Foxes

May 26th, 2017

Barbara Fox 'Light Play" Collage at UR Gallery at Art Music Library

Barbara Fox’s opening for “Light Play,” a show of recent collages at the Art Music Library on the UR campus, is next Thursday, June 1. We have family in town for my mom’s funeral and probably won’t be able to make that so we stopped by today. It was just us and the art today and that enhanced the experience.

We had just seen Rauschenberg’s sometimes heavy-handed collages at MoMA where my initial inclination was often to just look away. Barbara’s work is just as playful but it is delicate and it draws you in. There are smudges and drips and her hand is present. With a graceful color sense the collages are drawn and painted, layered, and pasted in multiple layers. They are loose and gestural and then perfectly formed. There is a musical dialog in this work that I found most enjoyable.

It was also a treat to find my brother, John’s, “Get Together,” concrete sphere chairs sitting by the entrance to the gallery. We went out for a walk when we got back and spotted three baby foxes playing near a drainage pipe in the big gulley at the end of our road. We watched quietly for a bit and one of them tackled and killed a squirrel. They didn’t eat the squirrel, this was just for sport. The poor thing is laying upside down and I’m sure some other facet of nature will come into play to dispose of it.

Civilization Begins Tonight

May 24th, 2017

Photo for Margaret Explosion gate-fold cd "Civilization"

Not just another Wednesday night at the Little Café. We plan to project movies behind the band. That is, if we can locate the Little Theater’s screen. If we can’t, we’ll project the movies on the wall and the band. There’ll be a light show. Or maybe we’ll just turn the lights out and play in the dark. Wednesday, May 24 7-9pm. Free Admission. ALSO: Just announced! Special Guest Pete LaBonne will be joining the band tonight on the grand piano. Hope you can make it out.

Here’s Frank DeBlase’s review from City Paper
“Margaret Explosion seems to pull songs out of the air. No pre-planning; no script. The music plays them, and what’s left is a perfect in-the-moment moment for this purely live band playing songs we’ll never hear again. It is sexy and cool to the max. And just remember: “sensuous” wasn’t reserved just for the loins.

On “Civilization,” however, Margaret Explosion had a little studio fun. The basic tracks are still improvised, but they’re left open at one end to make room for another set of layers. There’s stereophonic panning so severe in spots you may fall out of your chair. And the guitar is prominent as the soprano sax snakes and undulates through. It’s trippy in the extreme. It’s darkness at the end of the tunnel. It’s heady, and it’s beautiful. Adding to the finality, the band has announced that guitarist Bob Martin is leaving the group and Rochester, for that matter. It’s quite a loss — ironic, really. It’s an end for a band that played songs with no end. “Civilization” is now that end.”

Peace Through Understanding

May 23rd, 2017

Mark, Ann and Paul Dodd on front steps at 68 Brookfield Road in Rochester New York

After the Rauschenberg show at MoMA we stopped in an Irish bar. I ordered a Guinness and Peggi had a Bass Ale. There was a group of English tourists at the table next to us and a couple of them were wearing Manchester United gear. I thought it was interesting that they were all drinking bottles of Bud. I asked one of the guys if they liked Budweiser and he told us they didn’t didn’t like American lagers and the Guinness was better at home. They were from Manchester and they had been celebrating United’s 2-0 victory earlier in the day. I’m thinking about them now in wake of that explosion in their home town.

My sister, Ann, rode down to New York and back with us. She stayed at my brother Mark’s place in New Jersey and we met up with her each night in the city. She went to Kinky Boots with my brother and our niece took her shopping. She had a ball.

This New York trip with her two older brothers was long overdue. Father left her behind when he took the two of us down for the ’64 World’s Fair. The theme was “Peace Through Understanding.” We slept in the car in parking lot and we had a ball back then. Fifty some years later I’m so happy for her.

Small Dreams

May 22nd, 2017

Looking east from the northern end of the High Line in Manhattan

Duane was up before us this morning and had already left the apartment. I sat down to read one of his art books and he walked in with fresh bagels. We gabbed for another couple of hours and headed off on the F train.

From the train I could barely read the yellow sign pinned to the IDT Energy building in Newark. The tall building, right next to Audible.com, has very few windows and the top ten floors are covered with a huge American flag. Curious as to whether the yellow sign was also making a political statement I looked for a picture of it online. I found one. The sign reads, “America is too great for small dreams – Ronald Reagan.” What kind of bullshit is that?

We picked up our car at brother’s place and hit the road for Homer. The coffee shop there is half way and an oasis. We drove up the eastern shore of Skaneateles Lake and had a fish fry at Doug’s. As we crossed over a bridge near Montezuma’s Wildlife Refuge there was a large turtle in the middle of the road. We straddled it with our tires and and Peggi suggested going back. There were more cars behind us and we didn’t but I hope she/he made it.

More Minimal Maximal

May 21st, 2017

One of Ellsworth Kelly's last paintings at Matthew Marks Gallery in Chelsea.

We were just down here a month ago when we sold the Warhol prints that we bought with my brother, Mark. And at that auction my brother stuck his paddle in the air and came home with four gorgeous Brice Marsden prints. He just brought them home from the framers before we got there on Friday afternoon. We pulled the plastic wrap off them late that evening and then came alive.

It could be time to re-read Kirk Varnedoe’s “Pictures of Nothing.” We started our Saturday stroll through Chelsea with Ellsworth Kelly’s Last Paintings at Matthew Mark’s Gallery. He was at the top of his game when he died recently at 92. We discovered the playful early abstract work of the Brazilian artist, Lydia Clark. We spent an hour or so with Richard Serra’s “Horizontal Reversals,” black oil tick drawings so strong they are sculptural. And finished our tour with Carmen Herera’s show on 10th Avenue. Minimalism is in the air and Varnedoe’s book is the best way to revel in it when the real stuff is not around.

We will keep this ball rolling tomorrow when we visit “Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction” at MoMA.

Malibu Spice

May 20th, 2017

Blue sail boat washed up at Sea Breeze in high water

We spent the night at my brother Mark’s place in New Jersey and we intended to get a good night sleep but we sat around talking until early this morning. We brought my sister Ann down with us. She had arranged to get time off from her job at Parkleigh a long time ago and just wanted to get down to New York. She is still steamed that my father drove Mark and me down here to see the World’s Fair in ’64. We slept in the car on that trip and Ann stayed home with my mom and my four other siblings.

We had plans to meet Duane in Chelsea at 10AM. We were anxious to to see the show of Ellsworth Kelly’s last paintings at Matthew Marks Gallery. I was up before Peggi and Mark made eggs over easy for me before he headed off to work. When Peggi got up she scrambled some eggs. They tasted gritty and she had Mark taste them. Mark asked what she put in them and Peggi said “just some salt and pepper.” Mark realized that she must have used the salt shaker that sits above the stove, the one his wife’s best friend brought back from California from a restaurant they used to go to when they lived there, the one that was filled with sand from the beach they used to go to.

Thoroughly Therapudic

May 19th, 2017

Garage door lit near Deborah Ronnen's R1 Studios in Rochester, New York

Margaret Explosion had a gig the day my dad died. I had been up most of that night and barely had the strength to play two sets but I remember it being good night, musically. And I remember being almost overcome with emotion during one particularly melancholy song. My mom died on Wednesday and we had a gig that night as well. It was thoroughly theropedic.

There was someone at table near the band who appeared to be studying us. He was wearing a Dan Eaton Band t-shirt and I guessed he was Adam Wilcox, the six string bass player and food reviewer. I said hi to him during the break and he said “It’s so cool that you guys don’t give a fuck.” I said, “Actually we do.” We work pretty hard at making an improvisation sound like a song. I understand it doesn’t always come off that way. He continued, “You know what I mean. You don’t pander to people.” If you make a choice to pander to others you first have to pander to yourself. And why would someone want to do that?

Go Out And Play

May 17th, 2017

My mom with me in her arms, 1950

My mom passed away this morning. Her death was a relief. She suffered from dementia the last few years and she wanted no part of it. For most of her life she expressed herself very clearly and you always knew where she stood on an issue. I was very proud of her.

I just cruised through a folder of old photos of her. I went through them a few times. She was so pretty and by all rights I should have a photo of her alone up here. But today, especially, I was struck by how the ones of the two of us affected me. The connection you feel to your mom, in ideal circumstances, and I feel like my childhood was close to idyllic, is something words can not describe. I felt this long before I could speak and I still feel it. That’s why they call it a feeling. It is deep and that’s what I wanted to write about.

I was the first of seven so she was my role model. I felt on top of the world in her arms and completely independent when she put me down. She loved kids but was never overbearing. As I grew older she’d say, “Go out and play.” The best advice I was ever given.

On Friday, as we sat with her in the main room at the Friendly Home my mom spotted a baby doll across the room and muttered something about it. I brought it over to her and put it on her lap. She picked the doll up and kissed it. It was so sweet. She was so sweet.

Glow

May 14th, 2017

Old Edgemere Drive homes high water, Rochester New York

We’ve been looking for a day without rain to ride bikes along the lake. It’s at a record high and we were thinking about our friends on Edgemere Drive. We stopped in The Char Broil and had a cup of soup and cup of coffee. I had the Pasta Fagipoli and it was outstanding. We sat at the counter and I looked at the waitress’s rear end. The tv was on, tuned to Spectrum News with the sound off. It was kind of surreal watching footage of partly submerged Edgemere Drive homes while sitting in a restaurant on Edgemere Drive.

We had a nice visit with my mom tonight. I never wished her Happy Mother’s Day. She had a lot of other things on her mind. Although she was up and out in the main room when we saw her on Friday I think she may now be in bed for the duration. I asked her, “Are you ready to get out of this place?” and she said “yes,” without missing a beat.

Margaret Explosion - Mother's Day Glow

Margaret Explosion – Mother’s Day Glow

Cube

May 12th, 2017

Sol LeWitt Cube at Deborah Ronnen's Galley in Rochester, New York

We like to eat early. More accurately, we don’t like trying to sleep on a full stomach. So we stopped in at Branca, downtown in the old Midtown complex, at around six and asked for a table. The bar was crowded but the dining room looked empty except for one party. The hostess looked down at her book and told us they booked. So we left. We had greens and beans and small pizza over at Venutos’s.

Deborah Ronnen’s “Mostly Minimal” pop-up show at R1 Studios on University was the night’s attraction. There was some beautiful Ellsworth Kelly prints and display this Sol LeWitt Cube that we we fell in love with. Deborah buys what she loves, Anni and Josef Albers, Frank Stella, Agnes Martin. It was a sensational show and should be up for another six weeks. And the Dryden Theater is screening a 2012 documentary on Sol LeWitt in conjunction with this show.

Susan B’s Bun

May 10th, 2017

Susan B. Anthony crochet wall hanging on East Main Street in Rochester, New York

We tuned into 91.5 on the way home from our Little Theatre gig. They were rebroadcasting the “Live at Hochstein” performance. Mona Seghatoleslami (her name is so much to pronounce) was introducing the Arvo Part composition, “Fratres,” Peggi’s favorite piece from today’s noon-time concert. Peggi was in the house and thought could hear herself applauding at the end of the work. It was a beautiful ride home.

After the noon concert Peggi stopped by Sew Green on West Main Street to see the wall hanging that she helped create. She took the photo above. Volunteers were given pink, white and black yarn and a crochet pattern for a 2 foot by 2 foot section of this mural. Peggi’s square had the lower back end of Susan B’s bun.

Artist Olek’s mural is one in a series of 50 planned installations across America celebrating important women throughout U.S. history

Wood Management

May 9th, 2017

Buds hanging from tree in Durand Eastman Park

Peggi found three little Chinese Maples in our yard. She transplanted them and gave them a good watering. Our neighbor said they do good in the shade. Their leaves are a dark rusty red all season and then they go a brilliant red in the Fall.

I spent the afternoon rebuilding our wood pile. A few of our stacks came down in the wind storm and a few more are are leaning precariously. I considered rebuilding those but then decided only a maniac would knock a pile over to rebuild it. I’ll wait until it falls and hope that it doesn’t.

Maybe The Router Died

May 6th, 2017

Flowers behind Jared and Sue's place

The day sort of slipped away. You can really get bogged down updating a website, or we can anyway. So many issues to deal with as time passes. Compatibility and basic functionality as well as updates.

And we tried helping our neighbors with their Buffalo router. It keeps quitting on them. They reboot all devices coming and going and the problem is solved but that routine is getting old. I kept thinking of the Pete LaBonne song, the one with the title (above) in the first verse .

By the time we squeezed a walk we were out of time for dinner. We grabbed something at Vic’s Place on the way downtown. We had arranged to meet Pete and Gloria at Warren’s Hungerford Gallery, our first stop on First Friday. Warren will be making frames for an upcoming Leo Dodd show of watercolors and I was officially placing my order. We were telling Gloriahow we ran out of time for dinner and she gave us her go-to quick meal. She sautés peppers with little olive oil and puts them on bread with with raisons and sliced almonds. “Pete loves it.”

Pete LaBonne - My Clock Stops

Pete LaBonne – My Clock Stops

Buying Things

May 2nd, 2017

Back Angus cows on Route 18 near Lake Ontario

There was something funny about that Sunoco station we stopped at on our way home from Niagara Falls. We were right in the upper left hand corner of the state, about to turn right on Route 18 and we got off 190 to get some gas. There were only two pumps and cars were parked in front of both of them. We almost left and then one car drove away. Peggi went inside to see if they had a bathroom while I pumped the gas. I noticed she came out real fast and then went in the pizzeria next door. She was in there the longest time and I was ready to take a leak out back except there was a cottage right there on the lake.

Another woman came out of the pizzaria and then finally Peggi. She told me there was a sign on the bathroom door that read “out of order” but she used it. As I opened the door two suspicious looking guys came out. There were only suspicious looking because they looked at me strangely. Was there an additional plastic credit card holder in the slot on the pump? When I look back I think there was. A clumsy black framework of some sort.

We got a call yesterday from the bank about three large charges put on our card in Detroit. Pier One, Williams Sonoma and the Hyatt for six thousand dollars. This is maybe the fourth time our card has been compromised and it is a pain in the ass to set up a new one everywhere. There has to be a better way to buy things.

How High Is The Water Mama?

April 30th, 2017

Trailer Park in high water along Route 18

It poured this morning, a couple of times. And there was another article in the paper about the unusually high lake levels. Everyone is talking about whether the new regulation, that limits the amount the levels can be adjusted, is to blame or whether it is just part of natural cycle. Right now the wetlands surrounding Lake Ontario are being renewed with the ebb and flow of high water but property owners are grumbling. I have to side with the the wetlands on this one.

The town has passed out 6,000 sand bags for nearby residents. Its gonna take a lot more than that to save the beach. At moment it is gone. We walked along Durand Beach this afternoon, along the sidewalk that is. The sandy beach is entirely under water. Now if you were living in a houseboat you would simply have to re-tie the knots on the lines to your moors.

One Of Seven

April 29th, 2017

Horseshoe Falls and sky from Niagara Falls, New York

Our friends, Matthew and Louise, went up to Niagara Falls recently for a night and we copied their plan. A “Wonder of the World” in our own backyard, we hadn’t been there in years. I guess you could get there in an hour and a half but we took the scenic route along the old Erie Canal towns.

We stayed in an old Art Deco hotel on the American side. The bartender there told us the building was revamped by Carl Paladino. I said, “Take Out The Trash Carl Paladino?” Either the bartender didn’t remember Carl’s run for governor or he didn’t think it was funny because he didn’t even smile. As I watched him I got worried he might be Paladino’s nephew or something.

At some point the government gave a Native American tribe six blocks in the middle of the city of Niagara Falls. They owed them the whole town, at least, but what you have now is a convention center, empty most of the time, a hideously tall hotel with a screaming LED billboard, “THE TEMPTATIONS with THE FOUR TOPS,” and a casino. We walked through the casino. Peggi got depressed in there. I was blown away by it all. Smoking is still acceptable and it goes perfectly with the low-life, Black Jack, Backgammon and whatever you call those things that used to be slot machines. Surrounding theses builds are blocks of parking lots. The city is stuck between decay and mis-managed renewal.

The magnificent falls are on the American side but the best singular views of the falls are from the Canadian side. We walked through Customs and into Canada seven or so miles along the shore of the river and back. The Canadian parks are manicured but they’re surrounded by honky tonk. There are Hard Rock Cafés on both sides of the border. I prefer the funkiness of the struggling American side and the casual park on this side, Goat Island, is sensational. Sensational because the views, as you walk around its perimeter, are astoundingly beautiful.

Touch Down

April 28th, 2017

Cobbs Hill Resevoir and radio tower in Rochester, New York

Sixty seven years ago today my mom and I were up in the natal section of Saint Mary’s Hospital on Genesee Street, across from Bull’s Head Plaza. That would be where and when I touched down. I can’t say I remember it but I can say my childhood felt like a dream.

When my father brought home his first car we’d come up here to Cobb’s Hill overlooking the city. He’d pull off to the the side of the road that rings the reservoir and my mom would spread out a blanket. We would wolf down our sandwiches and run around the park. At this marker, April 28, formerly the feast day of Saint Paul of the Cross, I can say it has been fantastic ride.

Ciudad Moderna

April 27th, 2017

Terence Gower Ciudad Moderna at the Media Room , Memorial Art Gallery

Near record high today and we were inside the Media Arts Watch gallery at the Memorial Art Gallery. Three short experimental films are running in a continual loop over there and went for the full ride. Our favorite was
Terence Gower’s “Ciudad Moderna,” a com­pos­ite of clips taken from “De­s­pe­dida de Casada,” a swinging 1966 Mexican film, that animates the architecture of the modern city. Last time Peggi and I were in Mexico City someone swiped our 35mm Canon camera. It was clunky. I like my pocket Sony digital. I want to go back.

The Last CD Player

April 26th, 2017

Lamb on old gravestone in Irondequoit Cemetery

CDs are over. We just finished work on or new CD!

We’re doing it with Discmakers. They have templates in all the programs. We used Photoshop for the whole thing and uploaded pdfs. They sent us a proof the next day. They have an online app for loading the audio files, tagging them, writing a proof CD and then uploading to them. That last part didn’t go so smoothly for us. We’d get about half of the songs up and the program would give us an error. After trying all night we used Dropbox in the morning.

Proofing the CD was interesting. We stream our music from our iTunes library. We don’t have a CD player that displays song titles so I went across the street and asked the young couple if either of them had a cd player that displays the titles. Diana took me out to her car where she she had a CD player in the glove compartment, a player she had never used. It worked! The album title, band name and song titles came up as I advanced through the disc.

Since were unable to upload those files we had to write a new proof CD today. The young couple wasn’t home. Peggi went down to the neighbors at the end of the street. THey’re older than us. They gave Peggi the keys to their car but she couldn’t get it started. Something about push buttons. They came down and started it but the CD didn’t work. The neighbors tried some star bought CDs. One was by Enya. Nothing worked. The car was a year or so old and they had never used the CD player. They listen to stuff from their phone.

Peggi headed up the street to some neighbors who had just returned from Florida. Before she got there Rick drove by. He does a daily run to Wegman’s. He popped it in and the titles worked. We approved it and expect shipment in a few weeks.

Mary, Mary

April 25th, 2017

Marsden Hartley painting of Virgin of Guadalupe at Met Breuer

A resident at the next table was singing wordless music, classical themes. Ray, sitting at a table across the room, was yelling, “Hello.” “Hello.” An aide asked, “What do want Ray?” Ray replied, “I don’t know.”

Peggi was showing pictures from our New York trip to my mom. They paused on this Marsden Hartley painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe. My mom studied it for a bit and then said, “You know what I would like?” Peggi asked, “What would you like?” And my mom said “I would love some spaghetti.”

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