Stopping The Crimestoppers

Crimestoppers from Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, NY
Crimestoppers from Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, NY

I had my last painting class at the Creative Workshop last night, that is my last until we go around again in the Fall. “Going around” is not really it at though. Fred Lipp conducts a class with no end. Every class, like every painting, is another beginning. I can only hope to not repeat my bad habits and move forward incrementally. No matter how many of his classes I take or how far I come, there is always a new host of problems to contend with. It will always be a daunting challenge and Fred is always there to help. I’m trying to recommend his class to anyone who is serious about improving their work. He is an incredible resource.

I was thinking I might take a break from the crime faces but then in this morning’s paper there is a whole new batch.

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Cliente Número Uno

It’s 4 PM and I still have my pajamas on. Some days go like this when you work at home. We weren’t even finished with our slim local paper this morning when when the phone started ringing. First it was the physical therapist who was supposed to be attending to Peggi’s mom. Peggi’s mom told her that she didn’t want pt so Peggi had to call her mom and do some tough love. Next call was on the business line and it was cliente número uno with immediate demands. I duked it out with the graph making function Illustrator while Peggi battled tables in Quark. And we still haven’t come up for air.

I will have to get dressed to go to my last painting class tonight. Peggi is stuck here doing rush changes to a 48 page book that needs to be sent off as a pdf for review. Nice, boring blog entry. What could anyone possibly comment on?

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Getting Our Digital House In Order

Bird In A Nest
Bird In A Nest

I spent some time adding gadgets to our iGoggle home page this morning. We took a break at noon and went down to the street pool. The air temp is in the nineties and the water was 78. Peggi checked the chlorine levels and the ph. We swam for a bit and came back to work.

I finished converting a stack of Sun Ra cds over the weekend and that completes the big rip. I tidied up the duplicates folder and made a backup. Big time Party Shuffle tonight!

Still don’t have a cell phone but we could use one now. A client is desperately trying to reach Peggi and she is with her Mom at a pain clinic. I see Apple’s new phone is twice as powerful and half the price of their last one.

I’ve been following Kevin Patrick’s, “So Many Records, So Little Time” for the last few weeks and I’ve put a link in the right hand column. It is a pop aficionado’s paradise and timely too. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, shipments of LPs jumped more than 36 percent last year while shipments of cds dropped more than 17 percent during the same period.

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Red Dots

Lorraine Bohonos paintings at 6x6 Show at RoCo
Lorraine Bohonos paintings at 6×6 Show at RoCo

We got to the opening of RoCo’s 6 by 6 Show too late to buy a Lorraine Bohonos painting. They all had red dots on the them by the time we got there. All the work in this show is six inches by six inches and it is all for sale at twenty bucks a piece. There were over three thousand pieces in the show, some by big name artists and it was all displayed annonymously. RoCo keeps the money and they made some, judging by the number of red dots. We wandered around for hours and kept finding things to buy. I’m happy the show was such a success for them. We finished the night over at Abiene where I managed to beat Bill Jones in 8 Ball.

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I’m Not There

I fought to find some time to paint today. There are so many things that need to be attended to around the house. It was ninety something out there but it was cool in the basement. I have a few paintings that I did in the last year that I am just not happy with. I identified what it is that I don’t like about them and I’m tackling those issues. I have this guy that I’ve been calling “the PR guy” whose nose was in the wrong place. And once I moved it I realized the mouth was in the wrong place too. So it was today’s project. I looked for the original source for about twenty minutes (the small photo from the Crimestoppers page of the paper) but couldn’t find it. So I tried correcting the painting by looking at only it. I fixed it alright but he doesn’t look Puerto Rican anymore.

Painting without the source made me realize that Fred (my painting teacher) hardly ever asks me to see the source when he determines what is wrong a painting of mine or when he assesses whether or not it is done. So if he doesn’t need the source, why should I?

Before heading down to the basement I asked iTunes to “Show Duplicates” and it had over two thousand. Of course if they were all duplicates that would mean something closer to one thousand. But what they are mostly is different artists doing the same song. All I had to do was look at the title of Dylan’s “I’m Not There” and it was stuck in my head. I found a Sun Ra version of “I Could Have Danced All Night” and I gave it five stars.

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Iconic Lyell Ave.

This over the top letter was in this morning’s mail.
Dear Frige,
I used to live in Rochester and was trying to find out if Tent City was still in business. (I bought a tent there once and it was great, dirt cheap and lasted for ages.) I found your Lyell Ave feature and just wanted to tell whoever took the photos that your images are very good.
You have a real knack for composition, colour, form and irony. I couldn’t find any credits for these images on the site but I wouldn’t mind having a chat with whoever this photographer is. Really, your photos are artworks and you should be having gallery shows of them. They should be published in great big expensive glossy books about Rochester. They probably already are and you ought to credit your work and protect it. Then you should buy the best camera invented to humanity and travel the world making images for National Geographic and Magnum and live like royalty on your commissions. Just thought I’d tell you, your work is wonderful. In a single feature you’ve raised Lyell Ave (!!) to the level of Iconic.
Thanks. Best Regards, Meg, London, UK

It reminded me that I promised to photograph another one of Rochester’s streets this summer for the “Streets of Rochester” section on the The Refrigerator. I haven’t decided which street to do yet. If anyone has any suggestions, send them along. I’ve been spending a lot of time on East Ridge Road and it has potential but it is a pretty hostle place for bicycles.

It’s funny how many people think refrigerator is spelled with a “d” and funnier that its abbreviation, “fridge” has a “d’. And this Meg person misspelled that.

I bought a Remmington hair trimmer so I could cut my hair without bugging Peggi to get the back. I chose the fitting that looked like it would cut my hair about a half inch long. I thought I could do the whole thing in minutes but it took me about a half hour. The damn thing just wouldn’t cut. If I can find the receipt, I’m going to take it back.

Peggi’s mom called while I was cutting my hair. She wondered if she gave us the the tickets for La Bohéme tonight. We looked around and couldn’t find them so Peggi called Mercury Opera to make arrangements for getting in without tickets. Then Peggi’s mom called back to sat she found them.

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You Can Not Reheat A Souffle

We had a Margaret Explosion rehearsal last night, our first in ten years as a band. WXXI called to say they needed a set list with the times of the songs that we plan on doing on our upcoming segment of their “Sound Stage” series. This series of one hour shows featuring local bands is being paid for with money from Elliot Spitzer’s successful payola lawsuit.

I told Todd, the program manager who called, that we don’t have have set times. We improvise. I didn’t have the guts to tell him we really didn’t even have songs. He pushed on. They need a set list next week and a cd of the songs we plan to do.

We decided to open with a jam so the first song will be called “Improvisation” and then we picked six or seven things we do quite often. They’re things that were originally a jam and we stuck a name on them and try to revisit the theme. But we really have never done a version of a song that was as good as it was the first time.

And that reminds me of that old Paul McCartney quote about getting the Beatles back together. “You can not reheat a souffle”.

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Summer Project

Enjoying the summer will be a project. And then there are all those summer projects. First on my list list is looking at Cubism. Fred Lipp’s orders. More like a question really. “Ever look at much Cubism?”

I started last night with the Cezanne piece and continued my investigation tonight by looking at my recent paintings with my first impressions of Cubism in mind. I was struck by how obvious it is that I am still learning to draw. That’s what I saw first. And my paintings are really drawings. And then I saw a lot of room for expression. I’m still not sure what Cubism is. I’m guessing a more imaginative way of seeing and translating is probably an important part of learning to draw. So I am still on course.

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Counterintuitive

Cezanne still life
Cezanne still life

The pool temperature hit 70 degrees today and the air is supposed to be near 90 this weekend so summer has begun. One of the past presidents of the pool club told Peggi to add chlorine tablets even though the chlorine reading was above normal. He said, “I know it’s counterintuitive”. We are trying to figure this out.

I have been painting a lot in the basement, putting a push on before the last class next week. I’m ready to start spending more time outdoors. We have tomato plants, jalapeño, basil and cilantro plants in the garden. We don’t really have a garden. The deer would get it if we planted anything here. Our neighbor, Leo has an extra lot that he has put an electric fence around and he lets us use space in there.

I brought a painting into class tonight that had some wacky eyes. One was too low but expressive. The pedestrian way I painted the nose and mouth killed the expression in the eyes so the thing needs work. My teacher suggested that I look at Cubism. He said it started with Cezanne and was driven home by Picasso and Matisse. He found a reproduction of Picasso’s “Gertrude Stein” painting that perfectlyly illustrated what he was talking about. I did a little google research and found out Picasso and Stein were both influenced by Cezanne.

I’m getting the picture that I need to be more expressive. The elements of my faces have to carry more form. Thinking about this will be my summer project.

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Close Only Counts In Horseshoes

Leo, Mary Alice, Andrew, Peggi and Rick
Leo, Mary Alice, Andrew, Peggi and Rick

Rick lives across the street and he played a lot of horseshoes while growing up in Troy. They had their own “project rules” like what happens when one ringer tops another and something about a leaner that came into play last night. He’s competitive in a good natured way. He really likes to win and gets kinda bummed when he loses. I can’t even remember what the score is so I just look to to him to say who’s winning. It is usually him but I won last night.

I was making some stir fry tonight (onions, red, yellow and jalapeño peppers in olive oil with tofu and pineapple) and Rick knocked on the front window. He had a red drink in his hand and he was ready to reclaim his crown. I put the dish on low and went out front where our pits are. I was a little uncertain when we moved here whether horse pits in the front were cool but know I know that it is the perfect place for them. Sometimes we get a crowd. I beat Rick in the first game and he asked to play another. I won again.

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Marlene Dumas Is A Saint

If Padre Pio can be a saint then Marlene Dumas can be.

Martin Edic forwarded an email from Boo Poulin this morning with a link to a video with Marlene Dumas paintings in it. Boo assumed I had seen it but asked Martin to forward it just in case. I watch about as much YouTube as I do TV and that’s hardly any. I had not seen the video and I still haven’t. I keep pausing the damn thing so I can look at the paintings. I will take me weeks to get to the end. And the music – I turn the sound off and it works much better.

Is it legal to open a book, scan a bunch of paintings and have that be your whole video? Rich Stim would know. He writes and Intellectual Property blog for Nolo. Marlene Dumas painting or drawing, now there would be a video. Marlene Dumas talking about painting or drawing would be a good one too. I’d take a video of Marlene Dumas crossing the street so I do love this video.

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Rejuvenation

Water temperature in our neighborhood pool reached 68 degrees today. If it was warmer out I’d be in there. I read Thursday’s and Friday’s New York Time this morning, brewed a cup Yogi Rejuvenation tea and headed down to the basement to paint. I got one that I like a lot. Again, I had plans for it but I didn’t get there.

I have to look around for an alternative to Yogi Tea. They changed the graphics on the boxes. It’s now glued shut like a small fortress and the tea bags are sealed in a type of paper that is almost impossible to tear open. I started to do the yoga stretch that is pictured on the box and I read, “Before doing this exercise or participating in any exercise program, consult your physician”. My doctor would live that.

We rode downtown with our neighbors last night to hear a band of Eastman students outdoors at the Village Gate. We sat down in front of Bodhis Cafe and Monica and I both ordered hummus and cucumber sandwiches. Peggi ordered chicken and I think Rick had something called “Big Bertha”. After dinner we rode over to Abilene where a Cajun band was playing on the deck. Danny has a pretty comfortable spot here. And the juke box is a sight to behold with Colorblind James Experience and Personal Effects first two record. We were checking it out with Mrs. Colorblind. There is a pretty cool podcast of the CBJ’s Dylan night from 1992 at that Colorblind link. Brian Horton does a version of “Dark Eyes” shortly before his heroin od.

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Feeding The Beast

Crucial Roots Labels by Duane Sherwood
Crucial Roots Labels baby Duane Sherwood

I’m still “feeding the beast”, that is, ripping all the cds we have in the house in iTunes and building a library on an external drive. This has been a casual, ongoing, background activity for about a month now. I’ve got boxes of cds on the way out the door. Still not sure where to go with those.

I am really surprised that I haven’t burned out the cd drive in our old laptop yet. That thing has been a work horse. I did bring it to its knees a few times with homemade cds with paper stick-on labels. I put the first of Duane‘s Crucial Roots cds in there and it sounded like a helicopter taking off. I had to use a paper clip to bring it down. I asked Duane if he had a digital version of his essential, twenty cd set of Reggae/Ska/RockSteady/Dub and he set aside some time on Memorial Day weekend to make one. It fit nicely on a dvd and it’s now in our library competing with Pete LaBonne’s twenty six cd set, “Gigunda” in the “Party Shuffle” mode.

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Nephew Management

Andrew with nice looking car on Alexander St
Andrew with nice looking car on Alexander St

I’ve been too busy managing our nephews to make coherent entries here. Andrew, Peggi’s sister’s oldest, is staying with us for a few days and one of my brother’s sons, Matthew, is doing a virtual internship with 4D Advertising for six weeks. I keep calling Andrew “Matthew” and Matthew “Andrew”.

Matthew is in his senior year at in Montclair High school in New Jersey and he is getting credit for working with us. We have him reworking web pages with new templates loaded with php includes.

We did manual labor with Andrew yesterday and upgraded his computer to Leopard today while we toured the Larry Towell show at the Eastman House and had dinner at One. In the middle of all this we’re really busy with 4D work. We ran into a few problems with Andrew’s install and may have bail the laptop out and mail it off to him at his next stop. He leaves tonight on the train for Chicago.

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What Would Jared Do?

Andrew at stone quarry in Penfield
Andrew at stone quarry in Penfield

I picked my nephew, Andrew, up at at his Grandmother’s apartment this morning and we drove over to the Odenbach quarry in Penfield where we met Peggi and our neighbor, Jared. We borrowed Jared’s truck to pick up a load of stone for the french drain we’re constructing in our backyard. Jared has been engineering this project and when he’s not around we’re always asking, “What would Jerod do?”

Andrew graduated from Penn last year and worked for the Park Service for a few months doing trail maintenance so we put his skills to work on the deer path that runs between our house and Jared’s. It is the only way to get a wheel barrel into our backyard and the way it was, we would have dumped the first load down the hill out back trying to walk like a deer. We moved about a ton of stone (5 dollars worth) into Jared’s truck at the quarry, over to our house, into the wheel barrel, down the deer path, and then into buckets that we dumped into the french drain. We worked Andrew like dog. Now we’re praying for rain to see the thing in action

We had a good turnout for our last gig at the Little until Fall and it was really nice playing for so many friends.

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Happy House

I wish I was at the Five Spot at 5 Cooper Square in the East Village for Eric Dolphy on July 16th of 1961. I almost feel like I was, I have listened to the music so much. Thank god Rudy Van Gelder was there to record it. The trumpet player, Booker Little, died of uremia a few months after this show and Eric Dolphy died of diabetes complications a few years later. This amazing date is available on two cds even though the night fits easily on one. I know because I’ve made copies for friends. The musicians, Eric Dolphy — bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Booker Little — trumpet; Mal Waldron — piano; Richard Davis — bass; Ed Blackwell — drums; are firing on all cylinders. This music will energize you. It is my favorite painting music.

Margaret Explosion finishes a three month stand at the Little Theatre Cafe tomorrow night. Fred Marshall may sit in on piano if he is not on call. Brian Williams sat in on bass for a tune three weeks in a row and Phil Marshall played guitar last week. Phil’s band, The Horse Lovers, stole the show at the Dylan tribute last weekend. I saw him before he went on and he told me he had never seen me lose my cool like I did when he and Rich Thompson were at the Margo gig. I told him I could barely play with Rich out there. Rich teaches percusion at the Eastman and is one third of Trio East. He is such an amazing drummer, I just feel apart fumbling around on my kit like I do.

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Juke Box in the Sky

Today is Steve Hoy’s birthday. It is a big one for him. There is a six involved. We called him this morning but he didn’t answer. He was at the Indianapolis 500 yesterday and and may not be able to hear his phone ringing today. In the late sixties he proposed that we just kill ourselves when we turned thirty. I was uncertain but Steve felt like that was just too old and everyone he knew that was that old was a creep. It is old. Sixty is older.

I worked so hard on our landscaping job on Friday that I couldn’t paint Saturday morning. I stood in front of my easel like a zombie and then decided to just go out and work in the yard some more. Painting is hard work, harder than landscaping. I need to be physically ready or I make a mess of it. We turned in early and I was in good shape today. I finished a really strong painting before Peggi got back with her mom. We cooked chicken in the back yard.

I called our nephew in NYC to see if he could handle manual labor when he gets up here. He’s taking the train up tomorrow. I plan on borrowing my neighbor’s truck and picking up a load of 3/4 inch gravel to put in the French drain out back. It’s $5 a load at the quarry in Penfield. Our nephew is up for it.

Kevin Patrick is building a site that dedicated to 45s. He has just started but it promises to be brilliant. He tried blogspot yesterday and Tumblr today. He’s looking for an easy way to embed music in the blog software. It’s called So Many Records, So Little Time and it reunites packaging with digital music files. It promises to a juke box in the sky or record store showroom where you can’t buy anything but you can browse as long as you like. There’ll be plenty of personal anecdotes as well.

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That’s The City

The water level at the pool was a little low so Peggi put the hose in and went home. She woke up around seven in the morning and remembered it was running all night. There were puddles leading out to the road when she got there. Oh, the pressure of being president of the pool association. I took advantage of the early hours to blow the oak tree droppings off the roof. While I was up there I blew out our only gutter. It smelled like old bong water. Kinloch Nelson stopped by to borrow Peggi’s Farfisa organ. He was traveling down to see Bob Cooper, who was the original owner of this beauty when he and Kinloch were in a band in the sixties. They were going to jam and this reunion with his old axe was a surprise.

We headed out to the annual Bob Dylan Birthday bash at the Village Gate. Chuck Cuminale from Colorblind James originated this thing about thirty years ago. He was the ultimate Dylan aficionado and was almost born on Dylan’s birthday so n those days it was a birthday bash for Chuck as well. We rode home with John Gilmore at the wheel. We dropped Jon Gary at his apartment downtown and headed down Culver. We stopped at at light and a Toyota SUV pulled up next to us. That vehicle stopped briefly at the light and then drove right through the light while we sat here. John said, “That’s the city”.

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Whoa Whoa, Yeah Yeah

We had dinner with Rick and Monica last night. Rick made tostadas and Peggi made roasted corn and with jalapeños. After dinner we watched “I’m Not There”. The various Dylans was a good idea but Cate Blanchet was so much better than the others and of course Bob Dylan’s music is so much better than the covers that the movie sort of fell apart.

I checked the mail on my way downtown to drop off my contributions to RoCo’s 6×6 show. I opened the mail while I was driving (it ain’t illegal yet) and there was a cd from the Squires of the Subterrain entitled “Whoa Whoa, Yeah Yeah”. I stuck it in the cd player but it kicked back out. I tried it back home and it wouldn’t play there either so I put it in my computer and a movie popped up. It was sensational, like the last one, only better.

Read a review of local boy Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Synedoche, New York” directed by the screenwriter of “Being John Malkovich”. Among other things it is about the anxiety of artistic creation and the desperate sense that your life is rushing by faster than you can make sense of it.

We almost went to NYC this weekend. We were going to visit Duane and gallery hop and then bring our nephew back from Brooklyn so he can visit his grandmother, Peggi’s mom, in Rochester and hang out with us. There were too many loose ends to leave town so here we are.

Peggi’s making Bob Mahoney’s “Cowboy Salsa” recipe. I cut up the cilantro and an onion. Beautiful day out. I’m headed down to the basement to paint.

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Dumber Than a Box of Rocks

Pile of Medina stone in backyard
Pile of Medina stone in backyard

I quit school after a year of college and went to work for Mitchell Construction Company in Bloomington Indiana. I worked on a crew that poured concrete and my boss was called “Frenchie” for some reason. He was a good old boy who smoked Winstons, hunted quail and woke every night with a “piss hard on”. There were only three of us on this crew. The other guy, Wayne Anderson, was hired because the company, which had thirty or so employees, learned they could not win any Indiana University contracts unless they hired a black guy. Wayne had just gotten out of prison for involuntary manslaughter. He was parking in front of a bar in Indianapolis and he hit the car in front of him. That car crushed a guy who was standing in front of it. We became friends and spent most of our time wrestling.

One of Frenchies favorite sayings was, so and so is “dumber that a box of rocks””. That’s kind of unfair to rocks but I like the image. We have some old stone walls out back that have been swallowed up by the earth and we’re rebuilding them. This is some backbreaking work, trying about ten stones to fit one in each place. We started by pulling out all the old rocks and we made this big pile to pick through. Our neighbors say we should hire the Bosnians. They have some sort of reputation around here.

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