Femme Fatale

Vic & Irvs in winter, Rochester, New York
Vic & Irvs in winter, Rochester, New York

When Duane Sherwood was town over Christmas we made the obligatory pilgrimage to Vic & Irv’s (they are closed until March) and hatched plans to go to the John Cale Nico tribute at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. We were going to take the train down and get off in Beacon. We had all read Robert Irwin’s book and were obsessed with seeing the former Nabisco box-printing facility that was renovated by Dia with Irwin as designer. The only tickets left to the BAM show were scattered about. Peggi, Duane and I contemplated sitting in different locations and then nixed the plan. It’s not like Nico would come back from the dead. Here’s what we missed.


Extra, Extra

Duane sent us this link to his newest video, one he did for “Juggler” from Margaret Explosion’s latest 45. He takes the the light side of the single and goes dark on us, enriching the music twofold. It’s a total knockout.

We finished Netflix Season 3 of “Breaking Bad” last night and spent some time today with extras at the iTunes store. In that spirit I posted some of Duane’s comments on the making of “Juggler” below.

“The camera is shooting 10 sec clips and turning them into 40 sec slo-mo’s internally. So those little swaying camera moves were actually happening fast.  And those swinging planes that sailed by within inches of the camera were really going fast. On another take, I jumped back suddenly, thinking I was about to get hit. Shot at Coney Island till they closed. Back home I came to the shot of the swinging chairs and immediately decided that shot was the opening w/o even seeing the rest. It dictated the whole feel & path. The machines are juggling people. The life we lead juggles us, we learn to be juggled by it from childhood onward. It all fit. I started seeing it all this way and it basically assembled itself. I made a choice not to ride any of the rides, to keep the point of view objective vs subjective. But I’m dying to go back at nite & just ride the rides.”


Collaboration Collision

Image from Heather Erwin and Duane Sherwood "Collaboration Collisions"
Image from Heather Erwin and Duane Sherwood “Collaboration Collisions”

First Friday in Rochester is happening. It’s so much fun to wander Chelsea style, from gallery to alternative space to open studio running into old friends while taking in art that can as Roberta Smith says “humble, broaden and energize you in significant ways.” Our favorite stop last night was Studio 215 on North Goodman. Duane Sherwood was up from NYC to hold court at the opening of “Collaboration Collisions”, photographic montages of photos he and Heather Erwin took around Rochester, new modern, Cubist montages that open in a psychedelic, Rorschach manner on a wide screen monitor.

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Instant Agenda

"Untitled" by Philip Guston from Small Panels show at McKee Gallery
“Untitled” by Philip Guston from Small Panels show at McKee Gallery

We got out of town ahead just ahead of the other day and drove to my brother’s place in Montclair, New Jersey. We kept his kids up way too late, talking and listening to Christmas records from his vinyl collection. We had breakfast with the kids, who were already late for school, and said goodbye to my brother as he raced off to work. The last thing he said was, “I left part of the paper here for you”. So I dove into the Friday’s Fine Arts section and spotted a Philip Guston painting with a review by Roberta Smith of a show at Midtown’s McKee Gallery. We instantly had an agenda for our New York trip.

"Untitled" by Philip Guston from Small Panels show at McKee Gallery

We found our way to Brooklyn and parked the car for the weekend near Duane’s apartment. More coffee and the F train to midtown Manhattan for this eye popping show. Philip Guston is my favorite artist and these small panels blew me away. This was a sensational show. Only four of these pieces were for sale. You could pick up all four for 1.3 million.

Even the Metropolitan Museum could not top that show but Robert Frank’s “The Americans” was pretty incredible. The prints were so much richer than the old book I bought at Light Impressions when they upstairs in Midtown Plaza. It was like seeing these by now familiar photos for the first time. We had an eggplant sandwich and a corn muffin at the museum café and then Duane and Peggi went up to see the “Velazquez Rediscovered” show while I wandered off to the Roman art section and to photograph some busts. I can’t get over how contemporary these heads look, like people you know or wish you knew, even though they were sculpted around the time of Christ.

Duane is the perfect NYC guide. He wears an orange hat and Peggi and I just shut off our navigational instincts and gawk and follow the hat and try not to walk into a light pole or something. We took a couple of trains back to Brooklyn and hung out for bit in pad before heading back out to the Front Room Gallery in Williamsburg for an art opening. It was a “Multiples and Editions” show and the curator was a friend of Duanes. The thirty five artists all had small, very reasonably priced (for the holidays) art in every nook and cranny of the two funky rooms. Duane bought a pocket sized “Kodak Guide to Photographing Your Dog“.

After the opening we went next door to the Flying Cow, a saloon style Argentinean restaurant. We shared octopus salad and then a beet salad, a bottle of Spanish Rioja and two vegetarian dishes called, “Shangrila”. I spoiled a perfect meal by trying a Morcilla sausage appetizer. I’m a sucker for those Spanish delicacies. The bartender played the whole “Between The Buttons” record and then some Neil Young. We complimented him on the way out.

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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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Modeling in New York City

Duane Sherwood “Modeling in New York City” detail.
Duane Sherwood “Modeling in New York City” detail.

“I Am Legend” wasn’t much of a movie after the John Cassavetes stuff. The buff Will Smith was about the last person left in Manhattan and so he naturally had a relationship with a mannequin. Duane Sherwood’s “Modeling in New York City” could have been shot the week they closed the city make to that film. Duane Is Legend!

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What Are Your Plans?

If I was in NYC this weekend I would be headed to the “Philip Guston: Works on Paper” show at the Morgan. After that I would head down to the West Village to Gavin Brown’s Enterprise for the Elizabeth Peyton show. She is one of my favorite painters. If I was Andrea Stim and in NYC I would be up on the roof of the Metropolitan for the Jeff Koon’s sculpture show. We have been looking for an opening to get down there.

Lucky Duane, he lives there and last night he saw Suicide. He sent this report up.

Last nite in my old neighborhood, literally around the corner from my old apt, in a Polish disco, Suicide played. It was sort of intense in a different way than their shows can usually be. Marty was wearing the biggest pair of goggles I’ve ever seen, like something from a space-age motorcycle helmet with pitch black lenses. The rest of his outfit was almost too much to explain. Red satin Hip hop basketball jogging suit w/ a shredded blk t-shirt. Vega wore what Vega always wears, black. + a Knit hat on his head.

Marty started by playing a whole heap of white noise sounds – high pitched – with no rhythm machine. Then Alan announced that they were dedicating the show to Marty’s wife Marie who had just recently died. That was a shock, & even more so to me because just 1 min earlier I’d asked Howard why, when Alans wife Liz was always at the shows, did we never see Marty’s wife. No idea why that Q had popped into my head. And so Howard had just told me she died in Feb. Married since 1971.

The clubs PA was too small & I think Martys unusually raw & emotional playing was too much (maybe purposely) because for most of the show the sound was really distorted & the sound system auto-shut down a couple of times for like 2 sec. That was intense too, the sudden silence. Lots & lots of white noise, my ears are really ringing today.

Song titles that I remember – Dream Baby, Wrong Decisions, Cheree, Che, Stayin Alive, Ghost Rider, Death Machine.

At one point While Rev was playing all this noise, Vega was putting his mic into the speaker of Revs amp & rubbing it all around the rim, etc. Extra noise & distortion. They played about an hour, & got a long applause encore. At the end of the encore, after Alan had left the stage, Marty finished up with an overloaded white noise wall of sound & then took off his goggles & said something solemn into the mic about his wife, but it was so distorted & blown out I couldnt understand it. Kind of a loose, sloppy, & unfocused, one off type show. Good, not great. But a good Suicide show usually still has more than some other peoples great shows. We chatted with Liz before the show & went bk & said hello to the guys after.

That friggin neighborhood was just waiting for me to leave to become incredibly hip. This place was totally east euro cool/trashy, and the hottest underground club in NYC now is at the next corner down on Calyer street towards the river.

Didnt take my camera but Howard took some shots. There was a great point & shoot in someones hands there, nice big LCD & it looked like it shot some form of nitevision, but it was deep blue instead of green. The guy was too far from me & he left before the show was over or else I was gonna go see what it was. Howard noticed it too, we were both green with envy, so something that fits my needs could be out their waiting for me to find it.

Next weekend is Memorial Day wkd – what are your plans?

Hmmm. We are thinking about driving down to New York.

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Big City

Rochester’s Eastman Kodak Company announced that they were discontinuing the manufacture of infrared film on December 30th. So now only some digital cameras will be able to take infrared shots. Luckily Duane Sherwood’s camera is one of them. I just spent some quality time with his new show, “Big City“. The human eye cannot see infrared radiation, but the camera lens can and Duane’s photos of buildings in Manhattan bathed in infrared radiation are beautiful.

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