Archive for the ‘We Live Like Kings’ Category

Speak Easy

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Cheshire Cocktail Lounge on South Avenue in Rochester, New York

I was talking to Martin about a reoccurring dream I had and he told me he had the same dream and it was was one of his favorites. Well, he didn’t have exactly the same dream but it was the same concept. In the dream we discover a really cool section of the city, somewhere we never knew existed, and it was exhilarating. It was almost like we fell asleep to look for this elusive place. It is a very comfortable destination.

We picked up Louise last night and met Matthew downtown when he got off work. They suggested Swillburger Playhouse for dinner, a place we had never been. We hadn’t been there since it became Swillburger but we did play there in the eighties when it was called the Community Playhouse. After dinner they took us to Cheshire Cocktail Lounge, another place we had never been. I hadn’t had a cocktail since Peggi’s mom died but when in Rome. . . This place is something like a speakeasy. There is no signage and you gain access by going up a staircase inside Solera Wine Bar. My grandfather was a bootlegger and he owned a bar on the west side when booze became legal. He would have loved this place.

Armchair Shrink

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Carey HouseI in Sodus Point, New York

Our friends, Jeff and Mary Kaye, hosted a wine tasting at their house last night. Each of us brought some wine and Jeff put it in paper bags, wino style, so we couldn’t see the label. There were ten of us and apparently none of us have a very sophisticated palette because the eighteen dollar bottle of Spanish wine that Peggi picked out won the most votes followed closely by a six dollar bottle of Gnarly Head place second.

Jeff brought a dusty bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild out of a back room and passed it around for us to look at. He didn’t plan to open it but told us it was given to him by an old girlfriend. Sue, who was sitting next to me, scanned the label with her wine scanner app and determined the bottle was worth about 1200 dollars. I was intrigued by the label, a watercolor painting of a ram, that was signed by someone named John Houston. Sure enough, the director of Chinatown was also an artist and this label is said to be his last painting.

Another Jeff, sitting across the table from me, asked Jeff the host what his off-the-record, off-duty,professional diagnosis of the president was. Jeff said he thinks Trump is a narcissist of such proportions that he believes he is telling the truth even when he when he lies. In this morning’s paper Maureen Dowd asked a Trump biographer about the orange one and he said, ““Donald’s manic without being depressive.” Having known a few manic/depressives I would say this one fits but is the condition even possible?

Red Hats

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Our neighbor, Larry, with his Trump hat and dog, Topher.

We never talk politics with our neighbor. We don’t have to. His hat sums the subject up. There are plenty of other things to talk about. His dog. The weather. The neighbors who don’t bring their trash receptacle back after pick-up.

Listen to Pete LaBonne’s “We Live Like Kings”
Pete LaBonne – We Live Like Kings

Moving Images

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Marsh off Hoffman Road in Rochester, New York

The Memorial Art Gallery has an exciting new Media Arts space, a gallery devoted to the moving image, a three year project that will feature different work every three months, work by major artists. They even plan to commission three pieces for an upcoming show. The inaugural exhibition, “Bodies in Space,” features work Nam June Paik (“Experiments with David Atwood, 1969″) and Bruce Nauman, key artists from the early years of video art, alongside more recent work by Sondra Perry and Takeshi Murata. The gallery plans to purchase the work and eventually assimilate it in their collection.

On Sunday afternoon John Hanhardt, MAG’s new Curator of Media Arts, gave a lecture on the work and media arts in general. Hanhardt worked in the department of film and video at the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and from 1974 to 1996 he was curator of the film and video department at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was the senior curator of film and media arts at the Guggenheim from 1996 to 2006 and he joined the Smithsonian Museum’s staff in 2006 as a senior curator of film and media arts.

Hanhardt curated both the Whitney and Guggenheim retrospectives of Nam June Paik. He recently arranged for the Smitsonian to house the Nam June Paik archive, eight tractor trailer trucks worth. Hanhardt convinced Warhol, when he was still alive, to let him preserve his film archive. He knows his stuff. He is a Rochester native and we are glad to have him back.

Iron Lady

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Kale in the garden 2016

Peggi and I stopped by the Red Cross on Prince Street to donate and two young women came in while we were still reading the disclaimers. They were intending to give blood but one them had a low iron level so she was refused. She sat with her friend while the three of us pumped our fists in the reclining chairs. The nurse told the young woman that she eats raisons everyday to keep her iron levels up and she asked the long woman if she ate red meat. I looked up “good sources of iron” and found spinach at the top of the list. She said she loved spinach.

I imagine kale is up there too. We planted six small plants in the Spring and we’ve been eating it all summer. It is so hardy. It holds its own in greens and beans and we do that quite a bit. Tonight Peggi found a recipe called “Tuscan Kale” with plums and goat cheese.” She made a dressing with olive oil, honey, lemon and Tamari sauce and added some walnuts and dried cherries. You don’t even cook the kale. We complimented this dish with leftover fresh corn. We cut the kernels off the cobs and bake the corn with a little olive oil and diced jalapeño peppers. We have a bumper crop of peppers this year. If you are picturing these two dishes next to one another on a plate you’re probably thinking “red.” And it goes without saying this time of year. Every meal comes with a few wedges of fresh tomatoes and basil leaves.

Sunday Outing

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Diane Arbus Two Teenage Girls at the Met Breuer

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

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

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

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

We Are The Champions

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

Real Madrid Champions League T-shirts

We watched three Euro Cup soccer games yesterday, an activity just my speed with only one working leg. We watched Switzerland and Wales win and then the upset, Russia over England. And then we headed out to the stadium to watch the WNY Flash play Alex Morgan’s team, the Orlando Pride. Morgan hardly got the ball and when she did she was shut down by the Flash’s Hinkle/Eddy/Erceg/Dahlkemper superb back line.

I was really worried when I saw that D’Angelo, our first string goalie (as well as Canada’s national team goalie), was injured but the Flash scored early and held on for the 90 to move into first place in the NWSL. It is so much fun to watch this team get better and better as we get to know them. The US Women have the best team in the world and our city has the best team in the league. It was even fun watching Orlando, the newest team in the league. They have Spencer, Edmonds, Edwards and even Morgan, who all previously played for the Flash.

New Leaves

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Young oak leaves in trees out front

Jill Ellis, the women’s national team coach, was in the house last night. She was introduced before the game and then we spotted her at halftime hanging over the railing in front of her box seat while talking to Abby Wambach’s parents (who just happened to be sitting next to us.) She’s here to study the Flash players, Jaedene Hinkle and Sam Mewis in particular. She’ll be gong to the Olympics in Rio with only eighteen players (there were 21 on last year’s World Cup roster). Of course, she could still be evaluating Sky Blue’s Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara. But the way Hinkle played last night I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellis left town with Hinkle in the back seat.

We got to the game early, as we usually do,to watch the warm-ups from behind the goal. You have to keep your eye on the ball because you can get clobbered back there. And I was already injured. I was hoping to get a chance to talk to the Flash trainer about my injury. I’d ask him what he would do to get a player back on the pitch asap after an injury like mine. But that was only a pipe dream.

I was soaking my leg in the tub this afternoon, reading my John Baldessari book, and the room was getting all steamed up. I gave up reading and just relaxed but in a few minutes our smoke alarm went off, loud as hell. So I hobbled over to the damn thing and pulled the battery out. Why would a smoke alarm go off with steam?

Flash Update

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The Italian American Club in Rochester, New York

We had never been to the Italian American Club out on Buffalo Road so it was a real treat to be invited there to meet the 2016 Western New York Flash. This club is where all the original support for the Rochester Lancers came from and the reason we were able to see the great Pelé play here. Since we went to every home game last season we bought season tickets holders this year and thus were invited here to meet the team. Each table of fans, there were eight at our table, had a Flash player joining them for dinner. Sabrina D’Angelo’s name was printed on tent card at our table but it was crossed out and Liz Eddy’s name was written in. Sabrina is Canada’s national goalie and one of our favorites but midfielder, Liz Eddy, is one of the hardest working players on the team. Liz was the first call sub last year for the Flash and started last week’s season premier where the Flash beat the the two-time league champion, FC Kansas City. We watched that game on YouTube and Eddy was in top form.

We had a chance to chat with the new head coach, Paul Riley. He’s from Liverpool, and had coached Hope Solo’s team in Portland for the last few years. He was just hired here so he didn’t have much to do with the draft pick but he told us he was really pleased with the team he found here. He was just beaming about the way his team played in Kansas City.

We bought raffle tickets from Samantha Mewis. She is is currently on the cusp of being chosen for the eighteen player US Olympic rooster. She is five eleven and she was wearing tall heels. I sort of hope she doesn’t make the cut so we won’t lose her for a month or so. We watched a soccer game going on behind the building and the players, all men, were old, as in my age. Last time I played summer soccer was with some Italian pick up group that played at East High. Just a block from house I would crawl home and lay on the floor for an hour or so after the games.

I told Eddy we liked routing for her last year and were happy to see her starting. I told her the way she hustled reminded me of Heather O’Reily. She liked that a lot and told me she liked my hair. She asked if I played and I told her I did, for Indiana, a long time ago. She said, “You must have been really good.” I just let that go. The whole Flash team posed for a shot after dinner.

I’m try to think of some promotional gimmick or something I could do to get more people out for the Flash’s opening game on April 29th. As they say, this is such a great product.

Whiter Whites

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Tea pot and coffee maker at Pete and Shelley's

My current camera, a Sony RX100, has all sorts of options, ones I really use. But I am glad I have them. The auto mode is so good I have been spoiled. I hardly leave it but I know I should. If only to control the background focus. Duane tells me he runs around town with his ISO set to 1600. There is an advantage there that I can only imagine. I remember when that speed was twice what was possible with fast, grainy Kodak black and white film.

I recently photographed the a batch of oil paintings on wood panels. The ground was most white but you would never know it looking at my photos. I came up with maybe a 5 on the grey scale where it should have been white. I knew I should have been setting the white point and shooting with manual mode but I knocked off the shots in auto mode. They paintings are currently hanging in a show but next time I will do it right and I have a pile of my father’s watercolors that I would like to photograph next.

I called Duane for instructions. He worked for Lowel, a lighting company, and I use four Lowel brand Tota lights. We started with my bulbs. A couple are high quality Quartzand the others are Home Depot tungsten lamps which can change color spectrum as they age. I got on Amazon and ordered 5 EIKO FCZ 120V/500W R7s Base Stage and Studio Lamp from Barndoor Lighting Outfitters.

Not only were my whites not white, they were wildly uneven. Most likely the lights were too close to the subject. He suggested I step two feet to the sides of the paintings and then step back at least six feet from the surface of the painting to set the four lights. Two lamps on each side, barn doors set open about 45 degrees. As for aiming Duane recommended that I cross light the paintings so the the lights on the left side of the painting should be lighting the right side of the painting.

To set the white balance Duane suggested I frame a shot in auto made so it is full white, the same same white as ground on the paintings, and take note of the readings (iso, Fstop and shutter speed). Then use the same settings in manual mode (where my camera allows me to capture and store that white balance).

Finally, still in Manual mode, I will try an ISO of 400, an F stop at 8 and then get the M.M. setting to zero out by selecting the appropriate shutter speed. I will report back.

Unsurpassed Quality

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Orange fountain in Cobbs Hill Reservoir , Rochester, NY

We stopped up to see my mom and took her down to the coffee shop. She asked if we were swimming in our outdoor pool yet. it was good to hear her ask about the outside world.

We had lunch at Magnolia’s on Park Avenue. Peggi sat in the chair Obama sat in and she ordered what he had, a cup of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. It dawned on me that this was the old Red & White grocery store when we lived in an apartment in this part of town. Henry ran the place. He used to work in my uncle’s store. We sat near the window looking out at KrudCo’s new place. Doesn’t seem right on Park Avenue. And I realized why they call this place Magnolia’s, so close to Oxford Street with the meridian lined with the flowering trees only a few weeks from full bloom.

We stopped at Washington Grove near the top of Nunda Boulevard and we walked through the woods up to the reservoir. My parents used to take us up here. They’d open the car doors and let us run. My mom and dad used to walk laps here just a few years ago. High on a hill, 640 feet above sea level, it’s one of the most beautiful spots in Rochester. The sign in front of the 1908 building reads, “Of unsurpassed quality, the water in this reservoir flows by gravity from Lakes Hemlock and Canadice located 30 miles south.” Peggi and I hadn’t been up here in years.

The Alligator Purse

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Woman Hula-Hooping on sidewalk in Rochester, New York. View from the bus as we toured the city.

Writers & Books sponsored Sunday’s “Bus Tour with Sonja,” an event coinciding with the selection of Sonja Livingston’s “Queen of the Fall” as this year’s “If All of Rochester Reads the Same Book.” Sonya planned the tour to coincide with locations from her fabulous memoir, “Ghostbread,” and this book. “It was five minutes past our departure time and Sonya had not yet boarded, setting the stage for a dramatic entry. We heard the bus driver had already run into a car in the parking lot before we arrived. We buckled up.

Our first stop was just around the corner from Writer & Books at the Barrel of Dolls. We had just parked in front of this place on Friday night when we visited Axom Gallery across the street. Sonya read an exquisite excerpt from “Queen of the Fall” about a girl she grew up with who wound up working in the Barrel. Sonja visited the Barrel for research reasons and said it was much cleaner than she pictured.

Second stop was East High where Sonja went to school. She pointed out that less than half of the students graduate and she read a piece as we gazed out the window at our old neighborhood. Peggi and I lived a short block away from this school for twenty seven years and I grew up about eight streets away but I went to Catholic schools. My family situation was 180 degrees away from Sonya’s but the settings were all within reach.

Our third stop was Savoia Bakery on Clifford Avenue, a location mentioned in all three of Sonja’s books. We had just driven by the place on our way to this tour. My family’s haunt was Elite Bakery behind East High on Atlantic but Savoia’s has outlasted them. Our next stop was 33 School, across the street from the Playground Tavern. Sonja read another excerpt from “Queen of the Fall,” one that references Savioa Bakery, Italians (who shape the character of Rochester) and being one of seven children (like I was.)

Lamont Place, off Webster Avenue was our fifth stop. We parked in front of the house where she grew up, or the spot where the house once stood. A man cut through the empty lot headed toward Goodman Plaza with a big plastic bag filled with empty beer cans. A reading from “Ghostbread” was especially poignant.

We motored down East Main to Corpus Christi where I was baptized some twenty years before Sonja. It is now called “Our Lady of the Americas.” My parents lived in apartment around the corner on Alexander Street. Sonja read a piece about a Hispanic wedding that took place here and another about living in the church’s rectory when Father Jim Callan moved out to be closer to the community he served.

The bus driver drove over the curb as we pulled into an official tourist stop, the Susan B. Anthony House, where we sat down for tea while Sonja read from her upcoming book, “Ladies Night at the Dreamland, a combination of research and imagination.” The title refers to the dancehall, amusement park in Sea Breeze near our current home. A guide took us through the house, a beautiful place, one of those mid eighteen hundred houses where the windows in the front room go all the way down to the floor. The tour was inspiring. “Failure is Impossible.”

Our final stop was Mount Hope Cemetery. The bus passengers cheered when the driver made it through the iron gates. Sonja read from a story she wrote about a grave stone here that reads, “Here lies a white slave girl.” She died at fifteen in 1857 and is buried a stone’s throw away from Frederick Douglas’s grave. Sonja is a keen observer. Her observations coupled wth her imagination is a marvel. I hope all of Rochester does read this book.

Margaret Explosion - Playground Tavern
Margaret Explosion – Playground Tavern

Connection

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Peggi on woods trail in winter

The stereo is rapidly losing its place as the gravitational center of homes. Ear buds and tiny bluetooth speakers supply sound for our personal devices so you’re not likely find a group gathered around the record player or tv set anymore. We send three signals to our stereo, a wireless stream of music from a desktop in another room to an Apple Express wired to the amp, two long RCA style plugs from our tv and the two phono plugs from our turntable. And the outbound lines go to an “A” and “B” set of speakers. There is a subwoofer wired in-line with the “B” speakers. It’s a fairly simple setup, no surround sound or HDMI connections.

For the last few months we’ve had an intermittent problem with the left channel on both sets of speakers. It gets badly distorted and then cuts out and it happens with all three input feeds so we assumed we had a problem with our amp. To confirm this, we borrowed a spare amp from our neighbor, Rick. It behaved the same way. We hired an unemployed acquaintance, a former audio specialist, someone who smoked pot in the back room and sold high-end equipment to audiophiles.

We were desperate to figure out what the problem was but this guy could care less about finding the problem, he just unplugged every connection, re-stripped the ends of the speaker wires and plugged everything back together again and it all works. This is why you hire a professional.

Some Work

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Roman head sculpture from 300 AD at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles

We visit the Getty Center almost every time we’re out here but this trip we decided to check out the Getty Villa, a recreation of a Roman house, a really palatial spread for a very wealthy Roman, someone who was as wealthy during the Roman Empire as J. Paul Getty was in his day. Getty built this place for his third or fourth wife. She’s still alive but living downtown. Getty filled the Villa with art and in the seventies moved the Van Gogh and Rembrandts to the new Getty Center while leaving the Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities in the Villa.

We took an audio tour, something we usually avoid in museums preferring to follow our eyes. Our guide was a retired high school principle and brought a lot to the experience even telling us how we were dressed – togas and sandals – as we entered the dining quarters.

I love these early idealized sculptures of the human form. The one above is from 300 AD. They have an abstract fertility statue here from 3,000 BC that looks like something Modigliani would have done. Some of of the statues were repaired in antiquity and the Getty has a restoration department that has reworked some of these pieces. A placard called attention to the nose and chin of a woman’s head from 10 AD that had been rebuilt by the staff. The work looked seamless but there is something off about contributing to an artwork completed a few millennium ago. A diagram of their statue of Hercules pointed to all the work the staff had done on him. I couldn’t help but notice they didn’t reconstruct his penis.

Repared Roman sculpture of Hercules at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles

The World Is Full Of Words

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

Super Bowl cup-cakes at Kneads & Wants on Lake Avenue in Rochester, New York

It was good to see writing, or more accurately reading of one’s writing, take first prize at this month’s First Friday gallery night. Of course, the prize is not even tangible and entirely subjective. We only saw three shows last night but Sonya Livingston, reading from her book, “Queen of the Fall” (working title, “Land of the Lost”) was as good as it gets. She possesses the keenest of observational skills and an extraordinary ability to elevate the ordinary. She is a joy to read and a double delight to hear read. I went ape over her first book and Writer’s & Books has selected this one as its 16th year “If All of Rochester Reads the Same Book…” selection.

Poet, Sally Bittner Bonn, read a couple of pieces from her upcoming memoir about raising a child (Oscar) with a disability. Both were deeply felt and moving. Oscar is a Margaret Explosion fan, we played at a few benefits to raise money for his power chair. Oscar was there for his mom’s readings and we had a chance to say hi. Always a delight.

Das Model

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Ebony Fashion Fair Show at Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York

All the big names were represented at the MAG’s Ebony Fashion Fair Show. Mostly male fashion designers, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly, Valentino, Alexander McQueen with their fabulous creations for women and a few fabulous women like Vivian Westwood. We were there for the opening and I found the people in the crowd more interesting than the dresses. Actually I was most intrigued by the mannequins. I’d like take some of those home and use them as models for drawings.

“She’s a model and she’s looking good
I’d like to take her home that’s understood”
Kraftwerk

Building Awareness

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Audio-Visual performance at Axom Gallery in Rochester, New York

Remember AV Club? Probably not. Nerdy high school kids messing with video so the picture flickered or maybe even manipulating the picture with the audio signal. No idea how you do that but they figured it out. These same kids had a completely different notion of music too. Not so much melody, harmony and rhythm but more blips and sampled noise with feedback. The kind of stuff you’d watch and listen to late at night with some incense burning and recreational drugs.

Axom Gallery last night featured visual art by John Lake, tiled black and white print-outs of a young man in the water, along with experimental music performances by City Harvest Black, Licker, Mike Shiflet and Joe + N. Not sure who we caught but it was completely engaging. There are more of these types than you would imagine. It was one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen at the gallery.

There was beer there too but I was too full to have one. We had eaten dinner at Atlas Eats where they were doing something they called “American Melting Pot. “Cured Salmon Pastrami Style with Creamer potatoes, Homemade 1,000 Island dressing and Rye Caraway Crumbs, Winter Vegetable Puree with Roasted Beets, Quark and Pommes Allumettes and Seared Scallops in Kimchee Butter with Braised Escarole and Cracklings. They could have stopped right there but there two more courses. One included a delicious, over-easy quail egg and that was nice. I can’t eat that much but I did. And it’s not so much the bloated feeling that bums me out it’s more the dread I feel with the excess of it all. And dessert just has a way of spoiling a perfectly good meal.

Yoga class was back after a holiday recess. We worked the lower back today, mostly trying to undue damage we do just walking around in a gravity bound atmosphere. At the end of class Jeffery reminded us we are building awareness with our practice. I like that.

Rev On The Red Line

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Needs & Wants bakery on Lake Avnue in Rochester, New York

Since the beginning of time the northern end of Lake Avenue in Rochester has been biker. Biker bars, bikers riding up and down, bikers in the restaurants. You want to stare at them and their “old ladies” but you’re sort of afraid. Only Diane Arbus could get away with that.

Lou Gramm’s (Grammatico) Band, Black Sheep, used to play the Penny Arcade, the hard rock club at the very end of Lake Avenue, more than forty years ago. The bar tenders there wore “Punk Rock Sucks” t-shirts when New Math played there in the seventies. Of course that may have been WCMF that put them up to that. Lou Gramm wrote a song about the gear-head sub culture here with the lines,
“Running all night on Lake Avenue
It’s a piece of cake
If you know what to do”

Charlotte, as this part of the city is known, is a magnet, though. The city meets the lake in dramatic fashion as Lake Avenue ends. Engineers plan to water the new marina next week. Condos in the Port of Rochester are on the horizon. And “Kneads & Wants” the artisan bakery on the east side, just north of the old Stutson Street bridge is an oasis. Olga told us about the place. We had driven by it many times but were never seduced by the sandwich sign.

We stopped after our Saturday morning yoga class and had coffee and cinnamon scones as we talked to the owner. We had been in the habit of stopping at Sips for coffee but the service there is so slow I started shopping at Herrama’s while Peggi waited for our iced lattes. I need and want to return here.

Loudest Note

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Claude Bragdon's Universalist Church in Rochester, New York

Martin Edic’s friend, Lucia Guarino, had the nicest stop on the Landmark Society’s tour this weekend. Her Capron Street condo in a former canal warehouse is fabulously decorated, has a perfect layout and a rooftop terrace with a great view of downtown. And she was there in person to welcome the throngs. The tour wasn’t as spectacular as last year’s but it did get us out to new Edge of the Wedge lofts, the Cub Room and Local Meat Market.

It was hard for me, an ex-Catholic, to appreciate the Claude Bragdon designed, Arts & Crafts, Universalist Church. Where is all the iconography, the Stations of the Cross, the heavenly aspirations? It was kind of fun to get into the old National Clothing Store where the new Holiday Garden Inn has set up shop. The National was always a step above Sibley’s and McCurdy’s. I remember my mom picking out a pretty adventurous sport coat for my Confirmation. I was nine or ten and had some input but she had great taste. This was a wide striped cream and maroon number making me the loudest note in the class photos.

Our First Friday route has to be rethought with the closing of Lumiere’s gallery. The photo gallery was one of our favorite stops. R Gallery, next door, had a solo exhibition of sculpture and installation by RIT alumni and Dedalus Foundation Fellowship recipient Cecily Culver. Her work “aims to shift viewer perspective and celebrate the mundane phenomena of the everyday” and it did that.

Pete Monacelli’s “Midtown Plaza” works on paper at Richard Margolis’s next door gallery looked fantastic. And on top of that Pete was holding court with a small crowd gathered around him in the center of the room when we got there, talking first about Midtown, his love of the city, and the changes he has seen in his years here. The conversation quickly swerved to Ad Reinhardt’s cartoons and then Thomas Merton’s letters to Ad Reinhardt. And then the many facets of Thomas Merton who was born one hundred years ago. Someone said, “he sounds like a Unitarian.” Please, the Catholics need all the help they can get. There is a show of Merton’s “Zen” photos at Nazareth College, up until November 4th.

Make It Funky Pt. 2

Friday, May 29th, 2015

"Miniture Fairy Garden" sign at Case's Garden Store on Norton Street in Rochester, New York

I spent the better part of the last couple days reworking my “Funky Signs” site, installed a new template, “Hipster” by Precrafted. It’s one column, infinite scrolling and mobile friendly.”

The sign above is so good it might not even need a snarky comment. I spotted it near the cash register in Case’s Garden Store over on Norton Street and added it to my to do list. I have two hundred signs up there and about a hundred in the kitty.