Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pirate Festival in Cedar Key Florida.


Terry and I drove to Cedar Key for the Pirate Festival in September of 2015. The motel had a gorgeous view overlooking the water. That first day, I hiked down to where the Pirate encampment was to be found on the map. X marks the spot. Sure enough, pirates of all shape and sizes were milling about the camp. A mini pirate ship on wheels was parked on the street. A skull and cross bones fluttered along wit the American flag in the distance. Wenches were cinched up tight, showing ample bosoms. All the pirates were a bawdy fowl mouthed lot.

I've heard that the pirates invaded the beach at sunrise battling Cedar Key residents. Unfortunately I didn't witness or sketch the skirmish.  Thieves Row offered every imaginable apparel should you decide to become a pirate yourself. We spent mos of the day huddled in the shade watching musical acts performing on a white octagonal Victorian band shell. Acts included, The Bawdy Boys, Anchors Away, and Arrr Inc.

Mark Ye Calendars for the 4th Annual Invasion! September 16-18, 2016.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When Shadows Fall Grand Opening.


After experiencing life as a Penumbra citizen, there was a Champagne reception in the original wait in area. This was I believe the office of K.C. Alexander the found of this dystopian society. Objects around the office indicated he was an educated and well traveled man. Clues about his vision for a perfect world could be found among the books and piles of paper on his desk.

Each cast member was announced and they entered the party to applause. Many actors were hard to recognize in their Orlandoan fashions. Some of the actresses wore gowns and party dressed. This was a big night, deserving a celebration. After a champagne toast, the cars and press wandered through the maze of rooms finding plenty of opportunity to mingle or sit in intimate groups to talk. For the first time I explored every of ice and chamber. I had only experienced a fraction of the amazing and intricate rooms. Each setting had hints about the occupant and the society as a whole.

I got to speak to my co-conspirator, Mallory Vance for the first time outside the playful confine of the game. She had already experienced Penumbra five times. She was doing office work for her mom, and in exchange she asked for a multi pass to When Shadows Fall. I was very fortunate to have been assigned to work beside her, since she knew her way around a bit, and she got us out of a few tight spots. To me she seemed to fit into the imagined over perfectly. After wandering through every room, I am left wanting to know more.

The cast and roll playing citizens all posed for a group photo. I can barely be seen, an artist hidden in the shadows.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Penumbra, the Perfect Futuristic Society?

When Shadows Fall is a groundbreaking first-person interactive experience that takes place in a 15,000 square foot maze of futuristic offices, labs, and a dark labyrinth. Mallory Vance and I were recruited by Daedalus (Joe Hall) to recover documents from the office of acting president Nickolai (Barry Wright). Documents we found hinted at a sordid affair with Odessa (Cassandre Heinrich). She had been a gold member of society, but she volunteered for experiments which scarred her for life and cast her as an unknown in the Labarinth. The relationship was abusive. Mallory hoped that if we kept the abusive relationship a secret, that Nikolai might one day repent and the couple could live happily ever after. She was a romantic at heart but ultimately an enabler.  Of course life never is that sweet and innocent. Besides, weren't the only ones who knew this dark secret.

What had been described as the perfect society was less than perfect. Posters proclaimed that "After acclimation everyone has a place" and "Join our society towards good." Our reward for joining the greater good was to be banished to the labyrinth for our anti-social behavior. Mallory was the most social of the new citizens, and of course I am an artist and therefor deserved be be part of the gold cast of society. As the unnamed, we had to give up our old name and embrace a new name, I became know as Odin and Mallory became Sarah.

In the end we all met in a public square where the true face of the society showed itself. Ideals were clouded by jealousy, rage and revenge. The misshapen underclass fought against their oppressors. Nathanael, the Minotaur (John Reid Adams) seemed the most tortured of the unnamed.  One of his prosthetic horns was broken off. His pained screams could often be heard in the halls. I clearly only experienced a fraction of the stories that could be unearthed. The experience left me yearning to learn more. One evening in Penumbra only begins to scratch the surface. You have to experience it for yourself.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

When Shadows Fall


I went to a media preview of "When Shadows Fall." This groundbreaking interactive experience happens in a large innocuous warehouse south of Downtown Orlando. There is no signage on the building. A young woman in a black dress held her phone in front of her and spoke to it. I assumed she was skyping but she was actually recording a video blog. Inside was a waiting area where four clumps of press spoke amongst themselves. Ricky Brigante the producer and Technical Director welcomed me. I was issued a small bronze colored badge. It looked like a mechanical eye with sunlight radiating from behind it. It was attached to a note which read, "Welcome new Penumbra citizen! Please accept this symbol of our new society with my highest regards." ~K.C. Alexander

One of my favorite early computer games was "Myst." In that game, you wandered through a three dimensional world looking for clues about the now abandoned civilization. Penumbra offers all the mystery of "Myst" while being fully interactive. It is unlike anything I have experienced before. We entered the first fully functional, totally harmonious society in the history of mankind two at a time or, in my case, alone. I walked down a long dark narrow hallway approaching a woman who asked for my allegiance to the new society. I was directed to a series of glowing tablets on the wall. Here, new citizens are given their new roles in the society. I then had to wait for a office worker, Cain (Chris Brown), who was in charge of internal affairs and quality control. He interviewed me briefly. When he found out that I was a journalist and sketched, he seemed interested and advised me to keep me eyes open and report back if I found any, deviant behavior.

I was reunited with the group in a dark hallway. Then, Harlan (Brett Carson) began calling out names. I knew already knew that there were various classes in this society. Golds were intellectuals and artists, certainly that is where I belonged. Silvers were like the middle class, while bronzes were hard laborers and then there was another darker class, the nameless, that no one wanted to talk about. Harlan called out about five names and then he called for me. I met the woman in black, Mallory Vance, and we wondered what our new role in society might be. We were lead to an area near a large reinforced vault door. Harlan's kind welcoming demeanor changed. He announced that our antisocial behavior had earned us a spot in Penumbra's dark underbelly, the labyrinth. Dark sinister rooms were contained by iron bars. A red light blinked above the vault door. Harlan bolted the door closed as he left us behind. A large octagonal table offered a spot to rest and ask long-term residents questions. While they were all scarred and misshapen, the women were quite beautiful despite their scars.

Mallory and I were assigned to help Daedalus (Joe Hall), who was dressed in a dark leather trench coat with a sharp pointed collar. He had red scars on his face. He asked us if we would do anything to escape from the labyrinth. Mallory was all in. I hesitated, wondering if murder might be required. He asked us to help him mix a potion in his lab. The walls were burned as if there had been a chemical explosion. I warned Mallory, but she was already pouring the chemicals together in a flask. The mixture could be used to incapacitate someone and allow for our escape.

Mallory and I were each given armbands that made it look like we were under house arrest like Daedalus himself. We were then sent on a mission to recover documents from Nikolai's office. Nikolai was an ambassador, the son of K.C. Alexander. After his father's death, Nikolai took over control of Penumbra. Mallory and I rushed through the maze of hallways, and hid any time security came around. We hit the jackpot recovering plenty of aging documents from the office. I followed Mallory's lead. She seemed to know her way around the hallways better than I. It was fun having a co-conspirator. A secret panel got us back to the labyrinth. We were looking for information about a citizens project but many of the document were love letters. When Daedalus asked about what we found, Mallory snatched up the love letters and hid them behind her back. She later gave these letters to Odessa (Cassandra Heinrich). Mallory is a romantic at heart, and she wanted the romance to remain private. Daedalus might have used the information to forward his own devious agenda. . .

Tickets to this first person experience are $45.95-$74.84.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Vinik Family Foundation presents The Beach Tampa.


The Beach Tampa is an interactive architecture installation in the Amalie Arena. Created by Snarkitecture, This 15,000 square foot immersive environment features an ocean of 1.2 million recyclable and antimicrobial white balls. Open to the public at no cost thanks to The Vinik Family Foundation, the beach will remain open until August 25th 2016. The environment is created on the floor of the arena using construction materials such as scaffolding, wall panels, and perforated mesh.

Performance artist Brian Feldman told me about the exhibit. He tried to get in on a weekend but there was a line for tickets. When he did get his ticket the entry time was for six hours later. He got sidetracked at an art event in St. Petersburg and didn't get back to the Arena. We decided to take a day trip during the week. This time there was no line. At the entrance guests are offered free ice cream. White fabrics lined all the halls leading to the beach, creating a sense of wonder and anticipation.

Security checked all bags and a metal detector wand checked for metal. My pencils kept setting off the metal detector but I ultimate made it through. There are free lockers available if you want to leave personal items behind before entering the beach. A volunteer questioned my artist chair but let me pass.  There were plenty of white beach chairs inside, but they were set back away from the 75-foot-wide beach shore. I set up right at the shore's edge where all the action was.

Within minutes of arriving, Brian spotted an olde woman who looked like she was in distress. Only her head was above the balls and she was sinking down as if in quick sand. Her face was red and her eyes panicked. I let a lifeguard know and she threw out a life preserver. Several more lifeguards moved in and tried to lift the woman. She was very heavy and it took three people to get her out. Later I saw another elder couple also struggling to get out. The woman seemed stuck, but her partner managed to help get her back to shore. Later, as she struggled to catch her breath in a beach chair she said, "That was exhilarating." Brian waded out and submerged until only his head was visible. A woman with beautiful black hair lay back on the sea foam of balls and spread her hair out as if a Victorian muse. Perhaps that selfie will be her next Facebook profile photo. There must be millions of selfies shot at the beach every day. Mirrors surround the ocean of balls increasing the feeling of an open expanse. The Beach signage is presented backwards and forwards so that any digital image will have the signage facing the right way if you aim your cell phone at the right angle.

I waded in once my sketch was done. A lifeguard warned me to empty my pockets since the pressure of all the balls tends to push objects out of pockets. I left me keys change and wallet in my sneakers at the shore's edge. When this huge ball pit is emptied there will be a treasure trove of objects to be found at the bottom. Brian took a few photos as I struggled in the balls. If you lay back and sink to the bottom it can be hard to get back up. Children know instinctively how to roll and get up. It is the adults who are more prone to panic.  Swimming in balls is a good workout. I was exhausted from my short exuberant swim. Afterwards, Brian navigated us to Gourmet Pizza Company, (610 S Armenia Ave, Tampa, FL), a pizza parlor offering vegan and gluten-free options , and I must admit it was the best pizza I ever had.

If you want to have a fun time, the drive west on I-4 to Tampa is well worth it. You only have until August 25th to experience the beach for yourself.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 20th and 21st.

Saturday August 20, 2016 
8pm to 11pm $15.95 and Members can enjoy the event for FREE. Adults-Only Science Night Live! Orlando Science Center 777 E Princeton St, Orlando, Florida.Live from Orlando, it’s Science Night Live!
Featuring the digital art show SENSORIUM, presentations from Microsoft, Mindbender Mansion and more!
Orlando Science Center is reserved strictly for adults at Science Night Live on Saturday, August 20 from 8–11:30 p.m. with grown-up-inspired programming. It’s social, it’s science, it’s 21 and up! This event proves there is no age limit on curiosity. You’re never too old to learn something new! It’s social, it’s science, it’s 21 and up and tickets are going fast!
EXPERIENCES
• Hear an engaging presentation from Microsoft (details to follow)
• Enjoy the NEW hands-on exhibit Kinetic Zone
• Unlock the puzzles in Mindbender Mansion for the final time
• View stars and planets through the giant refractor telescope in the Crosby Observatory
• Get inspired by the latest art gallery on display in Fusion: A STEAM Gallery
• View Sensorium - Exhibition of Interactive Sound + Art Installations, on display for one night only
• Experience giant screen films in the Dr. Phillips CineDome
• Conduct lab experiments in Dr. Dare's Laboratory
• Delight in food and adult beverages available for purchase
• Engage in science trivia to win prices!
• Experience a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Orlando Shakes
Make it a date night at Orlando Science Center for Science Night Live!
Tickets are available online only and the past two events have sold out so get yours before they're gone!
Visit www.osc.org/snl to learn more!
**Must be 21 and older
**Dress code is casual attire.

10pu until morning. Free. Creative Sleep Over. Defined Enterprises 279 Douglas Ave, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714 You ever wondered what would happen if a bunch of creatives got together and slept under one roof? No need to imagine anymore, every second Saturday Defined Enterprises opens it's doors for all the creatives to spend one night out of the month together. Feel free to bring your own set of tools that allow you to create. Bring your own pillows and blankets. Food and beverages will be served through out the night.
Creatives, artist, dancers, directors, photographers, musicians, engineers, gamers, techies, models and innovators, you guys are all welcomed.
BRING BOARD GAMES AND THINGS THAT WILL HELP US COLLECT MEMORIES!!!!

10pm to Midnight Free. Dizzy punk. Saint Mathews Tavern 1300 N Mills Avenue Orlando fl.

Sunday August 21, 2016 
10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. South East corner of Lake Eola Park.

2pm to 4pm Free Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL1 near the red pagoda.

10pm to Midnight Free but get a coffee. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out and laugh, or give it a try yourself.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pints for Pulse: a Community Event.


Festival Park (2911 E. Robinson St., Orlando, Florida), was the site for Pints for Pulse. Tickets were $50. Yo u could sample beers from just about every craft brewery imaginable while helping raise money for the OneOrlando fund. The event's tag line was...  beer | art | music | you.

This craft beer community event raised money to help the pulse nightclub victims. Over eighty breweries, food trucks, food tents, burlesque shows, drag shows, and many more amazing and wonderful things - all to help raise funds for those affected by the pulse night club tragedy. This fiery burlesque performer swallowed fire for the cause.

All proceeds from this event will go to OneOrlando. I've heard the funds from OneOrlando will not be distributed until November. For those who are struggling now there is little peace. Survivors of the Pulse nightclub shootings will have a little more leeway to qualify for a share of the millions of dollars raised by the OneOrlando Fund, its board of directors decided late Thursday. Forms should be online at OneOrlando.org by midday Friday and must be submitted with documentation by Sept. 12.


The money will go only to four groups: the families of the dead, survivors who were hospitalized, survivors who sought outpatient medical treatment, and those who were present in the club when the shootings began but not physically injured.
Families of the dead will receive the most; the share that goes to each subsequent group will be decided next month.

Peace, Love, Pulse!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#DisarmHate Art Expression at Falcon Bar.


#Disarm Hate is an art show at Falcon Bar, (819 E Washington St, Orlando, FL) in which local artists address the issue of rampant gun violence in America. Since the 49 Pulse Portraits of Pulse victims was created at Falcon Bar, it seemed appropriate to hang them for this show. Melissa Marie hung the portraits clothes line style on string I had provided using electrical clamps. She didn't peal the name tags off the backs of the sketches, so I did the when I arrived at the opening. People would stop and linger, looking at all the faces be for they would make their way to the bar to order a drink. 

Artist Plineo Pinto sold a watercolor of someone who was shot by an arrow and the Pulse logo was under the wound. H had a red dot when I arrived. The commission that The Falcon collects on art sales will be donated to 501(c)(3) Nonprofit http://PulseOfOrlando.org/

Artist Holly Tharp was at the opening. She had two pieces in the show, one of a woman collapsed over a gun's bullet cylinder and the other of a Buddah. Melissa Doskotz had a beautiful rainbow colored heart made from thin Strips of paper curled with interlacing spirals in a shadow box frame. That piece as just $270 which is a steal. All of the 49 Portraits can be seen in the short video, "Finger o the Pulse" but there is nothing like seeing the art is person. The art will continue to be on display until September 9, 2016.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Josean Garcia at Hamburger Mary's

Josean Garcia and I met at Hamburger Mary's on Church Street. I was there first. I didn't know what he looked like and he didn't know what I looked like, but we found each other. Hannah Miller who founded AdoptOrlando, was meeting us as well, but her car got rear ended by some guy rubbernecking rather than paying attention to traffic. She arrived shortly after Josean and I had met.

I was seated by the waitress at a round table in the center of the room. I thought a booth might be better, but accepted the location offered. He felt uncomfortable when he arrived, with his back exposed to a room full of people that he couldn't see. We moved to a booth close to a back exit door. I felt more comfortable and so did he. He now always thinks about possible escape routes anytime he is in a public place.

Josean has experienced an incredible amount of loss. First, he lost his mother, Deserie Garcia, and then on June 12th he lost his best friends Amanda and Mercedes at Pulse. He escaped from the nightclub that evening. "It's been two months since my best friends , my sisters joined my mother in heaven." he said on Facebook on August 12th.

Josean is an incredibly talented singer and song writer. His R&B music often addresses the darker side of life. Since the horrible shootings at Pulse, his life has been on hold. He can't believe this happened in Orlando and that he was there. I love that he feels Orlando has gained a new found "weirdness" along with the incredible outpouring of acceptance. Rainbow flags are still seen everywhere. He will start creating music again when the time is right. He is thinking that New York City could be where he should go to further his career. When we got our wines, he insisted we toast. His grandmother always said the you should toast anytime you are with friends to celebrate life. We all need to feel a connection to friends. He knows how to celebrate life while remembering his dearest friends lost at Pulse.

You can donate to the Amanda Alvear or Mercedes Flores GoFundMe accounts if to would like to help.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Finger on the Pulse at the Livingroom Theater Shorts Program .


Banks Helfrich and Tisse Mallon present independent local films in real, live living rooms. Living Room Screening events go beyond movie night and into a shared experience which includes the film, the creator and the reflections and thoughts of the audience. This evening's intimate experience consisted of a number of short films and a conversation with the creators.

Having just finished editing "Finger on the Pulse", I sent Tisse and Banks a Facebook messages asking if the short was a good fit for then Living room Theater Shorts program. Amazingly my last minute submission squeaked into the lineup.

Filmmakers included.
Ariel Zengotita
Kevin O'Neill
Rokaya Mikhailenko
Logan Anderson
Ferio Dismo



  My film, "Finger on the Pulse" began and the room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. I thought something might be wrong. When the credits rolled there was an unexpected thunderous applause. In the talk back I described my experience showing the 49 portraits at the Orlando Science Center, and once again I choked up when I described how one victim's sister reacted when she saw the exhibit. I was advised to Show the film at the Enzian Film Slam and the Global Peace Film Festival. I need to clean up the edit and burn it to DVD to make those submissions.

My favorite film was titled "Lean" by director Kevin O'Neill. In that film, actor Dennis Neil sat in a rocking chair on to porch of a weathered southern cabin. He held a tiny music box and the camera zoomed in o his face as he remembered his past. The flash back scene was saturated white in a southern school room. A pretty girl with blond curls pay full glances back at the boy as they both do their school work. She places the music box on his desk. Later, he is helping her with her homework and their fingers touch above the school book. A storm breaks out and they run outside to dance in the rain. I felt uncomfortable. with a black boy and white girl playing together in the south, things couldn't end well. The boy sits down in the mud and the girl follows suit. His white shirt and her white dress are soon playfully covered in mud. He reaches out to hold her beautiful curls and then they hold hands. Just then the girls mom drives up and she drags her daughter away. We flash back to the present and Dennis goes inside the cabin and hands the music box to a woman in bed. She looks sick but has the same beautiful blond hair. The moral is that love sees no color. I loved the film.
Other films included a toy car that acted like a caterpillar and built a cocoon to become an airplane, by Ariel Zengotita. A poetic southern travelogue by Logan Anderson, A quirky film about science and perception by Ferio Dismo, and a hot Flamenco dance piece that followed the dancer's romance, motherhood, and ultimately her husband' death by Rokaya Mikhailenko.