Might As Well Jump

Paul and Fran Dodd jumping in a quarry in Bloomington Indiana
Paul and Fran Dodd jumping in a quarry in Bloomington Indiana

I think it was the summer between my brother Fran’s junior and senior year in high school when my parent’s had had enough. They asked if Peggi and I would take Fran for the summer. We said yes and they drove him out to Bloomington and dropped him off.

He got a part time maintenance job at Peddler’s, the woman’s clothing store that Steve Hoy’s sister ran. I was finishing concrete for a construction company and Peggi was working as a dental assistant. Dave Mahoney was working in the dorms and he lived down the street from us. We all spent a lot of time at the nearby quarries. We didn’t usually wear bathing suits but we did when my parents came back out to pick him up. My father took this shot. You can tell which one of us was more of a rebel rouser by the body language in this shot.

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Chipmunk Toss

Chipmonk at the door
Chipmonk at the door

Like everyone else, the chipmunks are slowing down this time of year. Whether they are too fat and complacent from the the bountiful summer or just getting sleepy in preparation for winter hibernation, they are piling up at our door. And our cat, Ornette, is responsible for the slaughter. I guess he thinks he is doing a good thing, bringing them up to the door, like he’s doing his share to put bread on the table. At most he puts puncture wounds in their necks and only occasionally will he eat some of the head. I’ve seen some chipmunks get up and take off after this treatment. It’s kinda gross. Today there were three of them. I keep a shovel by the door to scoop them up and then I toss them out back in the woods.


Progress or Passage

Margaret Explosion at Little Theater Cafe in Rochester, New York
Margaret Explosion at Little Theater Cafe in Rochester, New York

John Gilmore brought a Wegman’s precooked chicken over for dinner last night. We had a salad and some salsa waiting for him but the salsa was too hot for John. We gobbled it all down and raced off to the Little for our last Margaret Explosion gig until November. We’ll use our down time next month to rehearse for the Scorgies Reunion gig. Haven’t touched most of that Personal Effects material in twenty years.

Bob Martin was out of town last night so we played with Jack Schaefer. We got through the night without doing any songs and that is usually a sign that there will be some magic on the recording. Paul Brandwein was there to hear the band and marvel at his art on the walls. We had just seen him at the Billy Bang show on Monday. Mick Sarubbi was there with his mono recording rig set up. That’s his mic in the foreground of this shot. Here’s our recording of one of the tunes from last night. We’ll have to A/B it to Mick’s.

Back home we checked out the photos that John Gilmore took at the Little while iTunes shuffled away in the background. Patsy Cline’s “Does Your Heart Beat For Me?” leveled me for some reason. Does that old stuff really sound better? Is there such a thing as progress or just passage? Like Irene (Palermo) Baurschmidt told me at our reunion, “We’re getting old, Paul”.

Dreamland Faces ignores these issues and plays timeless music. They’ll be playing saw & accordions tomorrow night while Jenn Libby projects some films at the Visual Studies Workshop – 8PM. Pick up a copy of their new BROWN HORN instrumental record while you’re there. I will be entertaining my mother-in-law.

I used the 25 dollar B&N gift certificate that the class gave me for being on the reunion committee to order the Marlene Dumas book, “Measuring Your Own Grave”. The book is a companion piece to her upcoming show at MOMA. She is my favorite living artist.

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Deep Feelings

There was a new guy in our painting class last night doing these abstract, big bang sort of paintings. He is also a fly fisherman so he and our painting teacher, Fred Lipp, spent a good deal of time talking abut locations and lures. I was thinking they ought to come over and catch a few of the flys in our house. We had the doors open round here while we gave them two coats of fresh paint and collected a few. I had one wake me up by insisting on landing on my nose.

Fred was relentless last night as well he should be. “What is this?”, he exclaims as he reaches for his grey paper to cover the offending “neck” in my case. “It looks like a tree stump”. My father, who is set up right next to me, gets as merciless an assault. In his case Fred covered half the painting and told him, “There’s your painting”. He was left with a beautiful Maine lighthouse. My father said, “Hey. I pay for this class”. You get what you pay for and we have it no other way.

Fred has a beautiful watercolor on display in the faculty show at the workshop right now. It’s called “Moving On Out…” Why wasn’t he chosen for the upstate biennial that’s currently on display in the MAG? There is no good answer.

We finished a new sheet music cover today for Tony Stortini. This piece is called “Deep Feelings”. Jack Handy comes imediately to mind. How many design firms are still doing sheet music covers these days? Tony is on a creative roll. We already did art for “Hearts of Gold” which he wrote for his daughter and “Tippy Tap Joe” which was dedicatedf to his brother, Nunzio. Peggi stuck Nunzio’s head on tap dancer that she found online.

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Painting Houses and Crime Faces

Paul Dodd Crime Face #22 2008
Paul Dodd Crime Face #22 2008

It is not just a coincidence that we finished painting our house yesterday and that painting class starts up again today (see class listing below). My painting arm is in good shape, my mind is well rested and I am ready to apply myself to this most engaging discipline.

Don’t let the “Advanced” part of the description scare you. Sign up if you if you’d like to be a better painter. Fred Lipp is the best.

ADVANCED PAINTING – Creative Workshop – Memorial Art Gallery
Ten Tuesdays, 6:30–9:30 pm, September 23–November 25 [taught by Fred Lipp]
This studio is a place of camaraderie, concentration and honesty mentored by highly respected painter and teacher Fred Lipp. Your work will be carefully seen, reviewed, and nudged along, as you’re challenged to consider what you’re creating, why and (most importantly) how the painting works and can work better. Painters work in a variety of styles, manners and media. Register early as this class fills quickly.



FAB at the German House in Rochester NY
FAB at the German House in Rochester NY

We have been lucky to see Billy Bang so many times. We first saw him at Red Creek in the seventies when he was playing in Sun Ra’s band. He has played here three times during the Jazz Fest and Garth Fagan hired him to perform live for one of his dance pieces in Greece. Tom Kohn had him at the Bop Shop in the Atrium a few times with different line-ups.

The lineup tonight at the German House was one of my favorite configurations – a trio called FAB with Joe Fonda on bass, Barry Altschul on drums and Billy Bang on violin. All three are amazng players and improvisors. In this setting Billy is as melodic as ever but the band is not just here to support Billy. This is an exciting three way street. We sat with Jeff Munson and took in the sights with our eyes closed.


Wooly Bully

The party room attached to the bar at the VFW in Fairport last night was flooded with florescent lighting and the acoustics from the hard surfaces made conversation tough but the class of 1968 rose to the challenge. Just like old people, everyone pretty much showed up at once. There was about a third of the class there along with a poster with the faces of the fallen. Three of my best friends from high school were on the board and it felt a little strange. Everyone knew Charlie Coco and Tim Schapp (in the glasses below) had died of AIDS but a number of people asked me how Dave Mahoney died, Patti Cowie, Dave’s old flame, among them.

I’m third from left, top row.
Row I - Nancy Barry, Bill DeMar, Dave LaPlante, Richard Poe
Row I – Nancy Barry, Bill DeMar, Dave LaPlante, Richard Poe Row 2 – Bernard Finch, Mary Renz, Tom Kalupski, May Piotrowski, Bill Hargarther, Debby Wiechman, Joe Barrett, Rena Wojack Row 3 – Darlene Hilfiker, Richard LaFrois, Ruth White, Bobby Gray, Barb Mayer,Tom Schneider, Martha Schneider, Albert Williams Row 4 – Andy Finn, Jean Meier, Paul Dodd, Sandy Argus, Bob Brooks, MaryAnn Wojaick, John Abrams, Irene Palermo Row 5 – Marty Schreiber, Tim Schapp, Eileen Amen, Roger Miner, Michael Coffee, Linda Fry, Steve Zelimier, Michael Kubrich Row 6 – Gary Nagel, Dave Wilson, Fred Lorman, Richard Switzer, John Welch, Bob Leiberrnan, Milan Beh, Alfred Williams

Someone brought old class photos and I was knocked out by this one of our fifth grade class at Holy Trinity. My family moved out of the city that year and I joined the class midyear so I didn’t expect to see my photo in here (with tie above). Bill DeMar was in the photo. I heard he is dead too. He figured out how to set the clocks back so the bell never rang to signal the end of recess. Andy Finn, who has his own talk show, was in the photo and Tim Schapp and Joe Barrett were there even though they were not in attendance at the reunion. Bill Grey, who’s father started Bill Grey’s restaurants, was in the photo and John Abraham, a good friend from grade school, was in the photo. He died in a car crash right after high school. Albert Williams was in the photo and in attendance. His twin brother, Alfred, was in the photo but still in Las Vegas. Dave LaPlant  was in the photo and he was standing right next to me. He helped me identify the rest of the class. Jean Maier was in the photo and she was there too. And Irene Palermo was on the end of row four. I called her over to show her the photo. We were boyfriend/girlfriend in high school. She told me I looked thin. I took it to mean  “too thin”. She looked great.

I was too overwhelmed to take photos and that is not like me. I did get a good one of Nina Gaby and Leeann Birdsall and another of Karen Mahoney and Laurice Densmore. I couldn’t tell if I was overloaded from seeing so many familiar people or emotionally drained from replaying so many scenes from the past. I wasn’t even able to make good conversation. I felt like I was back in high school. Mike Allen took me out to his car to show me something. He was in working bands in high school and he gave me an announcement for an upcoming gig at the Mez. I checked to see how Peggi was holding up. I was in her place earlier in the year when we went to her reunion outside Detroit. She was talking to Mary Kaye and Shirley Zimmer and was all smiles so I felt better.

We did the twist on the dance floor and we all snaked into the bar. Marianne Gocker was hanging on to my hips. Holly Clark became the Queen of Soul for “Respect”. The class was dancing in a big circle and Jeff Munson and Doug Klick did a WWF interpretation of Wolly Bully in the center of it all. The dj had a pretty good segue with Louie Louie but it was done by somebody other than the Kingsmen.

The committee took home mums and leftovers from Proiettis. I was still out of it today so we snuck over to Rick and Monica’s hot tub for a soak and then watched Mystery Science Theatre reruns on VHS.


Tree Trimmer To The Stars

We had Bruce O’Neil out to look at a few of the trees around our house. We have some big ones and we wanted a professional to let us know if we should be concerned about any the ones that lean in on the open sky above our house. Our friends, Pete and Shelley, had one fall on their place in the Adirondacks. Bruce found a few dead branches that he said he could clean up but no real concerns. There was one caveat “Of course, I can’t do anything about an act of god”.

Bob Mahoney recommended Bruce but the funny thing is he had already done work for Rick and  Monica across the street and Jerod down the hill so he felt right at home. Bruce told us he had done some work for Gary Lewis of the Playboys fame and when Bruce told him how much he liked “This Diamond Ring” Gary gave him a dvd of his father, Jerry, and him through the years on various tv shows.

When we finished talking trees I showed Bruce the name tags that I had printed out for my high school reunion tonight. Bruce graduated the year before me and knew a lot of the people in my class, especially the girls.

We went to a pre-reunion gathering last night at Holly Clarke’s father’s place in the city. Holly, up from Brooklyn, was voted best actress in high school. Her brother, Jordan, who graduated in Bruce the tree surgeon’s class, is Billy Lewis on Guiding Light. Holly’s father told us how he picks up women in Wegmans. He fumbles with meat packages and then asks nearby women if they know how to cook it. If he doesn’t see a ring on their finger, he recites poetry. It usually works.

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Viva Morandi

Giorgio Morandi

What a coincidence! Peggi’s sister comes in to town to relieve Peggi of parental duties and we painted the last of the trim on our house and in today’s paper an article about the Giorgio Morandi show that just opened at the Metropolitan. He is one of my favorite painters. I painted a portrait of him a few years ago.

We have a little more house painting to do tomorrow and then we’ll put away the ladders, the scrapers, the putty knives, the caulk guns the paint cans. And then we might just drive down to NYC for this show.

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On Air

Peggi DJing at WRUR With DJs Stan Merrill and Joel Rosenthal looking on.

Margaret Explosion played last night at the Little Cafe and we play one more time this month. Bob will be out of town for that one so we will either go as a trio or play with bass clarinetist/guitarist Jack Schaefer. We had pretty good gig last night and came up with few nice tunes. Margaret Explosion is off next month so we talked about getting together to rehearse for The Personal Effects reunion at the German House in November. We plan to go with The Margaret Explosion lineup and then get Martin Edic and Bernie Heveron and possibly Robin Goldblatt (all three former PE bass players) up for a song each. Should be a breeze.

We’ve been digging through old photos from the Scorgies days to post to the Scorgies site and we came across this one of Peggi on air at WRUR’s studios. I used to listen to her show while I worked downtown at Multigraphics. That’s Stan the Man and Rock n” Roll Joel marveling at her on air presence. This must have been around 1980.


Paste Up

New Math "Die Trying" cover under construction in 1978
New Math “Die Trying” cover under construction in 1978

I remember the waxer and press type and specing type and stats and rubber cement and benzine and the whole paste up process. And I remember doing the artwork for the first New Math single. I posted it all on the Scorgies site.

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I See What You Mean

Dow down -504.48(-4.42%). That’s no big deal is it? I talked to Steve Hoy, our unofficial financial guy, and he thought some more banks would fall next. I was thinking we were at the bottom. Our official financial guy called from Merrill Lynch to “touch base”. Merrill was bought today by Bank of America so he wasn’t very reassuring. Maybe we should be panicking but I don’t really care enough to panic. I sticking with the “buying opportunity” picture.

I was up the ladder the other day when Bank of America called again “about our account”. How many times do you have to hang up on these guys before they leave you alone? Our home line is on the “Do not call” registry but those laws are apparently meaningless in India. I told this guy, “We don’t have an account with Bank of America and we don’t want one. What are you calling about?” And all he could say was, “Oh, I see what you mean”.

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A little More Exciting

Marge's in Sea Breze New York
Marge’s in Sea Breze New York

There must be something a little more exciting than painting a house. The rain they had forecast for today never came so we read about Sarah Palin in the Times and then painted the rest of the day. It was a perfect night for Marge’s, balmy and in the eighties at ten o’clock. Peggi and I each had a Red Stripe and stood out back on the beach.

Genny Beer poster at Marge's in Seabreeze New York
Genny Beer poster at Marge’s in Seabreeze New York
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Go Bills!

OJ Takes The Stand
OJ Takes The Stand

O.J. never did take the stand in his murder trial so I must have grabbed this newsstand display in the civil trial. It says “Daily News” on it but we were in L.A. I remember spotting it n Westwood. While we were out there we visited the Mezzaluna, Nicole’s Brentwood condo and O.J.’s palace.

O.J was a local sensation when he played for the Buffalo Bills and it’s good to see him back in the news. Can’t think of anyone better to kick around during football season.

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Lucky Old Sun

Back of the house under the brush
Back of the house under the brush

The sun never appeared today. In fact the five day forecast, as unreliable as that is, calls for rain on Saturday and Sunday and then on Monday we’re supposed to get the remnants of Ike. So we stuck close to our computers and got sort of caught up with our 4D work. I had time to sort photos that were still on my camera and found this one of the back of the house under the brush. That trim around the windows is now dark brown and I took the newspapers off tonight. We still have window trim, the doors and the porch to do when the rain stops.

I chased a couple of deer out the garden. They were eatting the tops off our tomato plants. I clapped my hands and yelled “hey” and they ran. One of them crashed into the fence but shook it off and ran. Peggi’s helping John Gilmore with his computer. He used this near government level “FileVault” encription on his files and then his “User” folder got corrupted. We were able to recue the files from his old system and we did an erase and install. John brought a fish fry over for us from Captain Jim’s in our old neighborhood. And he gave us a cd copy of the new Brian Wilsom album from vinyl.

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A Big Mistake Is Better Than A Small One

Marlene Dumas "Illusion" detail
Marlene Dumas “Illusion” detail

If I lived anywhere near LA I would be at the Museum of Contemporary for the Marlene Dumas retrospective before it closes on September 22. I can hardly wait for the show to open in New York in December. I haven’t had time to paint on canvas in the last few months. All of my painting has been “en plen air”, on the house. But I have been thinking about painting and I am excited about getting back to it.

Marlene Dumas is great food for though. This quote is from a book of Marlene Dumas watercolors called “Wet Dreams”.

“For me watercolors used to be associated with failed artists (e.g. Hitler), retired politicians (e.g. Churchill) and Sunday painters. It was the most uncritical, non aggressive asexual thing to do. Then it’s image changed. Now everyone is doing it. Falling for this seductive, addictive medium, it’s hard to stop. Every little blob begs to be loved. It’s easy to drown in its sweet perfumes. So I try to raise the stakes. Increase resistance.

Unlike most painters, my watercolors, these days, are bigger than my paintings. A big mistake is better than a small one.”

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Nod to Terje and Crazy Horse

As we packed up our equipment at the Little tonight, Ken Frank and I had a good discussion about Captain Beefheart. Is it a good discussion when the other party says stuff that you agree with? Kinda saves you from wagging your tongue? Not always. But that was the case tonight. I know it is possible to have really good discussions with Martin Edic and not agree with anything he says.

Mick Sarubbi recorded the band in mono and of course with the recording equipment equipment there it didn’t sound as good as it did last week when only a handful of people were there.

We did a song as a nod to Terje Rydal and Crazy Horse last week and plan to put it on our upcoming cd, Live Dive. Speaking of Nod, Joe or Brian is trying to get a gig at Abeline with Nod and Margaret Explosion before the weather changes or has it already changed?

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I’m Against It

That Ramone’s song comes to mind all the time but life is too short to complain about everything.

I would guess about fifty Town of Irondequoit dump trucks have come up out of Hoffman Road in the last few days all loaded with rich, dark top soil. Because we are so close to Lake Ontario the soil here is usually orange and sandy so we had to go down in the holler to check it out. It looks like they are just helping themselves to the centuries old deposits of wet fertile soil at the bottom of the valley that runs out of the Sewillo Road development and into Spring Valley.

We hike through this area and I thought the property belonged to Durand Eastman Park but I guess not. It is wet and marshy but I don’t know if it is an official wetland. The town has cleared a hockey rink sized plot with a bulldozer and loaded all that earth in their trucks. As deep as they have gone, it is still dark top soil. Whatever the project is, I’m against it.

If you go down there to check it out you might have to hold your nose as drive by the Town of Irondequiot Cemetery where Hoffman begins. They put so much fertilizer on this property you would think they’re trying to raise these people from the dead. When it rains tomorrow all that chemical will roll downhill toward the lake. Does the town really pay those dudes to walk around each grave stone with weedwhackers while they they smoke cigarettes? What are they going to do when everyone has fogotten who all those people were?


Celebrating The Tomato

Blanched tomatoes for homemade tomatoe sauce
Blanched tomatoes for homemade tomatoe sauce

Tomatoes are at their peak here and it is time to celebrate them. Peggi made three pots of sauce yesterday. One had no jalapeño peppers and it is made to order for our neighbor, Leo. He has a fenced plot of land that he allows us to grow our own in. The fence keeps the deer out but a pesky rabbit kept getting at our plants. The basil, peppers and tomatoes in this picture all came from our garden.

We made calamari last night to bring to Rick and Monica’s as a first course. The trick to non chewy calamari, according to the fish guy at Wegman’s, is to boil it (water, lime/lemon, beer) no longer that 50 seconds and then get it on ice immediately. We did this and then divided it in six small dishes (the Spevaks were coming to dinner as well). I chilled some of the fresh tomato sauce and buried the calamari in it. It was fantastic.

The Spevaks brought an appetizer, stuffed jalapeños from their garden. And they brought a side dish of different kinds of tomatoes. They sliced up the green, yellow, red and plum colored tomatoes and drizzled some oil and vinegar on them. Both dishes were delicious. Rick, never one to be outdone in the kitchen, made a pasta, arugula and capers dish for the main course.

We cut of of work early today to continue painting our house and we took a break around two for a sandwich. Peggi had peanut butter and I had a tomato and onion sandwich. We both had some fresh tomato salsa.