On this clear spring day, the second in a row with blue skies and near zero humidity, I have decided to post these dreary, industrial, black and white photos. Both show the Genesee River flowing north from the upper left hand corner, through downtown Rochester, over the High Falls, past Kodak and eventually out to Lake Ontario.
The photo above was taken by an anonymous City photographer sometime around 1950 and the one below was taken by me in the mid seventies. Although there is twenty five year gap between the two these are both old photos now. And it has been forty five years since I took the one below. The smokestacks are gone. Someone invented the internet. The city is reinventing itself.
I put about thirty old photos of Rochester on page called “city of rochester” under the “pictures” tab above. Check ’em out and see how far we’ve come.
For the last six days I have posted a found photo to my IG feed. I have one more lined up for tomorrow, my favorite. All of them were found along the curb or just in the road. The one above is sort of a found photo. I had had a friend who worked as a photographer for the City of Rochester. Can’t image they even have a position like that anymore. He had access to all the photos in their library and this is one of them. I can’t tell if the photo session was done on the sly or if they really thought a glam shot on one of the city’s garbage trucks was a good idea. There is an alternate shot.
I love this sculpture by Gaston LaChaise. It is in the permanent collection of the Memorial Art Gallery. We stopped there yesterday to see the Art Nouveau show before it leaves town. Our favorite part wasn’t on the walls it was a reference book in the main gallery that had a section on Moderismo in Barcelona, the Spanish cousin to Art Nouveau.
A bi-monthly visit to the MAG is always in order if only to see/hear the rotating shows in the Media Room. Ja’Tovia Gary”s “NÉGRESSE IMPÉRIALE,” shot in Claude Monet’s French garden connects her experience as a black woman with art history.
Maureen Outlaw Church has some beautiful en plan air paintings in a show that opened last night at the Williams Gallery. Not the best weather for that (en plan air) but something to look forward to.
Annie Wells has a stellar band at the moment. We heard them last night at the Little Theatre Café, Phil Marshall on guitar, his son Roy on drums Mike Kaupa on trumpet and Dave Arenius on bass. I hope Annie records with this band before the youngest one leaves town. The band makes magic with Annie’s Cool Ice Age song and others by Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Phil Marshall and The Squire himself.
Does this leaf look happy? As light as leaves are they are weighted more heavily on the stem end. And when the snow comes before the leaves have all fallen we get this delightful show.
Only a few days remain to see “Inside Out,” the Current Scene show at 248 East Avenue, right next door to Little Theatre. This is a cosmopolitan show for a small city artfully curated by Colleen Buzzard. We’ve seen the show a few times and enjoyed it most when the only other person in the space was the gallery attendee, probably one of the participating artists. The front room is playful with work from both Ann and Sue Havens. And the back room beckons with a soundtrack composite, the video installation visible through a crack in the door, of oak balls being cracked open, underground sounds coming from a manhole cover, tape being unspooled as someone tapes himself to a wall and Alan Topolski’s found Super 8 footage with his model airplane soundtrack. Alan pulls out all the stops out with his piece and it deserves its spot above the mantle. His painting, a scene lifted from his video, disappears into the wall, frame and all!
And then there are the shadows which intentionally steal the show from the objects that cast them – Martha O’Connor’s slowly turning floating fabric and a row of four sided cardboard vessels, hand painted in black and white with turquoise interiors and no bottom and arranged on a narrow glass shelf. There is a lot to experience in this small group show.
I have a different book for each location and I’m working my way through the batch at the same time.
I bring Eduardo Chillida’s “Writing” down to the pool with me. I picked the paperback up at Hauser Wirth in Chelsea last time we were down there. I’ve read it a few times. Its that kind of book. I have every other paragraph circled.
I’m reading “The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas” on my iPad, a powerful first hand account of our grisly past. I was really struck by his depiction of slave masters raping their female slaves, creating more slaves with lighter skin who looked like and were beaten by and sometimes favored by their father.
Peggi and I are both listening to “Bitten” byKris Newby from Audible.com. It’s “The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons” and it plays like a vampire story but much worse. We’re about two thirds of the way through and we just had to talk a break. I resist conspiracy theories but this one is irresistible.
I picked up a copy of Dr. Bill Valenti’s book, “AIDS: A Matter of Urgency,” from one of those little libraries in our neighborhood. He was an early AIDs specialist and I had heard he mentioned early local patients by name. I thought I might come across Tim Schapp, Danny Scipione, Bobby Moore or Larry Fritch, all friends and early victims, but I didn’t. Not much of a book, just a bunch of well deserved thank you to people who devoted so much to that fight.
I finished “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand” last night. It’s a beautiful book of photos with one hundred essays, one for each photo, by Geoff Dyer. Winnogrand and Dyer is a perfect match of manly artists. Winogrand’s photos are graphic, animated, visual novels and it is delightful to stay on the spread, slowly reading an essay while continually studying the photo.
I have Amy Rigby’s “Girl to City” and Sonja Livingston’s “The Virgin of Prince Street” preordered from the Apple Store.
Not much of a lineup for opening night of the annual Jazz Fest but we did find a gem.
Girls In Airports will probably reconsider their moniker when they get a little older. A five piece from Denmark, they appeared here with only one sax player and he was filling in for the other two. The keyboardist’s layered, sweeping, full range soundscape was the foundation with drums on one side and a percussionist on the other and a breathy saxophonist. There was no lead instrument, just dreamy textural magic.
I won’t have to keep doing this if they keep bring back the same artists. Here’s a link to photo I took of Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele YouTube sensation, from eleven years ago. Julia Nunes, a local ukulele YouTube sensation, can be seen down front. Jake in Rochester 2008.
I never understood how garage bands got away with it. I remember hearing bands practice in a garage in the sixties and they were as loud as hell. They were usually playing in the afternoon, when the grown ups in the house weren’t home. The walls of garages aren’t even insulated. The neighbors wouldn’t stand for it. Basements make much better practice spaces.
Now garage art is something I understand. I was a garage painter in the eighties when I painted this series of “Community Icons.” It was easy for me to pick these archetypes, the foundation of any city, in 1989. It got me thinking about who I would choose today.
“The Role Model,” above is one of 16 from that series. They were big paintings, 54″ wide by “60” high, on the back of billboard paper. You can see the whole series here: “Community Icons.“
Ken Frank has a dance song, one he did under a pseudonym, called “Lady Liberty.” First thing I thought of when I saw this place. I like the contemporary lady out front, something the owner apparently wheels in and out each day. He leaves her strapped to the cart.
We gave Duane a call while we were out walking. He was out walking too, in Brooklyn. He was over by the Brooklyn Museum when reached him. We covered all the bases, politics, race relations and the stock market.. He arrived at back at his apartment just as we reached our front door. Both of us did about six miles.
Peggi has been been doing our taxes the past few days so I’ve been fielding a lot of questions. “What did we get at “Ship To Shore?” MX-80 Out of the Tunnel on blue vinyl. “Why did we pay so much to Dropbox?” I went Pro. That reminds me. Duane put a bunch of dub Reggae remixes in a shared folder for us.
I am ready to move on but I am still savoring and digesting our big walk. Peggi and I did the Camino in two installments, a month long each, passing through Madrid on both ends of both trips. I took a lot of photos on this journey and edited them down to this batch (click on “CaminoFavorites” on the photo above and go full screen). It visually tells the story and I may want to reread it.
Jim Mott suggested we do a slideshow. He suggested that on two occasions so I considered it. I’ve not used my projector since “Subterranean Surrogates'” when it ran for a solid month in the Lab Space at RoCo. So I cleared a white wall in the studio and brought every chair we have in our house down to the basement. We invited Ann Schauman who encouraged us to do it after she completed it, people who commented on my Camino blog posts, Hispanophiles, a few artists and friends and Jim Mott, of course. The old fashioned idea worked like a charm. The conversation flowed and it was closer to a party than a presentation. We’re ready to take this show on the road.
We borrowed chairs from our neighbors’ for Christmas Eve dinner and returned them today along with a plate of cookies. Peggi made two kinds, Christmas butter cookies from her mom’s recipe and cardamom cookies from our friend, Shelley’s, recipe. Our neighbors showed us all their cookies and offered us some homemade toffee. We took a plate of cookies to neighbors across the street too. Turns out they had been making cookies all week and they offered us some of theirs. They have a 3D printer and printed a replica of their Don Hershey house a few months back. They had their mini house on a some snowy white felt along with four new Irondequoit-centric 3D print-outs, House of Guitars, Rubino’s, Pasta Villa and DiVincenzo’s Bakery.
We invited my siblings and their families for Christmas Eve dinner. My brother, Mark, comes up from New Jersey with his family, my sister, Ann, came from her seven day Christmas season shift at Parkleigh and our niece, Brittney, from our old neighborhood. We started with appetizers and conversation, wedges of Spanish Manchego cheese with quince paste, Greek olives from Wegmans, smoked salmon from Jeff Spevak’s backyard with Señorío de la Antigua Rioja.
We overate for dinner. Peggi made applesauce with Jonagold apples from Schutt’s and we served a baked ham from the Co-op, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mixed green salad and Pears al Vino Tinto, poached pears in Red Wine for dessert. This is why Santa Claus looks the way he does.
“What if the physics of entropy was sliding between humans and objects through pure inertia?” The artist, Carlos Irijalba, uses this premiss as a springboard for his current show at Galeria MPA in Madrid. We popped in and out of a dozen small galleries on Calle Doctor Fouquet. This is our third time wandering the neighborhood behind the Reina Sofia and we were happy to see it has continued to blossom with a heavy dose of art.
We loved the Wim Wenders movie on the pope. And against all odds we’re still rooting for him, Francis. With all the walking we have been doing friends keep asking if we’ve seen Wenders’ “Paris Texas.” And of course we have but it has been a long time. So it was no surprise that the movie on our train from Madrid to Leon was “Paris Texas.” Harry Dean Stanton’s dialog was dubbed and the subtitles were in Spanish so it was a different experience.
Our first stop in Madrid, as we stumbled around the old city waiting for check-in, was this small church. People were gathering for mass so we only had a few minutes to look around. I paid my respects to this statue of Christ depicting a scene from the Passion while Peggi studied a depiction of the Virgin on the side altar next door. El Camino, part 2, is laid out before us.
Five or six miles takes a good sized bite out the day but we are less than a month away from part two of our Camino walk and we need to be ramping it up. Peggi plotted a loop from our house that took us over to the bay, down to the lake, across Lake Bluff Road (where I photographed this house on the lake) and up Birch Hills to the trail that runs along the lake at Durand. When we got to Kings Highway we scurried across the golf course to Hoffman Road. We were surprised to see a vehicle in the driveway of the house on the hill, the one that has sat empty and unfinished since the original owner walked away from place the because he couldn’t figure out how to put a driveway in. Of course he should have given that some thought before he built the house.
Bankruptcy takes time. This house sat empty for eight years. Wouldn’t it have been in someone’s interests to get an occupation there who is paying both a mortgage and taxes? I don’t get why it takes so long. Suddenly it is on the market again and sold in days. The house is built close to the road on such a steep hill that it took three switchbacks to get to level of the garage. And by the time you get up there you don’t have enough room to turn and enter the garage. The driveway is mostly washed out now but this guy got a four wheel drive pickup up to the first turn. He told us the “house was a steal.”
Forget about walking along the beach at Durand. The lake level is too high again and there is hardly any sand visible after all that rain.
We met our friends for Fungi pizza at Napa Bistro in Webster. I had been playing Sly and Family Stone singles before we left, I kicked it off the set with with “Family Affair,” and realized I had two copies of “Everyday People.” So I gave one to Matthew and Louise at lunch. Matthew tried returning the wine glasses we had left out at their place but I refused them. Louise was wearing a vintage t-shirt from her brother’s band, Luna, and we talked music, art, home improvement and boating. The time flew by.
The Church of the Transfiguration, on the corner of our street, was having a cookout toady. We had it on our calendar for a month but we had the timeframe wrong and they were packing up when got there. So we came home and ate leftovers.
We were walking back from Starbucks on Brown Road when I looked down an especially boring looking side street. The lawns were so brown. I looked up to see it was Greenlawn Street. We need rain.
I love the ride out Route 18. Like Highway 1 in California it follows the shoreline, in this case from the Port of Rochester to Niagara Falls. We didn’t go that far. We stopped in Olcott Beach where they were having something called the Jazz Trail, one band after another all day long at various locations in the tiny town. It is just far enough away from the cities to be funky. There was a big amusement park here years ago and there still is a small one for kids. We saw a few signs on people’s lawns that said, “No Dollar Store In Olcott.” Bars change hands here and the shops are all tiny souvenir places. I looked at t-shirt with a foamy pint class on it. It read “Love and Hopiness.”
Saxophonist, flautist and vocalist Bobby Militello was playing with his quartet on the stage in the middle of a park. He was a member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Maynard Ferguson’s band. They sounded great. We walked around town and watched a fishing charter take off. Olcott was hit hard last year when the lake levels were so high. They had to line the beach with concrete slabs to keep the sand in. The lake had turned over last night. The water temperature was 48 but there was a few kids in.
We stopped at a few farm stands on the way back and came home with cherries, peaches and corn.
Eleven o’clock seemed a little early for a beer so I passed until halftime but then gave in when Croatia scored. We watched the World Cup Final down at our neighbor’s place. They had a few of their Jamaican friends over and we all pretty much cheered for Croatia. They played a better game but lost. The only statistic that really counts is the number of goals. There was quite a bit of food and the match flew by. I wanted it to last forever. One of the guys brought cod fritters (cod, broccoli, batter and habanero peppers). They were killer! We brought two home for dinner and had them with a fresh salad, arugula, kale and cilantro, all from the garden.
We picked up our 6×6 purchases this afternoon and I photographed three of them out in the driveway. I’m really happy with these. The first one, probably done by a kid, is every bit as cool as Hans Hoffmann’s push pull stuff. It commanded the main wall as you walk in the gallery. The beachball is an irresistable knockout. Just a bit of the air has escaped and the three primary colors heroicly define the form while the white circle on the top of the ball is just small enough to make you question it all. And that hotter than July ground! As my neighbor pointed out “La Avocat” should really be “L’avocat” but it is not. The painting is not the fruit either even though it says it is. We had to bring this home.
I certainly wasn’t cheering for Belgium when they went against Brazil but once that ended badly I was convinced Belgium were the stronger team and a deserving finalist. In fact, I even entertained thoughts of the end of the so called beautiful game. Brazil’s finesse and ball control was no match for the strong, physical Belgium side, sort of the way it was when I was playing for Webster Thomas. Our coach wore a beret and drove a Citroen. He taught us an early version of the light touch, European style. (He’s currently serving life in prison for molesting kids.) Our rival, Penfield, had a football player die the year before so they did away with their football team for a few years and all those big lugs played on Penfield’s soccer team. It was a nasty matchup but I think we prevailed.
So, I had resigned myself to the new world order. No Neymar, no Marcello, no Brazil. Spain, with seventy per cent possession had gone home. Germany, last year’s untouchable champion, was home. Argentina, with the world’s best player, was home. I tried to warm up to the Belgium side. They had the possession. They kept putting it in the box. It was only a matter of time and then, after a few dazzling fast breaks, France scored on a corner. Belgium had the big guy lurking in the box but he couldn’t get a touch on the ball. France was nimble, quick on defense, very few fouls, and when they got the ball, the whole team moved toward the goal. They passed (my favorite part of the game) beautifully. Mick Jagger was in the stands. They are the youngest team in the tournament. Their star player is nineteen. If they can play this well in the final England will be going home.
We had to watch the host team, Russia, play Saudi Arabia in the the opener. The opening rounds come fast and furious. The only reason they qualified is because they were the host so it was fun to see them win 5-0. Spain and Portugal, the Iberian rivals, played to a 3-3 tie. We desperately wanted Spain but despite their incredible possession stats, Ronaldo was unstoppable with three goals. And he could have had a winning fourth if he had done what any minor league player would have, just run toward the goal for scraps after you set your teammate up. Wouldn’t want to muss his hair.
Argentina and Iceland was a great matchup. Smallest country ever to qualify vs Messi and company. We sided with Argentina and the 1-1 tie is what they deserved. As bad as we wanted Brazil to win they couldn’t top Switzerland so their 1-1 tie gives both of them just 1 point in the standings and Serbia vaults to the top of that group with their win over Costa Rica.
The ties were good games, all of them, but it felt so good when Mexico defeated Germany 1-0. I think they blew Germany’s minds, like Jessie Owens did in the 1936 Olympics. This was an exhilarating match, probably the best of the Cup but I hope not. The methodical Germans kept their cool and maintained 61 percent possession but Mexico, when they got the ball, knew exactly what to do with it. They sprinted toward the goal. And although they took only half the shots Germany tried, they put one in. Without the US in this thing we are all Mexicans!
Peggi has a whole set of fans in connection with her Don Hershey website. One of them emailed this afternoon to see if Peggi wanted to get inside a house designed by Hershey on Parker Drive in Pittsford that she was considering buying. It was built for Robert Brown in 1951 and was featured in “Quality Budget Houses, A Treasury of 100 Architect-Designed Houses from $5,000 to $20,000.” The most recent owner was an RIT professor named Jeffrey Jones. Jeffery was an intern at Time magazine in 1965 when he interviewed Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival. Dylan wrote “Ballad of a Thin Man” about Mr. Jones.
“You walk into the room/With your pencil in your hand/You see somebody naked/And you say, “Who is that, man?”/ You try so hard/ But you don’t understand/ Just what you’ll say/ When you get home/ Because something is happening here/ But you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mister Jones?”
I went along for the ride and was surprised to see Mr. Jones’ name on the front of the house by the mailbox. And there was a poster for the 1965 Newport Folk Festival in what was called the “Play Room.” Mr. Jones died in 2007 and NME did this piece.
Not sure who lives here now but the house was rather sad. It had been neglected for well over a decade and every so called improvement that was done to the home before that was half-assed. And on top of that it appeared the original owner took Hershey’s plans and then built the house himself, cutting every corner imaginable. There is no basement for starters and the exposed interior rafters aren’t even long enough to do the span so pieces were bolted together. The porch, which is enveloped by the house on three sides rather than sticking out from the house, has a fireplace and floor to ceiling screens on the front. I wanted to sit down with a book.
Instead of the quarter million asking price it should be a tear-down. With a few modifications the Hershey plan should be re-executed.
The two Swedish women are only going a short distance tomorrow. One of them told us she had “Blasen” on her feet. Her partner used English. “Bloody blisters.”
The increments in the Camino guide books are all around twenty miles. Of course everything is in kilometers, which I think of as short miles. (like Euros are expensive dollars.) It is not a walk in the park. The two German guys that were drinking wine from the free spigot when we last saw them passed us this morning. We commented on how big their packs were. And then we passed them. They were sitting under a tree, putting some sort of lotion on their bare feet. We can’t seem to shake the two Italian women. They have been in every town we are for the last few days. An English florist, traveling by herself, keeps popping up as well but we haven’t seen that Kentucky woman, the one who’s doing the Camino for the second time by herself, in days. And May may never see that Brazilian couple again. We had the same sense of humor.
That’s the funny thing about this trip. A random group starts every day, all from the same town at the French border, and we all do it at our own pace so we are continually overlapping and meeting new people, hardly ever by name, and then they are gone. You meet, mostly in a cafe. On the trek it is simply “Hola.” We’ve crossed paths with this Asian guy at least a half dozen times and the only thing he has ever said to us is “Buen Camino.”
I eavesdropped tonight on a conversation between two guys speaking Spanish. Neither of them were native speakers, both were from different countries, but Spanish is the universal language. Or at least it should be. It is certainly the loving tongue.
We thought the seventeen caterpillar train was something until we came across a line that was 121 caterpillars long. All nose to butt as if they were connected by the shortest, invisible thread. From another vantage point someone is counting us pilgrims as we share the path.
The bridge in Puente la Reina was built for the pilgrims in the 1100’s and the town was named after the bridge. We had just taken a side trip, as if our journey is not long enough, to see the octagonal church built in the 1200’s, la Virgen Eunate, and we had tallied twenty miles por el dia. We were so tired when got here we stayed in for dinner. We ordered bacalao al pil pil, cod in garlic oil, and it sat on the plate under a pile of small clams and baby eel. The tv was on in the dining room, tuned to La Liga. Barcelona was leading Leganes 2-1 when Messi scored a miraculous goal.