this and drive us from our home in the city out to the lake. We would go one of two ways, out Culver Road to Durand Eastman Beach or out Lake Avenue to Charlotte Beach. Both routes had markers along the way, things we would look for and then shout about when we saw them. The trip down Lake Avenue was longer so when we spotted h flag flying above the CSX railroad crossing in Charlotte it was really dramatic. The water tower in Sea Breeze would come a little quicker when we were headed to Durand. Peggi and I rode our bikes up to Wegmans yesterday and we spotted these guys installing a new cellphone receptor. I’m guessing the town makes more money leasing the space on the water tower to cell phone companies than they do from the sale of water to its residents.

I was reading an article in the morning paper about the custom of chaining a used bike to a light post near where a bicyclist has been killed. The bike is called a “Ghost Bike” and it becomes a shrine to the bicyclist. The one they pictured in the article was for a guy who was run over yesterday by a Black Camaro. The car was driving in the bike lane and the accident was caught on a store’s security camera. The car drove off as if nothing had happened. I was prepared for a car that pulled up to the stop sign on a side street off the road we were on. I had my eye on the woman as she pulled out right in front of me. I was prepared to stop if she did that and sure enough she did. Her radio was turned up loud. Maybe her favorite song.

Margaret Explosion - When We Were Young
Margaret Explosion – When We Were Young

Black Sheep Revenge

July 5th, 2016

Rochester Gas & Electric substation on South Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York

Jealousy, guilt, ambition and way over-the-top family dysfunction made it hard to get through season one of “Bloodline,” the Netflix series. And when Danny, the most colorful and only sympathetic character, got knocked off near the end of the season I was ready to give up on it. I felt like we had been dragged through the mud. But our friends, Matthew and Louise, raved about Season 2 so we dove back in. We’re only halfway through and without giving anything away, they found a way to get Danny back in there and the other characters have really taken shape. Its a beautiful, dysfunctional mess.


July 4th, 2016

Rainbow over Kodak corporate headquarters in Rochester New York as seen from Rhinos soccer stadium.

We celebrated Independence Day with a walk in the park. The park was crowded but most people were clustered around the picnic areas. Music was playing, motorcycles were revving their engines, the park smelled like grilled meat. We decided to drive somewhere for a picnic of our own but first we walked up to Lake Ontario. we took the path down the west side of Durand Lake. The water lilies were in full bloom. Hundreds of them were out there floating along with the turtles and frogs. I took a bunch of pictures. Three women on horseback came up the trail. I photographed them. It was the first time we had ever seen horses on this trail. I took a bunch of photos. Coming back, along Log Cabin Road, we saw a coupe up ahead. She had a red top on and he had a blue shirt on, They both were wearing white shorts. I took a photo and Peggi asked them if they planned their outfits for the day. They said they did. We were both wearing black.

At some point I realized I had no card in my camera. The day has been set free.


July 1st, 2016

Cotton cluster in woods from Cottonwood trees

“Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.” The cottonwood trees have been dropping their goods for a few weeks now and the cotton is starting to gather in clusters in the woods. I brought his cluster home and I’m trying to figure out what to do with it.

The Flash are tied for second with the Chicago Red Stars and the two teams meet tonight at 7 downtown. Jazz Fest can wait.

Brickyard Trail

June 30th, 2016

Leo Dodd with Rochester Brick & Tile brick in driveway

This is a followup to yesterday’s post on Brighton’s new Brickyard Trail. This picture shows the only Brighton Brick & Tile brick my father ever found. Actually another Brighton resident, Casey Walpert, found it when he was rehabing the Skylark Lounge on Union Street downtown and he gave it to my father. We talked to a number of people after yestererday’s presentation who expressed how much they liked my father. Mario Daniele from Mario’s was the first one so say something to me. And then there were a couple of guys who had never met Leo but wanted to know more.

Richard Carstensen invited us to walk the trail with him. He is a naturalist, living and working in Alaska but back home in Brighton to help settle his recently deceased father’s affairs. He grew up near the Brickyard Trail and revisited it while he was back here. He didn’t just revisit it, he studied it in depth and prepared this amazing presentation. He told us he kept coming across my father’s work while he was doing his research and he wished they had been able to meet. Here’s his presentation about the former clay fields.

David Kramer was working on a piece on the park in conjunction with the ribbon cutting and asked a few questions about Leo. His story works a ghost tale into the mix.

How Many Politicians Does It Take To Cut A Ribbon?

June 29th, 2016

Three politicians, Bill Moehle, Cheryl Dinolfo, Anthony Daniele, at opening of  Brickyard Trail in Rochester, New York

We were surprised to see so many people gathered on the sidewalk across from the Brighton town hall this morning. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Brickyard Trail was scheduled for 11 and there were already more than a hundred people. Cheryl Dinolfo, Adam Bello, Joseph Robach, Joe Morelli, Sandy Frankel, Anthony Daniele and his father, Mario, Mayor Bill Moehle and Brighton town board members were all there to give an hour’s worth of tedious, self congratulation on accomplishing something so simple. I was asked to say a few words on my dad’s behalf and I was last on the list, the only non-politician to speak.

Fifteen or so years ago my father started uncovering the history of Brighton’s brick yards. The glaciers had generously deposited the right combination of sand, clay and lime in the Pinnacle Range. Cobbs Hill is named after brick maker, Gideon Cobb. Leo Dodd, one of the founding members of Historic Brighton, produced a book for the organization on the early brick industry. My father essentially brought to life the brickyards, the kilns, the train tracks that moved tons of clay from the fields to the furnaces, the homes the workers lived in and the baseball fields they competed on. His passion for art, engineering and history enabled him to depict this pre-photographic past in watercolors and 3D cad drawings. Peggi and I provided technical support as he developed the Brighton Brick book and then presentations and websites on the town’s early history.

He continuously pressured the town, most of the same politicians who were gathered here, to recognize and preserve the remnants of its past. Saving the Buckland House and the meadows behind it where the Bobolinks visit every year, preserving at least one of the old barns on Westfall Road, naming the woods after the Edmunds family that once owned it, the Edmunds family whose diaries of daily farm life my father transcribed, these were all issues he went to bat for. There would be no brickyard trail if it wasn’t for my father. I reminded the crowd of this when I spoke, just as the fire trucks showed up to respond to a woman who had fainted during the politicians’ drivel.

The Brickyard Trail runs through one of the former “clay banks.” The town was developing it while my father was still alive. We’d pull in the temple’s parking lot on the way home from his doctor’s appointments and check on the progress. My father was too sick to get out of the car on the last visit so he had me take photos. The politicians managed to cut the ribbon and the Brickyard Trail opened. We walked the trail with a small crowd and quite a few people made a point to tell us my father would have been proud. As modest as he was he would have proud.


June 29th, 2016

Street performers at Jazz Fest 2016 in Rochester, New York

Nacka Forum is the name of one of saxophonist, Jonas Kullhammer’s, bands, one that was formed to explore music like the band’s heroes, Ornette, Art Ensemble and Sun Ra. With great players on trumpet, bass and drums they bring their European roots to the jazz table and pay tribute to the greats. Our jazz fest buddy, Hal Schuler, alerted us to the fact that this drummer was here with Blake Tartare, one of our favorite shows ever at Jazz Fest. Jonas has been here many times with other bands but he saved Jazz Fest 2016. Finally a real, loose, swinging, musical, jazz group in the tradition but completely their own.

Nacka Forum was in Kilbourn Hall last night. They have two shows at the Lutheran Church tonight. I would not miss them. I’m keeping track of a small portion of the Jazz Fest here.

Dressing For The Cosmos

June 28th, 2016

Cosmo Grille Dress Code sign in downtown Rochester, NY

Wandering around downtown between Jazz Fest acts is a good way to assess the city’s progress. Nothing stays the same. The city core was hurting and nearly emptied out but for the past ten years or so it is definitely on an upswing. Development and rehabbing are visible everywhere. The buried portion of the Inner Loop is a huge step in the right direction.

Clubs come and go. Jazz Fest venues are different every year. For me old memories are connected to buildings all over downtown. I never heard of the Cosmo Grill but this sign is posted near the door of a building on East Avenue. You can tell a lot about a place by the rules they set up for themselves.

Cosmo Grille Dress Code
In order to maintain a quality level of entertainment we request that our guests adhere to the following dress code standards:
• No Athletic Wear
• No Excessively Baggy Clothing
• No do-rags
• No oversized chains or medallions
• Baseball caps must be worn straight forward or backward
• No torn or soiled clothing
• No profanity
• Shirts must be worn
• Mens shirts must have sleeves

The management and security staff reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone they feel is not dressed appropriately. Thank you for your co-operation.


June 27th, 2016

Budweiser's new America can on the ground in Durand Eastman

So we rode our bikes down to Sea Breeze and got sucked into the scene down there. Funky fishermen mixed with people feeding bread to the ducks. A Canadian duck was standing on a rock on one leg. It was chewing at its right leg that was bound to its body in a rat’s nest of fishing line. A family of white mute swans swam by, two adults and four brown little ones. A county employee was telling a family that they were pretty but mean. He had stats on how much the birds of invasive species eat in one day. And just as he was talking we watched one of the adult swans go after the Canadian duck. Duck feathers flew while the duck tried to stay afloat. The county employee called a nearby vet for advice. There wasn’t much anyone could do.

I was struck by his conversation. He was on hold for about ten minutes and when he reached the receptionist he began describing the scene with the “So.” I keep hearing this in radio interviews where the so called experts pretty much know what the question coming their way will be. They begin their response with “So.” This has trickled down to county employees.

You’ve Got The Look

June 26th, 2016

Kandace Springs behind piano performing at the Rochester International Jazz Fest in 2016i

Soccer matches have gotten in the way of both nights of jazz fest this year. We had to catch the Flash meet the bottom placed Boston Breakers on opening night and we were treated to seven goals from our favorite players. We saw patterns develop that we knew were there. And last night we came home early from the festival to watch the US lose to Colombia for the second time in this Copa America. Tonight’s final between Chile and Argentina is also irresistable. We did manage to see a really great trio last night at the Lutheran Church.

At Harro East last night Kandace Springs played piano and sang mid-tempo, soulful jazz tunes. She was accompanied by bass and drums but she probably would have sounded better on her own. The band had a hard time following her loose, personal groove. She did a fantastic version of John Coltrane’s “Soul Eyes” which also serves as the title of her new album. She has a great voice and, of course, the look.