La Galerna Azotando La Costa

Video created by Stephen Black

I ran into Daniel Armbruster, Joywave’s lead singer, in the Bop Shop while I was previewing 45s on the turntable. I told him we really liked the two songs from their new lp that were pre-released a few days before. That lp is out now and if this commercial doesn’t get you to click the “Buy” button nothing will.

Joywave premiers a short film in Little Theatre 1 tonight. We’d love to be there but Margaret Explosion is performing in the Café at the same time – 7pm. As it happens we are also premiering a short film today as well. Stephen Black created this gem with one of one of our shortest songs (under two minutes).

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Cave Drawings

Wall in railroad underpass, Culver Road Rochester
Wall in railroad underpass, Culver Road Rochester

Along with the “Funky Churches,” “Manly Arts” and “that’s Italian” sections the old Refrigerator website had a section with pictures of the walls in Rochester railroad underpasses. On Saturday we walked under the one on Culver Road for the first time since lived in the city. It was under here many years ago where I learned to never hold out a limp hand for a stray dog to sniff. This dog tried to swallow my hand and I shredded it as I tore it out of the dog’s mouth. Built in 1909 and fortified over the years the walls under here are still a wonder.

The photos below were taken in the early 2000’s and were formerly on the Refrigerator site.

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Painkiller

Sign for Peter Monacelli's Artist Talk in conjunction with his "We Are One" show at Richard Margolis Studio
Sign for Peter Monacelli’s Artist Talk in conjunction with his “We Are One” show at Richard Margolis Studio

We were at the Anderson Arts Building an hour early for Pete Monacelli’s talk. Plenty of time for a walk down Atlantic Avenue, under the railroad bridge on Culver and back up University Avenue (UR was originally located on this street). We even had time for a cup of coffee at Scratch Bakeshop.

Pete started his talk by reminding us we are all matter that can only be rearranged. He referenced the Nebula for Walt Whitman and Joni Mitchell’s “Stardust” and then the caves in Altamira, Spain that GK Chesterton wrote about in Everlasting Man. Those ancient drawings were with Casin, the same milk based paint that Pete used in the pieces in his show, “We Are One.”

He recapped his Renaissance Man bio. He studied to be a Chemical engineer. He worked as one meat cutter, an insurance agent and then a carpenter, a career he found to be as fulfilling as being an artist. He taught art classes at night at MCC for thirty years. Of course he is also a musician and one of our best friends.

He missed last spring, the lilacs, the whole thing. He went in the hospital for what he thought would be three days and didn’t come out for five months. He had a near death experience, “went into a crack where everyone was content.” He looked around and decided not to stay. He filled three books with drawings in his hospital bed. Art took away the pain.

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Melancholia Part 3

Northern lights over Lake Ontario
Northern lights over Lake Ontario

We had already walked to this spot earlier in the day. This time we came by car and barely found a parking spot. The beach was crowded and although you couldn’t see people in the dark you could smell the pot. Just before ten everyone, nearly in unison, exclaimed, “Oh my god!” We had just watched “Melancholia and I felt like we were the lead characters in Part 3. The eclipse and now this in one month!

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The Aurora

Silver Bells, Durand Eastman Park
Silver Bells, Durand Eastman Park

As beautiful as the setting sun is tonight we are told a strong solar storm could disrupt power and communications. It also may set the stage for a northern lights viewing. Years ago we were down at Marge’s with our friend, Duane, and we caught a sensational display of green light. So we might just head down to the lake, for the second time today, once the sun goes down. I don’t think I can handle Marge’s though. We’ll head right to the beach and look toward Canada.

For the last. month I’ve been bearing down on a project that has sat around long enough. We usually record our Margaret Explosion performances and we put all the songs in a big playlist. Most don’t stay in there long though. We keep the ones we particularly like and dump the rest. We recently got a little more aggressive with our pruning and we got the list down to thirty songs.

I have been addressing one song a day and I have just a few left. You might wonder what there is to do with a live track but there is so much tidying up I can do in Garage Band. I dodge the wild peaks, mostly my errant percussion. Since the music is improvised we stumble into both the song and the arrangement so I often grab the bass and drum intro and then cut to the first solid section. Once the tune is established there are middle sections that can get halved. If the song goes on too long I remove the wank. Sometimes any editing at all disturbs the flow of the piece. The songs on our “per la prima’ album were like that, six or seven minute organic constructions. This time, with pieces on the virtual editing room floor, the songs are all around the three or four minute mark. From these edited finals we’ll prune the group further and put the rest on a cd. Working title: “Cloud Library.”

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Duo

Peggi playing sax in the art room
Peggi playing sax in the art room

I like to think the Rochester Red Wings are named after the Red winged black birds that hang around in the tall weeds of the Hoffman Road marsh in Spring but I know if I looked it up I would be disappointed. They are a joy to watch as they open their wings with each call to one another and then fly to a nearby cattail, gently bending the weed as they land.

We intended to water our garden for the first time this year but we couldn’t figure out how to turn the water on. A Baltimore Oriole overhead as we looked for kink in the hose. Our early greens were tall enough to pick a few sprigs for dinner, a mixture of Prance lettuce, arugula and spinach.

Peggi is playing sax now and I’m headed down to play with her.

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The Event Log File Is Full

Glitch on scale at Wegmans
Glitch on scale at Wegmans

When a mango 99 cents at Wegmans why does the customer have to put the mango on the scale, enter the PLU code and then reply to a “How Many” prompt? I understand that most produce is sold by weight but why couldn’t they put a sticker on the mango that rings up as 99 cents? But I have already digressed.

I had not seen a Windows error log in quite a while. Back in the early html days when we were coding websites and writing if IE clauses to work around errant behavior we had a few Windows machines with which to preview what we call “Worst Case Scenarios.” I used to take screen captures of these “Error” messages and work them into the sites we did fun. The internet used to be fun. Code: 800705DE, Source: Null, Error: The event log file is full. OK.

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042824

Atletico Madrid match on Diego Simeone's (and my) birthday
Atletico Madrid match on Diego Simeone’s (and my) birthday

When I spotted Jason Wilder’s Wilder’s Sun Ra Sunday post I knew what we would be doing to celebrate my birthday. We were about a half hour late leaving the house and the police and fire department had Culver Road completely blocked off for some reason. They directed all the traffic into a neighbor where there were ‘No Outlet” signs on every street so there was a traffic jam in there. And then it started raining. It had not been forecast. There was a half marathon going on downtown and it stopped raining by the time we parked. There was a band playing in Parcel 5 and by the time we got to Cornerstone Park Jason had pulled the plug on his event.

We took a walk around downtown and crossed the river and walked along it for a few blocks. We stopped for coffee at Feugo and sat out on the sidewalk. I had to take another photo of Main and Clinton. I waited til all the traffic passed to accentuate the bleakness.

We had dinner last night at Rocco’s, my favorite restaurant. We split a fantastic strawberry vinaigrette salad, octopus appetizer and a smoked salmon and ricotta pizza.

We saved the Atletico / Athletic Club match for tonight. We’ll pair that with dinner and some Spanish wine. Atleti’s coach, Diego Simeone, is celebrating his birthday today as well. The stars are aligned for victory.

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Stranieros

Light above walkway at Cobbs Hill Reservoir
Light above walkway at Cobbs Hill Reservoir

“There is a sour tendency in cultural politics today — a growing gap between speaking about the world and acting in it.

In the domain of rhetoric, everyone has grown gifted at pulling back the curtain. An elegant museum gallery is actually a record of imperial violence; a symphony orchestra is a site of elitism and exploitation: these critiques we can now deliver without trying. But when it comes to making anything new, we are gripped by near-total inertia. We are losing faith with so many institutions of culture and society — the museum, the market, and, especially this week, the university — but cannot imagine an exit from them. We throw bricks with abandon, we lay them with difficulty, if at all. We engage in perpetual protest, but seem unable to channel it into anything concrete.

So we spin around. We circle. And, maybe, we start going backward.” – Jason Farago

I’m guessing Jason Farago worked on this opening passage to his NYT review of the Venice Biennale for a bit or more likely it just crystalized for him after x number of wall tags. Even Pope Francis stopped by the “Foreigners Everywhere” (probably titled as a poke at Italy’s rightwing) Biennale to celebrate its message of inclusivity toward marginalized people. The show’s curators include L.G.B.T.Q. people as “foreigners,” and even the Indigenous peoples of Brazil and Mexico, of Australia and New Zealand as “foreigners.”

When I was growing up there were just a few Little League coaches who took their best players out after three innings and let the second string play the last three. It was inclusive but sort of hard to watch. I am a big fan of the long overdue Title 9 provisions and women soccer players being paid on par with the men – equal playing field etc. But pleasing the senses

This trends has shaped many local shows as well. And so, ok, it didn’t delight the senses. That is not what it set out to do. But it was inclusive. It makes me feel like a straniero.

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Storage Locker

Orange cone at storage lockers Sodus
Orange cone at storage lockers Sodus

Our second (and final) stint of storage locker duty fell on an absolutely gorgeous day. There was frost on the grass inside the wire fence that surrounds this complex and the sky was perfectly blue. The grass under the fence, about six inches away on either side, was dead. It had obviously been sprayed with a nasty chemical. When we were out here last month we FaceTimed with a representative of the moving company. They wanted to see the boxes of the locker so they could provide a quote for shipping the contents to our friends in Hawaii. This time we we stood there as they logged each box in a notebook and slowly loaded them onto a truck bound for the west coast. These were hourly employees, in no hurry at all, just putting in their eight hours. I stepped outside, determined to find a photo, and I struck gold.

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MCML • Peak Noir

Red overhead door on Hudson Avenue with Film Noir filter
Red overhead door on Hudson Avenue with Film Noir filter

I don’t usually use the filters that come with the Photos app but I stumbled on the Noir filter the other day and tried out on this red door photo. We’ve been binging the film noir movies on Criterion. We started with a collection called “Holiday Noir and then “Gothic Noir” and now we’ve working our way through “Peak Noir.” Every one of the movies in this section were made in 1950, the year Peggi and I were born. The movies in this collection make the case that this was indeed some sort of peak. We are celebrating my birthday this weekend and we kicked it off with Gloria Swanson and William Holden in “Sunset Boulevard.”

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Opus

Cherry blossom petals on pavement
Cherry blossom petals on pavement

Rorbach’s “Different Animal IPA” and “Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus” may seem like an unlikely paining but it worked for us last night. The deeply meditative movie was screened in Little Theatre 1 last night and Peggi and I had perfect seats, dead center just eight rows back. It felt like we sitting next to Sakamoto on his piano bench. We had been fans of his since Yellow Magic Orchestra days and this beautiful b&w solo performance was how he chose to say goodbye.

No matter how big tvs get movies are still better in the theater. We saw “Civil War” on Friday, a completely different experience. The seriously dystopian movie is either a warning of how easily these things happen can all over the world or just a preview of what’s around the corner. The open scenes unfolded to an Arthur Russel track and two Suicide songs were played in their entirety while the action unfolded. Only took the world fifty years to catch up to their genius.

There was one item on the RSD list I had to have, a Pharaoh Sanders 45, an edited version of my favorite piece by him, “HarvestTime.“ So I headed over to House of Guitars when they opened at 9. They were open but only so many people were allowed to enter at one time. I stood in line with Stan Merrell and we caught up on world affairs. My neighbor Rick was in line ahead of us and snagged the only copy of the 45 the HOG got. It is a serious slab of vinyl, seems more than 180, and it sounds great.

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Cardboard Mountains

Lacebark Pine trees in Durand Eastman Park
Lacebark Pine trees in Durand Eastman Park

Three of the eight teams in the Champions’ League quarterfinals this week were from Spain. Our three favorite teams, in fact. Only Real Madrid will go on to the semis. The matches took a lot out of us and we were only watching. And screaming at the tv.

We saw an outdoor table we liked at Pottery Barn but they didn’t have any in the store so a huge box arrived by UPS. Peggi read the directions while I put it together with the tiny Allen wrench they included. It took about two hours. The instructions showed four small feet that screwed into the bottom of the legs in order to level the table but we couldn’t find them in the mountain of cardboard. We called the store where we ordered it from and they connected us to a national help desk. That person said they couldn’t send us the parts but they could send us another table! And they couldn’t guarantee that the feet would be in the new package. I asked if they could refund us for the missing feet and I was put me on hold for about five minutes before they agreed to credit our card twelve dollars.

We only have one bedroom in our place so for years guests sleep in our finished basement on a roll-up mattress. When we asked how they slept they all said great. We had high wind warnings a while back and Peggi and I slept down there. It was not comfortable. So we bought an inflatable mattress and pumped it up for guests. Can’t remember why we slept down there again but the mattress was either too rigid when fully inflated or too bouncy. When Peggi’s came to visit we gave her our room and we put the roll-up mattress on top of the air mattress and it was more comfortable than our own bed.

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There Is A God

Cherry blossoms with butterfly
Cherry blossoms with butterfly

Glorious spring days like this one could convince you. Cherry trees in full blossom line a stretch of Log Cabin Road. We stood under this one for quite a while as it was alive with bees, butterflies and color. Up on Zoo Road we found the most of the white magnolias over already. The wind and rain of the last few days hurried them along. But the pink and yellow ones are still gearing up. We continued on through the fruticetum where fruit trees of all sorts were beginning to show their stuff.

The park is understaffed by design these days but they manage to get the job done. We run into volunteers, master gardeners and members of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, all the time as rid evasive species from portions of the park. They’re always ready to take a break and talk about weeds. They update the park kiosks as well with information about seasonal features of the park. Today we read how to distinguish cherry trees from apple trees by their bark.

These people have a sense of humor too. Under the photo of horizontal lines in the cherry tree’s bark they had this passage. “And the myth about George Washington and the cherry tree – exactly that. In the story Washington damaged a cherry tree with his hatchet. When questioned by his father, he said “I cannot tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.” The story was invented by a posthumous biographer to demonstrate Washington’s honesty.”

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Golden Age Of Radio

Magnolias in early April at Durand Eastman Park
Magnolias in early April at Durand Eastman Park

A previous generation claimed the title but this is the golden age of radio.

I sat down to clean up some Margaret Explosion recordings this afternoon, just trimming the front ends and drawn out endings – maybe dropping a few middle bars, but I still had WAYO window open and I clicked on the live button. I was drawn into Alla Boara playing live in the studio. They are a Cleveland band that does modern arrangements of Italian folk songs and they’re playing tonight at the Lovin’ Cup, another Bop Shop sponsored show. Kyle Brown’s “Up on the Roof” (soul, jazz, doo-wop, rhythm and blues, instrumentals and other oldies-but-goodies) sucked us in for the next hour and led right into Jason Wilder‘s “Fantastic Voyage.” Jason had reached out to me yesterday to say he was planning to play a Margaret Explosion song and he wanted me to suggest a Sun Ra song to follow it up with. I chose “Lanquidity.”

We regularly listen to our brother-in-law’s WAYO “Magic Radio” show on Wednesday’s and sometimes Joe Tunis’s show on Fridays. Our neighbor, Rick, has a cool show on WITR. Then there is Howard Thompson’s “Pure” show on WPKN and Kevin Patrick’s late night “So Many Records.” Armand Schaubroeck’s show on Rochester Free Radio is always a blast. Long live radio!

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Back To The Stone Age!

Ivermectin Roofer
Ivermectin Roofer

“I will stop the killing, I will stop the bloodshed, I will end the agony of our people, the plunder of our cities, the sacking of our towns, the violation of our citizens and the conquest of our country.” – DT on the campaign trail

His jeans are slung low. He wears a white t-shirt and a red bandana. He’s a bit beyond middle age with a scruffy beard. He looks like one of those guys that stormed the Capitol. He started working on this roof during the pandemic. Back then he had two other signs in his windshield and he was cranking right wing radio while he worked. The roof was never fished. Scaffolding and bundles of roofing sat on the roof through two winters. We thought Covid had killed him but he’s back – with one of his signs.

Fetal Voting Rights!

No Borders!

Stop Government!

Mandatory Carry!

Make America Pray Again!

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I Ain’t No Miracle Worker

Miracle Worker movie poster at George Eastman Museum
Miracle Worker movie poster at George Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum has pretty cool show of movie posters, “Crashing Into The Sixties: Film Posters From The Collection.” A large portion of the posters were designed by the great Saul Bass. I don’t I’ve seen “the remember seeing “The Miracle Worker” since I was really young but the poster struck me as just as moving as the movie was back then. My favorites, not to say I think they would drive throngs to the theatre, were the Eastern European ones. “Reszta Jest Milczeniem” translates to “The Rest Is Silence,” Hamlet’s last words.

I left the show with the Brogues “1965 song “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker” stuck in my head. I only know that song by Rochester’s Chesterfield Kings.

Eastern European posters from "Crashing Into The Sixties: Film Posters From The Collection" at George Eastman Museum
Eastern European posters from “Crashing Into The Sixties: Film Posters From The Collection” at George Eastman Museum
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Real Time Lapse

Peggi and Teri at Pat Lake for eclipse
Peggi and Teri at Pat Lake for eclipse

We had no idea Peggi’s sister was an umbraphile. The day she arrived from LA it was snowing and when we dropped her off at the airport this morning the temperature was headed into the mid seventies. In between we had some gorgeous spring weather except for that one window when the moon passed in front of the sun. We walked in different directions each day scoping out locations to watch the eclipse from and settled on this spot overlooking Pat Lake.

About a dozen people were gathered around a tripod on the north side of the lake when we arrived. We watched a man sit back in his lounge chair just as it collapsed to the ground and we struck up a conversation with a woman from Oakland, California. These people were settling in with food and blankets while we sat on a bench under this tree. We couldn’t even tell where the sun was without an app so I scurried home and grabbed some cheese, crackers and a beer to split. We never put our glasses on but we’ve seen that bit before. The real kick was how quickly it got dark, like a full scale, real time lapse. There is a marsh right next to the lake and the peepers started singing within seconds. It was magical.

two hour dreamscape
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The Name Of The Place Is I Like It Like That

Big oak on the way to a mill
Big oak on the way to a mill

We caught up with two phenoms this morning by watching a highlight reel of Caitlin Clark from Iowa’s victory over LSU. I love her. And then the new Beyonce album, the whole album. It is a monster although at the hour mark I reached overload on the multitracked vocals.

Woodchuck Tree Service has been working at this house for five days! They toppled of this giant. We’re guessing the trunk is headed to a mill. We were headed into the park to looking for a good spot to view the eclipse. We found a perfect spot in the empty lot across the street from Bruce’s house. I was thinking I could stop by the House of Guitars and ask. Last time we were in there Armand, Bruce’s brother, was pacing up and down the aisles while his radio show was playing through the sound system. He was saying “the name of the place is I like it like that” over and over. I assumed we had just missed that classic. Armand sounds really great on the radio. His show airs at these times .

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Still Looking

Outdoor Easter decorations
Outdoor Easter decorations

Our morning walk took us past these Easter decorations. Easter, originally a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been suplanted by a pagan celebration of spring. Not complaining, it is more fitting, just too cute. It is why Pope John Paul II tacked a 15th station of the cross onto the Passion Play. A happy but implausible ending. I prefer the gospel of Thomas (no miracles please). I was born on the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross (Italian mystic and founder of the Passionists), named after him. Father Shannon brought home a relic of St. Paul for me when he was in Italy, a tiny carbon piece in a plastic case, and I still get my feathers ruffled when people mess with the all too human story.

My brother, who converted to Judaism, was up here over Christmas and we were talking about the way we used to celebrate Christmas. He and his wife have been to Jerusalem and he was trying to remember why it was that Jesus was supposed to have been born there. His family was traveling there to pay their taxes.

All nonsense. When he returned home he did some research and sent up a link to a 2010 New Yorker piece by Adam Gopnikis. “The intractable complexities of fact produce the inevitable ambiguities of faith.” Gopnikis sifted through what historians do agree on. “All the Gospels were written decades after Jesus’ death; all were written in Greek, which Jesus and the apostles didn’t speak and couldn’t write (if they could read and write at all); and they were written as testaments of faith, not chronicles of biography, shaped to fit a prophecy rather than report a profile.”

In 1999 I entered an early version of Passion Play in the Rochester Finger Lakes exhibition and they won both The Averill Council of the Memorial Art Gallery Award and the Harris Popular Vote Award. Ron Netsky, reviewing the show in a City Newspaper wrote: “One of the largest works in the show is Paul Dodd’s Passion Play, consisting of 14 digital ink-jet prints. There are a lot of recognizable images here, mostly convicted or accused killers: the Unibomber, Timothy McVeigh, O.J. Simpson. They are mixed in with popular icons like McDonald’s golden arches and images of Father Callan and Corpus Christi Church. But none of it adds up to much. Reading the artist’s statement makes the work even more muddled: “I read the New Testament accounts and then looked for a modern-day Christ figure”: O.J? McVeigh? I think Dodd could have looked harder.” I agree, it was muddled – “the inevitable ambiguities of faith,” and it would be more muddled today.

In his “The Church of Trump: How He’s Infusing Christianity Into His Movement” article in the NYT Michael Bender writes Trump recites from a teleprompter at his rallies, “We will pray to God for our strength and for our liberty. We will pray for God and we will pray with God. We are one movement, one people, one family and one glorious nation under God.”

“They’ve crucified him worse than Jesus,” says Andriana Howard, 67, who works as a restaurant food runner in Conway, S.C.

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