Community Icons

The Role Model (Armand Schaubroeck) from the "Community Icons" series by Paul Dodd. Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54" wide by "60" high, 1989
The Role Model (Armand Schaubroeck) from the “Community Icons” series by Paul Dodd. Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54″ wide by “60” high, 1989

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.

Community Icons Price List for Paul Dodd paintings
Community Icons Price List for Paul Dodd paintings
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Grotto of Agony

The Grotto of the Agony at St. Michael’s Mission House in Conesus, New York
The Grotto of the Agony at St. Michael’s Mission House in Conesus, New York

There is no way in hell that the Evangelical group that has taken over St. Michael’s Mission House in Conesus, New York will eve restore the The Grotto of the Agony. Christians have a lot in common but only Catholics wallow in the details of Christ’s crucifixion by entertaining thoughts of or practicing self-flagellation as penance for atonement their sins or as a path to sanctity.

We were in the back seat of Jeff and Mary Kaye’s car last week, traveling south along the western edge of Hemlock Lake, on a small country road when we came across a huge abandoned complex. The former seminary for “Societas Verbi Divini” or Divine Word Fathers is the perfect setting for “ruin porn” or a horror movie. The missionary order left the complex in the mid eighties and took the statues off their pedistals.

An Evangelical group has taken possession of the grounds and a caretaker told us about the “Grotto of the Agony.” We wandered around and found concrete structures for the fourteen outdoor stations of the cross that had been stripped of the depictions of Christ’s final hours. A life size cross near the Grotto showed signs of the body that had once been nailed to it. The Grotto’s centerpiece was a stone, cave-like structure that had been built into the hillside. I took some photos in the early nineties, studies for recasting the stations of the cross, and I really need to get back on that project.

There are a few websites devoted to St. Michael’s, one official and one fan-based.


My Old Town

Fake teeth on the counter at Dr. Miraglia's office in Rochester, New York
Fake teeth on the counter at Dr. Miraglia’s office in Rochester, New York

I am going to miss Dr. Cupolo or “Rocky” as other dentists call him. He retired this summer but his reputation lives on in his son’s restaurant which is named after my dentist.

I shopped around for a new dentist and was taking recommendations from anyone I talked to but decided to go back to the dentist I had in high school when I lived out in Webster. I even dated the receptionist while I was there. Dr. Miraglia is no longer practicing but his son (with the same name) has taken over the practice. I had my first appointment today and liked him quite a bit.

My Irish teeth are not as bad as Shane MacGowan’s but nothing like the fake teeth on the dentist’s counter either. We just watched a Pogue’s documentary the other night. Kind of hard to watch the alcohol ravaged Shane but I came away loving the Pogues more than ever.

I left the dentist and found an art supply store right in the village near the four corners. I needed some spray fixative for my charcoal drawings and I found one here. This was a cool little town back in the day. Bowman’s, The Candy Kitchen and Utz’s Bakery are all gone but Burkes is still there and the shoe repair. The shoe repairman also drove our school bus while he smoked cigarettes and swore at the kids. There was no music store back then but there is now. I found a nice 22 inch Zildjin K Custom Dark Ride cymbal. It was 349 bucks so left it right where I found it. I stopped in Barry’s Old School Café and Pub for a cup of coffee and found out they just opened a few weeks ago. This place on the four corners was a gas station when I was last there.

I was in fifth grade when my family moved out of the city. Webster was a charming little village surrounded by farmland and woods. They’ve torn up the town in rampant overdevelopment but the village is still pretty cool.

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Mannequin Modeling

Mannequin modeling at the Wyoming County Fair in Pike New York
Mannequin modeling at the Wyoming County Fair in Pike New York

For the third year in a row we visited Pike, New York for the Wyoming County Fair. It’s a mini vacation for us, a real getaway. Jeff Munson does the driving and Peggi and I sit in the back seat and gaze out the window as the small towns, funky homes and big farms whiz by. If you follow the Genesee River upstream Wyoming County is about half way to the Pennsylvania border. Jeff likes to take the back roads and every so often Mary Kaye turns to him and asks “Do you know where you are?”

The county is aptly named, a bit like the state that shares its name, a mixture of cowboy hats and Slayer t-shirts. We skip the midway for the most part and spend most of our time in the barns looking at the animals and watching the farm families wash and primp their blue ribbon specimens. We became completely absorbed with a pig walking ritual where the owners walk their pigs in circles with the aid of a stick. We hung around long enough to watch a woman scratch her 250 pound pig’s belly in way that caused the pig to roll over on its back.

We laughed as a rooster worked on his “Cock-a-Doodle-Do”, continually stumbling over the last note and we sat down in the 4-H barn to watch the Mannequin Modeling. We ran into Gary Miexner from the Wilderness Family. His son was playing guitar with a band in the evening’s Talent Show. When we got back home I checked the stats on the video I put up from last year’s fair. “I Got It” has 178 hits!