Mushroom Cloud

June 30th, 2015

Round mushroom cloud mushroom

We stopped our bikes at this place on the route to my parent’s place so I could take a shot of a front yard full of mushrooms. This one caught my eye. It sort of looks like the stadium in Montreal. Considered a white elephant it has largely sat empty since it was built at enormous cost for the 1976 Olympics. Even the Montreal Expos bailed on the place and the city. Pink Floyd attracted the largest crowd to the stadium, 78,322, in 1977.

It is supposed to rain here tonight but that is of no concern because the stadium has a retractable roof. The sound my be a problem since I left our earplugs back in Rochester. Now that Canada is out of the World Cup the whole place may be shouting USA. Here’s hoping Heather O’Rielly sees some action and Germany goes home tonight.


June 29th, 2015

The Lipp Brothers

Bratwurst and German beer under a tent in the rain. Colleagues, artists, students and especially family all laughing and telling stories about Fred, aka Fritz, shown above with his older brother, Hans. Fred would have loved it. Wish he could have been there. If only to hear him laugh one more time.

This article was hanging on one of the walls inside the tent.

Bring In Number Nine

June 27th, 2015

Denys Baptiste Triumvirate performing at the Rochester International Jazz Fest 2015

France and Germany were tied at the half when left the house for the jazz fest so we had to finish that game before we moved over to the U.S. vs. China match. France had outplayed the No. 1 German team in the first half but Germany regained their form in the second half. The game stayed tied for the two overtime periods and then our recording ran out. The penalty shots are no way to settle a match anyway. We were happy to see the U.S. playing like champs, quickly moving the all with one touch passing. Everyone was doubting the coach but she fielded a great lineup last night. Left the lumbering Abby on the bench for most of the match and came to her senses near the end and put Heather O’Rielly in.

We saw three early shows last night and hustled home to watch soccer. Ikebe Shakedown at Montage is from Brooklyn New York and were here two years ago playing at the Bug Jar. The seven piece band apropriates Afrobeat and is really smart to play only the essentials in fairly tight arrangements of simple parts. Imagine Fela Kuti at a frat party. The horn players were really good, good enough to play with with Sharon Jones last night at Kodak Hall. They get the party going with no misfires.

Before they started their gig at Christ Church Denys Baptiste said his Triumvirate doesn’t discuss what they are going to play before they start the set and he said he was not really the leader, “the best idea wins.” They play versions of pop songs or iconic songs from the recent past. They don’t stop between songs and their set is one continuous piece. They really take their time skirting around the theme of each song and then easing their way out and into another. They were laid back and slightly detached from the material. Their music would work well in a moody Film Noir movie. We realized how narcotic-like their sound was once we were back out on the street.

Melissa Aldana is a great tenor sax player. Her young Crash Trio was doing Ellington’s “I Got It Bad” when we walked in and the drummer was sounding especially good with the brushes. They work well within the tradition of jazz but at the same time their sax, bass and drums trio shows how elastic the form can be as they carved out their own sound. They asked if they could do an additional song and finished with a one Aldana wrote for Sonny Rollins called “Back Home.”

Double Booked And Cancelled

June 25th, 2015

High low rider on East Avenue, Rochester New York

I this is a low rider but it was riding pretty high yesterday afternoon on East Avenue.

The notice on the Jazz Festival’s site says: The group, Arstidir, scheduled to play twice tonight at Xerox Aud and twice tomorrow at the Lutheran Church, will not perform due to State Dept.Visa issues. There will no replacement concerts.

There are lot repeats at this year’s Jazz Fest. Not just acts from other years but acts that play two shows at one venue on the first night and then two more shows at another venue the second. And they’ve done their best to disguise that fact on the program guide by using a different promo picture of the artist on the second night. Fred Hersch, Jane Bunnett, Benny Green, the Rad Trads, Kat Edmundson, Arstidir, Raul Midon, Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra with Ingrid Jensen and Julia Biel are all double booked and our options are closing in.

I take notes notes on the acts each year and I post them over here. You’ll have to click on the 2015 Jazz Fest pass to get through.

Soap In The Salad

June 24th, 2015

Cilantro bumper crop in the garden

For a lot people cilantro tastes like soap. I am not one of those people. I love the stuff. We planted it for a couple of years now it just keeps coming back and our crop is peaking now. Our green salads are half cilantro. We’re thinking about making a batch of cilantro pesto but this jazz fest is getting in the way.

Last Tango in Outer Space

June 23rd, 2015

Eivind Opsvik Overseas at 2015 Rochester International Jazz Festival

The Lounge Lizzards are alive. Or their “not exactly jazz” spirit is in Elvind Opsvik Overseas. This band was here at the Lutheran Church in 2010. They were one of our favorites then and even sounded better this time. Of course they brought along two more members, a piano player and a tenor sax player. Each player has a distinctly different role in this band. No one is glomming on to another’s part or space. Consequently the ensemble creates a very rich pallette.

Led by the bass player, Eivind Opsvik, they opened with a car chase of a tune, one where the chaser forgot what it was chasing. They get cinematic in a hurry. The tenor sax adds a solid film noir aspect to the big picture, at times taking the band into Gato territory like Last Tango in Outer Space. We’ve heard drummer Kenny Wollesen with Bill Frisell a few times but he sounded better than ever in this setting, free to color the song as he sees fit. Brandon Seabrook could be the world’s most unusual guitar player. He bowed his guitar while Opsvik bowed his bass but mostly he adds angular punctuation, meloodic and rhythmic and WTF texture when rubs a mini cassette player across the neck of his guitar.

We came home with their 2012 “Overseas IV” white vinyl, small hole 45, No. 0175. It contained a download card for the whole cd. I really like this packaging idea.

I’m taking notes at the jazz fest and posting them over here.

Conga Brava

June 21st, 2015

Conga drum player on East Avenue at Rochester Jazz Festival

We heard this guy from a distance and he sounded great. He sounded great up close as well and I loved how he set himself up in the middle of East Avenue. We went into Christ Church to hear one of the English bands and when we came out a half hour later this guy was playing exactly the same beat at the same tempo.

Two Fs

June 20th, 2015

Jeffery teaching yoga class at Rochester Yacht Club

Jeffery has one hell of a yoga studio. He teaches a Saturday morning class at the Rochester Yacht Club in the mouth of the Genesee River. It was the first time I have taken a class from Jeffery and my first time inside the Yacht Club. He is a great teacher but I can’t see him without thinking of that song by the Pixies, “Jefery, with one F, Jefery” even though he has both. He’s good because he talks you through the poses explaining what you should be concentrating on. And he is right there with the release pose once you’ve pushed yourself. His 9:30 class is for all levels so I just qualified.

We planned tonight’s jazz fest lineup around the Germany/Sweden match. We’re thinking Germany is on course to meet the US in the semis. Eric Revis Trio at Xerox Auditorium looked the most promising act so we planned to start there. Because we got such a late start we parked on East Main walked across the Inner Loop which in that area has almost been filled in. That was a cool sensation.

A week or so ago the local paper asked me to write a piece on the jazz festival. It was in the this morning’s paper.

Out Of Your Head

June 19th, 2015

 Green lake and blue sky in Durand Eastman Park

We take the annual Jazz Fest a day at a time. We generally preview the sound files for the night’s offerings on the day of the show and then head out the door with a rough sketch. We like to be surprised. Tonight we only found two bands that caught our interest and no surprises. The best is yet to come.

Free parking is getting harder and harder to find in Downtown Rochester. All the spots we we found in years past are in areas that are being redeveloped. I dropped Peggi off near City Blue and went on the hunt for a spot. When I reconnected with her she was standing in a long line between two rows of port-o-johns on Barrett Place. But she had already talked to the vocalist, Cecile McLorin Salvant, telling her, “We’re looking forward to your performane” as she walked by. We brought our dinner, a green salad, rice dish and two Sam Adams and before we knew it we were inside Kilbourn Hall.

At twenty three Salvant has a voice way beyond her years and a fabulous piano, bass and drums trio. She opened accompanied by only the bass player with a song called “Lonely Town.” Then Glitter and Be Gay” and three Cole Porter songs. Most of her songs are from a long time ago. She is very theatrical and musical but just didn’t draw us in with her readings of these classic songs. I would prefer more of a personal stamp.

If you search for a sound file of “Music Music Music” you won’t come up with the band, “MusicMusicMusic.” Despite their digital indexing problem the Swedish band has been together for more than ten years . They were at Jazz Fest in this same venue back in 2008. Their first number tonight opened up to a drum solo, the second one was slow with bowed bass and a pretty, spacious effect on the piano. They were so enjoyable I almost forgot to snap a photo of them. The piano player leads this trio and was expeceptionally melodic. They finished the set with the Theresa Brewer song, “Music! Music! Music!” Hard to get that one out of your head. Hope they haven’t been doing that for ten years.

I’m keeping track of what we see at the 2015 Jazz Fest over here.

Backyard Remix

June 19th, 2015

View of Irondequoit Bay from house for sale on the west side

We were riding our bikes down to the pier near the bay winding our way through the funky neighborhoods that line the bay. There was a garage sale at the house in front of the backyard pictured above. I checked out the books, “I Am Ozzy, “The Long Hard Road Out of Hell” by Marilyn Manson and Nikki Sixx’s “The Heroin Diaries,” and then noticed someone standing in the backyard. There was some sort of temperature inverse going on that day, we rode through warm and cool pockets, and long low cloud hung over the bay so I wanted a closer look.

They owner was out there and she said they were planning on putting the house up for sale in the next few days. I took note because our friend, Kathy, has been looking for a house for quite a while. Like us, when we moved from the city, she has no real need to move so she was taking her time, like years worth of time. We emailed her this photo and said something like, “Here is a view from your backyard.”

She called two days later and told us she had bought the house. Turns out the owners were only living there temporarily. They had downsized and sold their former house to Lou Gramm of Foreigner and were living here while they built a new home. A man who lives down the street is responsible for fixing the house up. A young French couple lives next door. I hope it all works out.

Fox News

June 18th, 2015

Horseshoes repainted again 2015

Linda, down the street is in Peggi’s yoga class and she told Peggi she thinks they have a fox living in their backyard. It turns out a few neighbors all think they have a fox living on their property. It’s surely the same fox, golden brown, somewhere between a cat and dog in size. We’ve seen it many times now and we were sitting out back when it pranced by with something in its mouth. I was certain it was part of our neighbor’s black cat. I kept my eye out for the cat the rest of the day and grew even more certain that it had met its demise. I was afraid to ask them if they had seen their cat recently but after a day I got up the courage. Turns out the cat was fine and they too had seen the fox many times.

I asked Jared, at the other end of the street, if he had seen the fox and of course he had. He told us foxes won’t bother a cat. Maybe a kitten but not a cat.


June 17th, 2015

White Birch log on blue tarp

There is nothing like local strawberries. Red all the way through, sweet and juicy, a completely different fruit from the West Coast ones we get here in the winter. We rode our bikes up to Amans Farm Market yesterday and brought home a couple quarts. I didn’t see any local cherries there and that got me thinking. I always thought the cherries came before the strawberries.

That notion was fixed a long time ago when I was 14 or 15. I know school was still in session and a farm on Ridge Road, just outside of the village of Webster, was hiring kids to pick cherries. I had to get a work permit and that’s when I got my social security card. I already had a paper route for years but somehow they got around all the labors laws with paperboys.

Picking cherries after school was a great job. You got paid by how much you picked so it was solid work experience At that time we’d climb the trees with a bucket in our hands and climb down when it was full. Today they have figured out a way to keep the trees low to the ground so you don’t need a ladder or anything. I remember someone had a transistor radio up in the trees and we’d be listening to our favorite songs on WBBF and WSAY and eating as many cherries as we could. I think my brother ate too many and got sick on them or maybe that was me.

Once the cherries were all picked and school was out we were offered jobs picking strawberries out in the hot sun. It was brutal. I quit.

Out Of Context

June 17th, 2015

Blue wrought iron chairs at lakeside, Rochester New York

The U.S. should have been able to walk all over Nigeria but they only managed one goal, well, two with the bad off-sides call, and they couldn’t even score with Nigeria a woman down. How are they going to handle Germany, Brazil or even Canada? I’m glad Abby got one but but she kind of lumbers around the center. Unless someone is looking for her head on a corner she doesn’t see much action at all. We’ve got a solid defense but things fall apart in the middle. OK, they made it out of the group of death but I wish I wasn’t so worried about them.

After the game we stopped over at our neighbor’s house. Wreckless Eric was staying there overnight on his way to a solo gig in Toronto. He played us his new record, first one in twelve years, but talked most of the way through it. Record sounds lush in low fi way. Peggi told Eric he’s a very melodic bass player and Eric told us the guy in Yo La Tenga told him he sounds like Jack Cassidy. That led to a Jefferson Airplane discussion and then Jack Bruce and Cream, the first three Hendrix albums and Led Zeppelin’s 1. And then we discussed the merits of hearing songs out of context. We left when it got around to Jethro Tull.

The Big One

June 14th, 2015

Water tank on Sea Breeze Way near Seneca Road in Rochester, New York

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are already starting to dismantle their newest art project, the wrapping of the Seneca Road water tower near the Sea Breeze Water Authority headquarters. You had better hurry on up to the lake to take this dramatic sight in before it is all wrapped up. Each day provides distinctly different views. The top of the tower was partialy unwrapped on Saturday and it looked impossibly blue against the blue skies. Air flow is also a factor as the framework of the structure appears to bend as the sheets billow. The tower is normally fairly quiet as gravity has been harnessed to supply pressure to the residents below but during the installation you’ll be treated to something akin to a white noise soundtrack.

As is usually the case with the Christos, the securing of the permit, the town hall meetings and negotiations with the various neighborhood factions that are opposed to the project are all part of the art piece. In fact a documentary crew has been filming each of these related events.

In this case the town had to vote on the approval of the spending for extra security. The vote passed by a wide margin but because this is Irondequoit an outspoken stickler and member of the opposite party called the town supervisor’s attention to an “T” that wasn’t crossed and the whole town had report to the auditorium of Christ the King to vote on the tax expenditure a second time.

(Fill) In The Loop

June 12th, 2015

Huge pile of dirt for fill-in of the Inner Loop in Rochester, New York

It is certainly possible to correct your mistakes but often it takes forever to realize that you made a mistake. The Inner Loop, circling downtown Rochester, alleviated traffic alright. It choked the life out of the city core. Colorblind James used to lead chants at their gigs of “Fill in the Inner Loop.” Chuck (Colorblind) is gone now and soon one half of the loop will be buried as well. Let’s hope the new development in this area, the former moat between the Park Avenue neighborhood and downtown, will not resemble a freakin’ theme park.

The Brian Wilson movie, is really good. Not because it sheds any new light on the band for lifelong fans (I am one) but because the music comes first including long recreations of the making of “Good Vibrations,” “Pet Sounds” and the “Smile” sessions. I never get tired of the many official and unofficial boots of Brian and the studio musicians tracking and orchestrating snippets of these classic songs and,
in fact, appreciate Brian’s genius more and more as the years go by. A funny notion for a surf band.

The movie could never be “great” because the music it is based on is “great.” The movie can only pale. Elizabeth Banks, playing Brian’s second wife, was better than both the young and older Brian actors. Can somebody play “Surf’s Up” at my funeral? Sorry Van Dyke Parks, I have no idea what those words are about but I love Brian’s music and voice.

Which brings me to Ornette’s passing. As the headline in the paper read, he “Rewrote the Language of Jazz.” He rewrote it so I could get it under my skin. My first Ornette lp was “Science Fiction.” Maybe the two hauntingly beautiful vocal songs pulled me in, ‘All My Life” and “What Reason Could I Give?.” They may have been the footing I needed for the music. Ed Blackwell’s drums blew me away. Charlie Haden’s bass playing is god-like. And Ornette’s totally unique, joyous sax had me dancing in my head. From there the rest of the catalog took hold of me. Long live Ornette!!!!

Fake Philip Glass

June 10th, 2015

Fuzzy furry 6x6 at RoCo in Rochester, New York

Rochester Contemporary gets submissions from all corners of he world for their annual 6×6 show. Its their biggest fundraiser so why should they quit it? Not to mention that no one has come up with a better idea. We heard director, Bleu Cease, on the radio talking up the celebrity entrants and the mad scramble to purchase their work on opening day. We had a soccer game to watch that night we missed the affair but we did have a chance to preview the work.

If everybody knows that Philip Glass has something in the show, as he does every year, wouldn’t you think someone would be doing fake Philip Glass’s and submitting them? I mean the real Philip Glass’s only bring twenty bucks like every other piece. Supposedly the authorship is kept anonymous but some artists work is so distinctive you pick it out in a sea of thousands. And in my father’s case he signed his “Hot Dog Row” homage on the front. Would Philip Glass really submit a piece on section of musical score paper with the words “Einstein on the Beach” on it? His most famous piece? I’ve tried some different things over the years and went minimal/maximal this year. Next year I plan to do forgeries. As a fundraiser.

Bleu trapped us on the way out and solicited video responses to three questions. One was what was you favorite piece in the show? I tried to describe this fuzzy, furry, three dimensional piece (above). I can’t wait to hear/see that rambling reply.

U. S. A.

June 9th, 2015

Marshall Street Bar with Western New York Flash for USA Women's match vs. Australia

Brad Fox used to call this place the “Glass Bunion” back in the disco days. Officially the “Glass Onion,” I believe it was done in by a cocaine overdose. It’s called Marshall Street Bar now and the WNY Flash gathered there last night to watch the US national team in their first game of the 2015 World Cup, this one against Australia. The US may be favored but after watching the Germans run circles around Ivory Coast in their opener I’d put my money on then. I’m not a betting man though.

The women’s professional league is small and we are so lucky to have a team based here. Many of the US team players have either played for the Flash (Abby, Morgan, Lloyd and Leroux) or come through here to play against the Flash so it was blast to watch them win last night.

They were probably paid by FIFA to attend the broadcast because most of the team (seen sitting in the first row above) was there. They could have seen the game better on tv. Most of them seemed more interested in their phones than the game and who could blame them at their age. Our friend, Kerry, won one of the raffles and got most of their autograghs. I was headed to the bathroom when I spotted the Flash’s Lynn Williams by herself. I told her I watched her in the practice rounds and I thought she was the best shooter on the team. That’s where I should have stopped but I went on to say I thought she should be more aggressive on the field. She thanked me but I will keep my mouth shut next time. I can see how her phone would be more important than being on the national team.

It is the season to binge on soccer. The Champions Cup final with the dream threesome of Messi, Neymar and Suarez up front for Barcelona when they met Italy’s Juventus this weekend really got our blood flowing.

The Light No Longer Shines

June 8th, 2015

Fred Lipp sculpture entitled Omnipresent 1983 in the Marion M. Whitbeck Garden at Rochester General Hospital

Fred (Fritz) Lipp passed away on Sunday morning. A tremendous loss for his family, his students and Rochester. I’ve written quite a bit here about him. His longtime students, our fellow painters, could find no reason to leave the advanced painting class once they found Fred. He had an amazing ability to always be there to take it up a notch. There was no end because as he often told us, he learned from the best. He conversed with Matisse, Van Gogh, El Greco and Guston when he stood in front of their paintings. “They talk to me,” he would say. And Fred loved to share what he learned. We were so lucky to have know him.

Every year the Creative Workshop would have a faculty show and Fred would show a new piece, something to blow your mind, but otherwise he was very quiet about his work. He was commissioned to create the sculpture shown above (please click on it for full photo) for Rochester General Hospital. Entitled “Omnipresent,” it was paid for by a wealthy donor and it originally sat in a courtyard where you could walk around the piece and experience the sculpture in space. The hospital expanded. The sculpture was moved to the Marion M. Whitbeck Garden, in a courtyard near the old entrance. The light that was inside the piece no longer shines. In fact it is not even wired as it was in its original location.

As fate would have it Fred spent some of his last days in this hospital and he visited his sculpture. He talked about the piece in our last conversation and we promised him we would do all we could to get the hospital to run an electric line to the sculpture. Maybe someday we will again see the light as it seeps out the artfully constructed openings.

Our friend, Alice, who was in the class when I first joined, emailed us this. “His words still ring around in my brain… when I paint or just in life… the wisdom applies to both life and art.” I’m quoting her because I feel exactly the same. It is our duty to duty to carry on with this wisdom.

Garage Sailing

June 5th, 2015

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters photo sent to 4D Advertising when we were doing an album cover for them

My grandparents used to covert their garage into a porch in the summer. The car sat out in the driveway when we arrived for a visit and we’d sit around and talk in their garage. As I remember they even had a rug on the floor. As we rode our bikes down Panaview Drive to the hospital yesterday I notice a few houses with screens rolled up above their overhead garage doors, a couple of them right across the street from one another, ready to convert. This is how I’d like to spend my summer. Sitting on the porch as the world goes by.

Panaview changes its name to Norlane as you cross Bouckhart and there was a sign on that corner that read “Garage Sale Now.” We followed it down Norlane and it turned out to be the house with the pink bike strapped to a tortured tree. Our street is having a garage sale this weekend so we stopped in to check out the competition. I asked how much the pink bike was and the woman said $20. They had a box of Ukrainian records and some pictures from the old country and the sign in front of their house had “garage” misspelled. I photographed it for my sign site.

Well, our street sale turned out to have only two takers. Rick and Monica, across the street, are starting to downsize and we’re still trying to get rid of Peggi’s mom’s stuff. And of course we have a bunch crap so we plan to open our doors Saturday at 9AM.

But first I had to clean out our garage. I started by recycling a box of used padded envelopes. Some photos fell out of one, mostly Polaroids of the King All Stars, Fred Wesley, Hank Ballard, Cal Green, Country Kellum, Bobby Byrd, Pee Wee Ellis, Bubba Brooks, Bootsy Collins, Vicki Anderson, St. Clair Pinckney, Bill Doggett and Clyde Stubblefield. All single person close-ups. We did the album, cd and cassette package for After Hours Records and I think we used these inside.

There was a 35mm print in there too, the one above. Hank Ballard‘s girlfriend sent it to us I can’t remember if we did a separate record cover for him or what but I remember taking the picture out of the envelope and how it reeked of stale cigarette smoke. I have no idea why he is hanging onto an umbrella.

Explaining Myself

June 4th, 2015

Our neighbors dumpster

Our neighbor has a little project going on, one that requires a dumpster. I asked him if I could photograph their dumpster. He said, “What?” I repeated the request and explained that I photograph dumpsters. I said, “I have a collection of them. Someday I’ll put them all online.”