Thin The Herd

Flowers in front of Aman's Market on East Ridge Road
Flowers in front of Aman’s Market on East Ridge Road

The neighbors think there may be two sets of triplets wandering around. We haven’t seen both sets together but we see three young ones and their young mom every day. They may be different sets, we can’t tell. They eat everything. Our ferns, which they usually leave alone have been nibbled to the ground and our Vinca in the pots out back are just stumps.

We sometimes walk in the rain but we waited for it to stop before heading out. The sun was coming out and steam was rising from Pine Valley. We watched a groundhog for a few minutes, we saw a fox slink by and a pack of deer, and then some more and more after that. Not the first time we’ve noticed we see more animals out when it’s raining. In the park on a hillside, near the trail that goes through Tamarack Swamp, we saw five bucks, all with big racks. Three were at least ten pointers. I took some photos to send to our deer hunting neighbor. He has a permit to bow hunt on his property and he will drool over these.

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Bycycle towing a Kayak in Summervile
Bycycle towing a Kayak in Summervile

To this day Summerville, on the east side of the Genesee, and Charlotte on the west side are distinctly different communities. Both developed before there was a bridge over the river. There’s historical markers detailing the port of Charlotte’s role in the War of 1812 and the Summerville side is pointed to as an early resort town, an escape from the city.

We took a walking tour of both, a leisurely stroll of the expensive boats in the Port of Rochester and then paused on the O’Rourke Bridge where we looked down on the bustling shipyards in Summerville. In the center of this photo you can see a man towing a kayak with his bicycle. We had lunch at Schooner’s, under an umbrella out on their deck and we watched boats drift past.

We bought some locally grown apricots, plums and corn at Herrama’s and stuck our head in the new Murph’s. There’s a stage in there that would be perfect for Margaret Explosion.

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Version Of The Virgin

Virgin of Guadalupe pinecone
Virgin of Guadalupe pinecone

Somehow we got 8 1/2 miles in yesterday. We walked down to the lake and had a chocolate custard at Don’s Original. Today we walked through the park and up Horseshoe Road, which as you can tell by its name, comes back out where it started, on the lake. A bit of the sandy beach has come back as the lake levels have receded and there were lots of swimmers in the water. We clocked (my watch clocks everything) almost seven miles today.

We’re considering another walk, from Porto to Santiago, an alternate version of the Camino. There is one route via the coastline and another that goes inland. John Brierley has a book about it. There is some urgency as people all around us are falling apart. Our neighbor had her second hip replaced yesterday and we stopped down to visit her husband on the way home from our walk.

I found this pine flattened on our street. It looked like the setting for the Virgin de Guadalupe and I didn’t really want to carry it the whole way so I set it aside on a fence post. Peggi used her Reminder app for the first time, telling Siri to remind us to “pick up the virgin in one hour.” We we’re still down at the lake when the reminder went off. So she set it again and this time Siri heard “Pick up the version in half an hour.” That worked just as well for this version of the virgin.

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Golden Anniversary

Paul Dodd and Dave Mahoney at DaveJolly, Kenny Macher and Rich Stim's place.
Paul Dodd and Dave Mahoney at Rich Stim’s place.

I looked for a picture of all three of us from that time period but couldn’t find one. This one is from almost a year later. The “D” on the wall was the last of three letters. The first was an “L.’ Dave Mahoney and I went down to the Woodstock festival in Joe Barrett’s family car, a Corvair. We bought our tickets, three day passes for eighteen dollars, from a local radio station. We were most excited to see Sly & the Family Stone. We left a day early but I don’t remember bringing any food or anything to sleep on.

By Thursday afternoon the small roads leading to the festival were already jammed with cars. We left ours on the side of the road and joined a long procession of people on foot. At an intersection lines were moving in two directions and each seemed equally sure the festival site was ahead. We picked one and decided to take the acid we brought down with us.

Things got stranger. We stopped at a house where can goods had been arranged along the railing of the front porch. The contents of their cupboards were being offered for sale. We fumbled with our money and bought something but I don’t remember what it was.

We found the festival site where they were soundchecking the system. The sun was blazing and there was screeching feedback and dogs barking. We tried sleeping in a cornfield but I couldn’t sleep. We were exhausted the next day and Dave was worried that this was all going to be a disaster scene. He was mostly afraid that there wouldn’t be enough food. He suggested we leave early but I insisted we hear some of the first night’s acts.

We ran into a friend from high school and he sold us some blue mescaline tabs. We drove home with those and all slept over at Joe’s. We took the mescaline and went down to the Stutson Theater where a matinee of 2001: A Space Odyssey was showing. We started out in the seats but found it more comfortable laying on the floor in front of the first row of seats. The only other patrons were little kids who were all running around, laughing and throwing things.

My brother and Brad Fox stayed the three days. They brought home tents and sleeping bags for everybody, stuff they rounded up when the festival was over. I kinda wish I had got with them.

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Now, He’s Fighting For Love

Brian Blatt reading from Rocky 2 at Joe+n Day Tour Durand Eastman 2019
Brian Blatt reading from Rocky 2 at Joe+n Day Tour Durand Eastman 2019

Last time we heard With The Cows they performed with a trumpet player, Mike Kaupa. The music was free flowing, complex and engaging but the instrumental interludes threatened to outshine Rick Petrie‘s poetry. At the Bop Shop on Friday night Phil and Roy Marshall performed with Chris Zajkowski on keyboards, in place of the trumpet, and the set was focused and supportive. One was not better, both were great but the readings were more rewarding this time.

As Peggi and I sat there, behind rows of of teenage Roy fans, we were remembering what it was like backing Ted Williams‘ readings at Jazzberrys, Roy, about to start school at the Eastman, sound great and looked great with his Pharoah Sanders t-shirt.

Joe Tunis has been doing Day Tours, a series of performances with guests in six or seven locations, for twenty years. We usually catch at least one of his stops and the ones at Durand are easy. This year Joe played a small, distorted keyboard, Nuuj played some homemade horns, someone gathered solar powered noises, a woman played cello and Brian Blatt walked around and around the giant peace sign near the beach. He was wearing a Phish shirt and a small speaker around his neck while he smoked hand rolled cigarettes and read from the paperback version of Rocky II. It was brilliant.

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Cats And Dogs

Clouds above Eastridge High School
Clouds above Eastridge High School

Butler 8-3041. I still remember our phone number from when we were kids. If I can’t call that up someday I will know I’m starting to slip.

We thought we could beat the thunderstorm. We were inside Wegmans when the skies opened up. I had eight ears of corn from Aman’s in my backpack and one tomato (ours are are just starting to come in). The fish guy cleaned a red snapper for us. We had milk, onions, cherries, blueberries and canned beans in our buggy. At the door we saw lightning flashes. I panicked and called our next door neighbor. He came up to Wegmans and picked us up.

All the walking we’ve done and we have never done that. We could have waited it out. We had rain gear in our backpacks. We’ve walked in the rain before. I don’t know what came over me.

"Barely There" painting by Barbara Mink at Geisel Gallery in Rochester, New York
“Barely There” painting by Barbara Mink at Geisel Gallery in Rochester, New York

I’m guessing that we have seen the coming attractions for the David Crosby documentary four times now, each time in front of another movie. I know we asked for this by the movie choices we made.

“Echo in the Canyon,” ostensibly about the significance of Laurel Canyon in the sixties, is full of Jacob Dylan as MC and then bandleader with a roundup of contemporary artists when the only people who’d come to this movie would only want the real stuff from that magical period. The Tom Petty footage was good though.

“‘Marianne & Leonard” was a better movie but it would have played just as well on the small screen because the best footage was old movies and still shots. Leonard was a ladies man and the Marianne & Leonard thing was doomed. His guitar player, interviewed in the movie, said he realized early on that most of the people who came to see the band were young, depressed women. The love story was touching. This movie could appeal to a younger crowd because Cohen’s music is so universal but there weren’t any young people in the theater when we saw it.

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” was really great to look at, especially in the film version that our city is lucky to have. And the acting was was just as good but there wasn’t much story here. It was more like a few days back in the day. Some weird stuff happened. A lot of ordinary stuff happened. I was so back there I never noticed how long the film was until I had to go to the bathroom.

The movies, cover bands, Americana, MAGA. Everybody wants to go back. It’s getting a little depressing. I think I’ll go put my Silver Apples lp on.

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Tree roots exposed along Durand Eastman Beach
Tree roots exposed along Durand Eastman Beach

The lake level is a little higher. The beach is a little smaller. This beech tree is hanging on by a thread.

I spent some time wondering whether the high school girls across the street were just shooting baskets to kill time or whether they were actually trying to improve their game. I still couldn’t tell. Peggi came right out and asked one of them as we walked by. She said she and her sister were playing on a summer team.

When we were kids we shot so many baskets in our driveway that we backed the nails out of the siding on the garage. So knowing the girls were serious, well, sort of serious, I felt bad that their net was in tatters and hanging on only two of the twelve hooks. There is nothing more satisfying in basketball than all net, a shot that drops through the hoop without touching the backboard or the hoop. It hangs for a second in the net and then does a controlled drop, right where you want it.

I bought a net and planned to hang it when they weren’t at home. I was up on my ladder in their driveway when a black car came down our street. The kids’ father, who is normally at work at his restaurant, had picked her up and they pulled in the driveway. The girl got out while her father sat in the car. The windows were up and the car was still running. I was almost finished. The girl got out and said, “Oh my god, where did you get the net?” I said, “Amazon. I was trying to hang it while you weren’t home.” I finished hanging the the net and left with my ladder.

I went down to Jared’s house, where we have our garden, and I picked some lettuce, basil and kale for dinner. While I was gone the girls’ mother came over, hugged Peggi, thanked her profusely and gave her two bottles of wine (from the restaurant). Peggi tried to refuse the wine but said they preferred this way because they are transactional. That’s the part I was trying to avoid.

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Nut Case

Julianna Furlong Williams Untitled Painting at Monroe Community College
Julianna Furlong Williams Untitled Painting at Monroe Community College

This luscious painting, by Julianna Furlong Williams, presented itself to us as we stepped off the elevator at MCC. We met with our financial advisor there while stocks were having their worst day of 2019 because of Trump’s escalating trade war. Our advisor teaches Economics here and he told us “If that nut case was in my Economics 101 class I would fail him.”

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Let’s Go To The Zoo

Zebra at the Seneca Park Zoo2019
Zebra at the Seneca Park Zoo2019

The road at the end of our street didn’t always dead-end at the berm. It used to continue right into the park where it became Zoo Road. The road is still there but the zoo is gone. They had fifty or so buffalo, elk, goats and deer who all roamed together in a big, fenced-in big valley, just south of where the Park’s service area is now. It closed in the early sixties but the deer are still here.

We get our car serviced at B&B on Saint Paul and usually walk home while they work on it. This time we walked up to Seneca Park and along the river. They used to have a big outdoor public pool here. My parents would bring the whole family, or what there was of it back then. We’d swim, picnic and visit the zoo. Rochester had two zoos!

We had not been to Seneca Park Zoo since they added the new Savannah section with the giraffes, rhinos, elephants, lion and tigers and these zebras. They tore down the big old brick building, the one that housed the lemurs, and moved them temporarily while they build a new tropical environment for them. Peggi was planning on shooting some lemur footage for her long-in-the-works video for “Love Never Thinks.”
Personal Effects – Love Never Thinks

The zoo seemed plenty busy. I was glad to see that. Mostly young kids and caregivers. The kids were really taken by the shaved rear ends of the baboons. They pointed to the piles of poop and got really excited when one of the baboons relieved himself. One of the males, visibly excited, tried mounting a female baoon right in front of where we were standing. A mom, just behind us, said, “Let’s get going kids,”


Work From Life

Bonnie Graves Nude Sculpture at Creative Workshop in Rochester, New York
Bonnie Graves Nude Sculpture at Creative Workshop in Rochester, New York

We like entering the MAG through the Creative Workshop. We were there to see the the Finger Lakes show but we started with the student show in the Workshop. I’m quite sure Dejan Pejovic is a good teacher. His students’s work rises to the top. This small sculpture was done by Bonnie Graves and it was probably done from a live model. I know Dejan likes to work from life. It is worthy of one of my favorites, Gaston LaChaise.

Pat Pauli, Colleen Buzzard, Belinda Bryce, Nancy Jurs and Lee Hoag all have especially nice pieces in the show. Dejan’s sister, Lanna Pejovic, has a nice four panel treescape oil painting as well. I liked Andrew Zimbelman’s animation and Carol Woodlock’s “Woman Walking” video was beautiful.

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Cruz Roja

Light pole, pavement, concrete, spray paint and shadow on Mount Hope Avenue
Light pole, pavement, concrete, spray paint and shadow on Mount Hope Avenue

Donating blood is not exactly painless. There is a mind-numbing series of questions to be filled out on a barely responsive portable tablet. And then there is the interview, blood pressure and pulse readings. They prick the tip of your finger to determine if you have enough iron in your blood. And there is a bit of a wait regardless of your appointment time. But the toughest part is all those eighties songs that you never wanted to hear again. “We Can Dance If We Want To.” Sally, who works fifty hours a week at the Prince Street collection facility, makes all this near painless. 

Pete Monacelli has talked many times about the letters between Thomas Merton and Ad Reinhardt. I had them open on my iPad while I sat in the big chair pumping my fist until the blood bag was full. There is a currently a critical shortage so stop by if you can.

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Cobblestone home along Lake Ontario shoreline
Cobblestone home along Lake Ontario shoreline

Aptly named, the first day of the week was letter perfect yesterday. Peggi and I were picked up in our driveway and chauffeured in the back seat of Jeff and Mary Kaye’s car to the eastern shore of Sodus Bay where we met our friends, Matthew and Louise. Jeff chose the to hug Ontario’s lakeshore, a dreamy route with gorgeous homes on the lakeside and orchards and barns on the other.

We shared conversation over wood fired pizza and beer under a picnic table umbrella. All the while wondering what it would be like to live on Eagle Island. We heard there is road for golf carts but no car access, only by boat or sled in the winter.

We stopped at this cobblestone house on the way home to inspect it up close. How did those craftsmen get these lake stones set in the concrete without displacing these beautiful ridges?

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A Pergola

Two chairs and scaffolding on Kathys new pegula
Two chairs and scaffolding on Kathys new pegola

Our friend, Kathy, haunts second hand stores. And she finds all sorts of treasures at estate sales. I suspect that is where she bought an Italian pasta maker. We borrowed it and Peggi made two batches of pasta. One with mushrooms and one with her sauce. Both were delicious. We ordered one on Amazon and it showed up today so we walked her pasta maker back over to her house. We went through the woods on the way and then along the lake on the way back.

Kathy’s pergola is almost done. The wood has all been carefully scorched and then stained. We have made a point to stop by once a week for the last six just to see it take shape. I was not even sure what a pergola was. I couldn’t understand why you build all this and not put a roof on but now I get it. A pergola is something else altogether. An environment with diffuse light and, as Peggi pointed out, its own sound quality. I’m looking forward to sipping a beer here as we look out on the dreamy Bay.

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Funky Side

Monte Carlo Club on Ontario Street in Niagara Falls, New York
Monte Carlo Club on Ontario Street in Niagara Falls, New York

This establishment is also on Ontario Avenue in Niagara Falls, just down the street from Prophet Isaiah’s Second Coming House which was pictured in yesterday’s post. I’m partial to the New York side of Niagara Falls. I like the view of the Falls better and it’s not as neat and tidy as the Canadian side. My uncle was born here and he and my aunt still live here. My cousin lives next door to them about five minutes from this place.

This neighborhood is still referred to as “Little Italy” even though it is mostly black now. My uncle grew up a block from the Monte Carlo although it wasn’t even here then. It’s not really here now either. The neighborhood went from Irish and Italian to African Americans from down south. Like most northeastern cities it has seen better days but maybe someone will buy the Monte Carlo and open it back up..

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All Access Pass

Prophet Isaiah's Second Coming House on Ontario Avenue in Niagara Falls 2019
Prophet Isaiah’s Second Coming House on Ontario Avenue in Niagara Falls 2019

We avoid the NYS Thruway if can but we never realized that you save money with the E-ZPass until we rode out to Main Street Arts with Pete and Gloria. They told us they use it all the way down to Florida. We velcroed the clunky plastic thing to our windshield and waited for an opportunity to use it.

Last time we travelled by air we almost missed our connection waiting in a long customs line in the International terminal. And while we were nervously waiting we couldn’t help noticing that some people just waltzed through. Was it Nexus or Global Entry? We signed up for that too. It took us months to get approved and once we were, we made an appointment to pick up the pass at the Whirlpool Bridge Nexus office in Niagara Falls, just five minutes from my aunt and uncle’s house.

We left a day early and stayed overnight in Buffalo. Our first experience with the E-ZPass had us waiting in a line to use it while people in the cash line zipped right through.

The Albright Knox was between shows but that only allows their stellar permanent collection to shine. Choice Seymour Knox picks like Brancusi, Guston and Mark Rothko. We brought our walking shoes and had an IPA at the Big Ditch Brewery and then dinner on the patio at Tempo on Delaware.

We started the morning with a latte at the Rowhouse and then drove north to Niagara Falls where we stumbled on the Prophet Isaiah’s Second Coming House on Ontario Avenue. The door slowly opened as I was taking this picture and a man invited us in but I was still trying to figure what what we were looking at.

My aunt made brownies and we had those at the table while we told family stories. I mentioned we had seen the Second Coming House and my uncle told us he grew up just three blocks from the house.

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The Art of Connection:

Gallery wall at The Yards in the Public Market, Rochester,New York
Gallery wall at The Yards in the Public Market, Rochester, New York

Jim Mott amazes me with his ability to capture a scene on a small scale in a rather short period of time like maybe an hour. He paints in oil on cardboard and the finished piece is consistently true to the color in front of him. Nothing in his finished image is overworked yet they are perfectly readable. His paintings remain painterly and fun to look at. But Jim is looking for something else. He wants to make a connection with his work.

He gave a talk, “The Art of Connection: 20 Years of Socially-Engaged Art Projects,” at The Yards at the Public Market and passed a short stack of his paintings around the room as he showed slides. He grew up wanting to be a local artist but found it was impossible to make any money. And furthermore, nobody seemed to really care. He became disgruntled.

In 2000 he placed a small ad in the New Yorker offering to paint pictures at strangers’ homes in exchange for hospitality. He arranged tours that took him across the country and back several times. He estimates he has been to 200 homes and each time the homeowner chose one the paintings he did at their place to keep for themselves. Jim brought the rest home. His presentation contained a bar chart that showed how much more productive he was on the road compared to staying at home. It was dramatic.

Last year he came up with a Landscape Lottery project where locations were chosen by random GPS corordinates. It took him to some strange places like the middle of a parking lot where he found he had to work harder to make a good painting and they were often some of his best.

He told us he is looking for new ideas for his next project so he has us thinking.

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Living In The Afterlife

Moss growing on wooden fence at the pool.
Moss growing on wooden fence at the pool.

We listened to “On The Beach” yesterday because we read it was the 45th anniversary of that record’s release. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason. There is a newspaper depicted on the cover and the headline reads “Sen. Buckley Calls For Nixon To Resign.” Almost a half century on we have another president leading a “Love It or Leave It” movement. 

We bought two 22 ounce cans of Estrella Jalisco at Southtown Beverage and we brought one of them down to the pool today. I noticed that it was brewed by Grupo Modelo, a large Mexican company that was bought by Constellation Brands, the local company that got their start with fortified Wild Irish Rose. The Estrella Jalisco tasted great in the hot sun and we were reminded of a cd we bought in Mexico, by a group from Jalisco called Mariachi Reyes del Aserrado. We called that up and it felt like we were on an exotic vacation or as Louise says “living in the afterlife.”

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Open Big

Flooded boat launch at Sea Beezee, New York
Flooded boat launch at Sea Breeze, New York

My regular dentist is shy about telling me to open wider. He is so gentle it seems like he tip-toes into the room. I’ve never had a bad experience there and he has done some grisly work. In high school I went to his father in the very same building. I went out with the receptionist. His father introduced me to Novocain, a god send. 

Our childhood dentist, who worked out of the sixth floor of the Medical Arts building on Alexander, would just say, “Hold on.” And then he would grind away with his low speed drill. He would make a fist and act like it was my tooth. He’d say, “I went in here and it opened up and the cavity went this way.” He would take a break while I was in the chair and smoke a cigarette in the other room.

While I was going to school in Bloomington I went to a dentist on Kirkwood, a jovial older guy. His wife was the receptionist. I had a tooth pulled there. He gave me a sedative with instructions to take it twenty minutes before arriving for my appointment. I was on my bicycle and I barely made it there. I came to while he was struggling to extract my tooth. I remember helping him yank it out.

When I moved back to Rochester I started seeing Rocco Cupolo, a dentist my mom recommended. He remarried and had a second family so he worked a long time. Rocco’s, the Italian restaurant on Monroe Avenue is owned by his son and is named after him.

I had a root canal yesterday from a specialist. He worked furiously and continually asked me to “Open Big.” I was afraid to say anything to him for fear he would break one of those long skinny files off in my tooth. Other than asking his assistant for tools the only other thing he said was “What nice long roots you have.”

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"Uncle Ray" Paul Dodd Painting from 1990 Pyramid Arts Center show entitled "The City" Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54" wide by "60" high
“Uncle Ray” Paul Dodd Painting from 1990 Pyramid Arts Center show entitled “The City” Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54″ wide by “60” high

Ray Tierney II, my mom’s only brother (she had four sisters) was my godfather. I guess I would have gone to live with the Tierney’s if something had happened to my parents. I had a godmother too, one of my father’s sisters, Aunt Helen, who at the time of my baptism was unmarried. She was my parent’s go-to sitter. Ray already had a family of his own.

My grandfather, also named Ray Tierney, owned a grocery store on North Avenue with two of his brothers. He was dynamo so it was only natural that his son and Ray Tierney III went into the grocery business. I worked there during high school and eventually was in charge of ordering for the dog food and paper aisles. Fellow workers would send newbies out in the dark to take down the flag (there was none) or into the back room for shelf stretchers. They referred to my uncle as “High Pockets.”

I was certain my uncle had left the store when I snagged a banana cream pie and took it in the cooler where I climbed up on the milk crates to work on the pie. I didn’t have any silverware so I was holding the whole pie up to my mouth when my uncle walked in. When I told Ray III this story he said, “Don’t worry, he probably saved the empty box and got credit for the pie.”

I painted this picture of my uncle in 1990 for a Pyramid Arts Center show entitled “The City.” It was one of ten large portrayals of one member of each family in my extended family, a show intended to show the connection between family and place.

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