Friday, March 6, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 7th and 8th.

Saturday March 7, 2015
10am to Midnight $59 Circus World II REUNION. International Palms Resort & Conference Center Orlando, 6515 International Dr, Orlando, FL. Clown meetings, dancer meetings, etc. Contact Dan Stapleton at

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

8pm to 10pm Free. Shuffleboard at Orlando's Beardall Courts. 800 Delaney Ave Orlando FL. 1st Saturday of each month. Free fun!

Sunday March 8, 2015
9am to 1:30pm Porche Rally. Advanced registration is $40 per car. Day of rally registration is $45 per car.
Millenia Motors, 1020 Charles Street, Longwood, FL. The 29th Annual Challenge / Charity Rally to Benefit the Russell Home for Children. Registration form on our website.
You will be given the chance to drive your car through some of the best roads and unspoiled areas in Central Florida. Schedule for the Rally: 9:00 Registration begins. 9:30  Continental . Breakfast and Concours.  10:00  Drivers Meeting. For questions, email Bill Davis @

Noon to 5pm Free but get a drink. Sunday's with Smiling Dan. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL. DJ spinning tunes.

1pm to 3pm Free. Script Reading Workshop. Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, 8267 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Read and workshop plays.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mystery Sketch Theater has moved to the Falcon Bar.

Mystery Sketch Theater is a monthly sketch group. Models are usually dressed in elaborate cos play costumes. The sketch session is just $5 for the night. The sessions have moved around over the years. The first time I went it was held in a tiny Japanese bar called Tatame near Rollins College, it was then held in Comic Shop on Semorian Boulevard and then in a warehouse near Fairbanks. Its newest home is The Falcon Bar ( 819 E Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Florida). I like to go when I can. Having a model pose for any length of time is a real luxury.

Tonight's model is Brooke. She will be coming out of hibernation on stage right in front of your eyes! I suggest you buy a drink to thank The Falcon for hosting. The bar doesn't serve food so feel free to order delivery from a nearby restauraunt. I haven't sketched Mystery Sketch Theater at the Falcon yet, so I plan to go tonight to loosen up and relax.

Mark your calendar! Mystery Sketch Theater is tonight, Thursday March 5, 2015. The sketching starts at 8pm until 10pm. You don't have to be an artist, just come out grab a drink and be a voyeur. Sketching is $5. Its free to watch.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Kelly celebrated his birthday in style at Pilars.

Kelly Dewayne Richards is a prodigy on the piano so it made perfect sense that he performed while his friends sang for his birthday on November 13. Pilars Martini Bar (146 Plant Street Winter Garden FL) is located right next to the Winter Garden Theater and Kelly has been performing there once a week for the past couple of years. It seems that Kelly's friends are not your average karaoke singers. These folks belted out the tunes with Broadway quality voices. Trudy Petersen was the singer who I decided to sketch. Love was brazened on her shirt and it was easy to love her voice. One singer introduced as "Joy Top Dance" sang a Louis Armstrong song, "What a Wonderful World". She lowered her voice and managed to sing with Louis's gravely vibrato.

As I was packing up to go, an artist named Rod Reeves introduced himself. We sat outside and shared sketchbooks. He sketches on location like myself so it was an unexpected surprise.  He advised me to look up Francis Marshall, an English Illustrator. Marshal's location sketches are fluid and bold with a flair of fashion. I could learn much studying his work.  I collected a card from my fellow sketcher, but for the life of me, I can't find it.  Hopefully our paths will cross again. Inside the bar, every voice was singing "Seasons of Love" from Rent. With so much talent in the room, it was an inspired performance that could give the coldest heart a warm glow.

Mark your calendar. Kelly performs at Pilars every Thursday from 7pm to 10pm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DRIP never fails to amaze.

DRIP (8747 International Drive Orlando FL) is an in-your-face explosion of color and movement backed by a live rock band, all in an industrial bar. You may get wet … you may get messy … you WILL have an awesome time. Grab a colored beer (orange, yellow, red or blue!) or glass of wine from our bar and let DRIP assault your senses. For this sketch, I thought I might be out of the splash zone because I was standing close to the stage. I was wrong. This sketch was hit multiple times by uncontrolled tsunamis of color from the show.

This explosive dance show follows the story of three dancers, Yellow, Blue and Red. Yellow and blue fall for each other and when they touch their colors mingle to create green. Blue cheats and has a hot purple affair with Red. In a ferocious strobe scene Yellow discovers the truth and trashes the place in anger. In the spotlight she experiences isolation and sorrow. In the end though, she recovers as she washes away the residue of her former relationship in a bright yellow shower.

This local dance company has been bringing this show to tourists on International Drive for over a year. This is a place where adults can get away from the child themed parks and get a little nasty. DRIP is much like a speakeasy. It is located in a dark alley behind a Denny's and Senior Frogs. You enter via a loading dock.  If you haven't experienced DRIP yet, what are you waiting for. Spring Break shows are coming up starting March 6th. DRIP will blow the roof off. Be sure to dress down.

Student with ID $35.00
Party Rate for groups 8+ (includes DRIP t-shirt) $39.00
General Admission $44.00
Florida Resident with ID (includes DRIP t-shirt) $49.00
General Admission (includes DRIP t-shirt)$54.00

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Marble Bar in Sydney is a popular retreat for locals.

In Sydney Australia Terry found the opulent Marble Bar (488 George Street Sydney NSW 2000) where we relaxed over several drinks between our tourist rushes. The bar was first built in 1883 in the former Adams Hotel on Pitts Street. The entire venue was painstakingly dismantled and moved to it's present location at the Hilton Sydney. The original George Adams Bar was built for the then astronomical price of 32,000 pounds. The money was secured through the Tattersall Sweeps, one of a series of horse races held in New South Whales at the end of the 1800s. The decoration of the bar followed the traditions of the Italian Renaissance with Corinthian columns capped by solid brass capitols. 100 tons of marble were used from the best Belgium and African mines. Decorative stained glass panels can be found everywhere giving the room a warm magical glow.

A few people were curious as my sketch progressed. Locals are proud of this historic bar. A women stopped to tell us the bars entire history. I ordered a tasty Charlie Chaplin simply because I like the silent era comedian. The Charlie Chaplin Cocktail was one of the premier drinks of the Waldorf-Astoria prior to 1920. It has an equal mix of lime, apricot brandy and sloe gin and is documented in A.S. Crockett's The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and it's a nice, gentle mix, which is sweet and tasty.

A huge party of well dressed patrons soon filled the bar. They might have been from a wedding or business group, I couldn't decide.  The dress code of the bar is "smart casual" and Terry and I might not have met the code since our dress code wan "casual tourist." We and I returned upstairs to the busy modern streets of Sydney stepping from the romance of this historic time capsule.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Getting a Sim Card in Sydney was a nightmare.

Terry wanted to keep her phone connected to the internet while we traveled in Australia. This would allow us to use the GPS on her iPhone to keep from getting lost. To avoid roaming charges she had to purchase a Sim Card in Sydney so that her phone could be hooked up to the local network. The Optus store was maybe a quarter mile walk from our hotel in downtown Sydney. The store is under staffed and while she was getting her phone set up, several people walked in and then left in a huff because they weren't getting helped. Perhaps an hour later, we left and she was hooked up.

The next day, we decided to return to replace the Sim in my phone. We figured it helps to be able to text or call each other especially since I'm often doing a sketch.  On this day Brad decided he needed to see my passport. No one had asked Terry for her passport. It seems like the sales clerks invent loop holes on the fly. Apparently Terry shouldn't have been sold her Sim without a passport. I wasn't about to walk back to the hotel just to satisfy this sales clerk. I suspect he gets pleasure from infuriating costumers. He's been at this dead end job for years and his only power comes from infuriating people who need help. As it turned out Terry still had a plethora of question and she kept Brad occupied long enough to do this quick sketch. When people specifically go out of their way to waist my time, I can get my anger and frustrations to channel their way into a sketch.  I took all of Brad's business cards and distributed them at tourist destinations all over Sydney with "Don't use Optus" scribbled on the back. It was my one public service while I was there. My advice, if you travel to Australia, don't use Optus. Terry told me that the phone bill was astronomical as well, so the fight to get a Sim didn't result in savings. I kept my phone on airplane mode for the month and just checked a few e-mails using hotel internet connections at night. Being free of the hive can be a blessing. Perhaps Brad did me a favor.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hiking about the Sydney Opera House.

Our hotel was in a section of Sydney Australia called "The Rocks" which is right at the foot of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Some of the city's oldest buildings are in this area. Walking through the residential area it was clear that residents who have lived there for generations are having to fight to keep their homes. Posters in windows showcased family histories of people who might be displaced by developers. It would be a shame if this historic area was replaced by glass and steel boxes. It is good to hold on to some of the city's gritty past.

We could see the Sydney Opera House from the roof of our hotel so that became our destination our first day. Terry explored inside while I did my sketch. As I worked, I was surprised to hear someone shout out "Thor!" Orlando residents Maria Bolton and her husband walked up to say hello. Maria is an accomplished caricature artist and I've met her a few times at animal rights demonstrations. She is known as "Hurricane Maria" because she is so active. What are the chances of bumping into friends from Orlando on the opposite side of the world. I put the odds at about 1 in 7 billion. We took some selfies and the told me about the kangaroos and koalas they had seen south of Sydney.

When Terry got back, the sketch was finished, and we went for a walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens. We wandered the gardens in the hopes of seeing cockatoos in their native habitat. We had to leave our pet cockatoo with a friend and it would be hard being away for a whole month. We finally spotted several cockatoos in the trees. When they flew off, Terry followed. I relaxed in the shade and gave the sketchbook a rest.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for February 28th and March 1st.

Saturday February 28, 2015
10am to 2pm Orlando Sketch Tour with Kelly Medford and Thomas Thorspecken. Saturday and Sunday Each workshop day is $125, or $200 for both days Lake Eola Park 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, Florida 32801 We will meet at the Red Pagoda Orlando Sketch Tours offers visitors a chance to slow down, see and sketch the true Orlando outside of theme parks.  For all levels, NO experience is required.
All materials provided, just bring yourself.
Your sketch kit includes:
pencil and sharpener
waterproof drawing pen
travel sized watercolor kit
5x7 inch watercolor artist journal
a zippered supply bag to hold everything

4pm to 10pm Free. Blues and BBQ. Downtown Winter Garden Pavilion Plant Street Winter Garden FL.

6pm to 8pm Free. Energy for the Arts. 3415 Bartlett Blvd, Orlando, Florida.
Event Overview: Join us at OK.-energy's first Annual “Energy for the Arts” Event. We will be providing you with an exciting evening of entertainment including, original artwork by local Artists, live music, drinks, food, Artist vendors, photo opportunity and more. Don't miss this unique opportunity to celebrate Orlando's cultural scene.
Original Artwork from:
Chris Tobar Rodriguez Tobar Art Market
Peterson J Guerrier Guerrier Studios
Morgan Wilson Morgan Wilson (Lux Nova Studio)
Miguel Angel Macillust
Brandon Geurts Brandon Geurts..
Randall Smith Randall Paints
Ginger Leigh
and more to come!

We will be holding a raffle for prizes, including some special treats from
Orlando City Soccer Club
-Orlando Solar Bears
more to come!
In addition to bringing more exposure to this City's wonderful Cultural scene, we would like to also help by supporting the scene with funds that will continue to allow Artists, venues, locals, businesses the opportunity to flourish as a community. Funds raised will go towards putting on the event and all the remaining will be donated directly to the Downtown Arts District.

Sunday March 1, 2015
1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. Every week. An advantage to doing yoga this weekend is that you might get sketched by Urban Sketchers!

2pm to 10pm Donation. 4th Annual Lee Swimmer Memorial Benefit for the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. The Cork Room Bar and Grille, 671 South Goldenrod Road, Orlando, FL. Come Rock 'n' Roll to help the homeless community of Orlando at Cork Room Orlando in memory of one of Orlando's great talents, Lee Swimmer. We lost Lee way too soon--he was, at age 17, lead guitarist for Edgar Winter--played in a number of local and regional bands including Fat Chance and Tight Shoes.
Lee wanted to use his talent to help the homeless so in his honor we do so.
Raffle prizes including guitars and more.
Non smoking event!
Last year we raised almost $3600 -- lets see if we can do it again!!

9pm to 11pm Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out & laugh, or give it a try yourself.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birding down in Kissimmee

Terry's niece Claire Brown was visiting with her boyfriend. The entire Brown family are avid birders and Terry has also caught the birding obsession. It has been a blessing on vacation because while Terry was searching for birds, I could sketch. This is a rather old sketchbook that has a few unfilled spreads left to fill. On these pages I drew two thumbs for some reason. Those thumbs became a block that kept me from filling up the sketchbooks. At a Mystery Sketch Theater session, I used the spread to do quick gestural studies in pencil. The sketchbook sat abandoned for years. I like a sketchbook to have an overall flow when it is flipped through. For whatever reason this spread threw the book off track.

I erased as much of the harsh pencil work as I could and reworked the sketch as my relatives birded. I only had at most half an hour, so I kept the sketch extra loose. Trying to do a sketch in a stolen moment like this is stressful, but the sketch couldn't be any worse than the mess that was already on the page. In some ways, messing up the page a bit first can be freeing. It gets past the pristine blank page and lets me realize it is just a sketch, let it go.  I've shown this sketch to students and they seldom notice the thumbs hidden in the composition. You can always change and adjust a sketch to push it in a new direction. It was a lesson learned, and soon this sketchbook will be filled and join the others on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blue Spring is my "go to" place to bring out of towners .

Cornelia Thorspecken and her daughter Nini came from Germany to visit the Thorspecken's of America. Terry and I met Cornelia in Germany when Nini was just a baby. I had done a boat load of family history research at the New York Public Library and found the boat manifests for Dr. Augustus Thorspecken who arrived in America in 1854. He left Germany from the port in Bremen, so I searched for modern day Thorspecken's there. I got in contact with Herbert Thorspecken who was about the age of my dad, and he sent me all the family history notes he had. Herbert was my cousin, and we were related because Dr Augustus left while another brother, stayed in Germany. Herbert was a descendant of the brother who stayed and I'm descended from the Doctor who left. Terry and I visited every living Thorspecken we could find in Germany including Cornelia. Facebook made it easy for Cornelia to do the same in America.

The biggest adventure on the drive up to Blue Spring (2100 W. French Avenue Orange City, FL) was getting gas for Cornelia's rental car. Cornelia expressed her concern that she couldn't remember her code for her credit card. The jerk behind the counter gave her a hard time. We drove across the street and the charming Indian clerk asked Cornelia about Germany and explained what her own name meant. It was a good lesson in how intolerance and a power hungry idiot can be quickly out shined by a caring, compassionate and fun clerk.

In Blue Spring, there were a couple of Manatees in the spring. Now that it is so much colder, the Manatees return to the spring in hoards or is it herds? No, actually a group of manatees is called an aggression, which makes little sense since these graceful mammals are never aggressive. Rather aggressive humans are endangering manatees by ripping through peaceful waters with power boats that then cut open the backs of manatees with their props. Most every manatee I have ever seen had multiple lacerations and scars. The manatees return to Blues Spring when it is cold because the spring water is always a balmy 72 degrees as it rises from the earth.

On this sunny day there was a gaggle of humans sunning themselves on the lawn. No a group of humans must be a horde, a huddle, or a crowd. Anyway it was a relaxing afternoon that gave me a chance to learn more about my German cousins. The first thing Nini wanted to do in Orlando was find a Taco Bell. Terry and I were glad to oblige, but its kind of sad that this is the culture that the rest of the world expects from America.