Imitation Of Christ

Fallen Saint Francis of Assisi statue near Durand Eastman park in Rochester, New York
Fallen Saint Francis of Assisi statue near Durand Eastman park in Rochester, New York

Saint Francis of Assisi, the Italian mystic who took a vow of poverty, is usually depicted with birds on his shoulders. In fact I have a small statue of him in the window near my desk. St. Francis was the first recorded person to receive the stigmata, the wounds of Christ’s Passion, and these marks are shown on the small hands of the statue. If there was a popularity contest for saints, he would easily win.

He is the patron saint of animals and the environment so it is fitting to have found him lying flat on his back in the woods.

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One From The Teens

Old light switches on the wall George Eastman House
Old light switches on the wall George Eastman House

Time is running out for “60 From The 60s,” a selection from the Eastman House archives. The show ends the 27th. With the astounding collection they have in the vaults over there this show could have been 600 or 6000.

I took this shot of some old light switches in the gallery over there.

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Somewhat Real World

View of High Falls from deck of Genesee Brew House in Rochester, New York
View of High Falls from deck of Genesee Brew House in Rochester, New York

We were served by Genny herself and were having such a good time at the Genesee Brew House that we had only minutes to spare at the Amtrak station where we dropped our nephew off. He boarded with an e-ticket on his phone and headed back for his final semester at Columbia Law School. It was a whirlwind visit although we didn’t do much. Worked on the floor in the basement and watched YouTube videos, streamed The Queen of Versailles and watched our NetFlix disc, “Shut Up and Play the Hits.”

When I got back I checked in with a nephew on the other side of the family. I don’t have twitter account but I sort of follow him and the followers of his inspirational tweets. He has twelve thousand of those now.

Sometimes I think life would be simpler if I liked football.

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Competing With The Great Outdoors

Shoreline of Lake Ontario in Winter
Shoreline of Lake Ontario in Winter

We have Time Warner internet service and a digital land line through the cable but not cable tv so every so often a salesperson calls to see we’d be interested in cable tv. This time they were offering a complete package for $20 a month for two years so we took it. Not sure what we’re in for. The only tv we watch is Sixty Minutes and we usually do that on our computer. Maybe I’ll find a European soccer channel.

We finished painting our ceilings today. My neck is so sore I can barely hold my head up high enough to see how it all looks.

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Butt Capicola

"Model From Local Crime Page" charcoal drawing by Paul Dodd 2012
“Model From Local Crime Page” charcoal drawing by Paul Dodd 2012

Peggi is getting pretty good at reading the obituaries. I usually glance at the pictures but she spotted my old boss’s obit after I had finished with that section. I was amazed he was still around. He smoked Lucky Strikes and drank a couple of Genny Cream Ales at lunch time when I was working for him. Framing houses is like playing football. You swing a long handle 20 ounce hammer and get so you can sink a 16 penny nail with a set and one shot home. When someone ran to the deli for lunch he’d order “Capicola, the Butt Capicola, not that cheep kind and no mayonnaise.” He was the hardest worker and he taught me how to work. You just go for it with all you have.

Both my parents have the flu. I took my dad to the doctor and his doctor swabbed his nose and sent away the sample to confirm it. They were too sick to attend the wake of their long time friend so my mom asked if we’d stop by and say hello to his wife. Turns out we know their son-in-law, the artist Craig Wilson. He told us his father-in-law was in a barbershop quartet for over fifty years and and by all accounts was the nicest guy. I asked Craig if his father-in-law had a brother named Tom and Craig said, “he’s sitting right over there.” I worked for Tom at Maracle Industrial Finishing in Webster right after I dropped out of school. Tom was the wild one in his family, got good at painting cars and started this business and quickly landed a contract from Xerox to strip and refinish the metal panels on their, at that time, huge copiers. Guess who dunked the panels down into a boiling vat of of paint stripper. When I introduced myself to Tom he said, “I’m glad you got out of there.”

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Attention Shoppers

Looking out the skylight in winter
Looking out the skylight in winter

OK, we do have time to read the newspaper in the morning so it’s not that bad. We’re painting the ceiling in the kitchen so we’ve been having our coffee out in our newly painted living room. Kinda nice to have the drop cloth out of there. We finished that yesterday but I missed a few spots with the roller. I have bad luck going back in on a ceiling so I’m trying to decide how to get those spots. I don’t want to do the whole thing again just to cover my tracks.

We went to Home Depot twice today. Once to return an extra bag of tile grout, an electric box, an extra jug of tile sealer and an extra bag of ThinSet and then once again to look at laminate for our new floor in the basement. We were there until they made the closing announcement.

We would have set aside some time for skiing if everything wasn’t melting. Our nephew is coming from LA for the weekend and he was hoping to go cross-country skiing but I had to break it to him that the temps are headed into the fifties.

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Funky Part Of Town

Crooked house on Webster side of Irondequoit Bay outlet bridge
Crooked house on Webster side of Irondequoit Bay outlet bridge

If I open my Tumblr feed I lose a few hours so I try to space out my visits. I follow Will Prouty’s Roc City site and that’s always nice. How do you suppose he get such dramatic light in his Rochester shots?

Remember the funny house at Sea Breeze in the old days? They had a room with all those funny mirrors and a rotating barrel that you used to have to walk through and a room where everything was crooked. This house is just around the corner from the amusement park on the little strip of land that runs between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay. It’s right next door to the seven homes that were destroyed by that Spangler dude but it was not harmed. This has always been a funky part of town.

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Y2K13

Ski path through woods near Durand Eastman Park
Ski path through woods near Durand Eastman Park

Was Bobby Henrie really duck-walking in our our living room last night? It has always been a fantasy of mine to have a band like the one Ricky Nelson had play in our home the way Ricky’s band did at the end of his father’s show. But it wouldn’t be enough to have this band sound like Rick’s. They would have to swing like a jazz band, rock a little harder, be irresistibly danceable and wild even. The Goners are that band and last night was a dream.

Years ago, when we lived in the city, we were talking to our neighbor over the fence on New Years Eve. She asked what we were doing that night and we said, “Nothing much. We’re just gonna lie low.” Around midnight we were doing a line dance out our front door and around the house. We don’t like to plan our parties and and last night was no exception although this time we gave a couple days notice. We invited the neighbors so no one could complain about the noise. It appears everyone got home ok and no one called the cops when Earl set the psychedelic fireworks off in the back yard. Somehow we wound up with more bottles of wine , more beer and more food than we went in to the the whole affair with. Looks like twenty thirteen will be a good one.

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Gravity Over Time

Looking over Eastman Lake at Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York
Looking over Eastman Lake at Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York

When the snow is this deep it takes a while to get through the woods. And then, of course, it takes a while to get back through the woods but I’m not really keeping track of the time, I’m just trying to figure out where the day went. And a funny thing happens around here, guaranteed. When you go north and you go downhill. If it was the other way around Lake Ontario would overflow. Still, it’s flat enough to be a one speed bike town.

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Dick Tosti Fan Club

Dick Tosti performing at Gigi's Italian Restaurant in Rochester, New York
Dick Tosti performing at Gigi’s Italian Restaurant in Rochester, New York

We usually put our skis on at the front door and ski through our neighbor’s yard and down into the woods up to the lake but we never got around to sawing up the big oak that fell across our path last Fall. And the snow is so deep we would surely have to cut the trail all the way to the golf course so got in the car and drove down to the lake and skied around the ponds. The sun went down while we out there but we hardly noticed because it was a full moon and there is so much of the white stuff out there.

We worked up a good appetite so we drove right past our house on the way home and cruised down East Ridge Road looking for a spot to eat. We hadn’t been in in Gigi’s Italian Kitchen yet and used to like it a lot when it was La Trattoria so we gave it a shot. It’s still funky, the food is great and on Fridays and Saturdays they have Dick Tosti playing live music in the dining room. We were there kinda early but the place filled up fast. Dick had a really light touch, a great sense of rhythm and a really cool voice. He was doing a sensational job with “This Guy’s in Love With You” when we left. We had him pegged as a Continental who played in local bands in the sixties and he might have but he goes way back. We did a little research and found this video when we got back home. Somehow this video led us to a string of Abba videos. You know how it goes with YouTube.

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Keeping Up With The Neighbors

Snow on deck railing out back
Snow on deck railing out back

The Little Theater Café had already let two employees go home by the time we showed up to play. The forecast for twelve inches kept all but the die-hard home and their dinner hour was the slowest in months. Does the band care? Hardly. We play for ourselves and reliably sound best when hardly anyone is there. There is more room for dynamics and space to let thing get to the brink of falling apart. But somehow the place filled up and by the end of the night Sandy told us we were only a dollar fifty short of the bonus so Peggi and I bought a peanut butter cup brownie and cashed in.

We shoveled for a good bit of the day today and were still out there when our neighbors walked by with their three Jack Russell terriers. One was wearing a sweater and anther had four little booties on. They told us they had been skiing in Durand on the newly groomed trails. They started grooming last year but we never got any snow. We prefer the un-groomed trails that run through the woods and snake around the ponds. When the driveway was clear we skied until dark. The conditions were perfect. I fell four times, twice while I was just standing there, and it was a soft landing each time.

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Perfect Weather

I took this video of Lakeshore Boulevard a few years ago with my old camera and finally got around to posting it. Christmas day was the perfect time time to stumble through iMovie. Peggi was driving and I stuck the camera out the window. We started at Durand Lake and immediately turned to drive west along Lake Ontario toward the Genesee River outlet. My mom used to take us swimming here when we were kids and it is still the place to be in hot weather.

Had we traveled east along the lake shore we would driven by the scene of Monday’s massacre. Joe Barrett and Jeff Munson have both emailed to ask if we went to school with the shooter. He’s our age but he wasn’t in the yearbook. Maybe he didn’t make it to senior year.

At my parents house on Christmas the conversation naturally turned to guns. One of my brothers led with “It’s not the guns” and my niece, who was always getting in trouble in high school, had many run-ins and then was mentored by the fireman/cop who was killed, agreed. My brother-in-law’s two eldest both had “Call of Duty” at the top of their Christmas/Hanukkah list and both were disappointed. It was a pretty well rounded discussion with most agreeing the gun lobby will say whatever it takes to sell more guns.

So, eight to ten inches tonight. Perfect weather for the Margaret Explosion. 7:30-9:30. Last Little Theater gig until March.

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Rise Above It

School 28 Art at Canaltown Coffee in Rochester, new York
School 28 Art at Canaltown Coffee in Rochester, new York

Not sure if these are self portraits but I love them. The tag reads “Art created by students from School 28, Philip Lange Art Instructor.” and they were on the wall at Canaltown Coffee when we picked up ten more pounds of “Rochester’s Choice.” The drywall guys that repaired our ceiling told us we have the best coffee in the world.

Kind of creepy having today’s top new story originate about a mile from our house. I just watched some video footage of the fire at the LA Times site. I know the NRA’s response to today’s shooting will be more guns but I can’t figure out the angle.

I’m wondering if the date is figured in to iTunes algorithm. We just heard two Christmas songs. We probably have about ten in the whole library. Im getting used to the new iTunes but you have to go through a few hoops with the recent elimination of iTunes DJ. I open the MiniPlayer at the same time as the big window and shuffle the whole library. I used to ask for 50 and show 5 recently played but the mini player only shows 20 upcoming and the little clock icon lets you go back. Guess they slimmed it down for the mobil set. I should get out more. Maybe when this holiday is over.

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Plastic Spoon

Nicole sitting for portrait in 1992
Nicole sitting for portrait in 1992

We found it impossible to keep a candle lit in the cold wind behind Holy Trinity Church in Webster so we put the candles in our pocket and brought them home. We’ll probably burn ours later tonight. Our niece died twenty years ago from an infected heart and her two sisters organized a remembrance at her grave. Nicole was twelve when she died and three of her friends from back then, some with their own children now, were also there to share memories. I babysat for Nicole and her sisters on Wednesday nights for three years s and I couldn’t decide which memory to share. She was so full of life and ready to go on all fronts.

Just before she got sick she asked me to paint her portrait so I said I’d bring my camera out the next Wednesday and take a photo. Nicole made a big deal of this sitting, picking the white chair on the porch as the location and wearing her favorite t-shirt and then spending over an hour in the bathroom putting on make-up. By the time she was ready to sit down it was getting dark and there was barely enough light for the film in our old Canon FTb. She died before I got around to doing the painting.

We headed back out to Webster last night for calling hours for Brad Fox’s mom. Brad flew in from Oakland, just in time for the first snow fall and the whole Mahoney family, who lived a few doors down on the same street, was there when we arrived. Brad’s mom was the sweetest person in the world. Years ago I made her a cd of old country songs and she told me how much she liked it every time I saw her. My favorite memory of her was from way back. The Who’s “Substitute”was out and Brad was singing “I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth” at the top of his lungs when his mom laid into him. “What do mean you were born with a plastic spoon?”

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The Topic Of This Problem

Paul Dodd Patio drawing, sketch for etching, 1975
Paul Dodd Patio drawing, sketch for etching, 1975

One of the joys of keeping a blog is sorting through the spam folder, comments from anonymous senders who hope you will post links to their illicit site. They are pretty easy to spot and read like they were written in Russian and then translated to English through Google. Here’s one from Ethelene Pimentel.

“I intended to compose you that bit of observation in order to say thank you again on your pretty opinions you’ve contributed on this page. It’s quite wonderfully open-handed of people like you to allow freely what exactly many individuals could have supplied as an e-book in order to make some money on their own, particularly considering that you could have tried it in the event you wanted. Those solutions likewise served as the great way to comprehend most people have similar zeal just like my very own to understand a good deal more on the topic of this problem. I am sure there are lots of more enjoyable occasions up front for those who look over your website.”

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Removing Clutter

Three chairs in a room
Three chairs in a room

When Record Theater in Midtown starting dumping their 8-tracks they poured boxes of them in bins and kept reducing the price until they were gone. We still had an eight track player in our car so I was picking up all the crazy stuff for 50 cents. I still had boxes of them when we moved but no player so I gave them to my brother-in-law, CalZone, all but one that is, Sun Ra’s magnificent “The Magic City.” That artifact is sitting right next to me as I type this.

There is very little reason to own anything anymore and I love it. My favorite possessions are all digitized. Music, photos, memories. It’s all going to the cloud. Let’s say I want to play this Sun Ra eight track. It is at my fingertips.. Together we can reduce clutter.

Sun Ra - The Magic City


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Is That OK?

"Anonymous Model" charcoal drawing by Paul Dodd 2012
“Anonymous Model” charcoal drawing by Paul Dodd 2012

Many years ago, more than thirty, I worked for the Rochester Police Department as a graphic artist. I had access to the mug shots, which at the time were kept in filing cabinets, and I used them in flyers that I produced on a small AB Dick press. The mugshots were real photos pasted on the files. David Bowie’s had already been ripped off his rap sheet. I was hired under a grant and my job duties were slim. I would read the New Yorker at work and visit Brad Fox who was a watchman at the County office building next door. For me there is nothing worse than a job without tasks and deadlines but the mugshots were cool. I had already taken some of mine own back in Indiana outside the trailer we lived in. And I took another batch at the Bug Jar in ’98. I used a Kodak one megapixel camera, reduced the photos to bit-mapped halftone pixels and tiled the print-outs on our HP Laser Jet. At a holiday party on Saturday Martin Edic told me the shot of him from this show is his favorite photo of himself.

I feel as though people wish I would paint something else They have told me as much but I really am not obsessed with mugshots. I don’t even look at the crime the people are charged with. I just like the raw range of expression, from defiant to vulnerable, and it’s fun using them as sources.

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Bumbling Humans

Philip Guston "The Conspirators" from the "Small Panels" show at the McKee Gallery show in 2009
Philip Guston “The Conspirators” from the “Small Panels” show at the McKee Gallery show in 2009

We were at my brother’s house outside of New York in late 2009 and planning to take the train into Manhattan and then eventually out to Duane’s place in Brooklyn. I was reading the NYT over coffee. (My brother makes it strong, so strong one of my other brothers had an anxiety attack down there.) I spotted an Roberta Smith penned announcement for a show at the McKee Gallery of Philip Guston’s Small Panels, paintings he did between 1969 and 1973 when he switch from the abstract to figurative. I was ecstatic. That was a while ago but I am still ecstatic about these paintings and they are still up at the McKee site. Be sure to click though on the enlargements for even larger enlargements.

Pete Monacelli, who has been helping us with our project, has been creating work that explores the the connection between a a small group of the abstract expressionist and the spiritual realm. Pete mentioned that Guston is in that group but he said he didn’t know that much about him.There is no book on the Small Panels so I went to Amazon to order a book I thought Pete would like called “Philip Guston: Roma.” I bought it for 29 bucks or so but it’s now 225 And the retrospective book I have is just gone! Oh well, just gonna have to savor the McKee website.

Guston painted the KKK while he was living in LA. They were active there and didn’t like Jews any better than blacks. When he returned to figurative work the hooded figures became stand-ins for bumbling humans of all stripes including himself. I love how animated this conversation (above) looks even though we can’t see their faces. He is my favorite painter but then I have probably said that before.

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