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Metro Ink 10.05.05

Still transforming

Artist Lucas Samaras has been at it since 1960. He has worked in broad range of mediums and even participated in the earliest Happenings, a wave of performance art events in the 60s.

Always self-referential, Samaras soon became known for producing experimental photographs where he used his body as subject and metaphor. Taking advantage of the malleability of dyes in wet Polaroid prints, Samaras manipulated these prints and created what he called his “Photo-Transformations.” Now into the 21st century, visitors to the George Eastman House will have the good fortune not only to view three examples of this historical work from the ’70s but also a new acquisition, PhotoFlicks and PhotoFiction (A-Z). It’s a new work with digital technology --- 4.432 iPhoto and 60 iMovie files on a Mac Mini --- but still the same principals of interaction and transformation are at play.

Like the earlier Polaroids, the clever and yet simple manipulations on PhotoFlicks produce wonderful and magical moments where the technology is evident but never stands in the way. Visitors can sit at the computer station and choose just how much of this excellent acquisition you want to experience.

Lucas Samaras’ work is on display indefinitely at the George Eastman House, 900 East Avenue. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. $8. 271-3361,

--- Alex Miokovic and Heidi Nickisher

Heavy metal

For being just another element on the periodic table, lead has the uncanny ability to make people sit up and pay attention.

The persistent and toxic metal once common in paint was the subject of an animated public hearing at City Hall last week --- or rather, the question of how best to get rid of it was.

Community organizers, activists, parents, scientists, and others are pushing for the strongest ordinance possible to get lead out of homes --- particularly those housing children up to 6 years old. They're the most likely to be exposed to lead-based paint and most likely to suffer its severe effects.

Their reluctant opponents are rental property owners, who say they're as concerned as anyone about getting rid of lead, but don't want to be put out of business in the process.

The two sides disagree over how expensive it is to adequately clean up homes and who should be responsible for the cost.

The subject of the hearing was a draft of a General Environmental Impact Statement prepared to guide City Council as it considers adopting a lead ordinance.

The EIS considered three main proposed alternatives: --- one from Councilmember Tim Mains, one from Mayor Bill Johnson's administration, and one from a landlords group called the New York State Coalition of Property Owners and Businesses. The EIS also considers the impact of doing nothing.

If you missed the hearing, you can still check out the EIS and let councilmembers know what you think of it. It's on file at the city clerk's office, NET offices, city library branches, and the city's website:

You can submit your comments until 5 p.m. on October 11 to: Robert Barrows, Director of Housing and Project Development; City Hall, Room 028B; 30 Church Street; Rochester 14614.

Color from the Greens

Thank God for third parties.

They may not be able to win very often. Sometimes, they aren't even able to inject important issues into the political dialogue. But they're good at bringing humor back into the sometimes dismal arena of politics (with the exception of Ralph Nader, of course).

For the latest example, steer your browser over to This tongue-in-cheek guide to local campaigning, from the Green Party of Monroe County, is among the best --- and funniest --- political statements we've seen locally in a long time.

In row after row of identical photos, each Republican candidate for CountyLegislature poses with County Executive Maggie Brooks. Their faces are glued attentively to what looks like a ream of budget worksheets, their brows deeply furrowed in feigned focus.

The Greens used the adjective "cookie-cutter" to describe the pics, but that hardly does the spread justice. And do catch the mouseover box accompanying each photo.

"The inspiration of the politics-as-usual piece came when we noticed the Republicans using the same template for their literature," writes Monroe County Green Party Co-Chair Jason Nabewaniec in an email.

(It'd be a lot funnier, though, if the Greens were fielding a few more candidates of their own to challenge the "cookie-cutter" Republicans at whose expense they're laughing.)

Back from the charters

Most students who attended two closed charter schools ended up this fall back where they started --- in the Rochester city school district.

Last spring, the state closed the Rochester Leadership Academy and the School of Science and Technology because of poor performance. Between the two, there were 1,500 students, and there had some concern that the district wouldn't know how many would return to Rochester schools until close to the beginning of this school year, making staffing difficult. That didn't happen, thanks to an intensive outreach program by district staff. The district identified students who hadn't registered by April, and started making home visits in the summer, says Joe Capezzuto, director of Student Equity and Placement.

"We took extra care to keep elementary level siblings together and in the same zone where they lived so they could be closer to home," he says.

A total of 1,384 former charter school students are now dispersed throughout the district. The others have moved to suburban, private, or parochial schools.

NET results?

For nearly a decade, the city's Neighborhood Empowerment Teams have been the first stop for citizens looking for many of the services their government offers. Now the NET program is up for review.

City officials have hired a local think tank, the Center for Governmental Research, to evaluate the program. CGR is to complete its report by the end of the year, and it's holding the following open houses to solicit public comments, each from 4 to 7 p.m.:

• October 12, HolyApostlesUrbanCenter, 8 Austin Street (Spanish interpreter available);

• October 13, The Corner Place, 983 Monroe Avenue (sign-language interpreter available);

• October 18, Dazzle Theatre, 112 Webster Avenue;

• October 19, CarterStreetCommunity Center, 500 Carter Street (Spanish interpreter available);

• October 20, Maplewood Library, 1111 Dewey Avenue;

• October 26, 19th Ward Community Association, 334 Thurston Road.

You can also call 327-7055 and leave a voice-mail comment, or email: [email protected].