Tom and Jan really know how to throw a party. They reserved Abilene for Jan’s biggish birthday. There was an open bar, plenty of food and two bands. The Fox Sisters were playing on the patio when we arrived. Their sound was echoing through the empty streets downtown as we parked. They have a classic mid sixties sound like the bands we used see at all those teen dances in Rochester. Except they don’t cover Smokey or Jr, Walker or Mitch Ryder, they write their own material and the one Phil wrote was a beauty.
Inside the vibe was darker. The Stew Cutler Trio got right down to business with their barrelhouse blues. Cutler has worked with Percy Sledge, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Fontella Bass, Earl King, David Sanborn, Bill Frisell, Lester Bowie, Charlie Hunter and Jimmy Dale Gilmore. They reach full boil in minutes and didn’t stop.
We got to the Little Theatre Café n time for the second set of the Debby Kendrick Project. Debby is so good, so soulful, so sweet, she attracts the best musicians in the city. The drum chair is waiting for Pete Monacelli’s return but it was amply filled last night with Tony Hiler.
We had dinner on Friday night at our neighbors’ place. I raided his record collection and checked out a dozen lps. Jedediah, derived from the name Yedidyah, meaning “beloved of Jah” in the Hebrew Bible, was born in Kingston and all but the Burning Spear lp (above) are Jamaican pressings. I showed this picture to my brother-in-law at a family wedding yesterday and he reminded me that he bought the “Africa Must Be Free by 1983 lp from me when we sold most of our records. The “Sons of Negus” dub version is worth a couple hundred bucks. I had the Ras Michael vocal version of that.
Speaking of dub. Ken couldn’t make our Margaret Explosion gig on Wednesday and instead of asking someone to sit in we played without a bass. A few things happened. There was a big hole in the middle of our sound. No other instrument fills as much space the bass. This was made alarmingly evident the first two songs. And then we relaxed instead over-trying to fill the void. The normally chatty crowd was mostly quiet which allowed us to even empty it out more. I found I could play as quiet as a mouse or even drop out.
This morning’s NYT devoted most of a page to Rochester’s Fringe Fest. One of the photos in the article featured Craig Walsh’s “Monuments” project which we had just seen last night. I took this photo by steadying my camera on a street light pool near Meigs and East Avenue. The images, Warhol like movie portraits of three local unsung heroes. There is a short bio of the three here. The silent video clips are projected from the back of UHaul truck across a parking lot and onto three trees near the corner of Meigs and East Avenue. Walsh’s project is sensational. I cannot describe it any better than the Washington Post. “
“By calling these works monuments, Walsh positions the luminescent faces in the fraught, timely debate over whom we should honor in public space — and how. Physically, the works resist what we think of when we think of monuments. Made of light, the diaphanous compositions are practically immaterial and as fleeting as the autumn foliage that holds them. Captured on video, the subjects are in constant motion. Even the smallest shifts in expression, rippling over hundreds of leaves, feel weighty.”
We get chicken mushrooms at the base of this tree every year. When I took this photo there flies and insects crawling all over them. I thought they were past prime. Later looked down as someone stopped his car and picked the lot. Peggi speculated that he might have taken them for the spores.
The opening of “Portals & Planes” went well. You get a bunch of artists and musicians and friends together and they talk like crazy so you can’t miss. But it went well because I spent most of the two hours talking about the photos, taking pictures, textures and composition. I some collector card sized versions of the photos to give away at the opening. It seemed some people like those better than the large prints. Scott McCarney took an extra set and told us he plans to rearrange the sequence, maybe as a little book. I had to quiet the room down so Peggi and I could do a couple songs at the midpoint. The full band plays the café on Wednesday. That’s not exactly true. We plan to do the gig without a bass player as Ken has another engagement.
The swimming season came to an abrupt end this year when we emptied the pool in order to paint it. This is only the second time the street pool has been painted since it was put in in 1960. I took the opportunity to try to get the underwater light out so I could repair the short. It worked when we first moved here and it is especially nice on warm summer nights when we bring friends down.
Peggi and I sent out a bunch of emails yesterday, inviting people to the opening of my photo show at the Little Theatre on Sunday. We setup a shared email list some time ago and then recently got one of those really confusing messages from Apple asking if we wanted to merge or discard conflicting contacts lists. We clicked merge and wound up with duplicates and old discarded email addresses in one big mess. Consequently we inadvertently spammed our friends with duplicates.
So we buckled down and whittled our contacts down to only people whose names we recognize, who we wouldn’t mind hearing from, and those who are still living. The people at companies we used to do business with all were eliminated. Peggi and l laughed as I read the names before selecting “delete.” email@example.com! firstname.lastname@example.org! All the DuPont addresses. Our original email address – email@example.com! “AOL hell” we used to call it. MortimerShy@rochester.rr.com and all those who left us. Sparky, our next door neighbor, never had an email address but his street address was in there. Our list has dropped from 2500 to 400 and I’m still working it.
The title image, the one I’m using to promote my photo show at the Little Theatre Café, is a picture I took on my way to Editions Printing where Peter was making Giclée prints of the the images I had chosen for this show. Funny how that worked. It fit the thread of the theme I was working with perfectly. It encapsulated it. I was running back and forth to his State Street print shop and taking different routes each time when I stumbled on this warehouse on Hudson Avenue.
I carry a camera with me at all times, not a cellphone but the best Sony that will fit in my pocket. I had a lot of photos to look at before selecting and plenty of time to think about what my favorites have in common. It is the picture plane. I like to flatten it and square up my subject matter. Point blank. I’m not opposed to centering the subject. I keep my wide angle lens wide open. I never zoom. I walk up to the subject and compose the shot by repositioning my body. I don’t crop my photos either. The composition is done in camera.
“Portals & Planes: Pictures by Paul Dodd” is at Little Theatre Café for the month of September. The opening reception is Sunday afternoon, September 10, 2-4pm. There will be a short musical performance by Peggi and me at some point and I have some giveaways! Hope you can stop out.
First Friday’s art circuit was surprisingly quiet last night. The hot weather and the holiday weekend may have been factors. But it was easier to spend time with art rather than socializing.
Rochester had the 4th highest rate of homicides in the U.S. with firearms as the most common cause of death.’ There were 351 shooting victims last year. As a result, the city has been under an official gun violence state of emergency since July 21, 2022. The ten placards shown above are part of “We Remember” an installation by Gays Against Guns, currently on view in a show called “Unconditional Care” at Rochester Contemporary. Although this is certainly more pressing than any art concern I expected more of an art spin in this setting. Maybe the the take-away is we should address this issue first and then make art.
Over a Studio 402 I was knocked out by Nancy Valle’s section of wall in a group show. Cut, folded and inked cardboard pieces based on envelopes of all sizes were mounted to the wall. They were intriguing, playful and organic all at once. And then, where you see the blank spots, Nancy had hung three rectangular mono prints created with these playful pieces. Nancy was standing nearby and I couldn’t help but offer an observation. I suggested she separate the three rectangular prints from these beauties. In a dramatic move Nancy took the three pieces off the wall in the middle of her show. She plans to rearrange the Correspondence presentation.
The remainder of the rising orange blue moon was straight ahead as we drove down East Main so we made a bee line to Kathy’s backyard overlooking Irondequoit Bay and watched it slowly return to white.
Today, if you are college bound and planning to live in the dorms, you provide the school with information about yourself that pretty much guarantees your roommate will share your interests. I feel lucky that some fifty years ago this decision was left to chance. There is so much more out there. As a freshman I arrived in Bloomington three days before my roommate. The name “Hoy” was on the door and in my first call home I told my mom, “I think my roommate is Asian.”
Steve was already a junior and he had this college thing down. I helped him unload his car, a white Barracuda with an eight track player and Led Zeplyn’s first. Our room had two desks and Steve asked if it would be ok to put one of his huge stereo speakers on my desk. The rest was academically downhill for me. My intentions, to turn a new leaf and apply myself, went out the window. But my priorities were set straight.
When we left the dorms we moved into a small, coal fueled house in town. Steve wrote a paper for me, a creative writing assignment, and chose a Sci-Fi theme. Entitled “The Fourth Dimension,” I got an “A” on it with a note from the professor that read “Very nice Mr. Dodd.” It was the best mark I got in that class.” The landlord kept the deposit because he said we had “painted the rooms hippie colors.” Who wouldn’t want a black ceiling?
Later we lived into a trailer near the Monon Railroad tracks. Steve bought a guitar and I had my drums in the back room. The Chinaboise were born. Steve was our spiritual leader but Rich was the real leader. The band merged with MX-80 and moved to the Bay Area. Steve was the best man at our wedding. Peggi and I met him in New Orleans in 1980 and drove to San Francisco in his pickup. We slept in the back of the truck. Peggi brought her sax along and rehearsed Hi-Techs songs on the way. We stopped in the Grand Canyon and Steve crawled out on the ledge (pictured above.) Peggi and I were standing behind the fence while people around were pointing at Steve. “Look at that guy out there!”
Steve is inquisitive and he loves to talk, about anything. He is so much fun to listen to. His Hoosier accent is part of the fun but it is mostly the way he connects the dots. While we were talking to him a few months back Peggi had her phone on speaker and I recorded a snippet of the conversation on my iPad. I played it for Steve when he was up here last week. We laughed.
Bands perform in the Little Theatre Café every night but Tuesday. On Tuesday they took down last month’s art show and put up the new one, “Portals and Planes – Photos by Paul Dodd.” I check the Little’s calendar to see who would be playing there while the photos are up. Ensemble Aztlan was there last night so we stopped out. It was some sort of cosmic alignment that had my photo of a musician in a white shirt strumming a guitar as he crossed the street in Merida hanging directly behind a Mexican guitar player in a traditional white shirt.
The six musicians in Ensemble Aztlan play guitar, bihuela, guitarron, jarana, trumpet, violin, cajon, bass, saxophone and a donkey jaw. They were muy tipico and a pure delight. My opening for the photo show is scheduled for Sunday afternoon on September 10th, 2-4 pm. Peggi and I plan to play a very short set at some point. Margaret Explosion plays while the show is up on Wednesday, September 13.
Our living room is still in World Cup mode. Olga Carmona, shown hanging from our candelabra and who looks like she stepped out of a Francisco Goya painting, came out of the back to score the winning goal in both the semifinal and the final. Aitana Bonmatí ruled the midfield like the great Iniesta. Jenni Hermoso engineered the attack up front. We feel in love with the entire team and it was a fairy tale to see them go all the way.
So we’re basking in Spain’s glorious crowning. Our kitchen LEDs are still red for La Rosa. As Julie Foudy, former US star and now an expert match commentator, said, “We have never moved the ball like Spain does. Their grace on the ball is gorgeous to watch. I can’t say it any better.
Clarissa Street was much more than Rochester’s Black Wall Street. It was the cultural hub of a rich community until the city’s urban renewal schemers took a bulldozer to it. This highway (490) plowed through the heart of the community and destroyed The Pythodd, Rochester’s legendary jazz club, along with Shep’s Paradise and the vibrant commercial center.
On Friday evening Teen Empowerment unveiled their Clarissa Uprooted mural on Main near Cascade Street. The mayor was there and spoke to a crowd of a few hundred. The mural that features Roy McCurdy, Ron Carter and Pee Wee Ellis along with the Mangione brother.. Nearby Rochester Art Supply donated the paint.
We met this guy on the next street over. Conner and Miguel are babysitting him while his owners are away. I can’t remember his name or the mix of breeds but he is something else.
My horseshoe game has definitely improved. I know Rick probably thinks his game is off but I’m quite sure mine has actually improved. For ten years or so we have been very closely matched although he usually edges me out at the end of the year. I have won so many times this summer that he can’t possibly pull ahead and I am ready to share my secret with Rick.
As with so many other things in life, I find I just shouldn’t try so hard by overthinking or correcting. It is too easy to get in my own way. I stare at the stake for ten seconds for so and then step toward the stake as if my whole body was going through a funnel, one that comes out forty feet away at the base of that stake. The step I take and the way I swing my arm is needs to be close to effortless with all my energy focused on that stake. I let the weight of the shoe dictate the way I swing my arm. I try not to get in the way of the natural flow of gravity. I go with the flow, my shoe does a leisurely flip and it lands on the stake.
Every year we talk about visiting Storm King, the outdoor sculpture museum in the Hudson Valley. Some friends of ours were just there and they loved it. I love Calder, Serra, Noguchi, Chillida and Moore but I have a hard time with steel beams and cute stuff. I’m thinking of the items that litter the grounds at the MAG. And then Storm King is so close to Dia Beacon, the citadel of sorts for minimalist art. We stopped in Beacon once and spent the day in there. How can you compete with that? We found this spring, shown in the picture above, while walking down Pete and Shelley’s dirt road in the Adirondacks. It is the centerpiece of our outdoor sculpture garden.
When Peter at Editions Printing asked when my show was I was almost embarrassed to tell him “September.” It was so far off. What artist has their work all ready to hang months before a show. Well, now I’m just weeks away and I have five more Giclée prints to frame before I can think about which walls to hang them on and in what order. I changed my mind on a few after having them printed because I was still honing in on my theme. This was not as simple as picking my favorite photos.
I decided on Tuesday when I was told I had to get an artist statement, image of my work and the title of my show to City Newspaper. I’ve created a web page with the twenty one photos I plan on showing. I created a two hour playlist for the opening. And I had I set of 100 mini versions of the photos printed on 16pt uncoated matte stock, same size as baseball cards. I plan to give those away at the opening.
Peggi and I plan to play a short set as a duo at the opening and we have a Margaret Explosion date before that so found some time between rain showers to spray paint my drum dampeners black. They will match the black heads that I bought a garage sale last week.
I don’t even want to know what went on in this hospital room but I like the presentation. We were up there to visit our friend, Pete, who was home for a little over a week before checking back in for a tune-up. He ordered some more posters. Peggi ran those off this morning and we’ll stop back up with the delivery.
We were only going to watch one World Cup match yesterday and fast forward our way through the other, but the first, between Nigeria and England, was a nail biter. and it went into overtime. We were rooting for the underdog. Their fans were having much more fun in stands. The Australian match with Denmark was a good one as well so we went along for the full ride.
A few friends have asked what we thought of the US goin home so early. Of course we were disappointed but it should be obvious that they didn’t deserve to advance. It is a competitive sport. The US has had the advantage for years – Title 9, soccer moms, privilege etc. Europe and the rest of the world are finally investing in women’s programs as well and they’ve already caught up. They also have the advantage of being steeped in the world football culture. Naturally they don’t play like hockey players. They are big on finesse, possession, passing and outsmarting. Spain, Columbia, South Africa, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Morocco and Japan are all so good.
The women’s game is so much better, who could possibly complain. Oh, that guy! “Many of our players were openly hostile to America — No other country behaved in such a manner, or even close, “WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Nice shot Megan, the USA is going to Hell!!! MAGA.”
Yesterday the beach was quiet (above). Today it is packed. We can hear the power boats from our house. Every picnic shelter in the park is full. Sound systems are cranked. Skunky weed is in the air. Groups, clustered by nationality, are picnicking along the lake and the beach itself is crowded. We found ourselves saying excuse me as walked along the shore.
It is already past four and Rick hasn’t asked if we’re going to play horseshoes today. I’m thankful for that. I’ve been carving out files for an upcoming cd. We had hoped to put both an lp and a cd out at the same time, each with different songs. The album has been at the pressing plant for five months and I’m just getting going on finalizing the songs for the cd.
We have a World Cup match to watch, Spain vs Switzerland, so we’re staying away from the news. Our red lights are on. I’m wearing my Spanish jersey. Peggi is making Shrimp Adobo and we’re chilling some Rioja.
Margaret Explosion played for the Highland Park Conservancy in Highland Park Friday evening. Bob Martin, pictured on the right above, was back in town for the gig. Pete LaBonne, shown above on piano, Jack Schaefer on bass clarinet weren’t there but Melissa joined us on cello. Phil Marshall, our primary guitarist, played on the opposite end so I enjoyed stereo guitars from my perch. The temperature was in the mid-eighties when we started playing but cooled down as the evening went on.
Our walk on Saturday took us down a dead-end where every house on the street was having a garage sale. The house at the very end had a big box of pencil sharpeners, the steel covered kind they used to have in grade schools. I said, “Wow, that’s a lot of pencil sharpeners” loud enough for the proprietor to hear me but I didn’t get any reaction. On the same table were two brand new, black 14″ Evans 360 drum heads like the one I have on the front of my kick drum. The proprietor told me his son bought them and then changed his mind on the color. I bought them and plan to put them on my snare and floor tom. All three of my drum heads will now have black heads.
Yesterday’s match was nerve wracking. Japan, a typically possession heavy side, frustrated the hell out of Spain, a way heavy possession side, by hunkering down in their own half, 5 4 1 style, and picking moments to breakaway. They scored four goals in what seemed like only ten forays into the Spanish end. Spain had three quarters of the possession and no goals.
We have been limiting ourselves to one match a day for the opening rounds. It is tough staying away from the news. Even watch alerts can spoil our recorded matches. This morning Kerry and Claire met us here at 7:30 AM so we could watch the US/Portugal match that was aired live at 3AM EST. They brought croissants from Pittsford Bakery and we made eggs. The match, as Sparks would say was, “Sad.” They failed to score and settled for a tie to squeeze into the round of 16.
Our favorite team in the tournament is Colombia. Our favorite player is Linda Caicedo. They thrilled us with their goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time, defeating number two ranked Germany. A clash of civilizations.
We were both sitting at our computers when one half of a rain soaked double oak came down about thirty feet from our window. This one didn’t take out any power lines or stop any traffic so it will sit there for a few years before we have room for any more firewood.
Its good to see Sinéad’s “Nothing Compares” racking up seven million more views in the days since she passed and headed to half a billion. And it was good to watch something other than Sparks” smash on YouTube.
We make a point of playing music for an hour or so every day when we have a gig coming up. It is my favorite configuration, Peggi on sax (without her pickup or amp) and me on drums. Not that it would work as entertainment but I find it extremely satisfying. We usually just start playing and let a melody develop and take hold. Peggi has an endless supply. Lately we’ve been drifting toward circus-like themes with stops and starts for punctuation and today we found ourselves playing ABBA’s “Fernando.” Near the tail end of our sessions we sometimes revisit a few Margaret Explosion themes and then call it a day.
Liberace photobombed my shot of our garlic drying in the garage. He performed two nights at Canandaigua’s Performing Arts Center in 1985. We didn’t see the show but I snagged the poster from Record Archie once the dates had passed.