About twenty years ago I bought three carousels of 35 mm slides at a garage sale on my parent’s street. I remember the woman who sold me the slides saying her relative had travelled all over the world. She had passed away and she was clearing out the house. A few of the slides pictured the woman above. I’m guessing she was the photographer. I put about thirty of her photos on my Found Photos page today.
I did this poster for a Halloween Ripton gig at the Bug Jar. Came across it in a search for Ripton. Must have been somewhere in the nineties. I played drums in Dave’s band for a while. Dave sat in with Margaret Explosion a few times in the early days and we plan to pay tribute to him tonight. Todd Beers will read one of Dave’s poems and we’ll burn a candle for him.
In a recent Facebook post Dave described Margaret Explosion as a “Two hour dreamscape.” I wish I was dreaming and Dave wasn’t dead.
“Untitled 002 with yellow” is my favorite painting in RoCo’s annual Members Exhibition. Show runs through February 10. It’s a good one.
Suspicion and speculation clouded our recent conversations with neighbors. Someone’s dog was leaving piles in the road. Not formed but soft-like mounds. Jared’s grandkids stepped in it when they throwing a football around. We spotted some in front of our house but didn’t think much of it. Monica probably didn’t want us to think it was their dog – the piles were too big for Domino so he was off the hook – and she speculated that it might be a coyote. We hear them all the time but hardly ever see them. Over the weekend Jared found a dead coyote behind his shed. He said it looked like old age had caught up with the greying animal. Peggi and I went down to look at it. It’s frozen and intact. Animal Control was called but they probably have the day off for the holiday.
Before posting my mail art collection the other day I looked everywhere for my favorite postcard, one we had hanging on our refrigerator for years, the one that had Peggi’s mom in hysterics. But no luck. I did find a low res version of front and I’m posting it here.
Our refrigerator was stuffed before the holidays and nearly empty yesterday. A trip to Wegmans was in order. The battery in the key fob was low so we changed that before getting in the car. We watched a YouTube video on how to get it open. I used my knife and the fob fell apart in our hands. All the little plastic buttons fell on the counter. I placed them back in their slots and inadvertently set off the car alarm. I looked out and saw a delivery truck in the driveway. The driver was afraid to get out of his truck while the alarm was sounding. We opened the car door and the alarm stopped.
We put the fob back together with the new battery and got in the car to go to Wegmans. The car wouldn’t start and the dashboard display cycled through a series of warnings. We went back in the house and called Triple A. We have been members for years and have never used the service. An attendant was here in twenty minutes and he ran a few tests on our battery with his phone. He told us we had about twenty per cent left in the battery and we should be ok for a while.
We went up to Wegmans, saw the guitar player from Joywave in the produce department and we spent a couple of hundred dollars on the basics. We loaded up the car and it wouldn’t start. We called Triple A again and the same guy showed up. He gave us a jump again and suggested we go to Autozone for a new battery. 2024 is off to a good start!
Cheryl Laurro was the queen of Monroe Avenue back in the nineties. Her clothing store, Godiva’s, functioned like a coffee bar with no coffee. Conversation was the main item on the menu, then music by her latest infatuation. She was a big booster of local artists, poets and writers. She released a series of cassette tapes, all produced by Arpad, by local musicians. My favorite was by Dave Ripton, “Poetry Sucks Me.”.
Peggi and I bought the painting above after seeing it in Cheryl’s shop. Later we got to know both Dave and Todd. Peggi and I backed Todd in a series of poetry readings and I played drums in Ripton’s band. Dave was as much a poet as a musician. He tore it up at a Water Street gig I played with him. Every encounter with Dave since the nineties was meaningful. He made it so.
Dave moved to Maine for years and ditched most of his bad habits. He painted houses there and we hired him this summer when he returned. It was a treat spending time with him. He asked me if I ever go down a street and think, this is the last time I’m gonna drive down this street? I said, yeah, sometimes. He said “that’s “Black Irish. I do it all the time.” He became somewhat of a regular at Margaret Explosion shows again. I hugged him at the November gig and he was all bones. I held my tears. We heard he was coming to the Christmas show but . . .
Nobody knows for sure but it is generally accepted that Christ was born between 6 BC and 4 BC, the year in which King Herod died. This makes the whole AD, BC timeline a bit suspect. For instance in ten days we will be ringing in the year 2028, 29 or 30 AD. And when Christ became famous enough the powers that be planted his birth day near the winter solstice.
We picked the last of our collards and kale before the snow fell and brought home a big bag of arugula and lettuce. This fall has been unusually warm but the solstice will arrive on schedule and we plan to celebrate. I’m down with the Mayans who saw winter solstice as a time of renewal and rebirth.
I have a flat file drawer labeled “Stuff to Save” that I have stuffed stuff to its limit. I took everything out. I’m at an age where I should be throwing most things out so this will be time consuming. I came across an old photo from Martin’s wedding. Pat Mosch looked so thin. Sitting next to him was Brian Horton, Ted Williams and Sue Schepp. Only Pat remains.
We ran into Brenda down by the lake today. She lives farther away than we do so we were sort of impressed. She’s only baking at Atlas Eats three days a week now as the owners are cutting back on the hours. Peggi congratulated her and said, “People are dropping all around us.”
Corrine recently joined that club. Last time we saw here was in the Fifth Avenue Apple where she worked. When we first met her she was working Rochester One Stop, supplying djs and the local record shops. She worked for my uncle at the 12 Corners Super Duper for a while. Corrine was a great photographer, even worked for Varden Studios here as their touch-up artist. She taught me how to push film speeds beyond their limit and gave us some gorgeous photos of early Patti Smith in low light. Her father installed a hot water tank in our house. Brought it down in the basement by himself.
Corrine and Kevin spent some time in London when it was the center of the universe. I’m sure she charmed Dee Generate, the drummer Eater before taking this shot. She was good at that and just as good at calling out bullshit. She was one of a kind.
Sometime in the late seventies, by chance, we ran into Norm and Pam at the Miami airport. They and their young family were headed to Jamaica. I lived with Norm and Pam and babysat (changed diapers) for their son, Simon, in exchange for my rent. And before that I lived in the trailer that Pam’s dad owned with Pam and Steve and Dave and at times, Rich, Jeff, Brad, Joe, and Norm (when he was home on leave.) I was there with Pam when her father, Harold, came down from Indianapolis with the trailer in tow and backed it into lot #10 on Monon Drive. We lived rent free for a while but had to pitch in on lot rental, around dollars a month. We unplugged the electric meter and ran it backwards in the weeks leading up to meter reading so our bill was close to nothing. We had the luxury of leaving the oven on with the door open in the winter.
I was trying to remember how I met Pam but I can’t come up with the connection. She was really sweet and had the best smile. We met in Bloomington where we both had either dropped out or were dropping out of IU. Pam came to visit me at my parents’ home for the July 4th weekend in 1970. I introduced her to my friend, Norm. They fell in love, immediately. They were married shortly thereafter. Pam passed away a few days ago..
Norm was two years behind me in high school. He lived near us and our mothers were friends. When I was a freshman, living in the dorm, Norm’s mom called me to say Norm had run away and he was headed out to stay with me. He stayed about a week and then returned to Rochester. Norm died in 2021.
We talked with our Bloomington friends after Pam’s death and Rich asked if I wanted the artwork I did for his 1973 book, “Trailer Tales.” I painted a fictional illustration of the trailer we lived in with Rich playing sax on the roof. And I see the electric meter is in there. Rich got around Bloomington by bicycle, as we all did in those days, but he was the only one with a typewriter in tow. While we were sitting around he was banging out pages. The title page in his book reads “This book was written for the china boys and anybody else who can live in a mobile home. Copyright 1973. Cover titles, painting, inspiration – Moan-On Studios/Paul Dodd.” We were all characters in the book but the facts were all changed. Mae Sachs character was based on Peggi, Paoli Todd was based on me. Here’s an excerpt:
“Rudy had spent a great deal of time trying to figure out MD. Dave Mahoney’s success on the saxophone and his final conclusion was that the old man was able to play his instrument, solely because he believed he could do it.
This idea was further reinforced when Rudy viewed a movie, “The Music Man” in which a con-artist band leader supplies the town’s children with instruments and uniforms and they are able (at the end of the film) to play despite NO lessons. They believed they were a marching band and they became one.
Therefore, Rudy believed the most important thing to make his band become a band was to treat everyone as if they were an accomplished musician and for everyone to treat the band as a working entity. ‘Think Band and The Band Will Zen You’ was Rudy’s motto.”
The photo above was taken by Peggi at Barb and Roc’s wedding in Indianapolis 1972. It is reproduced in Rich’s book with this caption: “Four of the Zen-Men at a table at La Hacienda Night Club. L. to R. Edgar LaChoy, Sam Filigree Rudy, and Paoli Todd. Photo taken in 1961 by nightclub photo-girl.” Rich was in the process of putting the Chinaboise together when Peggi and I left Bloomington. We had banged out a few versions “Self Conscience Pisser” in the back room of the trailer before leaving town. Rich recorded an instrumental version of the song with his next band, MX-80 Sound. When we talked he told us he had just received a big royalty check for streams of SCP from Russia! Check out MX-80’s “Self Conscious Pisser.”
After Pam died we talked to Kim. We talked to Brad. We talked to Rich and Andrea and we talked to Steve. Steve told us he looks at every day as gift.
There is a neighborhood behind the Reina Sofia in Madrid called Lavapiés, a Jewish ghetto some 500 years ago, where small but hip galleries having been popping up for a few years. We usually make a point of visiting them and on the way there we came across this shop. I knew I had photographed it before (ten years ago) but I took another picture anyway. I love the lettering in their logo. You don’t see this typography very often and you never run across it in the US.
I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. It was only four letters, a sign in Barcelona that read “SEBA.” I sketched the four letters in my notebook and back home I drew what I imagined would be the dozen letters in the word, REFRIGERATOR. We’ve come across other examples of this font, always as a logo and always in Spain, and I have six or seven examples in a folder of jpegs.
I always wondered how long graffiti lasted. The three big tags on the orange panels are still here. And I thought it was Interesting that the Kodak logo made a comeback is in the newer shot.
A little girl was handing out programs to each person who came through the door at the Firemen’s Exempt yesterday. I put it in my pocket. The place was packed and we were immediately involved in conversation. We were there to celebrate the life of Sue Schepp who passed away too soon. How often do potters get silicosis? One study revealed that among a tested group of 106 pottery workers, 55% had at least some stage of Silicosis. Sue had her own kiln and made beautiful dishes for everyone we know.
We met Chris in the late seventies. He was working at Midtown Printing on the second floor of Midtown Plaza behind Midtown Records and we were just starting to play out as Hi-Techs. Chris printed our posters at first and later designed them. He created many of the covers for The Refrigerator. Chris and Sue were married in this same place thirty five years ago. We were there. It was a perfect match of yin and yang. Sue was a Buddhist and grew up in a commune. John Cage and M.C. Escher were family friends.
Chris and Sue’s daughter, Celeste opened the tributes and hours later there was so much more to say. Sue was “a loving energy.” I read the program this morning and it stopped me in my tracks.
“Is it possible to just be here
and be nothing special at all?
With no need to be special,
no need to stand apart,
to just be comfortable with how one is?
What a peaceful world it would be
if people could just feel comfortable
being nothing at all.
To be no one special,
with no need to out-maneuver,
to strategize, to protect or defend, to resist
which all comes out of upholding
some image of being something.
It really seems so simple
and yet people continue to strive endlessly. …
In actuality, we are so much more
than these thoughts about ourselves.
We are life,
we are this life force that runs through all life,
this energy of aliveness,
which gets constricted with all these thoughts
about ourselves being this enclosed thing. …
As human beings,
when all this conditioned thought
or image-making activity slows down
or is not the dominating force, there is this vulnerability,
a loving energy,
a warmth, that can be felt.
And that may be the only profound impact
that we can have in the world,
when there is no striving, achieving, upholding.
In that, there is true love and compassion
for how one is,
here and everywhere.”
– Susan Schepp, Springwater, 2019
You can’t expect to walk away from your house for a month and not be overloaded when you return. The mundane stuff piles up. Cleaning the gutters, raking the leaves and getting the garlic in. We are about a month late on that last one. We put 140 cloves in this afternoon. Nowhere near the one thousand cloves our neighbor, Emily, put in. We picked the last batch of Pimientos de Padrón and had them with dinner. The plants just look exhausted but our greens – the lettuces and arugula are loving this 60 degree weather. We have a neighborhood get together this weekend and we should have no problem supplying a big bowl of salad.
I received an email from the photographer Fred Chance in Gloucestershire about the photo I took of Robert Frank’s shoes. I posted it along with a review of a Scott McCarney show at Writers & Books back in 2012. Fred wanted to know if he could use my photo in connection with a written project he is working on. He is hoping the use the shoes as a focus. I found the original photo and was able to improve it in PS Elements’ “Haze Removal.” The shoes were in a glass case when I photographed them. Of course I am letting him use the photo and I’m excited to see what he comes up with.
Interestingly, we kept seeing Robert Frank’s “The Americans” book in Spain and it was often displayed next to a book of vintage black and white photos call “The Italians.” Like Fred, I like the late Robert Frank work as much as or more than “The Americans.” We have five or six of those Steidl books, some given to us by Duane, and they are treasures. Funny thinking about Robert Frank in these shoes (if they indeed were his). Frank is a bit of a prankster but these look like bowling shoes. Maybe he went bowling while in Rochester and wore the shoes right out of the alley.
A sign on the Diputación de Sevilla building advertised a sculpture show. Admission was free so we checked it out. The sculpture was a little too cute for us so we moved to the other rooms. An artist had about dozen photos in a line and I really liked the one above, the composition, the minimal elements perfectly arranged, the surprise element of the rocks, the cropping just right. Everything I like in a photo.
This was a government building of sorts. We weren’t quite sure what is was but it was casual enough for Peggi to stand behind this desk with the picture of Juan Carlos, the once hero because he steered Spain toward a demcracy after Franco but now scandle-ridden former King of Spain.
And now we are back in Rochester. To our surprise we have not had a frost so our Pimientos de Padrón plants had a double batch waiting for us. Our last lettuce plantings were ready for the picking. We even found a few tomatoes. A welcome back.
The night before leaving Sevilla we booked this hotel room in Chueca on the other side of the old city from where we stayed when we started this trip. It has proven to be a perfect spot for us. After stopping at Rocafria (Cold Rock) for café con leche and a pincho de tortilla we head off in a different direction each day. Today we started with a show of paintings by Luis Gordillo at La Sala Alcalá 31. He is 89 years but paints like a child, with abandon. We didn’t like what saw online so we walked right by this Exposición a few times without going in. Sometimes you just have to give an artist some time. We have often been turned around but we gave it our best shot and came up empty.
We had not been to the new location of Sin Tarima yet so we walked into La Latina neighborhood and got swallowed up by the crowd at the Sunday open air flea market, El Rastro. It was so crowded for so many blocks that we got turned around twice. Even the book store, blocks away was crowded. We wandered further and the streets quieted down.
We found a sweet little restaurant, Viuda de Vacas, (widow of cows), where the owners seemed to know everyone who came in. We ordered spinach and garbanzo beans and grilled asparagus with carrots. We we’re going to order the Cod, Portuguese style, but the waitress somehow talked us out of it. And then they showed us the dish (potatoes and pieces of cod with egg, sort of scrambled) when others ordered it and it looked great. It probably would have been too much. So we ordered a cheese plate.
Just a few blocks from the restaurant we walked by these people dancing in a small plaza, something they must do often as no one was making a fuss. Real Madrid plays at home tonight against Rayo Vallecano and we to plan to watch it at the hotel bar.
It can only be our good luck that brought us back to this café this morning. We had stopped in here two days ago for a beer. We were the only ones in the bar and the owner was busy carving jamon so we got to study all the pictures on the walls, pictures of Semana Santa celebrations over the years. Each of the picture frames had holy cards stuffed in the bottom of the frames. We surmised the owner carried one of the floats, either the Virgin or Christ in a scene from the Passion, for his parish, the Virgin of Candelaria. Amid the pomp she is depicted with an anchor as she protects the men on the ships that work out of Sevilla.
The owner gave us two holy cards of the Virgin and we asked him where we could go to buy some more “estampas” (the word they use for what we used to call holy cards). He thought for a while and then suggested a shop about fifteen minutes away. We found it and waited to talk to the clerk while he helped some teenagers who appeared to be buying school uniforms. The store was filled with religious items but also hernia belts and trusses. We put it together that this is where the guys who carry the floats in the annual Semana Santa processions get their gear. A costalero shop!
This morning we headed out in what we thought was a new area of the city. We had café y tostada con tomate y aciete in a place that was completely obsessed with bullfighting. And as is our usual pattern, we wandered some more and stopped for a second cup. We look for tipico places, the ones that are popular with locals, not tourists. They serve their coffee in small glasses rather than cups and you often stand at the bar. We were coming from a new direction when we spotted this crowded café. We had already ordered dos con leche when we put it together that we were in the same café, Bar La Candelaria.
We tried to stay up as late possible last night (only made it to midnight) because today is an hour longer (daylight savings ends here) and the Atlético match we have tickets to doesn’t start til 9pm. The streets were unusually quiet when we got up. We walked a few blocks before we found a bakery for coffee and tostada. We walked across the street from that place and had anther coffee with a cookie dipped in chocolate.
We found two Fundaciones in the neighborhood with art exhibitions. Not exactly art but big, free exhibitions, sponsored by corporations, one on the Indian architect, Balkrishna Doshi, and the other called “Fake News. La fábrica de mentiras.” Both held our interest for hours. We had a leisurely meal and talked to the restaurant owners about the logistics of getting to the Atlético match tonight with 60,000 others. A couple of Metro lines and a short walk should do the trick.
We are in a bar across the street from Santa Barbara Church in Madrid watching El Classico, the twice yearly matchup of the two biggest teams in La Liga, Barcelona and Real Madrid. We love both these teams but when face each other we side with Barca. We are the only people in the bar rooting for Barca.
They scored early, just seven minutes in and we were elated. I screamed but quickly tried to disguise it as a shriek of horror. Barca held on and looked the better side until Modric and Camavinga were subbed on for Madrid. Bellingham scored in the 68th minute and then again in the second minute of stoppage. That bar erupted.
The match was being played in Barcelona. Barca’s main sponsor is Spotify and for this match they did a tie-in with The Rolling Stones in conjunction with their new album. Mick and Ronnie were in the stands. The tongue logo was on the front of the Barca jerseys for the day. It didn’t work out for the boys.
I took three shots of this wall in the fishing village of San Pedro before getting my in-camera cropping right.
We walked out near San Sebastian’s stadium, Reale Arena, this afternoon as their La Liga Primera Division team Real Sociedad was about to kick off for a home match against Mallorca. Blue and whites stripes were everywhere on young and old. The bars were packed all over the city since the match is not broadcast locally. We stopped to eat at a sidewalk restaurant and could tell immediately when The home team finally scored in the 84th minute. Back in the hotel we heard all these people chanting in Basque just a few blocks from our room. We assumed it was a victory parade of sorts but it was a huge, twenty or thirty blocks long demonstration in support of Palestine.
We drained the street pool, not for the season, we need to keep water in there in the winter. We drained it so someone could paint it. Only the second time since it was put in in 1960. Our neighbors on the street usually split the pool maintenance but no one wanted to go down there and breathe the epoxy fumes. It is blindingly white now and no where near as photogenic as it was.
My “Portals & Planes” show comes down tomorrow afternoon after a one month run. We plan to stay home tonight and watch yesterday’s Madrid derby. Two of our three favorite teams face each other and we must decide between the Madrid teams. We’re going Atletico over Real Madrid.
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.”
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.” firstname.lastname@example.org! email@example.com! All the DuPont addresses. Our original email address – firstname.lastname@example.org! “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.