I hardly know where to begin… This past Saturday, March 16th was the patrons preview of It Came From the Vault at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Avenue, Rochester, New York – 585.276.8900 · 585.473.6266). And it was an incredible experience. It’s also a very good art exhibit well worth taking-in for those close enough to go and see the show.
The whole weekend was filled with emotionally charged events for a lot of people. Friends were coming together after decades apart—as life pulls us all in so many directions at once through the years. Not to sound hokey, but there was a lot of love in the air in Rochester. I got to spend quality time with Danny Allen’s remarkable family, and hold his eighty-seven year old mither and laugh and cry together. Her son’s painting was on the museum’s wall, and while that will never bring him back, the emotional satisfaction of his recognition is not to be underestimated. An artist lives on by way of what he or she creates. On Saturday night, we all got to witness Danny Allen living on.
It was a particularly spectacular night for me, but I was so busy, I didn’t get a chance to take a single photograph. I’m waiting for photos to come in from different folks who were taking shots as the weekend unfolded. However, I did receive this very special photo taken by Andrea Polanski of me standing with my friend, Sarah Gerin, who is the University of Rochester intern who discovered Danny’s painting in the museum archives which led to this remarkable series of events. The opening was about the art and the exhibit itself, but it was also the informal launch of my book. I will be returning to Rochester in late April or early May for a traditional book signing and perhaps a reading.
I’m ending today’s entry with proof-positive that the publication of the book will lead to the discovery of more artwork by Danny Allen. Featured at the top of the page is a piece done by Danny Allen from the collection of Adele Fico. This piece is not represented in the book, but may make it into later editions. The book remains a work in progress. More art will surface. More stories about Dan have already come to light—and I see changes and modifications I need to make about my physical recollections of the city of Rochester.
There is something magic about that town and its inhabitants. I need to go back, and it will be my pleasure to do so.
Rochester is a lot more wonderful than we realized when we left it this last time. I suppose we were a bit spoiled. The Memorial Art Gallery is not an institution easily found in other communities. Where can you have the Vault Show, a reunion and book launch, great shopping, old friends, good meal, and a drag show and sword swallowing all under one roof in one night?
I didn’t think anyone noticed me sword swallowing in drag…. Next time I’ll be more discreet.