We had a Margaret Explosion rehearsal last night, our first in ten years as a band. WXXI called to say they needed a set list with the times of the songs that we plan on doing on our upcoming segment of their “Sound Stage” series. This series of one hour shows featuring local bands is being paid for with money from Elliot Spitzer’s successful payola lawsuit.
I told Todd, the program manager who called, that we don’t have have set times. We improvise. I didn’t have the guts to tell him we really didn’t even have songs. He pushed on. They need a set list next week and a cd of the songs we plan to do.
We decided to open with a jam so the first song will be called “Improvisation” and then we picked six or seven things we do quite often. They’re things that were originally a jam and we stuck a name on them and try to revisit the theme. But we really have never done a version of a song that was as good as it was the first time.
And that reminds me of that old Paul McCartney quote about getting the Beatles back together. “You can not reheat a souffle”.
I wish I was at the Five Spot at 5 Cooper Square in the East Village for Eric Dolphy on July 16th of 1961. I almost feel like I was, I have listened to the music so much. Thank god Rudy Van Gelder was there to record it. The trumpet player, Booker Little, died of uremia a few months after this show and Eric Dolphy died of diabetes complications a few years later. This amazing date is available on two cds even though the night fits easily on one. I know because I’ve made copies for friends. The musicians, Eric Dolphy — bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Booker Little — trumpet; Mal Waldron — piano; Richard Davis — bass; Ed Blackwell — drums; are firing on all cylinders. This music will energize you. It is my favorite painting music.
Margaret Explosion finishes a three month stand at the Little Theatre Cafe tomorrow night. Fred Marshall may sit in on piano if he is not on call. Brian Williams sat in on bass for a tune three weeks in a row and Phil Marshall played guitar last week. Phil’s band, The Horse Lovers, stole the show at the Dylan tribute last weekend. I saw him before he went on and he told me he had never seen me lose my cool like I did when he and Rich Thompson were at the Margo gig. I told him I could barely play with Rich out there. Rich teaches percusion at the Eastman and is one third of Trio East. He is such an amazing drummer, I just feel apart fumbling around on my kit like I do.
The water level at the pool was a little low so Peggi put the hose in and went home. She woke up around seven in the morning and remembered it was running all night. There were puddles leading out to the road when she got there. Oh, the pressure of being president of the pool association. I took advantage of the early hours to blow the oak tree droppings off the roof. While I was up there I blew out our only gutter. It smelled like old bong water. Kinloch Nelson stopped by to borrow Peggi’s Farfisa organ. He was traveling down to see Bob Cooper, who was the original owner of this beauty when he and Kinloch were in a band in the sixties. They were going to jam and this reunion with his old axe was a surprise.
We headed out to the annual Bob Dylan Birthday bash at the Village Gate. Chuck Cuminale from Colorblind James originated this thing about thirty years ago. He was the ultimate Dylan aficionado and was almost born on Dylan’s birthday so n those days it was a birthday bash for Chuck as well. We rode home with John Gilmore at the wheel. We dropped Jon Gary at his apartment downtown and headed down Culver. We stopped at at light and a Toyota SUV pulled up next to us. That vehicle stopped briefly at the light and then drove right through the light while we sat here. John said, “That’s the city”.
We had dinner with Rick and Monica last night. Rick made tostadas and Peggi made roasted corn and with jalapeños. After dinner we watched “I’m Not There”. The various Dylans was a good idea but Cate Blanchet was so much better than the others and of course Bob Dylan’s music is so much better than the covers that the movie sort of fell apart.
I checked the mail on my way downtown to drop off my contributions to RoCo’s 6×6 show. I opened the mail while I was driving (it ain’t illegal yet) and there was a cd from the Squires of the Subterrain entitled “Whoa Whoa, Yeah Yeah”. I stuck it in the cd player but it kicked back out. I tried it back home and it wouldn’t play there either so I put it in my computer and a movie popped up. It was sensational, like the last one, only better.
Read a review of local boy Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Synedoche, New York” directed by the screenwriter of “Being John Malkovich”. Among other things it is about the anxiety of artistic creation and the desperate sense that your life is rushing by faster than you can make sense of it.
We almost went to NYC this weekend. We were going to visit Duane and gallery hop and then bring our nephew back from Brooklyn so he can visit his grandmother, Peggi’s mom, in Rochester and hang out with us. There were too many loose ends to leave town so here we are.
Peggi’s making Bob Mahoney’s “Cowboy Salsa” recipe. I cut up the cilantro and an onion. Beautiful day out. I’m headed down to the basement to paint.
“I Am Legend” wasn’t much of a movie after the John Cassavetes stuff. The buff Will Smith was about the last person left in Manhattan and so he naturally had a relationship with a mannequin. Duane Sherwood’s “Modeling in New York City” could have been shot the week they closed the city make to that film. Duane Is Legend!
I hate deadlines but Rochester Contemporary has a big one this Friday. They are hoping to collect 2008 six by six inch pieces of artwork from their members for a show entitled 6×6. You may have seen the billboards around town. It looks like they are about half way to their goal.
I have about twenty new paintings that I haven’t photographed yet. I was thinking I would shoot them with my new camera, crop the shots to six inch squares, print them on canvas paper and give them to RoCo. That’s the whole idea here. Artists are being asked to donate their pieces and RoCo will sell them for $20 each and keep the proceeds. RoCo is all about supporting local artists so this is a worthwhile cause. The art business is about as lucrative as the music business, so give to RoCo and ye shall receive.
We saw “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” last night at the Dryden Theatre. The Dryden’s director said the print we were watching belonged to Martin Scorcese. They are in the middle of their John Cassavetes festival and after the movie they had a question and answer session with the the film’s lead, Ben Gazzara, and his co-star, Seymour Cassel. They played Cosmo, a strip club owner and Mort Weil, a gangster, respectively. In person they were not all that different than their on screen parts. But they were much funnier. Producer/cinematographer, Al Ruban was there too. He described a small crew where everyone wore a few hats. They were good friends with Cassavetes and they had an evening’s worth of fascinating stories.
They worked hard and had a blast. Ben said “John was the least arogant, self serving guy he had ever met. He was an artist. He made films for himself, not for anyone else and he would never be here trying to explain his films”. And according to Ruban he was as good a businessman as he was an artist. Cassavettes once had Ruban build a huge set with a long bar and a trapeze set up above. All to shoot a scene while studio execs were being wooed to finance the film. They bought the film and the scene was cut.
Cassavetes shot a lot of film, changing the script as the actors developed their roles. After sitting through the first screening of “Chinese Bookie”, Ben told John, “The movie is too long”. John said, “What. You got something better to do?”
Tonight we are headed back there to see “Husbands”.
Papal infallibility covers a lot pigheadedness and downright criminality but it can’t disguise this Pope’s creepiness.
From today’s paper – “It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said, adding that he would work to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood.
Good luck. Isn’t this how we fight drug addiction and illegal immigration. And you have to feel a little funny dumping money in the collection basket when the church has already spent over two billion bucks fighting or settling with sexually abused parishioners. The Pope covers up crimes, discriminates against women and gays and claims that Christ is speaking through him.
The first LSD I took was from a guy who lived in my dorm. I had no idea what to expect or how long it would last. I was hanging out with friends and they all went home. I was up all night watching and listening to a Pope Paul VI poster. I think it was this one (above) although this seems more anti-Italian than anti-Pope. I haven’t done any more of that stuff since 1969 but having to look at the Pope and Bush in the same shot is like a bad flashback.
We watched Eric Taylor load his car this morning while we were drinking our coffee. He was wearing shorts and he sort of looked hungover. We took our walk early and I tested the sepia movie mode on my new Nikon. I’m liking this little thing. The coolest thing about it is the black magnesium body with the rubberized grips. It feels like you could dangle it from your fingertips and not drop it. And it fits comfortably into my front pants pockets. I don’t worry about the geeky overloaded pockets look anymore. I come prepared. I’ve got three or four pens (mostly drug company or paper company freebies with brand names on them), a swiss army knife, my keys with a drum key on the chain (I’ve still got copies of Sparky’s garage and shed keys), a small note book and now my new camera.
I guess I’m keeping this thing. I have seven more days to decide. I talked to a tech women at Nikon this morning about the their bullshit download software. She told me that it was embarrassing for her but Nikon has not updated the “Nikon Transfer” software to work with the newest Mac system. She said, “Don’t feel bad. It doesn’t work with Vista either.”. So they designed a brand new camera that you can’t get your photos off of with the USB cable. They instruct you to install their cd of their garbage and it’s not compatible with current operating systems. They let you have this maddening experience right off the bat. I do like the little Sony card reader that I had to buy so I’ll stop complaining.
Eric Taylor is a pro. During his first set in Rick’s living room we heard a bunch of stories that he must have told hundreds of times. I was wondering if he was just going to go on this way or get in the moment and then Buddy the dog walked through the room. He made a few jokes about Buddy that sounded like he had told them before but of course he couldn’t have. He has a beautiful, hypnotic, finger picking sound and I really enjoyed drifting off to it.
I found these pop bottles in the woods near our house. I’m guessing some neighborhood kids left them down there a long time ago. I bought a bottle washer at Home Depot and scrubbed them clean with Mr. Clean before taking this photo. Now all I have to do is get that “Mr. Clean” jingle out of my head.
Pop bottles looked like this when I was a kid so they must all be fifties vintage. The empty Qualtop bottle is really heavy and it holds only 6 and 1/2 ounces of liquid. The Miller’s bottle with the slogan, “Short and Good”, holds 6 ounces and the 7-Up bottle with the “You Like It. It Likes You.” slogan holds 7. These are all a long ways from today’s “Big Gulp”.
All three bottles have “Rochester, N.Y.” printed on them. The Miller’s bottle has “Rochester Soda Water Co. Inc.” on the back and that brings up this whole “pop” verses “soda” thing. We call it “pop” in Rochester but in New York City they call it “soda”. In Detroit, where the accent is nearly indistinguishable from the Rochester accent, they call it “pop”. And it was “soda” when we lived in Indiana. I like “pop” better.
My sister stopped by today and we were talking. Actually she does most of the talking so that sort of makes it easy. One of her daughters goes to a conservative church and she told us that our other sister is concerned about that. The sister who stopped by says, “What does it matter. My daughter is all grown up and she’s happy”.
I was thinking of this Frederick Douglas (a Rochesterian) quote that I read last night. This was in connection to something much more serious (the relationship of slave to master) but it kind of explains how the world keeps from getting lopsided.
“What he most dreaded, that I most desired. What he most loved, that I most hated. That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good, to be diligently sought.”
The reaction to my post a few days ago on what I was calling “fake houses” got me thinking about another curiosity. I’m going to go out on a limb and call these “fake trees”. This one is near Exit 31 on 490 East in Rochester, NY. It’s the exit we take to get to my mother-in-law’s place. I’m not sure about the name or number of this exit, I just look for the fake tree and get off. Some people don’t even see it or they see it and take it as a real tree. My brother lives out this way and I asked him what he thought about it. He said, he had never noticed it. I would rather see a naked cell tower than a fake tree disguised as one but I am not on the zoning committee.
Richard Edic sent us some interesting photos of rock solid imaginary houses. They are apparently owned by the local power company, RGE, and they are located in residential areas throughout the city. Nobody lives in them. The power company has some sort of sub-station inside, like maybe Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory or something. Who knows? Richard has identified three of these fake houses and he sent us photos that we have posted on the Refrigerator. If you are aware of any of these suspicious homes in your neighborhood, drop us a line. We’ll add them to our inventory.
Steve Hoy called this morning from South Carolina wondering what I thought about the market. Steve has a good bit of his investments in margin accounts and he is always getting calls from his broker. This morning he felt like he was backed into a corner with his Washington Mutual holding. He sold 500 shares at $9 a share while I was on the phone with him. If he didn’t, he feared he would lose it all. And of course as soon as he confirmed the sale he said, “I probably just sold at the bottom”. I don’t understand the strategy of margin accounts and I am the last person to ask for financial advice but it was good to hear his voice.
Steve is worried that the credit crisis will force people to put more on their charge cards and then eventually default on their credit card bills which will collapse the already weakened financial institutions. Steve said he had no confidence in Bush and he laid out his own plan to bail out the market. It was something like lowering the interest rates to 5% and back that with federally insured bonds which would allow people to refinance their homes so their payments were more in line with the value of their home.
Steve was business major at Indiana University when I met him. Maybe he will lay out his plan here in a comment because I have surely mangled the translation.
We scanned some film for a 4D Advertising job a while back and I threw a couple of our own slides in the batch. This is a pretty wild shot of Peggi’s mom and her dog, Sybil. I used to love getting that little dog wound up.
Peggi and I set up a DVD player for my parents last night so they can watch movies on their new TV. My father was telling us how their neighbor, who just moved to San Francisco to “get well”, told them that they were the best thing that ever happened to him. This guy lived alone and wore paths in the carpet with his obsessive compulsive pacing. They are repairing the floors now and the house is up for sale. My mother is already worried that the next neighbor may have a dog. They live near the park in Brighton and have been chased out of there by dogs. And my mother was out front last summer, talking to a neighbor, when a teenage dog-sitter walked by with a Rottweiler on a leash. The Rottweiler broke free and and made a beeline for another neighbor’s small dog. My mom and her friend watched in horror as the Rottweiler killed the other dog.
The FedEx guy was out in front of our house today with a package of work from Lowel when he called us to ask if it was safe to get out of his truck. We told him that the “Beware of Dog” sign came with the house.
I was raised Catholic and like they say,”Once a Catholic, always a Catholic”. I can’t help that. And I love Spain. I love the food, the scenery, the Golden Age of Spanish art. I cheer for Spain in the Copa Del Mundo. I even like the pageantry of bullfighting.
So we watched part of PBS’s “Secret Files of the Inquisition” last night and they were profiling Jacque Fournier who left detailed records of his efforts to purify the Pyrenees. He was a bishop in the early 1300’s in what is now part of France and he was determined to eliminate the Cathars who believed the material world was evil and consequently could not accept Jesus in human form. This documentary depicted the Cathars as about as dangerous as aging hippies. Fournier was rewarded for his efforts by being anointed Pope Benedict XII and the Vatican kept his records secret for 700 years. Of course Ferdinand and Isabel (los Reyes Católicos) finished the job in Columbus’ day and Spain was left with very few Jews or Muslims.
I was falling asleep when they talked about Fournier as Pope so I googled his name this morning and found this entry in the “Catholic Encyclopedia“.
“His natural obesity, too, stimulated caricature and undeserved criticism. But history offers a vindication and testifies that, though he failed to cope successfully with the political difficulties to which he fell heir, his piety, virtue, and pacific spirit, his justice, rectitude, and firmness in ruling, his zeal for doctrinal and moral reform, and his integrity of character were above reproach.”
This is probably similar to how history will rewrite Bush’s legacy.
Yesterday we skied in the woods with Jeff Munson and Mary Kaye. Today it was 67 degrees so everything was melting. We took a walk on the dry roads and spotted this sign. I now have a backlog of 43 signs to post in the Refrigerator Signs section.
Peggi had a dream about Hillary last night. They were at a Kmart and Hillary was speaking to a small crowd. Peggi was feeling really sorry for her and hugged her. Hillary asked Peggi if she had voted for her. Peggi hesitated and then said, “Yes”, even though she hadn’t.
I took this shot of Hillary when she was campaigning for her first senate race.
We didn’t get out for a walk yesterday until the sun was setting. It had been a crystal clear day and the snow was shiny. We were supposed to get three inches on Friday and a then a couple, possibly more Lake Effect snow, on Saturday. Well we live by the lake and we didn’t get any. So we walked in the woods rather than skiing. We headed up into Spring Valley and saw some footprints. We are usually the only ones up here We smelled deer and then saw some. We smelled deer again but couldn’t see them because it was just about dark. A animal, bigger than a squirrel but not as big as a possum slithered up a tree in front of us. We headed down in the valley and the near full moon was casting stark shadows in the snow.
Back home we changed clothes and drove over to the George Eastman House for an opening of “Larry Towell: The World From My Front Porch”. I had never heard of him but I liked his photo of the three Amish guys in the paper. His photos are stunning. Whether Towell is framing Mennonites, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, Katrina, destruction or rural Ontario, Canada his shots tell big, cinema graphic stories. It is tough enough taking in a show with the distractions of an opening but the show itself has included distractions like old magazines, posters, kids drawings and concrete blocks. And on top of that there were plaques with incidental information mounted near the photos and lit like they were the main attraction and electric red title type on the green and blue grey walls. Let me look at these beautiful photos for crying out loud. We plan to revisit this show.
At least we found the show. On Friday we went out to see Jim Mott’s painting show downtown. We got an email earlier in the day about the show at the Bausch & Lomb building. We were there at seven and we could not get in the building. Jim is a Rochester artist who moves his front porch around the country and paints what he sees. He trades paintings for hospitality and was featured on the Today show.