Ran into Larry again today. This time he was walking two dogs, his (Ernie) and a neighbor’s (Molly.) We couldn’t tell which dog was which until we were right on top of them. Larry told us Molly’s owners, Mike and Monica, were out of town. Coming back from the lake we ran into other neighbors, Jan and Jack, in the park hunting for Morel mushrooms. Jan had a bag full, Jack had not found any as yet. Maybe every neighborhood is like ours, Jan and Jack, Mike, Monica and Molly, Dan and Diana across the street, Peggi and Paul.
Peggi did this oil portrait of me somewhere around 2000. Can’t imagine where my glasses were. Maybe the photo she worked from was taken when I lost my glasses in a big wave on a beach in Spain.
“Astronomers announced on Thursday that they had pierced the well of darkness and dust at the center of our Milky Way galaxy to capture the first picture of “the gentle giant” dwelling there: a supermassive black hole, a trapdoor in space-time through which the equivalent of four million suns have been dispatched to eternity leaving behind only their gravity and violently bent space-time.” – NYT
On the same day a package arrived from David Greenberger, the artwork we bought on eBay after receiving an email that alerted us to the listing. We paid $14.99 and David threw in one from his drawing/collage series of drummers, with a postage stamp heads sitting on drummers’ bodies as they sit behind a kit. Ours featured an Indian stamp of Gandhi.
Rich and Andrea recently sent me this old photo. Looks like I’m in the house Steve Hoy shared with Rich in the country outside of Bloomington. But Rich didn’t have a car so I don’t know how that worked. Steve had a blue English Ford, he always had a cool car. He was my assigned roommate freshman year and already a junior, he showed up with a 1967 white Baracuda with an 8-track player. And Steve could drive after smoking pot! I sure couldn’t.
We see Larry and his dog, Ernie, every couple of weeks. Now that Spring is here he has “Cooler by the Lake” back on. We experienced the micro climate phenom last night when we went downtown to see the Garth Fagan Dance performance in Innovation Square. My watch seven degrees warmer.
Last night’s program consisted of “Duos and Duets.” We looked up the distinction and found duo to be the performers and duets to be the pieces. The performance was flat out beautiful. We had seen “Griot New York,” a 1991 piece for which Wynton Marsalis wrote the music, years ago but it. was especially moving now that the performers have aged. “The North Star,” 2018, named after Frederick Douglas’s Rochester based newspaper used a familiar tune from the Melodians based on Psalm 137 (Frederick Douglas’s favorite psalm.) “Carry us away Captivity require from us a song.”
Our good friend, Pete Monacelli, has been creating a book with one spread devoted to all 1550 Psalms, the psalm on the left and a painting on the right. He is on 140 so he just fished the one I mentioned. I have digitized two of Pete’s books and I just put “Quatrains,” the new one, online today.
It’s been twenty years since the Metropolitan’s Philip Guston Retrospective, a mind-blowing experience for me, and I have not fully recovered. The new Philip Guston retrospective “Now” has opened in Boston with trauma specialists on duty and contextual source material under wraps. But I’m not complaining. I already did that. I’m thrilled. We have tickets for the show and sat in on a series of Zoom talks this weekend put on by the MFA
Musa Meyer, Guston’s daughter, hosted one of the talks. She has devoted the second half of her life to securing her father’s. legacy as president of the Philip Guston Foundation. I have a shelf full of Guston books and the one she wrote, “Night Studio, A Memoir of Philip Guston,” is one of my favorites. I hope her talk becomes available on YouTube because she is as close as we can get to the mind of Guston.
The painting above is in MoMA’s collection and Ross Feld used it on the cover his book, “Guston in Time, Remembering Philip Guston.” Feld was a poet and close friend of Guston’s. I picked his book up at the MAG and liked it so much I bought extra copies as gifts. Years later I discovered our neighbor was also a close friend of Feld’s, went to high school with him and has a few Guston pieces in his collection.
Guston was inspired by and inspired poets, writers (Philip Roth) and musicians. Listen to Morton Feldman’s “For Philip Guston.” And then go out of your way to see Philip Guston paintings.
When I replaced my 2013 iMac in 2020 I transferred my files manually and reinstalled the software I use rather than risking migrating old problems onto my new Mac. I didn’t have enough room for my music library or photos on the old machine so I stored them on an external drive. I am forever digitizing my stuff and now I have room for it all in one place, one digital space and then the copy floating in the cloud.
When Peggi and I play in the basement, I won’t call it practicing, we listen to some the live Margaret Explosion songs to pick themes to play with. I put my old computer down there and rigged it so I could connect to the library on the new Mac. I remember having a hard time with that and I must have done something goofy because I apparently set that computer up as an in-home server, a situation that prevented new playlists made on my computer from syncing with my iPad. I called Apple on Friday and a senior advisor named Jessica (do you think they use their real names?) told me, “I got hand it to you, setting a computer up to be a server is not easy.”
She discovered that all the new songs I’ve added to my music library were going to the old computer in the basement. Not only that, every Garage Band file I wrote was getting saved down there too. None of it going to the cloud and no back up.
While helping me she screen-shared with my iPad and desktop and had me restart at one point so I had quit Photoshop. I had the photo above opened and unsaved. While saving she had plenty of time to read the graffiti. She wanted a playlist to add a new song to and suggested my “Su Za!” playlist. Ken Frank, Margaret Explosion’s bass player, records dance tracks under that name. Song titles in there include “Ants in My Pants,” and “Ass Magnet.” She gave me a weekend’s worth of cleanup and said she would call me back on Tuesday.
I have friends and family members who are affected by the quantity of sunshine in a day. I recognize that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is real. A good friend of ours is moving back here from the Bay Area. As much as I am looking forward to seeing him in person I was encouraging him not to move here. He gets bummed out when it’s cloudy and he complains about it to anyone who will listen. I don’t want to hear it. I like cloudy days and I love living here.
There was a mist in the air this morning but it had temporarily stopped raining. We saw one other person. The cherry, crab apple and magnolia blossoms along Zoo Road looked magnificent against the grey. We took along Durand Lake, through Katsura Glen where the new leaves were just coming out.
It was a thrill to play music while surrounded by recent paintings by Gail and Jim Thomas. We bought one of Jim’s large scale abstract figure drawings about twenty years ago and have stayed in touch. Peggi and I helped hang this show just the day before and Jim and Gail were sitting at the table closest to the band while we played.
Peggi told the crowd that the artists were in the house and the crowd cheered when she introduced them. They told us they had “never received applause for their work in 60 years.” Jim took this photo and sent us a nice note the day after expressing wonder at how our two worlds came together for this moment in time.
Is today as nice nice as yesterday? Maybe but yesterday was my birthday so it was different.
Peggi made blueberry pancakes for breakfast and we took our time with the paper. We went down a YouTube hole for a bit and made a few phone calls. My sister has Covid so we talked on what would have normally been a workday for her. We never left the house until 2 but it was plenty of time for a six mile walk.
We started at my parents’ grave site, seventy-two years after they celebrated their first born’s arrival. I don’t think they knew how lovely this spot is when they picked it out. The green burial section on a hill overlooking Riverside, the non-denominational cemetery next door and the Genesee River was a brand new concept for Holy Sepulcher. There’s daffodils there now and a bench.
We left the car sitting near the graves and walked into the woods along the river. We found a patch of mature skunk cabbage looking just like cabbage does near the end of the summer. My father loved getting out in the very earliest days of Spring to find skunk cabbage popping through the snow in its flowering state. We found a few homeless guys camping out and this mysterious mound of sticks and eventually hooked up with the paved path that takes you down the river bank to Turning Point Park where the McKeil Spirit was unloading cement from Hamilton, Ontario. It looked as big as an apartment building or cruise ship and made the mighty Genesee look small..
The type face, Glyphic Neue Neue Wide, could read as “Brian Ride.” That would work just as well. This song is from our gig last Wednesday and the train footage was in my home movie collection.
I used a still too, the shot above. I took this in 2011 on a high speed train to Sevilla. I considered using this still for the whole movie. I love it that much. The Spanish colors on the upholstery, the dark hair on the gentleman, his thin mustache, the stripes on his shirt, the olive green tie, the mustard pants! If there was some blood red in this photo we would have the entire Spanish pallette.
This is how to travel. This is how to live. This is civilization.
Margaret Explosion plays one more Wednesday, tomorrow, at the Little Theatre Café.
In 1975 my father suggested we take a silkscreen class that was being offered by Loretta Murawski at B.O.C.E in Fairport. It was the first class I had taken with my father and I was struck by what a good student he was. He would jump on the assignments, constructing the screens from homemade hinged frames and producing beautiful prints while the rest of us were still trying to figure out what we wanted to do.
The silkscreen above is from a series of prints and I think he also used this image for a Christmas card. My sister, Amy, would remember the details. Leo liked Chesterton and Merton and I often wondered where this phrase came from. I looked it up today and found this excerpt from a 1975 NYT review of a book called, “All The Strange Hours: The Evacuation of a Life” by Loren Eiseley. My father might read the book, he had quite a library, or he may just have read the review. I wish he was still here to talk about it.
I still have the screens we constructed back then in the garage. The ink and screen wash on the market today is far less toxic. We had a few Warhol silkscreens for a while and I love the medium.
I did a silkscreen run of New Math posters but I don’t have a copy. I photographed this one on the wall at the Bop Shop. Peggi and I silkscreened a hundred Personal Effects t-shirts in our backyard. The time is right to get back into this process.
I love watching these birds. Woodsier than pigeons they spend more time on the ground than in the air. They waddle around and are always in pairs. I thought they were Morning Doves until I looked it up. They are probably called Mourning Doves because their coo sounds like a lament.
A pair of them are building a nest in the cherry tree out front and we have a closeup view of the action. The male, the more colorful and bigger one, shown on the left in my photo, dutifully collects small sticks and leaves and brings them back to the nest, putting each piece in the mouth of his mate. She packs it under her body while she sitting on the nest and he flys off for another piece. They can live to be thirty years old.
I married some photos I took in Spain with a track from last week’s gig at the Little Theatre Café. Jack Schaefer plays guitar. An original member, he filled in last week for Phil Marshall. Peggi plays soprano sax, Ken Frank plays the double bass and I played drums. We went to Spain for a few minutes with this improvisation.
I remember laughing with my brother, Mark, and sister, Ann as we sat on the brick stoop in front of our house on Brookfield Road. We were off from school and trying to stay silent on this day, Good Friday, between the hours of noon and three when Jesus was said to have hung on the cross.
As young Catholics we had to do all these sort of challenging things. We gave up candy for five weeks during Lent. We had to fast before Communion so even though we were up playing for hours before Sunday mass we had to put on a jacket and tie and file into the stuffy church where one of us would sometimes pass out during the service. And of course, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays.
I have so lost touch with that faith that I mistakenly thought it was Good Friday two weeks ago. I still love the rituals. I love the iconography. And the Stations of the Cross, a series of 14 images depicting Christ on the day of his crucifixtion, is my favorite. I love visiting old churches especially in Spain where they still have holy water fonts at the door and candles to light to your favorite saint statues. Holy Week in southern Spain is an out of body experience.
I’m writing this at two in the afternoon so the 12th station is where we’re at. All 14 of my recent version can be viewed here.
We’re planning a trip to Boston in May. We played there a few times with Personal Effects but never spent any time there. “Philip Guston Now,” the retrospective that was planned to tour four major museums in 2020 but then crashed when angst-ridden curators felt they would have to explain the Klan imagery. Not enough to just let the public look at visual art that explains itself.
We’ve had the King Richard dvd sitting here long enough. We were sort of afraid to watch it after Will Smith’s performance at the Oscars but we finally stuck it in. It’s a feel good flick, clunky in spots, as far as having the actors say things for historical reasons, but really enjoyable. Will Smith deserves the statue.
Phil Marshall won’t be able to join us tonight at the Little so Jack Schaefer plans to bring his bass clarinet and sit in.
I have a digital subscription to AD Espana. I love the way it looks on my iPad mini. Each issue transports me to the Iberian peninsula. AD in Spain is much lighter on architecture and features primarily home design. I find myself ogling over ads for faucets and light switches. After Franco died Spain took modernism to new heights. Anything goes. You can’t put your finger on the style. It is all a mashup.
Pedro Almodóvar brings this to the big screen in dramatic fashion. The sets, the clothes, the interiors are 100 percent Spanish. “Parallel Mothers” is worth watching just to see Milena Smit in a new outfit for every scene. Of course Penelope Cruz is sensational. But the red toaster and the green oven and the paintings on the walls threaten to steal the show. We needed to watch it a second time so we could skip the subtitles and just look at it.
I loved “Pain and Glory” and was hoping Almodóvar would reach for something that human again. The relationship between and story around Janis and Ana, the Parallel Mothers, is beautiful and plenty for one movie. When Almodóvar piles the Franco horror show, the mass grave of Janis’s relatives, onto this movie, parallel movies, he only does disservice to a much weightier subject.
But that was about as close we’re going to get to Spain for a bit. After the movie we looked the Café Moderna where Ana worked and there was, on Google in street view.
We used to hike up here all the time, back when ticks were not on our radar. Old horse riding paths wind around the hills off Hoffman Road. The entrance is overgrown and many of the paths have fallen tress you have to climb over but that is exactly why we like it. The deer are still startled to see people up here and we often see packs of wild turkeys.
The large undeveloped part of the park is bordered by Hoffman, Lakeshore Boulevard, Kings Highway and Titus Avenue. The paths are nearly impassable in the summer when the tick infested Black Swallow Wort takes over. Early April is the perfect time to wander around.
We usually exit along the big ridge trail that leads over to Spring Valley but before we get out on the road we have to cross the creek and it is often running pretty full in the Spring. We found a crutch-like stick and rearranged a few big stones in the water in order to cross.
I read the newspaper, I look at the news so I guess I”m a bit of a political junkie.. But I don’t usually talk politics here. It is so unsavory. I posted a picture of Junior’s girlfriend, one I took off the tv during the Republican Convention, and I posted an earlier idea for a Don Jr. t-shirt. That post got eight comments but most thought it was a bad idea.
The other day I got an email from “Mr. Donald Trump Jr.” with the subject, “Can I tell my father you stepped up?” “There’s nothing the Left won’t destroy, including the future of America and its allies. Only YOU can stop them, Paul. I know my father would appreciate the support of a TOP Patriot like YOU.”
I tweaked my t-shirt design. Thinking about a short run for the summer. Comments are turned on.
Colleen Buzzard has one great show after the other in the front room gallery space attached to her studio. For the month of April she will be exhibiting her own work in an exhibition entitled “Shaping the Voids.” This show starts in the hallway on the big wall in front of the 4th floor space with a stunning video presentation of a recent show of her work.
There is an artist statement inside and I suggest you read it. I didn’t but I will try to describe what I experienced. Colleen redefines drawings, not just by by taking them off the page but by letting the drawings make their own drawings, as shadows and reflections. Inside her space you are completely surrounded by drawings, on the walls, the floor and in the air. I encourage you to arrange some time to spend with Colleen Buzzard’s installation.
RIT’s downtown gallery is showing School of Art and American Crafts MFA thesis exhibitions. I particularly like Shayna Kiblin’s wall hangings. Shayna describes herself as “the dyke to watch out for” and here she takes a deep dive into the feminine colors and textures that were laid out for her at an early age.