Jesus At Mr. Dominic’s

September 30th, 2014

Jesus at Mr. Dominic's, Rochester, New York

A lot of restaurants aren’t even open on Mondays. Mr. Dominic’s at the lake in Charlotte is packed on Mondays. They went through some tough times (of their own making.) They have always had a faithful following, waiters and waitresses who had been there for decades, great chefs with hard core Italian cred and reasonable prices but when Dom (the guy with the profile) died the kids forgot to pay the taxman, or so we heard. The doors were shut. They remodeled. They reopened.

We were there early and I ordered my usual, Manicotti Elizabeth (with mushrooms). I had a good view of the back corner where an elderly (our age) couple was dining. I couldn’t help but notice the image of Christ in the faux marbleized wallpaper. So when Donald (Mr. Dominic’s son) strolled by I caught his attention. “What’s with Christ’s face on the wall over there?” “I know, I know. Isn’t that something? It came with the wallpaper.”

To Invigorate

September 29th, 2014

Fawn on Hoffman Road near marsh

I road my bike over to my parents’ apartment this morning while Peggi was at yoga. My mom was just getting in from her exercise class and my dad looked like he had just woken up. There was a big crowd near the new addition to their place. Today was the grand opening of the fitness center. I asked my parents if they wanted to check it out and we took the tour. My dad signed up to learn more about the resistance machines and my mom signed up for swimming.

The pool room was surrounded by glass and so warm it felt like we were on a tropical island. I asked the attendant what the temperature was in there and he said, “The water is 87 and the air in there is 88. We keep the air one degree warmer than the water so it doesn’t fog up in there.”

Back home we pealed the solar cover off the street pool. We’re “on duty” this week and we decided to take a dip before running the robot. The water temperature there was 64 and the air is 76 so there is no danger of fog. The swim was invigorating.

Grape Pies

September 28th, 2014

Crowd at Naples Grape Fest before Margaret Explosion start

Someone named Mike booked Margaret Explosion for this years Naples Grape Fest. We were a litle worried about the lengendairy traffic jams that happen in that vineyard laden valley but he said he would give us a secret route and a prime parking space. We were to play a one hour and fifteen set but we had to be there an hour ahead of time. We’re used to waltzing in at the last minute with just enough time to set up and get started.

Four of us drove down in the same car, our car. We let Bob drive and Ken sat in the front seat. Margaret and I sat in the back with all the equipment. Of course Ken didn’t bring his double bass and I had to take my bass drum apart to put both my snare and my seat inside the drum to save space. We stayed out of the wine tasting tents and strolled the grounds before our set. Peggi bought some fresh squeezed lemonade and I found a coffee stand. One vendor was selling giant dog bones and another had flooring samples. We played between Amanda Lee Peers, fresh from her debut on “The Voice,” and a Zydeco band. We left as they were being introduced. We listened to a recording of the gig on the way home. Both it and the scenery were out-a-sight.

Art Making Weather

September 27th, 2014

Courtyard near Rochester Art Supply

Peggi and I were camping out in our neighbor’s backyard when a storm came up quickly and forced us to take refuge in the back corner of their garage. We were huddled together on the concrete floor, wrapped in sleeping bags when I woke up. The neighbors, Mike and Carna, were standing over us. It was kind of cozy and all I could think was, “I’ve had this dream before and I want to go back there.” But it was beautiful out. Again.

Days with gorgeous weather are bad for making art. At least that is my experience. Beautiful days are made for wandering around town with no agenda or taking a walk in a new direction. My father emailed me us reminder of a sale Rochester Art Supply was having today. They had a tent set up in an empty lot near their store on West Main and they had some incredible deals on paper and packages of raw canvas. Richard Harvey was there and Liz Durand, artists loading up on supplies. When the weather does turn we’ll get down to business.

Locavoring

September 26th, 2014

Glass hearse behind motorcycle in front of Williams Fureral Home in Rochester, New York

I had a 9PM appointment to talk to Stephen Black in SPOKEN gallery.sg, an online mix of art, creative writing and virtual reality. I was given instructions to download this Unity gaming app but when I launched it I was told it could not be verified. I may just have to visit Singapore to hook up with Steve.

I’m thinking this may be the last weekend this year for the swimming pool on our street. There is so much color creeping into the greenery it makes want to try landscape painting.

We stopped into Hart’s, downtown’s newest grocery store, for the first time. They seemed a bit overstaffed or maybe there just wasn’t enough shoppers there. We were there at noon so we bought a yogurt and listened to the Mambo Kings who were playing in the parking lot. My grandfather, uncle and cousin (all three of them named Ray Tierney) were grocery store people. I shopped and worked in their stores when I was growing up and it seemed like a tough business with tiny margins. Hart’s seems like a dream. I hope it works out.

We left Hart’s to do our monthly shop over at the Abundance CoOp where as one hundred dollar shareholders we get 10 percent off once a month. They are planning to move to a bigger and better location on South Ave. and I wish them the best as well.

Life & Death

September 25th, 2014

Jeff Munson and Tim Schapp on Dartmouth Street in Rochester, New York 1976

Looking back, Tim, on the right in this photo, seems to have gone pretty fast although for him it was torturously slow. I was playing racquetball with him twice a week until six months before his passing and he was still beating me. He was on the varsity tennis team in high school. He was one of the fist people I met when I moved to Webster in the fifth grade. He had a swimming party every year near the end of school. I guess I should have known he was gay. We’d stay overnight and run around in the nude when his parents went to sleep.

He was visiting Peggi and me in Bloomington when he talked us into moving here (back to Rochester for me) in 1975. There was an apartment opening up in the old house he lived in on Dartmouth Street. I think Tom Burke had just moved out. Tim was always a blast and threw the best parties. Everybody loved him. His gay friend’s called him “Otto.” He had a sandwich named after him at Iggy’s. Our classmate and good friend, Charlie Coco, died before Tim. I remember telling Tim between racquetball sets that Charlie had died. Another classmate and Tim’s good friend, Danny Skipioni, died in San Francisco where he had gone looking for a cure. Our friend, Iolo, the dj at Danceteria who played HiTechs and helped produce the first Personal Effects record, was the first to go when no one knew what the disease was. A doctor told him to fly to Florida and sit in the sun to help heal his skin lesions. I think Bobby Moore had already passed. What a grizzly time the early eighties were.

I just saw Jeff, on the left above, last night at the Margaret Explosion gig.

Man Vs. Beast

September 24th, 2014

Concrete structure along Eastman Lake in Rochester, New York

The trails that wrap the shorelines of Durand and Eastman Lake are some of the prettiest trails in the park. Most days you won’t see a soul and that only heightens the suspense when do cross paths with someone, usually a birder or their nemesis, the dog walker, sometimes a couple of lovers or urban fishermen with makeshift poles and drywall buckets.

Just before I took this shot we came across a couple, maybe twenty-five or so. The guy had his phone thrust forward framing a selfie with him and his girl in the woods. A sad little boy, maybe five or six, was standing behind them, left out of the shot. And the woman was holding onto a leash with a muscular, gray colored dog at the other end. The path here is narrow and the dog looked aggressive. We backed up into the woods to let them pass, just a few feet from us. The girl was holding the leash with both hands and as the guy asked her, “Do you have him?”

I love this little concrete structure on the west side of Eastman Lake. It is stately in all seasons and maintains its dignity even when assaulted by graffiti. It appears permanently boarded up now but I remember crawling inside. It might have been used as a pump house at one time because the lake levels are managed. It astounded me when I heard that these lakes were manmade a hundred years ago. How could man make something so beautiful?

Poor Moses

September 23rd, 2014

Moses receiving the Law (top) and reading the Law to the Israelites

My father recently commented on how we never read the bible in Catholic school or in church for that matter. We had our Missal and there was plenty of scripture in the Mass but the Catechism was our bible and the Pope had the final word. Protestants are always going around quoting the bible, the literal word of god, and us former Catholics (if that is indeed possible) are left in the dust.

I was reading an online article about ISIS and one of the comments referred to Deuteronomy 13:6–10 to justify some damn thing. I had to look it up.

 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

I Am Not Angry

September 22nd, 2014

Crime Guy source material in studio

I was ready to try something else, maybe watercolors of trees. I even rounded up my photos of trees, shots with trees as the subject, and put them in an album on my iPad. I did three or four watercolors from those sources but then glanced down at this array, the source material for “Models From Crime Page.”

I felt the pull again. Part of the allure is the way they are shot, flat and point blank. But the rich poses transcend the setting. Maybe these photos, the source material is as good as it gets. That thought is also part of the allure. Why am I, a happy go lucky guy, drawn to these characters? If I knew the answer to that one I would not torturing myself to to make art.

Picturing Patrons In The Nude

September 21st, 2014

Museum Hours director, Jem Cohen at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York

I’m so happy Louise invited us to “Museum Hours” last night at the Dryden. We met for a drink beforehand at Carrol’s and Mathew wore his “Dean & Britta shirt. There was some sort of retirement party so we sat outside. The mosquittos chased us out just before showtime.

I was the first to raise my hand when they opened the floor to questions from the director, Jem Cohen. I was bugged by the moderator’s lengthy discussion of of the relationship between the museum guard and the visiting Canadian. I didn’t think that was what the movie was about and I was hoping to hear the director bring the discussion around to art, appreciation of it and an understanding of where the urge to create comes from. I ran circles around that thought and confused myself more than him. He takes his time and gives very careful answers, the exact opposite of my process.

I loved how he dove into the paintings in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisch and cut to his hauntingly beautiful scenes of the dreary, winter city. Back to the the museum, the Rembrandts and especially the Bruegals and then to the museum guard studying the patrons the way we studied the paintings. That connection to Bruegal’s process picturing museum goers as subjects for paintings crosses centuries of art making urges. I thought it was quite powerful and beautifully expressed. A fine tribute to fine art.

Out On A Limb

September 20th, 2014

Mathew Shipp and Michael Bisio performing at the Bop Shop in Rochester, New York

Was Matthew Shipp’s performance at the Bop Shop part of the Fringe Fest or did it just blow away any of the other performances that we didn’t see Friday night? Shipp is amazing. His duo, with Michael Bisio on bass, played for an hour and a half straight. That is, no breaks at all. Melodic pieces overlapped one another and morphed into something else before your eyes. I had mine closed for maximum effect.

Opportunity City

September 20th, 2014

Plastic tricycles and graffiti, Rochester, New York

Forbes Magazine ranked Rochester second on its list of “opportunity cities, places where it is possible to have a business impact, build a successful career and make a comfortable living in a relatively short amount of time.” Delmonize Smith, commissioner of neighborhood and business development for the City of Rochester, is quoted as saying “The creative class that’s here that typically has to make this choice between expanding on their passion or their creativity or paying their bills–they’re able to find a decent place to live, pay $400-$450 a month and focus on their passion.” This is exactly why we’re here.

But as lucky as we are to have such a healthy cultural scene the housing would not be so affordable if the city proper did not have real economic problems. Half of its children live in poverty for starters.

Meanwhile Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of a Rochester convenience store owner as the first American to be charged with recruiting fighters for ISIS and plotting to kill returning servicemen.

Una Nación. Un Equipo.

September 19th, 2014

Rochester soccer stadium pre-game USA vs. Mexico

The Fringe Fest started here last night but we were over at the soccer stadium where the US Women’s team met Mexico in their last pre World Cup qualifying game. We got there early to watch the warmups up close. There was a large contingent of “Followers,” people who follow the US team from international city to city with drums and banners and chants. Their theme song, which they belted out throughout the game was Little Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him.” I hope she’s collecting some royalties for this gem.

The players on this team are getting a little too familiar. Like Spain’s national men’s team they may be at the end of their run. But in women’s soccer the US is still dominant regardlesss of an internal changing of the guard. Still I panicked when I didn’t see Heather O’Reilly. I could handle seeing Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan on the bench but not Heather.

Luckily the new coach came to her senses and brought in Abby, Alex and Heather at the start of the second half. Heather has more hustle than anyone else on the pitch. She consistently puts herself in position to receive the ball on both sides of the field and when she gets it she delivers it to the center. Her cross to Morgan for their fourth gaol last night was picture perfect.

U2 Removal Tool

September 18th, 2014

Wind surfers on Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York

We tuned in for part of Apple’s recent keynote, the part with the Chinese translator competing with CEO Tm Cook’s delivery of the goods. We’ve been early adapters for the desktops and the iPod and we stood in line for the iPad on it’s launch day. I’m updating to OS8 on our mini as I write this but we still don’t have a phone.

As much of a fan as I am. I’m a little worried about the behemouth. Does Apple really want to stick their brand neck out there with Apple Pay? Couldn’t they give it another name, something that doesn’t stake the company’s reputation on on such a tempting target? And how did they let iTunes grow from a juke box to a such the monster we use to keep our apps up to date and our devices synced? And why don’t the icons for the apps we use on both a desktop and IOS device look the same? Blue “Message” icon on desktop and green on the iPad and the same goes for the whole suite of Apple apps. Is this the same design company that brought us the watch that requires a phone to do more that tell time? Will I be able to take a shower with that watch? And can’t Apple align themselves with a hipper band than U2?

Nobody wants to hear this primitive tech talk. It’s perfect weather for windsurfing or watching the women’s National soccer team play Mexico in downtown Rochester tonight.

Off Grid

September 17th, 2014

Bing car on East Main Street in Rochester, New York

I had almost forgotten about Microsoft’s search engine until i spotted a Bing car with Colorado plates on east Main Street yesterday. The little periscope was twirling around up top so I assume it was collecting data, mapping our corner of the world.

I must say it was a lot less exiting than when the Google car came our street a few years ago. The Google car was all decked out in the corporate colors and the driver waved and smiled while I took a photo of the car. The Bing car was as low profile as you can get with all that apparatus strapped to your hood. I’m thinking these collectors have met some resistance now that the novelty has worn off and surveillance has gone too far.

I had a dream last night that there were two Bing cars and they were mapping a section of the city that overlapped somehow. They were trying to sort out the confusing data they had collected in a city they knew nothing about.

Margaret Explosion plays the Little Theater Cafe tonight. 7:30-9:30

Records From The Archive

September 15th, 2014

HiTechs 45s at Record Archive in Rochester, New York

We stopped in Record Archive over the weekend where they were celebrating their “Almost Fortieth Year Anniversary” with live performances by bands, food trucks of every stripe and 20 percent off everything in the store. We caught Anonymous Willpower and we came home with a few used singles. We were talking to Dick Storms in the far corner of their huge space and he pointed to some boxes of Archive Records 45s up on the top shelf, Hi-Techs‘ “Screamin’ You Head” among them.

We were laughing about the old times and Alayna, the store manager joined the conversation. They cooked up an idea to get the bands form those days back together in some form or another to celebrate the long defunct, in-house label. That would be a hoot. I found this old photo I took of Dick as we signed the contract for the second and last Hi-Techs single, “Screamin’ You Head.” Bob Martin is in the picture because we had already formed a new band, Personal Effects. Dwight Glodell produced the single.

HiTechs - Screamin' You Head
HiTechs – Screamin’ You Head

Self Published

September 13th, 2014

Pub Fair at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York

I was afraid to even touch one of the books on display at Visual Studies Pub Fair this afternoon, great big sheets of photos with art and poetry, all hand printed. The person behind the desk ask’ “Do you want me to flip the pages for you?” I said yes and stood back as flipped through the $16,000 bound and boxed volume.

It’s nice to know people still do books, artist’s books and short runs and it was nice seeing so many people out thumbing through the photo books by independent publishers and DIYers but I can’t help but think the stuff would look so much better online and it would take up so much less space and it would probably cost a lot less. Although I was rather taken in by “Another 26 Gas Stations,” sort of a response to Ed Ruscha’s “Twentysix Gasoline Stations.” Instead of the point black shots of modern petro stations, this one is all surveillance footage from security cameras, shots capturing hold-ups inside the convenience stores. And then there is Scott McCarney’s work. Beautifully crafted, visually seductive, witty little marvels like his box set of autobiographies.

ABBA Love

September 12th, 2014

T-shirt in shop window in Culver Road Armory, Rochester, New York

When Peggi was teaching Spanish at Pittsford Sutherland High School she would use our Abba “Gracias Por La Musica” album in her class. Their enunciation was very clear. The Swedish group did many different vocal versions of their songs and had incredible diction in each language. Think of any of their English songs and you can hear their spot-on, percussive pronunciation. Mamma Mia. Funny that Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s daughter was a foreign exchange student, living here in Rochester and going to Sutherland High School at that time.

We are still big Abba fans and we just finished back to back Abba movies. The first, made as they toured Australia in the seventies is a bad movie with sensational concert footage. 1999′s “The Winner Takes It All” has many of the videos for the original songs, some footage from the “Mamma Mia” musical (which only makes you die for the original versions), and some great interviews with the band.

Benny got his first accordion at six. Their songs are rich with cabaret, classical and folk roots and they were influenced by Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. I can’t decide what my favorite song is. “Chiquitta,” “Fernando,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You?” All triumphs. Long live Abba!

Gear Talk

September 11th, 2014

Saint Josephats Ukrainian church on East Ridge Road in Rochester, New York

The Barcus Berry pick-up that Peggi uses on her sax started acting up last night. It made a horrendous noise at the most inopportune time and pretty much forced Peggi to take care of it first thing today. She made an appointment to see Chuck in the back room (Rob Storms old nest) of Sound Source and he spent about an hour with her and only charged fifteen bucks. Peggi reports the space has been completely straightened up since he retired. No more Fudgsicles or non-sequitors. No more 3D viewings of Rob’s high school band.

When she got home I took off for House of Guitars to return the cymbal that Bruce let me take home to try. I had stopped in there on my bike and rode home with it under my arm. It almost fit with my kit but I felt like I could find a better match if I brought my existing cymbals up there. I tried every one in the place and finally settled on an old Zildjian that someone had traded in. Bruce had gone home to dinner by that time and the kid that was upstairs didn’t know how much to charge me so I said I’d stop back tomorrow.

Blunt World

September 10th, 2014

Drug trash near entrance to the Durand Eastman Park

Who picks up for the low-lifes? Public works employees, conscientious neighbors, walkers? Somebody is keeping us from drowning in rubbish.

Check out what this one kid dumped down at the end of Hoffman Road, right near an informal entrance to Durand Eastman Park. 2-for-99 cent Garcia y Vega Grape cigar packages, a fat free Gummy Bears bag, Hershey chocolate and Reese’s peanut butter cup packaging, a receipt from the 7-Eleven on Culver and some small drug bags. Think for a few minutes about what this character might look like.