Monday, June 18, 2018

Tornatore's Pizzeria

ODD 30 (Orlando Drink and Draw was held at Tornatore's Pizzeria (3818 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, Florida 32804) The restaurant was participating in “Dine For Paws”, to support Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Patrons could dine and donate during the all-day fundraiser that invited the community to dine out at Leading Local Restaurants.

When Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine gave Tornatore’s a makeover on the Food Network’s Ambush Episode of Restaurant Impossible, Chef Irvine stressed the importance of making everything served at Tornatore’s from scratch. Not just some things, but everything! Together they developed a new Tornatore’s menu filled with delicious signature dishes, creating the only neighborhood restaurant in College Park with a complete “made from scratch” menu.

I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo and some garlic knots. The six knots were the size of softballs so there was no chance I could eat them alone. I sat at a fairly large table just in case other artists arrived. No one ever did arrive. I sampled the Alfredo as I sketched. It did indeed taste like fresh pasta. I know the difference sine we sometimes roll out own pasta at home.

As i was packing up this sketch someone from the corner table did stop over and say hello. It was Ginger and Annette. They were indeed two artists who were catching up as they ate. Annette showed me a painting she was working on of a dog with one brown eye and one blue eye. it was rather good. I apologized for the small turn out and decided to let them go back to their food and their chance to catch up with each other. I took home the large garlic knots but I don't think I will have the chance to finish them off. Good food and a decent sketch, it was a good afternoon, and part of the proceeds went to a good cause.

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 17, 2018

Pulse 2 Year Memorial

June 12, 2018 marked 2 years since the massacre of 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Barbara Poma the owner of the club held a vigil at the nightclub to honor those lost. She founded Pulse for her brother who was gay and died from Aids. The name of the club was meant to keep his pulse alive. Now that Pulse is looking to keep 49 other peoples memories alive as well. An interim memorial was installed on the site featuring landscaping and design from Dix Hite Partners. A large photo mosaic mural was wrapped around the the building. The mural incorporates hundreds of photos pulled from the Orange County History Center's collection.

Pam Schwartz and I went to the memorial on June 12, 2018 just before sunset for the memorial and celebration of life. I decided to stop and sketch the iconic Pulse sign since I figured it might be difficult to get a view of the stage. Pam ended up sitting close to the stage since she is involved with the Pulse memorial task force. The base of the sign had been encased in a solid plastic case which lit up as it grew dark. People could sign the plastic with whiteboard markers that were supplied. These messages could be periodically erases so new messages could be added. A father stood his small daughter on his shoulders so she could sign high up.

Several of the Sisters of  Perpetual Indulgence stood on the far side of the sign. They wore black nun habits and one wore a rainbow veil held in place by Mickey Mouse ears. The angels were out in force although I doubt all 49 were there with their PVC and bed sheet fabric wings. Jen Vargas was an angel and she sat in her electric wheel chair wearing the large wings. She has been through surgery and seeing an angel in a wheel chair seemed appropriate for the occasion. A teenage daughter hugged her mom in front of me. Barbara Poma spoke, but her voice was so soft I couldn't catch a word.

Politicians took to the stage. Each had a set script which was interpreted in Spanish on a teleprompter so Spanish speaking members of the audience could understand what was being conveyed. County Mayor Theresa Jacobs went off script and the planned interpretation had to stop. County Commissioner Patty Sheehan was in the crowd early on,  but she disappeared before all the political speeches. One man had sound muffling ear phones on and he shook and hugged his dog. I thought he might be crying, but I think he just isn't used to being out in public.

Blue and her dancers performed on the stage which unfortunately I couldn't see since the crowd was so thick. A chorus sang a bilingual Somewhere Over the Rainbow medley that incorporated songs from Wicked. The song Changed for the Better was included and it is a song I have found inspiring since the day I first saw the show. A rainbow formed across the club and cell phones rose in tribute to record the moment.

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 16, 2018

Parkland, Florida Memorial

I spent the morning sketching jury selection for the Noor Salman Trial here in Orlando and then Pam Schwartz and myself drove south to Parkland, Florida where 17 students and faulty had been killed on Valentines Day in a mass shooting. Now, one month later memorial  items had to be cleared because an event was planned for this main stage in Pine Trails Park. The first impression of the town was that it is highly manicured giving the impression of suburban affluence. Seeing the memorial of course immediately reminded me of Pulse. 17 angels stood on stage with golden wings. I read the names of those killed on poster boards for the first time. In the field behind me there were 17 event tents protecting the 17 crosses. Some crosses had been switched out for stars of David.

It was a very windy day. Several tents had been blown over and more would do so as the storm progressed. Loose paper items from the memorial were blowing around, only stopping when they got wedged up against a fence. I heard that someone from a home in the neighborhood brought back items that had blown into her yard. Pam inspected the memorial and then began to return items and anchor them down.

Two high school students were looking at the memorial as I sketched. The girl collapsed to her knees. The boy put his hand on her shoulder waiting for her to regain her composure. It had only been about one month since the shooting. Then he approached me. I braced myself, he might consider my sketching to be disrespectful. Most people don't understand why I do what I do. What he said took me off guard. He said, "I appreciate that you are sketching. We need to remember. People view sketches differently than they view photos. Thank you." Considering that he must have been in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the shooting, this was an incredibly enlightened view. I got choked up, but cleared my eyes so I could finish the sketch.

Jeff Schwartz who heads up the Parkland Historical Society had invited Pam and I to stay at his home for the night.  Later that evening we would be meeting at City Hall so Pam could share her experiences and offer advice on how to collect and preserve the items from the memorials in Parkland.

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 15, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for June 16th and 17th

Saturday June 16, 2018
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Orlando's 2nd Annual Solutionary Peace Walk and Festival. Lake Eola Park. Orlando's Solutionary Peace Walk is back for another great day of celebrating peace, health, and compassion! Mark your calendar for June 16th to come by the beautiful Lake Eola Park in Orlando to meet amazing eco-friendly and compassionate vendors and join other peaceful people in a walk around Lake Eola Park.  Donations for the walk are welcome.
Featuring a peaceful and educational 1 mile walk around Lake Eola Park, amazing vegan food, live music, knowledgeable speakers, yoga, educational exhibitors, eco-friendly vendors, activities for youth, and more!
This event is brought to you by Solutionary Events, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational outreach organization with a mission to create healthy, compassionate, and sustainable communities through coordinating socially responsible vegan events all throughout the state of Florida and beyond. Donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated!

4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free. Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Car Show! East Indiana Ave Downtown  Deland FL. Classic cars & rods. Live DJ, giveaways, shopping and dining. Fun for the family! Every 3rd Saturday night!

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free. Improv Class - 8 weeks Improv Training Comedy Class. Orlando Public Library 100 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, Florida 32801.
Time and space is running out for this summers Improv comedy class starts Wednesday, June 13th At 6 PM and last for 8 weeks. ending with a student showcase. This class is for teens and adults ages 13 and above. The class takes place at the Orlando Library on the first-floor main stage. Come learn the skills to unleash the improv within you. The class teaches Short Form Improv in the style of the hit TV show “whose line is it anyway” This class is taught by Improv Coach Matt Gervia, he has taught this class for eight years. He is a founder of Power2improv, Monster Lab, and of the Orlando Comedy Festival. Space is limited so sign up with the Orlando Library or at  This is the only FREE eight-week improv training class in Florida.

Sunday June 17, 2018 Fathers Day
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. Harry P. Leu Gardens 1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803 on Father’s Day. 

Noon to 5 p.m.   Free admission for dad at Orange County Regional History Center 65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801 on Father’s Day. 

Noon to 3 p.m. Free admission Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. This is a great place to take Dad this Father’s Day. On Fathers Day you can enjoy the music by Guitarist George Grosman as you explore the historic home.

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 14, 2018

What If at Fringe

What If by Caitlyn Wisser dealt with tow workers starting their jobs at a new office. The female had plenty of past experience while the males only credibility came form the fact that he belonged to the same fraternity as the boss. The male was immediately promoted to the position of account executive while the female was asked if she could get the men some coffee. At the water cooler she met a female executive who recognized the injustice but suggested that she just tow the line until an opportunity arose.

The two new employees faced off about the injustice which the male couldn't recognize. The theater lights flickered and dimmed and they both set their heads on the table. This was a time shift and they both woke up in a world where all their expectations had changed. Woman were paid equally to men and the only requirement for advancement was talent and ambition. Men were granted maternity leave along with woman and since women were the primary politicians, there was peace and prosperity.

It took the male worker a long time to adjust to the new world order but in the end he found he too was happy. When they slipped back to the old world order he defended his coworker when she was was disrespected by other male co-workers. The premise of the show was sound but some of the writing felt labored and forced. On top of this, the musical Along the Way, was in the theater next door and the paper thin theater walls allowed the boisterous musical numbers to seep into each scene in this show. What if, What If had been a musical?

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 13, 2018

Save Me, Dolly Parton at Fringe

Beth Marshall's Husband presented Save Me Dolly Parton written by Megan Gogerty. This was a one woman show featuring a witty stories of politics, pop Culture parenting and how Dolly Parton saved the day. Theresa Smith-Levin as Megan described her trip to a record store and picking up her first Dolly Parton album. She and her beau thought it would be a joke, but the music resonated with her. She didn't want to over state, but simply put Dolly Parton is the greatest woman alive in her mind.

Megan and her husband decided to have a child and of course this loaded multiple new challenges and responsibilities into their lives. She read all the parenting books she could find, book marked the pages and figured she had this parenting thing down, at least in theory. Probably her most funny story came when she described a plane flight she needed to take. Her husband was busy so she had to take the trip alone with her baby in tow. At first the flight was pleasant with passengers glancing at her child lovingly. Then as the flight wore on her child grew tired and cranky. The next part of her story was shouted over the recorded sounds of a baby crying. She screamed that that noise has been ingrained into mother for centuries and that moms would do anything to stop that sound. Passengers were no longer glancing over with affection everyone looked annoyed.

The screaming dilemma didn't stop on the plane. After landing she had to lug all her bags through the airport to the luggage claim. There she willed the bags to appear on the conveyor. The baby carriage arrive first thing and she lunged to get it off the line. Then she saw her bag. It had been wrapped by an airline employee in industrial grade plastic, like Seran wrap but bulletproof and terrorist proof. To quiet the baby she needed to get inside the bag. She couldn't lean over of the baby which sounded life a fire alarm right now would fall out. She had to squat down, back straight and try and rip the plastic open with her bare teeth. She decided to place the baby in the carriage so she could complete the task and in an instant he fell asleep. In her relief she started to cry. This was something she hadn't prepared herself for. And this wasn't the only time this might occur. she imagined it playing out again and again each time she traveled. Hadn't feminism solved this? She wanted more feminism.

This was a highly polished one woman show that seemed to flow without a hitch. Theresa Smith-Levin is a powerhouse of a performer. I have seen her working behind the scenes on many shows I have sketched over the years and this was the first time I got to see her raw force on the stage. If you are a young parent you needed to see this show. If you aren't a parent like myself, you still would have laughed out loud and enjoyed the ride.

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 12, 2018

The Orange County Regional History Center Clears the Pulse site to make way for the Temporary Memorial.

In February, just 11 days after the mass shooting in Parkland Florida that killed 17 students and faculty, the staff of the Orange County Regional History Center cleared the Orlando Pulse Nightclub site of the last of the memorial items left there. It was a hot day, and the media was out in force. As the staff placed items in archival boxes the cameras rolled. 49 potted succulents had survived months in the intense Florida heat, one for each victim of the mass shooting here in Orlando. A large three dimensional rainbow included the names of the victims. At either end of the rainbow were two clouds created with spray can foam. Those clouds had soaked up the many Florida rains becoming insanely heavy and attracting a small army of palmetto bugs.

This collection day was relatively easy compared to the 31 days of constant collecting that occurred the weeks following the first vigils here in Orlando in the summer of 2016. Organic matter would be slated for compost and the last of the memorial items would go to the off site storage facility of the Orange County Regional History Center. Rose pedals strewn on the pavement ended up looking like blood spatter when added to my sketch.

The rainbow colored fence covering, with designs by local artists, was rolled up and it was one of the last things loaded up onto the U-Haul truck the History Center had rented for the day. TV News camera men were looking for anything to film and they ended up shooting over my shoulder as I worked on my sketch. I have been told that footage was on the news that night.

Shortly after the final collection, a new construction fence was erected much closer to the street. Dix Hite Partners redesigned the area around the nightclub with input from the onePULSE Special Task Force to include far more landscaping along with new trees for shade. That project would progress over the next two months.

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 11, 2018

The Haunting of Saint River at Fringe

Bremner Duthie from New Orleans presented The Hauting of Saint River a dark eerie one man musical with mysterious original songs. The haunted house in his tale is located in the deep south of New Orleans. The buyer essentially felt he had sold his soul to the devil to acquire the property. At first he is able to live with the hoes few creeks and groans but in time he becomes sleep deprived and the time spent at the edge of sleep become moments of absolute terror.

A female neighbor across the river become his one refuge as he slips into the houses depths. It sits on the edge of the river banks and seems ready to slip into the rivers grip taking him with it. A small box was used as a screen for historic flashes but the projection also slipped around the box onto the back wall of the theater.

The show felt like a work in progress. To me it seemed like the kind of shows a ten year old might throw together in the bedroom. It was mad and experimental. flashlights were used for the typical campfire under-lit face effects and a ghost puppet danced to the New Orleans Jazz while members of the audience held flashlights to illuminate her. Unfortunately the puppet wasn't menacing or scary at all, detracting from the intended mysterious thrust of the story.

The story was most successful when Bremner asked the audience to imagine the ghostly threat as he described the characters slip into madness.

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 10, 2018

S#!t I'm in Love with You again at Fringe

Rachelle Elie from Ottowa, Ontario presented S#!t I'm in Love with You Again with musical accompaniment by Luke Jackson on acoustic guitar. Rachelle spoke about her mother's care free attitudes about sex and then about her own early love life. Each stage off her love life was accompanied by an original song. The stage was set up with a glitter curtain and plenty of clothes for costume changes during the show.

When she found the man of her dreams she sang about the myriad of details of their married life. Things eventually slid south and affection turned to loathing. The honesty in this part of the show rang true as being absolutely sincere. The couple separated and went their own ways, but in time, they got together and discovered that there was still a spark despite their differences, thus the title of the show. I kept wondering about Luke. Was he the husband she was singing about or was he a lover? Unfortunately he was just a side note in her story, meant to be ignored except for his music.

I'll give the show 5 out of 10 feather boas.

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 9, 2018

Thrones! The Musical Parody at Fringe

I binge watched Game of Thrones with Pam Schwartz a few months ago.We were left wanting as another season needs to be written and filmed with the ominous news that "Winter is coming." Of course in Florida that might not be as ominous. This Fringe show is about a rabid group of Thrones fans introducing a friend to the show. Like the show their introduction is gory, sensual and at times hilarious.

Several woman waiting to get into the show admitted that they had never seem Game of Thrones. They wanted to see if they could follow the plot regardless. Since the show is about the fans rather than the entire plot of the series, they might have succeeded but knowing the story arch would certainly help going in.

One entire song was themes around stabbing. In one sensual scene Ygritte sings that, "You know nothing Jon Snow." Probably referring to his virginity. In another scene  Daenerys Targaryen kneels on the arm chair being penetrated from behind by her Dothraki husband Drogo. Her song is about wanting to see him face to face as they make love. In each of her songs she proclaims who she is and her destiny to rule the seven kingdoms. Her repetition becomes a running gag.

50% comedy, 20% simulated sex, 20% song and dance and 10% fast costume changes, and everyone dies, the show was a strange light hearted fun romp.

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