Thursday, June 20, 2019

Night before the Trump Rally

The night before Trumps Orlando Rally to announce his candidacy for president, Pam Schwartz and I went down to the Amway Arena to see the Trump fans who were camping out to keep their place at the front of the line to get into the arena. Pam wanted to do some pop up oral histories and of course I wanted to get a sketch. We approached the arena from downtown and didn't see any crow so we then circled the arena clockwise. We finally discovered people waiting on the North West corner  across the street from the Federal Courthouse.

Tents were set up on sidewalks. It had rained hard that afternoon so these rebid supporters had been well soaked. Pam had talked to one group who had walked down the street in Paramour and stripped in the street so they could dry their clothes in a launder-mat. Surviving the daily rain storms seemed to build a bond between the red hatted supporters.

TV News trucks also made sure they had parking close to the arena. Periodically someone would walk up and down the street with a banner of flag waving. These red white and blue displays resulted in whoops and hollers from the crowd who had been sitting in the heat and humidity all day. One banner read, "Hispanics for Trump" and of course "Trump 2020." One supporter seemed to feel that the right leaning crowd was misunderstood. The liberals he pointed out where the one who would be throwing out F bombs when the debates got heated. He stressed that he firmly believed that Christian values were the building blocks on which this country was built. Fear of immigrants invading our country seemed to be on everyone's mind. He felt that if folks just sat down and talked together then they might achieve something better than just shouting at each other. I agree that communication is key.

The group at the very front of the line was well lubricated with beer and pot. They were feeling no pain on their long vigil towards hearing the Donald speak in person. Abortion was on their minds. Children were being murdered. A woman needed to bring a child into this world no matter what. When asked about the possibility of rape or incest, the idea was dismissed. "That happens so rarely." One guy however started to waver and his opinion softened a bit. A car honked in the background and supporters shouted.

I wondered how many people might end up in this line that was forming to get into the arena. Trump claimed that over 100,000 people wanted to get tickets, but the Arena only holds 20,000 people. A grassy field was set up beside the arena for any run over crowd. Jumbo trons were set up to broadcast the speech from inside the arena live to any overflow crowd. Trump has less than a 20% approval rating in Orlando, so I doubt many locals will be in that crowd.

Someone shouted my name as I was sketching. A husband and wife stopped on their bicycles to greet me. I had sketched her years ago since she was once a roller derby athlete. She said, "You are the only person I could imagine who might be out here sketching the night before a Trump Rally."

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Show of Force at Fringe

Skinned Knee Productions from New York, NY presented Show of Force. I found out about the show from Nicki Equality Drumb who I believe was printing show flyers the same day I was picking up flyers for my Fringe Book. Young women recently deployed recount their experiences as soldiers. The performance had live percussion.

Several of the woman talked about having to always watch their backs. One woman had to deal with a supervising officer who was constantly making unwanted advances. On the day she was going home having served, he called her into his office. While she heard her helicopter preparing to take off he forced himself on her. She described the rape in all its horrific detail. It was a bone chilling memory.

Another woman back from service tried to help her parents understand what she did in the service. She explained that it was her job to push the button that would kill indiscriminately. She wasn't the same person she was when she left.

While in the service they could rely on each other for support. But once they came back to civilian life they scattered to the four corners of the country. It was hard to adjust to life as a civilian after living through war.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Love Trumps Hate

On June 12, 2019 families of the fallen, survivors and members of the community gathered at Pulse to remember the 49 lives lost in a horrific act of violence. It was a chance to honor loved ones, to show support for the survivors and to honor first responders. It was 195 days since Orlando as a city changed.Orlando as a community continues to rise.

The sun was setting as Pam Schwartz and I arrived at the memorial ceremony. She branched off to make sure families were seated and I began to document the evening with a sketch. I had my own art stool and I sat in among the families leaning back against a tree. Several of the Angel Action Wings were in the crowd.

Several rows ahead of me I could see the father of Cory James Connell with his baseball cap and number 7 jersey. Cory was shot and killed on June 12, 2016 at Pulse. Later that year the family was blessed with the birth of a baby boy who they decided to name Cory as well. I sketched young Cory several times when the family spoke about their journey after the loss of their son. Now young Cory was a young three year old with wild hair and plenty of attitude.

During one of the songs a mother cried inconsolably to my right. Around me people turned and pointed their cameras towards the horizon. A large rainbow had formed as if an sign of the love and acceptance being honored. Barbara Poma offered a few remarks as did Buddy Dyer and Jerry Demmings. A sign language interpreter signed every comment of love and acceptance.  Then the names of the 49 were read. Unfortunately a few names were mispronounced.

Heather Martin a survivor of the Columbine shooting spoke candidly of her long road to recovery following that shooting. She talked about how loud sounds like fireworks could act as triggers. As she was talking an ambulance rushed by with it's siren blaring which is another sound that triggers memories of that night at Pulse. "This unfortunate bond of tragedy has born incredible friendships, friendships that have kept me going when I struggle." she said. Sharing her battle, her struggle helps overshadow the dark times with hope and love.

Plans are in the works for a permanent memorial and museum on the Pulse Nightclub site. Architecture firms from all over the world will be submitting proposals for what should be on this site. Opinions about what should be on the site are varied.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, June 17, 2019

Juice Box Heroes at Fringe

Kevin Burke presented Juice Box Heroes at Orlando Fringe. This straight forward show was about stay at home dads. He shared photos of his daughter and then baby photos of his son. He shared a photo of his son on a trip to the Grand Canyon and it was a shot of his son set against the grandeur of the view yet with his eyes averted to look at his cell phone. This photo sparked an Internet meme sensation and people photo shopped his son and various outlandish situations all the while lost in the digital haze of his phone.

When Kevin took his children to the playground the mothers on the sidelines wondered why this stay at home dad was spending time with his kids instead of mom. Kevin had a long history of working as a comedian and this show proved that he has the chops to keep an audience engaged and laughing while he laces his stories with sincere parenting stories.

His story of teaching his baby girl to ride a bike was heart wrenching when he was then years later teaching her to drive a car. He was basically teaching her to have independence and a life of her own. Kevin knows how to read a room and his interactions with audience members felt like the jovial exchanges one might have with relatives. This was a solid show with plenty of heart.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Great and Powerful Tim: Who Dunnit? at Fringe

The Great and Powerful Tim from Los Angeles presented Who Dunnit, a hilarious magic show gone wrong. I sketched a press preview and Tim Hoffman made it seem that there had been no rehearsals for this 1926 magic show in any form. At every turn the magic tricks went wrong. Tim had just flown in to Orlando and unloaded his bag of tricks moments before his press preview. On trick involved a locked box shown in the foreground of my sketch. The problem was that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the airport decided they had to cut the lock on his lock box for security reasons. This was just one funny mistake among the many that followed. It was the random mistakes that caused the greatest laughs.

One lucky audience member was called on to the stage to act as a world famous magician who rivaled Tim's scatter shot attempts at magic. The volunteer was coached to die on stage and Tim as a bumbling butler was tasked with saving the show. All the technical mishaps could not have been  rehearsed. I laughed out loud the entire show because Tim and the audience knew that if anything could go wrong it would. It was an absolutely side splitting hysterical performance. It had to be the funniest show I saw this year.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Emotions Dance Auditions

I went to an Emotions Dance audition. I have been sketching this dance company founded my Larissa Humiston for years and I am always curious to see the new talent that might joint its ranks. The Emotions Dance Studio is in a new location since the last time I had sketched there. The parking lot  in front of the large building was full so I circled around the block to search for paring. Right behind the building was a parking lot for the Sun Rail which was quite convenient. Next to the building was a sink hole filled with cat tails and many loud croaking frogs.

The dance studios were upstairs. Many pictures lines the walls of the stairwell highlighting many moments in the dance companies history. On the door Emotions was broken down into words signifying each letter. Excellence, Motivation, Opportunities, Teamwork, Individuality, Open Communication, Nurturing,and Self love. I arrived a bit early along with some dancers who were planning to audition.

The dance studio was spacious. The front wall was covered with mirrors along with black curtains which could be drawn to stop dancers from watching themselves. Larissa lead everyone in some rigorous warm ups and dance moves. She liked to joke that she is getting creaky with age, but she was demonstrating every difficult move for the new comers. Each dance move had an  exotic French name for it. I kind of wish there were French terms for sweeping fluid lines of crisp sharp and angular lines. I might make teaching art so much more exotic.

The professional dancers were also in the room so if someone needed to watch how a move was done they could watch a pro for answers. There was just one male dancer auditioning among the 20 of so dancers. I would think that raised his chances of being cast.

Everyone did very structured routines which looked exhausting. The dancers then broke up into groups to do a series of moves across the floor set to music. Mixed in to these moves were moments of improvisation. As the name of the dance company suggests the key was to express emotions through movement.

If you want to see Emotions Dance in person check out The Shift: Choreographer's Showcase happening at Central Florida Community Arts Black box Theatre (250 SW Ivanhoe Blvd, Orlando, FL 32804) on June 18, 2019 at 6 PM.The Shift in partnership with Emotions Dance Inc, occurs three times per year throughout Central Florida and provides a “preview” of professional contemporary, modern, jazz, and ballet companies season of works. Audience members will have a chance to meet the directors and choreographers after the showcase and find out more about the abundant and diverse professional companies in the area. Audience members will also have a chance to purchase tickets to upcoming performances and events with discounts and special VIP experiences.

Featuring works from:
Emotions Dance
Crawford Jazz Project
Thomas Wilkins
Florida Dance Theatre
Coco Loupe
Ariel Clarke
Tori Sarau
CG and Dancers

Tickets are $20for adults and $15 for students and seniors.
If the 6pm show sells out, they will be adding an 8pm show. One night only!

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, June 14, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for June 15 and 16, 2019

Saturday June 15, 2019
9am to 2pm Free. Solar Panel Installation and Training (Energy Eco-Action). The Lamp and Shade Fair 1336 N Mills Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32803. IDEAS will be partnering with the City of Orlando’s Commissioner Patty Sheehan and a sustainability focused social innovation enterprise called L.E. Rigby Innovations to pilot a solar training experience.
Together, we plan to provide a unique, one-day opportunity for young professionals to gain hands-on training in the solar energy industry by physically supporting the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on the side of this amazing local business to light up the most beautiful Pulse mural here in Orlando.
In addition to the installation, participants will benefit from a one-on-one educational experience around how energy plays a critical role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Green Works Orlando Community Action Plan.

10am to 4pm Free. Commander's Call. Museum of Military History 5210 West Irlo Bronson Hwy Kissimmee FL 34746. This ongoing program is held on the 3rd Sat of each month is designed to appeal to families, military memorabilia collectors, history buffs, re-enactors & others interested in military history. In addition, persons interested in displaying, trading or selling their military items such as honor coins, swords, photographs, military buttons, scale model boats & planes, military art, uniforms or other equipment register in advance by calling the museum to reserve a spot. Re-enactors & veterans are welcome to come in uniform to add to the history & authenticity of the military experience. Non-military booths such as healthcare providers, home improvement, local attractions or other businesses are invited to be vendors for minimal donation.
INFO & Register: 407-507-3894 or to register your table space.

8:30pm to 10:30pm Free. Body//Talk x Acp Pro x Crux at Synthwave Arcade.  The Geek Easy 114 S Semoran Blvd, Ste 6, Winter Park, Florida 32792. Stranger things are going down again this summer, with new vibes from beyond from the upside down provided by Crux, Midnight Inspector of Body Talk, and ACP PRO...go beyond synthwave to the retrofuture. 

Sunday June 16, 2019

10am to noon. Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32811. The Method of Heartfulness A simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources.

Noon to 1pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park near Red Gazebo. Bring your own mat. 

Noon to 3pm Donation based. Music at the Casa. Brian Hayes. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Members of the public are invited to visit our historic home museum on a Sunday afternoon to listen to live music and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, June 13, 2019

90 Lies a Minute at Fringe

Paul Strickland an Orlando Fringe veteran brought 90 lies a Minute to this year's Fringe Festival. From the title I thought this might be a one man play about the political lies of our POTUS. Instead this hilarious comedy featured stories from relatives in the deep south.

He presented in quick witted succession three stories inherited from Uncle False, plus a song. The first story was about a cranky old family car that seemed best fueled by an endless stream of cursing. Another story had the family home straddling two time zones which allowed for family to step back in time an hour when aunt Ima passed away. Another story was about a sunken city and a politician making false promises that citizens were easily duped into believing.  It was at this point that I felt he might be making an allegory about the sad state of affairs in politics today.

Paul the pulled the strings of the story together with a solo song with his acoustic guitar to back him up. All the laughter was followed by poignant reflections in song. The tall tails seemed like family stories that might be told after a large holiday meal. Ain't True and Uncle False could be any one of our own relatives.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Myrlande Bebe

This post is about the shooting that took place at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. It contains difficult content, so please do not read on if you feel you may be effected. 

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously.

Myrlande Bebe is the mother of Jason Josaphat, one of the 49 people murdered at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. Chelsea, her daughter-in-law sat with her. Jason was born on August 8, 1995 and was 20 years old when he died.  Jason loved to draw. He wanted to do 3D animation and also studied photography in high school. He studied at Valencia Community College for 6 months and then went to Southern Technical School where he made the president's list and was on his way to becoming a CPA. He planned to travel the world and some day go to Haiti, which is where Myrlande was born.

"I never heard of Pulse until that night." Myrlande explained. On June 11, 2016 she was working a 12 hour shift. Jason is one of three brothers. They were known as the 3 Js: Jamal, Justin, and Jason. Their sister Miriam had just flown in from Arizona to visit. Her birthday was on June 13th, so they were making plans to celebrate. Myrlande called Miriam before she got home and found out that Jason had gone out. When Jamal arrived home she asked him where Jason was. He didn't know, so he called Jason and left a message. Exhausted from a long day of work, she went to bed, but she couldn't sleep.

In the middle of the night her phone started ringing. Miriam picked it up and heard Jason on the other side. She shouted, "Mom, Jason is in trouble! Call 911!" Myrlande took the phone, "Where are you?" she asked Jason. He was panicking. "There are a lot of dead people on the floor, call 911!" She started screaming and Jamal asked, "What is wrong? Mom calm down." On the phone Jason explained that he was at Pulse. "I'm in the bathroom, I'm trapped and I can't get out." The last thing he said was, "He's coming," and he got off the line.

Myrlande and Jamal immediately drove to Pulse Nightclub. The call had taken place around 3:25 am and the drive was around 15 minutes. They were outside Pulse from about 3:40 am to 6 am and felt that they had seen everything. They knew Jason was trapped in the bathroom and they both wanted to rush inside to get him. Police had secured the scene making that impossible. "It felt like I was in Iraq, it was terrible." she said. "My heart was aching." She saw a young man crying. He said, "I lost him." She asked him what happened. "Some crazy man just started shooting at us," he said. Anyone she met that night, she asked, "Did you see my son?" Everyone was crying. There was blood everywhere. "We saw ambulances taking people." She had never seen dead bodies before. They would pick them up by the two arms and two legs and haul them to a truck. It was a disaster, a nightmare.

At 6 AM police said, "If you don't see your family member here, go to Orlando Regional Medical Center, you can claim them there." Myrlande gave one of the nurses Jason's name and described a tattoo he had on his chest, which he had designed himself. She gave them a picture of her son. They couldn't find him. They asked for his medical and dental records as well. She couldn't believe what was happening. She and Jamal had to return home without knowing where Jason was.

That night she had a dream about Jason. She was in a market place with her daughter and niece. She looked up and saw her son. He had his favorite color on, which was green. She saw him far far away. She shouted his name and ran towards him. He passed behind a pole and disappeared. She woke up feeling anxious.

The next day she went to the Beardall Center. She sat patiently waiting to find out if her son was in a coma or if he was at the hospital somewhere. Someone asked to talk to her and they delivered the news. All the records she had given them matched. She found out her daughter's birthday that her son was dead. Her daughter said, "Mom, I will never again have another birthday." It was a nightmare for them all. It wasn't easy to find out that her son had gone out to have a good time, and didn't make it back home.

Myrlande later learned that Jason fought hard for his life that night. Jason had the courage to talk to the gunman. The last bullet Jason took shielded someone else. Patience Carter had been shot in the leg and Jason helped to keep her calm. Just before the bathroom walls were breached by police, the gunman started to shoot again.  Jason covered Patience with his body and took the bullet. Myrlande was told that he died instantly and didn't suffer.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The War: an Immersive Radio Drama at Fringe

Phoenix Tears Productions presentted The War: an Immersive Radio Drama. I witnesses The War from afar. The Fringe audience sat on the steps of the Rep Theater as a researcher from S.C.R.O.L.L. asked them questions and sent them on a mission to seek the truth about a group of rebels and terrorists who threatened the state. Since I was sketching, Pam Schwartz joined the researches to immerse herself in the drama. Audience members were each given head phones and they wandered behind the theater to learn more about the rebels. Mallory Sabetodos Vance was the lead researcher.

With my sketch done, I joined the audience when they returned to share their discoveries. What the audience discovered defied every premise and theory that the researches had considered basic truths. The rebels were not the angry and reckless terrorists that they had thought. The rebels wanted peace as much as anyone. We traveled back in time to witness the beginnings of the war.

A strange aspect of the show is that actors interacted with the audience but they were acting without talking, instead relying on pre-recorded audio. Everything that had triggered the war was a misunderstanding. People had died for no reason. Peace was still in reach if people could put aside their political bias and band together for the common good. The choice of this audience at the end resulted in a log war that resulted in many deaths but ultimately ended the war.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at