Archive for the ‘We Live Like Kings’ Category

The Sleep Of Reason

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Matisse Jazz prints at Johnson Museum in Ithaca New York

The permanent collection at the Herbert Johnson Museum on Cornell’s Ithaca campus is so deep they could never have it all on display at once. There is not enough room in I.M. Pei‘s concrete building. So whenever you choose to visit you are guaranteed to see a great show. Currently they have these stunning Matisse prints from his Jazz portfolio on display. They own a complete set of Goya’s Los Caprichos. Their alumni had good taste and th3 cash.

Arthur Dove graduated from Cornell. He was studying law to please his father but he fell in love with art while he was here. The museum has an extensive collection of his work. Four of his watercolors were on display today. “Drawing the Line,” their current show of drawings, features Kirchner, Guston LaChaise, Paul Klee, Picasso, Egon Schiel and Emil Nolde.

You would think Ithaca would be full of sports bars but we couldn’t find one. Barcelona was playing València in the semifinal for the Copa Del Rey and we probably stopped in five bars on our way back to the car before we found one with the match on. Actually the set was tuned to Ellen DeGeneres Show but no one was watching it so they gladly switched channels and we ordered an Ithaca IPA called CascaZilla. We caught the second half and saw both Barcelona goals. We will be in Spain walking el Camino when the final happens in April.


Monday, February 5th, 2018

Bending tree along shore at Durand Eastman Beachlg

The Super Bowl may be single handedly saving the usage of Roman numerals. And “LII” is a pretty impressive number especially when I think about having watched the first few. It was nowhere as big a deal back then. Now it is next to impossible to escape although we have managed to for many years. Often we are were up in the mountains celebrating Peggi’s birthday, off the grid even, at our friends house. Whenever we did check in on the game it was a lopsided match-up. But not this year.

We started the day by walking around our block, this time in reverse, Down to the lake and over to Kings Highway, up to the library and back down Titus to Culver. We cleaned up and hustled downtown for Maureen Outlaw Church’s opening at the Little Theatre Café, a great looking show with some romantic landscapes, many of them set in Ireland. The classical guitar players who were originally scheduled for the evening moved their performance up because of the game so the art opening turned into something close to a food fight.

We watched the Super Bowl out at my brothers. Next time we go there we will walk. It is only eight and half miles. The Martin Luther King/Dodge Ram mash-up certainly didn’t work. In fact, none of the commercials worked for me. And that is probably because none of them were aimed at me. I was hoping Justin Timberlake would bring Janet Jackson out but he didn’t. And the video appearance of Prince only reminded me how good his halftime show was. The game itself was great. I was really impressed with the passing on both teams. Long, perfect spiral, dead accurate passes. A high scoring, fast paced game with Julie Johnston Ertz’s husband diving into the end zone for a key touchdown.

Voice Of God

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Blue house with green trim on Topper Drive in Sea Breeze NY

I love this little house. I couldn’t have told you how to get there but I know I have photographed it before. We only stumble on it when we are wandering through the street off Culver down near Sea Breeze. I made a note of the address this time, 55 Topper Drive. The side window was wide open, just as it was a few years ago, so it probably won’t be around forever.

We met Jeff and Mary Kaye for dinner last night at Roux, the French place on Park Avenue. They’re pescaterians so we ordered appetizers from that side of the menu. I questioned whether Escargot was meat but they didn’t seem to have any problem with that. The waiter talked me into ordering Quail. The way he described the curry and mushroom sauce did it. But I was tempted anyway because I had not had quail since Bloomington. My boss there, a guy named “Frenchie,” used to hunt quail and his wife would make quail sandwiches for us for lunch. They are tiny birds and he hunted with a shotgun so there was always a little buckshot in the meat.

After dinner we went downtown to Christ Church. We hadn’t been to Compline in a few years so it was better than ever. Stephen Kennedy, an instructor of sacred music at Eastman School of Music, conducts the voices, a large group of which are his students. The program goes fast, not even thirty minutes last night. You are sort of stunned when its over.

The Art Of Life

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Salt pile behind Town Hall in Irondequoit, New York

It was pouring rain and in the mid fifties when we set out to the library. We had our rain gear on and the shoes we plan to wear when we walk the Camino. Peggi read you should have a hundred miles on the shoes before you go. Or was it a hundred hours? We were talking up Noah Baumbach movies to our neighbors and they rented “Mistress America” at the library. They liked it and offered it to us to watch again. I liked it better the second time.

We returned the movie and couldn’t find any place to hang our rain gear so we left it balled up near the door. We put “Fire & Fury” on reserve and a book about El Camino and then and we wandered around the library. We came home with another dvd, David Lynch’s “the Art of Life,” and three books – Reckless Daughter – A portrait of Joni Mitchell” (which was recommended by a friend), the Philip Roth collection of non-fiction (I plan to go right to the piece he wrote about his friend, Philip Guston) and “The Directory of Saints” (I liked how it was organized by the topic they were the patron saint of).

Mountain Pose

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Protected heating controls In gym at Brighton High School

I like mountain pose.There is not much to it. And I love Savasana, the Sanskrit name for the relaxation pose we do at the end of class. Between those two there is some real work to do in opening up the creaky old frame. I like Jeffery’s class because he keeps you engaged. My tendency is to daydream but I surrender myself to watching and listening to him and two hours fly by.

Tonight he read a short passage from a motivational book at the end of class that I really liked. It was about salmon swimming upstream. You would think they’d choose the path of least resistence but they swim into the strongest current because they know that channel is unobstructed. We are meant to tackle things head on. I see the Bills won in OT yesterday.


Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

Performer at John Cage Variations III performance at Visual Studies Workshop

We planned to save the RoCo Members Show opening for last and start our First Friday rounds at Axom Gallery with “NARTCAN: On the Subject of Addiction,” a group exhibition curated by Justin Chaiz, a nurse who cares for people suffering from addiction. I like the meaty theme and the way the artists, who all answered a call for entries, handled it. The multiple black and white photos of one addict were my favorite.

Second stop was the Visual Studies Workshop Auditorium where a good old-fashioned happening was in full swing, a 2 hour performance of John Cage’s “Variations III: For one or any number of people performing any actions.” A lot of familiar faces were participating but like any good happening, just by being there you too were a participant.

Mona Seghatoleslami was playing violin and reading randomly chosen passages from a book. Nuuj had his homemade synth there, Ian Downey was breaking wood with a hammer and his father, Ed, was playing violin in another corner. John Borek was passing out money and then charging you the same amount to make you a play dough gift. Ray Ray from the Little Theatre Café was drawing pictures on small sheets of paper while wearing a mask. Someone was riding a bike around in circles. Scott McCarney had an ironing board set up and he was cutting up pieces of paper and maps while working from a score. He explained the directions he was following but I didn’t understand it. At least twenty other performers were doing their thing at the same time. Drums, flutes, and a lot of banging. It was overwhelming at first but then strangely comforting.

We got to RoCo just before they closed up shop and we plan go back to study the Members Show.


Friday, November 24th, 2017

Cayuga Bank in Aurora, NewYork

A sign on the outskirts of town read “Lakeview Cemetery.” I was trying to picture that view. Originally a major Cayuga Indian village called “Chonodote,” Aurora, New York was the furthest west town on the official US mail route in 1795. We had a holiday dinner fit for a king and queen in the Inn there and for good measure we stayed overnight. We walked around town from historical marker to historical marker. You have to walk to the outskirts to find anything that has not been lovingly restored. For kicks, we looked up the price of a large home on Cayuga Lake. It was over three million. The house in the picture above was built in 1840 and converted into a bank by Henry Wells, the founder of Wells College, American Express and Wells Fargo. This was the original Wells Fargo bank.

The Inn at Aurora offered “Morning Sun Salutations with Olivia” so we set the alarm. I don’t like soundtracks with yoga and her’s was completely incongruous with the activity. Mainstream vocal jazz, things like Frank Sinatra’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight,” an upbeat version of “Me and Mrs. Jones” and “The Girl from Ipanema.” There was one beautiful minor key ballad by Miles that I loved but even that was distracting. The set list must have been planned because when it came time for deep relaxation it switched to a start-stop roaring noise. It sounded like we were having a severe windstorm outside but I’m guessing it was supposed to be waves coming ashore. I shouldn’t be complaining, the class was just the right way to start the day. And it was a magical, sunny day in the mid fifties.

Soy Dracula

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Rochester skyline from Cobbs Hill Reservoir

We made a special stop at Wegman’s to buy Halloween candy, just in case. We used to get a handful of trick or treaters but those kids have grown up and the for the last few years we haven’t gotten any at all. When we lived in the city we had an an army of them. So tonight we had Snickers for dessert.

Matthew and Louise let us borrow their 75 Anniversary edition of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula about three months ago. It is packaged with a 1931 Spanish language version, one that was shot simultaneously with the Lugosi version and one that is reportedly “sexier.” I don’t know what took us so long to get to it but I can’t think of a better night than Halloween.


Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Autumn weeds in the marsh on Hoffman Road

We’re so proud of our friend and neighbor. Just her second competition and she brings home a medal from the USA Power Lifting Championship in Florida. Go Sierra!

Still haven’t got over to the MAG to see the Bill Viola piece in the Media Art room but we were thrilled to hear the Memorial Art Gallery plans to commission three works by international artists inspired by the City of Rochester, New York. “Reflections on Place” will feature Javier Téllez (Venezuela, b. 1969), Isaac Julien (U.K., b. 1960) and Dara Birnbaum, (U.S., b. 1946). We’ll have to wait til April 2018 for the first of those exhibitions.

Tonight marks Phil Marshall’s fourth performance as a Margaret Explosion member. We are thrilled to have him in the band working his magic. Before he joined he sat in with us on many occasions. Here he is on live track from the Little Theatre Café in 2009.

Margaret Explosion - Rain Dance

Margaret Explosion – Rain Dance


Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Budweiser football display at Wegmans on East Ridge Road

There’s a big difference between American football and the European sport but I don’t want to sound snotty. My namesake is or was England’s Number One Football Hooligan. The sport has more than its share of louts. We watched a string of matches as the US Mens team played their way right out of the World Cup qualifying North, Central America and Caribbean conference. It was getting increasingly hard to root for them so it is probably for the best that they lost to Trinidad and Tobago and will sit out the World Cup in Russia next year. The team needs to get it together, kind of like the country needs to suffer through Trump to get itself on the right course.

Tonight the North Carolina Courage of the Women’s National Soccer League play the Portland Thorns in Orlando. The Courage is our team. They were the Western New York Flash up until last season when the franchise moved south. I plan to climb up in this chair and scream at the tv.

Animated Violence Mild

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Deer Hunting Game at MacGregor's on Empire Boulevard in Rochester, New York

I know someone that would love this video game. We were sitting next to it at MacGregor’s overlooking the Irondequoit Bay. The place didn’t come up when I searched for nearby “sports bars” in my map program but I remember coming out here with Matthew and Louise to see a match during some other tournament. We were looking for someone who had the BeIn network so we could watch the US Men’s team play Honduras in a near must-win qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The US is still relatively new to the sport but we are lucky to be in Concacaf, the North, Central American and Caribbean confederation. Other than tough competition from Mexico it should be pretty easy for the US to finish in the top three of these 35 nations yet we’re getting right down to the wire. We watched the US lose to Casta Rico again a few nights ago and they barely squeaked out a tie via Honduras last night.

I still hold a grudge against MacGregors for leaving their original location in the South Wedge but the guy that manages this location was pretty accommodating. He told us he was a soccer player for thirty five years and he said he has arthritis so bad he has to stretch before getting out of bed. He said his team won the sectionals. Webster went to the sectional finals in my senior year so I asked where he played. He said Wayne County and I asked what year. I had him pegged for “older than me” but he was seven years behind. He was probably thinking the same thing of me.

East Main Street

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

1111 East Main Street store window, Rochester, New York

East Main is looking up. There was a time when I’d get propositioned by hookers while riding my bike home from New Math rehearsal on my bike. I’ve been spending a lot of time at Warren Philip’s frame shop at Main and Goodman. He’s helping me frame work for the show. He’s making birch wood frames for my father’s watercolors and I’ve order matts, glass and metal section frame champs from him for my work.

They’re re-working the intersection out in front of his shop but there is construction going on up and down the street with some buildings getting gutted and a whole block of new housing going up. It was pretty bleak twenty five years ago. The Hungerford Building by Warren’s, mostly artist’s studios and illegal lofts, is always busy. I took this photo of the new store in front of that building.

Mid Century Thugs

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Nonchalant after questioning: Robert J.  DeMay, Charles F. Guldenshuh, Edward B. Lanagan, Robert G. Mental Jr., from left, booked in connection with assault on Julius Morrison, who thwarted robbery by wrecking truck against tree.

When I was growing up on the east side the neighborhood was dotted with small grocery stores. There were two near our house, one on Humboldt and one on Atlantic and then there was an early behemoth, Star Market, at Merchants and Main. Peggi and I lived in that same neighborhood for twenty-six years and there were still a few small stores nearby. Bertha’s was only open at night. There was no fresh food in the place. She mostly sold six packs and magazines. Fleckenstein’s was a great meat market. But Fred’s, on the corner of Main and Wisconsin was the best small grocery. Fred’s nephew, Sam, a recent East High graduate, opened the first Salvatore’s Pizza across the street in 1978.

In 1940, long before my two stints in the neighborhood, a group of thugs robbed the owner of a grocery store at 2121 East Main, a few blocks down from Fred’s, where State Farm is located today. The owner of that store was robbed by these four thugs. Peggi found the article while tracking down a tip from a reader of her site, We knew nothing about Don Hershey when we lived on the east side and never really noticed this cute little place on Melville Street, just off Culver by Nino’s Pizzeria.

Don Hershey, Rochester’s foremost mid-century modern architect, designed the house on Melville for Julius Morrison in the late thirties and the shopkeeper had just moved in in 1940 when this event took place.

Gideon Cobb Days

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Sandy Franklel accepting Leo Dodd Historic Preservation Award at Gideon Cobb days in Brighton, New York

My father was one of the founding members of Historic Brighton and during his time as president he came up with the idea of celebrating Gideon Cobb, an early pioneer and brick maker. Gideon Cobb Day was usually celebrated with a lunch at Mario’s and, of course, Cobb Salad was on the menu. My cousin, Ray Tierney is on the board now and he has renewed the celebration.

We gathered yesterday in a tent behind the Buckland House, an early farmstead home on Westfall Road that was preserved through the efforts of Historic Brighton. The supervisor of Brighton was there and many of the club members and Jerry Ludwig, the guy who writes the home improvement column in Saturday’s paper. My family was there as well because Historic Brighton has decided to give an annual “Leo Dodd Historic Preservation Award” award to someone in the community who worked toward those ends. This year’s recipient was Sandra Frankel and Ray asked if I would say something about Leo.

I talked about how my father was into photography, painting, engineering, history, genealogy and family and how these interests all overlapped. He painted portraits of these early Brighton residents when no photos existed and he reconstructed the brick making kilns and factories in a CAD drawing program. He was able to bring history to life. And he shared his enthusiasm. This made Brighton a better town.

Peggi and I provided technical support with the websites, newsletters, presentations and his Brighton Brick book production. Historic Brighton made us honorary members and that is nice but what Historic Brighton needs is someone with the desire to dig through the past, willing to attend the meetings, lobby the politicians to preserve the remnants, someone who likes taking pictures and illustrating a story and someone who likes to share what they have found. They need someone as enthusiastic as my father was.

Speak Easy

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Ford Flex in big puddle behind the old Vic & Irv's

We met Matthew and Louise for a drink down on the beach behind Margie’s, a speakeasy during Prohibition. It was a beautiful night but the signs of a rough winter were plentiful. Huge sand dunes hand reshaped the beach. They’re going to need a piece of heavy equipment to make it look all civilized again.

I took this photo on the way in. I wasn’t the only one taking photos. This Ford Flex was abandoned in three feet of water right where the parking lot used to be for Vic & Irv’s. Ben, who lives across the street on the beach wasn’t taking photos, he was calling 911. He told us they call 911 all the time. Boats gets stranded in front of their house and all sorts of crazy stuff happens down there. He surmised someone was “hammered.” If I’m remembering this right, Greg Prevost told me Irv died in this same puddle when he was trying to hook up a pump to drain the parking lot. This car was gone when we came out of Margie’s.

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.