Last Swim

Colorful five leaf vine near pool
Colorful five leaf vine near pool

We picked a batch of fresh pimientos de Padron yesterday and cooked them just before leaving the house for Kathy’s where we dined out back overlooking the bay. The peppers were cold when we got there, of course, but they tasted great and to our surprise none were too hot. There are plenty of white flowers on the pepper plants so if the frost holds out we’ll be enjoying many more rounds.

We brought home some more tomatoes but the plants are exhausted. Our arugula, collard greens, carrots, beets and kale are still overproducing. Our refrigerator is so full of bags of greens that things are freezing.

We checked in with our neighbor down the street and he told us he has trapped eight raccoons in the last week. I wondered if he had asked Animal Controller where they were taking the creatures and he said the guy told him the the town had some property on the other side of 590. I pity the neighbors over there.

We took our last swim of the year in the pool this afternoon. We’ll be closing it over the weekend. We’re planning to watch Todd Haynes’ “The Velvet Underground” tonight,  in our neighbors’ home theater if we are lucky

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Not For The Art Market

Wooden Makonde mask from Mozambique
Wooden Makonde mask from Mozambique

I always thought the Wildroot Gallery was in an active barbershop. The group that showed there back in the seventies has had many shows, in many different places, since the original space in the South Wedge closed. At their current show in Warren Philips Gallery I learned the Wildroot was a former barbershop when the five artists reclaimed it. The five have continued to turn out work and we have become big fans if George Wegman and Peter Monacelli.

Due to Covid Warren had a soft opening on Saturday. We suspected the artists would be there, the first day of the show, and they were. As we entered the gallery we were stopped in our tracks by the glass case that Warren had in the window. He had just purchased a collection of Africa artifacts and they sort of upstaged the show. We came home with this wooden Makonde mask from Mozambique and a cowbell with a sculpted wooden head as a handle from Cameroon. Warren told us both these pieces were made to be used in rituals. They were not made for the art market. That was reassuring. 

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Our Town

Boat along the Erie Canal near Fairport
Boat along the Erie Canal near Fairport

We have not played horseshoes in a week. First Rick thought he might have Covid so we were awaiting test results. That turned out to be a cold, a common condition that almost disappeared during the pandemic. And then Peggi’s sister came to visit from LA along with her man friend. We had dinner here the first night, an evening warm enough to sit on the the deck while I roasted corn. The corn was cold by the time we ate but the seared tuna that Peggi made was fantastic. It occurred to me that I need to up my game with the salad, both the dressing and the green stuff. Salad should rightfully be the best part of any meal. Peggi made Tarta de Santiago for dessert and we finished the evening playing 45s, some from the collection of the Fournier sisters. Bobby Darin’s “Nature Boy” was the hit of the night.

The next day we took a walk along the canal, starting in Pittsford where our guests were staying. We walked from there to Fairport, thinking there would be a place to eat. The walk was a lot farther than we thought and I was thinking about a pint of cold beer but unlike Pittsford, Fairport is a blue collar town and the restaurants don’t open til 4. We met at Rocco’s for dinner that night and ordered traditional Italian fair. Peggi and I recommended the salad and we all ordered it but it bombed. Despite the fancy name, “Tres Colores,” the radicchio and lettuce mix were downing in a bitter sherry vinaigrette. You notice these kind of things when you recommend a place to guests. It is still one of our favorite restaurants. 

We asked our guests what they would like to do the next day and were delighted to hear they wanted to to see the apple orchards so we worked our way around the bay and drove along the lake to Pultneyville where we  stopped at B. Forman Park. Fully loaded apple trucks were everywhere along the way and I was surprised at how large an industry it really is when you go looking for it. The cobblestone houses are a sensational and we stopped in front of one just to gawk. We took Middle Road back and stopped at Lagoner Farms in Williamson where we sat at a picnic table in the sun while enjoying their cider and a cheese plate.

We finished our visit with a meal and conversation outdoors at Redd. Everything is right with the world there.

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Spirit Communication

Shannon Taggert "Messages & Mediums " at Rochester Contemporary
Shannon Taggert “Messages & Mediums ” at Rochester Contemporary

We met met Shannon back in her RIT days. She photographed some of my painting back when film was king. She became entranced by the spiritualists at Lillydale. She moved to Brooklyn and is now based in Minneapolis but she is still following that thread. Her most recent photographs were taken over Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime during the pandemic and uses a computer screen and her camera to memorialize recent digital séances. At her opening last night she reminded us of parties in our house in the city where we danced til the sun came up.

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Pimientos De Padron

Homegrown Pimietos de Padron. Too big, too red, too hot.
Homegrown Pimietos de Padron. Too big, too red, too hot.

Pimientos de Padron are a favorite tapa of ours when we are in Spain. We were planning to do another Camino walk, el Primitivo, when the pandemic hit. Spain closed its doors for good reason, opened them for a spell and now recommends against travel. So we sit on this side of the Atlantic.

Fruition Seeds in Naples, just south of us, offered Pimientos de Padron seeds this year so we grew our own. We were surprised how big the plants got. Bigger than our bell pepper and jalapeño plants. And bountiful.! They grew so fast the first few batches were already too big. We were aware that servings in Spain often had one or two in the batch that had some heat and they surprise you because the rest are so deliciously seductive.

So instead of letting then grow large and well before they turn red we we’ve been picking them young, when some are only an inch long. They go great with a La Liga match and bring us one step closer to Spain.

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Dumpster

Dumpster in our driveway
Dumpster in our driveway

There was a period, a few years back, when I photographed every dumpster I saw. One of them was in our next door neighbor’s yard just after he died. He was one of the old timers, the original owner of a Don Hershey classic that was built in the late forties. You can see just a bit of his former garage door in the photo above. The dumpster is in our driveway. We’re getting a new roof, a metal one, just like our friends, Pete and Shelley.

The workers left their magnet on wheels here when they left for the day so Peggi and I took turns pushing it around the yard. Mostly`we found nails, roofing nails.

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National Cash Shortage

Street preachers, downtown Rochester, New York
Street preachers, downtown Rochester, New York

The cash register lines at Home Depot all had a sign that read “National Cash Shortage. Please use exact change for your purchase if possible.” It struck me as odd because I take every opportunity not to use cash. I use Apple Pay whenever possible and if others are doing this too you’d think there would piles of extra cash around. Then again, I try not to carry coins in my pockets. I have an old ashtray next to the bed with a pile of coins in it. Maybe that’s where all the cash is. And why doesn’t Home Depot accept Apple Pay?

These sidewalk preachers were really putting on a show. Dressed like shepherds in a manger scene they were videoing the proceedings while preaching to a handful of other guys in robes. And then there was me, on my way to Rochester Art Supply. The sign in front of the speaker showed the classic head of Christ, the 1940 portrait by Warner Sallman, but with red horns and the head proclaimed, “This Is The Devil. Jesus Is A Negro.” I kind of suspected that. I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from, going on about President Wilson and the Gold Standard. I took a photo and moved on.

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La Última Jornada

Wildflowers near the Wisner entrance to Durand Eastman
Wildflowers near the Wisner entrance to Durand Eastman

Today is la última jornada for most European soccer clubs. The three teams we follow, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid all play at the same time. They did this last week as well and it surprised us. We record the games and planned to watch them one at a time but they go split screen in the middle of the match when a team in a concurrent match scores a goal and that sort of spoils the ones we have recorded.

La Liga got us through the pandemic. They played the whole season without fans and most of the teams had Covid outbreaks amongst the players but they completed the 38 weeks (the 20 La Liga clubs play each of the other teams twice in the season). We watched well over a hundred matches.

We started the season cheering for Real and Barcelona. One of those two have won the league championship every year but one for the last twenty years. But each time we watched Atlético we liked them more. There is a lot riding on today’s match. Atlético has been in first place for most of the season. Barcelona is out of the race after losing last week but if Real wins and Atlético loses Real would be champs. Atlético has an easier game going against one of the bottom placed clubs, one of the three that will be relegated to Segunda División next year. Go Atlético!

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Going Green

Parcel 5 Green Space downtown Rochester
Parcel 5 Green Space downtown Rochester

These guys in day-glow suits had Parcel 5 perfectly graded this morning. The grass seed will probably be next. I was one of the contrarians who wanted something other than empty space in the middle of downtown but I’m good with the park idea as long it is more interesting than lawn. I was holding out for the return of city center and all that used to go with it. Stores, offices, newsstands, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and a place to hang out while skipping school. Stuff that is never coming back.

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Give It Up For The Lighthouse

1822 Charlotte Genessee Lighthouse Rochester, New York
1822 Charlotte Genessee Lighthouse Rochester, New York

Imagine how this 1822 octagonal lighthouse feels today. It’s not just that the Port of Rochester is no longer bustling but the land around it has been “reclaimed.” That’s the term the historical society uses in the signage on the property. Piers were built and rebuilt on either side of the mouth of the mighty Genesee and over time the land on the other side of the river filled in, stranding the lighthouse. It still manages to overlook the river rather proudly. My father gave it some respect in a series of watercolors.

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Bicentennial Cemetery

Leo Dodd watercolor "Birdwatchers" 15"h x 22"w
Leo Dodd watercolor “Birdwatchers” 15″h x 22″w

When lockdown started last spring Jim Mott told us the birder crowd was bad about social-distancing. So desperate to see what others spotted they get right on top of each other and it spooked him. We stopped today to take in some sun while we looked out on the marsh off Hoffman Road. Our neighbor’s daughter walked by and we told her we thought we had seen our first Red-winged Blackbird. She told us she already had. My father was an avid birder and it is his birthday today. This is one of my favorite paintings of his. So descriptive. He perfectly animates the typical birder body type.

We got the new issue of the Historic Brighton newsletter this week. We did their website for many years. My father was one of the founders and the group now has a Leo Dodd Fund they use for preservation projects. They give out an annual Leo Dodd Heritage Preservation Award and this year it is going to Richard Miller for his work a volunteer caretaker of the Brighton Cemetery. At the end of Hoyt Place off Winton Road, the cemetery sits right next to the expressway, which in 1821, was the Erie Canal bed and when they moved the canal it became the subway line. And then the expressway.

Brighton Cemetery photo by Leo Dodd 2014 from his Flickr page
Brighton Cemetery photo by Leo Dodd 2014 from his Flickr page

We wizzed by the cemetery on our way downtown yesterday. You can get a quick look of it from 490 before the trees fill in. The cemetery is older than Brighton or Rochester. The area’s earliest pioneers are buried here. Abner Buckland, Brighton’s brickyard owner, is buried here. Its two acres filled up a long time ago but today it is a pretty oasis full of history. With the help of the “Leo Dodd Fund,” Brighton Cemetery is now a designated landmark of the City of Rochester. A birthday gift to my father!

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Backyard Brutalism

Tires in front of garage in Sea Breeze neighborhood
Tires in front of garage in Sea Breeze neighborhood

Dick Storms calls this “Backyard Brutalism.” There is quite a bit of it in the Sea Breeze neighborhood and that’s what makes it so much fun to wander around in. There is plenty of it in the city but I don’t live there anymore. We moved up near the lake fifteen years ago. Nature trumps this stuff in most cases but I am still attracted to it.

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Art Or

John McCracken sculpture in Davis Zwirner Gallery, Chelsea NY. Photo by Peggi Fournier.

We’ve been following the mystery of the art piece officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety found in the desert. David Zwirner says it was done by one of their artists, John McCracken. McCracken died in 2011 but his son said he talked about leaving pieces behind for people to discover when he was gone. McCracken’s friend, Ed Ruscha, is not buying it.

We always stop at Zwirner’s gallery when we’re running around Chelsea. Ran into John Baldesarri there when he was showing Georgio Morundi. In 2018 Peggi took this photo in the entrance, can’t remember what show we saw here but the reflective piece is one of John McCracken’s monoliths.

One day later: I’m revisiting this post to report the mysterious monolith has been stolen.

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Gallery Hopping In A Pandemic

November sunset over our house
November sunset over our house

Friday the 13th marked exactly eight months since we last had dinner guests in our house. We spent the day virtually gallery hopping. We started by joining the Eastman Museum’s 1PM Zoom presentation, A Photographic Truth, with process historian Mark Osterman. He walked us through the various photographic image making processes, demonstrating how starting in the nineteenth century, photography has always had a challenging relationship with the truth.

I have had the Cultured Mag webpage that Louise sent us open for a week now because it had a link to the Philip Guston virtual show at Hauser Wirth. That became our second destination and turned out to be a deep dive as you would expect with anything related to Guston. The show was curated by Guston’s daughter, Musa Meyer, and she narrates a beautiful walk-through. The gallery’s site includes a short video of a 1979 Roberta Smith interview with Guston that is a must see. I’m a Roberta groupie and just had just read her review of Jonathan Lyndon Chase‘s show in Friday morning’s paper.

At 6PM we joined the Zoom meeting at the Memorial Art Gallery with art critic and Warhol author, Blake Gopnik. He shared a wealth of Andy info and was thoroughly entertaining.

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The Clown Next Door

Rick and Jeff juggling show in Rick's front yard
Rick and Jeff juggling show in Rick’s front yard

By the time we were coming back from our walk this morning people were gathering on our next door neighbor’s lawn. Rick, the guy in the clown suit with the flaming torches, had been teaching our neighbor, Erica Bryant‘s son, how to juggle this summer and they decided to perform for the neighborhood. Rick invited his former partner to join in and it was a real show.

I typically play horseshoes every other day with the clown next door. We are pretty evenly matched so it keeps us on our toes. I cancelled today’s match to make room for Kathy’s “Brew by the Bay” event, a really small outdoor gathering on her pergola overlooking Irondequoit Bay. It was nice enough today hang out at and in the pool and tomorrow even looks better.

I was gonna complain about the cancelled Guston shows but I will do that tomorrow

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Wood Scrounges

Woodchuck tree service working on our neighbor's tree
Woodchuck tree service working on our neighbor’s tree

Our street is not just tree lined. There are trees between and all around most of our neighbor’s homes. Woodchuck Tree Service has done a lot of work in the neighborhood this summer. One neighbor watches them work and then they think of something that needs addressing. And while they are doing that job another neighbor hires them.

These big oaks were at least eighty feet tall and they look small in this setting. They grew too close together and rotted at the bottom. So before they fell on a house our neighbors decided to take them down. A full day’s entertainment. The crew is Haitian and their bucket was being worked on so this one guy did the climbing. Peggi and I helped the neighbors stack the log length pieces along their driveway and we plan to take a few car loads down here tomorrow.

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Guard Against Throat-Scratch

Full pack of Pall Mall cigarettes on rock near Irondequoit Bay
Full pack of Pall Mall cigarettes on rock near Irondequoit Bay

There was a serious amount of smoking in “Once Upon A Time . . . In Hollywood” and a lot of smoking in “In A Lonely Place” and then some smoking in “Being John Malkovich,” the last three movies we watched. We were happy to find they are still great. Really great in fact. You can see why directors want to use these things. The mood, the pause, the period, the smoke, the prop for the actor. We found this pack of Pall Malls on a rock along the shore of Irondequoit Bay this morning.

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Soft Curating

Book cover for Paul Dodd artist book "Brief History of the World • Vol XIX"
Book cover for Paul Dodd artist book “Brief History of the World • Vol XIX”

Will Heinrich reviewed a 56 Henry virtual art exhibit called “Labyrinth of Solitude” in this morning’s NYT and described it in a way that sounds very familiar to me. The curator, Jens Hoffmann, chose 13 masterworks from the Metropolitan Museum, and matched them with new paintings in themed pairings that elaborate on the timely theme of solitude, from “Death” to “Salvation” and “Identity” to “Isolation. The show is presented online as if it was hung but the Metropolitan paintings were never borrowed.

One of my pandemic projects is creating eBooks from my artist books. Called “Brief History of the World,” they are an ongoing project and are constructed in a similar manner. Old and new images, mostly borrowed from newspapers , are presented in pairs. I have five of them online now. I suggest starting with Volume XIX, the most recent of the five. It’s an easy and safe read.

The book can be viewed with any reader on any device but the phone is just a bit too small. And the book reads best in 2 page spreads because there is a dialog there. Here is the link to the free download of Brief History of the World Vol. XIX. I hope you enjoy it.

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Reinvention

View of Genesee River with Kodak Office - photo from City of Rochester
View of Genesee River with Kodak Office – photo from City of Rochester

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.

High Falls area - photo by Paul Dodd 1976
High Falls area – photo by Paul Dodd 1976
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Garbage Glam

Rochester City garbage truck glam shot
Rochester City garbage truck glam shot

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.

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