Small World

Back end of the ferry from Puntarenas
Back end of the ferry from Puntarenas

Peggi and I both noticed how beautiful the back end of the Puntarenas Ferry looked. I went down to the lowest level when we were furthest out in the bay, when the ship was really starting to sway. I got really sick on a ferry years ago and I didn’t want to take any chances. I’m still thinking about how idyllic Costa Rica was and I was sorry to see them get knocked out of the World Cup last night.

We’ve been watching two matches a day for weeks. Hardly enough time left over for wood splitting. The round of 16 starts tomorrow with the US and the matches will have a little bit of breathing room as the field narrows. We go right to the Sports section in the morning papers now. There are so many great reporters to follow, Rory Smith in the Times and Sid Lowe in the Guardian, They are as much fun to read as the match was to watch.

OK, Spain is advancing but they have taken the beautiful game to extremes, playing it out of the back and maintaining possession while wearing down their opponents, that is until someone makes an errant pass and the opposition scores on a fast break. Japan is good at that, so good you wonder if it might all be a calculation. They swarm on a loose ball like a pack of industrious bees. And everyone of the worker bees is giving it their all. They upset Germany and then Spain. As upsetting as that was, we’re looking forward to their match with Croatia.

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Generative Care

Theaster Gates "Young Lords and their Traces" installation
Theaster Gates’ “Young Lords and their Traces” installation

An article in the paper just before we left got us to New York’s New Museum for the first time. Theaster Gates “Young Lords and their Traces” fills three floors with found, rescued and reworked objects of cultural significance. He calls it “generative care”— tending to the past by carrying its lessons into the future. In video he is shown working in clay, singing spirituals in another.

Theaster Gates "Young Lords and their Traces" installation
Theaster Gates’ “Young Lords and their Traces” installation

The title of the show nods to the 1969 Chicago based Puerto Rican organization, an important force in community organizing. Gates rose to fame by reviving a neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side, purchasing vacant and distressed properties and transforming them into artist studios, affordable housing, and performance and exhibition spaces. 

Theaster Gates "Young Lords and their Traces" installation
Theaster Gates’ “Young Lords and their Traces” installation

Had this been a Saturday we would have had the opportunity to hear the Hammond B3 Organ that was wired to six wall-mounted speakers. I particularly loved the workaday materials and earthy palette of his work. So warm and deeply human in response to forces in our culture.

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Highway H2O

Grain silos in Buffalo New York
Grain silos in Buffalo New York

President Eisenhower officially opened the St. Lawrence Seaway (Highway H2O) in 1959. It allowed oceangoing vessels to carry goods from the Atlantic Ocean to the western end of Lake Superior. A boom for some and bust others. Grain from the Midwest moved right through Buffalo and down to NYC or overseas. Buffalo’s grain silos have sat idle since. Portions have been redeveloped as Riverworks and last weekend the site played host to Playground, art installations in a stunning environment.

We had been to Playground a few years back when the installations filled an old school in Albion and we were looking forward to this one. One artist was busy bricking himself in. When we arrived he was up on a stool behind a five foot wall of newly laid bricks. Visitors could buy a brick for $1.99. We picked one out, handed it to him and he gave us a receipt. There were a few sound installations and movies. Our favorite was Shawn Chiki’s Womp Womp Machine.

Infrastructure panel at Buffalo grain silos
Infrastructure panel at Buffalo grain silos

I think the location upstaged the installations. I took more photos of the industrial setting than I did of the installations.

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Screensaver Refresh

Genesee River from below Seneca Park
Genesee River from below Seneca Park

The screen saver on our Apple TV is a slideshow of our panorama photos. We have the transition set to the Ken Burns effect so the long photos slide across the screen.

We need more early morning appointments. We dropped the car off at B&B Automotive on Lake Ave. and went for a walk along the river while they changed our oil. It was another beautiful day, crisp and clear, and we had only one cup of coffee under our belts so it made it especially spacey. We listened to Brian Eno’s new record on the way over after reading about it in this morning’s paper so that contributed. Dont really care for his vocals.

John Gilmore lives on a dead end street just one block north of B&B so we walked by his place (all the windows were drawn) across the zoo parking lot and into the Frederick Law Olmsted park on the banks of the Genesee. We’re usually find ourselves over here in the winter so the park was all new. We walked north toward the lake and right out of the park but not before we climbed down at the gorge and got right up close to the river.

Stopped at Atlas Eats on the way home for two reasons. We picked up some blueberry scones. Brenda wasn’t working and her replacement was just drizzling the the frosting on a fresh batch. And we had to ask Diane and Gerry for recommendations on a hotel in Merida. They vacationed there and we have a winter destination wedding there.

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Freezer Is Full

Challah bread for Rosh Hashanah with new sauce
Challah bread for Rosh Hashanah with new sauce

“For most of the year, challah is formed into long braids made from multiple strands. But on Rosh Hashanah, the loaves are always round.” So much for that tidbit. Peggi made these long loaves for Rosh Hashanah when my brother and his family were up for our sister’s birthday bash. They watched their New Jersey temple service via Zoom while we hung out with other family members upstairs. I had a backlog of photos on my old school digital camera and just got to this one.

Another Jewish holiday has passed and Peggi has made three more pots of sauce (this orange Le Creuset pot, a glass bread pan and a Corning dish) but no challah. She has been making bread with Gloria’s sour dough starter and the sweet challah loaves doesn’t work with that. We plan to check in the garden today but those were the last batches of sauce. Our tomato output has slowed to a crawl and the basil is spent.

You can see we used leftover fresh corn in this batch. We used to drop the tomatoes into boiling water and then remove the skins but now we just cut up the tomatoes and bake them with onions, garlic, jalapeños and big chunks of carrots from the garden. The carrots behave like meatballs and they sweeten the sauce. The frozen portions become our go-to meal throughout the year.

This one goes in the “We Live Like Kings” category.

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The Pre-metaverse

Steve Black AR presentation at the Brainery in Rochester, New York
Steve Black AR presentation at the Brainery in Rochester, New York

A true metaverse is at least a decade away. GeoPose AR functions as a blueprint for the metaverse. A pioneer, Bubiko Foodtour, has been exploring the pre-metaverse (AR, VR, NFTs, POAP) for a few years now and was in town for the Flour City Tour.

We caught up with Bubiko Foodtour at the Brainery on Anderson Avenue this afternoon where Steve Black filled the Green Room with all sorts of virtual items. Some, like the bagels fly through the space. Others allow you walk up to and then around them. The closer you get, the bigger the three dimensional object becomes. My wooden sculpture, “Self Portrait,” is shown floating near the right arm of the woman on the right above. I was able to study the contours at close range in 3D.

The art installation potential of this technology, even as it exists today, is mind-blowing.

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Love That Dirty Water

Reflections in Boston Harbor, photo by Peggi Fournier
Reflections in Boston Harbor, photo by Peggi Fournier

We had two full days in Boston, walked eleven miles the first and ten the second, ate all our meals outdoors, slept in a king-sized bed and spent five full hours with Philip Guston paintings. We walked through the Commons, the North End and the harbor, Beacon Hill, the Public Gardens, the Charles River Esplanade, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Museum of Fine Arts as well as large sections of the Freedom Trail. We masked up indoors and hopefully got out without catching Covid.

After the Guston show, our second Guston retrospective, I reviewed the description I recorded for the MAG when the painting, “Web,” from MoMA’s collection, was here with the “Paint Made Flesh” show in 2009. The comments hold up.

We tracked down two Van Goghs on the way out. The museum has their Gaston LaChaise drawing in the back room. I bought an Arthur Dove postcard in the gift shop and Peggi read Madeline aloud to me. We left on a cloud.

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Fish Fry

Passion Play - 12th Station, Jesus dies on the cross, acrylic on plastic panel, 14"w by 17"h, 2021 Paul Dodd
Passion Play – 12th Station, Jesus dies on the cross, acrylic on plastic panel, 14″w by 17″h, 2021 Paul Dodd

I remember laughing with my brother, Mark, and sister, Ann as we sat on the brick stoop in front of our house on Brookfield Road. We were off from school and trying to stay silent on this day, Good Friday, between the hours of noon and three when Jesus was said to have hung on the cross.

As young Catholics we had to do all these sort of challenging things. We gave up candy for five weeks during Lent. We had to fast before Communion so even though we were up playing for hours before Sunday mass we had to put on a jacket and tie and file into the stuffy church where one of us would sometimes pass out during the service. And of course, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays.

I have so lost touch with that faith that I mistakenly thought it was Good Friday two weeks ago. I still love the rituals. I love the iconography. And the Stations of the Cross, a series of 14 images depicting Christ on the day of his crucifixtion, is my favorite. I love visiting old churches especially in Spain where they still have holy water fonts at the door and candles to light to your favorite saint statues. Holy Week in southern Spain is an out of body experience.

I’m writing this at two in the afternoon so the 12th station is where we’re at. All 14 of my recent version can be viewed here.

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April Fools Day

Lenten Roses in Kathy's backyard overlooking Irondequoit Bay on Good Friday
Lenten Roses in Kathy’s backyard overlooking Irondequoit Bay on Good Friday

There must have been a microburst that tore through the woods off Pine Valley Road. We hadn’t taken that trail in a few weeks and we found five full sized trees laying across our path. Out on Culver Road we turned toward the lake and walked what remains of the road. The swing bridge at the mouth of the bay had just swung open minutes before we arrived. The town mechanics were just finishing up. We watched the procedure one year and found it was pretty much one guy with something like an electric drill turning the gears while the others watched. So we’re stuck on this side of the bay until November.

We’re watching the first season of the original Hawaii 5-O and last night’s show, “Cocoon,” featured a different Danny. The governor was played by a different actor and Steve McGarrett put the moves on a college girl! It was unsettling to say the least. We looked up the episode and found this show was initially the pilot and the test audience showed good taste by suggesting they dump the imposter and get Steve to cool his jets.

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Cleanest Lake In The US

Jetty at Skaneateles
Jetty at Skaneateles

The Jetty at the top of Skaneateles Lake in the town of Skaneateles had a low slung chain hanging across the entryway. It was apparently closed for the season. We stepped over it and walked to the end where a fisherman was happily casting about.

The Clintons had a summer place here. Listings in the window of a Real Estate office showed restored mansions, lake front properties and empty lots in the millions. There is a Talbots on Main Street and at least a dozen gift shops. The stuff they chose to put in their windows scared us so we walked north down the side streets where the townspeople live. We were trying to understand why people live here. The blocks of idyilic homes felt dreamy but unreal.

We usually come through here on our way down to NYC. We stop at the small bakery for coffee and then drive down the east side of the lake to Binghamton. This time we walked down the west side where we are guessing the Clintons stayed. We walked through a cemetery with a huge monument to the town’s Civil War dead. That felt real. I am sure the town was vital then. Today it is a resort town and that is why we were here.

We were meeting our friends, Matthew and Louise, for lunch and celebrating her birthday. Peggi and I came a whole day early and stayed at Mirbeau, a French style inn and spa. We had dinner in the dining and were expecting a health centered menu but it was meat laden. The room had a gas fireplace, a bath tub and a shower with enough water pressure for both Peggi and me to bath at once. But before that we put the white Mirbeau robes and slippers on and walked across the bridge in the courtyard to the sauna and steam room. We read by the fireplace and slept soundly in the king-sized bed.

Matthew bought us a loaf of French bread from the Patisserie, the best bread we’ve had in ages. I would go back just for another of those loaves.

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State Of The World

Winter Aconite in snow out back 2022
Winter Aconite in snow out back 2022

The little flower that could, Winter Aconite, first identified by my father, has popped up through last night’s snow. Nearly all is right with the world.

Detail from "Brief History of the World" Vol. XXI
Detail from “Brief History of the World” Vol. XXI

I’m nearly finished with Volume XX! of “Brief History of the World.” It is a very slow process of gathering, weeding and juxtaposing. At the same time I’ve been digitizing another volume in preparation for its release as an eBook. The aproprieated images are arranged as spreads so the detail above is out of the admitedly abstract context. I’m also selecting a collection of the spreads from the 21 volumes to use in an upcoming digital presentation.

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Over For Now

George Wegman painting Canal Street Wall 1" at Richard Margolis Studio
George Wegman painting Canal Street Wall 1″ at Richard Margolis Studio

I know it is not over but it feels like it is for now. So many bare faces and smiles. Our Margaret Explosion show was packed on Wednesday, a double bonus night for the band, and there were a lot people out last night for First Friday. We spent most of the evening in the Anderson Building where Pete Monacelli, George Wegman and Kathy Farrell were showing new work at Richard Margolis’s fourth floor studio. Pete is showing 15 of his “Searching for Home” pieces, this batch in dialog with Renaissance artists.

I fell in love with the luscious George Wegman painting (above) as soon as I set my eyes on it and looked for George to have him put a red dot next to it. He was holding court so I drew up my own “sold” note and attached it to the wall tag. I love the palette, the paint handling and the subject matter. It reminded Peggi of my “Subterranean Surrogates” series and I was thinking of the last Margaret Explosion CD cover. I can’t wait to get the painting home.

I really enjoyed the figure drawing show at Nancy Valle’s studio. A group meets there for three hours every Monday and it is hard to find an excuse not to join them. Still on the fourth floor we revisited Joan Lyon’s show and spent some time in Colleen Buzzard’s studio which had been re-invigorated by a tidy-up for a photo shoot. Peggi and I were trying to remember Colleen’s exact words and couldn’t but the gist of her comment to someone (we can’t remember that either) was out of the darkness and isolation comes new energy. We finished the night on the first floor where Heather Gray was preparing to wrap up a gorgeous new painting she had just sold.

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Reservoir Lock

Old Erie Canal lock on 490 expressway near Culver Road
Old Erie Canal lock on 490 expressway near Culver Road

I took this photo through the passenger side window while Peggi was driving to the Co-op. We had to get our monthly shop in. Members save ten percent once a month, the number of times we shop there each month. The wall in front of the wall is what remains of Lock 65 on the Erie Canal as flowed through Rochester. I guess the canal didn’t exactly flow, it just sat there until they drained in the winter months.

They also called it the “Reservoir Lock” because it was connected to what is now Lake Riley, the pond at the base of Cobbs Hill. I guess barges could turn around there or rest maybe. We used to skate on the pond in the winter and I played Little League there in the summer. The canal was moved several times. The old bed became the subway line and now it is the expressway we were traveling on.

Broad Street Bridge in downtown Rochester
Broad Street Bridge in downtown Rochester

We usually leave our car in the Co-Op parking lot and walk in a big loop before shopping, sometimes up to UR, across Elmwood and back down on the west side of the river or sometimes downtown to Rochester Art Supply. Getting the canal, which runs east/west, across the Genesee River, which as you can see in this photo gets pretty wild, was no easy feat for the Irish. The lower part of the bridge in the photo above carried the canal across the river which flows south to north, an intersection of two waterways in the center of the city. And at some point they built a second layer to the bridge in order to carry cars. They canal now intersects the river in a lazy fashion in Genesee Valley Park.

There was talk of re-watering the canal in downtown Rochester but I think that fizzled. I read there is serious talk of taking the car layer off the bridge and converting the former canal bed layer to a pedestrian park. I never thought I would live to see them take the Inner Loop out so who knows.

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Xalaparta

Basque musicians playing xalaparta in Bilbao before Copa del Rey match with Barcelona
Basque musicians playing xalaparta in Bilbao before Copa del Rey match with Barcelona

Barcelona, long the best football team in world, fell apart. They got so big they couldn’t afford their big money players. Messi, still the best player in the world, is paying in Paris with Neymar and Mbappe. Others took a cut in salary. A former player has returned to coach the team and he is playing youngsters, 17 and 18 years old, with the remaining veterans, the mentors, Pique and Busquets. They still play the beautiful game and they are even more fun to watch. Unfortunately they can’t seem to win but they are coming closer.

The Bilbao club is the opposite of a big money team. They only hire people born in the Basque region. That region, in northwestern Spain stretches in France. Basque before country! This last match was played in Bilbao and before the match began, while the stadium was bathed in deep red LED lights we were treated to tradition Basque music played on xalaparta, a hollow wood instrument.

Bilbao has a famous soccer academy and the graduates for the most part stay in the region. Most Spanish teams have their ultra fan sections. The fans in Bilbao are all ultra fans. They are loyal backers and proud of their team. They beat Barcelona in overtime and will advance to the final rounds of the Copa del Rey.

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Tamborrada

Tamborrada,, pregame show in San Sebastian vs. Atletico in Copa del Rey
Tamborrada,, pregame show in San Sebastian vs. Atletico in Copa del Rey

We opened the ESPN app to watch the Copa de Rey match between Atletico and Real Sociedad in San Sebastian and found a group of people out on the pitch dressed as chefs. We became rabid Atletico fans last year during their improbable run to the top of La Liga but this year things have fallen apart for them. Real Sociedad has some of the most boisterous fans in La Liga and the were louder than ever last night. There was no way Atletico could have won.

The city was celebrating the feast day of their patron saint, San Sebastian, with a festival called Tamborrada, where groups of locals form street parades, dress as soldiers and cooks. San Sebastián has long been noted for their culinary arts and members of their famous dining societies meet at midnight in the Plaza de la Constitución and then march through the streets with drums for the next 24 hours.

Back in Rochester old man winter showed he could still get it up. We had eighteen inches of snow at the beginning of the week and have skied for four days in a row now. It was only 12 degrees when we got out their this morning and we didn’t expect to anyone else out but we underestimated our fellow citizens.

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If You Don’t Know How To Do It

Watermelon on the frozen beach
Watermelon on the frozen beach

Peggi and I home-tested for the first time since this thing began. We were getting to gather with two other couples to celebrate Jedi’s 67th and someone suggested we all test before the event. We bought some test kits back in the fall when we thought we might have been exposed. We felt ok and never went anywhere so we didn’t use them. The package said they expired in January so here we are. Negative.

We arranged to take Jedi and Helena’s dog, Bigz, for a walking the morning. Jedi was still in pjs when we stopped by. Bigz was roaring to go. He pulled us along, down Hoffman to the golf course and into the woods. We came up on Center Entrance and met a neighbor walking her new puppy. The puppy was three time the size of the Notorious Mr. Bigz but Bigz was the aggressor. I’ve had this song going through my head all day.

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SuperCopa

Inside of my new coffee cup
Inside of my new coffee cup

Keeping up with the three LaLiga teams we follow is handful. Imagine if you were one of the players. In addition to the 38 regular season fixtures there are Olympic and World Cup qualifying games for their home countries and then, if the teams are lucky enough, the tournaments which are woven into the season. The Champions League, the Copa del Rey and today’s Super Cup.

Real Madrid meets Barcelona today (always an “El Classico” when they meet). Atletico meets Athletic Club Bilbao tomorrow and then the winners meet each other on Sunday, all matches in Riyadh, the capitol of Saudi Arabia. The four teams qualified by being the first or second place finishers in last year’s La Liga and Copa del Rey tournaments. Why Saudi Arabia? Money. Lots of it. Will MBS be in the stands? I will report back.

We picked an armload of collard greens and kale from garden. In January! Petra from Fruition Seeds says it gets sweeter after a freeze. I eat the very top leaves of the kale plants while we are down there, the smallest but most tender. We found enough cilantro and even some arugula standing in the snow to compliment the tasting. Super greens for Supercopa!

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Los Reyes Magos

Copa Del Rey opening shot. Alcoi vs. Real Madrid
Copa Del Rey opening shot. Alcoi vs. Real Madrid

The first round of Spain’s Copa del Rey happened midweek between La Liga fixtures. Second and third tier clubs are eligible so the matches took us to unknown regions while the country celebrated Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day.) We enjoy the pageantry of the pregame as much as the match and watched one match each day for the last three, Barcelona playing in Linares, Real Madrid in Alcoi in Alcoyano’s tiny stadium and then Majadahonda vs Atletico. All three of the big teams won but just barely in some cases.

I see the 99 year old Betty White did not die from complications of the Covid vaccination. I’m running out of band width keeping up with the fact checks!

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Supply Chain

School buses lined up at East Ridge High School
School buses lined up at East Ridge High School

I didn’t want the acrylic primer I bought online to freeze so I was keeping a lookout for the Amazon truck. It was dinner time and dark when we got an email saying our package had been delivered. I walked around the house but I couldn’t find it. We texted the neighbors on three sides and emailed Amazon that we didn’t receive the package. On their site we found a photo of our package sitting somewhere in the dark, a beige blur on a solid background shot in a vertical orientation. We took the photo into Photoshop Elements and jacked up the levels enough to see the box sitting in front of our neighbors front door.

When we closed the street pool this fall I brought the two large flower pots home to repaint. I love winter for all the time it provides for projects but I am already backed up. I asked the paint guy at Meyer’s if he could mix me some turquoise paint with primer mixed in. I was under the impression that that was how things were done now. He told me that was a scam and I would have to use “bonding primer” first and then the paint. But their primer was backordered on account of one of those Covid supply chain issues.

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Dots / Pieces

Shadows on primed canvas in studio
Shadows on primed canvas in studio

Peggi called me down to the basement so I could experience this before it disappeared. I was just getting started on the painting and it looks finished.

I can see how Philomena died, she was 102 years old, but Charlie Coco’s little sister? Philomena spent her last years, hardly her golden, in the same home as my mom. It was interesting to learn she was an Italian translator for WSAY back in the day. And Charlie’s sister had pancreatic cancer. There is too much of that going around.

We didn’t realize one of the branches we picked up in our yard after the wind storm had broken our windshield until we got in the car. We sort of asked for it by not parking our car in the garage. We use that space for more important things. Insurance covered it but we had to bring it into the shop because there are so many electronics in the glass. Who knew?

We made a big batch of applesauce today, enough to put out when we have my family over for Xmas eve. We listened to Roscommon Mitchell’s “Dots / Pieces for Percusion and Woodwinds” while we worked. As cleansing as Morton Feldman.

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