Wouldn’t you love to have been around before the first cars mucked everything up? Just like the guy in the painting this Everett Shinn piece from 1905 always stops me in my tracks. I’m waiting for self driving vehicles so we can all sit back and dream again.
Jeffery was calling our class a restorative one. We spent good bit of the yoga class on our backs with a rolled up blanket in various positions under our spines. I fell asleep at one point. But before that I was restless. I was noticing all the infrastructure on the walls and especially the ceiling. There is a four-way speaker up there, one horn-like speaker pointed in each direction, maybe something from the nineteen fifties for a duck and cover drill. And then there is a small wooden PA speaker with a grill cloth. I was picturing getting called down to the office on that thing. There is a grey plastic box mounted to the wall with a few short ethernet cables hanging out. And a brand new wifi repeater that looks like it could double as a drone.
The classes held in the small gym in the former Brighton High School administration building. It must have been a grade school at some point. The gym is small, not regulation size for basketball but the sealed wooden floor is lined for free throw marks, half line and out of bounds nonetheless. I spent a lot time in gyms when I was growing up and I feel really comfortable in here.
I stood behind this guy at Wegman’s while waiting for my Shingles vaccine. That’s Peggi, off to the right, up at the counter with her backpack on. We were doing a shop on foot. I made a note to look up Suicide Silence when I got home and I found this. Some 87,000,000 people beat me to it. I watched it with the sound off and still heard it.
Our friend, Kathy, suggested the Genesee Valley Greenway to us. It is an old canal bed that runs from the Genesee River near RIT down to the Allegheny River. It saw peak traffic in 1854 when 5,345 boats passed through Lock Number 2, pictured above. Our friends Jeff and Mary live along the river so we started at their house. They were busy packing for a trip to Mexico so Peggi and I walked it alone. We headed toward Scottsville but didn’t make it. I was picturing us stopping there for a beer. It was like being back on the Camino and it is a lot closer to home. I recommend it.
There were a lot of people on the beach today, like maybe twenty, twenty five. All it took was a little sunshine. And there was more beach to walk on than there has been. I’m wondering if the lake level is already going down for the season. The Saint Lawerence shipping routes are closed for the season so they have lowered the level there. We still have four other Great Lakes upstream of us so we will probably each record high levels again this Spring.
It must have been noon or one when we cut through Center Entrance on our way up to the lake and it would appear none of the four houses that collect their mail here had even noticed that their mailboxes had been hit overnight. One of the boxes still had mail in it and a morning newspaper was thown on top. We thought about setting them upright so the mailman could deliver the mail this afternoon but then there is that federal crime thing about tampering with US mail so we continued on.
When my brother was here over Christmas we took a walk with him along Hoffman Road and noticed someone had run off the road down there. They skinned all the bark off a tree and left a pile of plastic Hyundai parts in their wake. Too much holiday cheer.
My dentist doesn’t work Fridays. He gets a three day weekend and he deserves it. On Thursday I was eating some of Peggi’s Mahogany Almonds, a recipe she got from Karen Miltner when she used to work for our evening paper. It’s roasted almonds with Chinese five spice and maple syrup. Something cracked in the back of mouth and by the afternoon I had a bad toothache, one of those where you can’t even smile without it hurting. I made it through the night but kept waking up in pain. Funny thing is it seemed to quiet down as the weekend unfolded.
I called him at eight this morning and he got me in at ten. They took an X-ray and showed me the crack. It will need to be pulled but it has a cap and its already the post for a bridge that will have to be rebuilt. This time the bridge will have to straddle two missing teeth. It gives me a headache thinking about it.
I know I’m not the only one who finds the holidays stressful but I feel lucky to have an antidote. A walk to the lake is a chill pill for me, one that works every time. I loved having my family over for dinner on Christmas Eve, a good part of them anyway. My stress comes from the string of holiday parties, friends in from out of town, the holiday shows, all the activity packed into a two week period. I just want to stay home and watch Perry Mason.
Were were headed out for a walk but I had to finish something on my computer. Peggi was shoveling the driveway while she waited for me. We only had an inch or so. I heard dance music cranking out there and then Peggi talking to someone so I took my time. When I got out there Peggi told me she was chatting with a delivery guy. He told her they gave him 300 packages to deliver each day. And he had a cold. But he got a little too friendly when he asked her how long she has lived here.
We walked down Hoffman Road Road and at the very end, where Rainbow Drive darts up the hill, we saw the delivery guy. His radio was silent and he was standing outside the van which had slid off the road and came to a halt against this tree. He told us the red light at the top of the back door was smashed but he seemed completely unconcerned. We chatted some more and took off.
Funny how all these signs look alike, like Barbara Kruger made them all. And kind of creepy how some parents enlist their kids to stand out in the rain in front of Pittsford Plaza with signs they couldn’t possible understand. The little guy in the green mittens and a red Santa hat is holding one that reads “Vaccine Mandates Violate Bodily Anatomy.”
There were about twenty of these signs out there with variations of the same message. “Stop Government Research.” “HPV Vaccine Known To Cause Death.” I rolled the car window down to photograph them and one women with a sign smiled at my like I was a supporter. I shouted, “You’ve got to be kidding” and she shouted back, “No, we’re not!”
My brother’s lady friend celebrated her 60th birthday last night out at Trio on Winton Road. The sign above the door reads “Drink, Dine Dance,” a trio of “D” words. The agenda makes life easy.
The bar had 80’s videos playing on the big screen without the sound and they looked especially fun that way. At some point a dj or vj, someone who appeared older than we are, got in the booth and stood in front of two big shelves of 12 inch records. The sound system kicked in and the videos were all current hits. I went up to check out his set up and saw a turntable off to the side with some stuff piled on top it. There were two digital turntables front and center, those little ones that look big enough for a cd. He wasn’t using those either. Instead he stood in front of a touch screen monitor with a playlist of videos. The wind kind of goes out of the room when everyone is focused on the video images.
If we had taken Peggi’s sister’s suggestion we would be on our way to Miami for Christmas. Our nephew and his girlfriend have a restaurant down there, Boia De, and we’ll have to check it out but not over Christmas. We walked up to Wegman’s today and stopped on front of this house grab a picture of the inflatable penguin family. By the time we returned it was dark enough to turn on the blue lights which line our roofline.
Our neighbor across the street works from home and they do most of their shopping online so there are delivery trucks there throughout the day. I watched as he accepted a delivery and then saw the driver walk up to our door. He had the MX-80 album we ordered, “Crowd Control.” I helped Rich prepare the mechanical art for the re-release and Rich offered to send me a copy but I said no. We already have the album. But from time to time I would wonder how the thing came out. I simplified the 4 color formulas thinking the reissue would be a more electric combination of the red and yellow and when I thought of MX80 for some reason I found myself working about the result. So I ordered one from Ship to Shore. It’s being offered for $6! Red vinyl and a bonus track, the Theme from Halloween. And who doesn’t want a clean copy of “Obsessive Devotion” or “More Than Good?”” As a holiday gift it is guaranteed to please the most discerning taste.
“Here Denonville’s French Army landed to invade the Seneca Country; July 12, 1687. ” So reads the historical marker on the lake side of Lake Road in Webster. We walked over there this afternoon, across the seasonal bridge, and we stopped across the street from this sign for a salad and sandwich at a place called the Bayside. It is out of time and a world away.
This post has been uppdated: In my original post here I stated the Roc Holiday Village was constructed by the City. Martin contacted me to say a private company is responsible for the winter paradise. This makes a lot more sense. It is too well done,
Our friend, Kathy, recommended we check out Roc Village. The area between between the skating rink and jungle gym in Martin Luther King Jr Park is elevated on a giant wooden plank patio. Fire pits are scattered about. Vendors and transparent hospitality tents are lined up. We bought some olive oil and handmade soap and after watching the kids skate we had a beet salad and a Space Kitty in the big tent. It was great to see so many people outside in the winter.
We were in Ottawa a few years back for their Winterlude, skating through downtown on the canal with hundreds of other people and wondering why Rochester doesn’t do something it. They have.
Why did they pick Jeremy Irons to narrate The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders? Because he is so damn dramatic! And he rises to the challenge of talking about some of the most dramatic paintings in the world as the Prado celebrates its two hundredth anniversary. The documentary played for just two showings this weekend at the Little and we were lucky enough to catch it.
Marina Saura also narrates and talks of first visiting the Prado with her father, the painter, Antonio Saura. When we were in Madrid in October we saw a show of Saura’s work at Antonio Macon where the gallery owner, Margarita, encouraged us to visit The Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca . We saw more Saura there along with Tapies and the champions of Spanish abstract art in Spain. We were blown away and when we returned to Madrid we found even more of his work in a show at the Reina Sofia. The worlds are colliding.
We visit the Prado each time we visit Spain but my favorite was the first time. After flying overnight we rented a car at the Madrid airport and drove directly to the Prado. We sat in the car until the Museo opened and we had coffee in the basement café. I remember people smoking in there, in the museum. We went upstairs and were blown away.
The first Refrigerator was an 8 1/2 by 14″ broadsheet, offset printed and available in restaurants and bars in Rochester for free. The circulation grew from 500 to 3,000 and the number of pages climbed to twelve. I did most of the graphics and wrote some, Peggi Fournier was the production manager. Ted Williams, Martin Edic, Chuck Cuminale, Carol Bradley, Chris Schepp, Rob Tyler and Frank Petronio all contributed content. The late Norm Davis hysterically surveyed the shops on Monroe Avenue. This was back in the nineties, before the internet, and all of this work was done anonymously until the D&C did a story about the Refrigerator..
With front page tag lines like “Does Caffeine Make You Smarter?,” “Love World’s Mental Heath Tipsheet,” “Recycle The Earth Issue,” paid for by the advertisers With a tag “George Eastman Is Dead,” “My Funeral,” “Bad Acid Trip,” “Because You Don’t Need an Entertainment Guide,” (a dig at Freetime Magazine), “Rochester’s Only Demolition Derby Fanzine” and “Virgin Mary To Appear in Rochester” we attracted a faithful readership. The “Why Are You Here? issue was especially popular as was Pete LaBonne’s “Dream Breakfasts.”
Lead-ins to pieces like “Rewriting Rochester’s Cultural Heritage,” “Readers Are People Too,” “Dealing With Denial,” “The Difference Between Right and Wrong,” “The End of the World,” “Thel Sound of Doom,” “Virtual Rochester,” “Finally, The Future,” “The Tediousness of Facts,” “I Live Next Door to a Genius” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” were often the whole story.
The back page of “The Refrigerator” carried ten dollar, one square inch ads like those shown above. Pyramid Arts Center, The Village Green, The Bug Jar, The Cadillac Hotel, Squires Of The Subterrain, the Rochester Club and City Newspaper were all regulars. Nicholson Baker, the author, was an advertiser.
All 28 editions are available in pdf format here. There is also a PayPal button for $10 Refrigerator hats.
With the temperature near fifty today I got up on the roof and blew the leaves off. And then we raked those same leaves out of the pachysandra and out on to our so called lawn. I only mowed once this year. We don’t get all that much sunlight through the trees. When all the leaves are out in the lawn I use the mower to mulch them and we just let those chopped leaves turn into dirt. It takes about a year for that to happen and then we start all over again. This cycle is bittersweet.
We were kinda late for our train or I would have stopped to talk to this guy in Penn Station. He looks like a one man band with his stage gear on and his equipment case advertising a Funky Percussion Machine, Country, Irish, Polka, Zydeco and something called Bachata. I wanted to go where he was going but our train was boarding in the other direction.
Maybe it was the cup of coffee we had up at Starbucks but I had a hard time getting with the program in our yoga class tonight. Jeffery usually starts by going around the room asking people what they want to work on. I always say “anything.” Someone suggested shoulders so we got on our backs and stayed there the whole class, opening our spines, breathing deeply in three stages, stretching our shoulders and putting tennis balls under our piriformis (butts).
That was another problem. We walked up to Target this afternoon and ate rather hurriedly before class . Jeffery talked about being in the moment, how the class was just for this group at this time but my food was still settling. I must have stared at the ceiling lights o long because when we closed our eyes I kept seeing a small dancing bear, like one of those little Grateful Dead figures, moving from right to left.
We saw the Elton John movie on Netflix and then Pedro Almodovar’s new one at the theater and now I’m getting them both mixed up. They both had similarly dysfunctional upbringings and both were clearly gifted. We put the subtitles on for “Rocketman” and I was amazed at how good Bernie Taupin’s lyrics were. As good as Elton John’s amazing melodies. I woke up singing Tiny Dancer.
Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory’ is his best yet. Having just been in Spain it was visually sensational but that is just scraping the surface. The movie was deep. Aging, mortality, futility, all that stuff. Check it out.
I put a photo in the annual RoCo Member’s Show. I came home with so many good ones from the Iberian Peninsula. I had Joan down at Frametastic cut a piece of glass for me. Visiting her is always a treat. She and her husband built the business but he is long gone. Joan, at 87, is the only employee. She had Jazz 90.1 on when I walked in and she was cutting nine holes in one piece of matt board. Each opening was a different size. She showed me the boxes of glass that she starts with, sheets that are 32″ by 40.” “i used to be able to handle a bigger sheet but not anymore.” She only takes cash.
This tree was not as close to the lake last year. And its roots were underground.
At one time the Memorial Art Gallery had a biennial show of a half a dozen local artists’ work. They handed the show off to Rochester Contemporary, a good move, and two years ago RoCo had their first Rochester biennial, a three pronged affair with two artists at three different sites. My father and I were chosen to show our work at RoCo. The exhibit was entitled “Witness.”
This time around the biennial, entitled “Current Seen,” is spread all across town in nearly twenty venues. We were in Spain when the shows opened and we’ve been scrambling to get up to speed since our return. On Friday night we met a group at Joy Gallery on West Main where the graffiti show celebrating 30 years of work by the collective known as FUA is on display. Our group walked further west to 540 where Siena Pullinzi is showing her prints of women’s bodies, a show called “Not Your Object,” and then down King Street to the Douglas Auditorium where Mara Ahmed is showing her beautiful collage/paintings, photographic imagery of family members in painted fields that illustrate the displacement imposed on people in India at the end of British colonialism. Thankfully our city is so much broader than the East side.
There is a guide book (5 dollars) for Current Seen, one designed by Tate Shaw at Visual Studies that is packed with insightful articles about the shows and some solid history of our fair city. In the opening Bleu Cease asks, “Can the visual arts connect people across a divided city?” I think it can.
We had to start early on First Friday in order to make the rounds. The season is in full swing. I loved the way Owen Butler hung his large graphic digital prints in Warren Philips’ space. Steve Piper told us Owen was his favorite teacher ever when he took a photo journalism class from him forty years ago at RIT. I really liked the charcoal drawings at RoCo but it was odd to see all the homeless people smiling. Colleen Buzzard has curated a great little show in the temporary space created when Warren Philips moved his frame shop to the Hungerford Building. And we had fun with Roberley Bell’s household items partially encased in organic shapes at Colleen’s studio gallery.
El Camino, the so called Breaking Bad movie, would have been a snooze of an episode if it was part of the long running show. Jessie was only a vehicle for Walter White. I don’t care enough about him to even root for him. And putting Brian Cranston in the movie for a few minutes only threw salt in the wounds. And for all the money they made and then spent you would think they would have introduced some new scene stealing characters the way the show continually did. The best thing about the movie was Jim White’s song in the closing credits.
We’ve been reacquainting ourselves wit our environment by taking long walks in different directions. Along the lake where we see the beach has returned. Next time we’ll walk on the new sand. Through the woods to Kathy’s house where we checked up on her backyard project. Along the river from downtown to the UR and across the river to the coffee shop on Brooks Avenue where they had Jefferson Starshit on sound system while the only employee wore earbuds with his own music. And then back down the river on the west side a beautiful stretch. Today we wandered through our woodsy neighbor looking for downed trees fro last night’s wind storm. Not much but big branches and one dead end with no power and generators running.
We are still sort on Spanish time so we decided to stop in Parkside Diner for an early dinner. The newspaper rated their fish fry highly and we felt for it. We could have sold the fried dough casing at a carnival. The fish itself was ok but the cold slaw was as bland as you could imagine and the mash potatoes were the reconstituted kind. Peggi asked our server a question and instead of answering the server asked if she go take some one else’s order. The worst part though was the tv with Fox News on. Dana somebody was interviewing a guy with a cowboy hat who playing an upcoming Patriot’s Bash while streamer ran across the bottom of the screen with “Sticker Shock” teasers for Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare For All and something about Ocassio Cortez. I’m not sure if it was the tv or the food that gave me the indigestion.