Archive for the ‘Leaving Rochester’ Category

Parallel Universe

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Tiny house on fruit farm outside Traverse City

Northern Michigan is so pretty. It’s like Upstate New York except there are more lakes. Vineyards, fruit farms and corn are everywhere and the wildflowers, birds and vegetation are all the same as back home. Torch Lake is long and runs north south. We walked and biked along the shore in both directions but today we went perpendicularly, up the hill for two and a half miles. The road turned to dirt or, more accurately, sand as we crossed Route 31. And when it ran out we could see the next body of water.

There were fruit trees on both sides of the road. Cherry is king here and acres of trees were grouped by age. There were apple orchards and pears as well. We picked an apple and I shined it on my shirt. It was crisp and delicious.

We flew in and out of Cherry Capitol Airport in Traverse City. Our hosts bought cherry pies from two different farm stands and we discussed the merits of both. We bought dried cherries to bring back to our neighbor and on the way to the airport we stopped for a dish of cherry ice cream, the world famous Moomers Homemade Ice Cream.

Peaking

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Pete, Shelley and Peggi walking by the Funny Farm near Paradox, New York

We were not off the grid that long, just a little over 24 hours, when my watch beeped with some Trump alert. We were out for a walk and had just passed a place the locals call the Funny Farm and I stepped into a hotspot that I wasn’t able to zero in on again. The temperature had dropped below zero the night before and our sleeping bags were not up to it but a couple cups of cowboy coffee straightened that out. There is not that much difference between that and our French Press.

It is no secret that Pete is a gourmet cook. There is a Bayou bent to his favorite recipes and an incredibly resourceful streak to his situation, their location in a mountainous food desert. For breakfast we had a homemade curry dish that started with celery and salt in oil on the wood stove. Chick peas, started from the dry position, were the main ingredient, but the cinnamon in the curry stole the show.

Once back on the grid we discovered that our calendar had changed so we decided to drive up to Lake Placid, an idyllic, small city in the high peaks of the Adirondacks. Our skis were in the car but there wasn’t enough snow to ski on. We should have brought ice skates. Mirror Lake was a giant sheet of glass, a mirror in fact. We whooped it up in the hotel with a flight of scotch at the bar before bed and smoked salmon with chopped red onion and capers for breakfast. I asked the waitress if we could walk around Mirror Lake and said, yes, just follow the red sidewalk. We did and found the sidewalk marked with he names of the 46 High Peaks and their elevations. Upper Wolf Jaw Mountain – 4,185 ft, Table Top – 4,427 ft, Nippletop Mountain – 4,620, Dix Mountain – 4,857 ft, nearby Whiteface Mountain – 4,867 ft. and and of course, Mount Marcy – 5,344 ft.

Goodbye Flash

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

WNYFlashMourningParty

The bone-headed decision to base the team in Buffalo and have them play their matches in Rochester left the Western New York Flash without a real home. The owners have moved the team, entire roster in tack, to the booming North Carolina suburbs of Raleigh Durham. Eight of us seasoned, season ticket holders gathered to mourn the WNY Flash’s departure. Bennie, the leader of the Flash Mob drum troupe, hosted the get together and decorated her home with homemade Flash banners that she had hung at the stadium over the past few years. All of our favorite players were represented. Jaelene Hinkle, Jessica McDonald, Sabrina D’Angelo, Liz Eddy, Samantha Mewis, Lynn Williams, Taylor Smith, Abby Erceg and McCall Zerboni. We watched a YouTube rerun of the the Flash winning this year’s Championship game in overtime and we made plans to travel to the opening game this year.

Tact

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Big concrete blocks at quarry near Starkey, New York

This could be the best photo I have ever taken. And I didn’t do anything but push the button. These concrete blocks were out in front a quarrel in Starkey near Seneca Lake. We passed it, stopped the car and I got out o take a few photos. I could not take a bad photo here. The lighting was perfect, the Fall colors were peaking, the piles of distinctly different earth elements were beautiful and those concrete blocks! I would love to have some of those to scatter about the yard.

We hardly ever go to Ithaca without visiting the Johnson Museum at Cornell. I was thinking about their Otto Dix painting all day. We stopped to visit my mom on the way out of town, then stopped at the diner in Penn Yan for lunch. We sat at the counter and both ordered a club sandwich with coffee. I read the little plaques on the walls and took note of my favorites.

“Boss spelled backwards is double S.O.B.”
“When the white man discovered this country the Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, women did all the work. White man thought he could improve on a system like that.”
“Helen Waite is our credit manager. If you want credit, go to hell and wait.”
“Tact: The ability to tell a man to go to hell and make him feel happy to be on his way.”

Our next stop was Robert Treman State Park where we walked three miles up the gorge and three miles back down on the other side so we didn’t make into Ithaca until dark. Just enough time to walk the Commons, browse the used book store where Peggi picked up a copy of “Exquisite Corpse, and have dinner at a French restaurant. Couples on both sides of us were talking election results.

Check out the audio of this Leonard Cohen interview. He left us with some solid advice.

Abstract Sign Painter

Saturday, 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.

Cultura

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Lobby in the Fundacion Telephonica in Madrid, Spain

Last night we had a drink in a bar/restaurant where Cervantes sat and wrote. The place has half a millennia of history. This morning we walked around the convent where they recently discovered Cervantes’ remains. There is so much to see in Madrid, we like to just get out there and wander. It helps that the Spanish government continues to fund first class art shows. We picked up a Fundación Cultura guide on our first day here and we tracked down shows with that.

A Vivian Meyer show opens tomorrow but we won’t be here. Yesterday we saw the same Joaquín Torres García show we had seen at MoMA a year ago. Today we walked to the Museo Del Romanticismo where the great Czech photographer, Viroslav Tichy, has a show that opens on June 3. We were two days early for that so I’ll have to satisfy myself with with Google image searches.

We found a funky, relaxed part of the city near the Museo, maybe due to the nearby colleges, and we asked the museum workers for a recommendation for dinner. We got with the program from the onset here and have been enjoying our main meal at midday. We sat on a park bench in Plaza de España in front of the central statue of Cervantes with Sancho Panza and Don Quijote and Peggi pointed out that we were right across from the sight of Goya’s “3rd of May,” the masterpiece we had seen a few days before.

Wane In Spain

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Juice bar in Madrid, Spain

Last night while wandering around, a most enjoyable activity and one that local couples, especially ones in our age bracket, appear to be doing in large numbers, we spotted some religious stores on Calle de la Paz. We made a note to check them out in the morning in hopes of adding a few gems to my holy card collection. This one place, “Santarrufina,” looked especially promising. The ornate sign above the door read “Compañia Española de Artículous Religiosos” and the year “1887” was written in an oval at both ends.

This morning we learned the store catered directly to churches with life sized crucifixes and chalices and priestly garments and incense burners and whole sets of the fourteen stations of the cross to choose from. We asked if they carried holy cards and they said no. A shop across the street from them had statues of Pope Francis and the Virgin in its windows and plenty of holy cards on a spinning rack inside but they were smaller than the standard size and more garishly printed with a goofy raised gold seal in the bottom corner. They had hundreds of saints but some of them were suspect. I bought a few of those, “Yemanya” and “Santísima Muerte.” Most of their goods were related to Catholicism but they also carried crystals. There was a giant one in the corner. And they had a section devoted to Buddha, a rack of essential oils and candles shaped like penises.

Catholicism is on the wane in Spain.

Civilization

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Tops of buildings in Madrid, Spain

We bought fruit last night for the room and we started with that this morning, bananas, a mystery fruit (cross between a peach and an apricot?) and some dried figs and prunes. We were able to get up a little earlier and we were on the streets at eleven. We stopped for coffee on Geronimo in the Plaza de Canalejas across from the brand new Four Seasons hotel (the building they are gutting after leaving the centuries old facade standing). Cafe Del Príncipe had a desayuno especial that included a small glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and Tortilla Española with pan and coffee. We bought a postcard for my mom and walked into Peurta del Sol by the Apple Store to Vodaphone where we got SIM cards for the phone and iPad. The guard in the store suggested we go to the basement of Corte Inglés to mail the postcard so we did that and then stumbled on the “Uno de 50″ section in the store. Peggi took some photos for my sister, Ann, who sells this funky Spanish line of handmade jewelry at Parkleigh in Rochester.

We walked by a Fundación art exhibition co-sponsored by MoMA but it was closed Monday. Peggi read about a nice place to eat up there and we happened to walk by it so had their Menu del Día. “Red de Pescado,” catch of the day with shrimp with the heads on. I had a Country Salad and Peggi had Gazpacho.

We walked over to Calle de Alcalá 13 where a Fundación show with Goya in it was but they were closed too. So we decided to go back there tomorrow. We put six point three miles on our Moves app and I did it all on crutches. I have a new found comradery with other handicapped people on the street. We check out each other’s gear.

It doesn’t get dark here until ten. We could set the clocks this way in the US. We walked through the Plaza Mayor and over to the Mercado de San Miguel where we had some olives, some cheese and dry Vermouth from a tap. We split the Vermouth, it was served over ice and cost one and one half Euros. We walked around some more, found a street with some religious shops on it, Calle de la Paz. We plan to go over there tomorrow to look for holy cards. We stopped in Plaza de Angel at the place that has live jazz and we had drink at an outdoor table. We have finally adjusted to the time zone change.

The Parkway

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Trailer cottages along Ontario State Parkway

On the question of whether the city of Toronto or the drive to the city along the Lake Ontario Parkway is more interesting, I guess I would come down on the drive side. I love everything about Route 18, the Public Works Parkway design with its beautiful stone bridges, the dreamy views of the lake, the fact that there is hardly any traffic, the orchards, vineyards and fruit stands, not one gas station between Rochester and Buffalo and the small summer vacation towns with the lighthouses from yesteryear, like Olcott, where we stopped for lunch. I was looking forward to the ride home.

We were behind a cluster of trucks on the QEW as we headed out of town and I was thinking about how John Baldessari talked about the back end of trucks looking like modern art paintings. We were listening to AM740, Toronto’s “Timeless Hits station.” They were playing songs from 40 years ago, recapping the hit of 1976. If someone wanted to know why punk came about, that year’s playlist would be the most concise answer you could provide.

Power Plant

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Japanese band playing on the street in Toronto

The Lewiston bridge was waiting for customers when we crossed into Canada. The trip to Toronto was a breeze. I thought there was supposed to be long lines at the border and back-ups near the city but we were early for check-in at our hotel. We took the Parkway and Robert Moses along the shores of Lake Ontario, skipped the thruway entirely and were downtown in three plus hours.

We set an all-time Moves record on our app by walking from our downtown hotel to the Harbourfront Centre along the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The energy generated in the reconditioned Power Plant is all from the power of contemporary art. The current show is mostly video displayed floor to ceiling in empty, pitch black rooms. We were mesmerized by Leslie Hewitt’s “Untitled Structures.” Shot in Memphis, Chicago and New York the pieces touched on civil rights. Hewitt worked with a cinematographer, Bradford Young, and created 35mm film studies (barely moving still images), transferred them to HD video and used dual projector software to juxtapose two images at a time on perpendicular walls.

We found a Portuguese restaurant near our hotel and had the best grilled squid ever. We were back out on the streets in time to catch this Japanese band playing on the street.

John Brown’s Farm

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

View from Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid New York. Photo by Peggi Fournier

The outside world finds a way in even if you are off its grid. Pete and Shelley’s literary recommendation for us was Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here.” Guess it closely mirrors the Trumpster’s run.

Speaking of mirrors, we spent the next night on Mirror Lake in the Adirondacks. After leaving the woods and retreiving a couple days worth of messages and not finding anything urgent we continued north instead of heading home. Our view, from the town of Lake Placid, encompassed the high peaks and the ramps for the ski jumps in the Olympic Village. We were there in the way low season, a few weeks after winter and well before summer.

We walked to the the center of town and had dinner. I ordered a John Brown IPA that was brewed by the Great Adirondack Brewing Company located just behind the restaurant. The description in the menu read, “John brown, a fiery abolitionist, came to Lake Placid in 1855 to build a community of free men. After being hung for his his raid on Harper’s Ferry his final resting place is on his farm in Lake Placid. Our rebellious India Pale Ale with a mountain of brilliant pine and citrus hop flavor, is an plosives tribute to John Brown and his fellow rebels. Pushing the boundaries of the status quo and fighting for the betterment of mankind.

House In The Woods

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Vines on trees in Spring Valley early April

We went off grid for a few days but I was still able to recharge my watch with solar power. Cellular service ends just before the closest town to Pete and Shelley. We got right down to business on arrival. We caught up on health issues and then mutual friends. We watched the snow melt in the full sun and slide off the metal roof of their shed. We boiled water outdoors for our French press coffee maker. We took long walks down the road, first in one direction and then in the other, Setting an all time record with our Moves app.

Listened to Pete play the Wurlitzer electric piano without plugging it in. I took photos of the compost pile and played “Ambulance Blues” from my watch on the phone in Peggi’s pocket. We drank a twenty year old bottle of Cava, one that Shelley’s parents had in their basement when they moved into an assisted living facility. We studied their book shelves and looked at old photos from a box in the back of a drawer. We sat around the enamel-top table by candlelight and talked for hours without googling a thing.

World’s Best Tour Guide

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Remember the little old lady who lived in a shoe? This is the cutest houseboat in Sausilito, California

Our friend, Brad Fox, is the world’s best tour guide. He drove to our location, a route he takes daily to his job, picked us up and asked where we wanted to go stating “I’ll take you anywhere you want to go” and as we drove, “let me know if you want me to pull over to take a photo. I’ll stop anywhere you like.” A Rochester native, the Bay Area is now his town.

With five of us in his Chevy Blazer he took us to the famous orange bridge but not over it yet. We turned right at the foot and drove up a winding road to a fort in the Marin Headlands where we had spectacular views of the bay, the city and the ocean. I think we watched a helicopter fly under the bridge. Looking down on the bridge none of us were quite sure what we were seeing. On the way down Brad pointed to his favorite campground, Kirby Cove. We crossed the bridge and took an immediate hard left at another fort. Brad chatted up the guy in the gift store as we climbed to the top. Peggi took the best panorama ever with her new phone.

Back in Sausalito we ate Mexican and recaffeinated. Peggi and I toured Lazlo’s houseboat, first tied to the docks here some forty two years ago. It’s woodsy like an Adirondack cabin. Each houseboat has a distinct personality, one that oddly enough reflects the owner’s own. Without any Lowel lights on hand we made plans to shoot the covers of the two classic MX-80 Ralph Records releases in the morning when the foggy sunlight was diffuse. Rich had a sealed copy of each and art files are needed for an upcoming vinyl only rerelease.

MX-80 Sound - Someday You'll Be King
MX-80 Sound – Someday You’ll Be King

Peer Pier

Friday, February 26th, 2016

House boats in Sausalito, California

Our friend, Rich, said he’d pick us up at the airport in SF and he did, no small feat in the sprawling bay area. What he didn’t say was he didn’t have a car. So the three of us Ubered over the orange bridge to Marin County where Andrea met us wearing her Tupac t-shirt. She told us we might feel some queasiness in their house and if we felt that coming on we should put these little elastic wrist bands on. I sometimes get seasick so I put both on.

We took a tour of the docks. Just like the “neighborhoods” in the nursing homes they all have different personalities. There is a funky, painted lady vibe to a lot of the houseboats here but each is their own little universe and very dreamy to peer into. By comparison I would call Rich and Andrea’s mid-century modern and the dreamiest houseboat in Sausilto. A photo spread of it would fit nicely in the pages of AD Spain.

The four of us did yoga before dinner. Andrea was the teacher and gentle but firm. I took my white bracelets off and slept like a baby.

Ca.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

House and tree at top of Belair Road in Los Angeles

I packed minimally for the week. Three pairs of socks, three pairs of underwear, a couple t-shirts and a change of pants, No jacket or hat, just a sweater. And yet I still had too much on me. My Swiss Army knife was confiscated at the airport check point. I could have mailed it home for twenty bucks but I chose to say goodbye to it. My sister-in-law offered me a beer when we arrived at her house and I reached in my pocket for the opener. Grr.

My nephews, one from Venice and the other from West Hollywood, met us here. The younger is a chef and he made Mexican. He grilled the vegetables outdoors and we watched the moon rise. We are not in Rochester anymore.

Peggi’s sister turned in after dinner and we started watching her Netflix disc, “Straight Outta Compton,” but the soundtrack was too loud upstarts so we saved it in our queue for or return.

Not Turning The Page

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Picasso Hand sculpture at MoMA

We took the F train uptown on Sunday to see the Picasso sculpture show at MoMA. Picasso hung on to most of his sculptures during lifetime and I suspect he did so because they were his tangible representations of form. They were inspirational building blocks he could live with and use in his work. I think he inspired himself with these. He pushed boundaries in and out of cubism and celebrated the human form above all. My favorite was this hand.

We cut through Rockefeller Center on our way to the museum and I was surprised to see the tree had not been decorated yet. There was a giant wooden scaffold built around the tree and police with high powered rifles and dogs surrounded the structure, an apocalyptic post Paris holiday scene.

Back in Duane’s apartment I spent some quality time with Robert Frank’s “Storylines” photo book. I found this quote in there, a quote that started at the bottom of one page and continued on the next. The continuation was pertinent but the first part knocked me out.

“There comes a point when it is no longer a question of an art that is over here, in a pristine volume, or Out There, on a pristine wall, in a secure category or genre; but an art that has become part of how you see

… turn the page if you must

the world. You no longer merely look (up, out) at it; it is inside you like a lamp, which illuminates all the details spread out below in what might otherwise be unmitigated darkness. You are no longer you without its memory.”

No Service

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Marsh behind Pete and Shelley's property in the Adirondacks

Nothing like a couple of days off the grid to get your priorities straight. The “No Service” alert in the upper left hand corner of my mobile device was actually comforting. No emails, texts, news, Google searches or nasty Geo-tagging of my photos. Pete and Shelley made Hominy grits, puff balls and aborted entoloma mushrooms, beet greens and garlic toast over an open fire for breakfast. And I made the French press coffee extra strong. If you were an en plein air painter you would have your work cut out for you up here.

Wake The Hell Up

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Proctor Munson Museum in Utica, New York

Utica is a day trip but we talked about making it an overnight destination,just for fun. Utica Club beer sort of soured the place’s reputation but it is a cool small city and the old brewery sign still stands tall above downtown. We were here to see the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. How did they ever amass such a stellar collection of twentieth century art?

We hadn’t even paid our entrance fees when we spotted an Arthur Dove and a Marsden Hartley right next to it. They have five Joseph Cornell constructions! They have early and late paintings by Modrian, Stuart Davis and Philip Guston. The early ones are better for Modrian and Davis, Guston’s late work is killer. There is another Marsdon Hartley upstairs, one of his late Maine landscapes. It alone is worth the drive but there is a traveling Impressionist show, “Monet to Matisse” there now as well.

The wood paneled walls of the museum are a rich setting for their collection. The upstairs entrance, shown above, features a choice Jackson Pollack, a Louise Bourgeois spider, and Andy Warhol’s Eletric Chair in one shot.

Instead of staying overnight we had a cup of Utica roasted coffee, the company’s slogan is “Wake The Hell Up,” and continued on to Pete and Shelley’s home in the Adirondacks.

Change Is Good

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Three women at crosswalk near Robert Indiana's Love sculpture NYC

Funny thing happens when you first hit the streets in New York. You want to photograph everything. Every person you see looks interesting. Not like you want to hang with them but maybe just take their picture and stare at it when you get home. And then after a few days everything and everybody looks rather ordinary. A bit of fatigue sets in from the overload of stimuli. Maybe if we hung around for a few more days I would have just the right amount of discernment. But we had to be back for our Margaret Explosion gig.

Here’s a song from last week’s show. We have one more Wednesday night at the Little and then we’re off for the summer.

Margaret Explosion - Swing
Margaret Explosion – Swing

Meatball Coveyor Belt

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Ikea in Hamilton Ontario on Victoria Day

The Great Lakes are also great obstacles. As the crow flies Toronto is not that far from us but driving around Lake Ontario takes a few hours. To get to Detroit we drove around the bottom of Lake Erie. To get back we took the northerly route across Canada where we went out of our way to stop at an IKEA in Hamilton.

We didn’t really need anything but would have looked at something to replace our twenty five year old futon and we wanted to find a new entry way throw rug. The one we have is so old and frayed it has become a tripping hazard.

We had never been to an IKEA and we were pretty excited as we rounded the corner and spotted the sign. The giant parking lot was empty like they had gone out off business. It was really eerie. I typed the date and word Canada in Google and learned it was Victoria Day.