Our backpacks were full., a lot of can goods this time, mostly beans and peanut butter and jar of tahini so they were heavy too. But we soldiered on, down East Ridge to Aman’s, on the chance they had fresh strawberries. We spotted Bob, who runs the place, and he said he had just talked with the farmer, who told him “this is the first time in fifty years that he didn’t have strawberries by Father’s Day.” Bob added, “Too wet, too cold.”
To get out of our neighborhood and up to Wegmans we have to walk by a dog at the end of our street. There are many dogs on the street but this one does not like us. He comes at us barking loudly with his teeth showing. I had a dog take my hand in and it bit down so hard I couldn’t get my hand out without shredding my fingers so I’m a little gun shy. The dog has come at us five or six times now and if the owner see’s what happens she says she’s sorry.
Today we got by the dog without a hitch and we ran into a young woman who told us she was also terrorized by the dog. She showed us the scar on her leg from a dog that had come after her while she was walking a few years back. While we were talking a large branch fell across the road. It hit the power lines and a crackling bolt of electricity shot down the line that ran just above our heads. We continued on up to Wegmans and by the time we returned the power company was restoring our electricity.
I got up on the roof to blow off all the stuff that has fallen from the oak trees and the power went off again. A large Hickory tree fell across the road behind our house. I know its a Hickory because I took a photo of the a leaf cluster and used the iNaturalist app to identify it. The same power company crew and tree surgeons came down to address this problem. We asked for the firewood and they told us we had until Monday morning to pick up the wood.
With the lake level at an official record high we tossed around the idea of driving across the river and walking along the lake but we decided to just walk from our house. So we zigzagged our way over to Titus Avenue Extension and wound our way down to the bay where the road became impassable. In fact a mother duck and her six little ones paddled across the road as we stood there. We are lucky to have so many dreamy little neighborhoods to wander around in within a five or six mile loop.
We passed a neighbor on the way out and we told him we were going down to look at the lake. He said, “people say it’s global warming but we had more rain in (some year, 2014 maybe?) and the lake wasn’t this high. It’s because of the IJC didn’t let enough water into the Saint Lawerence. Having spotted Ann Coulter’s “How to Talk to a Liberal” book on his shelf we just kept quiet.
Dylan’s Rolling Thunder movie on the big screen at the Little Theatre was a blast. It was like going to a concert without the sameness that sets in. We saw the rambunctious tour when it stopped at the War Memorial in 1975. Scorcese captured that and so much more of that heady era. With masterful editing we hear just enough of the songs before getting another glimpse of the enigma that is Dylan, our generation’s foremost bard.
Joan Baez is strong enough to wrestle Dylan. Patti Smith, influenced by Dylan is shown influencing Dylan. Scarlett O’Hara is the foundation of this band’s gypsy sound. Joni Mitchell’s guitar rings above all the strumming. Allen Ginsberg cuts above all the cynicism with an optimistic mystic’s summary of what we’ve witnessed reminding us of our duty to create. The long movie felt short. We will watch it again on the small screen.
Finally coming up for air after the World Cup’s twelve opening matches. Yes, we watched all twelve matches. We only manage by time shifting most of them. Our recording of the Sweden Chile game, which was 0-0 when thunder caused a delay, ran out before the game was resumed. Sweden should have run away with that one but the fact that they didn’t made it all the more exciting. Japan Argentina went scoreless in a thrilling match where technical expertise was stuffed by a brilliantly stubborn defense.
Brazil, with almost the full squad returning, is the most colorful and one of our favorites, even with Saint Marta on the bench.. We are partial to Spain but realistic. France and Germany both look tough and Canada could get to the final four. The Italy Australia matchup has been the most fun to watch but the Cup is still in the early stages.
Even the lopsided US Thailand match was fun to watch. Especially because Rose Lavelle got two! We have the best team ever by a long shot but the whole world is getting better.
My cousin showed me the family tree data base that she is building on Ancestry.com. She did their DNA test, they confirmed she was 100 percent Irish and they have been providing hints as to further family connections. She found some real surprises, relatives she didn’t know we had. I don’t like the idea of having to subscribe to a service. There is completion, 23 and me for instance, but if I do Ancestry she can share all her work with me.
My father built a family tree the old fashioned way, by going to court houses, libraries and cemeteries, and his database is on a hard drive. I wish there was a way for all these databases to share information with each other but then that would be too much like Big Brother. I’m not looking for a new hobby but I would like to see the big picture.
It is hard to resist the pull of the lake especially when the water levels are at historic highs. We checked out what’s left of the beach at Durand when we walked Peggi’s sax over to the repair shop. And walked down to the pier at Sea Breeze when the waves were pounding the shoreline. Wind surfers were out but hardly any boats. The emergency speed limit is 5mph and the state boat launch is closed. A big sign on Mayers Marina read, “Repeal IJC Plan 2014.”
In the Schnackel Drive neighborhood on the east side of the Bay, where many of the homes don’t have automobile access, we saw a sign calling on “every able-bodied resident/owner and renter” to get out and help at Saturday’s “Road Work Party.”
“The road and drain systems have taken a beating from all the heavy construction equipment and deliveries to properties that invested in flood fortification. We would especially like to see those properties represented with this work effort.”
You hear that when someone fortifies their shoreline the water hits their neighbor’s harder. And here the neighbors who brought in sand bags and heavy equipment tore up the road for everybody.
We live near the world’s largest fresh water supply and we have more than ever but our friends on the west coast are watching every drop.
I positioned our sledge hammer in from of this stump so you could get some idea of the scale. This oak tree fell on Peggi’s birthday. It took down the power lines and trapped our whole neighborhood. The power company cleaned it up but there was three log lengths of good firewood still on the base so Peggi and I went down there with our chainsaw, the one we bought from John Gilmore when he retired. It has a sixteen inch blade and it wasn’t quite long enough to cut halfway through. We wrestled with this one for a few hours.
In our neighborhood it is all tumbleweed. We have a lot of oaks and they are dropping the male flowers called catkins. It gathers in big clumps. One block over it is all helicopters from the Maple trees.
We are addicted to walking and always looking for a destination. Today we took Peggi’s sax over to Carl’s place. He used to run the musical repair shop next the Little but works from home these days. We caught him just before his busy season, when high schools drop off horns that have taken a beating. Peggi’s sax needed a new cork, the lining between the brass horn and her mouthpiece. Carl did it while we waited.
We estimated he was an hour away but it was more like an hour and twenty minutes. And we were wrong about which route was quicker. We went down Center Entrance, through the park on Log Cabin and along the lake to Colebrook and then up Oakridge to Carl’s place. We guessed that was the quicker route but coming back by continuing on up Oakridge and then down Pinegrove to the end where we picked up what’s left of Edgerton Road, behind the sewage treatment plant and across the golf course to Hoffman Road was much quicker.
The 1000 foot span of the Veterans Memorial Bridge led to the development of West Irondequoit, an early bedroom community for Kodak Park on the other side of the Genesee River. Gullies run all through Irondequoit, most so deep they remain undeveloped. Left here when the glaciers receded, their wildness is the prime attraction. Many homes have picture windows in the back that look out at them. The original owner of 959 Winona, on the corner of Saint Paul, cultivated his portion of a gully but the gardens were swallowed up by time. In the late seventies, the new occupants of the Neo-Classical home restored the garden and it was a feature of 2019’s Landmark Society Tour.
We picked up our tickets to this year’s event at Saint Mary the Protectress, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Saint Paul Boulevard. Cynthia Howk was sitting at the welcoming table and she introduced me to her colleagues as “Leo Dodd’s son.” This is Olga’s church. We were here for the funerals of both her parents and their services, sung in four part harmonies in Ukrainian, were extremely beautiful.
My watch said we walked four miles between houses but even the ones not on the tour showed nicely. The wet weather this Spring has been especially kind to plantings. There was a stately 6000 square foot mansion with dual staircases and two Arts & Crafts style Bungalows with wrap-around porches and a tiny little French Cottage, built in 1927. One house had a Speakeasy style bar in an inner room with no windows, just a wrap around bench, dark wooden paneling and a corner bar with just enough room for one person to stand behind and serve cocktails. The liquor bottles were lit and displayed on glass shelves in front of the mirror backed corner. Very dreamy.
The neighbor across the street found a tick on her back, a big one, big because it was so engorged. She went to Urgent Care and the attendant called another worker in just to look at it. It was the biggest one they had seen. It was easy to get off because it had already done its thing. She was given some antibiotics and sent home. No symptoms of Lyme as yet. If you can believe what you read, the chances of that are only one in fifty.
We’ve both had ticks attached and we know a few people with Lyme so we are somewhat short of super-vigilant. We wear Permethrin-treated socks for the most part and if we’re gardening or walking in the woods we wear pants that we have sprayed and a hoodie we bought at LL Bean that is treated. Ticks are on our radar but I don’t want to buy into a conspiracy theory.
I remember someone we worked with coming in with a video about the government being behind 9•11, something produced by a guy named Alex. And we have a few friends who still believe there’s much more to the Kennedy assassination. Our niece won’t vaccinate her kids! I try to steer clear of the theories.
The research on Lyme is so sketchy. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey wants Trump to investigate and he is calling attention to an explosive book that alleges the epidemic started with an American biological warfare experiment gone awry. The theory has been around for years. A naval base off Long Island where the government ran experiments and deer swam from there to Lyme Connecticut with the tick borne virus. Say it isn’t so.
I needed an extra cup of joe this morning so I suggested stopping at the coffee shop on Exchange Street up near the Elmwood Avenue Bridge. Its pretty laid back in there but we managed to get waited on and my latte was perfect. They have a nice little stage and sound system for bands and I noticed the cooler was stocked with 3 Heads The Kind. Margaret Explosion needs a few summer gigs so I notice these sorts of things.
We walked up the west side of the river from the Ford Street Bridge and back down the east side to Gloria’s house in the South Wedge. UR was really quiet as school is already out for the summer. We picked up some small kale plants at the CoOp and planted those as soon as we got back. Our cilantro came back, a little late for some reason, but we we won’t have to plant any seeds this year.
Rick cancelled our horseshoe match so we will just get an early start on the three month free HBO package that Spectrum TV was forced to give subscribers for some sort of bad behavior.
On the way home from our Margaret Explosion gig we saw someone riding a bike down University Avenue, a bike with lights on the spokes, a mini light show on wheels. Do they have LEDs that work with a generator, something like that old setup where your tire spun a gear that powered the light on your handlebars, or do we have technology now that has leap frogged that?
We used to have a man child who rode his bike down our street, turn around at the dead end and then ride by again. We could never get him to say hello, or look up even. Was he seventeen? Forty-five? We took a walk in Turning Point Park on the boardwalk that is built out over the river where the big ships used to turn around after they had dumped their stuff on the docks of the Port of Rochester. And we came cross a few sartorial bikers. The guy above was wearing yellow pants that matched his wheels. He was riding a tandem bike and head not found his soulmate yet. He said hello just after I took this shot..
A party boat, patio boat, what do you call those things, passed us, headed upstream with the best sound system I have ever heard in the open air. They were playing salsa and I wanted to be onboard. And then this guy rode by. He blew our minds, or mine anyway. With fenders, saddle bags and a light on the front end he was fully loaded. But his sound system, the black thing hanging from his handlebars, was playing the Righteous Brothers Greatest Hits. I told him I loved it. He parked his bike and pulled out a Genny 24 ouncer which he worked on while we listened to a few more tracks. On the air valve of his front tire he has a red die.
Garry Winogrand’s photos, the color slides projected on the Brooklyn Museum’s walls in the show, “Color,” are slices of humanity that are so rich you digest them viscerally, just as Winogrand shot them. And then you savor the expression, the composition, not studied in any way, but just as the world is. You want to say, “Thank you” for each and every shot.
Peggi secured tickets to the Women’s National Team last friendly before they play their opening World Cup match in Paris. And this was the real reason we were in New York this weekend. Red Bull Stadium was packed for the match against 26th ranked Mexico. We’ve US team in their last six or seven matches and the team keeps playing better as the lineup gels.
If Jill Ellis, coach of the the national team, had said, “Paul, why don’t you pick the starting lineup .” It could have not have looked as good as this one did. This one was perfect in every way.
Naeher in goal Dunn, Saurbraun, Dahlkemper, O’Hara across the back Mewis, Ertz, Lavelle in the mid-field Rapino, Morgan, Heath up front
The subways in NYC were covered with posters of the star payers but Rose Lavelle is too new a sensation to have been featured. I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with Rose Lavelle. SBNation says, “There’s no one in the USWNT who’s more exciting to watch with the ball at her feet than Rose Lavelle.”
They were passing out flags at the game and we planted ours out front for Memorial Day. Note the horseshoe stake above the right hand flag. Maybe there will be time for a match today.
“The artist knows what he is doing, but for it to be worthwhile, he must take the leap and do what he doesn’t know how to do. In that moment he is beyond knowledge.” – Eduardo Chillida
Hauser Wirth has been a must stop in Chelsea for years. Their incredible stable of living and dead artists (Guston, Hesse, Golub, Bourgeois and Chillida), their book shop, cafe/bar and their exciting new exhibition space going up next door are all hallmarks of an advancing civilization.
The Shed, a brand new performing arts space at the top of the High Line, is the only sign of an advancing civilization in the former Hudson Yards. It is completely engulfed by piles of new glass buildings and a Neiman Marcus shopping experience. We walked up here for a 5 pm performance of “Reich, Richter, Part” and it was a transcendent experience.
We were studying Richter’s gorgeous tapestries and floor to ceiling Rorschach prints when performers, standing in our midst, one right next to me, began singing Arvo Part’s choral composition, a piece that enriched the visuals. The Shed attendants opened the second gallery where we heard an ensemble playing Steve Reich’s Patterns while an animated, nothing short of psychedelic, Richter film animated one of his paintings.
Ran into Doug Rice in MoMA today and had a free-range chat. We were just wrapping up a whirlwind tour, truncated by the closing time message in a UN stew of languages. Spent most of our allotted time with Miro’s “Birth of the World” show. And then a sprint through “Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern,” a collection of work showcasing the New York City Ballet’s cofounder’s influence on MoMA and art. Some beautiful Gaston Lachaise drawings and this Guevara self-portrait.
For $3800 you get a “drivable project.” What more could you ask for?
Most years we have our garden in by now but this is not most years. It has been cold and rainy. We planted lettuce seeds a few weeks ago and only a few sprouted. They were last year’s seeds. The spinach seeds were old too but they are up. And we have a few cilantro volunteers from last year.
We had dinner at the Little tonight before our gig. Band gets half price there. It was so crowded the week before the voices almost drowned out our recording but this week there was some breathing room and the band sounded better.
Between sets we talked to a friend who is organizing a “Creative Journaling” workshop, something for women only in a “safe” environment. I made the mistake of asking why it was for woman only and then just quickly realized it was because of manly questions like mine.
The horseshoe pits are just getting broken in. My neighbor and I have only played three times this year so the earth is still a little firm. We play best of three and I have not won a set yet. The stakes are higher this year. My neighbor suggested that the loser bring a beer for the winner to the next match. I am running out already.
The pits are in my front yard and we have been playing for about ten years now. We are pretty evenly matched but he has a bigger desire to win and I’m realizing how important that is. I can’t remember what the score is so he keeps it. All I have to do is concentrate on that post but it is not as easy as it sounds.
Margaret Explosion plays the Little Theater on Wednesday. Here is a song from last week. Pete LaBonne plays piano.
Watching Gerhard Richter run a huge squeegee over his wet painting in a YouTube clip, the interviewer asks Richter, “How do you know when a painting is done?” Richter answered, “When nothing bothers me. And I don’t know what to do next.”
This afternoon we walked a dvd of “Dazed and Confused” over to the library. We always find something there to bring home and when it’s due we walk back with it and start the cycle all over. We had seen the Richard Linklater movie before. But it was more fun this time, maybe because we are so far out of high school. Talk about archetypes, this movie nailed them. And the soundtrack has aged really well.
We walked along the lake yesterday looking for the beach. It’s there but underwater. We knew it was supposed to rain but we thought we could get a walk in. What we didn’t count on was the Open House detour we took when we saw the sign in front of the Highlands on Lakeshore Boulevard. There are seven gorgeous homes up there, all but one looking out over the lake from that big hill. The house we looked at used to be owned by the owner of Edwards Restaurant downtown. We used to go there when Peggi’s parents came into town. Coming back through the park we noticed they had cancelled the Arboretum Tour and then, boom. We were caught in thunderstorm.
I never understood how garage bands got away with it. I remember hearing bands practice in a garage in the sixties and they were as loud as hell. They were usually playing in the afternoon, when the grown ups in the house weren’t home. The walls of garages aren’t even insulated. The neighbors wouldn’t stand for it. Basements make much better practice spaces.
Now garage art is something I understand. I was a garage painter in the eighties when I painted this series of “Community Icons.” It was easy for me to pick these archetypes, the foundation of any city, in 1989. It got me thinking about who I would choose today.
“The Role Model,” above is one of 16 from that series. They were big paintings, 54″ wide by “60” high, on the back of billboard paper. You can see the whole series here: “Community Icons.”
In our yoga class on Monday Jeffery was telling us that our feet get bigger as we age. I thought it was because we walked the Camino. He also said our ears get bigger. And that reminded me of the video Peggi shot of the Art Ensemble panel discussion at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville. We are still taking the breadth of that experience in.
Peggi assembled the five video clips she shot and we posted it here. After the discussion I was able to tell Roscoe Mitchell how much of an impact “Les Stances a Sophie” had on me in 1970. Fontella Bass’s vocal on the funky “Theme de Yoyo,” was a direct line from the Motown singles we grew up on and the avant-garde. It made me a lifelong Art Ensemble fan and I feel very lucky to have heard their fiftieth anniversary show.
Time goes so fast these days it is starting to scare me. And that’s one reason why I am enjoying this prolonged, cool, wet, dark, rainy Spring. As Jeffery said in yoga class last night, “My Forsythia has been in bloom for a month!”
Peggi and I took a walk down Hoffman and we stopped at the marsh for the longest time. We were watching a doe with her brand new fawn and then a bright yellow bird caught our eye, a Warbler no doubt, and then a whole group of them dive-bombing bugs near the crumbling willow. The Warblers are bright yellow. They make the yellow in the Baltimore Orioles look orange and there were quite a few of them darting about. Our favorites, though, are the descriptively named Red Winged Blackbirds, although that only describes the male. They have a chirp and a distinctive call, something that sounds like one of Peggi’s sax lines. We watched them land on cattails, those still standing from last year. The cattail bends under the weight of the bird but it springs back to an upright position and male performs his mating call.
Pete LaBonne joins Margaret Explosion on the grand piano on Wednesday night. I hope you can stop out. We tend to get into a blues groove when he sits in. Here’s a song from last year when both he and Bob Martin were sitting in with the band.